Patti Poppe, CERAWeek 2019

Patti Poppe, CMS Energy’s CEO, spoke at CERAWeek in Houston at the panel “Electrifying Transportation: How Far, How Fast?” on March 14, 2019.

“[The grid has been based on a] pretty basic flow. But in the future, the future that Pedro [Pizzaro, Edison International CEO] is experiencing faster than we're experiencing in Michigan, that future [of the grid] looks a lot more like downtown Chicago. Where you've got multi-modes of transportation: different sizes, different systems, pedestrians to trains. We're going to have to be able to optimize that system.

“So, today, two things are true that were never true before. Number one, we're retiring these aging central station power plants. That's happening. We have a choice right now to determine whether we replace them like for like, or we create a new clean and lean energy future.

“The other second factor that is happening is the advancement of computing power. AI, machine learning, and the digitization of the information that we never had before.

“Look, two years ago, I had guys walk in through backyards figuring out how much energy you used since the last time we were at your house. One data point per month per customer. We [have now] went from thirty-six million data points a year to two hundred and seventy million data points a day. We have information we never had before.

“So, if we do not take advantage of it right now and create this opportunity to optimize both demand and supply, we can have the opportunity. Because demand isn't climbing like it was post-World War Two. It is flat to declining. Let's make sure we don't replace like for like infrastructure and have this heavy burden of an expensive electric system for all citizens. Let's have a clean and lean energy system for the future. It is possible today like never before.”