NRG's 2017 Water Performance
We set a goal to reduce water withdrawal 40 percent by 2030 from 2014 levels. In 2017, we met this goal. The goal was designed with the knowledge that our total water use is closely tied to once-through cooling at power plants. We expected that business strategies such as repowering plants from coal to gas would be important to our success. We also anticipated that a net decrease in generation at coal plants due to market conditions would lead to water use reduction. Both of these have occurred from 2014 to 2017, amplifying the impact of operational water management best practices at individual plants. Finally, in 2017, with changes to the composition of our generation fleet, we owned fewer plants with once-through cooling systems, leading us to achieve our goal early.
Using less water remains a priority, and with this goal met, we will evaluate how to have a bold and positive impact on water in the environment and in the communities where we operate.
Our plants have a written water management plan and established water management best practices. Some of those best practices include:
- Creating a plant or multi-plant water management team to evaluate conservation ideas, monitor and optimize water use, develop and review procedures and provide employee training
- Developing a water management plan that documents water sources, wastewater, optimal water use and water conservation and reuse/recycling goals
- Establishing a drought contingency plan in conjunction with local water authority recommendations
- Applying standard operating procedures to ensure consistent application of water management goals, annual review of documents and review of new technologies, ideas and best practices; they include written procedures to stay current with water supplier and water authority actions and requirements
- Training employees on standard operating procedures and communicating water management plans and drought contingency plans annually
Our 2017 water data include water withdrawal and discharge for all NRG generating stations and offices. Our facilities produced 106 million TWh of electricity and withdrew 3,865 million cubic meters of water. Approximately 96 percent of this water is discharged to the same body of water from which it was drawn. In 2017, we reduced water withdrawal from the previous year by 15 percent, 664.5 million cubic meters.
In accordance with the federal Clean Water Act, we obtain all required permits and report results of water discharges to state agencies monthly. We have 85 wastewater discharge permits and 21 exceedances were found and promptly recorded in 2017. Exceedance information is entered in our incident management system, which enables NRG management to identify the root cause and correct it