PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2021

COVID-19 Response

Conventional Sources

PG&E’s highly efficient natural gas-fired power plants provide a safe and reliable source of energy and contribute to PG&E’s diverse portfolio of generation resources, providing the operational flexibility required to add variable renewable energy sources into our power mix to ensure we can meet the future energy needs of our customers.

Our Approach

PG&E operates three natural gas-fired power plants with best-in-class emissions levels and reduced water use via dry cooling:

  • Colusa Generating Station
  • Gateway Generating Station
  • Humboldt Bay Generating Station

As flexible combined-cycle power plants, the Colusa and Gateway Generating Stations are an essential part of PG&E’s efforts to successfully integrate more renewable resources into the energy grid. When wind or solar production varies during the day, these facilities can ramp up quickly to meet customers’ electricity demand.

2020 Milestones

In 2020, PG&E installed the capability to allow Humboldt Bay Generating Station to provide power directly to customers, if needed, during emergencies, including Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events. This is part of our continuing effort to reduce impacts on our customers during a PSPS event and other wide-spread power outages.

Known as “islanding,” this new capability will allow portions of Humboldt County to be separated from the larger grid and energized exclusively from the plant when transmission sources that connect to nearby areas are impacted. Areas that can be powered by the facility include 20 cities and towns such as Eureka, Arcata, McKinleyville and Fortuna, as well as some tribal communities.

Measuring Progress

In 2020, PG&E’s natural gas power plants provided safe, reliable and low-cost electricity to our customers. The following performance data represents the average availability factor of our natural gas power plants.

The increase in plant availability factors in 2020 at the Gateway and Colusa Generating Stations was due to strong operational performance. The decrease in Humboldt Bay’s plant availability factor was due to planned outages, a forced outage on one of the plant’s units and impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Natural Gas Power Plant Availability Factor Footnote 1
2018 2019 2020
Gateway Generating Station 90.0% 89.1% 91.3%
Colusa Generating Station 91.2% 92.5% 92.7%
Humboldt Bay Generating Station 89.0% 95.2% 89.3%
  • 1. Refers to the proportion of hours in a year that a plant is available to generate electricity.1