Transmission Highlights

Barton discusses the electric grid and technological innovation at Senate committee hearing

Rachel A. Hammer

Lisa Barton, executive vice president, AEP Transmission, participated in a panel discussion on the state of technological innovation related to the electric grid during a U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing. The hearing was held March 17.

Barton emphasized three points in her opening remarks.

First, she pointed out that a robust grid is a natural enabler of new technologies. Barton noted that a high voltage electric grid serves as "the backbone that supports diverse generation resources and distributed energy technologies."

Barton further noted that the grid assures cost-effective, efficient and reliable delivery of electricity, no matter how the power is produced.

Second, the grid plays a vital role in national security. "Today it serves as the foundation of our nation's economy, prosperity and national security," she said. Barton added that it is important to recognize that benefits to consumers are maximized by combining the strengths of all resources.

Finally, Barton noted that the U.S. needs policies that support diverse technological solutions

"By supporting a diverse set of generation resources and technologies, and by continuing to make investments in the backbone of the grid, we will ensure that energy is available, affordable and reliable … while at the same time enabling consumers to benefit from new cutting-edge technologies."

Barton supported her remarks with written testimony in which she specifically identified and described AEP's experience with key grid technology innovations.

Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chairs the committee and provided opening remarks at the hearing. In addition to Barton, panelists included: The Honorable Lisa Edgar, Florida Public Service Commission and president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners; Dr. Michael Howard, P.E., Electric Power Research Institute; Dr. Peter Littlewood, Argonne National Laboratory; and Dr. Jeff Taft, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.