MENU - Media Contact

Media Contact

For media inquiries, email: corporatecommunications@avangrid.com 

MENU - PRESS ROOM


Press Releases

02/07/2024

ICYMI: Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra Guest on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” to Discuss JUST 100 Ranking

ICYMI: Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra Guest on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” to Discuss JUST 100 Ranking

Azagra: “Women and men doing their job is what brings us here.”

ORANGE, Conn. — February 7, 2024 — Pedro Azagra, CEO of Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR),  a leading sustainable energy company and a member of the Iberdrola Group, was featured as a guest on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday, January 7, 2024 to discuss the company’s recent JUST 100 ranking and the state of the clean energy industry. 

A rough transcript of the interview is below:

Becky Quick: Earlier this week JUST Capital announced its annual JUST 100 list of America's Best Corporate Citizens. Sustainable energy company Avangrid achieved the top spot among utilities and placed 12th overall. Joining us right now is Pedro Azagra, the CEO. Welcome, thank you for being here with us today. What do you think puts you in this JUST 100 list?

Pedro Azagra: Thank you very much, pleasure to be here. And it is the work of our women and men. Without them, we would not be here. We were 224 in the list a few years ago, now we are number 12 and also we are the number one utility. Women and men doing their job is what brings us here. 

Becky Quick: When we talk about Avangrid’s business and what you all are doing just in terms of renewables, renewables is a place a lot of money is funneling into these days. But a lot of it is driven by government initiatives and government funding. How important is that government funding and what happens if governments change and decide they are no longer going to pursue those same initiatives?

Pedro Azagra: As you know, there are many ways of helping renewables development and in different countries there are different approaches. I think in the U.S. there is a tax driven mechanism—you have production tax credits and investment tax credits. That is important. The history right now is that it has never been an issue for any of the two major parties in the U.S. It has always been, you are okay with this but then you negotiate other things. As long as that remains, the industry will continue. In our case, we're on the road to achieving 10,000 MW in the U.S. in renewable energy. We're right now in excess of 9,000 MW and globally being part of the Iberdrola Group, with the leadership of Chairman Galán, we're approaching more than 40,000 MW. I think we're already contributing to the world. 

Becky Quick: Your point is that if the government funding wasn't there, this would not be a booming business. It has to be supported by governments at this point. 

Pedro Azagra: Part of the development has to be helped to make sure that happens, but also part of the assets you already have PPAs. So you go straight to the market, you have customers, big customers, people you interview quite often. We have PPAs with them as well. So you have a combination of just market, but also some help from a production point of view from the major projects we are doing.

Becky Quick: Where are the biggest hurdles right now? Most of the time when you talk to people about trying to change things, its the grid that is the underlying issue. Trying to get power from where the wind blows to where it doesn't. Trying to get power from where the sun shines to where it doesn't.

Pedro Azagra: In the many meetings we are having with both the federal government and many states, I can tell you that they are very, very focused on these issues. The first one is permitting. The amount of permitting you need, it takes years. It takes probably five to eight years to do an offshore wind park.  It takes three to five years to do an onshore park with solar. The permitting is critical, so that's one of the issues. The second one is, as you were saying right now, what I call litigation. In the U.S., everybody litigates. It is normal to have litigation for everything. That also delays the projects. So from our point of view, it is not access to capital, it is just predictability and permitting regulation is key. If you change regulation every year, it does not work. If you have a predictable framework, things will be vested and you'll have the reality in the assets.

Becky Quick: You're talking about billions of dollars in investments, those are not things that companies do lightly and having stability over time definitely makes a big deal. Pedro, just last month, you all ended a merger deal that you had put through and planned with PNM Resources. That was a deal that had been in the works since I think October of 2020, so that is years in the making. PNM had wanted to extend the deadline for that deal to get done, you all chose not to go that route. Why is that? You think this was something that was never going to get past regulators?

Pedro Azagra: I think there are moments in life that you just need to move on. We have been three years, we have 23 out of 24 parties either supporting or not opposing the deal, and still we have a negative reaction by a public commission. The public commission changed, but after three years we're still waiting here, we are still waiting for the public commission decision now after the supreme court that we were waiting, so it is basically a moment that after, you know, so many delays, we didn't have certainty on the timeline and that was the decision. But at the same time, last year we were very successful in operating networks in New York, we have our rate case, in Maine as well. We actually put more than nine billion with both renewables and networks off additional investments for the years to come. Nine billion is a lot of money. There is a moment I think when you don't have certainty and clarity in timelines, you just need to move on.

Becky Quick: Does that give you any sort of fear factor in terms of attempting another deal? 
Pedro Azagra: Well, when you have organic investments for more than 20 billion for the five years ahead of us, both in networks and renewables, that seems to me more than enough to focus on. In order to have that pipeline of organic investment, maybe we think about something else.
 

About Avangrid

About Avangrid: Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) aspires to be the leading sustainable energy company in the United States. Headquartered in Orange, CT with approximately $44 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states, Avangrid has two primary lines of business: networks and renewables. Through its networks business, Avangrid owns and operates eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Through its renewables business, Avangrid owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. Avangrid employs approximately 8,000 people and has been recognized by JUST Capital in 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 as one of the JUST 100 companies – a ranking of America’s best corporate citizens. In 2024, Avangrid ranked first among utilities and 12 overall. The company supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2024 for the sixth consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute. Avangrid is a member of the group of companies controlled by Iberdrola, S.A. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.

 

About Iberdrola: Iberdrola is one of the world's biggest energy companies and a leader in renewables, spearheading the energy transition to a low carbon economy. The group supplies energy to almost 100 million people in dozens of countries. With a focus on renewable energy, smart networks and smart solutions for customers, Iberdrola’s main markets include Europe (Spain, the United Kingdom, Portugal, France, Germany, Italy and Greece), the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Australia. The company is also present in growth markets such as Japan, Taiwan, Ireland, Sweden and Poland, among others.

With a workforce of nearly 40,000 and assets in excess of €141.7 billion, across the world, Iberdrola helps to support 400,000 jobs across its supply chain, with annual procurement of €12.2 billion. A benchmark in the fight against climate change, Iberdrola has invested more than €130 billion over the past two decades to help build a sustainable energy model, based on sound environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles.

Node: liferay-1:8080