State utility companies launch Energy Institute of Alabama

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Alabama’s biggest utilities just launched a new joint venture: Energy Institute of Alabama.

The new institute says its mission is to advocate for energy policies that will help grow the state’s economy, likely including fighting against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan and other federal environmental initiatives.

The Energy Institute of Alabama says its mission is “to promote reliable, affordable, and clean energy to help grow our economy, create high-paying jobs, and build public support for Alabama’s energy industry.”

Former House Speaker Seth Hammett will helm the new endeavor as its Chairman. Hammett represented the Covington area in the state Legislature for 32 years, and later went on to work in the energy industry. Currently, Hammett works as VP of Business Development for PowerSouth Energy, one of the institute’s six major member utilities.

The new policy advocacy group’s other members are Alabama Municipal Electric Authority, the Alabama Rural Electric Association, Alabama Power Company, Electric Cities of Alabama, Tennessee Valley Authority, and PowerSouth.

Other key players who will steer the institute include:

  • Chuck Karr, Dean of the University of Alabama’s College of Engineering;
  • Corey Tyree, Director of Energy and Environment, Analytics and Strategic Growth at Southern Research;
  • Jim Sullivan, President of The Sullivan Group and former President of the Alabama Public Service Commission;
  • Steven Taylor, Director of Auburn University’s Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts; and
  • Oliver Kingsley, Jr., Associate Dean of Special Projects at Auburn University’s College of Engineering.

“In the past eight years, PACE has worked closely with all of the partners involved in the new Institute in our efforts to effect sensible energy policy in Alabama,” said Lance Brown of the pro-utilities group Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy.

“More voices in the energy space means a richer conversation for both policy makers and the public. We look forward to collaborating with the Institute to expand the dialogue on energy issues in Alabama.”

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