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PSEG, one of America's oldest power companies, goes carbon free



The $ 30 billion tool provider announced on Thursday that it is on track to reduce its carbon footprint by 80% by 2046, compared to 2005 levels. And PSEG ( PEG ) who also serves more than one million customers on Long Island, sets an ambitious goal of coming down to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
To get there, the power company closes its coal plants, is investing heavily in offshore wind and is working hard to keep alive the existing nuclear power plant. PSEG said it will not build or acquire new fossil-fueled power plants, including those running on dirt-cheap natural gas.
PSEG joins a growing list of power companies entering the clean energy revolution. The movement reflects the rapid decline in renewable energy costs and increasing pressure from households, businesses, and government agencies to respond to the threat of climate change.

"We believe climate change is real. It is this crescendo that builds," PSEG CEO Ralph Izzo told CNN Business.

Izzo noted that PSEG's main market, New Jersey, is a coastal state, making it vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by climate change.

"Climate change represents the general challenge for our generation," he wrote in a letter to stakeholders who announced the goals. "It's far past time that we just passed" cautionary warnings "to act on them."

Last month, PSEG announced an agreement to sell its stake in a couple of coalfields in western Pennsylvania. The company plans to close the final coal-powered unit, located in Connecticut, within 1

8 months.

& # 39; Scripture is on the wall & # 39;

The renewable energy movement has celebrated a series of recent milestones that demonstrate the momentum behind it.

In April, the renewable energy sector surpassed the narrowly installed capacity of coal for the first time in history.
Late last year, Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy ( XEL ) was once a coal-first company, the first largest US power company to set the challenging goal of deliver zero-carbon electricity by 2050.
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The development has come into contact with a concerted pressure from the Trump administration to support the coal industry by squeezing environmental regulations and exploring controversial rescue operations. [19659005] "The writing is on the wall as to what is going to happen in this energy transition," said Luke Lewandowski, director of Americas Power & Renewable research at Wood Mackenzie. "Although we have an administration trying to support the fossil fuel industry, most tools understand that it will be short-lived. It's like a last gasp."

President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to rescue coal jobs and in April claimed that wind turbines cause cancer – even though there is no evidence to support it.

States embrace pure energy

However, many US states have moved in the opposite direction of Washington.

In March, New Mexico adopted a bold plan aimed at obtaining half the state's power from renewable energy by 2030. New Mexico plans to be 100% carbon-free in 2045. California and Hawaii have also passed 100% clean energy targets .
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy released a blueprint last month to get the state 100% pure energy by 2050.

The focal point of that plan is exploiting New Jersey's vast coastline by developing huge offshore wind farms.

New Jersey named Denmark's Orsted for the winning developer to build a 1100 megawatt wind project off the Atlantic City coast. The project, called Ocean Wind, is the state's first large-scale offshore wind farm. PSEG has an opportunity to be a stock investor in the wind farm, which is scheduled to be completed by 2024.
  America's liquid natural gas boom may be on climate change collision course

"We are hopeful that putting a price on carbon and unleashing the market power will make these technologies evolve," Izzo said.

Nuclear isn't going away. Izzo.

However, PSEG does not attempt to open new nuclear facilities.

Lewandowski, the Wood Mackenzie analyst, said that while nuclear "cleans" and gives high-paid jobs, there are issues of safety and nuclear waste.

"That's the risk of disaster," Lewandowski said.

These risks are brought back to the tip of "Chernobyl", the gripping Emmy nominated HBO miniseries of the worst nuclear catastrophe in history. (HBO, like CNN, owned by AT&T.)

It also becomes expensive to maintain and refurbish existing nuclear power plants, let alone build new ones.

"Atom is an attractive part of the puzzle, but it's not that cost competitive," Lewandowski said.


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