We believe climate change is among the most important issues of our time, and we're committed to doing our part to ensure a bright and sustainable future for the communities we serve. Through the diligent execution of our Climate Strategy, we're working toward achieving carbon neutrality of our Scope 1 emissions by 2050, which we view as a key step in meeting the climate challenge and building a low-carbon energy future for the next generation. In addition, we have a responsibility to our stakeholders to proactively mitigate the company's climate change risks and capitalize on emerging opportunities in a reduced-carbon economy – all while meeting the changing energy needs of our diverse customer base.
At a high level, our Climate Strategy consists of two major efforts: reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and enabling the energy transition to a low-carbon future.
Importantly, our Climate Strategy is a key component of our company strategy. That alignment means efforts to implement and execute our Climate Strategy also support and advance our company strategy. Additionally, it means FirstEnergy is well-positioned to strategically consider climate-related risks and capitalize on opportunities that emerge in the energy transition.
To reduce our Scope 1 GHG emissions and work toward carbon-neutrality by 2050, we are:
- Transitioning Away from Coal Generation: We've committed to moving beyond our two coal-fired generating plants no later than 2050. Our commitment is consistent with the Effluent Limitation Guidelines compliance filing we submitted to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (WVPSC), in which we proposed end-of-life dates for the Fort Martin (2035) and Harrison (2040) plants. We will engage in a broad stakeholder dialogue and work closely with the WVPSC as we develop and seek approval for that future transition plan.
- Electrifying our Vehicle Fleet: We're targeting 30% electrification of our light-duty and aerial truck fleet by 2030, and 100% electrification by 2050. To reach our electrification goal, we're striving for 100% electric or hybrid vehicle purchases for our light-duty and aerial truck fleet moving forward, beginning with the first hybrid electric vehicle additions to the fleet in 2021.
- Reducing SF6 Emissions: We're working to repair or replace, as appropriate, transmission breakers that leak SF6. Sulfur hexafluoride, or SF6, is a gas commonly used by energy companies as an electrical insulating material and arc extinguisher in high-voltage circuit breakers and switchgear. If escaped to the atmosphere, it acts as a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential significantly greater than CO2.
To read more about our decarbonization strategy, please see our Climate Report.
We have reduced our Scope 1 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 12% from our 2019 baseline on our journey to carbon neutrality.
According to the United Nations, global GHG emissions amounted to an estimated 59.1 billion tons of CO2e in 2019. FirstEnergy's Scope 1 emissions amounted to approximately 18.1 million metric tons in 2019 — about 0.03% of the annual global total. While FirstEnergy's total GHG emissions are a small component of global GHG emissions, we are taking action to proactively mitigate our impact and do our part to secure a bright and sustainable future for generations to come.
Our broader company commitment to environmental stewardship extends beyond reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Please visit our Biodiversity and Conservation, Waste Management and Water Management pages for more information on our efforts to develop increasingly sustainable, responsible operations.
Enabling the Energy Transition
Reducing GHG emissions is just one part of our Climate Strategy. We're also focused on the energy transition, and we believe our main role in that transition is enabling a low-carbon future, and the steps we're taking to enable that future include:
- Protecting and enhancing the transmission system to support grid reliability and enable increased renewables and other clean energy trends.
- Building the technologically advanced distribution grid of the future by implementing grid management solutions, smart meters, automation, EV charging infrastructure and other emerging technologies.
- Being innovative and forward-thinking with our coal generation fleet as we explore opportunities to incorporate renewable resources and implement emerging technologies.
Please visit the Energy Transition page for more detailed information on the steps we're taking to enable the clean energy transition.
CLIMATE OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY
FirstEnergy's Board of Directors provides oversight and guidance on employee, environmental, social and governance (EESG) topics, including climate change. The Board has five standing committees that, through their respective oversight responsibilities, assist in guiding FirstEnergy’s Climate Strategy and related efforts. The Corporate Governance, Corporate Responsibility and Political Oversight Committee has general responsibility for oversight of EESG matters and receives climate-related updates at its meetings. In coordination with the Corporate Governance, Corporate Responsibility and Political Oversight Committee, the Operations and Safety Oversight Committee reviews and monitors environmental-related strategies, initiatives and policies, including in the area of climate change. The Finance, Audit and Compensation Committees also provide specific oversight of EESG matters that fall within the scope of responsibilities set forth in each of their charters. Please see the company's Climate Report for additional climate-related Board oversight information.
At the management level, responsibilities for climate matters are spread across the company's five organizational pillars – Finance & Strategy, Customer, Operations, Legal, and Human Resources & Corporate Services. Cross-functional management-level committees – including the Corporate Responsibility Steering Committee and its Climate Subcommittee – are designed to bring relevant leaders together to help ensure FirstEnergy is advancing climate action in alignment with our corporate strategy, identifying and managing climate risks, capitalizing on energy transition opportunities, and providing transparency through disclosure efforts. Visit our Climate Report for more information on these management-level committees.
The full Board provides oversight of risk management practices, reviews material company risks – including the climate-related ones – and helps ensure processes are in place to support a strong risk management culture. In addition, the Board's Audit Committee oversees the ERM program and process for identifying, assessing, managing and monitoring enterprise risks; ensures risks are appropriately communicated with the Board and its committees; oversees enterprise risks and corresponding control and mitigation steps related to the committee's specific responsibilities; annually reviews the risk management governance, guidelines, policies and procedures.
At the management level, the Vice President and Chief Risk Officer provides executive-level oversight of day-to-day risk management efforts and prepares enterprise-wide risk management reports for presentation to the Audit Committee and the full Board. In addition, a management-level Enterprise Risk Management Committee provides oversight and monitoring to help ensure that appropriate risk policies and management processes are established and executed.
Climate risks are integrated into our ERM process much like any other enterprise risk. FirstEnergy's current material climate risks are identified and discussed in our Annual Form 10-K. To read more about FirstEnergy's risk management oversight and the ERM program and process, including the integration of climate risks, please see the Enterprise Risk Management page and our Climate Report.
Our Climate Report also includes insights from low-carbon (approximately 1.5°C) and high-carbon (approximately 4.5°C) scenarios. These updated scenarios, which build upon a prior 2-degree analysis we conducted in 2019, help us to view a broader range of possible climate futures and understand some of the potential long-term climate-related risks and opportunities associated with each. The report was designed according to the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure's (TCFD) climate risk framework. Please see our TCFD Disclosure to quickly locate our responses to their leading guidance.