Sustainable
Energy Future

Our Approach

As part of our Climate Strategy, we’re focused on enabling our customers to live more sustainably and thrive in a carbon-neutral future. That includes responding to customer expectations for clean energy sources, increased control of their energy use choices, and more sustainable alternatives in transportation, manufacturing and industrial processes.

Transmission Investments
for a Clean Energy Future

Our transmission investments are key to reliably integrating more renewables and distributed energy resources on our region’s electric grid and enabling the carbon-neutral future our customers and communities want. We’re preparing for that future through investments that enable grid operators to respond more swiftly to changing conditions and facilitate the reliable inclusion of smaller, distributed generating sources. We’re also assessing the value of energy storage as a transmission asset to enable greater operational flexibility, increased protection against physical asset risks, and better support for increased renewables and distributed energy resources. Additionally, we’re replacing aging equipment and adding system redundancy to harden our grid and protect it from physical risks of climate change, such as increasingly extreme weather. Please see our Climate Strategy for more information on our transmission investments. 

Investing in Solar Generation
and Supporting Clean Energy Options

We support our customers’ sustainable energy needs across our service territory. Accordingly, we’ve set a goal to own at least 50 MW of solar generation in West Virginia by 2025. This goal represents an important step in the company’s efforts to fulfill our Climate Strategy and build a sustainable energy future.

Connecting Customers’
Distributed Energy Resources

We understand the pressing need for low- and zero-carbon generation due to climate change and recognize that our customers expect more sustainable energy options. Our ability to develop renewable generation depends on regulatory decisions that would allow regulated utilities to own renewable generating sources. However, we do support our customers’ right to safely use distributed energy resources (DERs) and have developed processes that support the interconnection of solar, energy storage and other DERs consistent with the laws and regulations of individual states.

For instance, we work with our customers who wish to interconnect their DERs with our distribution system. When a customer submits a request, we study the interconnection scenario and determine if clarifications or adjustments are needed to enable the safe and reliable integration of the DER project on our grid. We will continue connecting these resources to the grid to support state renewable energy goals and our customers’ growing preference for distributed energy resources.

Between 2018 and 2020, we facilitated more than 158,000 customer interconnection projects across our service area.

Electrifying the Economy

We view electrification as an opportunity to significantly reduce our region’s carbon footprint. Transportation electrification has the potential to eliminate direct tailpipe emissions from gasoline-powered cars and improve air quality across our service area, while the increased electrification of industrial manufacturing can replace fossil-fuel use with low- or zero-carbon electricity in various energy-intensive industries.

Our long-term vision is to help lead a seamless and reliable economy-wide electrification effort and power a more sustainable future for the customers and communities we serve.

To make progress toward that vision, we have installed electric vehicle (EV) charging stations as part of our participation in a Maryland EV pilot program and are awaiting regulatory approval to participate in a light-duty EV program in our New Jersey service area. These efforts help to expand EV charging infrastructure in the states we serve and lessen drivers’ range anxiety, while also giving us the opportunity to assess charging patterns and prepare our grid for the continued growth of transportation electrification.

We also participate in the Electric Highway Coalition, a group of electric companies committed to enabling long-distance EV travel through a network of fast-charging stations connecting major highway systems. By working together to ensure efficient and effective fast-charging deployment plans, we avoid duplication of efforts among coalition utilities and complement existing fast-charging sites.

Additionally, our ongoing electrification efforts include helping our industrial and commercial customers embrace electrification through electric forklifts and transportation equipment, and by providing energy usage data that monitors their new energy profiles and illustrates the value of electrification.

EV Driven Charges Ahead in Maryland

We’re supporting Maryland’s goal to have 300,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025. Through our EV Driven program, Potomac Edison is installing utility-owned public charging stations throughout its Maryland service area. By year-end 2020, we completed the installation of 17 charging stations, including 4 direct-current fast chargers, which can provide an 80% charge for most EVs in less than an hour. We also installed Level 2 charging stations that accommodate two vehicles simultaneously and deliver 8 to 24 miles of range per hour of charging.

Driving Energy Efficiency

FirstEnergy has long supported our customers’ ability to use energy more efficiently and wisely. Our energy efficiency programs are one way we help customers identify areas to reduce energy use and minimize their carbon footprint, while also saving money on their electricity bills.

Energy efficiency and/or peak demand reduction policies, including annual incremental energy efficiency targets of up to 2% of total customers’ usage, have been established in certain states to meet long-term customer and community sustainability needs. We offer a suite of energy efficiency programs to meet or exceed these reduction targets, while also supporting system reliability and lowering customers’ demand for electricity. 

Residential customers can save energy through significant incentives that offset the costs of major home efficiency upgrades, such as home insulation and weatherization, major appliance upgrades or heating and cooling system improvements. Others may benefit from smaller, incremental changes such as lighting improvements, enhanced energy usage data and education, or kits that provide useful energy-efficient products, such as LED light bulbs. To view energy efficiency programs and tools available to residential customers, visit our website here.

We also offer solutions for small businesses, government entities, schools and even the largest and most energy-intensive manufacturers and industries. Our portfolio of commercial and industrial programs provides measures and financial incentives for these customers to purchase qualifying high-efficiency products; recycle inefficient appliances; complete energy audits; and adopt energy-saving behaviors or energy management practices. To view these and other programs available to our commercial and industrial customers, visit our website here.

In 2020, our energy efficiency programs helped customers save over 1 million MWh of electricity—the equivalent of one year’s pollution from 155,000 cars. Looking ahead, our goal is to help customers achieve cumulative reductions in electricity usage exceeding 7.5 million MWh and lower their demand on the electric grid during peak usage hours by 400 MW between 2021 and 2025. These actions, if implemented as planned, will avoid over 5.3 million metric tons of GHG—the equivalent of emissions generated by more than 1.1 million passenger vehicles driven for one year.

Our goal is to help customers achieve cumulative electricity reductions in excess of 7.5M MWh between 2021–2025.

Please also see our ESG data table for our energy efficiency metrics.

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