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Leading Innovation
Electric Companies Help Grow Microgrid Capacity

​Microgrids give customers more control over their own energy needs, while helping electric companies enhance the resilience of the entire energy grid and providing numerous benefits for all customers. Total installed capacity of planned and operational microgrids in the United States has nearly tripled since 2014, reaching nearly 7,000 megawatts, according to an EEI report released in November. Electric companies are active partners in that deployment, involved in 42 percent of U.S. microgrid projects. 

The share of non-military microgrids is growing most rapidly. In 2018, non-military projects made up 84 percent of all deployed microgrids—up from almost zero just four years earlier. The decreasing cost of microgrid control technologies, a focus on resilience, and the increasing popularity of privately generated clean energy are the primary drivers of microgrid deployment. 

Microgrids: Trends and Key Issues” includes examples of electric companies’ microgrid projects and an overview of microgrid policy activity during the first half of 2018. Read the report and learn more about how electric companies are using energy storage and microgrids together to provide benefits to all customers on EEI’s issue web page​.

Industry Leadership
Industry Leadership
Outlining the Electric Power Industry Vision

​At the 15th annual United States Energy Association (USEA) State of the Energy Industry Forum, EEI President Tom Kuhn joined other energy association leaders to review the challenges and accomplishments of 2018 and look ahead to 2019's opportunities: "EEI's member companies are answering the challenges of trnasitioning to cleaner resources, reducing carbon emissions, modernizing the energy grid and building smarter energy infrastructure, and delivering innovative customer solutions in a rapidly changing world."

Kuhn discussed the challenges of 2018, which included devastating wildfires, four nor'easters, and a pair of major hurricanes: "Mutual assistance is a hallmark of our industry—our companies have some of the most talented, caring, and dedicated workers anywhere," he said. "Beyond ensuring the safety of our customers and our workers protecting the energy grid is our top prioirty. Our industry is working constantly to improve grid security, reliability, and resiliency, and we will continue to strengthen cyber and physical defenses and elevate preparedness." 

He also surveyed electric companies' commitments to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, to advancing electric transportation, and to keeping customers first: "Today, customers are informed about energy, and it matters to them where it comes from and how they use it. Saving money, using less energy, and protecting the environment are all important to them—and to us."

Photo courtesy: USEA.

Energy Careers
Energy Careers
Inclusivity in Workforce Development
Electric companies are working together with natural gas and nuclear companies—and their trade associations, contractors, and unions—through the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) to create a skilled, diverse talent pipeline that will meet the industry’s needs in the future. Companies showcased these workforce initiatives, from partnerships with colleges and state workforce systems to targeted outreach to military veterans, at 12th annual CEWD Summit in November.  
 
Beth Reese, CEWD chair and executive vice president and chief financial officer, Southern Company Gas, writes in the current issue of Electric Perspectives: “I was thrilled to attend the summit and was honored to join my fellow CEWD Board and Executive Council members to discuss how energy companies are using CEWD’s resources and tools to attract, educate, hire, and retain students, women, veterans, and transitioning adults for successful energy careers. We also previewed some fascinating data on the state of our workforce. 
 
“A key theme of the meeting was identifying and using strategic linkages among energy companies, educational institutions, unions, and the military, and developing long-term strategic solutions that meet companies’ needs for qualified, diverse workers.”
 
Industry Power Players
Industry Power Players
EEI Leaders Discuss the Future of Energy
Outgoing EEI Chairman and PNM Resources Chairman, President, and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn moderated a fascinating discussion with the industry’s key power players of the diverse challenges and opportunities ahead for the industry.

New EEI Chairman and Duke Energy Chairman, President, and CEO Lynn Good kicked off the session by outlining how her chairmanship will focus on customer service: “This is an industry that has long been dedicated to serving our customers. We saw that yesterday with the tribute to Puerto Rico power restoration workers. I’d like to do more to articulate and promote our industry as a customer-centric industry. It’s the heart, mission, and purpose of this industry. If we accomplish that and present ourselves as the customer-centric industry we are, it will make our industry’s ongoing transformation more successful.”

Greg Abel, executive chairman, Berkshire Hathaway Energy and vice chairman of non-insurance business operations at Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said that service sets the electric power industry apart from others: “The focus on the customer—I don't think we can ever lose sight of that. When I look at other industries, it only emphasizes it more. As Lynn is leading the organization, I can't think of a better focus than that.”

EEI Vice Chairman and Xcel Energy Chairman, President, and CEO Ben Fowke discussed the challenges of keeping energy affordable and reliable while integrating growing renewable energy resources into the energy grid, saying that an all-of-the-above approach is vital: “Wind energy is a deeply in-the-money hedge for our customers,” he said. “We save them money, and we reduce carbon. This industry is leading the energy transformation, but we can never lose sight of reliability and affordability.”

Fowke also referred to the industry’s long-term commitment to serving customers and communities, engaging with stakeholders on critical topics, and creating the energy workforce of the future: “It’s obviously a huge challenge to replace legacy knowledge, but a great opportunity to position the workforce for success for years to come.”

Chris Crane, EEI vice chairman and Exelon Corporation chairman, president, and CEO, agreed and noted that his company is working with schools and community groups to help shape its future workforce. “Some programs that help us on retention involve partnering with schools and inner city programs that ready students for our industry—giving opportunities to underserved communities. We also have a 70-percent hire rate from our intern program.”

Crane also highlighted how bringing technology and showing that companies care about the communities they serve is crucial: "Being involved in the community and showing we care are key to how we build our trust with customers," he added.

“Our industry is so unique in many ways, and I’m so proud how we work together to solve big issues on behalf of our customers,” said Vincent-Collawn. She also highlighted the two major initiatives that defined her chairmanship: the Smart City Challenge, taken by electric companies representing 97 percent of the industry's customers, and the Diversity and Inclusion Commitment announced earlier at the Convention.​

On Twitter
Thank You to the Men and Women Who Helped Restore Power to Puerto Rico
On Twitter
Company Spotlight
Company Spotlight
Duke Energy Uses EEI ESG Reporting Template to Highlight Clean Energy Progress

​Recently, EEI released the first and only industry-focused and investor-driven environmental, social, governance, and sustainability-related (ESG/sustainability) reporting template to benefit electricity customers and help provide the financial sector with more uniform and consistent ESG/sustainability data and information. 

EEI’s template is helping to showcase the efforts of companies like Duke Energy, which participated in EEI’s pilot ESG/sustainability reporting project last year. Duke Energy is executing its strategy to create a cleaner energy future for customers by investing $25 billion over 10 years to modernize the energy grid through deploying smart meters and other technologies that enhance reliability and resiliency, enable greater efficiency, and support more renewable energy resources; investing $11 billion in cleaner generation technologies that include natural gas, hydropower, wind, and solar; and providing customers with innovative solutions that give them more options and greater control over their energy use. 

Duke Energy’s efforts already are achieving results for customers and communities: 

  • ​The company has lowered its carbon dioxide emissions 31 percent from 2005 levels and plans to reduce them by 40 percent by 2030. Duke Energy also has decreased sulfur dioxide emissions by 96 percent and nitrogen oxides emissions by 75 percent.
  • Duke Energy now owns or contracts for more than 6,400 megawatts of wind, solar, and biomass capacity.
  • Duke Energy is working with its customers to reduce their energy consumption by 15,000 gigawatt-hours by 2020, enough to power 1.25 million homes for one year.
  • The company met its goal to recycle 80 percent of its solid waste one year earlier than planned.

Learn more about how electric companies are leading on clean energy in EEI’s infographic​.

Grid Security
Grid Security
EEI's Scott Aaronson on Protecting the Energy Grid from Cyber Threats

"America's electric companies work every day to produce and deliver energy that is reliable, affordable, safe, and increasingly clean for their customers. The energy grid powers our economy and our way of life, so providing reliable service is a responsibility electric companies take very seriously," writes ​Scott Aaronson, EEI vice president of security and preparedness, in Cyber Security and Data Management in the Modern Digital Age.

"Threats to that reliability have changed over time and continue to evolve. So, too, has our approach to security. The industry's member companies prepare for all hazards—​that means physical and cyber events, naturally occurring or manmade threats and severe weather of every kind. Since companies cannot protect every asset from every threat all the time, we must prioritize based on the likelihood and severity of a threat. We also focus on managing consequences by preparing to restore power quickly and safely, regardless of why an outage occurred."

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