March 4, 2019 Read More →

U.S. pension funds push big utilities to adopt carbon-free generation plans

Reuters:

Top U.S. pension funds are asking electric utilities to accelerate efforts to cut carbon emissions but will not force the issue with proxy resolutions this spring, hoping market shifts and falling prices for renewable energy have already made executives and directors receptive to the goal.

Investors including New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who oversees retirement funds, and leaders of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System are asking the 20 largest publicly traded electric generators in the United States for detailed plans for achieving carbon-free electricity by 2050 at the latest, according to material seen by Reuters.

Stringer termed decarbonization a “financial necessity” in a statement sent by a spokeswoman. “This initiative makes clear that mobilizing for the planet goes hand-in-hand with protecting our pensions, and we need these commitments now.”

Large utilities receiving the letter include Duke Energy Corp and NRG Energy Inc. Each has already moved toward cutting emissions: Duke has set a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030 from its 2005 levels, and NRG aims to cut emissions in half by 2030 and by 90 percent by 2050 compared with 2014 levels.

Funds involved in Stringer’s effort collectively manage $1.8 trillion and also include Hermes Investment Management and money overseen by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

More: Big U.S. pension funds ask electric utilities for decarbonization plans

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