11/17/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/18/2021 12:22
Good afternoon Chair Gennaro and members of the committee. My name is Bryan Grimaldi and I am the Vice President of Corporate Affairs at National Grid. I am also a New York City resident and a National Grid customer. My employer is an international energy delivery company, but our roots here in New York go back 100 years. We have nearly 2 million customers and over 4,000 employees who live and work in the New York metro area.
National Grid shares New York City's and New York State's goals for economy-wide decarbonization, so we are transforming our energy networks to deliver smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions. The central goal of our clean energy vision is achieving a Net Zero carbon-free future that will meet New York City's growing energy demands, ensure that none of our 2 million customers are left behind, and continuing to provide safe, reliable and affordable service while taking the necessary steps to protect our climate and environment.
In fact, National Grid just released the first annual update on our Net Zero plan, showing our progress on our goals so far across our U.S. operations. Since 1990, we've reduced our direct (Scope 1 and 2) emissions by over 70%, and we are increasing our efforts in five distinct areas.
First, to ensure we are on track to addressing global climate change, we partnered with the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) to determine what targets we would need to meet to do our part in keeping the Earth's temperature below the two-degree Celsius threshold, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC -- United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change) reports is necessary to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change. These new verified interim targets are in addition to our end goal of Net Zero by 2050 for direct and indirect emissions. This ambition includes scopes 1, 2, and 3, making us the first investor-owned distribution utility in the country to have SBTi verified targets for all three scopes.
Second, we are making strides to facilitate equitable access to clean transportation choices and building a reliable network that benefits all customers and enables the market, including:
Third, National Grid is focused on connecting clean, renewable energy to the grid, partnering with our states to reach clean energy targets by enabling the deployment of cost-effective zero-carbon generation resources, ranging from large-scale offshore wind projects to smaller distributed solar generation. We're doing that by investing in transmission infrastructure and other technology, while making long-term commitments to purchase clean power from renewable generators.
Fourth, our low-carbon fuels strategy includes renewable natural gas (RNG) and green hydrogen. RNG is a carbon-neutral gas produced by upgrading methane from already existing methane emission sources like landfills and wastewater treatment plants. We are only considering RNG from sustainable sources. We are researching how zero-carbon, renewable green hydrogen can supplement our gas network as a zero-carbon fuel.
National Grid is also ramping up installations of heat pumps in residential locations, thus far in upstate New York, approximately 840 were installed in 2020 and over 1,500 in 2021. We are offering incentives to our customers in New York for installing heat pumps to reduce reliance on oil, propane, inefficient electric baseboard, or natural gas heating equipment.
Fifth, National Grid is also taking responsibility for emissions related to the natural gas we distribute and sell to our customers. We are committed to reducing methane leaks from our entire gas supply chain including our own gas networks.
We have a responsibility to keep our 2 million customers safe, so we must ensure that a decarbonized economy is one that is affordable and one that leaves no customer or community behind. Electric and gas energy efficiency and demand response are foundational elements of the pathway to Net Zero. By 2030, we will need to double the rate of energy efficiency retrofits across our region and reduce peak energy consumption, which can reduce the need for new infrastructure. So, our success depends on a shared sense of responsibilities and on transparency. As we continue to decarbonize, National Grid will remain honest and transparent about our progress, acknowledging when challenges or new opportunities arise.
Reaching Net Zero is an obligation we are proud to share with New York, so thank you for the opportunity to testify on INTRO 2317 today. We applaud the intent of this bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the proposed legislation takes viable options to decarbonize off the table at a time when we need more paths to Net Zero, and not fewer.
The most affordable, reliable, and practical way for New York City to achieve its Net Zero goal is through a holistic approach that decarbonizes building heating through 1) increased energy efficiency; 2) heat electrification that includes dual fuel heating (i.e., relying on electric heat pumps and adding low-carbon gas when it is severely cold), and 3) leveraging existing gas infrastructure to deliver new low-carbon fuels like renewable natural gas and hydrogen. These findings are supported by studies such as the Pathways to a Carbon-Neutral NYCstudy, a joint project from the NYC Mayor's Office, Con Ed, and National Grid.
As we adopt innovations to deliver carbon-free energy solutions, we know that issues of affordability and reliability are top of mind for our customers and your constituents. That is why we want to preserve multiple ways to fulfill our duty to provide affordable, reliable energy and ensuring our existing system is resilient to extreme events.
We have real concerns that, as envisioned, these bills may result in increased energy costs for customers, which will have a disproportionate impact on low- and fixed-income families.
One system. Two networks. Net Zero emissions.
If we enable the opportunity to achieve Net Zero goals through hybrid heating, as well as modernizing existing National Grid infrastructure networks, we can combine electrification - air source and ground source heat pumps - with decarbonized fuels utilization and expansion of energy efficiency for electric and gas customers. We believe that through innovation and efficiencies, the energy we deliver today can be decarbonized, which is why existing energy delivery infrastructure should play an integral role in our Net Zero future, including complementing heat electrification via hybrid heating.
We are not resting on our current delivery systems. National Grid is also making significant investments in solar, wind, and battery energy storage projects through our National Grid Ventures division across the U.S. We can use these fuels in our existing infrastructure, which will help keep cost pressures down.
The technology to scale these low-carbon and renewable energy sources are all viable and on the verge of wide-ranging breakthroughs. It's an exciting time and limiting the technical options at this early stage could result in stunting economic growth, interrupt the transition of the skilled workforce to green jobs, and the ability to explore the most cost-effective solutions. Worse, it could prove to be cost-prohibitive.
Elected officials and policy makers have taken a long view in decreasing the reliance on the internal combustion engine (i.e. most agreeing to targets in 2035) which will allow for expanding EV adoption over time. Solutions for heating require the same long view, which is not afforded by the proposed legislation.
It's important to highlight that these solutions are not in competition with one another, but rather complementary. In depth technical analysis is indicating that all these solutions will be needed to achieve Net Zero. The solutions to a carbon-neutral future must include all options, as every tool in the toolkit is needed to meet the goal, including extensive dual fuel heating, which INT. 2317 appears to specifically prohibit.
As previously mentioned, a report published in collaboration with Con Edison and the Mayor's office of Sustainability, the Pathways to a Carbon-Neutral NYCexamined in detail smart and cooperative approaches to Net Zero. The Pathways studyshowed that 40 to 70 percent of the buildings in New York City would likely not be electrified in 2050, underscoring the fact that we will need all options and technologies to get to Net Zero. Moreover, the Pathways study found that hybrid heating systems could substantially reduce the costly impacts on electricity networks from higher winter heating electricity demand.
We need to continue to invest in heat pumps, renewable gas, hydrogen blending and geothermal networks, and integrate them with off-shore wind, solar, hydropower, battery storage - all integral parts of the equation that will help drive down our emissions. We should use every tool available to us.
The potential is real, the technology is evolving, and we look forward to policy and regulation that will help us achieve our shared goal of Net Zero while also ensuring the vital reliability and affordability that our customers expect and want.
It is our sincere desire to work with the prime sponsor and the council on finding a solution that achieves our shared goals. We would welcome any opportunity to discuss in more detail and answer any questions that you might have. Thank you very much for the opportunity to offer this testimony.