GE reports greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the U.S. and international thermal power and offsets from U.S. renewable energy projects in which GE Energy Financial Services (EFS) has an equity interest.
EFS invests in thermal and renewable energy projects in a number of ways: equity, lease and debt. We report GHG emissions, from investments in which EFS holds an equity interest, based upon the business unit’s percentage of equity ownership.
Through its investment in eight thermal power projects, EFS’ GHG emissions totaled approximately 8.0 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent (CO2e) in 2016.
The 30% reduction in GHG emissions generated in 2015 as compared to 2016 is primarily driven by projects exiting the portfolio. In addition, due to market conditions, four of the EFS projects produced significantly less power in 2016 than in 2015 and emitted fewer metric tons of CO2 as a result.
In general, CO2-equivalent emissions from EFS’ investments will rise or fall based on various factors within the operating environments of the power plants, such as the demand for power and maintenance schedules, as well as the business unit’s strategy, as it identifies attractive energy sector investment and divestiture opportunities.
The U.S. renewable energy projects, in which EFS holds equity interests, had approximately a 21% increase in GHG avoided emission offsets from 2015 to 2016, increasing from 8.2 million metric tons to 9.9 million metric tons. The increase in offsets is primarily the result of additional renewable energy investments made in 2016, including five projects reaching commercial operation in 2016.
In 2016, EFS held equity interests in 74 operating U.S. renewable energy projects, up from 68 in 2015. EFS’ calculation of avoided GHG emissions is based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s CO2 emissions rate, which was last updated in 2017 using 2016 data. Additionally, EFS holds equity interests in 27 renewable energy assets in nine countries outside of the U.S., which provide significant GHG emission offsets. However, because EPA data does not cover countries outside of the U.S., EFS does not include these offsets when calculating its total avoided GHG emissions.