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ConEd Banks On Energy Efficiency Near Term For Clean Energy Transition

(Credit: Pexels)

In response to New York’s clean energy goals and requirements, Consolidated Edison Inc. (ConEd), one of the largest utilities in the U.S., is banking on energy efficiency programs in the near term, and renewables and electrification in the longer term.

New York’s nation-leading climate targets include the following. Additionally, New York City announced a gas ban in new construction buildings by at least 2030.

  • 85% Reduction in GHG Emissions by 2050
  • 100% Zero-emission Electricity by 2040
  • 70% Renewable Energy by 2030
  • 9,000 MW of Offshore Wind by 2035
  • 3,000 MW of Energy Storage by 2030
  • 6,000 MW of Solar by 2025
  • 22 Million Tons of Carbon Reduction through Energy Efficiency and Electrification

Speaking at a recent Our Energy Policy virtual event about achieving a clean energy future, ConEd CEO Tim Cawley said, “Energy efficiency is the best, first answer and we will triple our investment by 2030,” noting that while transportation is the largest source of pollution in the United States and New York state, in New York City the largest portion of greenhouse gas emissions comes from buildings.

According to its System Energy Efficiency Plan (SEEP) filed last year with the Department of Public Service, ConEd is investing over $1.7 billion to increase its energy efficiency savings by 2025 to provide clean heating alternatives, support low-and moderate-income customers and communities, and help customers manage their energy use. Energy efficiency programs are projected to almost double, from approximately 2,445,000MMBTUin 2019 to approximately 4,723,000 MMBTUin 2025.

Cawley acknowledged that the utility will need to transition its natural gas system over the next few decades, and is working with researchers to evaluate hydrogen and renewable natural gas as potential replacements. ConEd is among 39 companies that have signed on to the Low-Carbon Resources Initiative (LCRI), a 5-year, $100 million research and development initiative aimed at identifying and developing commercially viable new technologies and solutions for deep decarbonization of the power sector.

ConEd is the second-largest solar producer in the United States, through its renewables development arm, but is restricted from owning large-scale generation in New York. Cawley said the utility has been advocating to change that, and believes its experience with renewables could help to add the resources needed. 

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