The power sector plays a key role in decarbonizing the global economy and meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. A significant and growing fraction of final energy demand is met by purchased electricity, so efficiency improvements in electricity generation and delivery underly the emissions reductions of many other actors.

The Science Based Targets initiative has added a 1.5°C-aligned pathway for the power sector, which provides electric utilities with the option of submitting 1.5°C-aligned targets for official recognition. Led by CDP, the SBTi has also released guidance to support electric utilities at setting science-based targets that meet specific requirements for the sector. This guidance covers all electric utilities that generate power.

Download Setting 1.5°C-aligned Science-based Targets: Quick Start Guide for Electric Utilities

Download the updated Science-based Target Setting Tool

As of December 2019, nearly 30 power companies located in 18 countries have joined the Science Based Targets initiative by setting or publicly committing to set ambitious emissions reduction targets. Now more than ever is the time to take action.

Technical support for this work was provided by Guidehouse.

Development Process

This sectoral update was conducted through an expedited development and consultation process, which focused on the selection of 1.5°C-aligned pathways for the power sector and clarification of target-setting boundary options and requirements.

  • August 2019: Project commenced;
  • December 2019: Publication of timeline and consultation opportunities on the SBTi website;
  • March 2020: A consultative webinar was convened to gather feedback on proposed approaches to selecting 1.5°C-aligned scenarios and potential adjustments to the SBTi’s sector-specific assessment criteria. View slides from the webinar and a summary of feedback;
  • March 2020: The Scientific Advisory Group was provided an opportunity to comment to ensure consistency between selected 1.5°C pathways and the most recent science;
  • June 2020: The SBTi published the final guidance and updated tool.
Scaling climate action

The SBTi will host two webinars to support electric utilities at better understanding the steps to setting and achieving 1.5°C-aligned SBTs in September 2020. Linkages to forthcoming work under development by the SBTi on long-term “net-zero” targets will also be discussed.


We would like to thank the Porticus Foundation for financially supporting this work.

Supplementary Material



Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Director of Science Based Targets, CDP

[email protected]

Andres Chang, Senior Technical Officer, CDP

[email protected]