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The 2023 Utility Decarbonization Index

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Data in this visualization comes from the NPUC Annual Utility Decarbonization Report 2023

2023

The 2023 Utility Decarbonization Index

This was originally posted on the Decarbonization Channel. Subscribe to the free mailing list to be the first to see graphics related to decarbonization with a focus on the U.S. energy sector.

Electric utilities and the power sector have a pivotal role to play in decarbonizing the U.S. economy, especially with the electrification of sectors such as transportation.

So, where do the country’s largest electricity producers stand on the path to decarbonization?

In collaboration with our sponsor National Public Utilities Council, we present the 2023 edition of our Annual Utility Decarbonization Index. The index uses 2021 data (the latest available at the time of data collection) to track the comparative decarbonization progress of the 47 largest investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in the United States.

In the graphic above, we give a preview of the top 10 rankers.

Methodology of the Utility Decarbonization Index

The Utility Decarbonization Index uses the following six metrics to track decarbonization progress:

  1. Fuel Mix
    The share of low-carbon sources in a utility’s owned net electricity generation.
  2. CO2 Emissions Intensity
    The amount of CO2 emitted per megawatt-hour of owned and purchased net electricity generation.
  3. Total CO2 Emissions
    The absolute amount of CO2 emitted from owned and purchased net electricity generation.
  4. CO2 Emissions Per Customer
    The amount of CO2 emitted per retail, commercial, and industrial customer served.
  5. Decarbonization Goals
    An evaluation of the company’s interim greenhouse gas reduction and net-zero targets, with a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030 and net-zero by 2050 as baseline targets.
  6. Low-Carbon investment
    The share of planned capital expenditure for electricity generation dedicated to low-carbon sources.

All 47 IOUs in the Decarbonization Index are scored on a scale of one (lowest) to five (highest) for each of the six metrics, indicating whether they are trailing or leading compared to their peers. A utility’s final decarbonization score is an average of its scores across the six metrics.

The data for these metrics comes from company sustainability reports, quantitative ESG reporting templates from the Edison Electric Institute, and the Climate Disclosure Project’s Climate Change Questionnaire filings.

With the methodology in mind, let’s take a look at the 10 utilities that are leading the ranking in this year’s Utility Decarbonization Index.

Enjoying this content? Dive into the full ranking in the Annual Utility Decarbonization Report 2023:

The Annual Utility Decarbonization Index 2023

The 47 IOUs ranked in the Index are the largest electricity producers in the country, together representing over 58% of U.S. electricity generation in 2021 and serving 68% of all US. electric customers. Therefore, the decarbonization of these utilities can have a massive impact on the power sector and other electricity-consuming sectors.

However, it’s important to note that a score of five on the Utility Decarbonization Index does not indicate full decarbonization or net-zero emissions. Rather, it indicates that the utility is leading in decarbonization relative to its peers.

Here are the top 10 IOUs in this year’s ranking:

RankCompanyDecarbonization score
#1Constellation Energy (Exelon)4.8
#2Avangrid4.8
#3Public Service Enterprise Group4.6
#4Pacific Gas and Electric4.5
#5Edison International (EIX)4.5
#6Avista Utilities4.2
#7NextEra Energy4.2
#8Algonquin Power & Utilities4.0
#9Puget Sound Energy (PSE)4.0
#10Consolidated Edison3.9

Constellation Energy, a newly formed subsidiary of Exelon, tops this year’s Decarbonization Index along with Avangrid. Constellation is the largest low-carbon electricity producer among the 47 IOUs, with 80% of its owned net electricity generation coming from nuclear power plants. The company also had the lowest CO2 emissions intensity of all utilities in the Index.

Avangrid, a clean energy-focused utility operating in the Northeast, ties for first place thanks to its low-carbon fuel mix and ambitious decarbonization targets to achieve carbon neutrality in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030.

Download the 2023 Annual Utility Decarbonization Report

Are you interested in seeing the rest of the rankings? Check out the full report!

In addition to the Decarbonization Index, there’s much more to unpack, including:

  • Six reasons why utilities must decarbonize
  • Highlights and challenges to decarbonization from 2021–2022
  • The data behind the six individual metrics
  • The U.S. Utilities ESG report card
  • Decarbonization strategies for U.S. utilities

Download the 2023 NPUC Annual Utility Decarbonization Report and find out everything you need to know about utility decarbonization.

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Ranking the Top 15 Countries by Carbon Tax Revenue

This graphic highlights France and Canada as the global leaders when it comes to generating carbon tax revenue.

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A chart showing the top 15 countries by carbon tax revenue.

Top 15 Countries by Carbon Tax Revenue

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Carbon taxes are designed to discourage CO2 emissions by increasing the cost of carbon-intensive activities and incentivizing the adoption of cleaner energy alternatives.

In this graphic we list the top 15 countries by carbon tax revenue as of 2022. The data is from the World Bank’s State and Trends of Carbon Pricing Report, published in April 2023.

France and Canada Lead in Global Carbon Tax Revenue

In 2022, the top 15 countries generated approximately $30 billion in revenue from carbon taxes.

France and Canada lead in this regard, accounting for over half of the total amount. Both countries have implemented comprehensive carbon pricing systems that cover a wide range of sectors, including transportation and industry, and they have set relatively high carbon tax rates.

CountryGovernment revenue
in 2022 ($ billions)
🇫🇷 France$8.9
🇨🇦 Canada$7.8
🇸🇪 Sweden$2.3
🇳🇴 Norway$2.1
🇯🇵 Japan$1.8
🇫🇮 Finland$1.7
🇨🇭 Switzerland$1.6
🇬🇧 United Kingdom$0.9
🇮🇪 Ireland$0.7
🇩🇰 Denmark$0.5
🇵🇹 Portugal$0.5
🇦🇷 Argentina$0.3
🇲🇽 Mexico$0.2
🇸🇬 Singapore$0.1
🇿🇦 South Africa$0.1

In Canada, the total carbon tax revenue includes both national and provincial taxes.

While carbon pricing has been recognized internationally as one of the more efficient mechanisms for reducing CO2 emissions, research is divided over what the global average carbon price should be to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5–2°C by 2100 relative to pre-industrial levels.

A recent study has shown that carbon pricing must be supported by other policy measures and innovations. According to a report from Queen’s University, there is no feasible carbon pricing scenario that is high enough to limit emissions sufficiently to achieve anything below 2.4°C warming on its own.

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