Entergy cites climate change risks in new strategy to cut carbon footprint

by Wesley Brown ([email protected]) 651 views 

In a 54-page report acknowledging the impact of climate change, the parent company of Entergy Arkansas on Monday (April 22) announced an ambitious new strategy to lower the company’s carbon footprint by 50% by 2030 and assume a leadership role in the development of cleaner fuel choices.

The steps are outlined in Entergy Corp.’s Climate Scenario Analysis and Evaluation of Risks and Opportunities report, which highlight the company’s strategic plan and ongoing efforts to “manage risks, further reduce emissions, navigate climate policy uncertainty and plan for future investments that deliver value for the company’s customers, employees, communities and owners.”

“In 2001, Entergy led the industry by becoming the first U.S. utility to voluntarily limit carbon dioxide emissions,” Entergy Chairman and CEO Leo Denault said. “Today, we have the opportunity to do more. We’re pleased to announce a new climate objective. By 2030, Entergy will emit 50% less carbon dioxide for every unit of electricity than we did in 2000. This renewed commitment to the environment not only delivers clean energy solutions for our customers, it creates long-term, sustainable value for all our stakeholders.”

Entergy’s climate change policy stance comes only months after the company’s Arkansas subsidiary, which serves 700,000 customers in 63 of the state’s 75 counties, announced a pact with several state environmental groups to shut down its coal-fired utility fleet in Arkansas.

At the same time, other U.S. utility operators with operations in Arkansas and across the U.S. are voluntarily moving away from coal and other fossil fuels in favor of cheaper and cleaner energy options. To highlight that trend, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released a report in December that U.S. coal consumption in 2018 declined to its lowest level in nearly 40 years.

Despite Entergy’s voluntary plans, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has asked federal court officials and the PSC to review the state’s largest electric utility’s pending settlement agreement to shut down its Arkansas coal power fleet, saying she wants to protect the interest of ratepayers from any costs associated with the effort.

In the executive summary of the newly released report, Entergy mentions changing industry dynamics in highlighting the company’s past engagement on climate change and management of the business risks. The nation’s sixth largest utility operator also said it intends to use scenario planning to analyze potential impacts and opportunities in the regional economies where the company operates.

Furthermore, Entergy officials said, the report will allow the company to inform and engage stakeholders and ongoing processes for managing climate risk and evaluating future opportunities. Entergy also said it is on target to meet its current environment goals, which lasts through 2020.

Today, Entergy owns and operates power plants with nearly 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 MW of nuclear power. Entergy’s regulated utility in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and New Orleans, together deliver electricity to 2.9 million customers across those four states.

Key highlights from the report include:

  • Historic Leadership and a New 2030 Goal – Entergy is building on its nearly 20-year history of environmental stewardship with its new goal of reducing by 2030 its emission intensity by half the level it was in 2000.
  • Climate Strategy – Entergy has a long history of evaluation, disclosure and action related to climate change. The report outlines and describes the company’s overall environmental and climate strategy.
  • Partnerships for Decarbonization – The company is developing new ways to partner with customers to help them save money, use energy more efficiently and meet their sustainability and environmental goals.
  • Scenario Analysis – A detailed analysis of several potential carbon abatement scenarios through 2030 is provided.
  • Guiding Principles for Climate Policy – Entergy continues to believe that an economy-wide price on carbon is the most efficient and pragmatic path forward for federal climate policy.
  • Investments in Clean Generation – The company is investing billions of dollars in capital over the next three years in modern, efficient natural gas and renewable generation assets while ensuring the long-term value of Entergy’s nuclear power generation through technology upgrades and other improvements.
  • Grid Modernization, Electrification and Energy Efficiency – Entergy is investing billions of dollars over the next five years in grid modernization and transmission and distribution infrastructure to improve resiliency and efficiency.
  • Governance and Risk Management – Longstanding, robust governance structures and risk management processes effectively address climate risks and opportunities.
  • Engagement and Transparency – Entergy is informing and engaging stakeholders on the company’s current and ongoing efforts to manage climate risk and evaluate future opportunities.
  • Continuous Improvement – With continued planning and stress-testing of potential investments, Entergy can lead the regional transition to a low-carbon economy.
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