Nonprofit of the Year Platinum winner Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) is a convening force for the energy industry, bringing stakeholders such as utilities, regulators and technology solutions providers together to tackle carbon reduction, clean energy and grid modernization challenges facing the industry and our planet. The organization serves as a catalyst to ensure the continued affordability, safety, security, and resilience of the grid, providing education and research to help realize the vision of a carbon-free energy system by 2050.
Since 1992, SEPA has led electric stakeholders to solutions and strategies tailored for their unique energy challenges. In order to provide the tools and resources needed to achieve the smart transition to a clean and modern grid, SEPA has designated four areas of focus known as SEPA Pathways. Those Pathways include Utility Business Models, Regulatory Innovation, Grid Integration, and Transportation Electrification. Read more about their Pathways here.
In addition to these initiatives, SEPA shared some of the organization’s thoughts around potential trends for 2020:
Increase in Carbon Reduction Commitments:
The groundswell of carbon reduction commitments that cities, states, utilities and corporations are making is creating a “tsunami of carbon reduction pledges,” states President and CEO, Julia Hamm.
SEPA is doing their part to help track utilities and their carbon reduction emission goals with their own Utility Carbon Reduction Tracker.
Electric Vehicles (EVs) Will Drive Utility Needs:
With the growth of heavy-duty EV vehicle deployments, especially in light of recent announcements by Amazonand investments in clean energy and electric school buses from Dominion Power, SEPA sees EVs as the opportunity of the century for utilities. EV adoption and increasing connectivity between vehicles and the electric grid will drive the clean energy economy. See their most recent report on how utilities can succeed in addressing EV adoption.
While this issue is still under the radar, the regulatory system will have to transform to meet future needs. The current regulatory model is simply not designed for the shift to renewables, EVs and smart grid technology due to the rapid nature of technology development. “We need a collaborative, single stream method so that regulators can align quickly,” says Hamm. To assist with these efforts, SEPA has convened the Renovate Initiative.
Trending in the Right Direction
The 2019 Solar Power International (SPI) Conference during North America Smart Energy Week had record-breaking attendance this year, a testament to this industry’s growth and potential. Hamm gave a well-received keynote speech at the opening session, highlighting the speed of nationwide progress towards a carbon-free future.
Notables from her speech include:
- 1 in 4 people in America now live in a community committed to a transition to 100% clean, renewable energy (Source: Sierra Club). Just five months ago, that number was 1 in 5.
- Solar, wind and storage aren’t “alternative energy” any longer; they are now becoming the energy standard.
SEPA continues to be a leader in the space, with Julia Hamm leading the charge. More to come in the months ahead!