San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) this week released its annual sustainability strategy update, highlighting what it has accomplished over the past year and outlining new and accelerated goals to help meet its pledge to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.
Among the goals announced are a plan to operate a fleet of zero-emissions vehicles by 2035, which is five years ahead of the previously announced target. In addition, the utility plans to achieve net-zero energy from facilities by 2030 for all company-owned facilities in San Diego and southern Orange County.
Last, the utility said it is accelerating its plan to pilot and test a virtual power plant. Originally planned for 2025, the utility said it will now deliver the project by 2022. The demonstration project will integrate multiple types of customer-owned distributed energy resources (DER), including energy storage systems, into a planned renewable microgrid in Shelter Valley, a community in eastern San Diego County. The primary goal of the VPP is to coordinate the dispatch of customer DERs in a microgrid to showcase how those resources can be dispatched to the regional grid when supplies are tight. Results of the demonstration will inform future initiatives and grid management system needs.
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“Over the past year, we spent a lot of time listening to a wide cross section of stakeholders so that we could incorporate their feedback into our long-term strategy to move our region closer to carbon neutrality,” said SDG&E CEO Caroline Winn. “We recognize we still have much work to do and that we can’t do it alone. Community partners who support and challenge us in our work to develop sustainability solutions are invaluable as we focus on strengthening climate equity and community resilience where we all call home.”
SDG&E released a comprehensive sustainability strategy in October 2020, which included several aspirational goals. In the interest of accountability and transparency, the company committed to providing an annual update on its progress toward meeting its sustainability goals. Highlights of the company’s accomplishments over the past year include:
- Adding two energy storage facilities (totaling 50 MW) by year end and starting construction on a third
- Acquiring three large-scale mobile batteries, which can be deployed as backup power during emergencies
- Finishing construction of a renewable microgrid by year end to support a rural community in a high fire-threat area that is subject to Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) and starting construction on a second microgrid that will provide backup power to CAL FIRE and U.S. Forest Service aerial firefighting assets
- Helping launch a regional collaborative called Accelerate to Zero Emissions (A2Z) to align and attract public and private investment to expand the infrastructure necessary to support widespread adoption of electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles
- Completing a decade-long project to harden electrical infrastructure inside the Cleveland National Forest – replacing more than 2,300 wood poles with steel poles
- Issuing $750 million in green bonds to raise the capital needed to deliver some of the projects outlined in its sustainability strategy