NRG Energy

From Global Energy Monitor
NRG Energy
TypePublic (NYSENRG)
Headquarters211 Carnegie Center Dr.
Princeton, NJ 08540
Key peopleDavid W. Crane, CEO
IndustryElectric Producer & Distributor
Revenue$5.99 billion (2007)[1]
Net income $586.0 million (2007)[1]
Employees3,412 (2007)
SubsidiariesNRG Thermal
NRG Engine Services
Padoma Wind Power

NRG Energy, based in Princeton, NJ, is a wholesale power generation company with ownership in 47 coal, oil, and natural gas plants worldwide. The company's portfolio of projects totals approximately 22,735 megawatts (MW) in the United States, about half of which is generated in Texas. NRG also has plants in Australia, Europe, and Latin America with a total of about 1,216 MW of generation.[2]

On June 19, 2006 NRG Energy filed a Letter Of Intent with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build two 1358-MWe ABWRs at the South Texas Project site. This was the first nuclear plant license application filed in the United States in 29 years.[3]

For the year ending December 31, 2007, NRG announced earnings of US$569 million in net income, as compared with US$543 million in 2006.[4]

In March 2008, the company announced a 10-year purchase agreement with Southern California Edison to provide 550MW of power from its natural gas-fueled El Segundo Generating Station.[5]

In May 2009, NRG completed the purchase of Reliant Energy's Texas retail business. With the purchase, Reliant changed its name to RRI Energy and became purely a wholesale power generator.[6]

NRG Energy completed its acquisition of GenOn Energy in December 2012[7] for $1.7 billion.[8]

NRG closes Somerset Power Generating Station; announces conversion project

In November, 2009, NRG Energy announced that it will close the Somerset Power Generating Station on January 2, 2010. A company spokesman cited "market forces" and a "requirement that we close down or repower [by] September of 2010." NRG plans to convert the plant from burning coal to a plasma gasification process, which breaks down coal into its component parts before converting it into energy. No timetable for that conversion has been announced.[9]

DOE selects NRG Energy for carbon capture project in Texas

In September 2009, NRG announced that it was applying for funding from the Department of Energy to subsidize the cost of installing carbon capture and storage equipment at Parish. The company would not disclose the cost of the equipment. The demonstration project would capture about 90 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions from 60 megawatts of power generation.[10]

In March 2010 it was announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected NRG to receive $154 million, which includes funcing from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to construct a "post-combustion carbon capture demonstration unit" outside of Houston at the company's Parish Generating Station. The project is scheduled to go online in 2013 and will be one of the first of its kind.[11]

NRG considering biomass

In September 2009, NRG announced it was replacing some coal at its Big Cajun II Power Plant with switchgrass and sorgham. The company said the project could eventually lead to commercial-scale biomass fuel projects as a means of dealing with potential greenhouse gas regulations.[12]

Renewable energy

As of Sept. 15, 2010, natural gas, coal and oil accounted for 22,820 megawatts of NRG's power generation -- about 93 percent. Wind and solar power, meanwhile, represented just under two percent of the company's power generation. In 2009, NRG plants around the world produced 59 million tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.[13]

On December 14, 2010, NRG bought a planned 290-megawatt photovoltaic farm from thin-film solar module maker First Solar, agreeing to pour up to $800 million into the Yuma County, Arizona, project. The Agua Caliente power plant will supply electricity to California utility PG&E under a 25-year contract. The deal followed NRG's agreement to buy SunPower's 250-megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch photovoltaic project on the state's central coast for $450 million. That solar power plant will also supply electricity to PG&E. In October 2010, NRG said it would invest $300 million investment in BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah solar thermal power plant now under construction in the Southern California desert, for combined investment of $1.6 billion into solar over the period of a few months.[14]

NRG has also signed deals with eSolar, a California solar thermal power plant builder, to jointly develop projects in the desert Southwest, and owns wind farms and Green Mountain Energy, a renewable electricity and carbon offset provider.[14]

CEO compensation

In May 2007, Forbes listed NRG CEO David W. Crane as receiving $12.29 million in total compensation for the latest fiscal year, with a three-year total compensation of $18.49 million. He ranked 6th on the list of CEOs in the Utilities industry, and 151st out of all CEOs in the United States.[15]


NRG Energy spent $230,000 on in-house lobbying costs in 2008 and a further $50,000 to date in 2009.[16] The registered lobbyists were Scott Fisher, Steve Corneli and John O'Brien.

NRG Energy also spent $120,000 on the Alpine Group in 2008 and a further $30,000 to date in 2009.[16] The registered lobbyists were James Massie and Charles Barnett.

NRG Energy also spent $230,000 on The Rhoads Group in 2008 and a further $60,000 to date in 2009.[16] The registered lobbyists were Thomas Dennis and Johanna Polsenberg.

Total Lobbying expenditures for 2008: $580,000
Total Lobbying expenditures to date for 2009: $140,000

Power portfolio

Out of its total 27,895 MW of electric generating capacity in 2005 (2.61% of the U.S. total), NRG produced 52.9% from natural gas, 31.0% from coal, 15.9% from oil, and 0.2% from biomass. NRG owns power plants in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas; 49.9% of the company's generating capacity comes from plants in Texas.[17]

Existing coal-fired power plants

NRG owned 26 coal-fired generating stations in 2005, with 8,657 MW of capacity. Here is a list of NRG's coal power plants with capacity over 100 MW:[18][19]

Plant Name State County Year(s) Built Capacity Status
Parish TX Fort Bend 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982 2697 MW Operating
Big Cajun 2 LA Pointe Coupee 1981, 1982, 1983 1871 MW Sold to Cleco
Homer City PA Indiana 1969, 1977 2,012.0 MW Operating, Switching to Natural Gas
Limestone TX Limestone 1985, 1986 1706 MW Operating, Retirement in January 2030.
Huntley NY Erie 1942, 1948, 1953, 1954, 1957, 1958 816 MW Retired in 2006/07 (4 units) and 2016 (2 units)
Indian River DE Sussex 1957, 1959, 1970, 1980 782 MW Operating (1 unit), 3 units retired
Dunkirk NY Chautauqua 1950, 1959, 1960 592 MW Idled
Somerset MA Bristol 1951, 1959 174 MW Retired in 2011

Cancelled Projects

Plant Name State County Capacity Status
Big Cajun I LA Pointe Coupee 230 MW Cancelled
Big Cajun II Unit 4 LA Pointe Coupee 705 MW Cancelled
Limestone 3 TX Limestone 745 MW Cancelled
Huntley Generating Station NY Chautauqua 680 MW Cancelled

In 2006, NRG's 7 major coal-fired power plants emitted 59.4 million tons of CO2 (1.00% of all U.S. CO2 emissions) and at least 160,000 tons of SO2 (1.07% of all U.S. SO2 emissions).

Health impacts

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Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from NRG Energy coal plants

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[20] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[21]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from NRG Energy coal plants

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 223 $1.6 billion
Heart attacks 354 $38.6 million
Asthma attacks 3896 $202.6 thousand
Chronic bronchitis 140 $62.2 million
Asthma ER visits 200 $73.9 thousand
Hospital admissions 170 $3.95 million

Source: "Health Impacts - annual - of Existing Plants," Clean Air Task Force Excel worksheet, available under "Data Annex" at "Death and Disease from Power Plants," Clean Air Task Force.

Note: This data includes the following plants owned by NRG Energy: Big Cajun II Power Plant, Huntley Generating Station (existing), Dunkirk Steam Station, Indian River Power Station, Limestone Generating Station, Long Beach Generation LLC, Somerset Power Generating Station and Parish Generating Station.

Higher cancer rates found at NRG's Indian River plant

In January 2011, it was reported that the Delaware Division of Public Health did a study examining the number of cancer cases in a six ZIP code area around the Indian River Power Station. The areas examined were Dagsboro, Frankford, Georgetown, Millsboro, Ocean View and Selbyville. The Division study showed an incidence of 553.9 cancer cases per 100,000 residents of the area between 2000 and 2004, compared with the Delaware state rate of 501.3, and the U.S. rate of 473.6 cancer cases per 100,000 residents, making the rate of cancer cases in the area 17 percent higher than the national average, and suggesting a possible correlation to the plant.[22]

Drinking water contaminated with toxic hexavalent chromium found at Indian River site

A report released by EarthJustice and the Sierra Club in early February 2011 stated that there are many health threats associated with a toxic cancer-causing chemical found in coal ash waste called hexavalent chromium. The report specifically cited 29 sites in 17 states where the contamination was found. The information was gathered from existing EPA data on coal ash and included locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virgina and Wisconsin. In Delaware the Indian River Power Station in Millsboro where chromium was reportedl.[23]

According to EPA data, the Indian River coal ash site is an unlined landfill that is closed. Hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) was reported at the site above 211 ppb (parts per billion) - 10,500 times the proposed California drinking water goals and 2.11 times above the federal drinking water standard.[23][24][25][26][27]

As a press release about the report read:

Hexavalent chromium first made headlines after Erin Brockovich sued Pacific Gas & Electric because of poisoned drinking water from hexavalent chromium. Now new information indicates that the chemical has readily leaked from coal ash sites across the U.S. This is likely the tip of the iceberg because most coal ash dump sites are not adequately monitored.[28]

According to the report, the electric power industry is the leading source of chromium and chromium compounds released into the environment, representing 24 percent of releases by all industries in 2009.[23]

NRG's Limestone fifth in mercury emissions for 2009

The 2011 Environmental Defense Fund report, "Mercury Alert: Cleaning up Coal Plants for Healthier Lives" found that 25 plants alone are responsible for nearly a third of all mercury emissions in the power sector, while providing only eight percent of U.S. electricity. The findings are based on 2009 U.S. Department of Energy data. The plant with the fifth highest mercury emissions was NRG's Limestone Generating Station, releasing 1,077 lbs in 2009.[29]

Articles and resources

Related articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 NRG Energy Inc., BusinessWeek Company Insight Center, accessed July 2008.
  2. Overview, NRG corporate website, accessed March 2008. (Pdf)
  3. "NRG announces new nuclear build programme," Nuclear Engineering International, June 23, 2006.
  4. "NRG Energy, Inc. Reports 2007 Fourth Quarter and Full-Year Results; Announces Management Changes", press release, February 28, 2008. (Pdf)
  5. "NRG Executes Purchase Deal With SCE", Associated Press, March 7, 2008.
  6. "RRI Energy Posts 1Q Loss On Revenue Slump, Cuts View," Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2009.
  8. NRG Energy to Buy GenOn for $1.7 Billion
  9. Marc Munroe Dion, "Somerset's NRG plant closing down," The Herald News, 11/4/09
  10. Elizabeth Souder, "NRG applies to Department of Energy for funding of clean coal equipment," Dallas Morning News, September 2, 2009.
  11. "DOE picks NRG for carbon capture demonstration project in Texas" Electric Light & Power, March 30, 2010.
  12. "Utility Replaces Some Coal With Switchgrass," New York Times, October 1, 2009.
  13. Jake Mooney, "How green is Green Mountain Energy?" Grist, Nov. 23, 2010.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Todd Woody, "Fossil fuel giant is betting on a bright future in solar" Grist, Dec. 15, 2010.
  15. CEO Compensation: #151 David W Crane,, May 3, 2007.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "NRG Energy", Center for Public Integrity, accessed July 2009.
  17. Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2005, Energy Information Administration, accessed April 2008.
  18. Environmental Integrity Project, Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants, July 2007.
  19. Dig Deeper, Carbon Monitoring for Action database, accessed June 2008.
  20. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  21. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  22. Victor Furman, "Cancer Cluster Linked to Coal?" Press Connects, January 2, 2011.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 "EPA’s Blind Spot: Hexavalent Chromium in Coal Ash" Earthjustice & Sierra Club, February 1, 2011.
  24. "Damage Case Report for Coal Compustion Wastes," August 2008
  25. U.S. EPA Proposed Coal Ash Rule, 75 Fed. Reg. 35128
  26. EarthJustice, Environmental Integrity Project, and Sierra Club, "In Harm's Way: Lack of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans and their Environment," August 2010
  27. EarthJustice and Environmental Integrity Project, "Out of Control: Mounting Damages from Coal Ash Waste Sites," May 2010
  28. "Coal ash waste tied to cancer-causing chemicals in water supplies" Alicia Bayer,, February 1, 2011.
  29. "Mercury Alert: Cleaning up Coal Plants for Healthier Lives" Environmental Defense Fund report, March 2011.

External resources

External articles

Wikipedia also has an article on NRG Energy. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.