Utilities, Regulation & Electricity

Varsity Hall III
10:15 – 11:30 a.m.  |  Breakout Session 1B

Climate change is increasingly central to regulating electricity and other utilities. Panelists offered views on state and local decisions on providing electricity.

A recording will be available soon.

Key Takeaways

  • Local involvement and land use issues are the key barriers in attempting to compel utilities to move to renewable energy sources. Without local citizens, activists, and politicians arguing and advocating for renewable energy sources, it is unlikely that utilities will make the moves themselves. Land use issues partially refer to the fact that when utilities switch energy sources, they need additional land to build storage, facilities, and generation stations.  
  • People are generally more supportive and accepting of cleaner technologies and cheaper infrastructure. However, people are generally neutral regarding pipelines and energy sources. In order to gain  support, citizens must believe that the technologies are leading to de-carbonization and are more affordable. These citizens also  need a seat at the table. 
  • The largest barrier to building renewable infrastructure and changing to new energy sources is the cost to consumers. Consumers do not want renewable energy sources if the price of the sources is higher than current sources (coal and gas). Building more transportation, more storage facilities, and more transmission lines will lower costs. 
  • Reliability is typically defined as an energy system’s everyday ability to avoid outages. Resilience includes an energy system’s ability to withstand storms and come back online after a major outage.

Speakers

Lauren Azar

Credentials: Moderator, Utilities, Regulation & Electricity

Position title: Owner & Advisor, Azar Consulting, LLC

Lauren Azar provides legal and consulting services in the electric industry, providing business, regulatory, and policy advice as well as project development and permitting. She is assisting utilities to develop a path to deep decarbonization…

Rebecca Cameron Valcq

Credentials: Panelist, Utilities, Regulation & Electricity

Position title: Chairperson, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin

Rebecca (Becky) Cameron Valcq was appointed by Gov. Tony Evers to a six-year term on the PSC in January 2019 and as PSC chair through March 2023. Valcq previously was a partner at Quarles & Brady law firm in the Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources practice group. Before that, she was regulatory counsel…

Sanya Carley

Credentials: Panelist, Utilities, Regulation & Electricity

Position title: Paul H. O'Neill Professor, Indiana University

Sanya Carley’s research focuses on electricity and transportation policy, energy justice and a just transition, energy-based economic development, and public perceptions of energy infrastructure and technologies. She is a coeditor of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.…

Jackson Keith

Credentials: Panelist, Utilities, Regulation & Electricity

Position title: Director, Land & Liberty Coalition

Jackson Keith oversees the L&LC’s field operations staff across nine states, including seven in the Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, as well as Texas and Pennsylvania. He works with the organization’s field teams in each state to develop and…