2015 Sustainability Report



Focus Area


Energy Access


Bringing Renewable Energy to Anywhere in the World

Renewable energy technologies are showing great promise to change how energy is used around the globe, while addressing basic human needs.

Energy is a key requirement for sustainable progress and development around the world. We believe:

  • Energy sources need to be developed and used in a sustainable manner.
  • There is no one single solution to providing abundant, reliable, secure and reasonably priced energy on a global basis.
  • Political and industry leadership is required to forge consensus and a commitment to providing energy and related infrastructure that address economic development, stability and environmental impacts. Market-based, cost-efficient energy solutions are the best way to help meet the world’s growing energy demands.
  • Access to affordable and dependable energy resources is critical for energy security, economic prosperity and growing economies. Caterpillar supports balanced and comprehensive energy policies for the responsible development and utilization of all energy resources, including traditional sources of energy and expanded use of alternative energy technologies.
  • When regulation is necessary, we support regulatory structures that provide a technology-neutral and level playing field that embraces competition and in which Caterpillar, our independent dealers and our customers can operate.
  • We support the development and use of strategies and technologies to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions.

Our Products, Services and Solutions

Caterpillar collaborates with our independent dealers to deliver highly customized and site-specific solutions that result in optimized use of our equipment, with the goal of an improved bottom line for our customers. We offer training to our customer operators on how to use our products more efficiently.

Because energy is a key requirement for development, we focus our efforts on improving efficiency and reducing emissions while increasing energy access. Caterpillar leverages technology to create more efficient power-generation solutions. With distributed generation solutions utilizing diesel and natural gas engines, as well as alternative fuels, Caterpillar is well-positioned to get power where it needs to be. Further, Cat® equipment helps meet the demands of themining and resources industries to get raw materials where they need to be to create increased access to power.

Caterpillar has implemented hundreds of distributed power generation systems all over the world, which contribute to improving energy access in the developing world while emitting fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared with traditional power grid systems. We provide combined heat and power systems, and combined-cycle power systems that can double the efficiency of power generation when compared with the efficiency of conventional power grids. Additionally, our power systems utilize fuels from diverse sources such as gas from landfills, livestock operations, wastewater treatment operations, mine methane, flare gas, syngas and biofuels. These systems provide energy diversity from plentiful (and in many cases, renewable) energy sources.

The Caterpillar Foundation is a proud supporter of the ONE Campaign, an organization that is achieving success in advocating for the bipartisan Electrify Africa Act. This bill will help sub-Saharan African countries modernize their power infrastructure and increase their access to electricity — saving lives, strengthening education, alleviating extreme poverty and accelerating growth and development.

Energy Poverty

One of the biggest differences between a developing nation and a developed nation is reliable access to energy. We support and are committed to increasing that access, helping economies grow and reducing energy poverty where it exists. According to the World Bank, an estimated 1.1 billion people globally do not have access to electricity. Lack of access to modern energy services hinders economic and social development, making it more difficult to provide water purification, sanitation and education. Today, the technology and natural resources exist to rapidly expand energy access, but the challenge is accomplishing this in an effective and efficient manner.

According to the World Bank, an estimated 1.1 billion people globally do not have access to electricity.

Energy diversification – such as coal in combination with carbon capture and storage, new nuclear buildouts, new natural gas reserves, plus renewable energy sources like biogas, wind, photovoltaic or solar, tidal and others – will contribute to an energy portfolio that helps eliminate energy poverty, raises standards of living and propels economic growth with less impact on the environment. Coal is abundantly available and has the scale to meet the primary energy needs of the world’s rising population and expected economic growth over the next several decades. Also, according to BP, natural gas production has increased more than 15 percent from 2009 to 2014 and more than 1.5 percent from 2013 to 2014, resulting in economic growth for many communities with recoverable reserves. Products capable of using alternative or blended fuels are also increasingly available. Eliminating energy poverty is a vision that can be achieved. The manner in which Caterpillar products and services provide solutions to energy access is broad, diverse and takes many forms as these examples from 2015 demonstrate.

Turning Food Waste into Clean Energy

Food waste is a major problem in the United States and around the world; recent research suggests that as much as one-third of all the food produced is spoiled or wasted instead of eaten. And food that ends up in a landfill generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas. A new project, the Central Florida Energy Garden in Orlando, Florida, turns the problem of wasted food into a three-pronged benefit. Caterpillar’s customer Waltham, Massachusetts-based Harvest Power, couples an anaerobic digester with two Cat® generator sets to produce 5.4 megawatts of combined heat and power – enough energy to power 2,000 homes per year. As this video shows, Harvest Power and its partners – including many of Orlando’s theme parks, hotels and restaurants – are now taking 120,000 tons of organic waste every year and turning it into energy, while also using some of the heat from the process to dry out the leftover organic material for use as fertilizer on local farms.

Reliable Power for Development

There is no more critical component to improving the economic standard of living in developing economies than steady, reliable power. In Tanzania, only 11 percent of the population has access to reliable electricity, which has slowed economic development for decades. Today, however, there are an increasing number of solutions, such as a Caterpillar project with the Wentworth Group in Tanzania to build a gas-to-power project that brings 24/7 power to the people of Mnazi Bay and the city of Mtwara. This video demonstrates how significantly access to energy can impact the social and economic growth of a community.