FirstEnergy aims for carbon neutrality by 2050, 30 percent greenhouse gas reduction by 2030

Published on November 11, 2020 by Chris Galford

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FirstEnergy Corp. pledged itself to a greener direction this week, seeking to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gases within its direct operational control by 2030.

Reductions will be based on 2019 levels, as laid out in its Climate Position and Strategy Statement. To move it toward these goals, the company will harden its transmission and distribution system, replace existing utility trucks with electric and hybrid vehicles, reduce emissions among its small regulated generation fleet and integrate both advanced energy management technology and carbon pricing into financial forecasting.

“We believe climate change is among the most important issues of our time,” Steven Strah, president and acting CEO of FirstEnergy, said. “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 are fully aligned with our regulated business strategy and support our commitments to our customers, communities and investors, as well as environmental stewardship.”

FirstEnergy’s 10 electric distribution companies serve customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York.

FirstEnergy intends to transition away from coal-fired power in West Virginia by 2050. At the same time, it’s supporting renewables and distributed energy resources, as shown by its plan to seek approval in 2021 for at least 50 megawatts of solar energy generation in West Virginia. An executive steering committee has also been set up to handle oversight, accountability and risk mitigation for its new climate policy.

So far, FirstEnergy has reduced CO2 emissions by approximately 80 percent over 2005 levels, through a mix of new technologies and the retirement or transfer of existing operations.