Heartland Energy gears up for Capitol Hill

February 5, 2024

Advocating for infrastructure funding, supply chain solutions and grid security at APPA Legislative Rally

Each year, Heartland Energy sends representatives to our nation’s capital to discuss issues important to our public power customers.

It also serves as an opportunity to educate ourselves on important opportunities available. That includes funding available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

This year’s American Public Power Association Legislative Rally will be held February 26-28. It is a great chance to talk to Congress about the direct impact of federal action at the local level.

Some of the key messages that will be brought to Washington D.C. this year include:


Alleviating the supply chain crisis

The electric sector continues to face an unprecedented supply chain crisis, especially for distribution transformers. Lead times for the purchase of distribution transformers have increased dramatically since 2018, from three months to two years or more.

According to APPA, one in five new public power infrastructure projects has been delayed or canceled. Congress should provide $1.2 billion in funding for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity and Grid Deployment Office to immediately address labor and materials shortages.

In addition, DOE should not increase the efficiency standards for distribution transformers, which will make the supply chain crisis worse. Congress should pass H.R. 4167, the Protecting America’s Distribution Transformer Supply Act.


Enacting energy permitting reform

Lengthy and unpredictable infrastructure permitting threatens electric reliability and slows down the energy transition, including projects made possible by the funding provided by the IIJA and IRA.

Utilities need clarity and certainty in definitions, processes and timelines for energy infrastructure permitting. Common sense permitting reforms will also make it easier to permit electric transmission projects.

Federal policymakers need to further streamline federal permitting and siting rules. Environmental reviews need to be concise, understandable to the public and useful to the decisionmaker.


Grid reliability and security

Public power utilities recognize the importance of reducing emissions and have reduced their carbon dioxide emissions by 31 percent since 2005.

However, APPA does not believe the Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposed rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from new and existing power plants are cost-effective, practically achievable or incorporate future market trends.

Federal climate policies, including GHG regulations issued by EPA, must be designed to ensure grid reliability, affordability, and a diverse resource mix, and must be based on proven, readily available technologies.

Congress should continue to fund federal research, development, and deployment of clean energy technologies and infrastructure that increase the resilience of the grid, reduce emissions, and keep electricity affordable.

In addition, while the electric sector has strong mandatory and enforceable cyber and physical security standards in place, threats are always evolving, and standards are only one part of ensuring security.

APPA supports strong industry-government partnerships to prevent, prepare for, and respond to attacks.


Funding opportunities

In addition to these issues, Heartland Energy will also be exploring funding opportunities available during our time in D.C.

This will be a chance to hear from sources directly involved in federal funding and learn about best practices and success stories.

We particularly want to explore funding available for cybersecurity improvements at public power utilities as well as the promotion of electrification.

While we look forward to the chance to interact with Congress and industry experts, we also want to make sure we are exploring topics relevant to our customers.

If there is a particular issue or interest your electric utility would like us to dig into during our trip, please let us know. We line up all of our meetings ahead of time, so we have a little time to find the right people to meet. We are committed to representing the interests of our customers, so don’t hesitate to reach out today.