Midwest Energy Police Series 2022

Infrastructure

On April 19, 2022, we gathered at the Kansas City Chamber Boardroom at Union Station for our first MEPS conference of the year. We were so thrilled to share space with those who chose to attend in person and happy to provide virtual access for those who preferred that option. 

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Utilities & the Energy Transition 

Speakers

  • Ashok Gupta – Natural Resources Defense Council 

  • Kayla Messamore – Evergy 

  • Anna Sommer – Energy Futures Group 

Session highlights

  • Evergy has retired ~ 2,500 MW of fossil generation in the last 15-20 years, while adding ~ 4,000 MW of wind generation.  The utility plans to retire most of its remaining coal units within the next 20 years. 

  • Evergy is focused on adding a mix of wind and solar over the next several years and shifting to more solar over time, including adding ~ 4,000 MW of solar generation over the next 20 years. 

  • Integrated Resource Planning provides a forum for regulators, utilities, and industry stakeholders to evaluate the economic, environmental, and societal benefits of different investment options. 

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Carbon Capture
Pilot Projects 

Speakers

  • Patrice Lahlum - Great Plains Institute 

  • Nicolas Marks - Continental Cement 

  • Kevin O’Brien – Illinois Sustainable Technology Center 

Session highlights

  • The cement industry accounts for less than 1.2% of CO2 emissions in the U.S., with the industry improving its energy efficiency 20% since 1990. 

  • There are no current commercial-scale carbon capture projects at any cement plants in the U.S.  Projects require a significant research investment. 

  • Outside of the cement industry, there are currently 12 commercial-scale U.S. facilities capturing ~ 12 million metric tons of CO2 per year.  There have been nearly 90 publicly announced carbon capture projects since 2018, with more than 50 coming online in 2021 alone. 

Energy Storage Projects

Speakers

  • Matthew Raiford – Consortium for Battery Innovation 

  • Alex Rojas – Ameren 

  • Brandon Sack – Evergy 

Session highlights

  • The state of Missouri is an energy storage and energy storage materials giant.  The state accounts for $2 billion (or 10%) of the $27 billion lead and lead battery market in the U.S. 

  • Missouri has a unique position in the industry, accounting for mining, recycling, manufacturing, and transportation operations.  The state is a net exporter for energy storage, with strong domestic infrastructure for the industry. 

  • Ameren and Evergy utilize a variety of energy storage systems, including pumped storage, advanced lead-acid batteries, and lithium-ion Iron Phosphate batteries.  Ameren has proposed hydrogen storage projects and is developing an advanced lead-acid battery project in St. Louis.  Evergy is developing a utility-scale storage project in Kansas. 

U.S. EPA
Region 7 Update 

Speaker

  • Meg McCollister - Regional Administrator, U.S. EPA Region 7 

Session highlights

  • 73% of the nation’s fossil fuel generation capacity is located in communities of color or low-income communities. 

  • 31% of electricity demand in EPA Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska) was met through wind generation in 2020, while 45% was met through coal generation.  71% of Missouri’s electricity demand was met through coal generation and 4.7% through wind generation in 2020. 

  • The Biden Administration’s Justice 40 Initiative will deliver at least 40% of overall benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to communities with equity concerns. 

US Chamber of Commerce
Approach to Climate Change 

Speaker

  • Dan Byers – U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute 

Session highlights

  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce created a task force on climate action in 2019, with a call to reduce emissions and focus on policies that bring certainty, durability, credibility, and achievability.  The Chamber supports market-based policies and solutions focused on technological innovation. 

  • World energy demand is expected to grow by 50% by 2050.  There is a need for additional technological breakthroughs to meet emissions targets being set by major businesses.  45% of emissions reductions must come from technologies not yet commercialized. 

  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill has more than $80 billion for climate and energy programs, including $62 billion to go to the U.S. Department of energy (DOE).  DOE’s current research & development budget is $9 billion/year with significant growth coming from the infrastructure bill focused on research for new technological breakthroughs. 

Wind Regulations
in Missouri & Beyond 

Speakers

  • Hilary Clark – American Clean Power Association 

  • Gina Mace – Enel North America 

  • James Owen – Renew Missouri 

Session highlights

  • Missouri and the Midwest have a strong trajectory for wind projects.  Missouri ranks 18th in online wind capacity and 20th in wind generation.  The state’s project pipeline is ranked 25th.   

  • Lacking a statewide standard related to wind projects places the projects at the mercy of county commission ordinances.  Some ordinances can all but eliminate the potential for commercial project development due to restrictive standards related to maximum turbine height, project setback distances, and allowable decibel levels. 

  • Projects increasingly must combat misinformation, much of which is communicated as anecdotal evidence.  Early communication with local communities is important to gain acceptance for projects. 

Kansas City
Climate Plan & Policies 

Speaker

  • Andy Savastino – City of Kansas City, MO

Session highlights

  • Kansas City is in the process of updating its Climate Protection & Resiliency Plan.  The plan is a roadmap for how the city plans to meet its climate goals, while looking through the lens of equity. 

  • The city has a goal of reducing GHG emissions by 30% by 2025 (which it is on track to do), 50% by 2030, and achieving climate neutrality by 2040.  Residential and commercial buildings combine to account for ~56% of the city’s emissions. 

  • The city plans to reduce emissions in its energy supply by increasing the % of renewable energy in the utility grid mix, expanding neighborhood and commercial renewable energy generation, improving grid stability and resilience, and by purchasing utility scale renewable energy. 

MISO & SPP
Transmission Issues 

Speakers

  • Rich Heidorn (moderator) – RTO Insider 

  • Neil Robertson – Southwest Power Pool (SPP) 

  • Andy Witmeier – Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) 

Session highlights

  • MISO and SPP recently released the Joint Targeted Interconnection Queue (JTIQ) Study, which examines barriers to generation interconnection between the two regional transmission organizations (RTOs).   

  • The JTIQ study identified 7 projects that would resolve 48 reliability constraints and enable 11.1 GW of generation in SPP and 17.5 GW in MISO (28.6 GW in total).  Implementation of these projects would increase capacity by 10% in MISO and SPP. 

  • MISO and SPP are now working on determining the cost allocation for the projects, which needs to be completed before they can be built.