The Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) 2017 annual summit was strangely underscored by utility executives’ support for economy-wide carbon cuts, which they said was their best chance at strong growth. DTE Energy CEO Gerry Anderson, also EEI’s environmental chief, said that “there’s no sucker’s choice here — you can have a healthy economy and have a healthy environment at the same time.” Anderson identified opportunities for utilities in the electrification of transportation and heating/cooling, and confirmed DTE’s plans to phase-out coal generation completely by 2040. Anderson and his senior team have “come to the conviction that we have a responsibility to deal with this issue [the energy transition]. Our ability to deliver on environmental outcomes is really the thing that’s going to drive growth in our industry in a time when underlying [demand for power] is declining,” he said. “Pulling in broader industry is the path to significant investment in our sector. Long term, electricity wins if environmental concerns are a key and dominant consideration.”
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