NRG Energy 2021 Sustainability Report: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

NRG Energy: Our journey to a greener tomorrow
Jan 3, 2023 10:00 AM ET
Solar panel array shown overhead with sun setting in the distance.

Originally published on NRG Energy Sustainability

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

We have long recognized the urgency of climate change and have worked to harness market-driven solutions to help address the challenge. We also believe in providing transparency on our approach to managing climate-related impacts across our business and operations.

Our goals

NRG is targeting a 50% reduction in GHG emissions by 2025, from our current 2014 baseline, and net-zero emissions by 2050. Our goal covers NRG’s direct emissions (scope 1), its purchased energy (scope 2), and the employee business travel portion of scope 3. We are proud to have had our emissions reduction targets approved by the SBTi — first in 2015 and more recently in March 2021 when our current goal was declared to be 1.5°C-aligned, the most ambitious designation then available and what the latest climate science has told us is needed to prevent the most damaging effects of climate change. NRG is the first, and currently the only, power company in North America to achieve this designation and among only twelve globally at the time of certification.

To further strengthen our sustainability commitments, in 2021 NRG added a new sustainability goal to achieve 100% electrification of our light-duty vehicle fleet by 2030. As part of this goal, we joined the Climate Group’s EV100, a global initiative which brings together companies committed to making electric transport the new normal by 2030.

The path to one and a half:

  • 50% carbon emissions reduction by 20251
  • net-zero carbon emissions by 2050
  • 100% electrification of our vehicle fleet by 2030


From the current 2014 baseline to 2021, the company's CO2e emissions decreased from 61 million metric tons to 34 million metric tons, representing a cumulative 44% reduction, or the equivalent of avoiding nearly 68 billion miles driven by an average passenger vehicle. The decrease is attributed to reductions in fleet-wide annual net generation and a market-driven shift away from coal as a primary fuel to natural gas. As compared to 2020, the increase in emissions in 2021 was primarily due to higher power demand which was a result of the easing of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and the associated economic recovery. We are continuing to target a 50% reduction by 2025 and are on track to meet that goal. NRG's Annual Report on Form 10-K also discusses NRG generation from all fuels represented in our portfolio - natural gas, coal, nuclear, oil, and renewables.

In 2021, 9.2 TWh or 17.6% of NRG’s power generation was from nuclear and renewables and therefore had zero emissions.

To learn more about NRG Energy's commitments to a sustainable future, download the 2021 Sustainability report here

1 Scope 1, 2, and the employee business portion of Scope 3, relative to current 2014 baseline.