Electric utilities need 'energy revolution' to cut fossil fuel dependence

The Carbon Disclosure Project is calling for an energy revolution throughout electric utilities if greenhouse gas emissions are to be significantly reduced.

The CDP, who represent 475 institutional investors with $55tn in assets, made the call in its Electric Utilities Report 2009.

The report's findings illustrate how electric utilities are planning for the future, both in terms of anticipated greenhouse gas emissions and how they plan to reduce them.

While 61% of utilities forecast future greenhouse gas emissions, 59% say they have in place emission reduction plans.

In addition, just under half of the responding companies disclosed current electricity generation capacity and production figures by fuel type - but only 14 out of the 110 respondents provided data on forecasted capacity and production.

Doug Cogan, director of climate risk management for RiskMetrics Group, which wrote the report, said: "This raises the question of how much utilities are willing to pay to cut their emissions - or pass costs onto customers - as emissions trading schemes and/or carbon taxes come into play.

"Improved disclosure on forecasted capacity and production would help investors to better assess exposure to such carbon limits at this pivotal time in national and global climate regulation."

The electric utilities industry accounts for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide; the largest share among all industries.

The report continues that, unless reduced, the build-up of greenhouse gases from utilities' burning of coal and fossil fuels will accelerate global warming and catastrophically alter the planet's environment.

Luke Walsh


air quality


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