Utility balances its “Tried & True with the New” for greater environmental benefits
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – (September 21, 2020) –CPS Energy,the nation’s largest municipally owned electric and natural gas utility, has released its 2019 Environmental Sustainability & Stewardship Report. The report, which includes data through calendar year 2019, highlights the focus and results the utility and community have accomplished together. Environmental gains include significant reductions in emissions of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Mercury (Hg), and Particulate Matter (PM), along with reduced water use and waste production.
The full Sustainability Report can be found here.
“At CPS Energy, our talented team of more than 3,100 dedicated employees work diligently to provide energy services that are Affordable, Reliable, Resilient, Secure, Safe and increasingly Environmentally Responsible,” said Paula Gold-Williams, CPS Energy President & CEO. “We have been on a thoughtful journey for decades to make improvements for the environment and our community. Our Flexible PathSM strategy, that includes a commitment to reduce our net carbon emissions by 80% by 2040, demonstrates the balance we need to introduce more renewables and new technologies, as we reliably serve our customers, now and into the future. Additionally, we are now working toward full carbon neutrality by 2050 in support of the City of San Antonio’s Climate Action & Adaptation Plan (CAAP), which our Board of Trustees endorsed on August 26, 2019.”
Understanding the importance of diversity on every front –that includes expertly implementing new energy solutions, embracing more environmental opportunities, and ensuring its team remains curious and flexible– CPS Energy is proud that 60 percent of its top leaders are women and people of color. Further, CPS Energy’s 3,100 talented team members focus every day on diligently serving San Antonio, Texas, the seventh largest city in the United States, while collaborating, whenever it can to improve the environment.
Its new Sustainability Report highlights the company’s many accomplishments, over a 20-year journey, which is revving into high gear. The major accomplishments are summarized as follows:
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Reduction – Carbon intensity has been on a downward trend since 1980. With an increasingly diverse combination of gas, coal, wind, solar, and nuclear energy sources, as well as value-driven commitments to customer energy efficiency and conservation, CPS Energy lowered its CO2 emission rate from 2,000 pounds per megawatt hour of generation to 827. The improvement was made despite the utility’stotal generation quadrupling from 1980 to 2019 to power an economically robust and growing community.
- Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) Reduction – By implementing NOx emissions controls on power plants, including low NOx burners, separated overfire air (SOFA,) and selective catalytic reactors (SCRs,) and closing its two oldest coal units (J.T. Deely), CPS Energy has reduced NOx emissions by 78 percent since 1997.
- Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) Reduction – CPS Energy has reduced SO2 by 97 percent since 1997. Its two older coal units were closed at the end of 2018. Additionally, its remaining and much younger coal units at its Spruce Plant have highly efficient Sulfur Dioxide Scrubbers.
- Particulate Matter (PM) and Mercury (Hg) Reductions –The largest drop in PM emissions was in 2007 and 2008, when Deely’s older precipitator control technology was replaced with more effective baghouse particulate removal systems. Both Spruce units were built with these more effective baghouse systems, which have the capability of removing over 99 percent of PM.
- Water Usage Reduction – CPS Energy built Braunig and Calaveras Lakes in the 1960s to cool our power plants. These well-maintained lakes became recreational community assets. By using treated wastewater, CPS Energy saves around 11 billion gallons of drinking water every year.
- Waste Reduction –Each year, we recycle most of our waste material rather than disposing of it in landfills. From 2018-2019, 16,000 tons less waste went into landfills.
- Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan (STEP) – STEP’s goal was to save 771 megawatts (MW), equivalent to a large power plant, of electricity from 2009 to 2020 through a variety of residential and commercial energy efficiency and conservation programs. CPS Energy, in partnership with its customers, exceeded this goal and accomplished 845 MW of cumulative demand reduction, a year early and without incremental debt or capital spend for 13 years.
In concert with its Flexible Path, CPS Energy will launch a Request for Proposal (RFP) in late 2020 for its FlexPOWER BundleSM. It will seek to add up to 900 MW of solar, 50 MW of battery storage, and 500 MW of additional firming capacity, which will help cover instances when the solar farms are not producing power (i.e. during bad weather, at night, technical outages, etc.). The company is also seeking solutions for FlexSTEPSM, the next iteration of energy efficiency savings and conservation programs to help meet the changing needs of customers.
To learn more about CPS Energy, please also read the 2019-2020 Annual Report.
About CPS Energy
Established in 1860, CPS Energy is the nation’s largest public power, natural gas, and electric company, providing safe, reliable, and competitively-priced service to 860,934 electric and 358,495 natural gas customers in San Antonio and portions of seven adjoining counties. Our customers’ combined energy bills rank among the lowest of the nation’s 20 largest cities – while generating $8 billion in revenue for the City of San Antonio for over seven decades. As a trusted and strong community partner, we continuously focus on job creation, economic development, and educational investment. True to our People First philosophy, we are powered by our skilled workforce, whose commitment to the community is demonstrated through our employees’ volunteerism in giving back to our city and programs aimed at bringing value to our customers. CPS Energy is among the top public power wind energy buyers in the nation and number one in Texas for solar generation.