In the ESG Era
Fortnightly Magazine - November 8 2021
In what could be aptly called the Environmental, Social and Governance Era, utilities are being scored for their ethical performance, quite rigorously, quite comprehensively, by highly influential organizations. The issue is so big that we devoted a special issue of PUF to it.
ESG conversations with executives at American Electric Power, Arizona Public Service, Evergy, Northwestern Energy, PPL Corporation, WEC Energy Group, and Xcel Energy. Guidehouse’s Dan Hahn and Michelle Fay sat in on some of these.
“We are at an inflection point — we have a clean energy strategy on the table right now, and if regulators are supportive, by 2030 our generating portfolio will flip to 52% renewable energy.”
Arizona Public Service
“Last year, in partnership with EPRI, we conducted our first sustainability materiality assessment, which is a best practice in the ESG space.”
“Moody’s Investor Services names NorthWestern Energy in the top 5 among 50 publicly traded North American utility and power companies on Best Governance Practices.”
“We’ve added thousands of smart grid devices, including sensors and switches, and distribution automation on every circuit. We have one of the most advanced distribution networks in the country. We’ve deployed a state-of-the-art DERMS.”
WEC Energy Group
“Our ultimate goal is to exit coal at some point in the future, but that transition needs to be done in a thoughtful manner where we’re not risking reliability.”
“Our nuclear plants in Minnesota are an important part of our overall strategy. We are building some natural gas to maintain reliability, as we retire most of the coal plants in our generation fleet.”
“ESG impacts everything: the way companies trade, the way they are growing, and their M&A strategy, as well as how shareholder activists are screening companies and sectors.”
How do today’s natural gas utilities find the right balance, rigorously addressing ESG priorities while continuing to meet the needs of the communities they serve via gas utility service? In the conversations below, leaders from CenterPoint Energy, Eversource, NiSource, NW Natural, and Sempra Energy (both at San Diego Gas & Electric and at the parent) take on directly how they are managing that balance.