Western Energy Institute magazine, Fall 2019 issue
by Pintail Power advisor, Judith Schwartz, To the Point
Delivering on aspirational decarbonization goals
There is no question that we are at an inflection point for a clean-energy transition. The public’s enthusiasm has been captured. We’ve seen the emergence of passionate young activists and aggressive carbon reduction goals and mandates adopted by governments, legislatures, commissions, municipalities and corporations. How can utilities deliver on a low-carbon vision at a sustainable cost, while maintaining reliability in the face of extreme weather conditions?
Reservations expressed by incumbents reliant on fossil fuels to maintain reliability are often misinterpreted. There are fundamental differences between deniers of climate change and “clean pragmatists” who argue for economic, operational and environmental sustainability. A fact-based, holistic approach that considers systemwide interdependencies is critical to implementing meaningful decarbonization strategies. This article examines those challenges and identifies four pathways towards a smoother, more-equitable transition.