Ameren, Entergy both commit to reaching net zero CO2 emissions by 2050

Published on October 06, 2020 by Chris Galford

© Shutterstock

Within one week of each other, Ameren and Entergy have pledged to join growing utility-based net zero pledges across the United States and cut CO2 emissions to nothing by 2050.

In this regard, the companies join other major utilities like Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Southern Company, Xcel Energy, Public Service Enterprise Group, DTE Energy, and WEC Energy Group. The commitments have been lauded by organizations like the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

“Utilities already provide reliable and affordable electricity while reducing emissions and protecting environmental quality,” EPRI president Arshad Mansoor said. “All of these utilities that have pledged to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2050 have sent a message to our industry that we need to continue our efforts to advance technologies and alternative fuels that will underpin our environmental and sustainability efforts. What seems like an ambitious target is attainable. Innovation drives this goal.”

For Ameren, the goal will be paired with plans to expand solar and wind generation and retire its entire coal-fired fleet by 2042. The retirements to make that possible will begin in two years. Investments in nuclear and hydropower are also planned, and additional clean energy options will be considered.

At Entergy, the goal is to reduce half of carbon emissions by 2030 compared to 2000 levels, as a milestone on the 2050 push. Along the way, it will move to further integrate renewable energy and storage resources, invest in nuclear power, and expand the use of natural gas generating units while retiring coal and older, less efficient gas-powered units. Emerging technologies will be investigated, collaborations pursued, and enhancements for natural systems like wetlands and forests will be pursued to help absorb carbon.

EPRI is also collaborating with the Gas Technology Institute on a research and development consortium known as the Low Carbon Resources Initiative to identify, develop, demonstrate and deploy low-carbon technologies to help these utilities with their emission reduction goals.

“The blueprint to net zero is EPRI’s Project 2X to 2050, which ramps up energy efficiency, cleaner electricity generation, efficient electrification, and the use of alternatives fuels,” Mansoor said. “Fundamental advances in a variety of low-carbon electric generation technologies and low-carbon chemical energy carriers — such as clean hydrogen, bioenergy, and renewable natural gas — are needed to enable affordable pathways to economy-wide decarbonization.”