Reflections on the APPA Joint Action Conference

Key takeaways – and what’s ahead for Climate Cabinet Education

By Ethan Kirhkam, Public Power Program Manager

This week, the American Public Power Association held its annual Joint Action Conference to discuss issues such as energy prices, cyber security, natural gas supply and end clean energy strategies. Joint Action Agencies (JAAs) are an important part of Public Power. They exist to help municipally-owned public utilities with limited budgets and administrative capacity band together financially and organizationally to access economies of scale, market access, transmission and ancillary services that help public utilities provide their customers with the best possible electric service. 

With the recent passage of the federal Inflation Reduction Act, there are big opportunities on the table for 2023. I attended this conference in order to see how JAAs see their role in the clean energy transition, and to hear from this cohort of Public Power leaders on what their utilities’ visions were regarding the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and its unprecedented deployment of federal funds for clean energy down to the local level. 

As the federal government finalizes IRA guidance on the heels of a public input period, it’s becoming clearer what implementation will look like. I was thrilled to learn about some of the outstanding initiatives being taken by various JAAs on IRA implementation.

Via JAA membership or on their own, Public Power utilities have an opportunity to utilize IRA funding to take important steps in the energy transition and free up their budgets for other important services that utilities and municipalities provide. I left the conference hopeful that JAAs, with the right information, support where needed, and follow through can play a vital role in this becoming the reality.

It’s a part of Climate Cabinet’s mission in 2023 to help ensure that communities don’t miss out on the opportunity to get ahead in the clean energy transition that the IRA offers.

Stay tuned in the coming months, as Climate Cabinet Education will be releasing a guide for municipal utilities on how they can reap the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act!