EGEB: What’s your utility company doing (or not) to adopt clean energy?

EGEB: What’s your utility company doing (or not) to adopt clean energy?
  • The Sierra Club analyzed utilities’ long-term energy plans. See how yours stacks up.
  • Check out this interactive map that reveals your country’s climate risks.
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US utility report card

The Sierra Club released a report, The Dirty Truth About Utility Climate Pledges, an assessment of whether US utilities are committing to the actions needed to adopt green energy and abandon fossil fuels.

Sierra Club analysts examined plans for 79 operating companies owned by 50 parent companies and assigned a score to every utility based on its plans to retire coal, stop constructing new gas plants, and aggressively build out new clean energy by 2030.

The report is based on an analysis of long-term energy plans released by utilities – known as integrated resource plans (IRPs) – and major announcements for the 50 utilities that generate the most electricity from coal and gas. This includes investor-owned utilities, power authorities (like the Tennessee Valley Authority), generation and transmission co-ops, and large municipal utilities.

Sierra Club then provides a map of the US so you can see who’s succeeding and failing, and a search function to look up your utility.

The Public Service Company of Oklahoma and Northern Indiana Public Service Company get an A, and so does Great River Energy in Minnesota. Sierra Pacific Power in Nevada was awarded a B. The Northeast isn’t evaluated (we don’t know why), and the Southeast is abysmal – an F pretty much across the board.

John Romankiewicz, one of the report’s authors, said:

We want to see no new gas. We want to see coal replaced entirely with clean energy.

In my current residential state of Florida, everyone is failing, apart from the Orlando Utilities Commission — 55 points, a B grade. Its goal is to be net-zero by 2050 with a 50% reduction by 2030. Florida can’t seem to shift away from its gas habit and more toward solar, the obvious choice for the Sunshine State.

Interactive map of climate risks

The New York Times released an interactive map yesterday that asks, “Every country has its own climate risks. What’s yours?” The media outlet used a model by Four Twenty Seven, a company that analyzes climate risks.

Personalized interactives are irresistible, even if they do deliver bad news. And this is news worth knowing. So with the attractive, purposeful graphics and user-friendly design, I tried it out.

I entered the United States, my current residence, and got this response:

In the United States in 2040, the major climate hazard may be wildfires and water stress. Other high risk climate hazards include heat stress, flooding, cyclones and sea level rise.

Overall in the United States, roughly 80% of population, GDP, and agriculture might be exposed to at least one climate hazard in the future.

The climate risks are color coded on a map. In the US, it shows hurricanes on the Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard, flooding along the Mississippi River, wildfires on the West Coast and parts of the eastern US, and water stress (ie, drought) through a large swathe of the Midwest, among other issues.

(I also checked out the UK, my other home country, and it’s flooding, as of 2040. Practically the whole island is blue.)

If you keep scrolling, it gives you an overview of global trends, such as:

From 2000 to 2019, floods upended the lives of at least 1.65 billion people — the highest number in any disaster category.

It’s worth knowing more about where you live, or where people you care about live, as it illustrates why we want to switch to electric vehicles and green energy, apart from them just being pretty awesome. And this interactive makes it easier to understand with its clear visuals. It’s worth checking out.

Try out the interactive yourself here.

Photo: Arizona Public Service Electric

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