At Entergy, our environmental strategy and our business strategy are inextricably linked. We see environmental stewardship and decarbonization not as a choice, but as a responsibility and an opportunity. Recognizing the challenges posed by climate change, Entergy has focused on the issue as a sustainability priority for almost two decades. Under the leadership of our board, we have worked to ensure that our concern about climate change translates into action:
- We start with our own environmental footprint: As the first U.S. utility to voluntary set a greenhouse gas emissions goal in 2001, we have been a leader in limiting emissions from our operations. Today we operate one of the cleanest large-scale power generation fleets in the country.
- We look beyond ourselves to have a greater impact: Because of the large concentration of existing industrial activity and strong industrial growth in the regions we serve, we are uniquely positioned to partner with customers in other industries such as manufacturing, ports, and transportation to help them reduce their own emissions by electrifying their energy needs and operations.
- We pioneer sustainability solutions in our industry: We are a thought leader in our industry, advancing constructive discussions to understand the risks associated with changing environmental conditions, and partnering with regulators and key stakeholders on policy and incentive options that address climate change.
Utilities have a critical role to play in delivering the clean-energy solutions that are essential in lowering greenhouse gas emissions and we see an opportunity to innovate and invest to improve the world around us. Our environmental strategy and initiatives align with the objectives of six primary impact areas of the UNSDGs.
Taking Action Against Climate Change
In 2001, we were the first U.S. utility to commit voluntarily to cap CO2 emissions. We extended this commitment twice, including a voluntary pledge to maintain our CO2 emissions at 20 percent below year-2000 levels through the year 2020. Through 2019, our cumulative CO2 emissions were approximately 8 percent below our target. We expect our planned investments in portfolio transformation and grid modernization will continue to increase our overall efficiency and reduce our environmental impact. For example:
- Highly efficient new combined-cycle power stations such as the J. Wayne Leonard Power Station, Lake Charles Power Station, and Montgomery County Power Station produce significantly fewer carbon emissions per MWh than the facilities they replace.
- Nuclear generation is also an important source of clean, reliable baseload power for our utility customers. Prudently investing to preserve these valuable, virtually non-emitting resources for our stakeholders is an important part of our strategy.
- Our planned investments in new technologies to modernize our grid, such as advanced meters, will further improve efficiency, reliability, and energy conservation.
- We are actively working to expand our use of renewables, including both utility-scale and distributed-energy resources. These will allow us to reduce emissions as the economics, performance, and reliability of these resources improve. We currently have nearly 2,000 megawatts of renewable projects in various stages of planning or development.
- Our coal generation resources are limited, producing only 6 percent of our utility’s 2019 energy mix. We will retire the majority of our coal plants no later than the end of 2030. We are evaluating options for the remainder.
In 2019 we released our Climate Scenario Analysis and Evaluation of Risks and Opportunities to:
- build on Entergy’s long history of discussing and managing climate change risk;
- use scenario planning to analyze potential impacts on — and opportunities for — Entergy and the regional economies in which we operate; and
- inform and engage stakeholders on Entergy’s current and ongoing processes for managing climate risk and evaluating future opportunities.
These are just a few of the many investments and commitments we are making to ensure our business is well-positioned for the future. For further information, visit entergy.com/environment.
Clean Air Equals Healthy Communities
Entergy is one of the country’s cleanest large-scale generators of electricity. Here is how we perform according to the 2019 Benchmarking Air Emissions Report.
Entergy Rank in the 2019 Benchmarking Air Emissions Report
(based on 2017 data)
|Of Top 100||Of 20 Peers*|
|Lowest CO2 emission rate ranking||29th||4th|
|Production of virtually zero-emitting energy||6th||4th|
*The top 20 privately owned and investor-owned U.S. power producers
Like carbon, we set goals for traditional air emissions based on our current planning assumptions for the utility.
Entergy’s investments in our generation portfolio transformation and nuclear improvements have greatly reduced both absolute air emissions and emission rates. Since 2000, the utility has added more than 7,500 MW of clean, highly efficient combined-cycle gas turbine generation and deactivated more than 6,800 MW of older, less efficient gas or oil units.
Since 2000, while our annual electric generation grew by more than 25 percent, our investments in clean energy capacity have resulted in:
- 73% reduction in absolute NOx emissions and 78% reduction in NOx emission rates,
- 71% reduction in SO2 emissions and 77% reduction SO2 emission rates,
- 92% reduction in mercury emissions and 94% reduction in mercury emission rates, and
- 29% reduction in absolute CO2 emissions and 44% reduction in CO2 emission rates.
Partnering With Customers and Other Sectors
At Entergy we recognize that no one sector can tackle the challenges of climate change alone. An economy-wide effort involving all sectors is required. We have a large concentration of existing industrial activity and growth in the regions we serve. This uniquely positions us to partner with customers in other industries such as manufacturing facilities, port operations, and transportation technology to help them reduce their own emissions through beneficial electrification.
This is a practical and pragmatic way to help customers meet their environmental goals and reduce societal carbon emissions as the emission rate from the electric generating sector often is lower than that of many transportation and industrial emitters. This is especially true as the electric generating sector’s emission rate continues to decline.
Entergy partnered with the U.S. Business Council on Sustainable Development to launch the Gulf Coast Carbon Collaborative, a first-of-its-kind industry initiative focused on cross-sector solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In December, approximately 60 Gulf Coast industry representatives from the automotive, power, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, chemical, refining, and transportation sectors met in New Orleans to share and scale decarbonization strategies. Potential actions include modernizing equipment, switching to electricity and other low- and zero-carbon fuels, and using both nature and technology to capture and store carbon.
Through Entergy’s Electric Technology Program, known as eTech, we partner with customers to promote the adoption of electric-powered alternatives to many applications that traditionally require fossil fuels. These efforts provide direct customer support by dedicated field representatives to Entergy customers who purchase and install select electric equipment. Electric-powered technologies offer several key benefits to end-users over existing technologies, including reduced maintenance, lower fuel consumption, increased workplace safety and efficiency, less noise, and cleaner and healthier work environments.
Many studies highlight that transportation electrification will be critical to achieving long-term greenhouse gas reduction goals. Entergy has taken the following actions to support the use of electric vehicles:
- We provide incentives to customers to purchase electric vehicles and charging infrastructure as part of our eTech program.
- We presented grants to 16 colleges and universities in our region to help fund the installation of 17 240-volt electric vehicle charging stations.
- We established the Power Drive program to purchase electric vehicles and install charging infrastructure at Entergy facilities.
- We presented a grant to Tulane University to help fund the purchase of electric shuttle vehicles, allowing the university to retire several internal combustion vehicles.
In addition, Entergy New Orleans has two initiatives to increase the use of electric vehicles in New Orleans. Entergy New Orleans will construct, own, and operate electric vehicle chargers on customer-owned property, with customers paying for the chargers over time. Entergy New Orleans will also invest up to $500,000 to construct utility-owned and operated electric vehicle chargers for public use at city-owned locations, including libraries, parks, and schools. Each of these initiatives will accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, which is consistent with the city’s climate and transportation modernization efforts.
Water Use Reduction and Conservation
Water is essential to life but can be a risk during extreme weather events. Entergy addresses water availability while also managing flood issues. We look for opportunities to reduce water use in our operations while evaluating water availability and ensuring compliance with state and local permits and requirements. Fleet modernization minimizes our impact on water as newer plants use significantly less water than our legacy units. We also evaluate water risks from flooding as sea-level rises, coastal erosion, and subsidence in our coastal service area impact our region. Details of our water management activities are available here.
Waste Minimization and Management
Entergy’s operations can result in waste materials. To address waste management and minimization, Entergy maintains a standard that outlines our basic philosophy and expectations. We reduce waste by repurposing or recycling unused or obsolete material such as scrap wire and metal, as discussed further in the Supply Chain section of this report. Entergy managed nearly 83 percent of our coal ash for beneficial use in 2019, which is significantly higher than the industry average. Coal ash is an excellent construction material that can be used as fill for stabilization projects, as road beds, and to replace Portland cement.
We will continue our actions to ensure that we not only minimize waste but also maximize the value recovered from end-of-life or unneeded assets.
Biodiversity and Habitat Preservation and Restoration
Entergy’s goal is to fully comply with all environmental regulations including those that govern wildlife conservation, as stated in our Commitment to Biodiversity. We aim to be a good steward of the land, wildlife, and natural resources in our care. We strive not only to eliminate negative impacts from our operations on biodiversity but also to promote a net positive impact where possible. By complying with local, state, and federal regulations, incorporating best management practices, and promoting stewardship through public partnerships, we are committed to maintaining, enhancing, and conserving biodiversity in the areas we serve.
We actively participate in avian monitoring programs such as those for eagles. We have an avian and wildlife protection standard and an avian protection plan that promote compliance with wildlife conservation and avian protection laws. Protecting wildlife from potential impacts with our facilities, such as wires and substations, also improves reliability for our customers by avoiding potential outages caused by birds and other animals.
Threats and impacts to biodiversity are identified as part of the investment approval process before we undertake major construction projects or acquisitions. Risk identification and management processes are required to avoid, minimize, or mitigate such risks as needed to complete construction, commissioning, and transition to operation. Each business function’s environmental leadership team works closely with Entergy project managers to ensure biodiversity issues are managed appropriately. Every time an expansion or permit change is required, operations are re-assessed for their impact on biodiversity as warranted.
Entergy will continue working to enhance our natural environment. Preserving, restoring, and improving natural systems, as well as sustainably managing the natural assets we own, provides water management, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration benefits. We continue proactive efforts through our biodiversity peer group, a team of environmental professionals focused on protecting wildlife and enhancing the natural environment.
One of many reforestation projects the company supports, Entergy maintains a Sustainable Forestry Program to increase, mainly through tree planting, eco-diverse environments within the approximately 25,000 acres of timber land associated with our utilities’ sites and facilities. Since 1996, through this program, Entergy has:
- planted over 4.1 million trees,
- addressed ecologically sensitive areas,
- created wildlife habitat, and
- participated in native species conversion.
Environmental compliance is a basic tenet of our sustainability strategy, and our environmental management system drives compliance and continuous improvement. We continuously evaluate environmental risks and opportunities and focus compliance management and continuous improvement efforts on our entire value chain. Our environmental management system details company objectives for all sites and includes policy and strategy, identification of compliance requirements, a risk assessment, and clear objectives, programs, and procedures in addition to training and an annual senior management review. We validate our EMS and our environmental performance through annual third-party audits and provide transparency through performance reporting.