LES Board Sets Goal to Reach Net-Zero Carbon Emissions by 2040

Nov. 27, 2020, 6:45 a.m. ·

(Courtesy: LES)

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Lincoln-based electricity provider LES has committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2040. The LES Administrative Board adopted the goal in a meeting last week.

The climate change crisis is driven by human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, including fossil-fuel fired power plants.

Jason Fortik, vice president of the LES power supply division, says this goal is an important step in acknowledging the problem.

"We'll be taking steps to try to reduce as many CO2 emissions as we can," Fortik said. "Then if there are any remaining emissions that we can't get rid of by just not producing the CO2, then there are other tools hopefully at our disposal we can use to offset or mitigate those remaining emissions. So the net result is zero emissions."

The technology to capture carbon already in the atmosphere is in early stages, so reaching net zero emissions in the next 20 years is an ambitious goal.

Manager of resource and transmission planning Scott Benson says LES reduced carbon emissions by 42% from 2010 to 2019.

"If you look at LES’ is current resource mix on a nameplate basis, and nameplate means you take all the resources at their maximum capability, it breaks down to be about one third natural gas resources, one third, coal resources and one third renewable resources, which is the wind, solar, hydro, landfill gas," Benson said.

LES collected feedback from members before developing its plan and found wide support for reducing carbon emissions.

Fortik and Benson say the board considered an earlier deadline to reach net zero by 2030, but found it would nearly double utility rates for customers.