Preserve Local Authority
Since April 2014, Sue Kelly has been president and CEO of the American Public Power Association - the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. Earlier, she was the senior vice president, policy analysis and general counsel. Under Kelly's leadership, the association has advocated on wholesale electric market issues, worked to strengthen cybersecurity awareness and resources for utilities and raised the profile of public power in Washington, D.C.
Preserve Local Authority
Since I became president and CEO of the American Public Power Association in 2014, I've traveled from coast to coast and to many points in between, visiting many of our two thousand public power communities.
Those who follow my travels on my blog know that I am intrigued by the differences and similarities among our member utilities. I've been from the wild Oregon coast to the cornhusker state and even to Alaska, the last frontier.
The diversity in public power underscores that a one-size-fits all approach to managing how they produce, manage and distribute electricity would not work. Public power utilities share underlying core values of local control and community ownership.
I've had the pleasure of visiting and learning about many innovative distributed energy and electric storage projects our members are involved in. In large measure, these projects have benefited from local communities being able to have a conversation about and decide what they want to do with their utilities and their resource portfolios. Here's just a sampling of what public power utilities have done:
Village of Minster, Ohio: In 2016, the small village of Minster, Ohio, brought a solar-plus-storage project online, with 4.2 megawatts of solar, seven megawatts of storage and four different revenue streams. The village utility was named Public Power Utility of the Year by the Smart Electric Power Alliance.
Sterling (Massachusetts) Municipal Light Department: Officials from the Sterling Municipal Light Department were joined by stakeholders from across Massachusetts and New England in late 2016 in a groundbreaking ceremony for what will be the first utility-scale energy storage facility in Massachusetts.
Moorhead Public Service: Minnesota's Moorhead Public Service was recognized in 2016 by the American Public Power Association for its Capture the Sun community solar garden project. The public power utility received an Energy Innovator award through the association's Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments program.
Imperial Irrigation District: In October 2016, California's Imperial Irrigation District brought a thirty-megawatt, twenty-megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery storage system online. The storage system will increase reliability across the IID grid by providing the ability to balance power while integrating renewable energy resources into the local grid. It will also provide spinning reserve and black start power restoration capabilities.
While the federal government will always have a role in energy policymaking, the roles of states and local bodies need to be respected, and their resource decisions honored.
We recently delivered this message to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in its pending rulemaking in Docket No. RM16-23. That is where FERC is examining participation in centralized wholesale markets by electric storage resources and distributed energy resource aggregators.