Task Force on Innovation

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This agenda is subject to change.

Sunday, July 16

Location: Harbor Island 2
 10:30 - 11:45 a.m.

Innovation and Cybersecurity — Exploring the Relationship between New Technology and New Risks

(Joint Meeting with Committee on Critical Infrastructure)

New technologies bring the potential of increased operational efficiency, cost reductions, and reduction in human error when technology is able to perform certain routine functions.  The designers and manufacturers of these potential solutions are striving for products and services that deliver those efficiencies and cost savings.  However, new technologies also introduce new risks.  Utilities and their customers increasingly demand assurances that these operational efficiencies are not offset by an unacceptably greater risk of cyber-attack or due to vulnerabilities that have not been properly addressed throughout the supply chain—in the design, manufacturing, or distribution of such new technologies.

As utilities increase vigilance against multiple forms of cyber threat, have advanced technology business strategies fully integrated cyber threat considerations?  During this session, industry experts will discuss how these complex considerations are being addressed by product developers, manufacturers, and services providers, and suggest approaches to the strategic decision making required to maximize critical infrastructure reliability and resilience.

Topics will include:

  • Cyber supply chain security approaches and best practices;
  • Emerging technologies and hardware and firmware security considerations;
  • Predictive software capabilities for analytics related to Internet of Things (IoT);
  • Cost benefit considerations of introducing new solutions with a cybersecurity backdrop.

Moderator: Hon. Tim Echols, Georgia


Joe Doetzl, Cyber Security Practice Leader, Grid Automation, ABB

Kurt Lee, Vice President, Strategic Accounts, Pwnie Express 

Steven Martin, Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, GE Energy Connections

Kyle Seymour, President & CEO, S&C Electric

Monday, July 17

2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Joint Session with the Committee on Water

Desalination as a Water Source

Is desalination part of the solution for water shortages? The panel will discuss the technology behind desalination as well as the ongoing operation and cost recovery aspects of desalination. California American Water will provide an update on the progress of its Monterey Peninsula desalination project. The San Diego County Water Authority, which purchases the entire output of the largest desalination plant in the western hemisphere, located in Carlsbad, California, will discuss the technology of the Carlsbad plant and the public-private partnership aspects of the plant including the purchase agreement.

Moderator: Hon. Comer H. “Randy” Randall, South Carolina


Richard Svindland, President, California American Water

Bob Yamada, Director of Water Resources, San Diego County Water Authority

Tuesday, July 18

9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Tuesday General Session 

Innovation: The Catalyst for Integration

There has been talk about the need to integrate central and distributed energy resources to enable customers to use, produce, and store electricity. Integration will require wireless connected technologies; including, but not limited to, information services, sensors, data analysis, and modeling. This session will be a series of ‘turbo talks’ by cutting-edge innovators. Attendees will learn about these new technologies and the value to regulators; connect these interrelated technology schemes to Big Data, and understand practical applications.

Moderator: Hon. Brien Sheahan, Illinois


  • Boris von Bormann, CEO, Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas
  • Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn (USN, RET.), Former Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations, and Environment)
  • Anne Pramaggiore, President and CEO, Commonwealth Edison
  • Russell Stokes, President and CEO, GE Power
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Joint session with Committee on Gas


Technologies Driving Innovation in the Natural Gas Arena – Cruising Forward

The natural gas industry is making major investments for the purpose of integrating new resources, technologies and services into the energy system. The gas sector through new gas fueled technologies is contributing to greater economic productivity, higher levels of customer satisfaction and lower levels of air emissions. This level of innovation is taking place at the distribution and customer level in particular through the utilization of cutting edge technologies including distributed generation and microgrids, new HVAC technologies and other small and large scale innovations. This session will discuss the latest technological and policy advances, how new technologies can be used to become part of the "smart energy grid."


Hon. Carla Peterman, California

Hon. Angela Weber, Indiana


Lisa Alexander, VP of Customer Solutions, SoCal Gas 

Josh Chaise, Director, Product Management, Water & Gas, Aclara

Ron Edelstein, Director, Regulatory and Government Relations, Gas Technology Institute  

Josh Jorgensen, Manager of Development Engineering, Honeywell Gas Metering Solutions

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Joint session with Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment

Smart Grid Innovation Around the Country

Learn about various ideas and functionality happening as part of the grid modernization actions across the country from dynamic “TURBO TED” talk speakers. The panel will discuss trends being researched and technology tools being implemented in many states and cities to move generation, intelligence and control to the grid edge as part of the larger strategy for smart cities and sustainability.

Researchers from some of the largest, best-known grid modernization testing facilities are investigating technologies to modernize our grid.  Progressive utilities are partnering with technology innovation companies to demonstrate and integrate the new technology tools to provide services to support the grid at both the transmission and distribution level and to partner with customers to use behind the meter resources for the grid.

Hear from promising cutting-edge projects that try to answer questions like: Will drivers follow signals from power providers who are trying to charge electric vehicles without stressing the grid? Can a device like the Energy Switch provide a homeowner total control over their energy systems to maximize their energy management cost effectively in an easy way? How can utilities explore their security measures and design more resilient approaches from generation all the way to the customer meter?

Moderator:  Hon. Lorraine Akiba, Hawaii


Stuart Laval, Technology Director Duke Technology Center, Duke Energy

Anda Ray, SVP, Energy, Environment and External Relations, EPRI

Shishir Saraiya, Head of Data Science, Bidgely

Aaron Smallwood, Senior Director, Technical Services, SEPA

Raiford Smith, Vice President Analytics, Smart Grid and Corporate Strategy, Entergy

Martha Symko-Davies, Director of Partnerships, NREL

2:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Networking Break
2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Innovation in the Telecommunications Space

(Joint Session with the Committee on Telecommunications)

The momentum behind the ongoing digital journey is informed by hyper connectivity, programmable network, and digital value platforms. The consequences are contextualized experiences, privacy and trust, and everything connected. With 17 billion currently connected devices globally, some of the latest estimates suggesting more than 50 billion connected devices in the future, and greater than 50% of the worlds’ population estimated to live in cities by 2050, are utilities, telecommunications companies and cities the family of the future? Network is not just the center of this transformation, but often it is at the forefront. And the future of the network impacts the way we live, work, learn and play. This Panel will explore the evolution of technology and some of the ways human-technology interactivity are being reimagined.

Moderator: Hon. Upendra Chivukula, New Jersey


TJ Costello, Americas Smart Cities & IoT Director, Cisco

Hans Raj Nahata, Director – Technology Architecture, Verizon Communications

Stephen Opferman, Senior Director of Innovation Technologies, CenturyLink

Christian Pape, VP Innovation, CableLabs

4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Joint session with Committee on Electricity

Innovation Spotlight: New Transmission Technologies

NARUC and other organizations have adopted resolutions encouraging the consideration of advanced technologies to solve unique transmission siting and operations problems – problems that can slow progress toward State policy goals. Join the Electricity Committee and the Task Force on Innovation for a fast-paced review of four specific advanced transmission technologies. These speakers and video demonstrations will prepare you to push for modern solutions to age-old transmission conundrums such as how to move more power in limited space, how to prevent power injections from following the path of least resistance to the wrong customers, and how to improve wide-area grid situational awareness.

Moderator: Hon. Brad Johnson, Montana


Ken Blair, VP of Business Development, Ampjack Industries Ltd. 

David Rupert, Business Development Manager, BOLD (Breakthrough Overhead Line Design), LLC 

Todd Ryan, Director of Regulatory Affairs, SmartWires

Alison Silverstein, Project Manager, North American Synchrophasor Initiative