NRG Energy

InfluenceMap Score
C-
Performance Band
50%
Organisation Score
75%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Utilities
Head​quarters:
Houston, United States
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: NRG Energy (NRG) demonstrates mixed, strategic engagement on U.S. climate policy, with a lobbying presence across multiple states including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas. Although the company offers positive top-line support for ambitious federal climate policy, it frequently emphasizes market-based measures over government regulation, especially at the state level. NRG is a member of the US Business Roundtable, which has lobbied with mixed positions on both the Inflation Reduction Act and Build Back Better Act.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: NRG offers mostly positive top-line messaging on climate policy. The company has signed several C2ES joint letters advocating to President Biden and Congress for a government response to climate change, including in January 2021 and in July 2021. However, NRG seems to prefer market-based approaches over other forms of policy, as emphasized in its December 2020 comments on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) carbon pricing docket. In January 2021, CEO Mauricio Gutierrez Tweeted his support for the Biden administration’s decision to rejoin the Paris Agreement.

Engagement with Climate-Related Policy: NRG demonstrates mixed engagement on U.S. climate policies. On the federal level, CEO Gutierrez appeared to support the Inflation Reduction Act’s clean energy tax credits during the company’s Q2 2022 earnings call in August 2022. In January 2022, NRG seemed to oppose updates to methane emissions standards in joint comments with the Class of ’85 Regulatory Response Group to the Environmental Protection Agency.

On the state level, the company has advocated in favor of market-based incentives over a carbon tax in May 2020 comments to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), continuing CEO Gutierrez’s earlier position in a January 2018 statement to the Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy that he is “not a big carbon tax proponent.” In Illinois, NRG registered in March 2021 to oppose the 2021 Clean Energy Jobs Act, which included provisions for renewable energy and energy efficiency. That same month, the company submitted testimony in opposition to Rhode Island H. 5762, which would raise the state renewable portfolio standard to 100% by 2030. NRG has demonstrated both positive and negative positions on community solar legislation, opposing Maryland House Bill 768 in February 2021 testimony while supporting House Bill 1261 and its companion Senate Bill 733 during March 2022 committee hearings. In California, NRG’s Q1 2022 lobbying report reveals direct engagement on the state’s Clean Energy Standard Program without disclosing a position. NRG also lists several pieces of legislation in its 2021 Ohio lobbying reports, including bills to reinstate renewable energy standards after the fallout of House Bill 6, without disclosing a position.

Positioning on Energy Transition: NRG demonstrates a generally negative position on the transition of the energy mix and appears to support the long-term role of fossil fuels. On its corporate website accessed August 2022, NRG appears to advocate for the continued role of coal in the energy mix. Additionally, in its 2021 Sustainability Report, the company states support for fossil gas and hydrogen without setting clear conditions on CCS or methane abatement measures. On the federal level, NRG stated in July 2021 that it was “skeptical” about President Biden’s 2035 target to decarbonize the power sector; in September 2021, it appeared to support the proposed Clean Electricity Performance Program while offering some caveats around adapting the program to different electricity markets.

NRG often emphasizes economic competitiveness and cost-effectiveness over the need to rapidly decarbonize the energy mix. The company has advocated for a Forward Clean Energy Market (FCEM), a concept that would create a competitive market for clean energy credits, including in November 2019 comments to the New York Public Service Commission, February 2020 comments on Maryland FCEM-enabling legislation, and May 2020 comments to the New Jersey BPU, which offered FCEM as a solution to prioritize competition-preserving mechanisms over other forms of policy. NRG also appears to support market-based approaches toward transport electrification. In January 2022 comments to the Federal Highway Administration, NRG supported electric vehicle deployment while emphasizing market-based policies over other forms of policy. Similarly, the company submitted guidance on appropriating Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds toward electric vehicle infrastructure deployment, with caveats around ownership, in May 2022 comments to the Texas Department of Transportation and in April 2022 comments to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

NRG has also opposed policies to phase out fossil fuels on the state level: in response to New York state regulators denying fossil gas plant permits in October 2021, the company stated that the decision was “bad public policy.” NRG’s June 2022 lobbying reports in the state further reveal that it has directly engaged with New York Senate staff on the All-Electric Buildings Act, but the reports do not disclose a position on the legislation. In New Jersey, NRG stated that governments should not “should not mandate consumers to adopt one technology over another” in February 2022 comments on the state Board of Public Utilities docket on future gas capacity.

Industry Association Governance: NRG published a 2021 industry associations review that provides mixed transparency on its trade group memberships that only broadly describes each organization’s climate policy positions. NRG Energy is a member of the Solar Energy Industries Association, which actively lobbies for ambitious climate policy in the US. NRG is also a member of the Business Roundtable (BRT), which has engaged with mixed positions on U.S. climate policy and opposed the Inflation Reduction Act on the basis of its tax provisions.

A detailed assessment of the company's corporate review on climate policy engagement can be found on InfluenceMap's CA100+ Investor Hub here.

InfluenceMap collects and assesses evidence of corporate climate policy engagement on a weekly basis, depending on the availability of information from each specific data source (for more information see our methodology). While this analysis flows through to the company’s scores each week, the summary above is updated periodically. This summary was last updated in Q3 2022.

QUERIES
DATA SOURCES
11NS2NS1NS
11NS1NSNSNS
-11NS00NSNS
12NSNSNS1NS
0NA-1NANANANS
NSNSNS-10-1NS
1NSNS1-21NS
NSNSNS-2NSNSNS
111-101NS
-1110-11-1
1NS0-10NS-1
1NS-1NANANANS
NSNSNSNSNSNSNS
Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
91%
 
91%
 
41%
 
41%
 
52%
 
52%
 
91%
 
91%
 
95%
 
95%
 
83%
 
83%

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.