As 2021 wraps up, we take a look back at key energy issues and the progress the Electric Power Supply Association and its members have made in promoting reliable, affordable, and lower-emitting energy solutions throughout the energy transition. Here are just a few of the highlights and key energy policy discussions from the past year.
Bringing Competitive Policy Solutions to New Faces
The new year brought a new administration, and from the start, EPSA was directly engaged in the policy making process.
In January, we published a roadmap for the Biden administration’s first 100 days, sharing policy guidance that has continued to be relevant over the course of the year. We emphasized that competition in wholesale power markets gives leaders an opportunity to foster bipartisan progress on all fronts: our economy, our environment, and our energy future. The pillars we mapped out provide a foundation that can encourage new clean energy growth while protecting consumers from investment risk and unnecessarily high costs – which can be informative as policymakers continue to seek solutions and consider a path forward following Build Back Better Act developments.
EPSA has also worked to share its pro-competition, pro-consumer messaging as the Biden administration fills key regulatory positions, including Energy Secretary and several Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seats. We look forward to continuing to work with new appointees Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, FERC Chairman Richard Glick and FERC Commissioner Willie Phillips in the year to come – along with previously seated FERC commissioners James Danly, Mark Christie, and Allison Clements. In addition, back in April, EPSA and several member company CEOs met with White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and her team.
This year was not only the start of a new administration, but also new leadership at EPSA. In April, EPSA welcomed Thad Hill, president and CEO of Calpine, as its new chair of the board of directors. Hill is a strong voice for the benefits of competitive markets, and he has provided valuable leadership for EPSA throughout the year.
Critical Conversations on Market Design and Policy Solutions
Reliability and decarbonization were topics of discussion for federal energy regulators and the operators of competitive markets across the nation this year. As officials grappled with questions about future market design, EPSA actively engaged at FERC and RTOs, and shared insight on the impacts of competition in the wholesale power sector.
This is all part of our work to bring all parts of the energy industry together to ensure continued access to dependable electricity through the energy transition. While members are taking steps to further ensure that operations are prepared for reliability challenges, policymakers must also keep reliability a priority.
The topics EPSA commented on included cybersecurity, resource adequacy and reliability, credit risk management, transmission, ISO/RTO market expansion, and the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.
In November, Brian George, EPSA’s director of strategic policy and government affairs, testified at a FERC technical conference on modernizing electricity market design.
Market design was a key focus over the course of the year, particularly in the PJM Interconnection region, where the minimum offer price rule (MOPR) continues to be a critical issue. EPSA has been working to ensure that PJM’s market continues to provide the affordability and reliability benefits it has been delivering for more than 20 years, while developing a path forward through the energy transition.
Americans Continue to Support Markets to Lower Costs, Emissions
With energy costs in the headlines, Americans are more aware this year of how energy prices impact their family finances. But importantly, Morning Consult polling for EPSA shows that they also recognize that markets are the best way to ensure affordability and reliability. Americans want markets, rather than their tax dollars, to fund clean electricity investment. In addition, research from E3 showed that competitive energy markets are a strong foundation for tomorrow’s grid.
Leading the Energy Transition
In addition to delivering the power we need today, competitive power suppliers—including EPSA members—are working on building tomorrow’s electric systems, investing in projects to deliver cost-effective renewable power. In 2021, EPSA released a new video to help explain how power gets from where it is generated to homes and businesses.
EPSA also highlighted the important investments member companies are making in zero-emission energy technologies. These projects include the Gateway Energy Storage and Vistra Energy Storage projects, two utility scale battery projects developed by LS Energy in California. The Maple Hill Solar Facility, a 100-MW installation Competitive Power Ventures is installing on the site of a former Pennsylvania coal mine, and Rockland Capital’s partnership with SolRiver to build competitive solar projects nationwide, are leading examples of competitive power progress.
EPSA in the News
EPSA made headlines throughout the year, commenting on a variety of key topics and shaping the conversation both inside the Beltway and among key stakeholders and the media. Here are some other times EPSA was in the headlines:
- EPSA CEO Todd Snitchler spoke to the Rice University Baker Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Energy Studies about the “electrify everything” movement and what will be necessary to meet those goals.
- In November, he also spoke about the basics of competitive power at the UT Energy Symposium (UTES), a weekly guest lecture series sponsored by the University of Texas at Austin Energy Institute.
- Along with Our Energy Policy (OEP), EPSA co-hosted a digital panel featuring Sen. Tina Smith (D, Minn.) and policy experts discussing the status of Clean Energy Standard legislation and recommendations for crafting effective policy.
- Snitchler published op-eds on a number of key utilities topics, including the need to rethink the policy choices driving higher winter energy bills, how modernizing electricity markets can spur cleaner energy, and how competition will build a reliable clean energy future for Virginia.
- EPSA also launched Energy Solutions, a monthly podcast discussing energy transition trends, impacts and progress, featuring prominent voices from member companies and policy figures including Jim Robb of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, Alex Flint of the Alliance for Market Solutions, Miranda Ballentine of the Clean Energy Buyers Alliance, and more. (Please subscribe here!)
Great Year Ahead
A lot happened in 2021, but EPSA has another big year planned for 2022 when it will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Mark your calendars for a Competitive Power Summit in Washington, DC on March 29 and stay tuned for more events and briefings throughout the year!
EPSA will continue to seek out new opportunities to educate the public and policymakers about the important role competitive markets and competitive power suppliers play in providing the energy Americans rely on every day.