Full Title: Investing in Failure: How Large Power Companies Are Undermining their Decarbonization Targets
Author(s): Bruce Biewald, Devi Glick, Jamie Hall, Caitlin Odom, Cheryl Roberto, Rachel Wilson
Publisher(s): Synapse Energy Economics, Inc.
Publication Date: March 9, 2020
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Decarbonizing the electricity sector is critical to achieving climate goals. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2018 report found that global carbon emissions must be cut by nearly half by 2030, and then reach net-zero by 2050 if we are to have a 50 percent chance at limiting warming to 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels. The power sector is responsible for 33 percent of U.S. energy related CO2 emissions according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and decarbonization of the power sector is critical to enabling other sectors, such as transportation, to decarbonize through electrification.
Three major power companies in the United States—Southern Company, Dominion Energy, and Duke Energy—own approximately 12.7 percent of U.S. generation capacity. The three companies combined serve over 15 million U.S. customers and are the dominant providers across the Southeast region of the United States. They are also directly responsible for 4.2 percent of total U.S. CO2 emissions and 12.4 percent of U.S. power sector CO2 emissions.