In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Fossil-fuel giant BP says it will become net zero by 2050.
  • One-third of the US Senate introduces the Clean Economy Act to launch climate action.
  • Virginia lawmakers pass major green energy legislation.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

BP will work to achieve net zero

Fossil-fuel giant BP today announced that it will become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner. Their methods are a bit vague at this stage (i.e., the plan doesn’t state that they will move away from fossil fuels), but here are the five points the company lists that they say will help them achieve zero emissions:

  1. Net zero across BP’s operations on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner.

  2. Net zero on carbon in BP’s oil and gas production on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner.

  3. 50% cut in the carbon intensity of products BP sells by 2050 or sooner.

  4. Install methane measurement at all BP’s major oil and gas processing sites by 2023 and reduce methane intensity of operations by 50%.

  5. Increase the proportion of investment into non-oil and gas businesses over time.

The company also said it would restructure, and would also advocate for carbon pricing, as part of the five aims to help the world get to carbon zero. (You can see those here.) BP will host a capital markets day in September to set out its strategy and near-term plans.

BP’s brand-new CEO Bernard Looney said:

The world’s carbon budget is finite and running out fast; we need a rapid transition to net zero. We all want energy that is reliable and affordable, but that is no longer enough. It must also be cleaner. To deliver that, trillions of dollars will need to be invested in replumbing and rewiring the world’s energy system. It will require nothing short of reimagining energy as we know it.

This will certainly be a challenge, but also a tremendous opportunity. It is clear to me, and to our stakeholders, that for BP to play our part and serve our purpose, we have to change. And we want to change — this is the right thing for the world and for BP.

Looney, according to BP, encouraged the company to lead the industry on methane detection methods as Upstream CEO. He was also responsible for all BP-operated oil and gas production worldwide and for all of BP’s drilling.

[Electrek‘s take: “Increasing the proportion” of non-oil and gas businesses over time isn’t good enough. BP has to pledge to commit to drop fossil fuels entirely and immediately.]

Senate’s Clean Economy Act

Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) introduced the Clean Economy Act of 2020 yesterday. The act’s purpose is to put the US on a pathway to achieve net-zero emissions by no later than 2050. And according to Senator Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) website:

The bill would also promote American competitiveness and healthier communities, while fostering a fair and growing economy.

The bill is co-sponsored by one-third of the Senate — all Democrats — with the exception of independent Angus King of Maine.

The bill aims to do this by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including (but not limited to):

  • Low- and zero-greenhouse gas electricity, transportation, and building technologies.

  • Methane capture and destruction technologies.

  • Carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration technologies and practices, including direct air capture to prevent domestic carbon leakage.

  • Maximize flexibility in reducing greenhouse gas emissions for entities subject to regulation under this section.

  • Minimize costs of greenhouse-gas emission reductions to consumers, particularly consumers from low-income households

Virginia embraces green energy

The Virginia House and Senate passed sweeping green energy legislation yesterday that overhauls how Virginia’s utilities generate electricity moves the state to focus on sustainable energy policy.

Like the US Senate’s bill, it’s also called The Clean Economy Act. It lays out a plan to get Virginia to 100% green energy. The House version wants the deadline to be 2045, and the Senate wants 2050. They’ll have to resolve the deadline difference before it heads to Democratic Governor Ralph Northam.

AP explains what the plan is:

The legislation paves the way for an enormous expansion of solar and offshore wind generation plus battery storage , and sets an energy efficiency standard that utilities must meet. It also includes language that would add Virginia to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a carbon cap-and-trade program.

Both the House and Senate versions would effectively block new fossil fuel generation facilities in the short term while state officials study whether a permanent ban should be enacted.

The bill allows for the development of up to 5,200MW of offshore wind.

The Senate sponsor of the bill, Jennifer McClellan, said:

We have got to do something to break our dependence on energy that is destroying our planet. Period.

Further, Dominion Energy, headquartered in Richmond, yesterday set a new goal of net zero emissions by 2050. They serve more than 7 million customers in 18 states.

Photo: Shutterstock

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