America has a unique opportunity to build an economy of the future that is cleaner and stronger than ever before. Advances in technology and decreasing costs for natural gas, renewables and energy storage — along with energy efficiency gains and the carbon-free energy provided by existing nuclear power plants — are making it possible to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions across our economy, while keeping electricity affordable, reliable and secure.
The Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI’s) member companies — our nation’s investor-owned electric companies — are leading the clean energy transformation by continuing to reduce CO2 in our sector and by helping other sectors transition to clean, efficient electric energy.
Today, the transportation sector is the largest domestic source of CO2 emissions and was responsible for 36 percent of all U.S. CO2 emissions in 2018. To deliver America’s clean energy future, it is critical to reduce emissions in the transportation sector.
Recognizing the vital role of electric transportation, EEI’s member companies are working with their communities and their regulators to invest in the charging infrastructure that will enable greater adoption of emissions-free electric vehicles (EVs). We also are working closely with many Members of Congress and their staff on both sides of the aisle to identify opportunities to support the emerging EV market.
We are pleased that many lawmakers, in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, are supporting the Driving America Forward Act (S. 1094/H.R. 2256), which expands the EV tax credit to help continue to spur growth and innovation in domestic manufacturing of EVs. This legislation also is widely supported by a broad coalition of stakeholders that includes electric companies, auto manufacturers, charging technology providers, consumer advocates, environmental groups and public health organizations. We urge Congress to move this legislation over the finish line as soon as possible.
At the same time, several Senators are looking to map out additional paths to reduce U.S. carbon emissions. While customers today have dozens of EV models to choose from at every price point, fewer than 1 percent of vehicles on U.S. roads are EVs.
The benefits of increasingly electrifying the transportation sector go far beyond passenger vehicles. Across the country, electric buses and taxis will lead to improved air quality and reduced emissions in our cities. And, electrified airports, seaports and truck stops can dramatically lower emissions related to transporting cargo from coast to coast.
EEI’s member companies and our industry are united in our commitment to get as clean as we can, as fast as we can, while keeping reliability and affordability front and center as always. Collectively, we are on a path to reduce carbon emissions 50 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, compared with 2005 levels. By accelerating electrification in the transportation sector, we can leverage the already ongoing emission reductions in the power sector to meet economy-wide carbon reduction goals and build a cleaner and stronger economy for the future.
• Tom Kuhn is president of the Edison Electric Institute, the association of U.S. investor-owned electric companies.