Energy Resources and the Environment

This agenda is subject to change.

 

Sunday, February 11

Staff Subcommittee on Energy Resources and the Environment

9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. 
Location: Ballroom Central / Congressional Ballroom
9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Building Electrification: When It Makes Sense and How To Do It

Implemented properly, the electrification of end-uses that would otherwise be powered by fossil fuels can provide significant benefits: lowering consumer energy bills, helping utilities better manage the grid, and promoting climate and other environmental goals. Implemented in a policy vacuum, electrification could simply increase energy usage, and add costs and environmental impacts.  This panel will explore the conditions under which electrification can be implemented to produce benefits for consumers, utilities, and society, as well as policy considerations to help regulators evaluate and strengthen programs to improve the delivery of electrification in their states.  Panelists will discuss specific examples of electrification efforts including opportunities associated with controlled water heating, the use of data to optimize program efficiency, as well as other specific initiatives, principles and strategies, and metrics for regulators to consider.

Moderator:

Jon Kucskar, Senior Commission Advisor, Maryland Public Service Commission

Panelists:

Gary Connett, Director of Member Services and Marketing, Great River Energy  

David Farnsworth, Senior Associate, Regulatory Assistance Project  

Gilbert Nunez, Manager Business Support and Development, Alliant Energy

Jonathan Schrag, Deputy Director, Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities 

Austin Whitman, Vice President of Energy Markets, FirstFuel Software 

10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

New Utility Business Models for the Purpose of Optimizing DER

In a world of rapid technological change, more distributed and interconnected systems and markets, more insourcing/outsourcing/partnering for the delivery of utility services, what should be the role of the regulated utility when working to optimize distributed energy resources (DER)?  These panelists will present utility business models for the future, share strategic roadmaps forward towards those futures, and discuss what that means for the natural monopoly function(s) and the regulatory compact.

Moderator:

Wally Nixon, Commissioner’s Legal Advisor, Arkansas Public Service Commission

Panelists:

Bruce Edelston, Vice President, Energy Policy, Southern Company

Rachel Gold, Manager, Electricity and Buildings Practices, Rocky Mountain Institute

David J. O'Brien, Director, Strategy & Operations, Global Energy Practice, Navigant

3:35 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Joint Session with the Committee on International Relations

Rooftop Solar: Is It Really That Difficult?

(Congressional Ballroom)

Although rooftop solar has been expanding rapidly, the United States is sometimes perceived as lagging behind other developed countries in enabling the growth of solar power. This panel will examine whether that perception matches reality.

Moderator:

Hon. Nancy Lange, Minnesota

Panelists:

Anne Hoskins, Chief Policy Officer, Sunrun

Varun Sivaram, Council on Foreign Relations

Jens Acker, Counselor, Energy and Climate Policy, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

Representative from Australian Embassy (invited)

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?  

Moderator:

Hon. Donald J. Polmann, Florida

Panelists:

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.

Moderator:

Hon. Phil Jones, Commissioner Emeritus, Washington

Panelists:

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.

Moderator:

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?

Moderator:

Hon. Phyllis Reha, Commissioner Emeritus, Minnesota

Panelists:

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

Participants:

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

Introductions:

Hon. Nancy Lange, Minnesota, Chair

Hon. Carla Peterman, California, Vice-Chair

Remarks:

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

Resolutions

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.

Moderator:

Hon. Abigail Anthony, Rhode Island

Panelists:

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.

Moderator

Hon. Lorraine Akiba, Hawaii

Panelists:

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.

Moderator:

Hon. Lorraine Akiba, Hawaii

Panelist:

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.

Moderator:

Hon. Dave Danner, Washington

Panelists:

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