Energy Sector Spotlight: Q1 Round-up and What’s Next

Written by Taylor Beis

As we wrap up the first quarter of 2024, it’s useful to take stock of the conversations, challenges, opportunities, and trends that will shape the energy sector in the coming months.

At Stateside, we continue to see state legislatures advance electric vehicle adoption and growth, state agencies implement programs for more energy-efficient homes and increased electrification, and regulators tackle planning and resource challenges.

Dealing with demand and load growth, transmission buildout, and resource planning continue to be top of mind for both state legislators and regulators. Late last year the Wisconsin legislature introduced SB 651 (and companion bill AB 682) to require reliability and integrated resource planning. Similarly in Iowa, SF 2244 was filed earlier this year, which specifically includes a requirement for electric utilities to file an integrated resource plan (IRP), projecting demand over the next 10 years.

Integrated resource plans are not new; nearly two-thirds of all states have long-term planning or IRP requirements in place. What is new is the scale of the pressure on utilities, customers, and market operators, due to demand growth and generation retirements in the next 1 to 5 years. Legislators and regulators continue to look for innovative solutions to address these challenges. Stateside will continue to monitor these hot topics happening in state capitals, regulatory dockets, and the conference circuit throughout the year.

February featured two important conferences that brought state energy officials and regulators to Washington, DC - the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) Energy Policy Outlook Conference and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Winter Policy Meeting. Stateside was on hand and hosted clients at both events, which highlighted key issues and trends facing the energy sector that continue to play out in real time across state capitols and local regulatory proceedings. 

Several critical themes shaping 2024 include:

  • Timing new generation and transmission buildout to meet increasing demands.
  • Constraints in developing, deploying, and delivering advanced energy generation technologies, including supply chain challenges.
  • Workforce development in the clean energy sector.
  • Siting, permitting, and local challenges with clean energy technologies and infrastructure buildout.
  • The need for flexibility when integrating federal programs into existing state programs.
  • Demand drivers such as new advanced manufacturing, data center deployment, and the continued electrification of commercial and consumer vehicles in the transportation sector.

As demonstrated during the NASEO conference, states continue to look for opportunities to integrate federal programs, such as the Home Efficiency Rebates and Home Electrification and Appliance Rebates, into existing state programs to maximize impact and support low-income and disadvantaged communities. Meanwhile, expanding electrification and efficiency programs continue to put pressure on states and regulators to address increasing electricity demand and load growth in the residential sector.

Whether it’s rebate programs, Climate Pollution Reduction Grants, or economic development opportunities through advanced nuclear, clean hydrogen, or enhanced geothermal solutions, state energy offices continue to play a pivotal role in implementing federal programs, working through workforce and capacity constraints, and balancing the economic, energy, and climate goals.

NARUC also featured several discussions highlighting state and regional-level solutions to challenges facing the power sector. Conversations about generation retirements, capacity and load growth needs, and planning for a resilient grid across the power sector were major topics.

Infrastructure was a major theme that came to the forefront across the regulatory ecosystem, as utilities, large customers, and power markets work to identify solutions to emerging issues. As resource planning and capacity challenges play out in each state, regulators struggle to balance near-term challenges with durable long-term solutions.

Energy Sector + Infrastructure Issues RoadmapWhen stacked together, these themes present challenges and opportunities for any organization with creative solutions at the state and local levels.

Given our nation’s decarbonization and sustainability goals and the current policy climate, we advise our clients to develop a flexible roadmap for the near-term, medium-term, and longer-term time horizons.

Your organization should have focus areas and aspirations that are aligned with state and industry goals - such as grid resilience, electric vehicle deployment, climate goals, development of emerging technologies, and more. And you should identify like-minded stakeholders to collaborate with on solutions.

It is critical for NGO and private sector stakeholders to understand how you can effectively educate and engage on these topics.

Stateside is here to help companies and organizations in every stage of your journey, including local and state policy prioritization, issue management, and funding opportunities.

The public sector and electric utilities face both timing and capacity challenges in efficiently deploying IIJA, IRA, and CHIPS funding while simultaneously scaling the electric grid and connecting more clean energy resources.

Case in point, a February article in The New York TimesThe story noted that while the IRA helped to drive record levels of electric and hybrid vehicle sales, "problems with supply chains, obtaining permits and overcoming local opposition have bogged down one of the climate law’s other big goals: generating vastly more electricity from wind, solar and other nonpolluting sources."

It is very likely your organization also faces timing and capacity challenges. You cannot do everything all at once and need to focus on specific priority issues and geographies to reach your organization’s goals.

Not sure where to start or what to prioritize? Contact Taylor Beis to better understand how we can provide guidance, frameworks, and resources that will get you moving in the right direction.

This is too important and massive an opportunity to miss. Taking a status quo approach or moving in the wrong direction is a risk. Stateside can help ensure you invest resources on the right issues, in the most appropriate geographies, and achieve the best possible outcomes.

Your Organization’s Energy and Infrastructure Challenges and How Stateside Associates Can Help

Several issue-based and/or region-specific public policy topics are relevant to our organization and sector. We need to identify how to focus our efforts and manage our issue engagement for the best possible outcomes.

Stateside can help you align your organizational priorities with near-term and medium-term policy solutions and funding opportunities. Contact Taylor Beis, Senior Director of Energy Policy at Stateside, to discuss how we can help you map out a strategy and prioritize where to allocate limited resources. 

We have broad federal priorities identified but are still working on how that overarching strategy connects to state and local policy, issue management, and funding priorities.

Sign up for our This Week in Energy weekly email to learn the latest news about the energy-related legislative, local, and regulatory programs impacting state and local public policies and proceedings.

We know exactly what policy/funding levers to pursue and just need a more efficient way to monitor state and local funding opportunities that align with our priorities.

Visit our Infrastructure Funding Database to download a sample report and/or schedule a demo with the Stateside team to make sure you identify and track the right regional opportunities.