national council on electricity policy

2021 NCEP Annual Meeting on Coordinated Electricity Planning

Meeting Scope

In 2021, the National Council on Electricity Policy (NCEP) community of state electricity policymakers, decision-makers, and implementers explored developments in modern planning techniques and tools to align planning processes across distribution, resource, and transmission planning. NCEP explored:

  • What is a state's role in aligning planning for maintaining a well-managed, efficient electricity system, now with rapidly changing requirements and many more participants?
  • What planning capabilities exist and are needed for potential distribution-system level markets and transmission system operator and distribution system operator coordination?
  • What coordination opportunities exist for states, utilities, customers, RTOs, federal entities, and research institutions?

Meeting Materials

Session descriptions and links to presentations follow.

3rd Jan Brinch Award for Collaboration in Public Service

In 2019, NCEP initiated an award in memory of Jeannette “Jan” Brinch, who energetically facilitated the National Council on Electricity Policy (NCEP) from 2014 to 2018 and passed away in 2018. Jan’s career was marked by progress on energy and environmental issues from a wide range of public service positions. One of the hallmarks of her success in each of these roles was her desire to collaborate with others with diverse perspectives, positions, and organizations. This award honors other public servants who similarly view their positions as opportunities to bring people together to accomplish public interest goals in the electricity sector.

In 2021, NCEP congratulated former Representative Tom Sloan on receiving the Brinch Award. Please see the press release for more information.

Introduction to Modern Integrated and Comprehensive Planning

Typically, electric utility system planning processes include integrated resource planning, transmission planning, distribution system planning, and more. What capabilities exist and are needed for aligning and integrating planning processes at key decision points? What benefits would more coordinated approaches offer?

This foundational session provides an update on the latest thinking on comprehensive electricity planning and key considerations for policymakers by reviewing the NARUC-NASEO Task Force on Comprehensive Electricity Planning outputs. Task Force staff leaders will walk attendees through the visions and roadmaps developed by members for states in five different market and regulatory structures.

Moderator: Hon. Ted Thomas, Arkansas Public Service Commission

Johanna Zetterberg, U.S. Department of Energy
Danielle Sass Byrnett, NARUC
Kirsten Verclas, National Association of State Energy Officials

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State Agency Roles in Comprehensive Planning

In addition to market and regulatory structure, state governance will influence the roles and responsibilities of state agencies in carrying out more holistic electricity planning. Task Force members shared how they are approaching comprehensive planning in their own states.

Moderator: Hon. Dave Danner, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission

Panelists (no presentations):
Carrie Gill, Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources
Chris Ayers, North Carolina Utilities Commission
Hon. Dan Scripps, Michigan Public Service Commission

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Stakeholder Perspectives on Comprehensive Planning

Increasingly, states have begun leveraging the involvement and perspectives of diverse stakeholders in planning processes. The load-serving utility system has traditional stakeholders such as residential, industrial, and commercial consumers and environmental protection agencies. New stakeholders are emerging at the distribution level as well, such as solar and storage aggregators, local community groups, and building managers. Further, regional stakeholders are emerging as distribution grid decisions impact wholesale entities and markets.

Moderator: Senator Eric Koch, Indiana State Senate

Panelists (no presentations):
Kat Cox-Arslan, Borrego Solar
Joe Daniel, Union of Concerned Scientists
Tanuj Deora, Uplight

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Bonus Session: Federal Perspectives

Attendees heard brief presentations from federal partners on current and emerging issues in a fireside chat format.

Moderator: Hon. Sarah Freeman, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission

Patricia Hoffman, Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Electricity (OE), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
Michelle L. Manary, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Energy Resilience Division, OE, DOE
Andrew Wishnia, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)

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Emerging Approaches to Aligning Distribution System Planning with Bulk Power System Planning

On an ongoing basis, utilities and system operators grapple with how their generation and procurement portfolios will meet their load forecasts. Increasingly, load forecasts themselves are changing due to DERs, demand flexibility, rate design, extreme weather, and other factors. System operators will share their view of system needs and current approaches for aligning planning between the distribution system and bulk power system.

Moderator: Hon. ToNola Brown-Bland, North Carolina Utilities Commission

Michael Milligan, Milligan Grid Solutions
Tim Burdis, PJM Interconnection
Zach Smith, NYISO

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Utility Comprehensive Planning Examples and Case Studies

Utility operators will present emerging approaches to aligning processes and plans across customer, distribution, resource, and transmission planning to maintain reliability and resilience fundamentals while achieving state and company goals.

Moderator: Michael Dowd, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Nathan Gagnon, Duke Energy
Colton Ching, Hawaiian Electric

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Current Issues in Comprehensive Planning: Research and Resources

Broadly, states, utilities, and regional operators are looking for paths that leverage planning to bridge technology, business interests, and utility regulation. Panelists will share emerging opportunities to consider state goals, incorporate regional dynamics, and leverage new tools to advance comprehensive electricity planning.

Moderator: Jennifer Easler, Office of the Consumer Advocate of Iowa

Dr. Kelli Joseph, Fifth Third Bank
Matt McDonnell, Strategen
Justin Gundlach, Institute for Policy Integrity at NYU

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Welcome to the Workshop on Comprehensive Grid Planning

The sessions today will focus on how to bring the state and system operator perspectives articulated during the prior two days together in devising a path forward for comprehensive planning.

  • Led by The Honorable Paul Kjellander, President of NCEP, President of NARUC, and President at the Idaho PUC
  • Facilitated by Danielle Sass Byrnett and Kerry Worthington, NARUC

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Regional State Perspectives

Moderator: Hon. Upendra Chivukula, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities

Marcus Hawkins, Organization of MISO States
Branden Sudduth, Western Electricity Coordinating Council
Paul Suskie, Southwest Power Pool

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Snapshot Sessions

Discussion leaders will share visions for how we can collectively work together to evolve our capabilities to accelerate comprehensive electricity planning. For each topic, the leader will discussion where we are, where we need to go, and what information, tools, resources, and examples we need to move forward.

During the group prompt, audience members will share their reactions to the proposed vision of the future and contribute additional suggestions and examples for a path forward.

Moderator: Hon. Paul Kjellander, Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC)
Discussion Leader: Samir Succar, ICF - Analytical Capabilities to Support Comprehensive Electricity Planning
Discussion Leader: Paul De Martini, Newport Consulting Group - Planning for Operational Coordination
Discussion Leader: Karl Rábago, Rábago Energy - Valuing Multiple Benefits of Distributed Resources in Planning
Discussion Leader: Jeff Ackermann, North Star Collaborative – Regulatory Process Innovation

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