Utility Transformation Challenge Utility Transformation Survey Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker™ Utility Transformation Profile Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) What is the SEPA Utility Transformation Challenge? SEPA’s Utility Transformation Challenge is an initiative to assess and present a holistic view of U.S. electric utilities’ progress in transforming the energy system to a carbon-free system that is safe, affordable, reliable, resilient and equitable. The Utility Transformation Challenge explores the critical role utilities and their stakeholders play in addressing these opportunities and challenges. The primary components of the newest Utility Transformation Challenge are the 2022 Utility Transformation Survey, the 2023 Utility Transformation Profile and the 2023 Utility Transformation Leaderboard. How is this different from what SEPA has done in previous years? Until 2020, SEPA surveyed U.S. electric utilities annually to collect and assess deployment data for grid-tied solar power, energy storage and demand response (DR). In 2020, in recognition of the increased focus on carbon reduction, both within the industry and economy-wide, SEPA launched the Utility Transformation Challenge — an initiative to assess and present a holistic view of U.S. electric utilities’ progress in transforming the energy system to a carbon-free system that is safe, affordable, reliable, resilient and equitable. The Utility Transformation Challenge significantly expands SEPA’s previous annual industry surveys by focusing on utility leadership, initiatives, programs and innovation, among other activities What is the Utility Transformation Survey? SEPA designed and conducted the 2022 Utility Transformation Survey to collect comprehensive information from electric utilities of all types, sizes and geographic areas, about how they are rising to the challenge of a carbon-free energy transition that is safe, affordable, reliable, resilient and equitable. The 2022 Utility Transformation Survey contained two distinct survey components. The Organizational Leadership portion was offered to investor-owned utility parent companies, single-entity investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities, cooperative utilities, and generation and transmission utilities and intended to capture information related to carbon-reduction targets and plans and other corporate sustainability initiatives. The Operational Activities survey portion was offered to individual operating companies and gathered information related to a wide range of utility operations, many of which may differ across states and jurisdictions. SEPA conducted the 2022 Utility Transformation Survey in the spring and summer of 2022. Participation was voluntary. Who was eligible to participate in the Utility Transformation Challenge? All U.S. electric investor-owned utilities (IOUs), public power utilities, electric distribution cooperatives, and generation and transmission utilities. How many utilities participated in the Utility Transformation Survey? SEPA received survey responses from 118 individual utilities, representing more than 77 million customer accounts, or approximately 52% of all U.S. electric customer accounts. How many investor-owned utilities participated in the Utility Transformation Survey? How many public power utilities? How many distribution cooperatives? How many generation and transmission utilities? SEPA received survey responses from 83 investor-owned utilities, 16 public power utilities, 13 distribution cooperatives, and six generation and transmission utilities. Is the full list of utilities that participated in the Utility Transformation Challenge available? That information is not public. With the exception of Leaderboard Utilities, SEPA assured utility participants that they would remain anonymous. What is the 2023 Utility Transformation Profile? This data-rich report presents the findings of the latest SEPA Utility Transformation Challenge. It highlights utilities that are leading the industry’s transformation by exploring four dimensions of utility transformation: (1) Clean Energy Resources, (2) Corporate Leadership, (3) Modern Grid Enablement, and (4) Aligned Actions and Engagement. Using these dimensions, the report identifies the common attributes of utilities leading the industry transformation. The report also provides insight into where the industry stands as a whole. What is the 2023 Utility Transformation Leaderboard? This list recognizes 12 utilities — Leaderboard Utilities — that demonstrated the greatest progress toward a modern and carbon-free energy system, based on the findings of the 2022 Utility Transformation Survey. The 2023 Utility Transformation Leaderboard is published within the 2023 Utility Transformation Profile. Why are the findings presented in the 2023 Utility Transformation Profile meaningful? The transformation to a carbon-free energy system requires much more than clean energy generation. The 2023 Utility Transformation Profile offers the industry a more comprehensive assessment of utility actions, initiatives and leadership that support the transition to a carbon-free energy future. The results show utilities, regulators, legislators, technology and solution providers, investors, and customers the opportunities available to accelerate the transition. The findings presented in the 2023 Utility Transformation Profile are based on the results of the 2022 Utility Transformation Survey and insights gained from leading utilities. These findings form the basis for a set of conclusions and key recommendations for utilities of all sizes, types and geographies as they pursue their own path toward transformation. What form did the Utility Transformation Survey questions take? Nearly all survey questions took the form of multiple choice or “select all that apply.” A very small number of “fill in the blank” questions were included. What timeframe does the data from the 2022 Utility Transformation Survey represent? SEPA conducted the 2022 Utility Transformation Survey in the spring and summer of 2022. For all questions, SEPA asked participants to respond based on the status of decisions, actions, processes, or practices that were approved and in effect when the survey was conducted, unless stated otherwise in the report. Is the data from the 2022 Utility Transformation Survey publicly available? The 2023 Utility Transformation Profile presents a large amount of aggregated industry data addressing specific issues. Additional project data is not publicly available. (SEPA assured utility participants that they and the data they provided would remain anonymous, with the exception of Leaderboard Utilities.) Are the questions from the 2022 Utility Transformation Survey publicly available? No. How did SEPA evaluate participating utilities? SEPA evaluated utilities based on their survey responses, which served as the quantitative basis for the evaluation framework in this report. SEPA directly analyzed responses to many survey questions. Other responses yielded additional insight and background for contextual purposes. For evaluation purposes, SEPA assigned individual survey questions a scoring weight. In order to measure an individual utility’s progress, points awarded were totaled across each of the four dimensions of utility transformation to determine an overall score. Utilities that did not meet the minimum threshold for survey completion did not receive an overall score and were not eligible for Leaderboard consideration. Will SEPA publish or share its full scoring methodology and evaluation framework for the Utility Transformation Challenge? While the details of our scoring methodology and evaluation framework are not publicly available, the 2023 Utility Transformation Profile provides a helpful overview of our approach to both. (See Appendices A and B.) Who was eligible for the 2023 Utility Tranformation Leaderboard? Utilities that met the minimum threshold for survey completion were eligible for consideration. Those that did not meet the threshold were not eligible. My utility participated in the Utility Transformation Challenge, by responding to the 2022 Utility Transformation Survey. How can I find out how it performed overall? All participating utilities received a customized scorecard providing insight into their performance and evaluation results. (SEPA distributed scorecards directly to participants in December 2022. For a copy of your utility’s scorecard, please contact [email protected].) Will there be another Utility Transformation Challenge? Yes. SEPA intends to regularly assess utilities’ progress in the transformation. Why should my utility participate in the Utility Transformation Challenge? The Utility Transformation Challenge is an opportunity for utilities to participate in a comprehensive assessment of the industry’s efforts to transition to a carbon-free energy future. Under this initiative, we collect and analyze extensive information on how utilities are rising to this challenge, with a focus on leadership and innovation. We need your help to capture this information, and we want to learn about your utility’s efforts to achieve transformation. Participation in the Utility Transformation Challenge allows utilities of all sizes, types and geographies an opportunity to be recognized for innovation and leadership, and to contribute to broader industry-wide understanding. How can my utility participate in the next Utility Transformation Challenge? Please visit our website at www.sepapower.org/utility-transformation-challenge/, and indicate your interest by completing the form. Who is SEPA? The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) is dedicated to helping electric power stakeholders address the most pressing issues they encounter as they pursue the transformation to a carbon-free energy system. We are a trusted partner providing education, research, standards, and collaboration to help utilities, electric customers, and other industry players across three pathways: Regulatory and Business Innovation, Grid Integration, and Electrification. Through educational activities, working groups, peer-to-peer engagements and custom projects, SEPA convenes interested parties to facilitate information exchange and knowledge transfer to offer the highest value for our members and partner organizations. How can I join SEPA? To join SEPA or to find out more about SEPA membership benefits, visit www.sepapower.org/community/membership/become-member. Whom should I contact at SEPA with a media inquiry related to the Utility Transformation Challenge? Adam Wasserman at [email protected] or 02.559.2033. Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker™ What is the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker™? A public resource that aggregates, summarizes and tracks industry commitments to carbon reduction. How is the data organized? The data is divided into three different maps (tabs): Utilities and Utility Parents, Distribution Utilities, and 100% State Requirements. Separating these different types of targets is necessary to understand the spectrum and nuances of carbon-reduction targets — including who has adopted a target, and why — within the industry. What does the 'Utilities & Utility Parents' map include? This map displays carbon-reduction targets adopted by individual electric utilities (including G&Ts), as well as individual electric utilities that are subject to a statutory 100% state-level requirement. It also displays carbon-reduction targets adopted voluntarily by parent companies of utilities that provide retail electric distribution service. A target adopted by a utility parent does not necessarily require individual utilities owned by the parent to comply with the overarching target. What does the 'Distribution Utilities' map include? This map displays carbon-reduction targets adopted voluntarily by individual electric utilities, as well as by individual electric utilities that are subject to a statutory 100% state-level requirement. It does not display individual electric utilities owned by a utility parent that has adopted a voluntary carbon-reduction target (unless the individual utility is subject to a statutory 100% state-level requirement). All utilities displayed provide retail electric distribution service. What does the '100% State Requirements' map include? This map displays U.S. states that have established a binding, statutory 100% clean or renewable energy standard, or a binding, statutory net-zero requirement that applies to electric distribution utilities. These requirements can apply to specific utilities, to specific types of utilities, or economy-wide. Related state policy actions that are less enforceable, including executive orders and non-binding goals, are not included. The information displayed on this map reflects SEPA’s best understanding of current state policy requirements that apply to electric utilities. Does the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker classify targets that apply to public power utilities, including municipal utilities, as voluntary or mandatory? Targets adopted by public power utilities that exceed or are independent of a statutory 100% state-level requirement are classified as voluntary. In the 'Distribution Utilities' map, for the Voluntary/Mandatory filter, what does “Both” indicate? It indicates that a distribution utility is subject to a statutory 100% state-level requirement, and that the utility also has established a voluntary goal that exceeds or supplements state requirement. Why does the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker include 100% clean energy standards and 100% renewable energy standards established by states? A 100% clean energy standard typically requires electricity to be generated by zero-carbon resources (typically including nuclear energy), whereas a 100% renewable energy standard (also known as a renewable portfolio standard, or RPS) requires electricity to be generated solely by renewable resources (typically excluding nuclear energy). Under both scenarios, electric utilities subject to the requirement must provide carbon-free electricity. Do the requirements displayed in the 100% State Requirements map apply to all electric utilities in the state? This varies by state. Use the “hover” function to view details on each state requirement. Why doesn't the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker include targets or state requirements designed to achieve a portion (i.e., less than 100%) of clean or renewable energy? Such targets and requirements typically don’t take into account potential load growth and don’t necessarily reduce overall carbon emissions. Are targets designed to reduce carbon intensity included? No. Such targets don’t necessarily reduce overall carbon emissions. Are interim targets included? Interim targets are provided for voluntary carbon-reduction targets adopted by utilities and utility parent companies, and for statutory 100% state-level requirements. This data is available in the downloadable CSV file. (Interim targets at the individual utility level under statutory 100% state-level requirements are not available.) What is the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard? The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard provides guidance and includes requirements for companies (and other entities) seeking to prepare a corporate-level GHG emissions inventory. Two primary objectives of the Standard are to provide information that can be used by companies to develop an emissions-reduction strategy, and to increase consistency and transparency in emissions accounting and reporting. What are Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions? Does the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker include this information? A key component of the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard is its use of Scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions categories to define and delineate direct and indirect emissions sources. For electric utilities, examples of emission sources within these categories include: Scope 1 (direct) emissions: utility-owned generation; other sources of fuel combustion, including company-owned vehicles, etc. Scope 2 (indirect) emissions: purchased electricity used to power company facilities Scope 3 (indirect) emissions: purchased electricity sold for end-use customer consumption, production of purchased materials, etc. The SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker provides data on Scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions for voluntary targets adopted by utilities and utility parent companies. What does it mean if a carbon-reduction target is aligned with climate science? This means that the entity that adopted the target is working with a third-party organization, such as the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), to verify that the target is in alignment with climate science (i.e., the target aligns with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C). How often is the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker updated? The SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker is a living resource that SEPA updates regularly as new information becomes available. To alert us to new or missing data, or a possible correction, please email [email protected]. Where does SEPA get the information provided in the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker? Directly from documents published by individual utilities, utility parents, G&Ts and state governments. With nearly 700 utility members, SEPA closely monitors industry developments related to carbon reduction. How can I alert SEPA to new data, missing data or a possible correction? Please email [email protected]. Is SEPA planning future enhancements to the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker? Yes! If you have specific suggestions, please email [email protected]. How should I cite the SEPA Carbon-Reduction Tracker in a report? SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker™. Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA). Retrieved [Month Day, Year], from https://sepapower.org/utility-transformation-challenge/utility-carbon-reduction-tracker. I’m a reporter or a government official. How can I talk with SEPA about the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker? Contact Adam Wasserman at [email protected] or 202.559.2033.