Facility Executive (Column): Ease the Challenge of Navigating Energy Policy

Posted by Caitlin Marquis on Dec 18, 2018

Facility Executive published this column by Caitlin Marquis, AEE's manager of federal and state policy. Learn more about AEE’s Advanced Energy Buyers Group here. See column excerpts below and read the entire Dec. Facility Executive piece, including details about the four key takeaways and what to look for in 2019, here.

In a year with lots of political news, do you know what’s changed in energy policy and how it affects the facilities you manage and their energy costs? If you answered no, you’re not alone. Legislative and regulatory changes at the federal, state, and even local level can affect the price you pay for electricity and the options to green your supply—which, for many companies, is an increasingly important priority. But keeping track of these changes, let alone trying to shape them to your company’s benefit, isn’t easy.

In just the past year or two, we’ve seen the federal government introduce and then walk back an effort to provide financial support to existing, often uncompetitive, coal and nuclear facilities, which would have weakened the market for renewable energy development; utilities reduce electricity rates as a result of the corporate tax cut; Congress extend tax credits for wind and solar; the Administration introduce a tariff on imported solar cells and modules; California expand its “direct access” program, which allows non-residential customers to shop for electricity from non-utility providers; and several states—including Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, and Virginia—introduce or consider renewable energy programs for large customers...

At the Advanced Energy Buyers Group, a policy-focused coalition of companies with a shared interest in powering their operations with clean, affordable energy, we’ve learned a thing or two about how leading businesses stay on top of energy policy and protect their needs and interests. Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Internal coordination reduces friction and increases effectiveness in policy. 
  2. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Energy policy is complex. 
  3. There is strength in numbers. 
  4. Policy change can happen when companies get engaged. 

Looking ahead to 2019...  what should you watch for? ...utilities introducing options for customers to purchase renewable energy is likely to continue... newly elected governors across the country [making] clean energy a priority... continued discussion of grid modernization and utility business model reform... interest in beneficial electrification, electric vehicles... on the Federal level: a Democratic House will likely provide oversight on the Administration’s attempts to preserve aging, uncompetitive power plants.. a bipartisan group of legislators may also look for progress on improving infrastructure that could benefit the grid and consumers alike. 

Read the entire Dec. Facility Executive piece here and Marquis' October 2017 Facility Executive article on large companies' renewable energy procurement strategies here.

Topics: AEE In The News