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NRG Energy holds groundbreaking ceremony for new ‘ultra-green’ headquarters

NRG’s green, co-gen- and solar-powered headquarters will showcase the ability of businesses to foster sustainability in their facilities, while reducing their dependence on grid power

NRG, the second-largest conventional power generation company in the US, recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for the company’s new “ultra-green,” grid-resilient corporate headquarters in Princeton. The new headquarters, which was developed in collaboration with and is enabled by a long-term lease with Boston Properties, is expected to open in 2016.

Having outgrown its current location, NRG is seizing the opportunity to design, develop and inhabit a new facility that incorporates the cutting-edge resource technologies that characterize the NRG vision. The three-floor, 130,000-square-foot headquarters seamlessly integrates a host of renewable energy technologies and efficiency measures, both established and cutting-edge.

NRG says its new headquarters will be a showcase for one of the most trailblazing resource-efficient, grid-resilient designs achievable by corporate America today. The location will incorporate, among other technologies:

• Two on-site solar fields, with roughly 765 kW of capacity;
• High-efficiency LED lighting combined with daylight harvesting to reduce indoor lighting needs and energy use by roughly one-third;
• 12,000 gallons of rainwater harvesting capacity to reduce city water use by 80%;
• More than 30 electric vehicle charging stations with the infrastructure for EV-to-grid (eV2g) “back-feed” capability;
• Off-grid capabilities and significant additional energy efficiency provided through dual-fuel generators and combined heat and power (CHP) systems for heating and cooling;
• Grid power — to the extent it is used — will be 100% renewable energy through one of NRG’s green retail subsidiaries.

According to NRG, these features will dramatically reduce electricity, water and fuel use relative to a similar-sized corporate office. The 765 kW solar array is expected to produce around 980 MWh of clean electricity per year, displacing approximately 588 tons of CO2 annually. According to NRG, that’s equivalent to the energy related emissions of 50 houses. In addition to the financial and environmental benefits that come from resource efficiency, these technologies will provide an educational and inspiring workplace for more than 500 employees onsite.

“As the largest competitive generator in the country, we have the responsibility to continue reducing our carbon footprint in the medium and long term through innovation and ingenuity,” said Mauricio Gutierrez, NRG’s COO. “With the construction of our new headquarters, we will showcase the distributed energy solutions available to businesses committed to sustainability across America.”

Long-term sustainability goals

The groundbreaking announcement coincides with NRG Energy’s ambitious sustainability goals, which dovetail with the company’s continued corporate growth strategy. The core of NRG’s sustainability goals is to:

• Reduce the company’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions 50% by 2030; 90% by 2050 below a 2014 baseline;
• Leverage and grow core generation capabilities in a sustainable, lower carbon manner;
• Substantially grow business and shareholder value during this transformation into the nation’s leading provider of reliable, clean, sustainable energy.

“Having already reduced our CO2 emissions by 40% since 2005, we see a clear path to further dramatic long-term reduction as we vigorously pursue our multi-faceted, long-term sustainable growth strategy,” said David Crane, NRG’s CEO. “As the U.S. transitions to a renewables-driven, increasingly distributed, grid-resilient energy system, we expect to be a leader both in clean energy and in converting the CO2 emissions of our conventional generation from a liability to a profitable by-product.”

To accomplish its objectives, NRG intends to continue its leadership role in the development, ownership and operations of renewable generation, cost-effective carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), energy storage and low carbon distributed energy resources.

“Our portfolio allows us to pursue everything from fuel conversions and carbon capture and sequestration, to renewables and distributed technologies,” Gutierrez added. “We have already started to demonstrate our lower carbon strategies with our asset revitalization program and with NRG Carbon 360, our carbon capture business that includes our Petra Nova project at WA Parish, southwest of Houston.”

NRG believes distributed energy resources will play an increasingly important role in the company’s growth. These include distributed solar, efficient co-generation and electric vehicle networks, along with smart systems to manage them all intelligently and efficiently. Through this ongoing renewal and repowering of its generation fleet, NRG says it is committed to the continued delivery of reliable, efficient power in an increasingly environmentally sustainable and profitable manner.

New natural gas generation will also play a role in supporting renewable integration while ensuring reliability and fuel resource diversity, Guiterrez noted.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Green building  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity