Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment

This agenda is subject to change.


Monday, February 12

9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. 
Location: Ballroom Central

Joint with Committees on Consumers and the Public Interest, Electricity, Energy Resources and the Environment, Gas, Telecom, and Water: General Session

9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. 

Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival

Michael Webber, author of Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival, will sit down with NARUC President John Betkoski III, Hon. Mary- Anna Holden, Chair of the Committee on Water and Hon. Judy Jagdmann, Chair of the Committee on Electricity, for an insightful discussion of the water-energy nexus.  Dr. Webber is the deputy director of the Energy Institute, co-director of the Clean Energy Incubator at the Austin Technology Incubator, and associate professor of mechanical engineering and Josey Centennial Fellow in Energy Resources at the University of Texas.

Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment

10:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Ballroom North
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Joint Session with the Committee on Water

Solar Desalination

Desalination provides an option for a source of water in arid regions.  Traditional reverse osmosis desalination, however, is an energy intensive process.  Desalination technology is evolving and being paired with solar technology.  Is this pairing of technologies technically feasible?  Is the pairing economically feasible?  Is solar desalination a possible solution for drought challenged water utilities in the United States?  


Hon. Donald J. Polmann, Florida


Leon Awerbuch, IDA Director/Dean of the Academy, International Desalination Association

Kelly Beninga, Chief Executive Officer, SkyFuel, Inc.

Joe Cresko, Strategic Analysis Lead, Advanced Manufacturing Office, United States Department of Energy

Francois Perreault, Assistant Professor, Arizona State University

Peter E. Shanaghan, Senior Environmental Engineer, Infrastructure Branch - Drinking Water Protection Division, United States Environmental Protection Agency

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

Shark Tank the TV Show Takes on Electric Vehicles

What is the one thing that State Commissions need to do to further the adoption of electric vehicles?  Listen to several industry experts as they each try their hand at convincing Commissioners that they have the right idea.


Hon. Phil Jones, Commissioner Emeritus, Washington


Joe Halso, Associate Attorney, Sierra Club Environmental Law Program 

David Kolata, Executive Director, Illinois Citizens Utility Board

Patrick Bean, Associate Manager, Policy & Business Development, Tesla

Laura Renger, Principal Manager, Air & Climate Policy, Southern California Edison

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

How to Create a Distribution System Planning Process: Lessons Learned From Fellow Commissioners

Edison Electric Institute members spent $32B nationally in 2016 on distribution systems alone. Investments are likely to increase as utilities harden power systems to maintain reliability and resilience, pursue improved visibility and control with higher levels of distributed energy resources, and enable new services for customers.

Interest in distribution system planning is growing as more utilities invest in advanced grid technologies. A new report for the U.S. Department of Energy, State Engagement in Electric Distribution System Planning, documents Commission activities in 16 states, including eight states with statutory or Commission requirements for distribution system or grid modernization plans — California, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan and New York. In this panel, Commissioners in several of these states will share their experiences:

  • Driving forces – What do Commissions expect to achieve through distribution system planning?
  • Getting started – What are the building blocks for successful outcomes?
  • Oversight roles – How are Commissions involved in various planning activities?
  • Barriers – What are the roadblocks, and how can they be overcome?

Other Commissioners and Staff are welcome to join in the discussion.


Lisa Schwartz, Deputy Group Leader/Energy Efficiency Team Leader Electricity Markets and Policy Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Help Me Help You: Planning for Distributed Energy Resources in the Wholesale Market

This panel will discuss how state commissioners can best enable DERs to participate in wholesale markets and best leverage these DERs to reduce costs for all customers in their jurisdiction. As more retail customers establish the ability to control their energy usage, the greater the impact will be on the high-voltage transmission grid and the local distribution grid.

This panel will explore the opportunities, as well as the jurisdictional and technical issues, that can arise from integrating distribution-connected DERs resources into the bulk electric system, such as:  How can state commissions identify and resolve technical challenges when integrating distribution-connected DERs into the bulk electric system?  How could a model tariff be structured to promote DER participation in wholesale markets while capturing/creating benefits to the distribution grid? What specific issues should state commissioners be paying attention to in the FERC NOPR addressing storage and DERs? What changes should state commissioners advocate for within ISOs/RTOs?


Hon. Phyllis Reha, Commissioner Emeritus, Minnesota


Marcus Hawkins, Director Member Services and Advocacy, Organization of MISO States (OMS)

Lon Huber, Head of Consulting, Strategen

Greg Geller, Director of Government Affairs at EnerNOC

Raiford Smith, Vice President, Energy Technology and Analytics, Entergy

Tuesday, February 13

9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Joint with Committees on Consumers and the Public Interest, Electricity, Energy Resources and the Environment, Gas, Telecom, and Water: General Session

Location: Ballroom Central
9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. 

Welcome by NARUC President, Hon. Jack Betkoski.

Remarks by The Hon. Kevin J. McIntyre, Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 


Implications and Complications of Tax Reform 

Moderator: Hon. Sadzi Oliva, Illinois


Hon. Tom Forese, Arizona

Ryan Wobbrock, Vice President - Senior Analyst, Moody's Investors Service

Danny Kermode, Assistant Director for Water and Transportation, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission

Marty Kropelnicki, President and Chief Executive Officer, California Water Service Group


Reading Materials:

Regulated Utilities – U.S. Tax Reform is Credit Negative for Sector, but Impact Varies by Company (January 24, 2018)

Rating Action: Moody's Changes Outlooks on 25 U.S. Regulated Utilities Primarily Impacted by Tax Reform (January 19, 2018)

Tax Reform – U.S. Corporate Tax Cut is Credit Positive, while Effects of Other Provisions Vary by Sector (December 21, 2017)

Utilities – U.S. Tax Reform Likely to Increase Credit Risk, Impact Dependent Regulatory Response (March 15, 2017)


Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment

10:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Ballroom North
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Business Meeting


Hon. Nancy Lange, Minnesota, Chair

Hon. Carla Peterman, California, Vice-Chair


Hon. Richard Glick, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Briefing:  Update on the Administration’s Decision on the Section 201 Solar Cells and Panels Trade Case

Jennifer Murphy, Director of Energy Policy and Senior Counsel, NARUC


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

Reducing Supply Peaks with Integrated and Targeted Energy Efficiency

Electric and gas utilities all over the world use comprehensive energy efficiency programs to reliably avoid energy supply costs and suppress prices, with some of the most advanced and successful programs being executed in the US.  Despite the accomplishment of these programs, there are few examples of large scale energy efficiency being deployed to solve supply constraints that are specific to a particular system.  Rather, those system-specific conservation efforts are typically reserved for active demand response programs, which can lack the sustained price and reliability advantages of energy efficiency.  To reach the next level of energy efficiency, program managers should work with traditional supply planning and procurement teams to include large-scale energy efficiency deployment as an option to solve these system-specific supply constraints.  This panel will focus on how to achieve such an integration. Discussion will include adapting  energy efficiency to address seasonal peak demand, enhancing the effectiveness of targeting peaks, bringing measurement of energy efficiency delivery on par with supply metering, and incentivizing utilities to deliver this next level of savings to customers.


Hon. Abigail Anthony, Rhode Island


Hon. Carla Peterman, California

Kate Desrochers, Senior Analyst, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation

Sam Krasnow, Vice President Customer Engagement, FirstFuel

Cory Scott, Director of Customer Solutions, Pacific Power

2:45 p.m.- 3:15 p.m.

News You Should Know, part I

What Scientists Know About Climate Change in the US – The 2017 Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) from the U.S. Global Change Research Program

In November 2017 the Administration released a Special Report on Climate Change. This work was performed pursuant to a 1990 Congressional mandate directing 13 federal agencies to cooperate under a Global Change Research Program to develop “a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.” Over fifty climate scientists were involved in producing the CSSR, and in this session two of them will provide an overview of its findings.


Hon. Lorraine Akiba, Hawaii


Benjamin DeAngelo, Deputy Director, Climate Change Program Office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Don Wuebbles, Professor of Atmospheric Science, University of Illinois

3:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

News You Should Know, part II

NARUC Innovation Award Winner - A New Methodology to Value and  Compensate  Distributed  Energy  Resources (DER)

Through the Value of DER Proceeding, the New York State Public Service Commission has started the transition from Net Metering to a new compensation mechanism, the Value Stack. The Value Stack is designed to compensate distributed generation projects with bill credits calculated based on the actual benefits and costs the project and its generation create for the energy system, taking into account the specific project location and the time of generation. Elements of the Value Stack include energy, capacity, environmental, and distribution system impact values. The transition to the Value Stack encourages the development and deployment of DER, ensures that market participants are accurately charged and compensated based on actual impacts, and provides price signals to drive DER development in locations where they provide the most value.


Hon. Lorraine Akiba, Hawaii


Ted Kelly, Assistant Counsel, New York State Department of Public Service

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

The Corporate Quest for Renewables

A number of Fortune 500 companies have committed to investing in clean energy, citing the need for reducing both carbon pollution and energy costs, This panel looks at what large retailers are doing to meet their corporate goals. Panelists will discuss how large energy purchasers such as Walmart and other retailers seek to navigate state regulatory environments and what they want or need from state Commissions to meet their targets (for example, tariffs, better interconnection standards, or direct access). The panel will also discuss the potential impact of their purchasing decisions on utilities, consumers, and regulators.


Hon. Dave Danner, Washington


Stephen W. Chriss, Director, Energy and Strategy, Walmart

Frank Prager, Vice President, Policy and Federal Affairs, Xcel Energy

Ted Romaine, Director, Origination, Invenergy

Letha Tawney, Director, Utility Innovation, World Resources Institute

Wednesday, February 14

9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. 

Joint with Committees on Consumers and the Public Interest, Electricity, Energy Resources and the Environment, Gas, Telecom, and Water: General Session

Location: Ballroom Central

Remarks by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska


Remarks by The Hon. Mignon Clyburn, Federal Communications Commission


The Great Debate: All of the Above? 

Sometimes adversarial, occasionally cooperative, and always dynamic, the relationship between the electric industry’s leading trade association and the nation’s foremost environmental advocates has again been tested in recent years. In their fourth appearance before NARUC’s general session, representatives of the Edison Electric Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council return to a topic at the center of their first debate, in 2002: the appropriate role for utility regulators in guiding the selection of the resources we use to generate electricity.

Making a debut appearance for EEI is Phil Moeller, executive vice president for the association and a former FERC commission. For NRDC, an old hand makes a return to NARUC’s main stage: Ralph Cavanagh, the co-director of the organization’s energy program.

Taking the affirmative and negative sides, respectively, they will debate the following proposition:

Resolved: As a guiding principle for oversight of utilities’ planning and investment, NARUC’s membership should embrace an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.

Moderator: Hon. Travis Kavulla, Montana

Panelists: Ralph Cavanagh, NRDC 

                  Phil Moeller, EEI

  Concluding Remarks by NARUC President, The Hon. Jack Betkoski