Renewable Energy produced from wind, hydro, and solar is completely changing the electric-power industry, making the GridNEXT Conference the place to be in late October. Taking place in Georgetown, Texas, the conference’s entire focus is on renewables and its connection to resilience, sustainability and communities in the state of Texas. With CPS Energy’s reputation as an industry leader in renewables, it is no surprise that the utility had representatives taking part in the discussion.
John Bonnin, Vice President of Energy Supply and Market Operations, took part in a dynamic panel discussion covering how Texas municipalities are building sustainable renewables. Among the panelists were Jim Briggs, General Manager at Georgetown Utility Systems, Kahalil Shalabi, VP at Austin Energy, and Kevin Brehm, Senior Associate at Rocky Mountain Institute.
Bonnin took attendees through the transformational journey that CPS Energy is embarking on. That journey being the Flexible Path. The strategy branches away from the traditional planning model of, put simply, building larger plants to meet projected energy usage from a growing customer base. That picture has changed.
Although, San Antonio has had tremendous growth in population, CPS Energy’s load growth has stayed at 1%, meaning customers are using less energy. That 1% won’t last forever, eventually it may even out. The Flexible Path aims to respond to this change by taking advantage of technology and new solutions, in addition to incorporating community feedback.
The SA Climate Ready initiative was in the spotlight too. A panel discussion led by Kathy Garcia, VP of Government Relations, Regulatory Affairs & Public Policy at CPS Energy, covered the City of San Antonio’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP), designed to serve as a roadmap to reduce carbon emissions, adapt to a changing climate, and ensure San Antonio remains a healthy, vibrant place for generations to come. On behalf of CPS Energy, Kathy Garcia serves as a Board Member for the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Alliance (TREIA), the organization that coordinates the GridNEXT Conference. Among the panelists was Angela Rodriguez, Interim Director of Climate & Sustainability at CPS Energy, as well as Anita Ledbetter and Dr. Femi Osidele, who are the Co-Chairs of CAAP.
“At CPS Energy we have been adding renewables for a long time now,” said Rodriguez. “In 2010, our percentage was 13% and now in 2018 we are at 22%, and with our Flexible Path, which we are using as a baseline for the Climate Action and Adaptation (CAAP) plan, we are projecting to be at 50% by 2040. The CAAP process is gathering input from the community and we are going to use that to inform our actual generation strategy for years to come.”
TREIA’s GridNEXT Conference serves as an ideal platform for CPS Energy to tell its story and discuss the future of power generation. It acts as an engaging learning environment for electric cooperatives, municipalities, organizations in the renewables industry and engineers researching the next big advancement that will provide reliable, safe, secure and resilient services to customers.