Climate change poses a threat to all our communities. From coastal towns and riverfront communities, to urban centers and suburban neighborhoods, the frequency and severity of storms, heat waves, droughts and wildfires is increasing. Among the other extremes of the year 2020, it was also one of the two hottest years on record, tying with 2016. The need to take bold action to both reduce the emissions that drive climate change and build resilience for an unpredictable future is critical and Pepco is committed to doing its part.
As the local electricity provider for the District of Columbia, we are connected to our customers and communities by more than just wires and recognize the role we can and must play in helping to drive actions with positive climate impact. And, while Pepco does not own power plants, we know there are actions we can take to reduce the greenhouse gas footprint of our own operations, including our buildings, fleet and grid, and help our customers and communities do the same.
Pepco supports the District’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and recently launched a Climate Change Commitment aligned with this effort. Pepco’s Climate Change Commitment includes more than 20 actions to help combat the climate crisis and drive its own greenhouse gas emissions down by 70 percent over the next five years.
“Climate change is real, and we are seeing its many effects today,” notes Melissa Lavinson, senior vice president of Governmental and External Affairs for Pepco Holdings. “We need to take action now to ensure a clean and healthy environment for our families, our communities and future generations. And, for Pepco, it all starts with building a smarter, stronger and cleaner energy system and providing climate solutions that benefit all Washingtonians.”
The company is also exploring solutions as an energy delivery company that provides products and services to customers to enable them to take action to reduce their greenhouse gas footprint; and as a community partner that can enable programs and initiatives to help reduce energy use, build resilience and advance clean energy technologies, like local solar, electrified transportation and battery storage.
Pepco is making land and roof space available for community solar projects to benefit limited-income customers and help the District meet its local solar goals. And, Pepco itself will switch to 100 percent clean and renewable electricity for electricity consumed in its own buildings and convert to energy-efficient lighting across its District properties by the end of 2025.
To encourage all District residents to use energy more efficiently and drive down emissions in the built environment, Pepco collaborated with the District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment, the DC Sustainable Energy Utility, the District Government and more than 20 environmental, business and community groups to launch #ReduceEnergyUseDC to inspire residents to save energy, save money and help flight climate change.
Pepco will also take action to create systemic changes to energy consumption and cultivate long-lasting consumer behaviors through a suite of energy efficiency programs that will be proposed to and considered by the DC Public Service Commission in 2021.
At the same time, Pepco is building out the infrastructure necessary to support greater electrification of taxis, rideshare vehicles, buses, and other vehicles in the District. Pepco, itself, will electrify half of its own passenger and medium-duty fleet by 2030. The company also offers EV charging rates to its District customers and will support an innovative pilot to electrify food trucks.
“Local energy delivery companies like Pepco are in the position to tackle climate change on a number of fronts, but we can’t do it alone,” says Lavinson. “Developing a unified approach to solve climate problems equitably, effectively and expeditiously is among the biggest challenges we face. By being a good partner and building a smarter, stronger and cleaner electric grid, we know we can be an important part of the change, and create good paying jobs for District residents, while expanding business opportunities for local businesses in the process.”
As 2021 progresses, Pepco will be making similar commitments for its Maryland operations, customers, and communities. It will be building from existing initiatives such as EVSmart, which enables electrified transportation, its award winning EmpowerMD energy efficiency programs, which helps customers save energy and money, its pending Smart Streetlights proposal and its Sustainable Community Grants program.
For more information on Pepco’s Climate Change Commitment and to track how the company is progressing toward it’s climate goals, visit: pepco.com/Climate.