Edison International Action on Clean Power at SXSW
Edison International – The 2023 South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, has expanded beyond its roots as an eclectic mix of storytelling from the worlds of music, film, and interactive media to address more serious issues such as climate change, the workplace revolution, and, for the first time this year, energy.
Edison International President and CEO Pedro Pizarro was chosen to speak at the conference through the SXSW PanelPicker. Pizarro began his presentation on “Making Clean Energy Clean, Reliable, and Equitable” as a storyteller, describing his vision of a clean energy future for his own family just over two decades from now, in keeping with the spirit of the 10-day event.
“It is the year 2045. My children, who are both single young adults today, may marry.
That is the vision, and much progress has been made toward California’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. Since 2001, the state, for example, has reduced per-capita GHG emissions by more than 33%. However, as Pizarro pointed out, “we’re not there yet.”
Pizarro focused on the remaining challenges, warning that California is in danger of falling behind schedule. Aside from rapid advances in the electrification of transportation and buildings, the state will require more clean power from rooftop solar, microgrids, and utility-scale renewable sources, as well as a $250 billion investment in clean power generation, storage, and grid modernization.
As a result, electric bills for Southern California Edison and other utilities will rise, according to Pizarro.
“Every month, one-third of SCE customers must choose between buying groceries and paying their electric bill,” Pizarro explained. “The only way the clean energy transition will be successful is if we make it equitable for everyone.”
Additional programs and policies will be needed to encourage low-income customers to switch to electric appliances, heating, and, most importantly, vehicles. Pizarro advocated for additional policies and incentives to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles and EV charging infrastructure, citing transportation as the leading source of CO2 emissions.
Pizarro anticipated that the SXSW audience would have questions, given that California’s electric grid was stressed to the point of rotating power outages just a year ago: “As we consider the policies that are required, you may be wondering if your electric companies are prepared to power EVs and phase out internal combustion engines and their exhaust emissions.” Are you ready to provide the electricity required by heat pumps and induction cooking? “Are you truly prepared for widespread electrification?”
“Yes, we are,” Pizarro stated emphatically.
He concluded by inviting the SXSW audience to contribute to the solution.
“As you enjoy the rest of your time in Austin, consider the energy required to manufacture and charge the car you drive.” Then consider how we are.