Smarter Policy for a Smarter Grid: The First Smart Grid Oregon Public Policy Conference

Smarter Policy for a Smarter Grid: The First Smart Grid Oregon Public Policy Conference


November 9, 2010, World Trade Center, Portland

The aim of this first Smart Grid Oregon Public Policy Conference is to help public and utility officials, regulators, legislators, city and county governments and other stakeholders in Oregon and the Region gain a better understanding of the Smart Grid and policy decisions that will need to be addressed in the coming years.   This conference is intended to inform knowledgeable, forward-looking public leaders of the many Smart Grid activities taking place today in the Region and World that can be useful in crafting a visionary public policy.

Smart Grid Oregon is dedicated to making Oregon a leader in the implementation of Smart Grid technologies and in supporting companies that build and market Smart Grid products and services. A visionary public policy is a critical factor in achieving our goals.

The electric system is being challenged to evolve more rapidly than at any time in its history.   Public policies are also placing extraordinary demands on our hydro power resources which in turn will lead to increasing costs of electric power in coming years.

We can approach all of these changes as a threat or an opportunity.   The opportunity is that the rapid advance in information technology over the past several decades provides a wealth of new, low-cost and standardized ways of improving the management of our electrical system.   The application of such advanced information technology to the electrical system is generally referred to as the “Smart Grid”.

However, in order to take full advantage of what Smart Grid technology can do for us, many of our “sacred” assumptions and historic ways of regulating and managing the electric utility business can become impediments to growth if we don’t understand the opportunities and make changes in public policy in a timely manner.

The US ARRA investments in Smart Grid Investment and Demonstration programs, combined with other Federal, Regional and State investments in accelerating the definition and implementation of Smart Grid (or “Smarter” Grid) technologies are bringing a bewildering array of new Smart Grid data and information to the public forum.  Cataloging, evaluating and turning this information into useful public policy decisions will occupy policy makers for years to come.

Click here for more information and to register.

Agenda

7:30-8:30AM      Registration

8:30-9:30AM      Welcome and Keynote:  Public Policy in Context: Where are we Today and Where are we Going?

Keynote speaker Roy Hemmingway will put the current electric utility public policy questions in perspective.  How did we get here and what are the challenges facing public policy in the future?  Roy is uniquely qualified to set the stage for the day’s discussion.  As past member of the Northwest Power Planning Council, past Chair of the Oregon PUC and energy advisor to three governors, Roy understands the issues in Oregon and the Northwest.

9:30-10:30         The Pacific Northwest Regional Smart Grid Demonstration Project: National Visibility and Public Policy Implications.   This session will provide an overview of the $188 million Project and how it will inform public policy in Oregon and the Northwest for years to come.   The project will expand existing electric infrastructure and test new combinations of devices, software and analytical tools in homes and on the grid in 12 Pacific Northwest communities. Information from consumers involved in the study will flow back to the Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center located at Battelle’s Richland campus, for analysis. There researchers will quantify the costs and benefits of smart grid technology at both the local and regional level. The data generated from the demonstration project is expected to enable a level of grid performance and transparency to real-time grid status not currently attainable. Public and private sectors will then be able to use this information to reduce the operating costs for utilities, which are usually passed on to consumers.

10:30-11:00         Networking break

11:00-12:00         Other Regional Smart Grid Investments and How they will Impact Public Policy.   Tentative: Representatives of an Oregon Public Utility District, Portland General Electric and Drive Oregon will discuss different types of Smart Grid activities and their implications for public policy.  .

12-1:30PM          Lunch Keynote:  Reshaping Public Policy for the New Age of Electricity

Keynote speaker Kurt Yeager, past president and CEO of the Electric Power Research Institute and currently Executive Director of the Galvin Electricity Initiative, has unmatched experience in dealing with state, national and international electric utility public policy.  He is working with electricity experts, innovators and entrepreneurs to design and build Perfect Power System models of a smart, efficient electric power system that cannot fail the consumer.    He also leads the Initiative in driving the electricity policy changes necessary for system transformation at the state and federal levels.

1:30-2:30 PM    The Federal Government Electric System Agenda and its Impact on State and Local Public Policy.

Speaker Chris Hickman is ideally suited to address this topic.   With recent Federal legislation and funding from the 2009 ARRA, US Government policies and investments are accelerating changes in the electric system at an unprecedented rate.   The DOE, DOC NIST, FERC, NERC, DOD, BPA and EPA are all pursuing major initiatives that impact the state and local electric utility business.   How can Oregon and the Region take maximum advantage of these investments without losing our unique characteristics?       Chris has served on the boards of the IEEE Power Engineering Society, the GridWise Alliance and Avistar, an unregulated subsidiary of PNM and several non-profit organizations.  He is a frequent speaker to regulatory organizations such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Congress and also at a variety of industry leadership conferences.    Hickman spent over 13 years in various executive-level positions at PNM Resources (New Mexico) more recently was an executive at Ice Energy, SureGrid, and at Cellnet Technology.   

2:30-3:30PM      What Can we Learn from other States (specifically California)?

Our neighbor to the south is an undisputed leader in tackling climate change by remaking their electrical system.    But the rapid implementation of leading edge technology and changing public policy has not been without a few hiccups.   Understanding California’s policy changes and their consequences can help Oregon and the region navigate with fewer bumps along the way.   Speakers Lauren Navarro of the Environmental Defense Fund and Andy Campbell of the California PUC (tentative) have been deeply involved in California’s leading edge Smart Grid activities.  Navarro represented EDF working with the CPUC on the recent adoption of a comprehensive plan to maximize the environmental and consumer benefits in the smart grid plans of state investor-owned utilities, PG&E, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE).     Andrew Campbell has served as Chief Energy Advisor to Commissioner Nancy Ryan at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) since February 2010.  Prior to joining Commissioner Ryan’s staff, Mr. Campbell served as Senior Energy Advisor to Commissioner Rachelle Chong.  Mr. Campbell has also worked in the CPUC’s Division of Strategic Planning.

3:30-4:00PM     Networking Break

4:00-5:00PM     BPA Initiatives and their impacts on State and Local Policy

The Bonneville Power Administration is at the center of Regional power system public policy and changes.   BPA is aggressively investing in numerous initiatives that will illuminate and impact public policy for years to come.   Understanding these will be critical to developing forward-looking public policy changes.

5:00-5:30PM      Introduction to the Smart Grid Oregon’s Public Policy Agenda and Wrap-up

5:30-6:30 PM     No Host Reception

Who Should Attend?

The Conference is aimed at all those stakeholders in the State and Region with an interest in and ability to impact public policy for the electric utility system.   Attendees would include interested legislators and staff, PUC Commissioners and staff, representatives from the State Department of Energy and the Executive branch, public and private utility officials, county and local officials, board members of cooperatives and municipal utilities, electricity consumers and other officials and executives with a stake in the business.   Attendees need not be experts on the electrical system or the rapid advances being made in applying new technical solutions to managing the system.

Benefits

This is the first of its kind conference in Oregon.  Attendees will gain an appreciation of the range and impact of various investments taking place in our Region and how they will inform public policy decisions for years to come.   Attendees will also have an opportunity to meet and talk with others engaged in understanding the changes occurring and how to best manage them for public benefit.

Click here for more information and to register.