SDG&E’s Commitment to Sustainability

Net Zero by 2045

Sustainability

Achieving Net Zero GHG Emissions by 2045

In March 2021, we solidified our sustainability commitment by pledging to reach net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2045. What that means is that we will remove as many GHG emissions from the atmosphere as we produce. Our commitment goes beyond reducing our own emissions and includes tackling those generated by our customers’ energy use. In order to track progress, we are undertaking a rigorous, multi-year effort to build a comprehensive, verified GHG inventory. A complete baseline will provide us with insights on where we stand now and help shape our path forward. In addition, SDG&E is undertaking an economy-wide GHG study supported by leading third-party experts to inform our options for achieving net zero emissions by 2045 and to develop a decarbonization roadmap that maintains resiliency and reliability.

Download Net Zero Fact Sheet

net zero platform chart

Our Commitment

Our commitment to sustainability is built into everything we do. Our approach to sustainability means we’re reducing our carbon footprint, fostering energy innovation & conservation and encouraging our employees and the communities we serve to take daily action to ensure a sustainable energy future for generations to come.

Read our 2021 Sustainability Strategy Update  which shares progress on our goals and highlights key projects that are helping build an equitable and clean energy economy.

You can also find more information regarding sustainability in Sempra's Corporate Sustainability Report and in SDG&E’s 2020 Sustainability Strategy Building a Better Future

REPORT COVER

SDG&E Sustainability Goals

DO THE RIGHT THING

Environmental Stewardship

Each year: 

  • Plant at least 10,000 trees (starting in 2021), support local biodiversity with the "Right Tree Right Place" program and intelligent water use

By 2030:

  • Divert 100% of our organic green waste, especially green waste related to vegetation management, from entering landfills
  • Increase recycled water use to at least 90% at all our facilities
Sustainable Operations - Fleet Decarbonization; SF6 Alternatives

By 2030:

  • Electrify 100% of the Light Duty Fleet
  • Transition 30% of our overall fleet to Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV)
  • Divert 100% of facilities-related waste from landfills 
  • Reduce facilities freshwater use by 50% (2010 baseline) 
  • Achieve zero net energy for all owned facilities (current usage ~5.5 MW)
  • 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

By 2035:

  •  Operate 100% ZEV* fleet

By 2040:

  • Deploy 100% non-SF6 equipment everywhere feasible

CHAMPION PEOPLE

"Outside in" Community Outreach

Each year:

  • Actively engage a growing network of external, community-based, nonprofit stakeholders who provide continuous constructive feedback and partner with us on meeting the needs of diverse and underserved communities through sustainability initiatives
Creating Opportunities through Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Starting in 2020:

  • We are advancing our commitment to engage, act, measure and report our performance related to diversity, equity and inclusion with greater transparency and urgency. Emphasizing five key pillars to track progress:
  1. Leading from the top
  2. Accelerating employee engagement
  3. Creating opportunity
  4. Driving conscious inclusion
  5. Partnering with the communities we serve
Sustainable Supply Chain

By 2025:

  • Develop an energy industry supply chain sustainability program

SHAPE THE FUTURE

Reimagining Transportation

Starting in 2020:

 Support California’s goal to transition to Zero Emission Vehicles by accelerating our strategic collaboration of key stakeholders to deliver an ambitious region-wide clean transportation infrastructure goal, address air pollution and solidify the region’s leadership on the global transportation map. We will continue to shape constructive policies and legislation to ensure customer adoption and facilitate an equitable transition.

Grid Modernization & Breakthrough Solutions

By 2022:

  • Place two green hydrogen projects into service to offer long-duration energy storage, increase system resiliency and reduce carbon intensity
  • Plan and pilot a Virtual Power Plant to further expand and leverage distribution-level demand response as a means to reduce GHG emissions, advance resource adequacy and enhance grid resiliency

By 2030:

  • Collaborate with industry leaders and implement at least one breakthrough solution that mitigates direct emissions from gas-fired generation

Sustainability Legend

Sustainability Legend 2

Hydrogen Innovations 

California frequently curtails solar production in the middle of the day because supply far exceeds demand on the grid. Surplus solar energy can be leveraged to produce hydrogen, a versatile, clean molecule that has a variety of uses.  Hydrogen produced in this manner is commonly referred to as “green hydrogen.” 

By 2022, SDG&E plans to place two green hydrogen projects into service.

Borrego Springs Green Hydrogen Project

This project will pilot hydrogen as long-duration energy storage, as a microgrid asset and as a resource for dispatch by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to support grid reliability. It will be located next to SDG&E’s existing Borrego Springs Microgrid in east San Diego County.

SDG&E will install hydrogen storage containers that can support more than eight hours of energy storage for a fuel cell. An electrolyzer will produce hydrogen when solar energy is abundant, and the fuel cell will convert the hydrogen into electricity when needed by the grid, such as during peak demand periods. The hydrogen assets will be integrated with the microgrid so they can help power the remote desert community during emergencies or other circumstances.

Learn more about SDG&E’s microgrids

Palomar Green Hydrogen Project

At its Palomar Energy Center in the City of Escondido in northern San Diego County, SDG&E will install an electrolyzer powered by new onsite solar canopies to produce hydrogen onsite. This hydrogen will be used as a cooling gas for generators and as fuel for its first fuel cell fleet vehicles.  Additionally, SDG&E will blend this hydrogen with natural gas as fuel for the electric generators and install a hydrogen fueling station.

Watch a video about the Palomar Energy Center Green Hydrogen Project

Moreno Compressor Station Modernization Project

The Moreno Compressor Station Modernization Project is a first-of-its-kind clean energy project to power critical natural gas infrastructure using green hydrogen and advance the clean energy transition. The project will replace aging compressor equipment with modern state-of-the-art equipment that will achieve compliance with recently amended air district rules in a way that also integrates hydrogen and renewable technologies to meet the region’s critical energy needs.

This clean energy modernization project is just one of a series of projects we are committed to as part of California’s achievement of a carbon-neutral economy by 2045. 

Download the fact sheet

Nature-Based Solutions

goats eating vegetation

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.

See the goats in action 

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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.

Learn more about the Clover Flats Seedbank

man planting trees

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. 

Energy Storage

Solar energy is abundant in the middle of the day but goes away after the sun sets. For that reason, the ability to store surplus solar energy produced midday for use at later times is critical to grid reliability.

SDG&E expects to have 145 MW of utility-owned energy storage integrated into the local grid by 2022. A few of the projects that support this goal are highlighted below.

Top Gun Energy Storage

In June 2021, SDG&E’s Top Gun Energy Storage Facility located in the Miramar area of the City of San Diego will go into operation. This 30MW/120MWh lithium-ion facility can provide the energy equivalent for serving 20,000 residential customers for four hours.

Learn more about the Top Gun Energy Storage Facility

Kearny Energy Storage

SDG&E broke ground in April 2021 on a 20 MW/80MW lithium-ion battery facility in the Kearny Mesa area of the City of San Diego. This facility can provide the energy equivalent for serving more than 13,000 residential customers for four hours. The facility anticipated to begin operation in late 2021.

Learn more about the Kearny Energy Storage Facility

Fallbrook Energy Storage

SDG&E plans to begin construction in fall 2021 on a 40MW/160 MWh lithium-ion facility in the unincorporated community of Fallbrook in North San Diego County. The largest of its energy storage projects to date, this facility can provide the energy equivalent for serving more than 26,000 residential customers for four hours. It is expected to be completed in 2022.

Escondido Energy Storage  

In 2017, we opened what was then the world's largest lithium-ion battery. The 30-megawatt facility in the City of Escondido can store up to 120 megawatt hours of energy, enough to power the equivalent of 20,000 homes for four hours. Inside the Escondido facility are 20,000 battery packs in containers that act like a giant sponge to soak up and store energy when it's abundant and release it when it's needed to meet demand or provide ancillary services (such as frequency regulation) to maintain grid stability.  

Flow Battery Demonstration Project

We are testing vanadium redox flow battery technology in collaboration with Sumitomo Electric, Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), and the California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). The flow battery, located in the Bonita community in south San Diego County, is part of a five-year demonstration project. In 2019, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) connected the battery to the state grid, calling the technology "groundbreaking" and "promising." The 2-megawatt battery can store 8 megawatt hours of energy, enough  to power the equivalent of about 1,000 homes for up to four hours. 

Sustainable Operations

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.

Facilities

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

Environmental Stewardship

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

Energy Resiliency

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. 

Clean Transportation

Transportation is the largest source of air pollution and greenhouse gas 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.

In addition, SDG&E is piloting vehicle-to-grid technology (V2G). In partnership with the Cajon Valley Union School District in East San Diego County, we will break ground on a five-year V2G pilot in spring 2021 that will connect six 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. Construction of the charging equipment is expected to be completed in June 2021.

Learn more about SDG&E’s V2G Pilot

Fleet Decarbonization

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. By the end of 2021, 18% of our fleet will be electrified.

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
bucket truck image

Climate Research

weather team image

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. 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG)

SDG&E is a leader in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reporting, joining the California Climate Action Registry (CCAR) in 2003 and The Climate Registry (TCR) in 2008. We supported the development of GHG reporting guidelines early on and began voluntary reporting before reporting became mandatory. We also began third-party verification of our first 2004 emissions inventory in 2005. 

GHG emmissions chart image

Community Outreach 

Community Outreach 

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.

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