Ditto, Sargent named to GridWise Alliance advisory council formed to support call for investments in power system

May 12, 2021

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
May 12, 2021

Joy Ditto, President and CEO of the American Public Power Association (APPA), and Jackie Sargent, general manager of Texas public power utility Austin Energy, have been named to a GridWise Alliance Grid Infrastructure Advisory Council (GIAC) to support the alliance’s call for at least $50 billion in federal spending to modernize the nation’s electric power transmission and distribution systems.

Formation of the 30-member council was announced by GridWise Alliance Board Chair Gil Quiniones on April 26. Quiniones, who is President and CEO of the New York Power Authority, will lead the GIAC.

After the announcement regarding the formation of the GIAC, the White House recognized the launch of the council in a Fact Sheet on the Biden Administration’s plan to advance the expansion and modernization of the electric grid.

“GridWise Alliance’s new Advisory Council will be a vital asset as we work to build support in Congress and throughout the country for grid modernization and for President Biden’s ambitious and potentially historic infrastructure plan—the ‘American Jobs Plan,’” Quiniones said in a statement.

He noted that the council includes leaders from the electric utility industry, environmental groups, labor unions and other interested parties in the public and private sectors.  “It is diverse, but also united in its firm belief that the power grid must be significantly upgraded,” Quiniones said.

The GridWise Alliance praised the Biden Administration on the infrastructure plan’s proposed $100 billion investment in upgrading the electricity grid and promoting clean energy and $50 billion for resilient infrastructure, Quiniones said.

He noted that this complements the Alliance’s Grid Investments for Economic Recovery initiative, launched earlier this year, which focuses more specifically on urging a $50 billion federal investment in modernizing and upgrading the transmission and distribution networks.

The purpose of Ditto’s participation is to ensure public power is well represented on the group.

“A reliable power supply depends upon having a robust and modern transmission and distribution system,” said Ditto. “I am honored to be able to serve as a voice for public power on GridWise Alliance’s Advisory Council, and I look forward to working with my fellow council members,” she said.   

“I am honored to have been asked to serve on the Grid Infrastructure Advisory Council,” said Jackie Sargent, Austin Energy General Manager. “This is an important and exciting challenge and I am looking forward to working with this diverse group to reimagine our electric grid.”   

The GIAC and GridWise Alliance will work collaboratively with the Biden Administration to define areas where investment in the electric grid would be most beneficial to the economy and the communities in most need, a GridWise Alliance news release noted. The council will amplify the best practices of alliance members, put a spotlight on key policy and appropriations recommendations and utilize its utility executives, grid equipment manufacturers, and vendor members to advocate funding for grid modernization.

The GridWise Alliance represents stakeholders that design, build, and operate the electric grid.