Location: San Francisco
Year founded: 1852
Revenue: $12.5 Billion
Employees: 20,000Strategic investments in efficiency and renewables.
PG&E Played a big role in getting mandatory controls on greenhouse gases enacted last year in California, and CEO Peter Darbee is now pushing for federal legislation.
The utility generates 56 percent of its retail electricity sales from non-greenhouse-gas-emitting sources, and it aggressively helps customers become more efficient. For instance, it subsidizes homeowners who buy energy-efficient appliances with $75 grants. PG&E is also experimenting with a variety of clean power alternatives. It is seeking permission to develop generation projects that could convert wave energy off the Pacific Coast into electricity. It is bullish on solar thermal technology, and it has a pilot project in the San Joaquin Valley in which cow manure is turned into electricity. "That's a dung good idea," cracks Darbee.
Jokes aside, Darbee is seriously excited about the prospect of plug-in hybrids that would draw power from the electricity grid at night and then feed power back into the grid during the day when demand peaks. These clean cars would burn less gasoline, pollute less and take advantage of the utility industry's capital-intensive infrastructure. "The energy industry," Darbee concludes, "is on the brink of a revolution." --Marc Gunther