SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a show of support for the Obama administration’s push for a strong international agreement on climate change, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) stood with the president and senior administration officials at the White House today as they announced new pledges by major companies to reduce greenhouse gases and address the impacts of global warming.
PG&E was among the companies signing on to the administration’s American Business Act on Climate initiative, which is aimed at rallying U.S. companies behind the need for action on climate change ahead of international climate talks in Paris next month. The utility’s pledge outlined a series of actions it plans to pursue.
PG&E Corporation Chairman, CEO and President Tony Earley was one of a handful of business leaders who met this morning with President Obama and top administration advisers for a roundtable discussion on climate change.
During the discussion, Earley highlighted PG&E and California as evidence that smart energy policies can fuel innovation and drive significant emissions reductions. Earley emphasized that modernizing the electric grid is vital to achieving the nation’s clean energy goals. He said that an advanced grid is the platform for integrating and maximizing the benefits of a range of clean, efficient new energy technologies—from solar panels to electric vehicles, batteries and smart devices.
“A modern grid is absolutely essential to integrating and optimizing all of the new clean energy technologies we’re seeing today and to our success in achieving our shared goals for reducing greenhouse gases,” Earley said.
Earley cautioned, however, that existing regulatory policies that support investment in the grid are not keeping pace with changes driven by technology and innovation.
“We have to get the policies right—both at the state and federal level. Tax policies, permitting policies and ratemaking policies. If we get them right, utilities will make the right investments to not only achieve our climate change goals but to create good jobs as part of a clean energy economy,” he said.
Such investments were among the elements spelled out in PG&E’s pledge, which also includes actions over the next five years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve infrastructure resiliency and enable the utility’s customers and employees to contribute as well.
Below is the full list of proposed actions PG&E pledged to pursue:
Facilitate deployment and integration of low-carbon, clean energy
- Provide PG&E’s nearly 16 million customers with an electricity supply that is more than 60 percent carbon-free, making it one of the cleanest electricity supply portfolios of any investor-owned utility in the country.
- Support the implementation of the Clean Power Plan by working with the state of California and other stakeholders to ensure its effective implementation.
- Invest approximately $3 billion a year through 2020 to both modernize the grid to make it more resilient and facilitate PG&E’s vision of the Grid of Things™—a grid that will integrate distributed solar, energy storage, electric vehicles and other low-carbon technologies.
- Expand the system-wide deployment of our mobile gas leak detection system that uses the most sophisticated, cutting-edge technology to find more natural gas leaks faster—helping to improve our ability to prioritize repairs and replacements, which enhances public safety and reduces the amount of methane released to the atmosphere.
Support our customers and communities:
- Continue to lead and innovate on energy efficiency by helping our customers save approximately 4,400 GWh of electricity and 90 million therms of natural gas, avoiding about the same amount of power used by 600,000 homes in PG&E’s service area.
- Weatherize 500,000 homes to help low-income customers reduce energy use, better manage energy costs, and increase safety, health and comfort.
- Facilitate the rapid adoption of rooftop solar installations by improving upon our current ability to interconnect a solar system in three days or less—among the fastest process times in the nation—to the point where our interconnection process is fully automated.
- Dedicate more than $5 million over the next five years to continue to invest in partnerships that support clean energy deployment in underserved communities, including support for solar and renewable energy education and funding for solar panel installations in underserved communities, working in partnership with non-profit organizations.
- Work with regulators to agree on programs that will allow continued acceleration of repairs and replacements to eliminate non-hazardous methane leaks in our natural gas distribution system to maintain a near zero “workable” leaks backlog and further reduce other minor leak backlogs.
Take action in our operations and encourage our employees to do the
- Expand our fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles—one of the nation’s largest among electric and gas utilities—by investing at least one-third of our annual fleet procurement spend in electric vehicles, totaling more than $100 million.
- Achieve top decile performance in facility energy and water reduction among industry peers—reducing the environmental footprint of our facilities (as reduced energy and water use translates into greenhouse gas savings), while also providing an enhanced workplace for our employees.
- Build upon our existing employee incentive programs that offer discounts for rooftop solar installation and the purchase of electric vehicles to encourage employees to take action at their homes.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.
Note: The statement in this press release about projected annual capital expenditures is a forward-looking statement that is necessarily subject to various risks and uncertainties and actual results may differ materially. The forecast of capital expenditures for 2020 is consistent with the electric portion of the annual capital expenditure forecast through 2019 that was previously disclosed by PG&E Corporation and PG&E. (See their joint Current Report on Form 8-K dated September 8, 2015.) Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include:
- whether regulatory agencies authorize the capital expenditure forecasts and associated rate recovery;
- changes in cost forecasts or the scope and timing of planned work resulting from changes in customer demand for electricity and natural gas or other reasons;
- whether PG&E Corporation and the Utility can continue to access capital markets and other sources of debt and equity financing in a timely manner on acceptable terms;
- the impact of any changes in federal or state tax laws, policies, regulations, or their interpretation; and
- the other factors disclosed in PG&E Corporation’s and the Utility’s joint Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31 and June 30, 2015.