SDG&E’s Commitment to Sustainability
Safer, stronger and healthier together.
Net Zero GHG Emissions by 2045
California is targeting a just and equitable energy transition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. That means removing as much carbon from the atmosphere as California produces. In the San Diego and southern Orange County region, SDG&E and many local cities also embrace carbon neutrality as their goal.
In April 2022, SDG&E published The Path to Net Zero: A Decarbonization Roadmap for California. The economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) study, which is supported by leading third-party experts, informs our options to achieve net zero emissions by 2045 while maintaining energy resiliency, reliability and affordability.
Our commitment to sustainability is built into everything we do. We are working to reduce our carbon footprint, foster energy innovation and conservation, and encourage our employees and the communities we serve to take daily action to ensure a sustainable and equitable energy future for generations to come.
Read our 2022 Sustainability Strategy Update, which shares progress on our goals and highlights key projects that are helping to build an equitable and clean energy economy.
You can also find more information regarding sustainability in the following documents:
As part of our sustainability strategy, SDG&E is exploring the potential of clean hydrogen to help advance our state and region's climate action goals. SDG&E is developing several pilots to test hydrogen for long-duration energy storage, electric generation, vehicle fueling, and blending into an existing natural gas system. Learn more about our hydrogen projects at sdge.com/hydrogen.
Wildfire Mitigation with Goats
Approximately 220 goats are biting into potential wildfire ignition sources and carbon emissions. Our goat grazing pilot program utilizes goats to clear brush and other vegetation-ignition sources around electric infrastructure. The program is designed to help keep communities safe from potential utility-related wildfires.
Environmental benefits of goat grazing include maintaining open corridors, preventing the spread of invasive weeds and promoting the growth of native vegetation species. These goats can be utilized year-round for weed abatement without the risk of igniting fuels in high-fire risk areas.
Clover Flats Seedbank Protects Biodiversity
Native plants are important to the success of habitat restoration efforts. However, it can be difficult to source local, native plant seeds in our region. To address this challenge, SDG&E helped develop a seedbank by leasing a portion of the Back Country Land Trust’s Clover Flat property in southeastern San Diego County to grow native plants for seeding, harvesting, sorting and storage.
Supporting Biodiversity with Trees
SDG&E has been a long-time partner in regional urban forestry, supporting tree planting, vegetation care best practices and education about the importance of planting the right tree in the right place. SDG&E is also committed to planting at least 10,000 trees annually to support local biodiversity, improve air quality, sequester carbon and conserve water to benefit local communities. We work to achieve this goal through creative programs that engage our customers and community partners in planting trees in parks and open spaces throughout our service territory.
SDG&E is building a diverse portfolio of energy storage solutions — including vanadium redox flow, lithium-ion manganese, lithium-ion phosphate, and iron-salt flow batteries — to build grid reliability and help store surplus renewable energy. All SDG&E energy projects are connected to the state’s market, meaning the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) will be able to dispatch energy at any time to balance supply and demand on the statewide grid.
Our focus on environmental stewardship extends to the office buildings and other facilities where we work. Over the past decade, we have made significant progress to reduce, reuse and recycle. Recently, we updated our facilities goals to raise the bar even higher, as we look to achieve zero net energy for all facilities we own by 2030. Meanwhile, our supply management team is stepping up efforts to source more sustainable goods and services.
By 2030, we aim to:
- Divert 100% of facilities-related waste from landfills by reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering materials waste
- Reduce facilities freshwater use by 50% (2010 baseline) by investing in low-flow/waterless fixtures, rainfall and water recovery systems and drought-tolerant landscaping
- Achieve zero net energy for all owned facilities (current usage ~5.5 MW) by exploring new building decarbonization solutions, energy efficiency, renewable energy credits and on-site generation
- Enable green miles via on-site charging with ~2,000 EV charge points
- Earn U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (USGBC LEED®) (Silver+) certifications for all new construction
Our commitment to environmental stewardship is broad, ranging from habitat conservation and tree planting, to employee volunteerism and tackling business challenges with nature-based solutions. Over the past 25 years, we have operated under a habitat conservation plan that we voluntarily developed with state and federal wildlife agencies. Our plan was designed to avoid or minimize any impacts from our activities and preserve our region’s ecosystems to the greatest extent possible. This year we are expanding our work to include innovative ways to protect biodiversity, increase carbon sequestration potential and avoid GHG emissions across our region from the desert to coast and everywhere in between.
Our goals for biodiversity and environmental stewardship vary by project and include:
- No net loss of wetlands or waters, including along the coast or sensitive upland vegetation communities, habitats and rare plants
- Net improvement in ecological conditions for any sensitive habitats that may have been temporarily impacted by operations
- Enhancement of existing habitats and the establishment of permanently protected preserves for important local animal species
- Net benefit to species listed as threatened or endangered by state or federal authorities, including the California Least Tern, an endangered migratory seabird that nests along our sandy coasts
Since 2007, we have invested more than $3 billion to strengthen the regional grid against threats posed by climate change, in particular wildfire risk. Our grid enhancement efforts include replacing wood poles with steel poles, strategic undergrounding of power lines and an innovation that cuts power off to broken power lines before they hit the ground. To minimize the impact of Public Safety Power Shutoffs – a tool of last resort to prevent wildfires – we have developed and continue to develop microgrids. These mini power grids can keep our critical customers, often disadvantaged communities in our high fire threat districts, up and running when power on the main grid needs to be turned off to protect public safety.
Transportation is the largest source of air pollution and GHG emissions in California. To facilitate the transition to zero-emission transportation — a key strategy for meeting California's climate action goals — we have been working aggressively to expand the electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in our region. The infrastructure supports not only electric cars but also medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and equipment, such as electric buses, trucks, shuttles and forklifts. In 2021, SDG&E joined forces with key regional stakeholders to launch the Accelerate to Zero Emissions (A2Z) collaborative, which is dedicated to curbing air pollution and climate change through clean transportation.
SDG&E is piloting V2G technology in partnership with the Cajon Valley Union School District in East San Diego County. The project will connect eight electric school buses to 60kW bi-directional DC fast chargers. The batteries onboard the buses will soak up energy during downtime and when clean energy is abundant on the grid (such as midday when solar energy production is at its peak) and discharge energy to the grid during peak demand hours in the afternoon and evening. The goal is to help ease strain on the grid, reduce energy costs for the school district, and explore a new technology that could be crucial for our pathway to net zero.
SDG&E is committed to reimagining transportation — the single largest source of GHG emissions in our state and in our region. This commitment includes transforming our own fleet of vehicles that travel all around the region and to neighborhoods every day. In fact, we are accelerating our goal by five years from 2040 to 2035, to operate a 100% zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) fleet.
Our work to decarbonize our fleet goes beyond purchasing ZEVs and also includes:
- Investing in tools that capture metrics to help us improve safety, sustainability and operational efficiency
- Monitoring idling activity and installing idle mitigation systems in more than 20 vehicles this year
- Continually evaluating new electric vehicles coming to market and working with manufacturers to support customizations for our fleet
Studying Climate Change Impacts
We were the first utility in the country to develop a dedicated Fire Science & Climate Adaptation Department. The department has built extensive collaboration with government, academia and nonprofit institutions to advance research and understanding of climate change. Because of our progressive wildfire risk mitigation program, our company was tapped to join the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Partnership for Energy Sector Climate Resilience Initiative. As a leading participant in the partnership, SDG&E has collaborated with the DOE and 16 other utilities to improve the resilience of the nation's energy infrastructure against extreme weather and climate change impacts. The goal of the partnership is to identify the challenges the energy industry is facing today and work together to develop sustainable solutions. We are committed to adopting new best practices and innovations to continue our region's climate resiliency leadership.
SDG&E has a long history of supporting local environmental nonprofits and their initiatives through employee volunteerism and our annual Environmental Champions program. Each year, we actively engage with a network of community-based, nonprofit stakeholders who can provide feedback and partner with us to meet the needs of underserved and disadvantaged communities through sustainability initiatives. Our company is committed to facilitating a just and equitable transition to a clean energy economy, so vulnerable populations who are disproportionately impacted by climate change are not left behind.
We want to hear from you!
We value the voices of the residents, organizations and businesses in our region. If you have comments or feedback regarding our goals, our strategy or even concerns you may have around sustainability, please share your thoughts.
Additionally, if you want to be notified of updates on sustainability projects, progress on our goals or other announcements, fill out the forms below to connect with us.