New Report Details 'Dirty Truth About Utility Climate Pledges'
Thursday, October 13, 2022
A new report from the Sierra Club called "The Dirty Truth About Utility Climate Pledges" finds that dozens of utility companies across the U.S. are not living up to their promises - risking the country's goal of a clean, renewable electric grid by 2030.
The report looked at data from the 50 utility parent companies that are most invested in fossil-fuel generation. The average grade was a D.
Report co-author Noah Ver Beek, an analyst with the Sierra Club Energy Campaigns, said many of the climate pledges amount to little more than greenwashing.
"Overall, this is a really critical moment in our energy transition," said Beek. "And we're seeing that utilities have little ambition and are not coming through on their climate commitments."
The only California company on the second annual report is PacifiCorp, which serves rural communities near the Oregon border and elsewhere. The company earned a D grade, based on its continued reliance on fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.
PacifiCorp's Integrated Resource Plan for 2021 pledges to reduce carbon emissions by 74% compared with 2005 levels by 2030. And its plan includes additional wind and solar resources.
The LA Department of Water and Power and Pacific Gas and Electric both buy coal and gas-generated power but they don't own it, so they were not evaluated in this report.
However, University of California Santa Barbara Assistant Professor Leah Stokes - also a co-author on the report - said the LA DWP has set a laudable goal of reaching 100% renewable energy between 2035 and 2045.
"Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is a leading utility and really in the whole country," said Stokes, "when it comes to making progress and taking the science seriously, and being in line with President Biden's goals."
The report calls on utilities to take advantage of big incentives in the new bipartisan infrastructure bill designed to help utilities retire coal plants and switch over to renewable energy.
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