Con Edison releases report on Climate Change Resilience and Adoption

Published on February 01, 2021 by Dave Kovaleski

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In a new report released last week, Con Edison outlines how it will incorporate climate change into its operations and emergency response.

The report, Climate Change Resilience and Adoption, includes a summary of activities the company took in 2020 to advance energy resilience in the face of climate change. It also looks at areas that the company, which provides energy to customers in New York City and Westchester County, will focus on moving forward. The company will also form a new executive-level committee focused on climate risk and resilience.

“The New York City region will continue to thrive in a climate-impacted 21st century but keeping ahead of climate change requires new ways of thinking and acting,” Nelson Yip, director of strategic planning at Con Edison, said. “The changes we are making today will help Con Edison maintain safe, reliable, and resilient operations for our customers in the decades ahead.”

Con Edison’s efforts to address climate change push beyond the goals set out in the Paris Agreement. The company supports the state’s ambitious climate and clean energy goals. The company is already using its climate change projections for decision making in areas such as power supply forecasting. Starting in 2021, it will incorporate climate considerations into other processes.

“The work by Con Edison to anticipate and prepare for extreme events caused or worsened by climate change advances the global state of the art,” Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, said. “It represents the innovative application of advanced climate science to the highly technical details of utility system management. It will benefit not only Con Edison’s customers but also utility companies around the world that are looking for models on how to cope with climate change.”

Through its Clean Energy Commitment, Con Edison will offer its customers the chance to buy 100 percent clean electricity by 2040. Further, the company will accelerate the move toward electric vehicles and invest even more aggressively in energy efficiency.

“As the climate crisis worsens, we must continually adapt our systems to ensure that New York City remains a global center of innovation and opportunity. Con Edison’s efforts to harden its infrastructure and prepare for more severe extreme weather will strengthen resiliency citywide while increasing the reliability of the electric grid,” Jainey Bavishi, director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Resiliency, said.

Con Edison delivers electricity, natural gas, and steam to 3.5 million customers in New York City and Westchester County.

“Con Edison’s work to build climate risk into its long-term planning puts it at the forefront of utilities preparing to meet the demands of electrification. This is good news for New Yorkers who are poised to rely more and more on the electric grid as a source of clean energy – including the growing population of electric vehicle drivers,” Elizabeth Stein, lead counsel, Energy Transition Strategy at Environmental Defense Fund, said.