LPPC Hosts a Discussion on Reliability with Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
As the electric sector continues to expand the ways clean energy powers America, utilities must also address the rising power demand and ensure the reliability of the electric grid. Aligning decarbonization goals with reliability was the topic of focus at an event LPPC hosted this week in Washington, D.C., with Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), LPPC CEOs, and policymakers.
A current member of the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and former Public Service Commissioner for North Dakota, Senator Cramer emphasized during his remarks that the energy transition should be approached thoughtfully, and reliability and affordability should be prioritized throughout.
Javier Fernandez, CEO of Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) and LPPC member, urged the Senator to take action on permitting reform. “Load continues to increase, and we’re unable to build new generation or transmission lines as fast as we need to. There needs to be urgency when crafting policy that can streamline the permitting process and better support our industry during this unprecedented transition.”
Following Senator Cramer’s remarks was an engaging panel discussion featuring LPPC members Fernandez and Tom Falcone, CEO of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and Chair of LPPC, as well as Mark Menezes, President and CEO of USEA, and Dr Nikki Roy, Energy Policy Advisor to Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL).
Moderated by Salt River Project’s Renee Eastman, the conversation touched on several factors that impact electric reliability, from extreme weather to transmission and permitting reform.
Falcone and Fernandez discussed LIPA and OPPD’s respective decarbonization strategies. LIPA plans to add 5,000 MW of clean energy resources by 2030, including the nation’s first offshore wind farm in federal waters, which will provide enough renewable electricity to power 70,000 homes.
However, Falcone explained that it took eight years to gain the necessary approvals and develop the project, with only 18 months dedicated to construction. “If we’re going to increase deployment of clean energy, six years to permit a new project is too long. We need to speed up the pace of getting to a yes or no.”
Roy also previewed Rep. Casten and Levin’s soon-to-be-released bill, The Clean Electricity and Transmission Acceleration Act, and emphasized the need for compromise to reach zero-emission electricity.