Biden Discusses Renewable Energy with Electric CEOs
President Biden met briefly earlier today with CEOs from electric utilities around the nation to put a spotlight on how the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and other policies will advance the deployment of solar and wind technologies. The White House appears to have limited the guest list to the CEOs of large investor-owned utilities. However, the conversation touched upon the potential economic effect of renewable energy projects in remote, rural areas.
Biden, noting that in years past wind projects were met with NIMBY (not-my-back-yard) resistance, asked the group about the current public reception to alternative energy projects.
“If you’re in a community that’s more rural, where it becomes a part of their economy, their jobs, their income, the reception is quite high,” said Gerry Anderson, CEO of DTE Energy in Detroit, MI, referring to his company’s past wind projects.
Anderson noted that solar installations in Michigan have been increasing recently to the point where they are “highly competitive with wind” and that solar and wind together are increasing the state’s tax base. “Billions of dollars of construction plays out, and then the permanent jobs follow. So, we expect that to be a well-received renewable resource in the state,” he said.
Lynn Good, president and CEO of Duke Energy Corp. said that storage technologies will advance together with solar, wind and geothermal generation. “As I look at the number of megawatts of renewables we’ll add, there’s a comparable number of storage megawatts we will also add over the next decades. And the tax credits that you have included would be an important part of lowering costs,” she said.
Good also noted that the Infrastructure Act includes funding for research and development of storage systems.
The White House released a transcript of the meeting.