EPRI's Electrification Summit, From Cyberspace


Head Spinning, Wistful, Hopeful

Fortnightly Magazine - November 2020

The Electric Power Research Institute amazes me. I've been fortunate to get a behind the scenes look at some of their research facilities, hard hat included, that few are privy too, but were chronicled in these pages of PUF. So, our readers were fortunate too. Because EPRI does incredible work in the public interest benefitting all member utilities and customers.

I also was fortunate to travel with the PUF team to Long Beach, California for EPRI's Electrification 2018 and what an incredible conference that was. That was also recorded in PUF. 

I must admit that while the end of October brought another fabulous event, EPRI's Electrification Virtual Summit, chock full of the latest intelligence and greatest speakers, also related in these pages in this issue, while it could make your head spin, it left me feeling wistful. 

That's because amidst the pandemic, I miss seeing these incredibly intelligent people in person. Don't you? Anyone out there suffering from Zoom fatigue? Miss seeing everyone up close and personal?

There is hope. EPRI anticipates holding the Electrification 2021 International Conference and Exposition at the Charlotte Convention Center May 3-6, 2021. That would be a normal, in-person event, lest you all have forgotten what that is. I can't wait.

While EPRI leads the way, lots is going on in the industry in the march toward cleaner air. PUF brings you top leaders in this issue on how they are taking their utilities on the decarbonization path.

Ameren recently committed to achieve net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050.  It was included in Ameren Missouri's fifteen year integrated resource plan filed at the Missouri Public Service Commission.  

PUF talked with Marty Lyons, Ameren Missouri's president to find out more, as utilities in the Midwest are somewhat known for relying on coal-fired generation for the affordability and reliability of their electric service.  You don't want to miss this fascinating discussion.

PUF had a conversation with Southern Company Gas CEO, Kim Greene, on her perspectives and tangible actions the company is taking to meet decarbonization and customers' decarbonization goals.  The dialogue is useful as you think about how you are helping your customers meet similar goals in the future. PUF's editor-in-chief Steve Mitnick engaged with Dan Hahn from Guidehouse for this colloquy.

We take a fascinating look at what is going on in Seattle with Debra Smith, GM and CEO of Seattle City Light, who gives an unflinchingly honest view of what it is like to be a leader in uneasy times. Smith has much to say about integrity in the workplace, social reckoning, and urban recovery. Truly a talk not to be missed.

The United States Energy Association had much going on recently. Still reeling from the loss of executive director Barry Worthington, the Association had to find a way to move on. Although not an easy time, PUF brings you a look back and ahead with acting executive director Sheila Hollis. Fortunately for USEA, she brings a wealth of knowledge and a steady hand to guide the way forward. 

But there is more happening with USEA, which held its Advanced Energy Technology Forum, and the PUF team listened in to bring readers meaningful moments. We found them with EPRI's president, Arshad Mansoor and ENGIE's Michael Webber. 

And there is more of EPRI from Charlotte, partnered with DOE, as U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette announced a sixty-five million dollar DOE funding opportunity for technologies that allows energy-efficient buildings to interact with each other and the electric grid, to reduce emissions and improve grid flexibility. It was a beautiful day, as everyone, masked and socially distanced, took part in the ceremony. We have photos.

PUF readers know we love our Public Utility Commissions. So, we were quite pleased to say yes, when our neighbor to the north, the Alberta Utilities Commission, asked us for a favor. The AUC asked PUF for help engaging all of you, our readers, to help understand what the employee of tomorrow will look like and what changing times mean for the employee of today.

In these pages we ask for your help. Because of innovation, and because of new technologies, there is a need for rethinking the workforce. The Alberta Utilities Commission talks about the issues with an evolving workforce to keep up with the changes they are seeing as utilities become more innovative.

Seek out the questions asked by the Alberta Utilities Commission in the sidebar called AUC Asks! Their contact information is listed so please respond and start a dialogue.