Con Edison Expands Clean Energy Commitment On Path to Net-Zero Emissions
Company Is Preparing Grid for Renewable Future and Impact of Climate Change, Moving to Empower Its Customers
Con Edison, Inc. has expanded and deepened its Clean Energy Commitment, reflecting its strategy to lead New York and the nation in the transition to renewables, give customers more control over their energy use, and better prepare the company’s energy-delivery system for the impacts of climate change.
Con Edison has already reduced its own (Scope 1) emissions by more than half since 2005, and the commitment includes a goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions from Con Edison’s own facilities and operations by 2040. This will require decarbonizing New York City’s steam system, the largest district heating system in the country.
Today’s announcement also includes commitments to provide 100 percent clean power to Con Edison’s facilities by 2030, completely electrify the company’s light-duty vehicle fleet by 2035 and deliver 100 percent clean power to its customers by 2040. The company strongly supports New York’s ambition for a statewide net-zero economy by mid-century, in line with the Paris Agreement.
“The challenge of climate change demands new ways of producing, delivering and using energy,” said Tim Cawley, president and chief executive officer of Con Edison. “From connecting offshore wind farms, to making it easier for our customers to install solar panels or switch to electric vehicles, we are building clean, flexible and resilient energy infrastructure in New York and across the country.”
Con Edison’s utilities will invest $2 billion by 2030 fortifying their energy-delivery systems to protect them from the severe weather climate change is bringing.
The company is committed to shrinking the amount of natural gas it delivers. It will continue providing customers with financial incentives to make their buildings more energy efficient and to switch to cleaner heating alternatives, such as heat pumps and geothermal systems.
To help the shift to zero-carbon energy resources, Con Edison will spend $100 million on research and development by 2030, with a focus on long-duration energy storage and hydrogen.
“We are aggressively transitioning away from fossil fuels to a net-zero economy by 2050,” said Cawley. “The nation has begun a clean energy transformation that will bring profound economic, social and environmental benefits. Con Edison is well positioned and eager to create our clean energy future today.”
The company will regularly update these initiatives and will provide greater detail with the release of new long-range plans for its electric, gas and steam systems in early 2022.
Con Edison’s new Clean Energy Commitment rests on five pillars:
- Build the Grid of the Future
- Empower All Customers to Meet Their Climate Goals
- Reimagine the Gas System
- Lead by Reducing Our Company’s Carbon Footprint
- Partner With Our Stakeholders
Building the Grid of the Future
The first pillar of the Clean Energy Commitment is to build a resilient, future-ready grid that delivers 100 percent clean power by 2040. That is the keystone to decarbonizing New York’s economy.
Con Edison is investing in the Reliable Clean City projects, which will provide “off ramps” for delivery of renewable energy in locations currently supported by fossil generation. The company has proposed building “Clean Energy Hubs” where offshore wind and other new resources can connect and deliver power to NYC customers, aiding the state in meeting its goal of 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.
In addition to large-scale renewables, the company is committed to easing the way for a significant expansion of distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar systems and battery storage, giving customers more control over where their energy comes from, and how and when they use it.
Energy storage will be a lynchpin of the future renewables-centric electricity system. Con Edison will encourage the installation and efficient operation of 1,000 megawatts of battery storage capacity, including both grid-scale projects and smaller customer-sited systems, to help balance the influx of renewable power.
Generating and Delivering Renewable Energy
Con Edison is the country’s second largest solar-power producer, with projects in 20 states. Through its Clean Energy Businesses, the company plans to invest $1 billion by 2023 on large wind and solar projects. Con Edison is seeking authorization to own renewable plants in New York, leveraging its experience as a wind and solar developer to help lower costs for the state’s energy consumers.
Through its Con Edison Transmission business, the company plans to invest another $1 billion by 2030 on electric transmission lines needed to bring green power to customers.
Electric vehicles running on ever-cleaner power will be a critical tool in the fight against climate change. Under its revamped Clean Energy Commitment, Con Edison’s utilities will support the installation of 400,000 chargers for EVs by 2035, and more than 1 million chargers by 2050.
Leading by example, Con Edison will purchase only electric vehicles for its own light-duty fleet, on the way to fully electrifying that fleet by 2035.
Reimagining the Gas System
Buildings are the largest source of New York City’s carbon emissions. Meeting the nation’s climate goals requires shifting from natural gas for heating and cooking to technologies that run on cleaner electricity, many of them cost-effective today.
Con Edison plans to invest billions of dollars enabling the decarbonization of buildings, from deep energy-efficiency upgrades to electrifying space and/or water heating for more than 150,000 buildings by 2030.
While Con Edison believes there will be cost and resiliency benefits to maintaining a gas-delivery system, the company is committed to reducing the amount of gas it delivers and is planning for a future when the majority of building heating systems are electrified.
Con Edison supports changes to building codes that will reduce the use of fossil fuels. For hard-to-electrify buildings, the company is developing a portfolio of low-carbon fuels.
Building Climate Resilience
Con Edison is at the vanguard of its industry in preparing for the impact of climate change. A partnership with Columbia University and other stakeholders resulted in a comprehensive climate risk assessment. The company’s storm-hardening and resiliency investments since Superstorm Sandy are estimated to have avoided more than 680,000 customer outages to date.
The $2 billion Con Edison expects to invest by 2030 in further climate resiliency and adaptation measures will cover a range of approaches, including the selective undergrounding of overhead power lines in areas most vulnerable to storm-related outages.
Con Edison is committed to a clean energy future that is affordable, equitable and environmentally just. Across its activities, the company aims to deepen its collaboration with customers, regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders, all of whom have a critical role to play in delivering a sustainable low-carbon future.
Con Edison will continue to build on its investments in job training programs in clean energy sectors such as energy efficiency, with a strong focus on hiring from disadvantaged communities.
For more info on what Con Edison is doing to help New York achieve its climate goals, see our Clean Energy Commitment.
Comments from stakeholders:
Susanne DesRoches, Regulatory Director, Energy Policy, New York City Office of Climate and Sustainability:
The City of New York is pleased to see the release of Con Edison’s expanded Clean Energy Commitment which aligns with our goal for carbon neutrality by 2050. As a global leader in the fight against climate change, we know our partnership with utilities is key to equitable decarbonization. We look forward to continuing to work with Con Edison and support their efforts to transition to a clean energy future that is affordable and resilient.”
Hank Gutman, Commissioner, New York City Department of Transportation:
We commend Con Edison for their continued commitment to a clean energy future. As the adoption of electric vehicles accelerates, it is vital that the electricity powering this transition comes from renewable sources. We are excited to continue to work with Con Edison to expand electric vehicle chargers throughout the city. More EV chargers mean more car owners can go electric – which is a key step in solving the climate crisis.”
Danny Waggoner, Policy Director, Advanced Energy Economy:
The Clean Energy Commitment shows that Con Edison is taking the initiative to go above and beyond state obligations and is determined to accelerate New York’s transition to a clean energy system and help its customers reach their own clean energy goals. This enterprise-wide endeavor places Con Edison at the forefront of utility efforts nationally to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.”
Michael B. Gerrard, Professor and Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School:
“Con Edison has emerged as a global leader in preparing energy systems for the physical impacts of climate change. Its 2019 Climate Change Vulnerability Study is serving as a model for other utilities around the world. The company is now reaffirming its commitment to implementing the recommendations in that study so that its customers will still have reliable service in the face of the storms, flooding and heat waves that we know will intensify in the coming years.”
Janet Gail Besser, Vice President of Regulatory and Business Innovation, Smart Electric Power Alliance:
"We applaud Con Edison for expanding its Clean Energy Commitment and for continued industry leadership. Con Edison is leading by example through its commitments to decarbonize its facilities and electrify its vehicle fleet. As we announced earlier this year, Con Edison earned a position on our 2021 Utility Transformation Leaderboard in recognition of its progress towards a clean and modern energy future."
Paul Suhey, Co-Founder and Head of EV Infrastructure and Rideshare, Revel:
A zero-carbon future is a vision we all can get behind, but to make it a reality we need the kind of leadership that Con Edison consistently shows. They were an essential partner to Revel this year as we built the largest universal EV fast charging hub in the Americas, and we’re proud to support their new Clean Energy Commitment, a bold and strategic roadmap towards our shared goals.”
John Mandyck, CEO, Urban Green Council:
Urban Green applauds the leadership of Con Edison’s new Clean Energy Commitment. By doubling down on investments in energy efficiency, building electrification, green job training, grid resiliency and more, this commitment shows how Con Edison will be a cornerstone of NYC’s clean energy future.”
Julie Tighe, President, New York League of Conservation Voters:
"New Yorkers know the value of clean energy, and this innovative commitment from Con Edison will make our grid more reliable and resilient, electrify most building heating systems by 2050, and go all-in on electric vehicles. These commitments are major steps toward a 100 percent clean energy grid by 2040 and a net-zero economy by 2050."
Marianna Koval, Director, Invest NYC SDG | Center for Sustainable Business, NYU Stern School of Business:
"The NYU Center for Sustainable Business at NYU Stern commends Con Edison's critical leadership in its industry and in New York City with its accelerated Clean Energy Commitment. Most importantly, Con Edison supports New York City's low carbon future by committing to a 100 percent clean power grid by 2040. Its commitments and track record in supporting the decarbonization of buildings, electric vehicles and EV charging, large-scale renewables like solar and wind, as well as distributed energy, with rooftop solar and battery systems, will help deliver a sustainable, resilient, and equitable future."
Richard Yancey, Executive Director, Building Energy Exchange:
"Con Edison’s Clean Energy Commitment represents an essential part of New York’s transition towards a sustainable future, and underpins much of the work being done by us at the Building Energy Exchange to advance electrification in the building sector. Con Edison's 100 percent clean energy objective and aggressive building energy-efficiency and electrification initiatives will increase equitable access to more efficient, comfortable, and healthful buildings, help building owners meet City and State climate action laws, and secure New York’s position as a global climate leader."
Chris Collins, Executive Director, Solar One
As a long-time facilitator and technical assistance provider of solar and renewable energy on low and moderate income housing in NYC, we are excited to see Con Edison’s commitment to the expansion of renewable energy in NYC, including distributed solar, and look forward to continuing to work with Con Edison in expanding solar and in improving energy efficiency in NYC buildings. These initiatives are broad in scale and will further complement the expansion of good, well-paying jobs in the clean energy sector for our clients and trainees, many of whom face and are overcoming barriers to employment.”
Bill Nowak, Executive Director, New York Geothermal Energy Organization:
NY-GEO is happy to partner with Con Edison in electrifying most building heating systems by 2050, including those of those of low and moderate income New Yorkers. We welcome the utility adding their voice to ours to promote net-zero building policies for new construction. Heating systems in new buildings, which may last 20 to 30 years, can no longer be fossil fueled in the face of New York's aggressive carbon reduction mandates designed to meet the challenge of the climate crisis.
Amy Chester, Managing Director, Rebuild by Design:
"We are excited that Con Edison is making a commitment to prioritize climate in their Clean Energy Commitment. As our City gets hotter, and wetter with more frequent storms, New Yorkers need to know that they can count on reliable service that will also meet our collective goals to reduce global warming."
Jennifer Mitchell, Executive Director, the HOPE Program:
"The HOPE Program and Sustainable South Bronx are beyond grateful for Con Edison's many years of partnership in preparing New Yorkers for jobs of the future, with a focus on the green workforce. It comes as no surprise to us that Con Edison is doubling down on its Clean Energy Commitment, focused on infrastructure, customer education and empowerment, and community partnerships. We applaud Con Edison for developing actionable and measurable benchmarks to build our region's environmental sustainability."
Cortney Koenig Worrall, President and CEO, the Waterfront Alliance:
Consolidated Edison, Inc. is one of the nation's largest investor-owned energy-delivery companies, with approximately $12 billion in annual revenues and $63 billion in assets. The company provides a wide range of energy-related products and services to its customers through the following subsidiaries: Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc., a regulated utility providing electric service in New York City and New York’s Westchester County, gas service in Manhattan, the Bronx, parts of Queens and parts of Westchester, and steam service in Manhattan; Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc., a regulated utility serving customers in a 1,300-square-mile-area in southeastern New York State and northern New Jersey; Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses, Inc., the second-largest solar developer in the United States, which, through its subsidiaries develops, owns and operates renewable and energy infrastructure projects and provides energy-related products and services to wholesale and retail customers; and Con Edison Transmission, Inc., which falls under the oversight of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and invests in integral electric transmission projects supporting its parent company’s effort to transition to clean, renewable energy. Con Edison Transmission manages both electric and gas assets while seeking to develop electric transmission projects that will bring clean, renewable electricity to customers, focusing on New York, New England, the Mid-Atlantic states and the Midwest.