NRG Energy, one company which is committed to reduce its emissions
Joe Nocera has written an interesting article on The New York Times where he explains that companies are committed in fighting against climate change. Specifically, he explains the case of NRG Energy, the largest publicly traded independent power producer in USA.
David Crane, the chief executive of the firm, explains that he has reduced the company’s carbon footprint by 40 percent in the decade that he’s run the company. And he committed NRG to reducing its carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050. He firmly believes that the technology exists to make his ambitious goals possible.
So how is he planning to get that 90 percent reduction? One answer is solar power, in which NRG has invested some $5 billion. Crane is a big believer in the eventual importance of solar. And then there’s coal. Coal, he said, will continue to play a big role. A carbon tax would be a great way of reducing emissions. But that is politically impossible.
So, instead, the carbon will need to be captured and then put to some good use. At one of its Texas power plants, NRG is teaming up with JX Nippon of Japan in a $1 billion joint venture to build a carbon-capturing capacity, which it expects will capture 1.6 million tons of carbon each year — some 90 percent of the plant’s emissions. He is also convinced that that carbon will eventually be used to create liquid fuel or get embedded in cement. “We could rebuild America’s roadways with embedded carbon from coal.”
He has another reason for wanting to be out in front on climate change. He says it will make his company more attractive to investors — and consumers. The day is going to come, he believes, when climate change risk will be something investors factor in to their investment decisions. And he believes that the next generation of consumers will demand clean energy. He views the disinvestment campaign now taking place on college campuses as a harbinger of things to come.