When world leaders met in Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Conference, or COP26, the magnitude of the climate challenge—and the need to act with urgency—was on center stage. As chairman of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), I would like to reinforce that America’s investor-owned electric companies understand what is at stake and are leading the world in reducing carbon emissions.

Across the U.S., electric companies are working to get the energy we provide as clean as we can as fast as we can, without comprising the reliability and affordability that are essential to the customers and communities we serve. Carbon emissions from the U.S. electric power sector are now at their lowest level in more than 40 years and are down 40 percent since 2005. And, nearly 50 EEI member electric companies already have announced long-term carbon reduction goals, including 35 companies that are targeting net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner.

While we have made significant progress in reducing emissions in our sector, we know there is still much more to do. That’s why we are working closely with the Biden administration and Congress to develop federal policies that will accelerate the clean energy transition, while also ensuring a smooth transition for our customers.

We are focused on three critical areas: expanding the deployment of renewables and preserving existing clean energy technologies, including nuclear energy; promoting essential innovation across a range of new, high-potential, and affordable carbon-free technologies; and building new energy infrastructure critical for bringing more clean energy to customers and for helping other sectors of our economy reduce their emissions.

As we think about federal climate policy, we should not underestimate how effective the right tax policies can be in driving down carbon emissions. A robust clean energy tax package can be a real driver for the deployment of clean energy and carbon-free technologies over the next decade and can help us reach a cleaner energy future faster if they are in place.

Electric companies already are making unprecedented investments in renewable energy that are leading to record deployments of wind, solar, and other technologies across the energy grid. In 2020, nearly 28 gigawatts of renewable technologies went online in the U.S.—a record deployment by a wide margin. We must continue this work, and we must allow electric companies to use renewable energy tax credits in ways that more quickly reduce costs for customers.

At the same time, we need tax credits for existing nuclear facilities, which provide the majority of our carbon-free energy; transmission; and energy storage, and hydrogen to help move these carbon-free technologies through their development lifecycle.

To create a cleaner economy, we also will need a cleaner transportation sector. The transportation sector is the largest source of carbon emissions in the U.S.—and has been since 2016. With more and more Americans open to purchasing and driving electric vehicles, we are working to build widespread charging infrastructure to improve access and to help spur greater EV adoption. Collectively, EEI’s member companies already are investing more than $3 billion to deploy charging infrastructure and programs to accelerate electric transportation. The right policies will provide incentives for continued investment in EV infrastructure and will support electronic vehicle adoption.

U.S. electric company CEOs are joining the U.S. delegation and environmental leaders in Glasgow to demonstrate how U.S. electric companies are leading the way in delivering reliable, affordable, and resilient clean energy and to raise awareness of what is needed to meet the climate challenge. With the right policies, a clean energy, net-zero carbon future is not just a goal. We absolutely can make it a reality.