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EEI Energy Talk  
June 2019

Top Story
Top Story
EEI Elects New Leadership

​Earlier in June, EEI's Board of Directors elected Chris Crane, president and CEO, Exelon Corporation, to serve as EEI Chairman for the 2019-2020 cycle. The Board also elected two Vice Chairmen: Ben Fowke, chairman, president, and CEO, Xcel Energy, and Gerry Anderson, executive chairman, DTE Energy.

"Chris, who previously served as an EEI vice chairman, is a strong champion for our industry, and I am looking forward to his continued leadership as our industry works to deliver a clean and resilient energy future for our customers," EEI President Tom Kuhn said. 

Kuhn also lauded the vice chairs who will support Crane as part of EEI's leadership team: "Ben is a terrific leader for our industry, and we are thrilled to have him continue to serve as vice chairman. We also are excited to welcome Gerry to the EEI leadership team, and appreciate the depth of industry experience and passion that he brings."

Kuhn thanked outgoing EEI Chairman Lynn Good, chairman, president, and CEO, Duke Energy: "On behalf of the entire EEI team, I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to outgoing EEI Chairman Lynn Good for her leadership throughout this past year. Lynn's advocacy on key policy issues helped to position our industry for the future, and her focus on customers was instrumental in redefining and transforming the customer experience to ensure that EEI member companies can deliver more tailored energy solutions that meet the unique needs of our diverse customers." 

"Our industry is leading an energy transformation," Crane said. "I look forward to working with EEI and its members to deepen our workforce development activities to attract, train, and retain talented employees who are passionate about clean energy, serving customers, and supporting the communities where they live and work."

Photo (L to R): EEI President Tom Kuhn; EEI Vice Chairman Ben Fowke; outgoing EEI Chairman Lynn Good; EEI Chairman Chris Crane; EEI Vice Chairman Gerry Anderson.

News From the Hill
News From the Hill
House Boosts Clean Energy Technology Funding
    America’s electric companies are leading a clean energy transformation, and, with the right policies in place, further emissions reductions are possible. To ensure that the clean energy transformation reaches its full potential, public policies should put customers first, focus on outcomes, support progress, and accelerate innovation. The United States House of Representatives has approved H.R. 2740, an appropriations package that helps to advance these goals by authorizing funding for programs of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that are critical to EEI's member companies and their customers. These include:
    • Approximately $2.7 billion appropriated for DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which performs important work in areas critical to electricity customers, including advancing battery and electrification technologies; research and development of clean energy materials and smart grid systems; and helping to drive down the cost of wind, solar, and hydropower resources.
    • Additional funding for the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) and its goals of ensuring a smarter, stronger, and more reliable energy grid. CESER aims to help secure the nation’s energy infrastructure and to reduce the risks and impacts from potential cyber events, and works closely with the CEO-led Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council to advance these critical objectives.
    • Increased funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which works on developing potentially transformational energy technologies for the future. As the electric power industry drives toward even greater reductions in carbon emissions, electric companies will need new, cutting-edge clean energy technologies. ARPA-E has focused on high-impact projects that transfer into private-sector opportunities and jobs, such as achieving breakthroughs in energy storage. This work benefits all electricity customers by improving the efficiency and reliability of the energy grid, enabling greater use of renewable energy, and supporting transportation electrification. 
    • Additional funding for the Reactor Concepts research and development program. Nuclear energy remains the largest source of carbon-free electricity. Currently, 98 reactors in 30 states produce nearly 20 percent of our nation’s electricity and more than 50 percent of our carbon-free electricity. Both our existing nuclear facilities and next-generation nuclear technologies are essential to help our industry meet its goals for reducing carbon emissions.
    EEI and our member companies support government funding for DOE's research and development of advanced energy technologies because these programs are key to supporting their efforts to further reduce their emissions, help dramatically reduce the most significant emissions from other industries, and deliver the clean energy future that Americans want and expect.

    In the News
    In the News
    EEI Comments on EPA's Affordable Clean Energy Rule

    ​Across America, EEI's member companies—the nation's investor-owned electric companies—are leading a dramatic transformation of the nation's energy. They are transitioning to cleaner energy resources and reducing their carbon emissions; modernizing the energy grid and building smarter energy infrastructure; and delivering innovative energy solutions in a rapidly changing world—all while maintaining reliability, affordability, and security. This profound transformation is key to delivering the smart, connected, and clean energy future that customers want and expect.

    EEI recently commented on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Affordable Clean Energy rule: "EEI’s member companies are united in their commitment to get as clean as they can, as fast as they can, while keeping reliability and affordability front and center as always. At this time, we are still reviewing the details of the Affordable Clean Energy rule, and we will be working with our members to determine what the rule means for individual companies, for our sector, and for our customers.

    "EEI’s member companies operate in very diverse markets, and many pathways can lead to the same collective result. Our industry already has made significant progress in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and this impressive trend is expected to continue. In fact, EEI’s member companies collectively are on a path to reduce carbon emissions 50 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. 

    "We remain committed to working with all stakeholders, especially states, and to leading the clean energy transformation by continuing to reduce CO2 in our sector and by helping other sectors transition to clean, efficient electric energy."

    Here are some key facts to know about our member companies' extraordinary transformation: 

    1. ​​Electric companies invest more than $100 billion each year to make the energy grid stronger, smarter, cleaner, more dynamic, and more secure; to diversify the nation’s energy mix; and to integrate new technologies that benefit customers.

    2. Today, more than one-third of our electricity comes from carbon-free sources (including nuclear energy and hydropower and other renewables), and another one-third comes from natural gas. 

    3. Electric companies provide 69 percent of the nation’s solar energy. Since 2005, the percentage of renewable sources in the U.S. energy mix has quadrupled—over the past 5 years, more than half of new electricity generation capacity was wind and solar

    4. The electric power industry is reducing emissions significantly. As of year-end 2018, the electric power industry’s CO2 emissions were 27 percent below 2005 levels—nearly the lowest level in three decades. The industry also has decreased emissions of nitrogen oxides by 84 percent and sulfur dioxide by 92 percent—all while electricity use grew by 39 percent (1990-2018).

    Learn more in our infographic, and in this ​Electric Perspectives​ ​article​ by Brian Wolff, EEI executive vice president of public policy and external affairs.

    Industry in Action
    Industry in Action
    The AES Corporation and UK Power Networks Win 2019 Edison Awards

    ​At EEI 2019, the electric power industry's premier annual event, held June 9-11 in Philadelphia, EEI presented the 2019 Edison Award to The AES Corporation, and the 2019 International Edison Award to UK Power Networks.

    The Edison Award is the electric power industry's most prestigious honor, recognizing distinguished leadership, innovation, and contributions to the advancement of the electric power industry. A panel of former energy company chief executives selected The AES Corporation for the 91st annual award from a group of distinguished finalists. 

    In December 2018, AES made history by bringing the world’s largest operational solar-plus-storage system online, creating a new model for stabilizing large-scale renewable energy. Designed for the Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC), this first-of-its-kind DC (direct current)-coupled solution, dubbed "the PV Peaker Plant," fully integrates photovoltaic (PV) cells and storage at unprecedented scale to transform variable renewable energy generation into safe, reliable, and readily dispatchable power. This project will deliver roughly 11 percent of the island's power, bringing the State of Hawaii one step closer to achieving its goal of being powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

    "America's electric companies are increasingly partnering with technology companies to develop and deploy innovative new solutions to address the specific needs of their customers," said EEI President Tom Kuhn. "The PV Peaker Plant designed by AES allows KIUC to shift roughly 100 megawatt-hours of solar energy gathered during the day to the evening peak, enabling energy grid operators to utilize solar energy well past sundown. The AES Corporation is helping the sun work harder for KIUC's members, and this project puts the co-op a big step closer to reaching its goal of generating 70 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2030."

    "We are very honored to receive this prestigious award from EEI in recognition of our innovative and groundbreaking Lawa'i solar + storage project,” said Andrés Gluski, president and CEO of The AES Corporation. "This project, which was designed in conjunction with KIUC, will help their community realize their vision of a green energy future that is reliable and affordable. The Lawa'i project proves that solar + storage can provide around-the-clock renewable energy and creates a footprint for replacing traditional forms of power generation in many other markets around the world."

    "Congratulations to the outstanding team at The AES Corporation for their terrific achievement in earning the 2019 Edison Award," said Kuhn. 

    UK Power Networks is leading the United Kingdom's clean energy transition by investing in smart grid and other innovative energy grid technologies. These investments in smarter energy infrastructure have saved customers $195 million since 2015, and have facilitated the country’s ability to lower its carbon emissions. 

    "UK Power Networks is integrating technology and industry innovation to transform the energy grid to meet the needs of current and future customers and stakeholders," said Kuhn. "Energy grids are transforming around the globe at an unprecedented pace in response to climate change and evolving customer preferences. As UK Power Networks has demonstrated, actively listening to, and engaging with, customers is vital to realize the benefits of transformative energy solutions."

    Basil Scarsella, CEO of UK Power Networks, accepted the award and thanked EEI for its leadership, saying that his company is grateful for its involvement in EEI, giving the company an international voice and the ability to collaborate with electric companies across the world.

    Learn more in EEI's press releases for the 2019 Edison Award and the 2019 International Edison Award​.

    Photo (L to R): EEI President Tom Kuhn; The AES Corporation President and CEO Andrés Gluski​; AES Distributed Energy Director of Engineering and Construction Felipe Cantero; AES United States President Lisa Krueger; outgoing EEI Chairman Lynn Good.

    In Case You Missed It
    In Case You Missed It
    Exelon Utilities' Anne Pramaggiore on the Road to Reinvention

    ​"As more and more uses are made of the energy grid, with resources increasingly controlled outside the industry, there must be a central nervous system that manages resources, rationalizes assets, and balances competing interests," Exelon Utilities Senior Executive Vice President and CEO Anne Pramaggiore writes in ​Electric Perspectives.

    "As universal service providers, electric companies have the ability to act as a matchmaker: connecting customers to multiple energy solutions and providers, including solar, efficiency services, and devices like smart thermostats.

    "Our companies can animate, and are animating, new markets—as the energy grid quickly is becoming the hub for the transformation of the transportation sector—with information, infrastructure, and incentives."

    Read more​.

    EEI 2019
    EEI 2019
    Highlights From the Electric Power Industry's Premier Annual Event

    Earlier this month, hundreds of electric company officials, policymakers, industry thought leaders, and energy innovators gathered in Philadelphia for EEI 2019. In addition to the election of EEI's new leadership and the presentation of the Edison Awards, ​the conference was packed with exciting discussions, networking, and insights:

    • The Honorable Rick Perry, secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, joined EEI Chairman Chris Crane for a discussion of the issues confronting the electric power industry today. Perry outlined the industry-government partnership, which is coordinated through the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council: "We must protect the infrastructure that delivers energy, guarding it from the threats posed by the ravages of nature and protect it from a host of bad actors," he said.
    • EEI 2019 again featured the ever-popular "View From the Top" with engaging insights and compelling conversation between the electric power industry's key power players—this year including EEI Chairman Chris Crane, outgoing EEI Chairman Lynn Good, and EEI Vice Chairman Ben Fowke. Daniel Yergin, bestselling Pulitzer-Prize-winning author, vice chairman of IHS Markit, and founder of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, moderated this discussion of the profound challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the industry as electric companies innovate and add more clean energy resources while working to maintain reliability and affordability for customers.
    • EEI President Tom Kuhn engaged in a dialogue with the Honorable Paul Ryan, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Ryan offered his perspective on crafting successful public policies and explained leadership lessons he learned over his career in Congress. 
    • Outgoing EEI Chairman Lynn Good sat down with José Andrés, the famed chef, restaurateur, and humanitarian, to discuss his lessons on leadership and innovation, the imperative of constant adaptation, and the nature of true charity. He began with a stirring tribute to the men and women of the electric power industry: "Your guys, your trucks, your teams, are always there first, and you take care of the work of providing electricity to every citizen. That service is so valuable.... Thank you for what you do."
    • Reshma Saujani, a New York Times Best Selling author and founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, addressed steps that companies can take to close the gender gap in technology and outlined how her organization is making a difference to coding.
    • At the 12th Annual Women's Executive Forum Luncheon, PNM Resources Chairman, President, and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn led a discussion with keynote speaker Phoebe Haddon, chancellor of Rutgers University—Camden.
    • EEI recognized member companies' extraordinary efforts to restore power to customers by presenting nine Emergency Recovery Awards (for companies directly impacted) and eight Emergency Assistance Awards (for companies that come to the aid of another company) awards to 16 electric companies.
    • EEI 2019 featured a record-high 20 breakout sessions with world-class learning opportunities focusing on clean energy, the customer experience, smarter infrastructure, and what's next. Find key takeaways and quotes from every session in EEI's newsletters from Day One and Day Two.
    Find photos and more highlights from EEI 2019 on our website

    Photo: The Honorable Paul Ryan, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and EEI President Tom Kuhn.

    Community Connections
    Community Connections
    Alliant Energy Lineworker and Smart Meter Come to the Rescue

    ​Alliant Energy lineworker Alex Schwenke helped save a Rose Hill, Iowa, couple who was buried in rubble after their house exploded during heavy storms in May.   

    Schwenke was dispatched to the house to investigate a 3:30 a.m. signal from the home’s smart meter. "As soon as the power went off, it sent a signal up to dispatch, and they dispatched me and I ended up being the first responder," Schwenke told reporters. 

    Upon arrival, he found that Paul and Sharon Jackson’s two-story home had collapsed. The couple, and their bed, had fallen into the basement. They were alive, but injured and buried under the wreckage. "We saw a flashlight and we started yelling," said Paul Jackson. It belonged to Schwenke, who called 911 and stayed at the scene to help fire crews rescue the Jacksons. 

    "I told him he was my guardian angel," Sharon Jackson told reporters. 

    The couple have been released from the hospital and plan to rebuild their home. 

    Smart meters enable two-way flows of power and information, giving electric companies greater visibility into the health of the energy grid—information that helps them protect customers' lives. More than 85 million smart meters have been deployed nationwide. 

    Photo: Courtesy Alliant Energy.

    What We're Reading
    What We're Reading
    Australia's Energy Industry—A Changing Landscape

    ​"The Australian energy industry is a paradox," writes Frank Tudor, managing director of Jemena, an Australian energy distribution company, in Electric Perspectives.

    "Here is a nation blessed with abundant natural resources that should be enough to more than meet the needs of the domestic market while making a substantial contribution to international energy markets. However, policy uncertainty and inconsistent legislation across state and federal borders have hampered progress toward net-zero carbon emissions, undermined system reliability, and called into question Australia’s reputation as a safe investment destination.

    "Australia also is challenged climatically. While the sun-blessed country has seen a huge increase in solar energy production in the last decade, it is prone to periods of sustained high temperatures that can cause heatwaves, start bush fires, and put extreme pressure on energy networks."


    Case Studies
    Case Studies
    Emerging Energy Solutions for Residential Customers

    ​EEI's member companies are focused on delivering innovative energy solutions that meet customers' changing expectations. To assist them in reimagining the customer service model and to create a more seamless experience for residential customers, EEI and the Institute for Electric Innovation have published a new collection of case studies, Emerging Energy Solutions for Residential Customers, that examines ways electric companies are moving forward to reimagine customer service. The studies concentrate on five key areas:

    • Smart home energy management;
    • Online energy marketplaces;
    • Low- to moderate-income customer solutions;
    • Customer notification and engagement; and
    • Residential bill payment options.

    EEI and our member companies are working together to share ideas and best practices that give customers greater control over their energy use and to identify other tools that enhance the customer experience and satisfaction.

    Money Matters
    Money Matters
    EEI's 2018 Financial Review Demonstrates Continued Industry Strength

    ​EEI’s member companies play a key role in supporting economic prosperity throughout the nation. As a whole, the electric power industry supports more than 7 million jobs and contributes $865 billion to U.S. GDP. The industry’s strong financial performance benefits customers as well as employees and shareholders.  

    These facts are reflected in EEI’s 2018 Financial Review, which highlights the financial strength of the investor-owned electric power industry and underscores the magnitude of the investments EEI’s member companies are making to benefit the customers and communities they serve. 

    Other key data in the Financial Review also illustrate strong performance. The industry’s average credit rating was BBB+ for the fifth straight year in 2018, after increasing from the BBB average that previously had held since 2004. This improved credit quality greatly supports the continued level of elevated capital expenditures, which for the seventh consecutive year set another record high of $119.5 billion in 2018. Strong dividend yields and widespread dividend increases continue to support electric company stocks. The industry’s average dividend yield at the end of 2018 stood at 3.4 percent, and 39 electric companies, or 93 percent of the industry, increased their dividend last year, a new industry record. 

    Read the 2018 Financial Review on EEI's website.

    Read EP
    Clean Energy