10 green giants

These companies have gone beyond what the law requires to operate in an environmentally responsible way.

The methane byproduct of these California cows' waste is delivered by pipeline to PG&E and turned into electricity.
Location: San Francisco
Year founded: 1852
Revenue: $12.5 Billion
Employees: 20,000
Strategic 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







S.C. Johnson

Goldman Sachs

Swiss Re

Sources: Department of Energy; Eia; Ceres; Aron Cramer; Business for Social Responsibility; Dan Esty; Jonathan Lash, World Resources Institute; Matthew Kiernan, Innovest Strategic Value Advisors; Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense; Joel Makower, Greener World Media; Kld Research; Natural Resources Defense Council; Glen Pricket, Conservation International; Andrew Savitz
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