Pathways to Decarbonization, Leadership, Powering Innovation Key Topics at Fall 2019 Keystone Energy Board Meeting

Keystone Policy Center conducted its Fall 2019 meeting with the Keystone Energy Board Oct. 22. The board is comprised of roughly 55 individuals who represent different perspectives on energy policy, including people with energy policy expertise from industry, technology, environment, consumer advocacy, and state and federal government. It meets three times a year, providing a unique forum to discuss timely energy and environmental issues; explore opportunities for improved policymaking in the public and private sectors; and share perspectives with fellow leaders working in critical areas.

The first panel at the meeting focused on decarbonization and pathways for emissions reductions. The discussion was led by a panel comprised of Paula Gant, Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy & Innovation at GTI; Karl Hausker, Senior Fellow, Climate Program at World Resources Institute; Whitney Herndon, Senior Analyst at Rhodium Group; and Doug Scott, Vice President, Electricity and Efficiency at Great Plains Institute, who served as moderator. The panelists walked the board through the policy challenges related to economy-wide deep decarbonization, reflecting on opportunities and issues at the regional, national, or global scale.

Interest in energy and environmental policy is reaching a fever pitch and leaders know that the stakes are high, but their jobs demand that decisions be made about a future that is not entirely knowable. Paula Gold-Williams, President & Chief Executive Officer of CPS Energy, and Bruce Harris, Vice President, Federal Government Affairs of Walmart, examined how utility and business leaders make decisions that appropriately value reliability, affordability, and other core business functions as the circumstances increasingly call for ambition, creative thinking, and technology-based solutions.

The Energy Board wrapped up its meeting examining concrete examples of how cutting-edge technology and maverick thinkers get connected with the businesses that might take their ideas on decarbonization or energy policy to scale. The board discussed the relationship between utilities (and other businesses) and startups, tech incubators, and tech accelerators at the local level. Specifically, Kimberly Britton, Chief Executive Officer of EPIcenter, and Bob Irvin, Executive Director of Joules Accelerator, shared what lessons their models can offer for getting fresh ideas, applications, and technology in the hands of the companies that can best apply them.

The Energy Board meets three times a year in either Keystone, CO or Washington, D.C. It will next meet in February 2020.