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Working toward a sustainable future

Reducing global warming is a key part of the Board of Directors’ vision for SMUD. That’s why the Board set a goal of slashing SMUD’s greenhouse gas emissions to 10% of 1990 levels of carbon dioxide (or less than 350,000 metric tons a year.) by the year 2050.

Another big step took place in 2010, when SMUD became the only large electric utility in California to actually supply 20% of its energy from qualified renewable sources (such as wind, water, sun and landfill gas). We exceeded by 4% our 2010 goal, and we’re well on our way to meeting our next goal of 33% by 2020.

SMUD has a long history as a national leader in environmentally friendly programs like renewable resources, energy efficiency, and electric transportation.

Here are some of the things we are doing to help achieve these aggressive greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy targets:

Supplying renewable energy

  • In addition to supplying 33% of its energy from renewable resources by 2020, SMUD aims to provide another 4% from its Greenergy programs. That’s a total of 37%. Through Greenergy, customers sign up to buy additional renewable energy.
  • Our Research and Development programs aim to reduce the cost and improve the overall performance of renewable technologies in the areas of biomass, wind and solar power generation, and energy storage and grid integration.
  • We are always looking for ways to get more power from our generators through greater efficiency.
  • We’re bringing power generation closer to our customers through solar photovoltaic (PV), dairy methane-to-energy and the co-digestion of grease and liquid food processing waste. In many cases, these resources or generating capacity would be going to waste. They also reduce the demand on the power grid and reduce emissions.
  • Our leadership in solar PVs spans more than two decades, beginning in 1984 with the installation of the first large-scale PV generation facility at our Rancho Seco site.
  • Our three local cogeneration power plants are efficient power producers that also supply heat for nearby industrial customers.

Energy-efficiency programs

  • SMUD has, for more than three decades, led the industry in residential and commercial energy-efficiency programs, reducing electricity use and providing cost-savings to our customers.
  • Our Research & Development programs help to develop energy-efficient technologies.
  • Our Customer Service Center (at 6301 S St. in Sacramento) is a model of energy-efficient building technology, and is LEED Platinum Certified. Electricity use in this building is half that of buildings with more traditional construction.
  • We provide support for several alternative fuel vehicle demonstration projects, including programs that test hydrogen fuel cells and plug-in hybrids.

Policy initiatives

  • A comprehensive planning process to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with our power generation is currently under way.
  • SMUD co-sponsored a baseline Greenhouse Gas Inventory Assessment in Sacramento County in partnership with our seven cities, Sacramento County, and the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District. This group, the Sacramento Area Green Partnership, is developing a cost-benefit analysis of multiple emissions reduction measures that can be included in the climate action plans of local municipalities and jurisdictions. This effort focuses on cooperative policies and plans for reducing local greenhouse gas emissions.
  • SMUD works with Business Council for Sustainable Energy to promote national and international cooperation for reducing carbon emissions.
  • SMUD provides leadership in the development of greenhouse gas accounting principles through its work with industry and government organization. By invitation, SMUD participated in the 14th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Poland in December 2008.

Customer programs

  • Home Performance Program. A grant from the U.S. Department of Energy enables us to offer customers a low cost appraisal of the overall energy efficiency of their homes, and provides up to $9,000 in incentives for home energy improvements.
  • The Greenergy® program lets customers choose to have SMUD meet up to 100 percent of their electricity needs with energy created by renewable resources.
  • Neighborhood Energy All-Star groups and the Sacramento Zoo Energy All-Stars are mobilizing community groups to reduce electricity use.
  • SMUD Smart Homes deliver energy bill reductions for new home buyers.
  • Home Energy Reports personalizes SMUD's program offerings to individual customers. These reports help customers understand and make choices about their energy use and costs as well as how they compare to their neighbors.
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SMUD is taking a leadership role in developing a more sustainable future.

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