SMUD Sustainability Report
Parent and child playing in a green field


2020 SMUD Sustainability Report

CEO message

“We're not just an electric utility. As a not-for-profit, community-owned business, we're focused on the quality of life for our customers and the communities we serve.”
— Paul Lau
CEO Paul Lau loading groceries into a car wearing a SMUD Cares t-shirt
Aerial view of the Sacramento River

Creating a sustainable future

Our Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) creates a carbon-free roadmap, focuses on local investment and innovation and maintains low rates and reliability.

California has adopted some of the most ambitious clean energy and carbon reduction goals in the world.

The California Energy Commission’s staff report said, “SMUD’s IRP filing lays out an ambitious road map for lowering greenhouse gas emissions in the Sacramento region while maintaining low rates and reliability.”

Climate emergency declaration

In July 2020, the SMUD Board of Directors adopted a climate emergency declaration that works toward a goal of carbon neutral electricity by 2030.

Clean power graph

Investing in clean power

Our power mix is among the cleanest in the country. In 2020, SMUD’s power supply was more than 60% carbon free. And by continuing to add renewables like solar, wind, biomass and geothermal, we plan to be 100% carbon free by 2030.

This isn’t all we’re doing. By supporting energy efficiency, electrification of buildings and transportation and increasing our clean power sources, we're helping improve the air quality throughout the Sacramento region.

SMUD greenhouse gas emissions trend

California is a national leader in greenhouse gas reduction, and SMUD’s goals are even more ambitious than those set forth by the state legislature. By utilizing more renewable resources, we’re helping to improve local air quality. Increasing the energy efficiency of our residential and business customers is an important part of this effort.

Created with Highcharts 8.0.4 CO2 (equivalent) Metric Tons SMUD Emissions* (MT CO2e) 2012 SD-9 Target (25% Below 1990) 2020 SD-9 Target (33% Below 1990) 2050 SD-9 Target (90% Below 1990)201320142015201620172018050000010000001500000200000025000003000000*Less emissions associated with steam sales and wholesale transactions 2018 2050 SD-9 Target (90% Below 1990): 350 000
Aerial view of the tower bridge

Investing in our community

Our Sustainable Communities initiative focuses on healthy neighborhood environments, improving education, creating jobs, improving access to transportation and more.

Sustainable Communities initiative

SMUD's Sustainable Communities initiative is helping bring environmental equity and economic vitality to each and every community in our service territory. Special attention is given to historically under-served neighborhoods.

Areas of focus:

We partner with private industry, government agencies and nonprofits to invest in and implement programs that support a variety of different areas.

Icon of people joining hands

Social Well-being

Icon of a person in nature

Healthy Environment

Icon of a rising bar chart

Prosperous Economy

Icon of a city road


Employee volunteers

While it’s no surprise that a community-owned utility has employees who care about their communities, SMUD employees go above and beyond.

SMUD Cares, our employee giving campaign, has raised $5.4 million for charitable organizations since 2005. SMUD employees volunteer more than 16,000 hours annually and currently serve on more than 153 nonprofit and community boards.

SMUD volunteers

$5.4 million

for charitable organizations since 2005

16,000+ hours

volunteered by SMUD employees


nonprofit and community boards served

Helping our community

Solar panels on roof

Low-income assistance

Assisting customers living in disadvantaged communities has long been an important part of SMUD’s mission. In addition to providing a low-income rate for qualified customers, recent programs include providing free solar panels and thermostats to help reduce the energy burden many customers experience.

To improve housing for generations to come, we’re partnering with other community organizations to develop holistic solutions and tackle the root causes of poverty.

Two people sharing a friendly embrace


SMUD’s EnergyHELP program provides qualified low-income customers with immediate financial assistance to keep their lights on. The program is voluntarily funded by customers who donate anywhere from $1 to $100 a month on their own monthly bills. 100% of the pledges go directly to customers in need.

Since launching EnergyHELP in 2004, more than 47,000 EnergyHELP participants have donated more than $7.1 million to help less fortunate customers pay their electric bills, including almost $700,000 in 2019.

Shine initiative logo

Shine awards

SMUD's "Shine" initiative provides funding of up to $100,000 to nonprofits to improve and revitalize local neighborhoods through beautification, energy efficiency, STEM education or neighborhood improvement projects.

Image of a bustling downtown Sacramento

Transforming Sacramento

Investing in the electrification of our cars and homes is vital in order to meet our carbon reduction goals.

Going electric

A cornerstone of SMUD's decarbonization effort is the electrification of buildings and transportation.

Our reliance on carbon-based fuels decreases each year, increased by the electrification of the largest energy users – buildings and transportation. By making this shift, we'll greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and spur economic development across the Sacramento region.

Image of a hand interacting with an induction stovetop

Live electric

Did you know that 12% of California's carbon emissions come from burning gas in our homes for heating, hot water and cooking? By converting to all-electric appliances, the average customer can save an average of over $500 a year, based on current rates.

To make it easier, we offer up to $4,000 in rebates for energy efficient appliances.

A worker building in a kitchen

Build electric

SMUD is partnering with developers in the region to create new all-electric single and multi-family homes.

The program, the first of its kind in the nation, offers design assistance and financial incentives to builders and developers of up to $5,000 per all-electric single-family home and up to $1,750 for new all-electric multi-family units.

A person charging an electric vehicle

Drive electric

We've supported electric transportation since the early 1990s and continue to invest in charging infrastructure, electric school buses and more.

Residential customers can get help making the switch to an EV with up to $1,000 towards EV charging equipment and installation costs.

Launching the California Mobility Center

SMUD is taking a leadership role in a groundbreaking effort to make Sacramento a hub for electric transportation research and development. In May 2019, SMUD became a founding member in the California Mobility Center, a public-private consortium of partners representing energy, technology, automobile manufacturers, government agencies and venture capital.


Sustainability in action

CDP A list 2020 climate logo

Tackling climate change

SMUD recently received an "A" grade from a global environmental organization for our leadership in tackling climate change and reducing carbon emissions.

Lineworkers posing in the equitment yard

Energy Careers Pathways Program

SMUD launches new program to provide job training, clean energy and beautification to underserved neighborhoods.

CDP logo

Carbon Disclosure Project

SMUD's commitment to fighting climate change is reflected in the grade we received from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).

Transmission tower

Reducing greenhouse gases

The Sacramento Environmental Council honored SMUD in 2019 for our efforts to reduce sulfur hexaflouride emissions (SF6), a highly potent greenhouse gas, in its high-voltage applications.

The Nexus building

Helping customers lead the way

SMUD helped architectural firm Arch Nexus design the state's first Certified Living Building. A "living building" is a highly efficient, all-electric building that uses onside renewable power generation to produce more energy than it needs to be fully operational.

UARP eagles

A birds-eye view of UARP eagles

SMUD joined with the U.S. Forest Service in 2020 to provide the public with a view of the nesting habits of one of the world’s most majestic creatures – the bald eagle.