- Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) joined 80 other companies that have signed onto President Barack Obama's American Business Act on Climate Pledge, pushing for action on climate change while making a case for stronger innovation in the private sector, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
- The utility pledged to reach 60% carbon free energy, and said it will invest $3 billion annually through 2020 on grid modernization efforts.
- PG&E also said it will help weatherize 500,000 low-income homes, and will redouble efforts to support the installation of rooftop solar.
PG&E's CEO and President Tony Earley, along with a handful of other corporate leaders, met Monday with President Obama to discuss climate change and ways the United States can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also bolstering the nation's businesses. PG&E joined 80 other companies who have now signed on to Obama's American Business Act on Climate Pledge.
Obama made the case for climate change action merging with business innovation after the roundtable, saying it is not only a moral issue but "really important for America’s bottom line and economic growth."
"If we are at the forefront of this, if we are the innovators, if we are the early adaptors, if we are the example-setters, then we’re the ones who are going to be creating and selling the products and services that help the entire world adapt to a clean-energy future," he said following the meeting. "If we are lagging behind, it’s not going to happen."
The Climate Pledge kicked off in July, with an initial 13 companies that included Alcoa, Apple, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Cargill, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, PepsiCo, UPS, and Walmart. There are now a total of 81 companies involved, with a collective 9 million employees and about $5 trillion in market capitalization.
The effort to gather businesses in support of climate change action pushes ahead of the United Nations' climate summit in Paris this upcoming November, Huffington Post reports. Signing the pledge showcases "that the American private sector is stepping up," said Brian Deese, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, according to the Huffington Post.
For PG&E's part, the utility has pledged a wide range of efforts including to provide its 16 million customers with more than 60% carbon-free energy. The utility also said it will support the implementation of the Clean Power Plan, invest approximately $3 billion a year through 2020 to both modernize the grid, and speed the adoption of rooftop solar installations by improving on its interconnection times.
“A modern grid is absolutely essential to integrating and optimizing all of the new clean energy technologies we’re seeing today and to our success in achieving our shared goals for reducing greenhouse gases,” PG&E’s Earley said in a statement after the meeting.
But Earley also took a moment to criticize existing regulatory policies that support investment in the grid, but are not keeping pace technology and innovation.
“We have to get the policies right — both at the state and federal level," he said. "Tax policies, permitting policies and ratemaking policies. If we get them right, utilities will make the right investments to not only achieve our climate change goals but to create good jobs as part of a clean energy economy."
The San Francisco Chronicle reports Monday's meeting was attended by business leaders from large corporations including: Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co.; Hershey Co.; Johnson & Johnson; and Intel Corp.