323

Million Kilowatt-Hours

of renewable energy installed

50.75%

Increase

in net sales, 2018 - 2020

16.26%

Reduction

in GHG emissions from WESCO’s electricity usage, 2016 - 2018

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 needs to become more adaptable than it is today. Many 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 support a renewable transition. Where the grid spans larger geographies and more electricity sources, it can even out the total output and variability of renewables. Electricity generated in Texas 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

Set More Ambitious Targets

We applaud WESCO’s executives for setting and meeting sustainability goals. But most of these goals are fairly modest, only reducing the intensity of emissions, waste, and energy use. We would like to see bolder goals, where WESCO commits to reducing and then reaching absolute zero levels of GHG emissions and other environmental impacts.

Track Scope 3 Emissions

As part of such a bold commitment, we would like to see WESCO explicitly track scope 3 emissions. To their credit, they publish their scope 1 and 2 emissions in their Sustainability Report. But tracking scope 3 emissions would allow them to more clearly assess the climate impact of their supply chain as a complement to their supplier sustainability survey.

Clearly Report Renewable vs. Non-Renewable Business

While much of WESCO’s business helps green utilities and renewable energy companies, we know from their investor relations documents that a minority of their business is with the oil and natural gas sectors. But WESCO doesn’t provide data on precisely how much of their customer base is reliant on fossil fuels. We urge WESCO to explicitly report these figures so that climate-conscious investors can clearly evaluate their impact in addressing climate change.

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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