Events

Innovation Webinars

Every month, the NARUC Center for Partnerships & Innovation organizes an Innovation Webinar on an emerging issue in electricity regulation. Held on Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET, these educational webinars are open to the public.

With support from the U.S. Department of Energy, CPI is pleased to connect its members and the public with new research, subject-matter experts, and diverse opinions on a variety of issues relevant to public utility commissions. Presentation slides and recordings for past webinars are posted on this webpage.

Upcoming Innovation Webinars:

The Many Flavors of Consumer Choice

Thursday, March 21, 2024 | 3:00 - 4:00 PM Eastern

Register Now

Often painted as a black-and-white choice between “deregulation” and “monopoly,” many states are increasingly choosing alternative, hybrid approaches to offer customers one or more alternatives to traditional utility service. This panel considers the numerous approaches different states are taking in this regard, which among other things can leverage consumers’ adoption of advanced technologies, the aggregate buying power of communities, the new and dynamic rate designs that smart meters make possible, and special rates for customers who want clean energy projects or truly fixed-rate products.

Speakers:

  • Travis Kavulla, NRG Energy
  • More to be announced soon

Past Innovation Webinars

Energy buyers – both public and private – are increasingly setting targets to procure 100% of their electricity from carbon-free sources every hour of the day. The transition to time-stamped renewable energy certificates (RECs) and hourly matching can provide credible proof of 24/7 carbon-free energy procurement, while delivering an important price signal for energy storage and flexibility. Thoughtful rate design is necessary to enable utilities to offer hourly REC matching programs to the organizations that are demanding them without adverse effects on non-participating ratepayers. This panel discussed recent progress on hourly matching tariffs, technical challenges, and creative solutions to unlock the transition to 24/7 CFE.

Moderator: Hon. Stacey Paradis, Commissioner, Illinois Commerce Commission

Speakers:

  • Carl Linvill, Principal, Regulatory Assistance Project
  • Ted Thomas, Founder, Energize Strategies
  • Shawn Bennett, Director for Clean Energy, Council on Environmental Quality
  • Katie Soroye, Vice President, Granular Procurement Solutions, LevelTen Energy

Presentation and recording will be available soon

Our January 2024 Innovation Webinar explored a unique avenue for diverse talent recruitment for the public sector by featuring nonprofit organization Govern For America (GFA). GFA is working to build the next generation of public servants to create a more responsive and reflective state government, by offering fellowship opportunities to recent graduated students in state government agencies. During this webinar, Talita Elizeu, Director of Partnerships, shared the structure of the fellowship programs, the benefits of government partnerships, and success stories from alumni.

Speaker: Talita Elizeu, Director of Partnerships, Govern for America

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Our Decemebr 2023 Innovation Webinar was an engaging and informative webinar that explored the dynamic synergy between energy distribution and artificial intelligence (AI). This innovative discussion brought together a panel of esteemed industry experts and thought leaders to shed light on how AI is revolutionizing the energy sector. In this webinar, our panelists shared their insights on the latest AI-driven advancements in energy distribution, the role of machine learning in grid optimization, and how AI is enhancing energy efficiency and reliability. They also discussed key policy considerations, regulatory challenges, and best practices for leveraging AI in the energy sector.

Hon. MaryAnna Holden, Commissioner, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities

Speakers:

  • Thomas O’Brien – Senior Vice President, and Chief Information Officer, PJM Interconnection
  • David Larson – Technical Leader, Grid Ops & Planning, EPRI
  • Lew Folkerth – Principal Reliability Consultant with the RF region of NERC
  • Raiford Smith – Chief Utility Innovation Officer, AES

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The Federal Highway Administration issued guidance in 2021 encouraging utilization of state rights-of-way (ROW) for renewable energy generation.  Fostering collaboration between state transportation departments (DOTs) and utility commissions can help facilitate projects that utilize empty land along highway ROWs to build utility-scale solar projects, new charging stations, and new underground transmission lines. This webinar explored state and federal efforts to access the untapped solar potential along highway corridors throughout the country. Panelists discussed recent developments that are advancing coordination between state DOTs and utility regulators, along aligning public-private partnerships to bring the development of solar highways to fruition.

Jamie Barber – Director of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Unit, Georgia PSC

Speakers:

  • Allie Kelly, Executive Director, The Ray
  • Terry Bills, Global Transportation Industry Director, Esri
  • Julie Peacock, Advisor, Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (U.S. Department of Energy)

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The intersection of federal energy efficiency funding and regulated utility programs has become an essential focal point for achieving sustainability and cost-efficiency goals. This online webinar, tailored specifically for public utility commissioners and their staff, aimed to shed light on the intricate process of coordinating federal energy efficiency funding with existing utility programs to maximize the benefits for their customers and communities. Topics addressed include: strategies for aligning federal funding with utility programs to achieve synergy, avoid duplication, and ensure the most effective use of resources; insight into the requirements of federal funding and how to navigate them in the context of public utility regulation; and issues of program evaluation, including reasonable accounting and attribution of impacts from each funding source, avoiding overly-burdensome analysis, strategies for apportioning savings, net-to-gross calculations, and key data needs.

Moderator: Commissioner Jeffrey Hughes, North Carolina Utility Commission

Speakers:

  • Jennifer Amann, Senior Fellow, ACEEE
  • Laura Schauer, Executive Vice President, ILLUME Advising, LLC

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Community Solar is a growing tool for expanding access to solar for homeowners or businesses that can't utilize rooftop solar for one reason or another. This webinar discussed trends in community solar nationally from a regulatory and policy perspective and results from research into community solar opportunities. In particular, this panel discussed the economics of utility or cooperative community solar program design, barriers to implementation, and benefits of community solar.

Moderator: Commissioner Tim Echols, GA Public Service Commission

Speakers:

  • Vincent Potter, NC State University
  • Kerry Klemm, Xcel Energy
  • Katharine Bond, Dominion Energy
  • Jared Leader, Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA)

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Current public awareness and interest in artificial intelligence (AI) as a tool to revolutionize the way we do business is at an all-time high with the advent of tools like ChatGPT, Bard, and ChatSonic. The possibilities AI presents to integrate vast amounts of data into our professional lives is unprecedented. These opportunities extend into the utilities sectors. Regulators should understand how these types of technologies might play a role in future utility planning and operations to better assess their impacts and cost-effectiveness. This webinar explored how AI is currently deployed with utilities and whether AI can be used as a tool to integrate climate data to predict outages and better inform utility system planning with climate resilience strategies built into investments.

Moderators: Commissioner Diane Burman, NYS Public Service Commission and Nora Mead Brownell, Espy Energy Solutions LLC

Speakers:

  • Jeremy Renshaw, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
  • Elizabeth Cook, Duquense Light Company
  • Sean Remington, Eversource 
  • Greg Shannon, Idaho National Laboratory

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Achieving greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets will require innovative approaches to decarbonizing energy use across all sectors of the economy. The industrial sector’s demands for electricity and heat accounts for around one-fourth of U.S. energy use and emissions, yet emissions reductions have been harder to achieve than in the power generation sector. How can emissions-intensive industries leverage electrification to decarbonize? What impact will this have on grid reliability, energy costs, and emissions? And what can regulators do to reduce barriers for industrial customers who want to electrify? This webinar shares highlights from a recent report analyzing the electrification potential for 12 industrial subsectors across 20 states. Panelists discuss emerging technologies, grid impacts, co-benefits, and recommendations for policymakers and regulators to facilitate industrial electrification.

Moderator: Hon. Tyler Huebner, Wisconsin

Speakers:

  • Blaine Collison, Executive Director, Renewable Thermal Collaborative
  • Sara Baldwin, Senior Director, Electrification, Energy Innovation
  • Ed Rightor, Director, Center for Clean Energy Innovation, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

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On May 1, 2023, NARUC's Center for Partnerships and Innovation hosted an Innovation Webinar exploring Storage as a Transmission Asset (SATA). Energy storage has the potential to provide a suite of services. Among those many services, Storage as a Transmission Asset uses storage facilities to inject or absorb energy to facilitate power flows on transmission lines. Used this way, SATA can provide reliability services and serve as an alternative to new transmission projects, increasing system efficiency and providing cost savings for customers. SATA can provide further services and capabilities when used as a "dual-use" asset capable of offering both generation and transmission services. Watch the recording and review the presentation below to hear subject matter experts discuss the potential of SATA and dual-use SATA, the planning and market barriers that hinder its use, and potential solutions to address these barriers.

Moderator: Chair Carrie Zalewski, Illinois Commerce Commission

Speakers:

  • Kiran Kumaraswamy – BrightNight 
  • Gabe Murtaugh – California ISO
  • Jeremy Twitchell – PNNL

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NARUC's Center for Partnerships and Innovation hosted an Innovation Webinar to discuss recent market design enhancements throughout the country to address evolving resource adequacy concerns. Approximately 200 GW of nameplate wind and solar capacity have been added to the U.S. power grid during the past two decades. Recently enacted federal incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will accelerate the investment in, and deployment of clean energy and storage across the U.S.  Amidst this rapid transformation to a cleaner electric system, reliability events resulting from changing system attributes, combined with extreme weather events, have led to the recent introduction of several design enhancements in wholesale power markets throughout the country. Subject matter experts explained these market enhancements in CAISO, ERCOT, and ISO-New England and explored the different roles and interplay between market operators and regulators in addressing ongoing resource adequacy concerns.

Moderator: Commissioner Ann Rendahl, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission

Speakers:

  • Beth Garza – Senior Fellow, R Street 
  • Anna McKenna – Vice President, Market Policy and Performance, CAISO
  • Steven Otto, PhD, Economist – ISO-New England

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Join NARUC's Center for Partnerships and Innovation for our next Innovation Webinar to discuss the importance and role of grid architecture in meeting future grid and customer demands. As distributed energy resources continue to grow, grid architecture will take on an increasingly important role to ensure that the grid is planned and operated in a way that can better utilize these new resources. Grid architecture can help utilities, decision-makers, and others identify the appropriate organization and structure that can then be used to make decisions about the operation and future of the electricity grid. This session will provide attendees with an understanding of what is grid architecture, its role and purpose going forward, how it can be used to identify current and future system needs, and why regulators need to address this important component of grid modernization.This session will feature presentations from several experts with examples of how grid architecture can be used and where.

Moderator: Commissioner Katherine Peretick, Michigan PSC

Speakers:

  • Kay Aiken, Dynamic Grid
  • Lorenzo Kristov, Independent Consultant
  • Mark Paterson, Strategen Consulting

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Green Banks by definition are mission-driven institutions that use innovative private investments and financing to accelerate the clean energy transition and establish climate-resilient infrastructure. The model has proven successful internationally and domestically, in the U.S. there are about 22 green banks across the country. These green banks generally leverage funds into smaller projects like community solar, building efficiency retrofits, and electrification of transportation, where traditional lenders typically choose not to invest in these smaller types of projects due to the high risks. However, is there room for green banks to aid in the improvement of our electrical system reliability? We recognize that reliability is being challenged due to the aging infrastructure, severe weather events, and other threats to our electrical system. Green banks may provide that innovative funding solution to finance the creation of next generation grid reliability-enhancing technologies needed to ensure dependable utility services that drive daily life and critical infrastructure.

Moderator: Rory Christian, Chair and CEO, New York State Public Service Commission

Speakers:

  • Matt Macunas, Founder, Blue Horizon Consulting
  • Jordan Taylor, Assoc. Director, Renewable Energy, Montgomery County Greenbank 

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Long Duration Storage technologies, defined as technologies providing 10 hours or more of energy storage, are a critical part of reaching our country’s carbon emissions goals. Long duration storage is vital to integrating renewable energy into the grid during times of high demand to support reliability and resilience. This webinar will provide information on different long duration storage projects currently under development and provide prospective on how these technologies will help to shape our energy future.

Moderator: Hon. Carrie Zalewski, IL

Speakers:

  • Michael Purdie, Director of Regulatory Affairs and Markets, National Hydropower Association
  • Greggory Kresge, Sr. Manager, Utility Engagement and Transportation Electrification – US Energy, World Resources Institute
  • Dr. Kevin Harrison, Program Manager, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Jason Houck, Sr. Manager, Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Form Energy

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Learn how energy storage is currently considered in IRPs and could be evaluated in the future. Hear from experts about issues state utility regulators are facing with storage in modeling, valuation, cost parameters, and interconnection.

Moderator: Commissioner Katherine Peretick

Speakers:

  • Giovanni Damato, Andrew Etringer, Miles Evans, Peggy IP, Ramakrishnan Ravikumar, EPRI

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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for state utility regulators to look closely at energy affordability. To aid customers, regulators are hearing input from utilities, consumer advocates, technology companies, and other stakeholders on how to measure and improve energy affordability. On this webinar, three experts will share their unique approaches to affordability and discuss how public utility commissions can be partners in efforts to alleviate the energy burden. 

Moderator: Hon. Mary Throne, Wyoming

Speakers:

  • Corey Dahl, Regulatory Analyst, Washington State Office of the Attorney General
  • Glenn Schatz, Chief Revenue Officer, BlocPower
  • Boris Lukanov, Senior Scientist, PSE Healthy Energy

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This webinar highlights innovative energy work happening at universities.  Gems hidden in in plain sight, there is a wealth of innovative energy research and development happening at over 150 institutions of higher learning across the country. In addition to developing technologies that are eventually deployed within the industry, these institutions educate the next generation of energy sector leaders through education, coursework, and hands-on experiences. Academic energy centers also frequently partner with the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) 17 national laboratories which NARUC regularly features in this webinar series. Join NARUC’s Center for Partnerships and Innovation to learn more about university-sponsored energy innovation centers and the role they play creating our energy future.  

Moderator: John Morrison, President and CEO of E4Carolinas

Speakers:

  • Robert Cox, Ph.D., UNC Charlotte Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC)
  • Ken Dulaney, Director of Industry and Innovation, FREEDM Systems Center at NC State
  • Jay Whitacre, Director of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, Carnegie Mellon University

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