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ORLANDO, FLORIDA — Leaders in the electric utility industry converged here last week to discuss ways to address major challenges facing their sector, from increasing demand for clean power to high energy costs.

The annual meeting of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), which represents investor-owned electric utilities in the U.S., was the first held in person since before the Covid-19 pandemic. It was significant given the outsize role electricity is expected to play in moving the country toward carbon-free energy.

Over a dozen states have set goals to achieve 100 percent carbon-free electricity or net-zero greenhouse gas emissions within less than 30 years, and many states — as well as the Biden administration — are seeking to promote electric technologies like heat pumps and battery-powered cars. A number of major utilities have also set their own goals to achieve carbon-free electricity or net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner.

Utility executives said they’re prepared to lead a transition to a […]

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