400000

Electric Vehicle Chargers

sold since 2010

24

Million Charging Sessions

By the end of 2020, ABB enabled ~24 million charging sessions by the end of 2020

58%

Reduction

ABB reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 58%, 2013 - 2020


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.

About

ABB Ltd (stock ticker: ABB) is a Swedish-Swiss multinational corporation headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland. They’re primarily focused on robotics, power, heavy electrical equipment, and automation technology. ABB’s electrification business offers a wide range of products and services, from EV infrastructure, solar substations, modular substations, distribution automation, and systems that integrate and automate a building’s electrical installations, etc.

ABB's Role in Drawdown

ABB’s largest business segment, Electrification (p. 99), contributes to the grid flexibility solution, as well as to the electric vehicle infrastructure and building efficiency solutions. For example, it helps utility, industry, transport and infrastructure customers improve power quality and control, reduce outage time and enhance operational reliability and efficiency. This segment also serves the power distribution sector, often providing the requisite medium-voltage link between high-voltage transmission systems and low-voltage users.

Also part of this segment’s products and services are those that help protect, control, and connect people, plants, and systems with a portfolio of low-voltage products and systems. These include electric vehicle charging infrastructure, power protection solutions, and power distribution units. They also offer building efficiency solutions, including digitally enabled controls for HVAC, lighting, shutters, and security in addition to low-voltage products.

Since 2010, ABB has sold more than 400,000 EV chargers (p. 16) across more than 85 markets, including more than 20,000 DC fast chargers and 380,000 AC chargers

Until recently, ABB also operated the Power Grids business (p. 26-27). Regrettably, they divested from this business in June 2020. Their Power Grid business was focused on providing products, systems, software and service solutions for utility, industry, transport and infrastructure customers. It offered supervisory control and data acquisition systems for transmission and distribution networks, a range of wireless, fiber optic and powerline carrier-based telecom technologies for mission-critical applications, grid-edge and microgrid solutions. With the divestment of the Power Grids business, ABB’s exposure to the utilities market has decreased significantly.

ABB: What We Like

ABB has demonstrated that they can set and achieve forward-looking sustainability targets. For example, ABB succeeded in reducing its GHG emissions by 58% (p. 16) by 2020 compared to the 2013 baseline.

In 2020 they also set 2030 targets (p. 16) in line with the goal of staying below 1.5°C of warming:

  • Reduce CO2e emissions by 80% in certain areas of their operation
  • Achieve carbon neutrality in their own operations
  • Support customers in reducing their annual CO2 emissions by at least 100 megatonnes. That would be the equivalent to taking 30 million passenger cars off the road for one year. ABB’s operations are on track to achieve this target so far.

ABB: What We Want to See Improve

Shift Away from Oil & Gas Industries


ABB’s Electrification, Industrial Automation, and Motion segments serve the oil and gas industries (pp. 30-33), along with many others. While improving the energy efficiency is a win for these industries, it ultimately enables high-emitting sectors. We want ABB to focus entirely on electrifying and automating low-emission and renewable energy sectors instead.

Completely Transition to Renewable Energy


While ABB has made some headway toward switching to renewable energy in some of their facilities, they still rely heavily on fossil fuels like oil, diesel, and gas (p. 120). We urge ABB to accelerate their transition to renewable energy and become completely independent from fossil fuels as soon as possible.

Nudge Suppliers to Reduce Emissions


We commend ABB for making their Supplier Code of Conduct public and including a detailed list of expectations in it. But climate change concern is not part of this code of conduct. With ABB’s purchasing power and weight in the supply chain, we believe they can effectively nudge their suppliers to work toward becoming zero-emission companies themselves. We want to see ABB become the champion of sustainability in their supply chain.

Other Grid Expansion Stocks in the Climate Index

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