APPA approved new policy resolutions on utility workforce, hydropower licensing and capacity choice

March 8, 2016

Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 8, 2016 - The American Public Power Association (APPA) approved new policy resolutions in support of federal efforts in the area of utility workforce development, improving the hydropower licensing process, and the ability of load-serving entities to self-supply capacity.

Eight resolutions were approved by APPA’s Legislative & Resolutions Committee at the APPA 2016 Legislative Rally.

Workforce Development: Electric utilities face considerable challenges in securing and training an adequate workforce. Technological advances, the aging workforce, and demographics pose challenges in recruiting, training, and retaining a skilled workforce to meet the rapidly changing demands of the electric utility sector. These problems are even more challenging for smaller public power systems that lack the recruitment and training resources of larger investor-owned utilities. APPA therefore urges Congress to ensure the eligibility of local governmental entities in the workforce activities anticipated under any legislation; and calls on Congress and the Administration to include continuing education for utility employees among the eligible programs and activities for federal workforce development agencies’ resources. 


Hydropower Licensing: The licensing of a new hydropower facility or the relicensing of an existing hydropower project is an opportunity to responsibly enhance the use of our nation’s premier carbon dioxide-free, renewable and reliable baseload energy source. Despite hydropower’s environmental benefits, it can take up to 10 years or more to complete a hydropower licensing process – even as permits or licenses for other energy sources are approved in a fraction of the time. APPA supports an efficient and streamlined process for upgrading or expanding existing Federal Energy Regulatory (FERC)-licensed projects, consistent with environmental protection requirements of federal and state law. APPA also supports modernizing the hydropower licensing process to ensure licensees are credited for taking beneficial actions in advance of license renewal by having FERC recognize these “early actions” when setting the next license term.

Capacity Choice:  Electric power utilities must have the amount and types of resources necessary to provide power to their customers at peak load. Traditionally, not-for-profit public power utilities have met their long-term reliability obligations by building their own generation or by entering over-the-counter contracts with third-part suppliers, i.e., by “self-supply.” Such self-supply is also often achieved through joint action agency supply procurement. Self-supply allows states and utilities to select generation and other resources that meet their needs and policy goals, such as promoting reliability, minimizing costs to consumers, ensuring generation resource diversity, and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Under self-supply, customers benefit from lower negotiated prices and reliability is maintained. APPA believes that the ability of public power utilities and other load serving entities to self-supply capacity should not be impaired and states that do not currently have a mandatory capacity market should not be forced to accept one. Further, APPA urges Congress to enact legislation prohibiting regional transmission organizations (RTOs) from impairing the ability of public power utilities and other load-serving entities to self-supply and requiring any RTO seeking to adopt a mandatory capacity market to first obtain consensus from all states in that region. 


All eight approved resolutions are listed below and available at www.PublicPower.org.

More than 600 locally elected and appointed officials, legislative experts, and APPA members are attending the APPA Legislative Rally, March 7-10, to meet with their members of Congress and Administration officials and discuss issues critical to the future of public power.