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Investor-owned utilities that have committed to net-zero or carbon-free electricity goals by 2050 are behind in that pursuit and not yet taking steps to close the gap, according to a new report from Deloitte.
But current circumstances are advantageous for utilities to focus on transitioning to renewables, the report said. “Conditions are currently in place for utilities to … close most of the fossil fuel retirement and renewables addition gaps over the next decade,” said Kate Hardin, executive director for the Deloitte Research Center for Energy & Industrials and a co-author of the report.
Hardin said environmental stewardship and profit maximization used to involve a tradeoff when coal was the lowest-cost energy resource, but that no longer applies. “It’s now increasingly cheaper to build new renewables-plus-storage than to continue operating many coal plants,” she said.