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EEI Energy Talk  
August 2019

Top Story
Top Story
Ensuring the Clean Energy Transformation Reaches Its Potential

​EEI's member companies—the nation's investor-owned electric companies—are leading a clean energy transformation that is delivering America’s energy future for the customers and communities they serve. They are investing 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. These investments have reduced the power sector’s emissions significantly, while keeping electricity affordable and reliable. 

Today, more than one-third of our nation's electricity comes from carbon-free sources (including nuclear energy and hydropower and other renewables). Since 2005, the percentage of renewable sources in the U.S. energy mix has quadrupled, and, over the past 5 years, more than half of new electricity generation capacity was wind and solar. As electric companies continue to transition their generating fleets, their emissions are going down significantly. At the end of 2018, the electric power sector’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were 27 percent below a 2005 baseline, nearly the lowest level in three decades and lower than the transportation sector since 2016.

This impressive trend is expected to continue, as many EEI member companies have announced significant voluntary commitments to further reduce CO2 emissions by 2030 and 2050, many of which aim to reduce emissions 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.

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. And, policymakers should:
  • ​Increase research and development funding and support for the range of technologies needed to achieve clean energy goals, including energy efficiency, energy storage, renewables, existing and next-generation nuclear, other carbon-free technologies, and carbon capture utilization and storage.
  • Help to electrify the transportation sector—recognizing that transportation emissions now are the largest source of emissions in the United States—by modernizing federal transportation programs to encourage investments in electric transportation and charging infrastructure. Transportation electrification provides an opportunity to leverage the reductions in power sector emissions to achieve reductions in transportation sector emissions.
  • Support ongoing investments in the energy grid, which are necessary to increase cost-effective electrification and to integrate advanced clean energy technologies reliably and affordably.
  • Encourage the development of more robust battery technologies for both electric vehicles and energy storage.
With the right policies in place, electric companies can 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.

Policy Perspectives
Policy Perspectives
Reliable, Secure Communications Networks Are Critical for the Energy Grid

​For electric companies to operate and protect the nation’s energy grid and deliver a smarter energy future for customers and communities, the right communications policies must be in place. All industries, including communications, are dependent on a reliable and secure energy grid, and the right policies are needed to allow access to licensed, interference-free wireless spectrum for electric companies’ private wireless networks.

As communications technologies like 5G cellular communications and small cell networks are created and deployed, public policies should encourage collaboration between the electric power industry and the communications industry. Integrating new communications technologies with the smarter energy infrastructure that EEI’s member companies are deploying will help to deliver data-driven, efficient, and sustainable smart communities of the future.

To provide customers with the energy they need, electric companies depend on the licensed private wireless radio networks they operate. These wireless networks perform several mission-critical tasks for electric companies, including carrying data to operate critical energy infrastructure; promoting situational awareness by collecting data from smart sensors and smart meters; and enabling communications between electric company personnel in the field during natural disasters and other emergencies. Any interference to them risks the safety of life, health, and property.

It is critical that electric companies’ communications networks continue to operate safely, without interference. As policymakers consider expanding access to bands of wireless spectrum for unlicensed use, they should ensure that it does not present risks to the safe, reliable operation of the energy grid.

Learn more in EEI’s factsheet​.

In the News
In the News
EEI Member Companies Recognized for Supporting Veterans

Two EEI member companies have been recognized with the nation's highest honor for support of employees who serve in the National Guard and the reserves. Eversource Energy and LG&E and KU Energy, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation, are among just 15 civilian employers to receive the 2019 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award recipients were selected from among nearly 2,500 organizations that were nominated by National Guard and reservist employees.

"In today's security environment, we need to leverage our advantage. That’s our people, and their skills,” said James N. Stewart, who is performing the duties of undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, at the award ceremony on August 23. "It's very important that we recognize all of you today as employers, because you make it happen. If we did not have you there with your support network, our members would not be able to serve, because they would be too worried about their jobs and their families."

Military veterans are a crucial part of the electric power industry's workforce, bringing invaluable skills in technology, leadership, and teamwork—and their commitment to service and mission make them a natural fit for energy jobs. Veterans make up approximately 11 percent of the industry's total workforce and 22.5 percent of its nuclear operations personnel, according to the most recent study from the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD). 

"We are tremendously honored and humbled to receive this prestigious recognition," said Greg Meiman, LG&E and KU vice president of human resources. "The award demonstrates the outstanding commitment LG&E and KU Energy has shown in supporting our National Guard and reserve employees and their families. We honor their service, and we want to model this commitment for other employers."

"We’re honored to be recognized for our commitment to our veteran and military reserve employees," said Jim Judge, chairman, president, and CEO of Eversource. "We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our guardsmen, reservists, and veterans. Whether it be a time of peace, crisis, or war, we will always recognize, thank, and support our service members."

Electric companies are working together through CEWD to recruit veterans and to support them throughout their careers. EEI is a proud sponsor of Veterans in Energy, a national employee resource group that provides opportunities for outreach, networking, and mentoring to support the needs of the industry’s growing veteran population. The industry's Troops to Energy Jobs program, in which both Eversource Energy and PPL Corporation participate, helps veterans transfer their military training to new jobs in energy and identify additional education and credentials needed, and supports them in their job search.

In Case You Missed It
In Case You Missed It
Innovating the Way to a Greener Energy Future, From The AES Corporation's Andrés Gluski

​"Hawaii was the first state to set a 100 percent renewable goal by 2045," writes Andrés Gluski, president and CEO, The AES Corporation, in Electric Perspectives​.

"The island of Kauaʻi also has stipulated that 70 percent of its energy be supplied by renewable sources by 2030. As part of this journey, together with Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative, we inaugurated the largest operational solar-plus-storage project in the world—located in the town of Lāwaʻi on Kauaʻi’s south shore.

"The project will help eliminate the island’s dependence on oil to run its peaker plants and will remove the associated financial burden that has strained its economy. The project supports three vital scenarios in power distribution characteristic of energy storage:

  1. It allows for solar generation to supply the energy grid while charging the battery system.
  2. It dispatches power stored in the battery system to the energy grid during peak demand periods.
  3. It can dispatch solar and battery power simultaneously to answer spikes in demand, in addition to supporting the energy grid through provision of ancillary services like voltage and frequency support."

Read more​.


What We're Watching
What We're Watching
We Energies "Ambassadog" Reminds Customers to Dial 811 Before Digging

​We Energies has a new member on its team: Chubbs, the company's new "ambassadog," who is reminding customers of the importance of dialing 811 before any excavation or digging project. Electric companies observe 811 Awareness Day each August 11, but thanks to the efforts of their human—and canine—​teams, they emphasize the need for safety all year long.

When customers dial 811, they are connected to state “one call” centers that dispatch professional locators to mark the locations of underground power lines, wires, and pipes. For more information on safe digging practices and procedures, visit​.

Watch We Energies' safe digging video​.

Delivering Innovation
Delivering Innovation
Advancing Standardized EV Charging

​In collaboration with EEI, the Alliance for Transportation Electrification, American Public Power Association, and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has released a report exploring the challenges and opportunities of enabling greater interoperability and standardization in electric vehicle (EV) charging in the United States.

Interoperability of Public Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure addresses how four challenges may impact customers, electric companies, and charging site hosts:

  • ​Charging network-to-charging network interoperability;
  • Charging station-to-network interoperability;
  • Physical charging interface interoperability; and
  • Vehicle-energy grid interoperability.

“It is more important than ever that we focus on making the customer EV charging experience seamless and convenient, and that means identifying the technical requirements that will enable us to meet the expectations of EV drivers,” said Lisa Wood, EEI vice president of customer solutions. “It is critical that investments in EV charging infrastructure lead to options for EV drivers that are convenient, easy to use, and secure.”

“Interoperability provides customers and the market with the transparency needed for EV charging to evolve in an efficient and resilient manner,” said Arshad Mansoor, EPRI senior vice president of research and development. “Collaboration in this effort will be important as infrastructure continues to scale.”

The paper offers recommendations for implementing open standards and protocols for EV charging that enhance customer convenience, confidence, and security.

Download the white paper from​.​

What We're Reading
What We're Reading
Mutual Assistance Is the Cornerstone of Our Industry

​Scott Prochazka, president and CEO of CenterPoint Energy, writes in the current issue of ​Electric Perspectives​: 

"In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey devastated portions of  southeastern Texas. The historic flooding across much of CenterPoint Energy’s service territory in Houston and along the Gulf of Mexico made this one of the most destructive storms ever to impact our company, causing power outages for more than 1.2 million of our customers. To restore service, we benefited greatly from our industry’s mutual assistance program—a voluntary partnership of electric companies that forms the cornerstone of how our industry responds to major disasters.

"Mutual assistance allows companies responding to major outages to increase the size of their workforce by borrowing skilled workers and specialized equipment from other companies in unaffected areas. In the case of Hurricane Harvey, thousands of workers from at least 20 states came to assist CenterPoint Energy and the other companies affected by the storm. With the help of those additional crews, and our team of nearly 4,000 employees and contractors, we were able to restore power to our customers within 10 days."


Company Spotlight
Company Spotlight
SDG&E Adds More Truck, Bus Charging

​San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has received approval for a major program that will help to electrify large vehicles and industrial equipment by installing charging infrastructure for a minimum of 3,000 plug-in medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles and equipment, including transit buses, school buses, delivery trucks, and forklifts. This initiative also will support the electrification of refrigerated semi-truck trailers, used for transporting perishable goods. SDG&E notes that, in California, heavy-duty vehicles produce more particulate matter than all of the state’s power plants combined.

SDG&E’s new project will be the first large-scale initiative of its kind in the region. “Imagine a future where zero-emission trucks carry produce and merchandise to your local stores and zero-emission school buses pick up and drop off your children,” said Estela de Llanos, vice president of clean transportation, sustainability, and chief environmental officer at SDG&E. “With this new initiative, our region is headed to a new phase of the clean transportation movement.”

Electrifying transportation—including commercial and industrial transportation operations—offers numerous benefits for customers and communities, including reduced emissions, quieter operation, and increased efficiency. Learn more in EEI's factsheet​.

An earlier version of this story appeared on SDG&E's NewsCenter.

People in Power
People in Power
Addressing Workforce Needs at the State Level

​“The Center for Energy Workforce Development’s (CEWD’s) State Energy Workforce Consortia are strategic partnerships between energy companies, educators, and other stakeholders, which work together to define a state’s talent needs and develop comprehensive programs to meet them,” John Bruckner, CEWD chair and president, National Grid New York, writes in Electric Perspectives

“Currently, 30 states have consortia of their own, while several others are in the process of forming them. State consortia have the knowledge, the contacts, and the resources to develop uniquely effective solutions that target the needs of energy companies as they evolve.”

Read more​.

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