Infrastructure — the great enabler of the energy transition
“The U.S. energy transition requires modernized, expanded and resilient infrastructure to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and to enable the continued delivery of reliable and affordable energy” was among the principal findings derived from the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook (Factbook), 11th Edition. In March, Sempra Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer Lisa Larroque Alexander joined energy experts and industry leaders on stage in Washington D.C. for a discussion to celebrate the release of the Factbook produced annually by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and BloombergNEF.
“We are thankful to BCSE and their commitment to the Factbook. Now more than ever, it is important to have an objective, consistent basis of facts as we all look to shape the future,” said Alexander. “Energy infrastructure is essential to the energy transition and as the owner of one of the largest energy delivery networks in North America, Sempra is helping lead the global energy transition with strategic investments to grow, modernize and harden our energy networks.”
Growth and modernization
At the center of our business is a focus towards advancing the global energy transition through electrification and decarbonization. Over the next five years, we anticipate continuing to enhance safety, resilience, electrification and cleaner fuels by investing billions of dollars into capital projects. With each strategic investment, we aim to progress towards the delivery of more dependable and affordable energy and to support sustained growth during a period of record-breaking global and domestic capital spending.
According to the Factbook, global investment in the energy transition shattered records in 2022, rising to over $1 trillion. Domestic investment increased 11% year-over-year to $141 billion. The diversity of growth across sectors indicates a real transition in how energy will be consumed and emphasizes the need for increased investments in our country’s energy grids so that they are more agile and adaptable.
Adaptation, hardening and resilience
As the world works to achieve the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, there’s no ignoring the existing impacts of climate change. The Factbook reports there were 18 climate-related events causing $165 billion in damage in 2022, with more than three million Americans forced from their homes due to natural disasters.
Sempra’s utilities implemented a range of measures to enhance the resilience of their infrastructure in the face of climate-related disasters. Our California-based operating company San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is leading the charge by replacing wood poles with steel poles in high fire threat areas and building new microgrids, providing a more reliable power supply for rural and tribal communities vulnerable to wildfires and power shutoffs during emergencies. They have been honored with PA Consulting’s ReliabilityOne® Award for Outstanding Reliability Performance among utilities on the west coast for 17 consecutive years, demonstrating SDG&E’s commitment to providing dependable power supply. In addition, SoCalGas has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2023 Energy Star Partner of the Year award for demonstrating leadership in energy efficiency programs that have encouraged the use of energy-efficient products in homes, building and facilities designed to lessen the impact on the grid.
Although there may be ongoing challenges, the Factbook data shows that the clean energy transition is now hard-wired into the U.S. economy. Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which allocated at least $369 billion to support the deployment of clean energy technologies, but collaboration from government, financial institutions and private industry will be needed to facilitate a path towards a zero-carbon future. Sempra should be well-positioned to capitalize on the economic opportunities and play a prominent role in the global energy transformation.