FirstEnergy Pledges to Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2050
November 9, 2020
Aligned with our mission to help build a brighter and more sustainable future for the communities we serve, today the company announced a pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The company also set an interim goal for a 30% reduction in greenhouse gases that are directly within our control by 2030, based on 2019 levels.
“We believe climate change is among the most important issues of our time,” said Steve Strah, president and acting CEO. “We will help address this challenge by building a more climate-resilient energy system and supporting the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. Our ambitious new carbon goal and comprehensive climate strategy fully align with our regulated business strategy and support our commitments to our customers, communities and investors, as well as environmental stewardship.”
Our Climate Position and Strategy Statement outlines the company’s ambitious new climate strategy and comprehensive carbon goal. To achieve our goals, we’ve developed strategies across all areas of our business, including:
- Hardening our transmission and distribution systems to reduce the physical risks of climate change
- Replacing conventional utility trucks with electric and hybrid vehicles (see Sept. 22 article Vehicle Fleet Goes Electric) and responsibly replacing other aging equipment that emits greenhouse gasses
- Utilizing advanced technology to enable customers to manage their energy use
- Empowering employees to identify opportunities that drive environmental responsibility
- Supporting renewable and distributed energy resources, including seeking approval in 2021 to construct a solar generation source of at least 50 megawatts in West Virginia
- Making operational changes at our regulated coal-fired generation plants – Harrison and Fort Martin power stations – such as reducing the generation output on each operating unit during periods of low market prices.
It’s important to note that for at least the next ten years, our climate strategy and greenhouse gas reduction goal is not anticipated to negatively impact FirstEnergy’s employees, the local economy or our customers.
Oversight, accountability and risk mitigation for the climate policy will be provided by an executive steering committee in partnership with our Board of Directors and company leadership.
Forward-Looking Statements: This news release includes forward-looking statements based on information currently available to management. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. These statements include declarations regarding management’s intents, beliefs and current expectations. These statements typically contain, but are not limited to, the terms “anticipate,” “potential,” “expect,” “forecast,” “target,” “will,” “intend,” “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “plan” and similar words. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, which may include the following: the results of our ongoing internal investigation and evaluation of its controls framework, the extent and duration of COVID-19 and the impacts to our business, operations and financial condition resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19 including, but not limited to, disruption of businesses in our territories, volatile capital and credit markets, legislative and regulatory actions, the effectiveness of our pandemic and business continuity plans, the precautionary measures we are taking on behalf of our customers, contractors and employees, our customers’ ability to make their utility payment and the potential for supply-chain disruptions; the risks and uncertainties associated with government investigations regarding Ohio House Bill 6 and related matters including potential adverse impacts on federal or state regulatory matters; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation and similar proceedings; legislative and regulatory developments, including, but not limited to, matters related to rates, compliance and enforcement activity; mitigating exposure for remedial activities associated with retired and formerly owned electric generation assets, including, but not limited to, risks associated with the decommissioning of TMI-2; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, executing our transmission and distribution investment plans, controlling costs, improving our credit metrics, strengthening our balance sheet and growing earnings; economic and weather conditions affecting future operating results, such as a recession, significant weather events and other natural disasters, and associated regulatory events or actions in response to such conditions; changes in assumptions regarding economic conditions within our territories, the reliability of our transmission and distribution system, or the availability of capital or other resources supporting identified transmission and distribution investment opportunities; changes in customers’ demand for power, including, but not limited to, the impact of climate change or energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us and/or our major industrial and commercial customers or others with which we do business; the risks associated with cyber-attacks and other disruptions to our information technology system, which may compromise our operations, and data security breaches of sensitive data, intellectual property and proprietary or personally identifiable information; the ability to comply with applicable reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes to environmental laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, those related to climate change; changing market conditions affecting the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our pension trusts and other trust funds, or causing us to make contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger, than currently anticipated; labor disruptions by our unionized workforce; changes to significant accounting policies; any changes in tax laws or regulations, or adverse tax audit results or rulings; the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with our financial plans, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us, including the increasing number of financial institutions evaluating the impact of climate change on their investment decisions; actions that may be taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect either our access to or terms of financing or our financial condition and liquidity; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our SEC filings. Dividends declared from time to time on FirstEnergy Corp.’s common stock during any period may in the aggregate vary from prior periods due to circumstances considered by FirstEnergy Corp.’s Board of Directors at the time of the actual declarations. A security rating is not a recommendation to buy or hold securities and is subject to revision or withdrawal at any time by the assigning rating agency. Each rating should be evaluated independently of any other rating. The foregoing factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements and risks that are included in our filings with the SEC, including but not limited to the most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. The foregoing review of factors also should not be construed as exhaustive. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such factors, nor assess the impact of any such factor on FirstEnergy Corp.’s business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. FirstEnergy expressly disclaims any current intention to update or revise, except as required by law, any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.