Despite considerable uncertainty in the world today, the clean energy and energy efficiency transition is progressing at a remarkable pace. On March 4, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy released its annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, which showcased how 2021 was a record-breaking year for deployment of renewable power, battery storage and sustainable transportation. An unprecedented injection of new capital into companies, technologies and projects, and a wave of supportive new policies helped the U.S. advance toward a net-zero future.
“Each year, the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook provides vital insights about the progress and speed at which the global energy transition is accelerating, and where investment opportunities are needed to advance electrification and decarbonization,” said Lisa Larroque Alexander, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer of Sempra.
“America is well on the path to securing its position as a leader in the energy transition through significant public and private investment across all sectors of our economy. Investment in energy transition assets in the U.S. increased 70% over the last five years, and Sempra is proud to help drive that growth. Today, we are more committed than ever to advancing electrification and decarbonization and investing in the critical infrastructure that will allow us to deliver increasingly cleaner energy to our nearly 40 million consumers across North America.”
Here are three facts from the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook that show how the country advanced the energy transition in 2021:
$27.8 billion invested in electric transmission
This 11% increase in electric transmission investments last year was driven in large part by the need to upgrade infrastructure designed to be safer and more resilient to climate change and other threats. Additionally, investments were made to bring more renewables online and reduce congestion to deliver clean energy more efficiently and reliably. These themes are reflected in Sempra’s recent and projected capital investments, which are focused on safety and reliability at our California and Texas utilities, including a top-tier wildfire mitigation program at Sempra subsidiary San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E).
Global clean energy investments top $700 billion
In 2021, the world’s investments in clean energy technologies surged past $700 billion for the first time, with the U.S. accounting for $105 billion, an increase of 11% from the previous year. At Sempra, we believe energy markets are going to evolve dramatically over the next 30 years — with energy investments centering on cleaner forms of electrification and decarbonization strategies across all sectors of the economy.
Renewable natural gas (RNG) and hydrogen investments soar
The U.S. invested $200 million in developing hydrogen technology, doubling what was spent in 2020. Roughly $3 billion was earmarked for renewable natural gas investment in 2021. Sempra subsidiary Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) is continuing to progress toward its previously announced goal of 20% RNG deliveries to its core customers by 2030. SoCalGas recently announced a proposal to develop what would be the nation's largest green hydrogen energy infrastructure system, the Angeles Link.
Sempra invests in critical new infrastructure to expand electrification and decarbonization in the markets we serve. We believe doing so supports moving cleaner sources of energy onto the grid and is an essential part of powering new solutions to society’s climate challenges, as well as building a healthy economy and better quality of life for our communities.
This article contains statements that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are based on assumptions with respect to the future, involve risks and uncertainties, and are not guarantees. Future results may differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements represent our estimates and assumptions only as of the date of this article. We assume no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other factors.
In this article, forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as "believes," "expects," "intends," "anticipates," "plans," "estimates," "projects," "forecasts," "should," "could," "would," "will," "confident," "may," "can," "potential," "possible," "proposed," "in process," "under construction," "in development," "opportunity," "target," "outlook," "maintain," "continue," "goal," "aim," "commit," or similar expressions, or when we discuss our guidance, priorities, strategy, goals, vision, mission, opportunities, projections, intentions or expectations.
Factors, among others, that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those described in any forward-looking statements include risks and uncertainties relating to: California wildfires, including the risks that we may be found liable for damages regardless of fault and that we may not be able to recover all or a substantial portion of costs from insurance, the wildfire fund established by California Assembly Bill 1054, in rates from customers or a combination thereof; decisions, investigations, regulations, issuances or revocations of permits and other authorizations, renewals of franchises, and other actions by (i) the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Comisión Reguladora de Energía, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Public Utility Commission of Texas, and other regulatory and governmental bodies and (ii) states, counties, cities and other jurisdictions in the U.S., Mexico and other countries in which we do business; the success of business development efforts, construction projects and acquisitions and divestitures, including risks in (i) the ability to make a final investment decision, (ii) completing construction projects or other transactions on schedule and budget, (iii) the ability to realize anticipated benefits from any of these efforts if completed, and (iv) obtaining the consent or approval of partners or other third parties, including governmental entities and regulatory bodies; the resolution of civil and criminal litigation, regulatory inquiries, investigations and proceedings, arbitrations, and property disputes, including those related to the natural gas leak at Southern California Gas Company's (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility; changes to laws, including proposed changes to the Mexican constitution that could materially limit access to the electric generation market and changes to Mexico's trade rules that could materially limit our ability to import, export, transport and store hydrocarbons; failure of foreign governments and state-owned entities to honor their contracts and commitments; actions by credit rating agencies to downgrade our credit ratings or to place those ratings on negative outlook and our ability to borrow on favorable terms and meet our debt service obligations; the impact of energy and climate policies, legislation and rulemaking, as well as related goals set, and actions taken, by companies in our industry, including actions to reduce or eliminate reliance on natural gas generally and any deterioration of or increased uncertainty in the political or regulatory environment for California natural gas distribution companies and the risk of nonrecovery for stranded assets; the pace of the development and adoption of new technologies in the energy sector, including those designed to support governmental and private party energy and climate goals, and our ability to timely and economically incorporate them into our business; weather, natural disasters, pandemics, accidents, equipment failures, explosions, acts of terrorism, information system outages or other events that disrupt our operations, damage our facilities and systems, cause the release of harmful materials, cause fires or subject us to liability for property damage or personal injuries, fines and penalties, some of which may not be covered by insurance, may be disputed by insurers or may otherwise not be recoverable through regulatory mechanisms or may impact our ability to obtain satisfactory levels of affordable insurance; the availability of electric power and natural gas and natural gas storage capacity, including disruptions caused by failures in the transmission grid or limitations on the withdrawal of natural gas from storage facilities; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including potential vaccination mandates, on capital projects, regulatory approvals and the execution of our operations; cybersecurity threats to the energy grid, storage and pipeline infrastructure, information and systems used to operate our businesses, and confidentiality of our proprietary information and personal information of our customers and employees, including ransomware attacks on our systems and the systems of third-party vendors and other parties with which we conduct business, all of which may become more pronounced in the event of geopolitical events and other uncertainties, such as the conflict in Ukraine; the impact at San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) on competitive customer rates and reliability due to the growth in distributed and local power generation, including from departing retail load resulting from customers transferring to Direct Access and Community Choice Aggregation, and the risk of nonrecovery for stranded assets and contractual obligations; Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC's (Oncor) ability to eliminate or reduce its quarterly dividends due to regulatory and governance requirements and commitments, including by actions of Oncor's independent directors or a minority member director; volatility in foreign currency exchange, inflation and interest rates and commodity prices, including inflationary pressures in the U.S., and our ability to effectively hedge these risks and with respect to inflation and interest rates, the impact on SDG&E's and SoCalGas' cost of capital and the affordability of customer rates; changes in tax and trade policies, laws and regulations, including tariffs and revisions to international trade agreements that may increase our costs, reduce our competitiveness, or impair our ability to resolve trade disputes; and other uncertainties, some of which may be difficult to predict and are beyond our control.
These risks and uncertainties are further discussed in the reports that Sempra has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These reports are available through the EDGAR system free-of-charge on the SEC's website, sec.gov, and on Sempra's website, sempra.com. Investors should not rely unduly on any forward-looking statements.
Sempra Infrastructure, Sempra LNG, Sempra Mexico, Sempra Texas Utilities, Oncor and Infraestructura Energética Nova, S.A.P.I. de C.V. (IEnova) are not the same companies as the California utilities, SDG&E or SoCalGas, and Sempra Infrastructure, Sempra LNG, Sempra Mexico, Sempra Texas Utilities, Oncor and IEnova are not regulated by the CPUC.