Gary Hanson, chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, was a speaker and panelist at the national Roundtable on Energy Resource Portfolios for the Electric Power Industry in Arlington, Va., earlier this month. At the invitation-only event industry leaders examined the future of the electric power industry, the growing demand for diverse energy portfolios and challenges, and how to solve those challenges.
A primary concern at the roundtable was how the electric power industry can ensure reliable, affordable, clean and safe energy while increasing renewable energy and distributed generation. Hanson presented a provocative formula of 15 ingredients necessary to accomplish a national energy policy.
“Facts must be allowed to overwhelm emotion, special interests and partisanship at both ends of the opinion spectrum,” Hanson explained upon presenting the formula. “This is a technically complicated task, yet we are a nation of sound bites, and reaching decisions require sincere dialogue, yet we are a nation of opposing sides,” he said.
Hanson also discussed how environmental regulations and renewable incentives impact portfolio decisions and public policy goals.
“The EPA’s proposed rule to cut carbon emissions is a tremendous challenge for the energy industry. The EPA has a responsibility to safeguard our waterways and air; however, some of the EPA’s recent proposed regulations provide insignificant environmental value but significantly increase costs to every citizen and business in the country,” he stated. “Additionally, some of the regulations create a Catch-22 that makes the producer violate one regulation by complying with another.”
The U.S. Department of Energy along with the American Public Power Association, the Edison Electric Institute and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association hosted the event Oct. 16-17.
Hanson is in his second term on the Public Utilities Commission. He serves on the electricity committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and has held leadership positions in the Organization of MISO States and the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative.