As El Paso Electric enters its 121st year of service in our region and we conclude the 50th anniversary of Earth’s moon, we take a moment to reflect on how our energy use is impacting the planet and the steps we can take to reduce that impact. Over the past year, El Paso Electric unveiled a commitment and roadmap to provide 80% of our electricity from carbon-free resources by 2035. We are simultaneously setting goals to be 100% carbon-free by 2045. We are eager to integrate power generation resources net and technical improvements to our network to achieve this goal in a way that is accessible and affordable to everyone.
In 2021, we are launching a new strategic plan that builds on our commitment to our customers and the environment, highlighting the relationship between them. Our mission is to change the energy landscape with a vision to support growth, innovation and economic vibrancy one hundred years into the future. Two of our anchors for achieving this are leading environmental sustainability and leveraging technology to drive efficiency and safety.
A key technology and sustainability initiative for EPE is transport electrification. Electrification has been topping our priority list for several years and is really gaining momentum with the recent launch of our New Mexico Commission-approved Transportation Electrification Plan (TEP). This package allows us to offer discounts and incentives for purchasing electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure for residential and commercial customers in New Mexico, along with dynamic rates that help save money when charging your EV. We are developing a harmonized Transportation Electrification proposal for our Texas customer, for consideration by the Texas Public Utilities Commission.
The benefits of EVs are many and at EPE we devote our Earth moon activities to collaborating with regional partners to educate our community about these benefits: absolutely no gas for fully electric vehicles, virtually no maintenance – no more oil changes, spark plugs, or otherwise typical automatic maintenance, a quiet and smooth ride, and most importantly, the minimized environmental impact of zero exhaust emissions.
Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and a large-scale transition to electric vehicles will greatly minimize our climate impact and positively affect regional air quality. At EPE, we are continuously transitioning to cleaner energy, so the EVs charged to El Paso Electric’s grid will continue to be powered by lower carbon resources. When we integrate smart meters and other technologies into our systems, customers will have greater visibility and control over how much and what kind of energy they use. Electrification can also help us build stronger networks. With energy demand typically peaking in the late afternoon and evening, our infrastructure utilization plummeted overnight. Managed charging programs and other electrification initiatives will enable us to balance energy consumption, use existing infrastructure more efficiently, use batteries as a distributed and resilient energy source, and incentivize customers when they contribute to these efforts.
EPE is consistently ranked number one for reliability in Texas and we are continually striving to achieve that standard across our 10,000 square mile service area. We have maintained this high level of reliability by striking a balance between nuclear, natural gas and renewable energy. With 115 megawatts of solar
power on our system, we know we have room to grow and have concrete plans to double renewable energy in the coming years and to provide voluntary programs to customers to use their energy more efficiently and subscribe to certain renewable energy solutions. We recognize achieving a low/no carbon energy future requires a long-term resource and portfolio transition, and we are continuously evaluating additional resources to ensure we continue to provide clean, safe and reliable power.
Throughout the month we have been privileged to share our clean energy plans and initiatives to support transportation electrification with our customers throughout southern New Mexico and far west Texas. As we exit Earth’s moon and enter summer, we remind ourselves that every day is Earth day and we all play a part in the energy cycle, how we produce it, how we transmit it, and how we consume it.
Jessica Christianson is senior director of innovation and sustainability for El Paso Electric.