How NRG is preparing for the transition to a low-carbon economy

NRG's office in Princeton

NRG Office in Princeton, New Jersey (Courtesy of NRG)

NRG is North America’s leading integrated energy, gas and home services company, serving approximately six million customers across the United States and Canada. In 2021, NRG consolidated its corporate headquarters in Houston. NRG’s largest workforce is currently based in the Houston area with more than 3,000 employees.

As an energy company, NRG understands the industry’s role in decarbonizing homes, communities and the economy. This has been a key driver of NRG’s sustainability commitments and passion for innovating products and services that power life. As such, sustainability is woven into the fabric of the NRG organization.

We sat down with Jeanne-Mey Sun, Vice President of Sustainability at NRG, to learn more about what NRG is doing to support corporate sustainability and its annual sustainability report. NRG is a member of the Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI) and an active member of the Industry Decarbonization and CCUS steering committees.

How does NRG think about decarbonization and corporate sustainability?

As a company, we are committed to achieving net-zero by 2050, with an interim target of 50% emissions reduction by 2025 from the 2014 baseline. These targets have been certified by the Science-based Targets initiative as targeting 1.5°C. To achieve our net-zero goal, NRG has identified multiple levers to bring the company onto a 1.5° path: decarbonizing existing businesses, diversifying into low-carbon businesses, divesting select high-carbon assets, and deploying new technologies and innovations.

In addition to our own sustainability advances, we are committed to leading the transition to a low-carbon economy by offering our customers clean energy solutions through a wide range of sustainable products and services.

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Give some examples of how NRG is involved in decarbonization efforts in the Houston area.

The City of Houston has been an energy partner of NRG for over 15 years, and in 2020 NRG helped the city commit to powering all municipal operations with 100% renewable energy.

NRG is also a founding member of EVolve, an organization dedicated to supporting and enabling the adoption of electric vehicles in the greater Houston area.

We also actively support the climate technology start-up ecosystem, including as a founding sponsor of Greentown Labs’ Houston expansion and as a founding supporter of the Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator.

Describe how NRG works with its customers to achieve its sustainability goals.

Our customers remain at the heart of our business and it is our responsibility to offer our customers multiple sustainable and efficient energy options to help them achieve sustainability. We offer various products and services such as renewable energy power plans, carbon offsetting, renewable energy credits and more. We strive to work closely with our customers to provide them with tailored solutions to help them achieve their goals. Our customers have the power to control what type of energy they use and when they consume it. It is this personalization and innovation that helps customers achieve their goals.

Outline how NRG developed its annual sustainability report and its five pillars (ie: business, customers, workplace, operations, suppliers).

Our annual sustainability report reflects our long-standing commitment to continued leadership on climate action, engaging with a variety of stakeholders to advance shared sustainability goals, and our growing portfolio of sustainable energy products. We have always tried to approach sustainability holistically, which encompasses our entire value chain and takes into account the interests of our stakeholder ecosystem. In order to demonstrate the holistic nature of our approach, we have developed the five pillars.

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What are some of the more important priorities from the five pillars of NRG over the next year (ie: renewable power, power plant portfolio optimization, natural gas/hydrogen, aligning efficiency and sustainability through innovation)?

Our framework will continue to support the development of products and services that help meet customers’ energy goals and reduce their environmental impact. We also recognize the ever-growing importance of the people who drive NRG, so our focus over the next year and beyond will be to build on our many programs and initiatives that support, attract and retain our talented people.

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