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Future-Proofing the Fleet: Plant Retrofits Progress NRG's Sustainable Energy Future

January 30, 2017

NRG Energy’s large-scale wind generation as well as our utility-scale, commercial, community and residential solar generation are an integral component of the Company’s strategy to produce increasingly cleaner power. Another component critical to maintaining a reliable and affordable power grid is to couple renewables with electricity generated whenever needed by conventional technologies.

To meet this need, we’re continually evaluating our generation fleet to identify ways we can optimize performance, reduce our environmental footprint, lower our operating costs, and continue to support our local communities.

One valuable and important way NRG is moving in that direction while helping achieve our carbon goals – a 50% reduction by 2030 and a 90% reduction by 2050 – is to convert existing coal generation to operate on natural gas. In 2016 we completed modifications on four plants, located in New Roads, LA; Joliet, IL; Shawville, PA; and New Castle, PA. The modifications allowed these units to continue meeting customer needs while complying with current environmental standards and supporting NRG’s wider decarbonization efforts.  It also saved approximately 70% of the cost of keeping the units in service as coal plants while preserving the jobs of NRG employees in communities where the plants are an economic foundation.

“We’ve made outstanding progress across our generation portfolio to support our optimization strategy,” said Mauricio Gutierrez, CEO of NRG. “Driven by the economics of power generation, we modified units at four plants to switch from burning coal to natural gas, significantly reducing greenhouse gas and other emissions, while maintaining reliability in the system. Along with growing our renewables portfolio, these optimization projects keep NRG competitive while advancing on our sustainability commitments.” 

Mauricio Gutierrez recently visited two of these plants to meet with employees and recognize their hard work and dedication in making the transition to cleaner natural gas.  

See the celebrations and hear from NRG’s CEO:

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