From collaborating with local business partners on clean energy solutions to forming a new sustainability council for guidance, PG&E is committed to a sustainable future that benefits people and the planet.
“Building a sustainable energy future is fundamental with PG&E’s long-term mission, and it’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly — nor is it one that we can achieve alone,” said Melissa Lavinson, federal affairs and policy, chief sustainability officer at PG&E.
“It will require collaboration and partnership, it will require innovation and new thinking and it will require that we continue to integrate sustainability more deeply in our business so that we can deliver safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy for years to come,” she said.
“At PG&E, we’re taking steps across the board to achieve this vision, including forming a new sustainability council to spearhead work to reduce the environmental impact of our operations. In this year’s sustainability report, you’ll see examples of the progress we’re making,” said Lavinson.
This includes partnerships in Silicon Valley to pioneer new, clean energy solutions.
“PG&E is partnering with General Electric, Tesla and Green Charge on a pilot in San Jose to test new technology to incorporate solar and battery connected with smart inverters to the grid,” said Alex Portilla, principal, grid integration and innovation at PG&E.
Embedding sustainability into operations
“We’re driving innovation in our supply chain to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Lavinson.
This includes researching better products to get the job done.
“SF6 stands for hexafluoride. It’s been used since the 1950s in the electric industry,” said Kevin Berent, senior program manager, Electric Power Research Institute.
“One of the down sides of using SF6 is the fact that it is a powerful greenhouse gas. If we can find a way to help the industry and help society in general come up with a better product — one that might be a little bit more environmentally cleaner than what we’re using already — that’s a big win,” said Berent.
Partnering on emergency preparedness
“We’re using state-of-the-art modeling to improve our emergency preparedness,” said Lavinson. This has helped PG&E more strategically plan and determine where to place workers and equipment during storms and bad weather.
“During our storms this past winter, our meteorology team was completely involved with our operational tactics. We have communications with them about once every 12 hours to understand our weather forecast. What’s key to responding to a storm is the timing of our resources,” said PG&E’s Annabelle Louie, electric distribution superintendent, San Jose-De Anza Divisions.
“Being able to understand how the weather will roll in, what kind of outages it will produce, what areas will be most impacted, helps us plan our resources and deploy them proactively,” said Louie.
Building climate resilience
“And, we’re working to build climate resilience into our business,” said Lavinson.
This includes local programs and community investments.
“I’m really excited lately about PG&E’s creating a new program to enhance climate resilience in the communities which it serves, a new grant program called Better Together that is helping people, can prepare for and deal with climate change issues and building more resilient communities,” said Jon Foley, executive director of California Academy of Sciences and member of PG&E’s Sustainability Advisory Council.
Adds Lavinson: “I hope you’ll explore our work in all of these areas and share your feedback on what more we can do. We look forward to hearing from you as we seek to build a sustainable energy future.”
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.