Here in Oregon, we are experiencing the real-life impacts of climate change and recognize the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Clean, renewable electricity is central to an emissions-free future, and we know our customers—families, individuals, businesses large and small, and the communities where we live—expect us to reduce our emissions. Today, we’re committing to going the distance as quickly as possible with our new goal that aims to achieve companywide net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
To meet this goal, we will touch every part of our business: from the power we supply to our customers to the vehicles we drive, the materials we purchase, to how we operate our buildings. Specifically, we know our customers and communities want to be served by clean electricity, which is why we are pledging to reduce emissions associated with the power we supply to customers by more than 80% by 2030¹ as we work to achieve an aspirational goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions associated with the electricity we serve our customers by 2040. Along the way, we will continue to keep the essential electric service that our customers and communities rely upon reliable and affordable today and into the future. We’re confident that, working together with our customers and communities, we will reduce emissions and continue building Oregon’s clean energy future.
A vital step in that direction is underway as we realize a decade’s work to close the coal-fired Boardman Generating Station by the end of 2020. We decided to close Boardman 20 years ahead of schedule which is a key milestone in the work PGE is doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We have been preparing for the last decade to obtain the energy and capacity to meet customer demand by bringing online energy storage, new renewable resources and new distributed resources like demand-response (when customers voluntarily shift their energy use during peak times to help balance the grid).
PGE aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across our company by 2040. Our investments in new clean energy and renewable technologies puts us on the right path to accelerate our decarbonization goals and advance a clean energy future. In instances when natural energy sources like wind, solar or hydro aren’t available, or in times of emergency, we rely on on-demand resources like natural gas to generate the power we need to meet customer demand. That is reflected in our 2018 and 2019 emissions data. In 2019, our natural gas fleet made up for below-average hydropower and an approximately 10% year-on-year decrease in wind production. We also renewed some of our long-term hydro contracts in the region, but at reduced volumes, due to increasing and competing needs for that energy by hydro operators.
A bright future is ahead. We are becoming increasingly energy independent as we procure additional renewable and non-emitting resources to meet our capacity and energy needs, providing better control over our power supply and its composition. In addition, 2020 is looking a lot better for wind, which is up 30% year-to-date compared to 2019. Our greenhouse gas emissions intensity is moving in the right direction and will continue to fall as we eliminate coal from our system.
In 2019, we broke ground on the first-of-its scale Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility, which integrates 300 megawatts of wind and 50 megawatts of solar generation with 30 megawatts of battery storage in one location. Together, these technologies ensure that wind and solar energy can be generated when the conditions are optimal and used when its most needed. The wind portion of this facility will be fully operational by the end of 2020. The project stems from a need for new renewables identified through our 2016 integrated resource planning process, guided by the Oregon Public Utility Commission with generous public input.
We also published our 2019 Integrated Resource Plan in July 2019 that identified the best path forward to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions even further while maintaining a safe, reliable and affordable system. Regulators have given us the green light to:
Acquire all available cost-effective energy efficiency, working with the Energy Trust of Oregon (adding 157 average megawatts more of energy efficiency);
Acquire cost-effective demand response resources (141 megawatts in winter and 211 megawatts in summer, with additional customer battery storage);
Pursue cost-competitive bilateral agreements for additional dispatchable generating capacity from existing resources; and,
Conduct competitive bidding processes for non-emitting resources to serve our customers’ needs, including energy storage and up to 150 average megawatts of new renewable resources.
In 2019, we launched Green Future Impact, a new 100% renewable product for our biggest customers, who are helping to bring online Oregon’s largest solar facility at 162 megawatts, in partnership with Avangrid Renewables.
In 2019, we continued tackling the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon and in the U.S. as a whole — transportation. We expanded access to electricity as a transportation fuel, opening four new Electric Avenue vehicle charging hubs across the region, and launched a pilot project with the City of Portland to install electric vehicle chargers on existing utility poles in the city’s right-of-way. Additionally, we announced plans to bring the first electric school buses to Oregon. We also helped to establish Oregon’s zero-emission (ZEV) vehicle adoption goals through Senate Bill 1044, which includes time-driven goals for registering ZEVs and achieving 90% of new car sales. The PGE Drive Change Fund, funded by the Department of Environmental Quality’s Oregon Clean Fuels Program, awarded more than $2.25 million to 16 local community organizations, non-profits and businesses to increase access to electric transportation.
In 2019, PGE completed a study to inform our plans to electrify our fleet of almost 1,100 vehicles. By examining the types of vehicles we need, the kind of infrastructure and facilities we’ll need, the investments needed to complete the transition and options for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Earlier this year, we committed to electrifying 100% of our forklifts and light duty vehicles, such as sedans, SUVs and small pick-up trucks by 2025. We have also committed to these goals by 2030:
70% of our large pickup trucks, SUVs and vans
40% of our medium duty vehicles such as flatbeds, service bodies and manlifts
30% of our heavy-duty vehicles such as digger derricks, manlifts and dump trucks
Through our study, we’ve created a guide to help other companies and organizations evaluate electric vehicle adoption and follow our path more easily.
In 2019, we enhanced both PGE’s equity-based Long-Term Incentive Award Program and Annual Cash Incentive (ACI) Award Program to strengthen their alignment to our corporate strategic priorities, which are: decarbonize, electrify and perform. Climate change presents a long-term risk to our business, and PGE is proud to support Oregon’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Our Board believes that compensation tied to our decarbonization efforts should have a long-term perspective, and our executives should be held accountable over a multi-year period. In 2019, our Board tied one-third of our executives’ long-term performance compensation to our progress, measured against quantitative goals, in decarbonizing our energy supply.
The 2019 ACI program ties 20% of executive awards to three of our strategic imperatives: advancing our smart integrated grid strategy; environmental leadership; and retaining and growing PGE’s customer base.
PGE will continue to ensure that our incentive awards are aligned with our strategic priorities.