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June 2021

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Photo (L to R): EEI Chairman Gerry Anderson; EEI Vice Chairman Warner Baxter; EEI Vice Chairman Pedro J. Pizarro.
Top Story
EEI Elects New Leadership
During EEI’s June Board of Directors and CEO meeting, DTE Energy Executive Chairman Gerry Anderson was elected as EEI Chairman for the 2021-2022 cycle. Anderson succeeded Ben Fowke, chairman and CEO of Xcel Energy. Also elected were two Vice Chairmen: Ameren Corporation Chairman, President, and CEO Warner Baxter and Edison International President and CEO Pedro J. Pizarro. 

“Gerry previously served as an EEI vice chairman and is an outstanding leader for our industry and in his community. I look forward to continuing our work with Gerry to advance our industry’s clean energy goals and commitments,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn.

Kuhn also praised the vice chairs who will support Anderson: “Warner and Pedro are champions for our industry. Each is committed to achieving the long-term goals that will provide the clean energy future, and we are extremely fortunate to have them continue to serve on the EEI Leadership team.”

“On behalf of EEI and our member companies, I extend our thanks to Ben Fowke,” Kuhn continued. “During a year of many uncertainties, Ben demonstrated tremendous leadership as he steered our industry’s quick and effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, Ben maintained a strong focus on our industry’s clean energy transition, and he worked to advance solutions to racial and social justice issues that are front and center across our nation. We are grateful for Ben’s dedication to our customers and to our member companies throughout his chairmanship.”

Anderson said: “As the country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s electric companies remain steadfast in our commitment to becoming as clean as we can as fast as we can—while providing our customers and our communities with the reliable, affordable, and secure energy that powers our economy and our lives.”

“Despite the many challenges we all faced this past year, EEI’s member companies continued their strong and steady transition to clean energy, and the progress we have made is clear. Today, our industry’s carbon emissions are down 40 percent and are at their lowest level in more than 40 years. We are now focused on developing the new carbon-free technologies that will help to deliver a 100-percent clean energy future,” he added.

“We also remain focused on advancing racial and social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion across our workforce and throughout our communities. Our companies can be powerful agents of change, but truly addressing these issues will require focus and persistence—and we intend to demonstrate those qualities,” Anderson said.
 
Learn more in EEI's press release.

Inside EEI
Photo: During EEI 2021, Breakthrough Energy founder Bill Gates discussed the urgency of climate change, and praised electric companies for their leadership of the clean energy transformation.
Inside EEI
EEI 2021: The Road to Net Zero
During EEI 2021: The Road to Net Zero, leading industry CEOs, thought leaders, policymakers, and partners came together for two days of dynamic keynotes, cutting-edge breakout content, and stimulating dialogue. Recorded sessions will be available online until July 10, 2021. Registration is required for access.

Visit our website to find highlights from EEI 2021:
  • In a special video message for EEI 2021 attendees, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg touched on the important role the Department of Transportation will play in helping implement the Biden Administration’s climate and clean energy goals.
  • The CEO roundtable—a traditional highlight of EEI's annual conference—was a lively and wide-ranging salon conversation touching on all the top issues on the industry’s landscape. EEI Chairman Gerry Anderson (executive chairman, DTE Energy), was joined by EEI Vice Chairs Warner Baxter and Pedro Pizarro. The discussion was moderated by Pat Vincent-Collawn, president and CEO, PNM Resources, and a past EEI Chairman.
  • The second general session of EEI 2021 featured a panel of top industry leaders who discussed the brutal cold snap that affected much of the mid-continental United States and left millions of Texans without electricity in February and caused rolling blackouts in other areas as well. The conversation was moderated by Sean Trauschke, chairman, president, and CEO, OGE Energy Corporation. Panelists included John Bear, CEO of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator; Barbara Sugg, president and CEO of Southwest Power Pool, Inc., and Humayun Tai, senior partner at McKinsey & Company.
  • Day Two of EEI 2021 got underway with a thought-provoking discussion of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) between immediate past EEI Chairman Ben Fowke, chairman and CEO of Xcel Energy, and Eric Holder, America's first Black attorney general. 
  • The theme of DEI continued into the next general session, which took an in-depth look at how EEI’s member companies are actively promoting DEI in their own workplaces, while also striving to provide better access to jobs for underrepresented members of their communities. Chris Womack, president and CEO of Georgia Power, discussed how companies can measure their success with Lisa Jackson, vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives at Apple Corporation.
  • EEI 2021's closing general session featured high-powered conversations on the clean energy transformation. As an industry, we are united in our commitment to get the energy we provide as clean as we can as fast as we can, without compromising on the reliability or affordability that are essential to the customers and communities we serve—and this commitment was front and center throughout EEI 2021. The session began with a special message on the urgency of the clean energy transition from Breakthrough Energy founder Bill Gates.
  • Next, EEI Chairman Gerry Anderson joined Mike Boots, executive vice president of Breakthrough Energy, to discuss the innovation urgently needed in how we produce, store, and use electricity—and the role electric companies are playing on the road to net zero.
  • Finally, EEI 2021 wrapped up with a conversation between American Electric Power CEO Nick Akins and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, about prospects for clean energy legislation in Congress.
  • Throughout EEI 2021, cutting-edge breakout sessions allowed attendees to tailor their own educational experiences around four separate tracks with world-class learning opportunities focusing on clean energy, the customer experience, smarter infrastructure, and what's next for the electric power industry. 
Look for more highlights from EEI 2021 in the upcoming issue of Electric Perspectives.

Happening Now
Happening Now
EEI Member Companies Reinforce DEI Commitment
During EEI’s June Board of Directors and CEO meeting, member companies reinforced their commitment to advancing racial and social justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). 

Last September, EEI launched an industry-wide DEI initiative that builds on programs and work already underway at electric companies across the country. With the support of EEI’s Board of Directors, the initiative now has 100-percent member company participation. 

“Over the past year, our nation has witnessed an unprecedented convergence of racial and social justice events,” said outgoing EEI Chairman Ben Fowke, chairman and CEO of Xcel Energy. “Throughout my term as EEI Chairman, from June 2020-June 2021, I made it a priority to advance racial and social justice and DEI. I am so proud that EEI’s member companies eagerly embraced the challenge head on. We have come together to learn from each other and to take meaningful and measurable actions that I am confident will make a difference for our companies and our employees and for the customers and communities we serve.” 

By supporting EEI’s DEI initiative, member companies have agreed to:
  • Promote racial and social justice.
  • Advance DEI goals and diversify their workforce at all levels. 
  • Provide more equitable access to employment opportunities for underrepresented and underserved members of their communities.
  • Create a workforce that is more representative and responsive to people of all backgrounds.
  • Take measurable actions that can address the racial and gender gaps within our industry and accelerate the ability to reach and support those suffering from systemic racism, poverty, and economic disadvantages.
Last fall, EEI member companies were asked to review the industry DEI goals and the recommended actions to achieve them and to commit to implement at least three actions over the next year. The recommended goals are: ensure that DEI efforts are driven from the top; remove barriers to entry by expanding and broadening the pool of diverse candidates; establish stronger community connections; and establish infrastructure academies and training programs. Today, member companies, on average, are implementing five actions to meet their DEI commitment.

“This past year has challenged us all, including making us pause and evaluate ways in which we can work together to better engage with and support underrepresented groups within our workforce and our communities,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Over the past year and under the leadership of Ben Fowke, EEI’s member companies have taken an important next step, agreeing to align their DEI and workforce development initiatives. Our commitment to doing better and to making progress is stronger than ever.”

“Addressing racial and social justice is a quest, not a problem that we can solve overnight,” added Fowke. “While we still have much to learn, we have made important strides, and I am proud to be joined by every one of EEI’s member companies and of the work we have accomplished together.”

In the News
In the News
The AES Corporation and Edison International Win 93rd Edison Award; J-POWER Wins International Edison Award
During EEI 2021 in June, EEI awarded The AES Corporation and Edison International/Southern California Edison with the 93rd Edison Award. EEI also presented J-POWER with the International Edison Award. Presented annually and selected by a panel of former energy industry executives, the Edison Award is the electric power industry’s highest honor.

The AES Corporation was selected for its Alamitos Battery Energy Storage System. In 2020, AES completed the 400 megawatt-hour stand-alone battery energy storage system in California, making it one of the largest battery storage systems in operation in the world today and the first in the United States specifically selected to replace a natural gas peaker plant.

Edison International/Southern California Edison was selected for Southern California Edison’s innovative suite of programs designed to help accelerate the electrification of the transportation sector. With nearly $2 billion of funding approved in California, the programs support electric vehicle adoption and the installation of more than 50,000 new charging ports throughout its service territory.

J-POWER received the International Edison Award for its Osaki CoolGen project. The Osaki CoolGen project is a three-step demonstration pilot designed to establish integrated coal gasification fuel cell combined cycle (IGCC) with carbon dioxide (CO2) capture. Osaki CoolGen Corporation, founded by J-POWER and the Chugoku Electric Power Company, conducted the demonstration of oxygen-blown IGCC with CO2 capture during the project’s second step. Its third step will test for efficiency improvements by combining fuel cells with the oxygen-blown IGCC system. 

Read about the winners of the domestic and international Edison Award in EEI's press releases. Go inside the Edison Award winners’ innovative projects and those of the finalists in the current issue of Electric Perspectives.

Money Matters
Money Matters
2020 Financial Review Details Continued Industry Strength
EEI’s 2020 Financial Review—the annual report of the U.S. investor-owned electric power industry, released on June 3—provides a wealth of detail on the industry’s financial performance and strategic direction. Among the highlights of this year’s Review:
  • Despite the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry set a ninth consecutive record for capital expenditures, which totaled $132.7 billion in 2020. The electric power industry continues to be America’s most capital-intensive sector.
  • These capital investments are supported by EEI member companies’ average credit rating, which remained at BBB+ for the seventh consecutive year in 2020, after increasing from the BBB average that previously had held since 2004. 
  • The industry also extended its long-term trend of widespread and consistent dividend increases, as 87 percent of the EEI Index companies increased their dividend in 2020.
In addition, EEI’s financial analysis team has updated its three-year projection of total industry capital expenditures: 
  • 2021: $144.3 billion
  • 2022: $137.0 billion
  • 2023: $140.3 billion
Download the 2020 Financial Review. Find additional industry financial data on EEI's website.

Delivering the Future
Delivering the Future
EEI Celebrates National Pollinator Week
During National Pollinator Week (June 21-27), EEI helped to raise awareness of the need to address declining pollinator populations and to protect pollinator habitats. Pollinators play a vital role in supporting many ecosystems and agricultural economies, and protecting them is a priority for the electric power industry. 

Last year, more than 45 companies in the energy and transportation sectors, including several EEI member companies, agreed—under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances—to increase and maintain the habitats of monarch butterflies and other at-risk pollinator species on public and private lands across the country. Read EEI’s Delivering the Future story to learn more. 

Several EEI member companies also are part of the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI’s) Power-in-Pollinators Project Plan. The project, launched in 2017, is the largest collaboration in the world for electric companies to advance shared research, tools, and resources for pollinator management efforts across the millions of acres of land they collectively manage. It is an opportunity for electric companies and other stakeholders to work together on joint research and conservation efforts to maximize the support for pollinators and their habitats. 

Last year, EEI proudly sponsored EPRI’s “Power for Pollinators” documentary—watch it on EPRI’s YouTube page.

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In Case You Missed It
In Case You Missed It
Bridging the Digital Divide
“Events over the past year brought to the forefront many of the inequities facing so many in our nation today,” writes James Gallegos, executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary, Alliant Energy, in the latest issue of Electric Perspectives. “The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the negative consequences of living in the ‘digital divide,’ lacking reliable internet access. And the protests and unrest seen in so many communities are a call to address racial and social justice and to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion—including by enabling equal access to essential services,” he said.
 
“As electric and natural gas companies with strong connections to our customers and a long history of efficiently constructing essential infrastructure, our industry is well-positioned to help address these challenges,” he added. 
 
Read more in Electric Perspectives to learn how EEI and our member companies are helping power equity through accessible broadband.
​​

Cybersecurity Focus
Cybersecurity Focus
EEI Congratulates National Cyber Director Chris Inglis
On June 17, the U.S. Senate confirmed Chris Inglis as the first national cyber director, a position that will coordinate cybersecurity across federal agencies and develop cybersecurity strategy. EEI President Tom Kuhn congratulated Inglis on his Senate confirmation: “We commend Director Inglis for his commitment to public service and believe that his nearly 30-year tenure with the National Security Agency makes him exceptionally qualified to serve as our nation’s first cyber director."

“The electric power industry and our government partners have a shared responsibility to protect our nation’s energy infrastructure,” Kuhn continued. “Through the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, which serves as the principal liaison between the federal government and our industry, we look forward to working with Director Inglis and his team, and with leaders from across the Biden administration, to ensure that we continue to enhance our collective cybersecurity posture in the face of evolving cyber threats.”
 

What We're Reading
What We're Reading
Elevating Our Knowledge-Based Defenses
"The North American Electric Reliability Corporation's (NERC's) Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC) and the electric power industry have seen a marked increase in cyber and physical security threats in the past year, with the supply chain and Microsoft Exchange compromises being the two most prominent examples," writes Manny Cancel, NERC senior vice president and E-ISAC CEO, in the latest issue of Electric Perspectives

"We also have witnessed a spike in ransomware events (the most recent being at the Colonial Pipeline Company) and distributed denial-of-service attacks. As always, the E-ISAC has worked closely with our partners at the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council and with others to protect the nation’s energy grid."
 
Sponsored Content
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Focus on Efficiency
Focus on Efficiency
Hot Tips to Stay Cool This Summer
Summer is here, bringing higher temperatures and more humidity in many areas of the country. Here are 7 energy-efficiency tips to beat the heat and keep your home cool and comfortable, while saving energy and money. 
  1. Service Your AC: Have a certified professional check your air conditioning (AC) unit to ensure it’s in good shape and ready to perform in high temperatures. To keep your AC running optimally, remember to change your filter as often as the manufacturer’s instructions recommend. 
  2. Smart Programming: A web-programmable “smart” thermostat can save you money—as much as 10 percent on your annual electric cooling bill. You will have the power to control your home's temperature remotely (on your computer or smart phone), so it's just right when you walk in the door. 
  3. Allow Air to Flow Freely: Make sure that your furniture, plants, and other objects aren’t blocking air registers and vents in your home. This will allow cooled air to circulate freely. Also, remove any debris like plants or grass clippings surrounding the outdoor AC unit for uninterrupted air circulation. 
  4. Cover Windows: Closing curtains, drapes, and blinds on sun-facing windows helps block rays that naturally increase indoor temperatures.
  5. A Bright Idea: Replace old incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs to save electricity all year long. During the summer, shut your lights off and take advantage of the extended period of daylight (from windows that don’t directly face the sun) when possible. 
  6. Seal Cracks: Air leaking through cracks and openings can account for up to 30 percent of a cooling system’s energy consumption. Use caulk or weather-stripping to seal cracks and openings to prevent cooled air from escaping. Don’t forget the doggie door—remove your pet door frame and install weather-stripping around the opening. 
  7. Cook Outside: On warmer days, keep the heat out of your home by cooking with an outdoor grill instead of using indoor ovens. Make sure to follow all safety instructions when cooking with a grill. If you are cooking inside, use a microwave oven when possible to cook efficiently and to minimize heat buildup in the kitchen. 
Watch EEI's video to learn more. For additional energy-saving tips, check out EEI’s booklet, More Than 100 Ways to Improve Your Electric Bill.

Podcast Alert
Podcast Alert
Check Out Electric Perspectives, The Podcast
EEI’s Electric Perspectives Podcast examines news and trends in the electric power industry through interviews with industry leaders and experts. The latest episodes explore the industry’s outlook and priorities, how we can achieve a 100 percent clean energy future, and the Carbon-Free Technology Initiative launched by EEI and technology and environmental partners. The podcast also features EP: Global Circuit, which keeps you updated on international energy news and trends.

Listen and subscribe on Podbean, or wherever you get your podcasts, today. Send feedback to electricperspectives@eei.org.
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