- The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) today announced they have developed 21 policy recommendations aimed at advancing clean energy, and intend to work collaboratively to advance the strategies.
- The recommendations include greater coordination between the gas and power industries, more pricing and data transparency and authorization from state and local regulators to increase investment in smarter, cleaner grids.
- NRDC and EEI usually find themselves on opposite sides of issues, and so their collaboration is significant and illustrates the extent to which investor-owned utilities have embraced carbon-free energy strategies.
The two groups don't always see eye-to-eye, but on Valentines Day, both groups announced they had found significant common ground to help modernize the utility sector.
The two groups have collectively agreed that a clean energy transition is "underway and accelerating," and that smarter energy infrastructure can bring a range of benefits to the grid and to custyomers that include resiliency and long-term cost reductions.
Despite the rise of distributed generation and falling costs of energy storage, the two groups also contend that regulated electric companies "are and will remain essential in electric resource portfolio management and investment." There are rate design and regulatory reforms needed, they say, but expect those will vary from state to state.
"Utilities have made remarkable progress in reducing carbon and other emissions,” NRDC co-director Ralph Cavanagh said in a statement. “But progress must accelerate ... our joint recommendations will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help get us there.”
The EEI and NRDC recommendations include:
- Coordination across the industry on spare equipment programs, materials inventories, and mutual assistance processes for disaster response;
- Better coordination of natural gas pipeline planning, markets, and operations, with the electric systems they power.
- A voluntary transition to enhanced grid integration, to reduce costs and emissions.
- More pricing and data transparency for distribution systems, while also addressing data privacy and security concerns;
- Continued focus on integrated operations, planning and procurement for interconnected transmission and distribution systems.
- Additional investment in more resilient grids, to be authorized by state and local authorities.
Energy efficiency is also a key factor in this collaboration, the groups said in their joint statement, due to its ability to moderate electrical usage and reduce emissions.
"Energy efficiency has helped to moderate growth in electricity consumption significantly, renewables are surging, and electric companies are critical partners in distributed energy resources," EEI and NRDC said.