WASHINGTON D.C. – The Keystone Center, an internationally renowned nonprofit dedicated to furthering cross-sector dialogue and developing public policy solutions to pressing environmental, energy and public health challenges, honored PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG) with its annual Keystone Center Leadership in Industry Award. The center cited PG&E’s accomplishments across a range of critical areas, notably for leadership in developing initiatives in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and global climate change.
Ralph Cavanagh, co-director of Natural Resources Defense Council, presented the award to PG&E Corporation Chairman, CEO and President Peter A. Darbee last week at the center’s Annual Awards Dinner, attended by more than 400 leaders, including elected officials and other representatives from government, the environmental sector, business, education and other fields. “If the entire U.S. utility industry were like PG&E, our national inventory of energy efficiency and renewable resources would instantly grow at least fivefold, and our electricity use per person would instantly drop below the averages recorded 30 years ago,” remarked Cavanagh. “It is not too much to hope that one day soon all of our utilities, like PG&E, will be acting forcefully to cut their customers’ energy bills by combining incentives to upgrade buildings and equipment with successful advocacy of tighter efficiency standards and enlightened state regulation that makes saving energy at least as profitable to a utility as selling energy.”
“A firm commitment to environmental leadership, both in principle and practice, is an absolute prerequisite for achieving and sustaining our vision to be the nation’s leading utility,” said Darbee. “It is as much a key to our future as the sweeping changes we are now pursuing to serve customers better, faster and more cost effectively. We will continue to demonstrate leadership in improving energy efficiency, finding innovative solutions to address the challenge of global climate change, and boosting supplies of renewable energy.”
PG&E is the nation’s leading utility in developing, implementing and advocating for strong energy efficiency programs and standards. The company’s efforts have been instrumental in keeping California’s per capita electric usage flat over the past 30 years, in contrast with a 50 percent increase in the rest of the United States. This success has enabled California to avoid building more than 25 new power plants that otherwise would have been necessary to meet customers’ growing energy needs over this time. As a result, the state has avoided the emissions that would have come from those facilities. PG&E’s current plans call for investing another $1 billion in energy efficiency programs over the next several years.
PG&E’s greenhouse gas emissions are among the lowest of any utility in the United States. Currently, about 50 percent of the energy PG&E delivers to customers comes from generation sources that emit no carbon dioxide, including renewable resources like wind, solar and hydroelectric power.
The company is currently working to increase its supplies of renewable power, with the goal of meeting California’s 2010 target of ensuring that 20 percent of the power delivered to customers comes from qualifying renewable sources. Toward that objective, last year the company signed contracts to add 353 megawatts of renewable power. PG&E plans to enter into agreements for additional renewable resources in 2006.
Additionally, PG&E encourages the use of distributed energy resources such as the installation and use of rooftop photovoltaic systems in partnerships created by the PG&E Solar Schools Program, which allows participants to reduce energy costs, benefit the environment and educate their students about alternative energy and environmental protection. PG&E already has connected more than 10,000 solar customers to the electric grid in California, more than any other utility in the United States.
As part of its ongoing efforts to address climate change, PG&E has also voluntarily adopted systems to monitor carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions. The company is a charter member of the California Climate Action Registry, and is the first investor-owned utility in the state to produce a certified inventory of its greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, PG&E and the Climate Action Registry developed a protocol and standards for reporting greenhouse emissions from the utility sector. Reporting standards are an essential step in establishing the foundation for a national greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy, which PG&E actively supports.
Other honorees at the Keystone Center Awards were The Honorable Christopher J. Dodd, U.S. Senator from Connecticut, who received the Keystone Center Leadership in Government Award; The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, Governor of Kansas, who received The Spirit of Keystone Award; Mr. John H. Adams, Co-Founder and former President of the Natural Resources Defense Council, who received The Keystone Center Leadership in the Environment Award; and Dr. Rodger Bybee, Executive Director of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, who received The Keystone Center Leadership in Education Award.
For more information about PG&E Corporation or its utility subsidiary, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, please visit www.pgecorp.com or www.pge.com