Vistra Corp

InfluenceMap Score
C
Performance Band
63%
Organisation Score
72%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Utilities
Head​quarters:
Irving, United States
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: Vistra Corporation (Vistra) appears to have mixed engagement on U.S. federal and state climate policy, with a lobbying presence across multiple states including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Although the company has been supportive of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and pricing carbon in the economy, it appears to support the long-term role of fossil fuels. Vistra is a member of the Business Roundtable, which takes mixed positions on U.S. climate policy.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Vistra presents positive top-line messaging on climate policy in the U.S. In April 2021, Vistra joined the We Mean Business Coalition in advocating for President Biden to adopt emissions targets toward achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Vistra expressed support for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) carbon pricing proposal in comments in November 2020, and reiterated its support for a federal price on carbon in April 2021 comments to FERC. In a January 2021 press release following the inauguration of President Biden, Vistra stated support for the objectives of the Paris Agreement, and in October 2021, CEO Curtis Morgan signed the ‘Glasgow is Our Business’ ad advocating for policymakers and corporate leaders to make meaningful commitments at the November 2021 COP26.

Engagement with Climate-Related Policy: Vistra appears to engage with mixed positions on climate policies in the U.S. The company has stated support for a carbon tax in its recent CDP reports, and its 2020 Climate Report includes details of its advocacy for a carbon fee with the Climate Leadership Council. Vistra has also offered support for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). In an October 2019 press release regarding the company’s operational GHG emissions reduction targets, Vistra stated support for Pennsylvania joining RGGI. In July 2020 comments to the NJ BPU, Vistra stated support for RGGI and appeared to support the Transportation and Climate Initiative. In January 2021 comments to the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board, Vistra stated support for Pennsylvania taking steps to join RGGI and further advocated for an expanded emissions-trading program to cover the entire PJM market. On the other hand, Vistra consistently advocated against eliminating the Minimum Offer Price Rule, stating in July 2021 comments to FERC that the elimination of the policy would likely “reduce capacity market revenues for the region’s generation fleet.” The company has likewise advocated against GHG emissions regulations, directly advocating to the EPA in March 2019 comments on New Source Performance Standards to support a narrow scope of emissions standards. The company submitted additional testimony opposing the Massachusetts Clean Energy Standard in May 2021 and Connecticut solar energy legislation in March 2020.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Vistra engages with mixed positions on the transition of the energy mix and appears to support the long-term role of fossil fuels, lobbying on both the federal and state level with varying degrees of support for decarbonization policies. On its legislative information website, Vistra states it believes that coal and fossil gas continue to have a role to play in the energy mix. The company advocated for policies to support fossil gas infrastructure in April 2021 comments to FERC, stating that “simply, gas-fired generation is, and will continue to be, a significant contributor to reliable grid operations.” In an interview with E&E News in October 2021, CEO Curtis Morgan appeared to advocate for a weaker version of the proposed Clean Electricity Performance Program in the Biden administration reconciliation bill, saying that the company was “open-minded to the CEPP” and supported lowering the proposed compliance measures. In the same interview, Morgan did not support President Biden’s target to decarbonize the power sector by 2035 and suggested that a longer time frame was necessary to accommodate technological developments.

Vistra demonstrates similar positions on the state level: although the company eventually supported the Illinois 2021 energy bill in September 2021, it had registered in opposition to the bill in the Illinois Energy and Environment Committee hearing in March 2021. Vistra also proposed the Coal to Solar and Energy Storage Act, part of which was incorporated into the bill and mandated a phase-out of all fossil fuel plants in the state by 2045. In both July 2020 comments and March 2021 comments to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Vistra appeared to advocate for a broad standard of clean energy without specifying whether fossil fuels were excluded. In its 2021 Ohio state lobbying reports, Vistra listed its engagement on several pieces of legislation, including the repeal of coal subsidies authorized by 2019 House Bill 6, without disclosing a position. The company also disclosed its engagement on Ohio House Bill 192, a gas ban preemption bill, without stating its position. The company demonstrates a positive position on transport electrification, as evidenced in August 2020 comments to the Texas Public Utility Commission and advocacy with the Zero Emission Transportation Association to achieve 100% electrification of vehicle sales by 2030.

Industry Association Governance: Vistra discloses its industry association memberships on its corporate website, but does not include any details on each organization’s climate change policy positions or its own alignment with each group. According to its 2020 Sustainability report, Vistra paid 2020 membership dues to the National Mining Association, a group that engages with highly negative positions on U.S. climate policy. The utility no longer appears to be a member of the NMA in 2022. Vistra CEO Curtis Morgan is a member of the Business Roundtable, which demonstrates mixed positions and recently opposed the Build Back Better Act as a means of passing climate policy. Vistra is also a member of the Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA), which engages with positive positions on regulatory measures toward the electrification of transportation in the U.S.

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DATA SOURCES
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Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
83%
 
83%
 
90%
 
90%
 
51%
 
51%

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.