Executive Insight

Calpine, GE and Other Power Firms Join White House Climate Pledge

Nearly a dozen electric power sector firms have joined a White House pledge to put their environmental plans into action as climate change talks continue in France.

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference began last week and runs through this weekend. Since early this year, the White House has detailed a list of U.S. companies which have joined the pledge.

Those companies offer specifics on how they will improve their carbon footprint, so to speak. The overall list includes more than 150 companies, including AT&T, Best Buy, Disney, Facebook, General Motors, McDonalds, Proctor & Gamble, Sony and Walmart.

Overall, the White House release stated, the companies agreeing to the pledge account for more than $4.2 trillion in annual revenue and employ 11 million people.

The number of utility and grid-focused firms signing up has increased, too. The group includes Calpine, EMC, GE, Iberdrola USA, Invenergy, PG&E, Portland General Electric, Schneider Electric and Siemens Corp.

Following is a lengthy list of the power industry companies on the list and some of their specific pledges:

Calpine

  • Continue in our efforts to support market based solutions aimed at lowering carbon emissions in the power sector.
  • Explore investments in low carbon technologies, such as efficient natural gas turbines, renewables and battery storage, which complement our existing clean and efficient gas powered and geothermal fleet.
  • Work with states where we operate to help develop the most effective Implementation Plans for compliance with the Clean Power Plan that take into account each states unique standing while achieving the common goal of reducing system wide GHG emissions over time.

EMC

In support of our goal to achieve 80% absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in accordance with the 2007 Bali Climate Declaration, EMC Corporation pledges to:

  • Realize a 40 percent absolute reduction of global Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions below 2010 levels by 2020
  • Obtain at least 20 percent of global grid electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020
  • Have all hardware and software products achieve increased efficiency in each subsequent version by 2020
  • Reduce energy intensity of storage products 60 percent at a given raw capacity and 80 percent for computational tasks from 2013 to 2020

GE

Since its 2005 launch, Ecomagination – GE’s commitment to accelerate the development of technology solutions that save money and reduce environmental impact for its customers and own operations – has invested $15 billion in R&D and generated more than $200B in revenue. GE’s operations have seen a 31 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 2004 and a 42 percent reduction in freshwater use since 2006, realizing more than $300M in savings.

  • Last year, Ecomagination extended its commitments to 2020 with new goals: to invest an additional $10B in cleaner technology research and development; and to further reduce GHG emissions and freshwater use of GE operations by 20 percent from the 2011 baseline which aligns the company with the global goal of keeping warming to less than 2 degrees C.
  • GE Ecomagination believes companies can be a positive force for change while also delivering for investors. Ecomagination has achieved both. As one of GE’s most successful business initiatives, Ecomagination brings strong returns for shareholders and improved cost and emissions savings for our customers.

 

IBERDROLA USA

With more than 6,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable electricity generation, 8,344 miles of electric transmission lines, 18,952 miles of natural gas distribution lines and 67,430 miles of electric distribution lines, and 67.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas storage, Iberdrola USA’s energy businesses are contributing to America’s clean, affordable and energy independent future.

Iberdrola USA is a subsidiary of Iberdrola S.A. an international energy company that is the largest wind energy generator in the world and a leader in the battle against climate change. The company’s emissions per kilowatt-hour (kWh) are already 30% lower than the average of the European electricity sector and significantly lower than the U.S. average. Iberdrola S.A. recently committed to globally reducing the company’s overall greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 50% in 2030 compared to 2007 levels and to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Iberdrola USA pledges to:

  • Align with Iberdrola S.A.’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and achieve Iberdrola S.A’.s carbon intensity and carbon neutrality objectives.
  • Add to our more than 6000 MW of renewable electric generation capacity in the United States. Iberdrola USA has identified and commits to build at least another 446MW of new wind generation in the United States. With the appropriate market conditions and regulatory environment, Iberdrola USA stands ready to develop additional wind and solar projects throughout the country.
  • Pursue investments in transmission infrastructure in New England and New York to support the integration of renewable energy onto the grid, including providing better access to the New England grid for renewable resources in western and northern Maine and adjacent Canadian provinces, and providing enhanced transmission capacity between renewable resources in New York’s upstate counties and the New York metropolitan area.
  • Improve resilience and reliability of energy infrastructure to extreme weather and climate change impacts through increased use of technology and automation, operations and maintenance procedures, and focused capital investments. Partner with the Department of Energy through the Partnership for Energy Sector Climate Resilience to develop and pursue strategies to reduce climate and weather-related vulnerabilities. Utilize the Department of Energy’s Value of Service model to develop a cost benefit and prioritization model for system hardening investments.
  • Support the continued development and interconnection of new customer-owned generation sources which now total nearly 5,000 small-scale customer-owned facilities feeding into our existing grid.
  • Introduce new grid technology to provide faster, lower cost integration for renewable energy resources up to 2 megawatts.
  • Commit at least 5 percent of annual fleet acquisition dollars to plug-in electric technologies and, through the Iberdrola Foundation promote third-party PV charging station installations through grants to businesses, non-profits, and municipal governments in communities served by our electric utilities.
  • Maintain ISO 14001:2004 certification for environmental leadership in project engineering and management, to develop and maintain the grid serving the region’s renewable energy resources at the highest environmental standards.

INVENERGY

Invenergy pledges to:

  • Increase our total deployment of renewable energy capacity by 30% by 2025, relative to today’s baseline of 4,746 megawatts.
  • Supply American utility, commercial and industrial companies with 1 gigawatt of new wind and solar generation by 2020.
  • Double our total deployment of advanced energy storage by 2020 from our 2015 total of 68 megawatts, which will enable additional deployment of renewables.

PG&E

In support of our continued commitment to combating climate change, PG&E proposes to achieve the following by 2020:

  • Facilitate Deployment and Integration of Low-Carbon, Clean Energy Technologies:
    • Provide our 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.
    • Plan a total grid investment of approximately $3 billion a year to both modernize the grid to make it more resilient and facilitate our 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 Same:
    • 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.

PORTLAND GENERAL ELECTRIC

As a provider of electricity to nearly 850,000 Oregonians, PGE pledges to:

  • Implement our plan to end use of coal at Oregon’s only coal-fired power plant by December 31, 2020
  • Add more than 800 megawatts of new renewable energy, on top of more than 700 megawatts of new wind generation we’ve already built, bringing our mix to one-third new and legacy renewable power in average hydro years by the end of 2025
  • Optimize cost-effective integration of renewable resources by joining the western energy imbalance market in late 2017, acquiring an additional 5 megawatt hours’ worth of energy storage by 2020, and pursuing a water heater load-control and storage pilot program
  • Advance our smart grid initiatives to improve the efficiency and resilience of the transmission and distribution system, including work on conservation voltage reduction, smart switches, and transformer replacements and spares
  • Continue investments in our hydroelectric plants, along with habitat and water improvement projects, to retain access to this sustainable, carbon-free power for our customers
  • Diversify our renewable portfolio with cost-effective solar projects, adding to our existing 16 megawatts of PGE-owned solar facilities and solar power purchase agreements while continuing our support for customer-side solar installations
  • Use our integrated resource planning process to evaluate and pursue further climate-friendly resource strategies, including ongoing efforts to help customers make efficient use of energy
    • Capture all cost-effective energy efficiency as our first resource choice
    • Expand demand response and dynamic pricing to reduce the need for new generation
  • Maintain high growth in our nationally top-ranked voluntary renewable power program and continue helping local governments and schools with “Green Power Community” strategies, sustainable buildings, solar projects and electric vehicle charging stations
  • Promote vehicle electrification to help reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector
    • Install charging stations at all PGE sites and incent EV adoption by employees
    • Fulfill our Edison Electric Institute pledge to devote 5 percent of our fleet vehicle budget to fleet electrification
    • Continue working to ensure the driving public has access to charging infrastructure

SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC

  • Through the years, we have developed a solid portfolio of solutions on renewables, energy efficiency, and grid connections that facilitate energy transition
  • Avoided 220,000 tons of CO2 in energy consumption, transportation and site emissions
  •  Reduced water intensity of our most water intensive sites by 23 percent since 2011
  • Increased the number of our products that are considered “Green Premium” and carry an ecolabel to 75 percent
  • 2.4 million underprivileged households equipped with energy solutions through Access to Energy program

Because what is good for climate is good for economy, we recognize that delaying action on climate change will be costly in economic and human terms, while accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy will produce multiple benefits with regard to sustainable economic growth, public health, resilience to natural disasters, and the health of the global environment.  We put forth our pledges as follows:

  • Achieve 10 percent energy savings by the end of 2017  by reducing the company’s energy intensity 
  • 120,000 tons of CO2 avoided through end-of-life products by the end of 2017
  • 75 percent of products in R&D to be designed as Green Premium, with an ecolabel, and 75 percent of product revenue to come from Green Premium by the end of 2017
  • Zero waste to landfill in 100 industrial sites by the end of 2017
  • 50 million underprivileged people obtaining lighting and communication systems with low carbon solutions by 2025 through the Access to Energy program
  • Invest  over $11 billion over 10 years on R&D in innovation in sustainability

SIEMENS CORPORATION

We put forth our pledge as follows:

  • Siemens pledges to cut our global carbon footprint by 50% by 2020 and to reduce our net carbon emissions to zero by 2030.

To achieve this goal, we have identified key emission reduction levers that will contribute to cutting CO2-emissions from our own operations and enable Siemens to become CO2-neutral in the long term. 

  • Energy Efficiency. Invest nearly $110 million globally in energy efficiency measures for our major factories within the next three years, including measures at a significant number of our total 84 Siemens sites in the U.S. Measures will include investments in buildings and production processes and will result in sustainable annual savings of more than $20 million in energy costs.  In Charlotte, at our LEED Gold certified advanced gas turbine manufacturing facility, we were able to cut costs and emissions both during construction and during operation by building the plant on a footprint requiring 18 percent less area than traditional production sites.  We have already begun to transition to LED light fixtures at many of our facilities in the U.S., including Charlotte, Bartlesville, Beltsville and Sacramento. 
  • Distributed Energy Systems. Implement innovative solutions at Siemens sites, combining power generation with storage solutions and intelligent energy management technologies. Our facility in Sacramento is already powered by up to 80 percent solar energy.  In Charlotte, the generator office building has a solar array on-site combined with energy management software.
  • Company Car Fleet. Focus on global roll-out of best practice examples for Siemens’ car fleet around the world, including clear emissions-related requirements, a bonus/malus system to set incentives for low emission cars, the development of an E-mobility solution concept, and the promotion of alternatives to driving such as the use of public transit and telecommuting.
  • Electricity Purchasing. Change our power purchasing guidelines and move towards a significantly cleaner power mix with a strong focus on renewable energies. As part of this commitment, we will buy electricity produced by our own technologies at our customers’ facilities. The world is transitioning away from fossil fuels and inefficient power grids.  With this approach, we will support the transition of the energy system towards coordinated solutions that lead to fewer emissions, more efficient power generation and less consumption of natural resources.
  • Supporting Our Customers’ Emissions Efficiency.  We will continue to support our customers in reducing energy costs and improving their CO2footprints with products and solutions from our Environmental Portfolio, which helped them save approximately 430 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2014.