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Decarbonization Targets for the Largest U.S. Utilities

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Decarbonization Targets for the Largest U.S. Utilities

The U.S. recently rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement and decarbonization is back on the minds of government officials and companies alike.

Though every sector plays a major role on the path to net zero carbon emissions, none are as impactful as the energy sector. In 2016, almost three-quarters of global GHG emissions came from energy consumption. With organizations looking to either curb energy consumption or transition to cleaner forms of energy, the pressure is on utilities to decarbonize and offer green alternatives.

How are U.S. utilities responding?

This infographic from the National Public Utility Council highlights the decarbonization targets of the largest investor-owned and public U.S. utilities.

U.S. Utility Decarbonization Targets Through 2035

The American energy sector has many players, but the largest utilities account for the bulk of production.

For each state, we looked at the largest investor-owned and public electric utilities by retail sales as tracked by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Decarbonization targets were taken from each utility’s stated goals or sustainability report.

After narrowing down from 3,328 different entities and subsidiaries, the final list of 60 utilities accounted for 60% of U.S. energy sales in 2019 at just under 1.93 trillion MWh (megawatt hours).

Many companies on the list have multiple goals spread across different timeframes, but they can be grouped into a few distinct categories:

  • Reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions: These measures are either percentage-based or flat reductions, and also include becoming carbon neutral or “net zero” by balancing reduced emissions with carbon offsets.
  • Reducing carbon intensity: These measures work on reducing the impact of electricity generated by fossil fuels, rather than reducing the amount directly.
  • Increasing renewable energy production: These measures focus on adding renewable energy with a lower carbon footprint to the production mix and can be either percentage-based or flat additions.
  • Increasing clean electricity production: These measures are centered around ensuring that electricity produced is 100% carbon free.

Utilities with decarbonization targets set for 2035 and earlier vary wildly in scope, from completely carbon neutral to minimal reductions.

Entity State (Largest Provider) Decarbonization Goal Target Year
City of Seattle WA Carbon neutral 2005 (since)
ALLETE MN △50% Renewable energy 2021
Exelon DC, DE, IL, MD, NJ, PA ▽15% GHG emissions 2022
Otter Tail Power ND ▽30% CO2 emissions, △30% Renewable energy 2022
Avangrid CT, ME ▽35% GHG emissions 2025
Emera (Tampa Electric) FL ▽55% CO2 emissions 2025
Green Mountain Power VT ▽100% CO2 emissions 2025
NextEra Energy FL ▽67% CO2 emissions 2025
NiSource IN ▽50% GHG emissions 2025
NRG TX ▽50% CO2 emissions 2025
Avista Corp ID, WA Carbon neutral 2027
AES IN ▽70% Carbon intensity 2030
Alliant IA, WI ▽50% CO2 emissions 2030
Ameren IL, MO ▽50% CO2 emissions 2030
American Electric Power AR, KY, LA, MI, OK, OH, VA, WV ▽70% CO2 emissions 2030
Arizona Public Service AZ △65% Clean electricity 2030
Black Hills SD, WY ▽40% GHG emissions 2030
City of Colorado Springs CO ▽80% CO2 emissions 2030
DTE Electric Company MI ▽50% CO2 emissions 2030
Duke Energy FL, IN, NC, OH, SC ▽50% CO2 emissions 2030
Entergy AR, LA, MS ▽50% CO2 emissions 2030
Eversource CT, MA, NH Carbon neutral 2030
FirstEnergy MD, NJ, OH, PA ▽30% GHG emissions 2030
Green Mountain Power VT △100% Renewable energy 2030
Long Island Power Authority NY ▽40% GHG emissions 2030
MDU Resources ND ▽45% GHG emissions 2030
National Grid MA, NY, RI ▽80% GHG emissions 2030
NiSource IN ▽90% GHG emissions 2030
NV Energy NV △50% Renewable energy 2030
OGE Electric OK ▽50% CO2 emissions 2030
Pacific Gas & Electric CA △60% Renewable energy 2030
PacifiCorp ID, OR, UT, WY ▽60% CO2 emissions 2030
PSEG NJ ▽13 million tons CO2 emissions 2030
Puget Sound Energy WA Carbon neutral 2030
Southern California Edison CA △60% Renewable energy 2030
Southern Company AL, GA, MS ▽50% CO2 emissions 2030
Tennessee Valley Authority TN ▽70% CO2 emissions 2030
Vistra (TXU Energy Retail) TX ▽60% CO2 emissions 2030
WEC Energy WI ▽40% CO2 emissions 2030
Xcel Energy CO, MN, ND, NM, SD ▽80% CO2 emissions 2030
Avangrid CT, ME Carbon neutral 2035
Salt River Project AZ ▽65% Carbon intensity, ▽30% CO2 emissions 2035
Tucson Electric Power AZ ▽80% CO2 emissions, △70% Renewable energy 2035

It’s also important to note that carbon emission reductions are not equal across the board.

Reduction is traditionally based on a base-year measurement (usually 2000 or 2005) that changes for each utility, and a small reduction at a major energy producer can be more impactful than 100% clean energy at a small local utility.

U.S. Utility Decarbonization Targets 2040 and Beyond

From 2040 and beyond, the decarbonization efforts become more ambitious.

In line with many states and the federal government making sweeping clean energy commitments, most of the utility companies with decarbonization targets from 2040 to 2050 are aimed at either carbon neutrality or significant reductions.

For some companies these are their first and only targets, while others are building on smaller goals from earlier years. In the case of the few utility companies marked *N/A, a decarbonization target goal couldn’t be found.

Entity State (Largest Provider) Decarbonization Goal Target Year
Ameren IL, MO ▽85% CO2 emissions 2040
Black Hills SD, WY ▽70% GHG emissions 2040
City of Colorado Springs CO ▽90% CO2 emissions 2040
City of San Antonio TX ▽80% CO2 emissions 2040
CMS Energy MI Carbon neutral, △90% Clean electricity 2040
Consolidated Edison NY △100% Clean electricity 2040
Emera (Tampa Electric) FL ▽80% CO2 emissions 2040
Lincoln Electric System NE Carbon neutral 2040
National Grid MA, NY, RI ▽90% GHG emissions 2040
PNM Resources NM ▽100% CO2 emissions 2040
Portland General Electric OR Carbon neutral 2040
PPL KY, PA ▽70% CO2 emissions 2040
Avista Corp ID, WA △100% Clean electricity 2045
Hawaiian Electric Industries HI Carbon neutral, △100% Renewable energy 2045
Idaho Power ID △100% Clean electricity 2045
NorthWestern Energy MT, SD ▽90% Carbon intensity 2045
Pacific Gas & Electric CA △100% Clean electricity 2045
Puget Sound Energy WA △100% Clean electricity 2045
Sempra CA △100% Clean electricity 2045
Southern California Edison CA △100% Clean electricity 2045
PSEG NJ ▽80% CO2 emissions 2046
Alliant IA, WI Carbon neutral 2050
Ameren IL, MO Carbon neutral 2050
American Electric Power AR, KY, LA, MI, OK, OH, VA, WV ▽80% CO2 emissions 2050
Arizona Public Service AZ △100% Clean electricity 2050
City of San Antonio TX Carbon neutral 2050
Dominion Energy NC, SC, VA Carbon neutral 2050
DTE Electric Company MI Carbon neutral 2050
Duke Energy FL, IN, NC, OH, SC Carbon neutral 2050
Emera (Tampa Electric) FL Carbon neutral 2050
Entergy AR, LA, MS Carbon neutral 2050
Evergy KS, MO ▽80% CO2 emissions 2050
FirstEnergy MD, NJ, OH, PA Carbon neutral 2050
Long Island Power Authority NY ▽85% GHG emissions 2050
National Grid MA, NY, RI Carbon neutral 2050
NRG TX Carbon neutral 2050
NV Energy NV △100% Clean electricity 2050
Omaha Public Power District NE Carbon neutral 2050
PacifiCorp ID, OR, UT, WY ▽80% CO2 emissions 2050
PPL KY, PA ▽80% CO2 emissions 2050
PSEG NJ Carbon neutral 2050
Salt River Project AZ ▽90% Carbon intensity 2050
Southern Company AL, GA, MS Carbon neutral 2050
Vistra (TXU Energy Retail) TX Carbon neutral 2050
WEC Energy WI ▽80% CO2 emissions 2050
Xcel Energy CO, MN, ND, NM, SD Carbon neutral 2050
MidAmerican Energy IA, IL △100% Renewable energy N/A
Cleco Power LA N/A N/A
ENMAX (Versant Power) ME N/A N/A
Nebraska Public Power District NE N/A N/A
PUD 1 of Snohomish County WA N/A N/A
Unitil Energy Systems NH N/A N/A

While the targets set above are significant, they are also a long time away from being met. With pressure to decarbonize increasing across the board, utility companies may need to reassess the impact or timeliness of their decarbonization targets.

The National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource for all things decarbonization in the utilities industry. Learn more.

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The post Decarbonization Targets for the Largest U.S. Utilities appeared first on Visual Capitalist.



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