Marcy Reed hosts panel at NEGECP conference

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Marcy Reed hosts panel at NEGECP conference

Marcy Reed hosts panel at NEGECP conference

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Marcy Reed hosted a panel at the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers’ (NEGECP) Annual Conference in Boston last week and below was her introductory speech.

Thank you for your invitation. I appreciate being here to participate in this important discussion that National Grid has been passionate about.

At National Grid, we live and work in the communities we serve. That’s almost 15,000 employees serving the energy needs of more than 20 million people in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and also New York.

Our shared sense of community has taught us that today’s customer is savvy, forward-thinking, and deeply mindful of the environment. We all want the same thing – to keep our communities healthy and prosperous. Together we can do it by solving for the greatest challenge of our time – climate change – while delivering innovation and economic development.

This makes our next steps as an energy provider pretty straightforward: we need to ensure that our energy becomes cleaner, more efficient, resilient and reliable, and with more customer choices at a price they can afford.

I want to thank and acknowledge Gov. Baker and his administration for their attention and focus on our ever-evolving energy landscape.

As an executive of an energy company I’m really proud to be part of this. Massachusetts is top in the nation in Energy Efficiency for the 5th consecutive year. Penni will talk about this, so I won’t. But it’s very important to our customers, since the cheapest kWh you can buy is the one you never use. Also here In Massachusetts, energy legislation allows for more clean energy (hydro, wind and solar), while helping improve our important natural gas network through identifying and repairing leaks that have the greatest impact on the environment. And from where I sit, all of us – businesses, policy makers, innovators – we all partner on advancing the approach to diverse energy.

So let’s take a moment to talk about energy diversity and the role it plays in affordability, resiliency, and our climate change goals, all of which are responding to customers’ expectations.

At National Grid we are taking a balanced approach to working toward a decarbonized energy future that provides clean, affordable, reliable energy that powers our economy, businesses and homes.  We want to get us from a fossil-fuel dependent energy delivery model to one based more on renewables, greater energy efficiency, energy storage, and yes, even cleaner-burning natural gas. The various parts of our “balanced approach” are interconnected. The expansion of natural gas, for instance, enables the increased use of wind and solar by providing a baseload of generation on calm or cloudy days.

Make no mistake, getting there won’t be easy. There are many hurdles ahead and we know we don’t have all the answers, but we have the appetite to work with our partners in regulatory, government, technology, and our communities to find solutions and work through the challenges.

As we move into this transition, the driving force is our customers:

  • Not one customer can be left behind.
  • The key will be affordability – In our transition we cannot strand the working families and those capital challenged-communities. It’s our shared responsibility to find this remedy.
  • Think about your voters and their energy costs – most are working middle class…. so we have to talk affordability in BIG LETTERS as key to this equation.

So how do we get there, how do we make this transition?  The good news is that we are no longer your grandfather’s utility. We have a clear view of the future, and our customers are in the driver’s seat.

We start with three working principles:

First, put the customer in charge. Second, open up the grid and make it an innovation playground for others. This is already happening and I’ll give some examples in a minute. Third, change how we regulate and finance the industry. Prioritize aggressive innovation and infrastructure; and change the relationship between policy makers, regulators, utilities and the customer.

We’re doing a lot to put these principles into action.

  • There’s the smart grid pilot program in Worcester
  • Across Massachusetts we’ve connected nearly 550 MW of solar to 30,000 customers
  • There’s also large-scale solar that we own.  By next year we’ll have 35 MW connected for customers benefit
  • We have energy storage in Shirley, Mass – first utility in the area
  • Of course there’s our Deepwater wind participation off the coast of RI
  • We have the Clean Energy RFP across NE
  • Our Green Line transmission project will bring renewable energy into the area
  • We have our REV projects in NY – the Buffalo community solar project for working families and the massive Newtown Creek waste water treatment project in NYC
  • And we have some impactful non-wires alternatives projects in Tiverton, RI

And that’s just the short list…. you see there are some real opportunities here.

We know the traditional utility business model is fractured and there needs to be a fundamental shift to get us to an affordable – key word affordable — decarbonized, diverse energy future.

The model is changing and we’re ok with that. We all need to come together to build solutions that benefit customers. We need to do it with a velocity that delivers soon – innovation moves faster than regulation…. And remember it’s the consumer who is shelling out billions in energy costs.

I work in a company full of environmentalists. We were just named the Greenest Utility in the nation for the 2nd year in a row…. We’re top in energy efficiency in the state…. And we have some of the best infrastructure projects on the table to bring clean energy into the region.

We don’t have all the answers, but we do know what customers know – tomorrow’s grid and energy supply chain must change to look different than it does today

And we know that we can get to a decarbonized energy network but it will take the entire energy supply chain to get us there – that means system operators; generators; utilities; tech companies; activists; customers and you, our policy makers – all collaborating to move us there.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to be here.  I look forward to continuing the conversation.

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