CenterPoint Energy responds to changing environmental regulations for our facilities and operations.
While annual air emissions are dependent on meeting customer demand for electricity and weather, the planned retirement of our coal-fired Brown Units 1 and 2 and Culley Unit 2, along with the exit of ownership in Warrick Unit 4, by year-end 2025 will result in reductions of 60% in emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), mercury (Hg) and other hazardous air emissions; particulate matter and carbon dioxide; and a 40% reduction in emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx).
AIR QUALITY HIGHLIGHTS
Scrubbed for Emissions
Our coal-fired electric generation fleet is:
*Culley 3, Brown 1 and Brown 2 Units use a selective catalytic reduction system; Culley Unit 2 has low-NOx burners
CAPTURING PARTICULATE MATTER
All coal-fired units in our system are equipped with an electrostatic precipitator or a fabric filter that can remove particulate matter at an average of
- > 99% efficiency at A.B. Brown
- > 97% efficiency at F.B. Culley
CONTROLLING MERCURY AND SULFUR TRIOXIDE
Enhancements to our system to comply with the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards began in 2014 with a focus on reducing sulfur trioxide and mercury emissions, as well as mercury reductions in wastewater.
RESPONSIBLY MANAGING WATER
CenterPoint Energy recognizes water-related issues are a growing global concern. We strive to use water responsibly and minimize impact on local water supplies.
We use industry best practices to conserve and manage water supplies. We also continuously evaluate and monitor our systems and processes so the water we return to local waterways is safe and meets the discharge limits contained in our Clean Water Act permits.
CenterPoint Energy’s waste is derived primarily from the maintenance and replacement of electric transmission and distribution, natural gas infrastructure and our offices. We manage all operational controls, policies and procedures as part of our compliance procedures.
When wastes are generated, we operate in accordance with applicable regulations on safe handling and proper disposal and training for our personnel. Hazardous and key nonhazardous waste volumes are tracked and reported through quarterly key performance indicators.
The Environmental Department developed an Environmental Inspection and Audit Guide that provides guidance on auditing and approving waste and recycling vendors. Audits on hazardous and non-hazardous special waste and recycling vendors are conducted prior to entering a contract and at least every three-to-five years thereafter.
ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE INSPECTIONS
An environmental specialist conducts environmental compliance inspections at each of our 13 Houston Electric service centers at least annually. Each inspection is documented, and any concerns identified are resolved in a timely manner. A specialized waste management contractor monitors each service center’s designated waste storage area for compliance with storage and shipping requirements and manages the waste in collaboration with an environmental specialist.
In Power Generation, operations and the environmental department perform and document visual inspections, depending on permit or regulation requirements.
The inspections include checks on:
- Operations that could generate fugitive dust,
- Ash pond dams and landfills for signs of erosion or structural concerns,
- Stormwater channels and material storage areas and containers,
- Erosion control measures, and
- Operating conditions of continuous emissions monitoring system equipment.
In our Natural Gas Operations business, 96 service centers are inspected on a weekly basis. The service centers generate hazardous waste but mostly in small quantities. With the help of assigned environmental coordinators at each facility, weekly waste collection and storage area inspections include:
- Visual inspections for closed and correctly labeled drums
- Inspections for leaks or damage
- Checking any new items placed in the waste storage area.
Inspections are documented and submitted to an environmental specialist each quarter. Gas Operations’ goal for environmental compliance is for each service center to be visited by the local environmental specialist annually.
CenterPoint Energy has dedicated emergency response cleanup contractors that respond to spills from equipment and other sources and act quickly to remediate a spill.