SMUD Releases Plan to Eliminate GHG Emissions
Top consumer smart energy news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
California’s Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has released a plan to eliminate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its power supply by 2030. “Our 2030 zero carbon plan is a road map with the flexibility needed to adjust to changing technology and customer preferences to completely eliminate the use of fossil fuels in our electricity production by 2030,” SMUD said in an executive summary of the plan.
As more utilities invest ratepayer funds to support and expand EV charging infrastructure, few states and power companies ensure equitable distribution of these funds, a new study finds. In fact, an analysis by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy shows that only six of 36 states evaluated have some form of equity mandate or consideration, such as requiring a certain share of funds be invested in low- and moderate-income communities and communities of color.
Over the past year, which has been filled with unprecedented challenges for consumers, the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative has continued to research what consumers want from energy and how industry stakeholders can better serve them. We conducted over 30 on-camera interviews with consumers (virtually, of course) to hear in their own words what they think about energy efficiency, COVID-19, smart home technology and other topics.
The Southern Company met an established goal well ahead of schedule by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 52 percent in 2020 from its 2007 benchmark levels. The emissions reduction amount exceeded the company’s goal to reduce GHG emissions by 50 percent by 2030. Long-term, the company has a goal to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.
The world added more than 260 GW of renewable energy capacity last year, exceeding expansion in 2019 by close to 50 percent, despite the economic slowdown that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). IRENA’s annual Renewable Capacity Statistics 2021 shows that renewable energy’s share of all new generating capacity rose considerably for the second year in a row.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. energy consumption fell by seven percent last year, compared to 2019, marking its largest annual fall since the Energy Information Administration began gathering data in 1949. All sectors were down, though some fared better than others. With most people bottled up at home, transportation understandably took the heaviest hit, falling by 15 percent to 24 quads for the year.
Minneapolis saw near-perfect compliance and few complaints during the first year of a new ordinance requiring energy audits prior to all home sales. The city’s residential energy benchmarking program generated more than 6,200 reports disclosing the conditions of windows, insulation and heating systems for prospective buyers and new owners. The information is also publicly available online.
The “chicken-and-egg” problem for electric vehicles is pretty well defined: People won’t buy EVs without enough charging stations on the road to allay their “range anxiety,” but more EVs need to be on the road before chargers can be profitable. For low-income and disadvantaged communities, this chicken-and-egg problem is multiplied by lack of capital to buy EVs and lack of investment in the infrastructure to support them.