Friday, June 29, 2007

Share your comments on the 2007 National Conference & Public Power Expo

The problem with APPA’s National Conference is the inability to be in more than one place at a time. Papers accompanying all conference sessions are posted on the APPA Web site. And we created this blog to help alleviate that problem. Now that the excitement of the 2007 conference is behind us, we invite those of you who attended the meeting to share your comments on what you learned, which sessions you found to be valuable and what kinds of topics you’d like to see discussed in future meetings. Please add your comments to this post.

Take a look at some of the earlier posts (below). We’ve captured an image from Ray Hayward’s humorous spoof on APPA President & CEO Alan Richardson. You can also share your good wishes with Alan, who will retire at the end of 2007, on this blog.

Getting out of San Antonio was challenging for several conference-goers—but that’s flying. Few would disagree that the food in the city’s many fine restaurants is great. Look at our blog post on interesting restaurants and share your comments about your favorite dining spots in San Antonio. It’s a great city to visit and many in public power are sure to return there again. And join all your colleagues in public power for the 2008 National Conference & Public Power Expo in New Orleans next June 21-25.

A Tiger Club for Twitty

Outgoing APPA Chairman John Twitty, general manager of City Utilities of Springfield, Mo., received a brand new golf club, dressed as a University of Missouri Tiger. The gift was in recognition of Twitty’s year as chairman of the American Public Power Association board of directors.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chairman Huval puts broadband, market reform, climate change solutions at top of his agenda

APPA needs to grow its political action committee, continue its work on electric market reform and climate change, and work to boost the broadband capability of the United States, said Terry Huval, general manager of Lafayette Utilities System in Louisiana, at the closing general session of the association’s 2007 National Conference. Huval is the new chairman of the APPA board of directors.

Lafayette Utilities System is building a citywide fiber-to-the-home communications system and the new APPA chairman wants to help ensure that all communities have the right to construct similar systems, if they so chose. The United States is now ranked 25th in the world in broadband development and public power needs to advance a public policy agenda that will create a more robust telecommunications industry in the nation, Huval said.

Noting that half of APPA member utilities operate water as well as electric utilities, Huval said he hopes to begin a closer partnership in the coming year with the American Water Works Association.

Huval also urged APPA members to attend the 2008 National Conference, June 21-25 in New Orleans.

‘Public power can and should’ lead climate change solutions, says Radin Award winner Jan Schori

Jan Schori, general manager of Sacramento Municipal Utility District in California, is the 2007 recipient of APPA’s highest award, the Alex Radin Distinguished Service Award. In announcing the award, William Gallagher, chairman of the 2007 Nominations and Awards Committee, praised Schori for her leadership in a wide variety of industry activities, especially those related to environmental issues. The award was presented June 27 during the final general session of APPA’s 2007 National Conference in San Antonio.

“We are fortunate to have the privilege of taking the long view in serving our customers,” Schori said. Solutions to the challenge of climate change “are within our grasp” and “public power can and should lead” initiatives to address the challenge, she said.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Portney, Specker address policy and technology of confronting climate change

“Gore won,” quipped APPA President and CEO Alan H. Richardson in introducing the Tuesday morning session on climate change policy options and technology solutions. Quoting former New York Gov. George Pataki’s shorthand assessment of the politics of climate change, Richardson said the nation clearly needs to set aside debate about whether the earth is warming and develop policies for reducing carbon emissions.

Dr. Paul Portney, dean of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and Dr. Steven Specker, president and CEO of the Electric Power Research Institute, shared their views on policies and technologies for addressing climate change.

Portney, an economist who spent many years at Resources for the Future, a Washington, D.C., public policy organization, said the United States needs to begin now to introduce policies that impose a penalty on technologies that emit carbon into the atmosphere. The process should be gradual, he said. A carbon tax would be more practical than a cap-and-trade emissions allowance program, but the latter approach is the more politically viable policy. If the warming trend observed over the last 20 years were to reverse, it would be much easier to repeal a carbon tax than to set aside an emissions allowance trading program, he said.

Utilities can start reducing carbon emissions now by implementing energy efficiency programs, followed by a scale-up of renewable energy resources, Specker said. Expansion of nuclear energy and advanced coal generating technologies also have the potential to make meaningful reductions in carbon emissions and introduction of carbon capture and sequestration could bring about a decline in carbon emissions by 2020, he said. By 2030, greater use of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and distributed energy could further reduce carbon emissions.

It is technically feasible for the electricity sector to get back to 1990 carbon emission levels by 2030, Specker said. It won’t be easy, but it is possible.

Add your comments about this and other sessions on climate change to this post.

Monday, June 25, 2007

BBC correspondent Katty Kay gives her take on presidential politics

The number one job of the next president of the United States will be to restore the nation’s global prestige, BBC correspondent Katty Kay told APPA members at the conference’s opening general session in San Antonio on June 25. All candidates in the 2008 presidential race want to distance themselves from George Bush, she said. The Bush administration went wrong in the unilateral way it implemented its agenda, without consulting others, she said.

She gave her take on candidates in the race so far, noting that a Hillary Clinton-Rudy Giuliani race would pit a “pushy New Yorker with marital problems against a pushy New Yorker with marital problems.” The possible entrance into the race of another New Yorker, newly independent Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, is interesting, she said. The billionaire mayor is unlikely to get elected president, but he could be a kingmaker, she said.

What did you think about Katty Kay’s remarks? Respond to this post with your comments.

New Statesmanship Award Honors Richardson

The APPA board of directors on June 23, approved creation of the Alan H. Richardson Statesmanship Award to recognize leadership in building consensus. The award was created to honor Richardson, who will retire at the end of 2007. In its resolution establishing the award, the board said the outgoing CEO has skillfully united APPA members around policy challenges and built common ground that transcends the geography, size and other characteristics of the association’s diverse membership.

APPA Chairman John Twitty announced creation of the award during the opening general session of the National Conference in San Antonio.