WASHINGTON - Five electric power companies from across the United States today answered a challenge from World Wildlife Fund to become the first U.S. power companies to support a mandatory cap on heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions and confirm their commitment to clean energy.
"These commitments demonstrate that innovative electric companies can make the switch to clean energy and reduce heat-trapping CO2 emissions. Now energy companies and WWF are calling on the U.S. Congress to limit carbon dioxide pollution," said Ginette Hemley, managing vice president of World Wildlife Fund. "The survival of over a million species and many of the world's most biologically rich natural areas may hang in the balance, depending on whether we act responsibly now or continue to ignore global warming."
Five U.S. power companies--Austin Energy, Burlington Electric Department, FPL Group, Inc. (NYSE: FPL), Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and Waverly Light and Power--and WWF are pioneering a way to revolutionize the CO2-intensive electric power industry. The power sector that has relied heavily on fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, is responsible for 37 percent of all man-made CO2 emissions worldwide--the main heat-trapping gas associated with global warming--now has the opportunity to become part of the solution to global warming.
"FPL Group is delighted to join today with WWF to take another step toward real improvements for our environment while preserving the economic viability of the U.S. economy," said Randy LaBauve, vice president, Environmental Services, FPL Group, Inc. "The WWF PowerSwitch! initiative today is about choices--responsibility...reliability...and results. Quite simply, it's the right thing to do."
By switching to clean renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency through innovative technologies and processes, each of these five power companies will significantly reduce their heat-trapping CO2 emissions and demonstrate how the whole U.S. power sector can help protect our living planet from global warming by following suit.
"Reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions has long been important to the people of Burlington," said Barbara Grimes, Burlington Electric Department's general manager. "We have a fairly clean power supply, and we have been running effective energy efficiency programs for years. But we know even we can do better, and we plan to. BED is thrilled to be part of WWF's PowerSwitch! program."
The WWF PowerSwitch! Challenge is for power companies to support binding limits on national CO2 emissions; and undertake one or more of the following action targets: renewables as the source for 20 percent of their electricity sold by 2020, or increase energy efficiency by 15 percent by 2020, or retire the least efficient half of coal generation by 2020. Under commitments to WWF, renewable sources of energy may include solar, wind, sustainably harvested biomass, low-impact small-scale hydropower, geothermal, and methane recovery from landfills or farms. Energy efficiency efforts may include such innovative approaches as improving energy efficiency in power production, upgrading distribution technologies, transmission optimization efforts, or reducing overall demand from customers in a service territory as part of a strategy to diminish the need for new electricity generation capacity.
Among these five power companies representing different geographical areas of the United States, each power company has chosen at least one action target in addition to supporting an emissions cap. Austin Energy committed to generating 20 percent of the electricity it sells from renewable sources of energy and increasing energy efficiency by 15 percent by 2020. Burlington Electric Department committed to generating 20 percent of the electricity it sells from renewable sources of power and increasing its energy efficiency by 15 percent by 2020. FPL Group, Inc., committed to increasing energy efficiency through its continued promotion of demand side management projects and improving energy efficiency by 15 percent in its power generation facilities. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District committed to generating 20 percent of the electricity it sells from renewable sources of energy. Waverly Light and Power of Iowa committed to increasing its energy efficiency by 15 percent by 2020.
Note to editors: Photos and b-roll are available from WWF, Austin Energy, Burlington Electric Department, FPL Energy, Inc., Sacramento Utility District and Waverly Light and Power to accompany press stories based on this release. Contact WWF for more information.
Austin Energy is Austin's community owned electric utility and the 10th largest public power utility in the nation. The Utility serves a population of 880,000, provides some of the lowest rates in Texas and has developed among the most successful and comprehensive energy efficiency, Green Building and renewable energy programs in America.
Burlington Electric Department, the sole provider of electricity to Burlington, Vermont, and the Burlington International Airport, has been running cost-effective energy efficiency programs since the voters approved an $11.3 million bond in 1990. Because of these programs, Burlington as a whole is using 2 percent less energy than it did in 1989. These programs have helped make Burlington the vibrant community that it is. In 2003, 40 percent of BED's power mix came from low-impact renewable sources.
FPL Group, with annual revenues of more than $9 billion, is nationally known as a high quality, efficient, and customer-driven organization focused on energy-related products and services. With a growing presence in 26 states, it is widely recognized as one of the country's premier power companies. Its principal subsidiary, Florida Power & Light Company, serves more than 4 million customers in Florida. FPL Energy, LLC, an FPL Group energy-generating subsidiary, is a leader in producing electricity from clean and renewable fuels. Learn more at www.FPLGroup.com, www.FPL.com and www.FPLEnergy.com.
For more than 50 years The Sacramento Municipal Utility District, (SMUD) has provided Sacramento County with a reliable source of electricity at competitive rates that are consistently lower than investor-owned utilities in the state. SMUD provides programs that preserve our natural resources and reduce pollution are an important part of SMUD's vision as a community-owned utility. SMUD is nationally recognized as a leader in renewable resources and electric transportation. As the sixth largest publicly owned utility in the country in terms of customers served, our innovative energy programs are known throughout the state, nation and world. SMUD's mission is to provide value for our community while working to improve the quality of life in Sacramento.
Waverly Light and Power is a public power electric utility providing service to 4,300 customers in a 33 mi2. We are committed to providing quality, reliable, customer-oriented service through continuous improvements in personnel, resources, and efficiency. Waverly Light and Power is known for being the first public power company in the Midwest to implement wind generation and continues to pursue an innovative approach to a cleaner environment.