17.9

Billion Dollars

in 2020 sales

60%

Zero Waste to Landfill

60% of Eaton’s manufacturing sites achieved zero waste to landfill as of 2020

19%

Reduction

in greenhouse gas emissions at Eaton’s manufacturing sites in 2020, on a path toward cutting emissions by half by 2030

View Our Analysis

The Path to Drawdown: Grid Expansion

Solving climate change and remaining below 1.5ºC of global temperature increase requires a massive scaling of emissions-free energy sources. And thankfully, renewable sources like solar and wind are quickly expanding their capacity worldwide. But to reliably provide renewable energy to every household and organization in the world, we need a power grid that’s much bigger and more flexible.

The power grid is the dynamic network of electricity generation, transmission, storage, and consumption that 85% of the world relies on. But its initial design for constant, centralized power production is not conducive to the intermittency of solar and wind power. For the world’s electricity supply to become completely renewable, the power grid has to become more adaptable than it is today. A range of technologies -- constant renewables like geothermal and nuclear, utility-scale energy storage systems, batteries, and smart appliances -- contribute to grid flexibility.

The power grid also needs to expand to facilitate a transition to a predominantly renewable world. Where the grid spans larger geographies and more electricity sources, it can even out the total output and variability of renewables. Electricity generated in California during the summer can then be used to power houses in snowy Chicago during the winter. To achieve this scale, the IEA estimates that, between 2020 and 2030, around 16 million km of distribution and transmission lines need to be built, an increase of 80% compared with the past decade.

What We Want to See Improve

Divest from the Vehicle Segment

Eaton’s Vehicle segment (p. 73) designs, manufactures and supplies drivetrain, powertrain systems and critical components for cars, light trucks, and commercial vehicles. In other words, this segment is dependent on fossil fuels and the internal combustion engine vehicle industry. We urge Eaton to shift away from making systems for internal combustion vehicles and instead develop capabilities to manufacture products that support the expansion of electric vehicles.

Forget Carbon Neutrality, Think Zero Emissions

We absolutely applaud Eaton’s commitment to reduce their carbon footprint and we want them to go further. In particular, we think that their goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 (p. 14) is too modest. Eaton plans to do this by reducing the carbon intensity of their scope 2 emissions and reducing scope 1 emissions while using carbon offsets like investing in renewable energy and clean tech. Instead, we would like Eaton to shoot for zero absolute emissions and become a climate leader in the power grid sector.

Reduce Scope 3 Emissions More Aggressively

We’re impressed by the sheer fact that Eaton has committed to reducing scope 3 emissions - most companies don’t even track the emissions in their supply chain. But since they are planning to cut, we want them to cut even further. Given that Eaton’s scope 3 emissions are some 26.5 times more than their scopes 1 and 2 combined, we think a 15% reduction in scope 3 by 2030 is too passive. We urge Eaton to press their supply chain to reduce emissions overall and make a much bigger dent in their carbon footprint than Eaton has originally planned.

Related Electrical Infrastructure Stocks in the Climate Index

View All Climate Index Stocks →

Allocated Company Description

4.34%

ABB Ltd (ABB)

ABB offers EV charging, solar and modular substations, distribution automation to expand the power grid. A larger grid can integrate more renewables

4.19%

Eaton Corporation plc (ETN)

Eaton offers electrical components, industrial components, power distribution for the electrical grid. Grid expansion is key for integrating renewables

1.08%

Quanta Services, Inc. (PWR)

Quanta offers engineering, construction and repair of electric grid infrastructure. Expanding the power grid is necessary for integrating more renewables

0.42%

MasTec, Inc. (MTZ)

MasTec builds the infrastructure that connects the US power generation to consumers. Expanding the grid is critical for integrating more renewables

0.42%

WESCO International, Inc. (WCC)

WESCO helps the power grid expand and adapt to a growing integration of clean energy. A key Drawdown solution for a more resilient and green grid

0.31%

Sunnova (NOVA)

Sunnova provides residential solar and energy storage systems in the United States. Both are critical for electrifying the energy system

0.17%

SPX Corporation (SPXC)

SPC makes transformers and cooling equipment for power generation and transmission - expanding the grid helps to integrate more renewable energy

0.03%

Willdan Group (WLDN)

Willdan helps utilities with new construction, improve efficiency, and demand response - all valuable in expanding and making the grid more resilient

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