Clean Edge and Ceres introduced a first of its kind report looking at how much clean energy utilities are buying and which have bought the most clean energy like solar power and taken the most steps towards energy efficiency. The overall leaders in sales of clean energy were NV Energy (21.1 percent), Xcel Energy (18.1 percent) and PG&E (16.9 percent).
“The electric utility industry is entering a period of major transformation as it moves from a rate-regulated industry of monopolies to a market-based competitive system driven by consumer choices,”said Jon Wellinghoff, Partner at Stoel Rives LLP and former Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “Ignoring this clean energy shift is dangerous for both the traditional utility business and the environment,” Wellinghoff, who penned the report forward, said.
The report looked at the largest 32 utility holding companies in the country as well as 87 subsidiary companies. It found that many utilities are deploying lower carbon fuel sources for their electric generation. It also found that thus far state policies have been a key driver toward renewable energy and energy efficiency. The report, according to Clean Edge, analyzed 2012 data from nearly a dozen federal, state and industry sources. Those sources included the DOE’s Energy Information Administration, renewable portfolio standard annual reports and SEC filings.
“Xcel Energy’s clean energy strategy is a model for how utilities and states can work together to significantly reduce emissions at the lowest cost for customers,” said Frank Prager, Xcel Energy vice president, Policy and Strategy. “Collaborating with our states has enabled us to provide the renewable resources and efficiency programs that customers value without compromising the highly reliable and affordable energy service they require.”
The report comes as the U.S. EPA prepares to hold listening sessions on its Clean Power Plan for existing power plants. “Renewable energy and energy efficiency, two of EPA's Clean Power Plan building blocks, are increasingly cost-effective options for electric utilities seeking to lower their carbon emissions,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres. “Our analysis shows that some utilities are beginning to deliver substantial amounts of clean energy and energy efficiency, while others are lagging.” Some, like PG&E are buying energy from gigantic solar energy projects like Abengoa as well as supporting (however reluctantly) residential and commercial solar.
“One of the keys to becoming a leading utility in the country is to be innovative and environmentally sensitive, and this report from Ceres and Clean Edge shows how we’re achieving that in the key area of clean energy,” said PG&E President Chris Johns. “Our customers want PG&E to provide solutions to the challenge of global warming, while at the same time helping them use less energy and save money. As their local utility, we’re focused on partnering with our customers to develop innovative energy solutions and meeting their needs well into the future.”Tweet