SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--While fans of professional golf were riveted to the Masters leaderboard last weekend, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has earned a spot on a different kind of leaderboard – one recognizing utilities for their progress toward a modern, carbon-free electric system.
Today, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) released its comprehensive assessment of more than 100 U.S. utilities’ clean power efforts. PG&E demonstrated significant progress, landing it on the 2021 Utility Transformation Leaderboard.
SEPA launched the Utility Transformation Challenge this year in recognition of the increased industry focus on carbon reduction. SEPA analyzed surveys from 135 utilities, representing more than 83 million customer accounts, or approximately 63% of all U.S. electric customer accounts.
“PG&E stands out due to its comprehensive efforts to transition to a carbon-free energy future, and most importantly, its results," said SEPA President and CEO Julia Hamm. "The transformation to a clean and modern energy system involves much more than clean energy generation; it will require changes to almost every part of a utility’s business. We applaud PG&E for its progress, and recognize that much work remains. The world does not have the luxury of time on carbon reduction."
The Utility Transformation Challenge evaluated utilities using a survey to assess their actions in four key areas: corporate leadership; clean energy resources; modern grid enablement; and aligned actions and engagement.
“Earning a top spot on SEPA’s leaderboard is a little like earning the famed green jacket, but better, because it recognizes our progress toward a green energy future that benefits all of us,” said Patti Poppe, Chief Executive Officer of PG&E Corporation. “We recognize that our role in helping California achieve its climate and clean energy goals is possible only if we deliver on our safety commitments for our hometowns. Our focus is on transforming our business, culture and energy system to strengthen our Triple Bottom Line of serving people, the planet and prosperity for California.”
SEPA’s assessment found that utilities with strong commitments to carbon reduction have made the most progress in creating a modern, clean electric grid.
PG&E’s clean energy efforts include:
- Delivering more than 88% of its electricity to customers from greenhouse gas-free resources including nuclear, large hydroelectric and eligible-renewable energy in 2020.
- Exceeding California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard requirement of 33% by 2020 by delivering over 35% of electricity to customers last year from renewable energy, including solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal and small hydroelectric (30 megawatts or smaller) power. In SEPA’s Annual Utility Market Survey, PG&E ranked number one in 2019 and 2018 for annual solar megawatts. The Utility Transformation Challenge expands the survey focus.
- Connecting more than 535,000 customers with private rooftop solar to the electricity grid, and supporting those customers with resources before, during and after they go solar. The rooftop solar in PG&E’s service area represents about 20% of all rooftop solar in the country.
- Investing in Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) to enhance overall grid reliability, integrate renewables and help customers save energy and money. PG&E has contracts for BESS projects totaling more than 1,400 megawatts, including one of the largest utility-owned lithium-ion BESS in the world, which is on track to become operational this summer.
- Expanding access to electric vehicles (EV) and charging stations to reduce emissions and improve air quality. More than 327,000 EVs are registered in PG&E’s service area, accounting for approximately one in every five EVs in the nation.
- Reducing its own carbon footprint with PG&E’s Million Ton Challenge, a voluntary goal to avoid one million tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its operations over five years. PG&E is reducing methane emissions from its gas operations through a combination of advanced leak detection and repair strategies, pipeline replacements, operational improvements and research and development.
SEPA’s Utility Transformation Challenge also offered recommendations on how utilities can continue to move the needle on carbon reduction. The Utility Transformation Profile report and executive summary are available at https://sepapower.org/utility-transformation-challenge/.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.
The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) helps address the most pressing issues encountered in the smart transition to a carbon-free energy system. Utilities, industry, regulators and other electric power stakeholders trust SEPA to provide education, research, standards and collaboration around a clean and modern energy future.