Some traditional utilities are incorporating more renewable energy into their sourcing and sales portfolios, and re-inventing their business model while they do so. That’s the findings of a new report by Ceres and Clean Edge that ranks U.S. investor-owned electric utilities on their clean energy-related activities. The report, “Benchmarking Utility Clean Energy Deployment,” compiles data from over 10 sources, ranking 32 of the largest holding companies on three clean energy indicators: renewable energy sales, cumulative energy efficiency, and incremental energy efficiency.
PG&E, Edison International, and Northeast Utilities were rated the top three energy performing companies, with cumulative annual energy efficiency savings equal to 16-17 percent of their annual retail electric sales in 2012. The report notes that the top performers in both sales and savings are located in states and regions with aggressive clean energy policy goals, while lower-ranked utilities are generally based in states and areas with weak support. California utilities rank high as that state promotes ambitious standards for clean energy, while utilities with lower rankings are based in the Southeast, which has had weak state- and regional- level policies. While policies matter, says the report, they’re not definitive: the data shows a range of performance among utilities operating in similar markets and regulatory environments. As always, success at the bottom line goes to those companies who are quickly adapting to a new energy environment.
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