Administrator Mike Wech Addresses 18th Annual Advancing Renewables Conference

Southwestern Power Administration (Southwestern) CEO and Administrator Mike Wech took part in a panel discussion as well as delivered an individual presentation at the 18th annual “Advancing Renewables Conference” on April 13, 2023.

National and regional leaders along with university students converged on the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri to discuss renewable energy, including trends and strategies to transition to such renewable energy.

(L to R): James Owen, Executive Director, Renew Missouri; Kevin
Parzyck, Senior Vice President, Project Management, Doral LLC,
Daniel Hall, Director, Government Affairs, Invenergy; and Mike
Wech, Administrator of Southwestern sat on a panel discussion,
"Let's Talk Transmission." 
Photo courtesy Matthew Nestor, City of Columbia Utilities

Wech, along with James Owen, Executive Director, Renew Missouri; Daniel Hall, Director, Government Affairs, Invenergy; and Kevin Parzyck, Senior Vice President, Project Management, Doral LLC, moderated the panel discussion, “Let’s Talk Transmission.” The panel discussed transmission infrastructure related to the challenges and opportunities of setting the foundation for increased clean energy transmission.

“I appreciated the opportunity to be on this panel to provide my thoughts on the three “Ps” affecting transmission most significantly in today’s environment,” said Wech. “These are, Planning (not only for transmission expansion but reliability), Permitting (working with local, state, and federal officials on all aspects of transmission from routing to environmental aspects), and Paying (which parties are going to pay for the cost of new transmission and the cost allocation aspect across regions).”

During a later session, Wech addressed conference attendees in his session, “The Effects of Drought on Hydropower.” Wech analyzed the risks of unavailability of renewable energy sources and how Southwestern plans for these instances to mitigate drought impact on operations. Wech noted the roles and responsibilities of both Southwestern and the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) at the hydropower projects and the importance of interaction with all water users at the hydropower reservoirs to meet statutory and contractual obligations while continually keeping the drought outlook in mind.

“I welcome the opportunity to discuss several elements of Southwestern’s hydropower program and the dynamics of the water systems and power projects we operate with the Corps.” stated Wech of his presentation. “I received great questions from the audience on hydropower’s volatility with one third of the system we operate being run of river, the competing uses for the water resources, and how hydropower works in conjunction with other renewable resources to change the energy landscape now and into the future.”

Customers across Southwestern’s footprint were in attendance and many served as conference sponsors. For more information about the 2023 conference, including speakers, you may visit