EEI's latest workshop was held in New Orleans, LA, last week, focusing on fleet electrification, and the importance of relationships between Utilities, companies, and suppliers in reaching aggressive private and legislative Net Zero and ESG goals. Learn what vendors, government reps, and attendees shared in our recap!
Entergy Corp Group Utility President, Rod West, set the event's tone in his welcoming address centering on "Customer Centricity". He said the old model of Utilities was Deliver Power, Period. But with evolving technology that allows customers to manage and produce their own energy, the new model is Integrated Energy Management.
Rod explained that when power outages used to occur, the conversation between Utilities and customers was strictly how to get the power quickly back. Now customers demand to know how much power outages cost them.
Rod maintains that Utilities need to understand that customers want to talk about affordability, reliability, and sustainability, and Utilities must develop a "Customer Centricity” relationship model.
Trade Ally Roundtable
Our very own VP Michael McMahon, who also plays a role with EEI as a Planning Committee Member, participated in a Trade Ally Roundtable to discuss the EEI workshop's objectives and how attendees can make the most out of the event.
Michael was joined on stage by Scott Traweek Manager, EEI Corporate Customer Outreach, and Steve DePalo, a long-time EEI Member and now former Sustainability Director with McDonald's after announcing his retirement last week.
The panel began discussion by encouraging customers to attend all open sessions to facilitate more productive conversations. Michael advised attendees to think of EEI as an investment in creating long-term relationships. He urged them to listen to their customers to learn how company energy initiatives were evolving and to cultivate connections.
Walmart's Sustainability Initiatives
Walmart's Energy Director, Steve Chriss, shared how they partner with utilities to support their "Regenerative Journey" and major project: Project Gigaton™.
Steve explained that their journey began in response to Hurricane Katrina and revolves around their focus on resilience and regeneration. Steve credits their relationships with Utilities in achieving common goals as critical to their project's success.
Crucial Energy Data
Understanding Carbon Reporting Dynamics
During the show, it was repeatedly noted how intertwined companies and their suppliers are in regards to their carbon footprint ratings, supporting the push for them to work together to achieve carbon reduction goals. Several presentations revolved around how energy data can be harnessed and used to help support reduction initiatives.
One presentation looked at how investors drive companies' sustainability by requiring more disclosure on energy and environmental impacts. There is money in good sustainability ratings, which makes companies more valuable.
ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) ratings is one such value driver, with 92% of Nasdaq companies now reporting on sustainability measures. These ratings have become a basic expectation.
Company value is also based on the suppliers and vendors they work with as they can add to their “carbon score”. For example, if you purchase a food item, and one of its ingredients has a high carbon footprint, the carbon score goes up. The onus is starting to be on companies to push back on supporting suppliers who do not improve their manufacturing processes.
Another carbon reporting item brought up at the event was that CFOs have new reporting requirements for Nasdaq that include sustainability reporting. And although the data can be pretty complicated, presenters noted the importance of ensuring it is clean data collected and organized well, which is a huge struggle for companies.
The issue arises as data is largely siloed, and the responsibility for gathering and interpreting data falls on various company roles, as shown in the below slide. The lack of uniformity and expertise is significantly impacting companies from reporting well. (Learn how we can help with this with our new feature Carbon Manager™!).
Leveraging Data Science
Lineage Logistics Senior Manager of Energy Analytics Jesse Tootell talked about leveraging data to support business strategies and carbon reduction plans.
Jesse talks about how Lineage uses data in its food refrigeration storage and distribution business in a sustainable way. He shares examples of how they have reduced energy consumption and lowered their carbon footprint in a myriad of ways by using data to inform their decisions.
One such example Jesse provided was how they installed electric charging stations for their refrigerated trucks to have them charging when waiting to unload, rather than having gas trucks idle during wait times.
Legislative Decisions & Actions
EEI's P.E. Steven Rosenstock gave a thorough update of government and executive energy decisions and actions, which included:
- Federal Actions
- Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) signed into law Nov 2021, with provisions including:
- Building Energy Codes: $225 million (FY22-26)
- Energy Conservation Block Grants: $550M (FY22 only)
- Energy-efficient Schools: $500M (FY22-26)
- Federal Buildings: $250 (FY22 only) for Federal Energy Management Program
- National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) signed into law Dec 2021, with provisions including:
- Ensuring 10% of DOD "major military installations" achieve net-zero energy, water, and waste by 2035
- Establishing DOD demonstration initiative focused on the development of long-duration energy storage technologies
- Setting energy and water efficiency targets using industry best practices for data centers
- Executive Actions
- DOE issued a final rule on the General Service Incandescent light Bulb "Backstop Rule" - This will decide when most (not all) incandescent light bulbs will be banned nation-wide, with manufacturer production and retailer sales deadlines. Final rule is being reviewed by OMB/OIRA
The NEVI Program
Alex Schroeder from the Joint Office of Energy & Transportation talked about how the Dept of Energy and Dept of Transportation are working together to implement EV’s (electric vehicles). The program known as the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) is a 5-year program that will evolve with the market. He says their plans involve implementing charging stations every 50 miles along our nation’s highways in all 50 states, allowing four vehicles to plug in simultaneously with peak charge.
Cultivating Relationships at EEI
Our team always has a blast at EEI events! We love getting to know our partners to continue to grow with and support them.
We look forward to connecting with you at the next EEI National Key Accounts worksop in Fall - October 23-26 at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, IN!