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Energy Transition Lab

Learn More about the Midwest Energy Storage Summit Speakers

August 3, 2017Megan ButlerEvents, Featured, MESAComments Off on Learn More about the Midwest Energy Storage Summit Speakers

Energy Storage Summit Speaker and Moderator List

 

Mary Powell

CEO/President 

Green Mountain Power 

Mary Powell is nationally recognized as an energy visionary, positioning Green Mountain Power as a leading energy transformation company. Mary Powell will be the Keynote Speaker at the Summit and Green Mountain Power was recently featured in this New York Times article for its efforts to rethink carbon-based power systems

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Delivering clean, cost-effective and highly reliable power to customers all across Vermont, GMP offers cutting-edge products and service to reduce costs and carbon.  In 2017, GMP was named one of the top 10 energy companies in the world by Fast Company. GMP has also achieved the top score for mid-sized utilities in the East Region in J.D. Power’s 2016 electric utility residential customer satisfaction study.

Mary has served as president and chief executive officer for GMP since 2008.  She initiated and implemented a strategic and comprehensive restructuring of the company that dramatically transformed GMP, and she has been the backbone of a cultural transformation and service quality improvement.  Fast, fun, and effective is her motto. Under Mary’s leadership, GMP became the first utility in the world to become a member of B Corp, showing a commitment to use energy as a force for good.

Mary has delivered on an ambitious energy vision to provide low-carbon, low-cost and highly reliable power to Vermonters.  As a result, GMP became the first utility to offer to help customers go off-grid, built Vermont’s largest wind farm, made Rutland, Vermont, the Solar Generation Capital of New England, and installed smart grid technology across GMP’s service territory.

In 2012, Mary led the acquisition of Central Vermont Public Service, with a promise to generate $144 million in savings for customers.  GMP has grown from serving 88,000 customers in 2008 to serving over 260,000 customers, with revenues of more than $640 million and $2 billion in assets.

And in 2015, Mary led another partnership with Tesla, with GMP becoming the first utility anywhere to offer customers the Tesla Powerwall battery.

In 2014, Mary was recognized by Powergen as the Woman of the Year, in 2015 The Burlington Free Press named her Vermonter of the Year, in 2016 Fast Company named Mary one of the 100 most creative people in business, and in 2017, Mary was named one of the top 25 Most Influential Women of the Mid-Market by CEO Connection.


Chistopher B. Clark

President

Xcel Energy– Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota 

Chrisopher Clark is responsable for the strategic plan and financial results of Xcel Energy as well as the company’s customer, community, regulatory legislative and governmental relationships in Minneosta, North Dakota and South Dakota.

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Chris Clark is president of Xcel Energy–Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.  Previously he was regional vice president, Rates and Regulatory Affairs.  Clark joined Xcel Energy in the legal department in 1999 and has more than 20 years of experience in energy and regulation.  He serves on the board of directors for the nonprofit organization People Serving People and is also on the board of directors of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.  Clark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and Drake Law School.

George Crabtree

Director

Joint Center for Energy Storage Research 

George Crabtree is Director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage (JCESR) at Argonne National Laboratory and Professor of Physics, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC). 

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He has wide experience in next-generation battery technology and integrating energy science, technology, policy and societal decision-making. He has led workshops for the Department of Energy on energy science and technology, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has testified before the U.S. Congress. 

Kelly Speakes-Backman

Chief Executive Officer

Energy Storage Association 

Prior to coming to the Energy Storage Association Kelly Speakes-Backman spent over 20 years working on energy and environmental issues in the public, NGO and private sectors.

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Kelly Speakes-Backman is the first Chief Executive Officer of the Energy Storage Association (ESA), the national trade organization for the energy storage industry. As CEO, she leads the association’s efforts to represent the interests of energy storage in the United States, including policy, external relations, and industry leadership. Prior to joining ESA, Kelly was part of the executive team at Alliance to Save Energy, a premier trade association representing the energy efficiency sector. As the Senior Vice President of Policy and Research, she directed the policy efforts, working closely with industry and policy makers to advance energy efficiency. Kelly has spent more than 20 years working in energy and energy efficiency, sustainability, renewables, and environmental business strategies. Her direct technology experience includes power generation from solar, wind, biogas and biomass, distributed generation, natural gas, smart grid and fuel cells. She joined the public service sector in 2010 as the Clean Energy Director at the Maryland Energy Administration, where she led a team of policy experts and grant administrators to implement programs to meet the Administration’s goal of increasing Maryland’s renewable energy portfolio to 20 percent by 2022. Kelly has testified in Congressional Committees on energy issues, presented regularly at energy industry events and has authored several articles published in energy trade magazines. She also has served on several energy-related steering committees, including the GridWise Alliance (GWA) Grid Modernization Index (GMI) Steering Committee and the SEPA 51st State Initiative. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Boston University.

Ellen Anderson

Executive Director

University of Minnesota Energy Transition Lab

Prior to coming to the Energy Transition Lab, Ellen Anderson served in the Minnesota Senate, was a senior advisor to Gov. Mark Dayton, and served as chair of the MN Public Utilities Commission.

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From 2012 to 2014, Anderson was senior advisor on energy and environment to Gov. Mark Dayton and assisted the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board on energy and environmental issues. Anderson helped coordinate state climate change planning, led the implementation of Gov. Dayton’s Executive Order 11-32, including organizing the EQB’s Minnesota Environmental Congress, issuing Minnesota’s Environment and Energy Report Card, and initiating and drafting the EQB’s Minnesota and Climate Change: Our Tomorrow Starts Today report.

In March 2011 Gov. Dayton appointed Anderson chair of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, where she served until early 2012.

Anderson served in the Minnesota Senate from 1993 to 2011 and was re-elected five times, representing several neighborhoods of St. Paul and the city of Falcon Heights.  She chaired the Jobs, Energy and Community Development Committee; the Commerce Committee; the Energy and Telecommunications Committee; and the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Finance Committee. Her signature legislation includes the Renewable Energy Standard, the Community Based Energy Development law, the Next Generation Energy Act, and many other energy and consumer protection laws, including a law raising the minimum wage; the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment (co-author); the Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Act; and the first law in the nation, now in federal law, protecting nursing mothers in the workplace.

Anderson holds a B.A. from Carleton College and J.D. cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School. She was an adjunct faculty member at Metropolitan State University and the University of Minnesota, teaching courses in law, energy, and sustainability. She has served in numerous leadership and community volunteer positions and received dozens of awards for her leadership in energy, environment, and economic and social justice. Most recently, Anderson received the 2013 Ecological Society of America Regional Policy Award for Informing Policy with Ecological Science and served on the advisory committee for the 2014 Midwest Innovation Summit. She currently serves as a member of the Citizens League Electrical Energy Study Committee, an observer to the e21 project on new utility business models, and the advisory boards for the U of MN Joint Degree Program in Law, Science & Technology, and the Will Steger Foundation.


Ed Burgess

Senior Manager

Strategen Consulting 

Ed helps to lead Strategen’s utility and government consulting practices. He specializes in evaluation and design of policies and programs to advance deployment distributed energy resources, demand-side management programs, energy storage and grid integration of renewable energy. 

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Ed has served clients in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, including several Fortune 500 companies, major energy project developers, trade associations, utilities, government agencies, universities, and foundations. His analysis has helped to guide regulations and policies in many states across the country and given companies strategic insight into clean energy investment opportunities. Prior to joining Strategen, Ed worked as an independent consultant where he provided technical analysis to a law firm in Arizona, supporting the firm’s clients in cases before the Arizona Corporation Commission. He also worked with Schlegel & Associates to provide technical analysis on demand-side management policies in Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania and several other states. Ed also played a lead role in two major initiatives at Arizona State University: The Utility of the Future Center and the Energy Policy Innovation Council where he conducted research and policy analysis for the Governor’s Office of Energy Policy, the Department of Environmental Quality, and other major stakeholders in Arizona. At the Utility of the Future Center, he also worked with utilities and former utility Commissioners across the country to develop a strategic approach and model rules for transitioning to a distributed energy future. Ed earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Princeton University and two degrees from Arizona State University – Master of Science (M.S.) in Sustainability and Professional Science Master (P.S.M.) of Solar Energy Engineering and Commercialization.

Christopher Clack

Founder, CEO

Vibrant Clean Energy  

Dr. Clack is an expert in Renewable Energy, Atmospheric Science, Energy Modeling, Computer Programming, and Optimization. Dr. Clack recently collaborated with the Energy Transition Lab and Strategen Consulting to conduct an analysis of the energy storage opportunities that exist in Minnesota.

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Dr. Clack is the founder and CEO of Vibrant Clean Energy, LLC (VCE) a software and intelligent services company that focuses on optimization techniques and renewable energy integration into the electricity grid. VCE has produced the world’s first continental-scale energy modeling optimization tool that resolves at high temporal- and spatial- resolution. The flagship tool is known as WIS:dom and was built by Dr. Clack from the ground up to simultaneously consider weather-driven renewables, storage, DERs, transmission, and dispatch using big-data. VCE works with industry, government, and academia to accelerate adoption of efficient planning for a shifting energy paradigm. Dr. Clack is an expert in Renewable Energy, Atmospheric Science, Energy Modeling, Computer Programming, and Optimization. Prior to founding VCE, Dr. Clack was a research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder working with the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) NOAA for half a decade leading the development of the NEWS simulator. Before that, he was a postdoctoral fellow with the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Clack received his first-class BSc (Hons) in mathematics and statistics for the University of Manchester, UK. He then went on to research applied mathematics and plasma physics at the University of Sheffield, UK. During his PhD, Dr. Clack completed an area of study centered on nonlinear resonance theory within the framework of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) that remained unsolved for twenty years. The theories derived have helped our understanding of the Sun as well as possibilities for fusion reactors, such as ITER. 

Lin Franks 

Senior Strategist, RTO, FERC and compliance Initiatives

Indianapolis Power & Light Company

Ms. Franks has worked towards the creation of appropriate FERC and RTO tariff and business practice rules to incent interconnection of batteries with the grid.

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Ms. Franks is the Senior Strategist, RTO, FERC and compliance Initiatives for Indianapolis Power & Light Company (“IPL), an AES company.  As part of IPL’s active engagement with the Midcontinent ISO (MISO) Stakeholder process, she represents IPL for market, reliability and transmission issues. She has over the past three years worked toward the creation of appropriate FERC and RTO tariff and business practices rules to incent interconnection of batteries with the grid.  She spearheaded integration of the first lithium ion battery, IPL’s Harding Street BESS, into MISO.    She also coordinates the drafting and submittal of comments to FERC for all US AES Entities.

Ms. Franks was the sponsor of and Chairman of the Electric and Natural Gas Coordination Task Force from its beginning in 2012 till September 2015. She previously served as the Chair of the MISO Ancillary Services Task Force and as the Chair of the State Ratemaking Study Group, and the Long-Term FTR and Planning Task Force, the Vice Chair of the Interconnection Process Task Force, the Supply Adequacy Working Group and the Stakeholder Governance Working Group.

Ms. Franks has more than forty years industry experience in the United States and Western European energy industries.  Her electricity experience covers real time operations, transmission and generation planning and more.   She has held both line and officer positions in the electricity and natural gas sectors and contributed to the success of the two most notable natural gas hubs/market centers in the world, Henry Hub and Zeebrugge. Her natural gas experience includes designing and drilling natural gas wells, physical and financial trading of hydrocarbons as well as hub and pipeline operations.  She was a contributing author in a book published by Risk Publication, “The US Power Market” and the March 2000, “Telecommunications Revolution.”  She also contributed to the Energy Publishing Enterprises 2000 publication “Energy Derivatives: Trading Emerging Markets.” 


William Grant 

Deputy Commissioner, Division of Energy Resources

Minnesota Department of Commerce 

As Deputy Commissioner of the Energy Resources Division within the Minnesota Department of Commerce, William Grant oversees Utility Planning and Advocacy, Low Income Home Energy Assistance and Weatherization programs, and the State Energy Office.

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Mr. Grant was promoted to Director of the Midwest Office of the Izaak Walton League of America in 1995, and to the position of League Associate Executive Director in 2002.  Mr. Grant directed the League’s advocacy of utility regulatory reform policies to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy in the Upper Midwest beginning in January 1992. Mr. Grant was instrumental in the development of several League publications, including Power to Spare in the Upper Midwest, (with Nancy Lange); Energy Efficiency and Minnesota Jobs: The Employment Impacts of Electric Utility Demand-Side Management Programs, The Landowner’s Guide to Wind Energy in the Upper Midwest, and most recently, License to Pollute: Minnesota Coal Plants and the Dirty Power Loophole. Before joining the League, Mr. Grant spent seven years with the Minnesota Department of Public Service, his responsibilities including review of utility conservation plans, integrated resource plans, and certificate of need filings, and interventions before federal regulatory agencies.  Mr. Grant also spent six months on special assignment to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency where he authored, Carbon Fees to Support Minnesota ReLeaf: Implementation Recommendations, a study of the administrative process for collecting a carbon tax on emitters to support a statewide tree planting program. Mr. Grant holds a B.A. in political science and history from Macalester College in St. Paul (1979), and his Masters in Public Administration from Hamline University, St. Paul (1995).

Jessica Hellmann 

Director

Institute on the Environment (IonE) 

Jessica Hellmann provides overall strategic leadership for IonE, an internationally recognized organization working to solve grand environmental challenges. 

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Jessica Hellmann is the director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. She provides overall strategic leadership for the institute, an internationally recognized organization working to solve grand environmental challenges while promoting interdisciplinary research, teaching and leadership across the university and engaging external partners and stakeholders. She is also the Russell M. and Elizabeth M. Bennett Chair in Excellence in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior in the College of Biological Sciences.

Hellmann’s research focuses on global change ecology and climate adaptation. She was among the first to propose and study ways to reduce the impact of climate change through new techniques in conservation management. Hellmann led an important paradigm shift in ecology and natural resource management by showing that adaptation — living with climate change — is just as crucial to the future of humanity and Earth’s ecosystems as slowing and stopping greenhouse gas emissions. Her research and that of her students also has shown that differences in the way populations respond to climate change are key to predicting and managing their future.

Hellmann regularly counsels state and national governments on habitat management, restoration and endangered species conservation so future generations can enjoy the beauty and function of nature as we do today. In addition, building upon her seminal findings in ecology, Hellmann has extended her work on climate change adaptation to human systems, including health, infrastructure, food and water. She works with governments and corporations to build investment in climate change adaptation and co-authored several climate assessment and adaptation planning efforts, including the biodiversity and ecosystem portions of the Chicago Climate Action Plan and the 2014 National Climate Assessment. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Great Plains Institute, the Science Advisory Council of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, and the Visiting Committee of the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources.

Before coming to the University of Minnesota in 2015, Hellmann was on the faculty at the University of Notre Dame in the Department of Biological Sciences. She also served as research director of the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index, which assesses and ranks the vulnerability of nations around the world to climate change and their readiness to adapt to climate change. She continues to collaborate with ND-GAIN as a core research member, mentoring several ND-GAIN researchers based at the University of Minnesota and elsewhere around the country. In addition, she led the climate change adaptation program at Notre Dame’sEnvironmental Change Initiative and directed GLOBES, an interdisciplinary graduate training program in environment and society, among numerous other high-level academic and scientific responsibilities. She also founded Notre Dame’s undergraduate minor in sustainability.

Hellmann earned her Ph.D. in biology from Stanford University and served as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Biodiversity Research. She is an alumna of Stanford’s Leopold Leadership Program and a recipient of a career enhancement fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. She became a member of the Notre Dame faculty in 2003.

Hellmann is a frequent contributor to leading scientific journals such as Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, BioScience and PLOS ONE. She serves on the editorial board of the journal Evolutionary Applications, is an associate editor with both Conservation Biology and Elementa, and serves on committees for the Ecological Society of America, the College Board and the National Academy of Sciences.

A skilled science communicator, Hellmann is routinely called upon by leading media outlets around the world such as CNN, NPR, Fox News, The Telegraph and the Chicago Tribune to provide expert input on topics related to global change and ways to minimize adverse impacts to people and nature.

Originally from Indiana and Michigan, Hellmann enjoys a wide range of activities, including marathoning, traveling the world, exploring the Midwest, gardening and spending quiet time with her husband and daughter.


Alexandra B. Klass

Distinguished McKnight University Professor

University of Minnesota Law School 

As a Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota Law School Alexandra Klass teaches and writes in the areas of energy law, environmental law, natural resources law, tort law, and property law.

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Her recent scholarly work, published in many of the nation’s leading law journals, addresses regulatory challenges to integrating more renewable energy into the nation’s electric transmission grid, siting and eminent domain issues surrounding interstate electric transmission lines and oil and gas pipelines, and applications of the public trust doctrine to modern environmental law challenges. She is a co-author of Energy Law and Policy (West Academic Publishing 2015) (with Davies, Osofsky, Tomain, and Wilson), The Practice and Policy of Environmental Law (Foundation Press, 4th ed. 2017) (with Ruhl, Salzman, and Nagle) and Energy Law: Concepts and Insights (Foundation Press 2017) (with Hannah Wiseman). Prior to her teaching career, Professor Klass was a partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP in Minneapolis, where she specialized in environmental law and land use litigation. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She was a law clerk to the Honorable Barbara B. Crabb, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. She is a member scholar at the Center for Progressive Reform and a Fellow and Advisory Board member at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. She served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Minnesota Law School from 2010-2012. She was a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School in 2015.

David Kolata

Executive Director

Citizens Utility Board, Illinois

The Citizens Utility Board has been called the “gold standard of consumer groups nationwide” by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 

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David Kolata started at CUB in 2001 as a senior policy analyst, moving to director of policy and government affairs in 2003.  He was named Executive Director in September 2005. Prior to joining CUB, he was a policy analyst for the Environmental Law & Policy Center, where he focused on transportation and energy issues. David is a 1991 graduate of the University of Notre Dame.  He received a master’s degree in political science from the University of Toronto in 1993, and a Ph.D. in the same subject from Vanderbilt University in 2003. He is a board member of the Illinois Environmental Council. 

Nancy Lange

Commissioner

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission 

Nancy Lange was appointed Commissioner to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission by Governor Mark Dayton, effective March 4, 2013, and appointed Chair, January 23, 2017.

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Chair Lange is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and is Chair of its Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment. She also serves on the NARUC Committee on Washington Action. Chair Lange is a member of the Midcontinent States Environmental and Energy Regulators (MSEER) group and currently serves as its Chair. She also serves as a member of the Mid-America Regulatory Conference (MARC). Prior to her appointment, Chair Lange served as Manager of Policy and Engagement at the Center for Energy and Environment. Ms. Lange holds a B.S. from Iowa State University and M.A. in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota. Her term will expire on January 7, 2019.

Clair Moeller

Executive Five President, Operations

MISO 

As an executive leader of the office of the Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Moeller is responsible for MISO’s transmission planning functions and transmission services. He is a well-respected industry expert with more than 25 years of experience in the operation of power systems in the Upper Midwest.

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Mr. Moeller is skilled at identifying and implementing best practices in transmission planning and operations. His current focus is infrastructure planning in collaboration with the utilities that serve the 15 states and one Canadian province that comprise the MISO region. Under his guidance, transmission planners in the region have begun to explore transmission infrastructure value by utilizing techniques borrowed from generation and strategic planners in an effort to give policymakers context for the decisions they will face as the electric energy future unfolds. Mr. Moeller completed the Oxford Advanced Management and Leadership course at Oxford Said Business School, the Executive Management program at the Carlson School of Business, University of Minnesota, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Iowa State University. 

Todd Olinsky-Paul

Project Director

Clean Energy States Alliance 

Todd Olinsky-Paul directs CESA’s Energy Storage and Technology Advancement Partnership (ESTAP) project, a federal-state funding and information sharing project that aims to accelerate the deployment of electrical energy storage technologies in the USA.

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As project director for Clean Energy Group (CEG) and Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), Todd Olinsky-Paul directs CESA’s Energy Storage and Technology Advancement Partnership (ESTAP) project. In this capacity, Todd works closely with DOE, Sandia National Laboratory, and numerous state and municipal energy agencies. Todd also works on CEG’s Resilient Power Project, which focuses on behind-the-meter solar+storage for critical infrastructure energy resiliency. His recent work has focused on energy storage technologies, policy, financing, and markets. Todd has an M.S. in Environmental Policy from Bard College and a B.A. from Brown University.

HSoholtBSoholt, Beth               

Executive Director

Wind on the Wires

Beth Soholt is the Executive Director of the non-profit organization Wind on the Wires (WOW). WOW is the Midwest’s premier organization focused on significantly expanding the penetration of wind power and overcoming the barriers to bringing wind power to market.

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 Lunched in 2001, WOW members include non-profit clean energy and environmental advocacy organizations, wind developers, wind turbine manufacturers, tribal representatives, and business that provide goods and services to the wind industry. The WOW footprint covers 9 states that stretch from the Dakotas to Indiana. WOW is a key regional partner of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the groups work closely together to advance wind power development and transmission issues in the Midwest. Beth is responsible for guiding WOW’s work in the areas of transmission planning, state regulatory proceedings, legislative policy, and education/outreach and serves on the board of directors. She holds a seat on the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) Advisory Committee representing the Environmental Sector. Prior to WOW, Beth worked at the Izaak Walton League of America’s Midwest Office on deregulation and regional transmission issues, Mahlum & Associates Law Firm on energy issues, Minnesota State Senate as a senior staff member to Senator Richard Cohen, and Mid-Continent Area Power Pool (MAPP – predecessor to MISO) as staff to the Environmental Committee and Operating Committee. Beth holds a law degree from Hamline University Law School, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa.

Ted J. Thomas

Chairman, Arkansas Public Service Commission

Vice President of the Organization, MISO

Ted Thomas of Conway was appointed Chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission by Governor Asa Hutchinson in January 2015. 

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He has served as Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the 20th Judicial District, Administrative Law Judge at the Public Service Commission, Budget Director for Governor Mike Huckabee and in the Arkansas House of Representatives, where he served as Chairman of the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee during his final term.

Chairman Thomas received a Bachelor of Arts with High Honors in Political Science from the University of Arkansas in 1986 and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1988.  He is licensed to practice law before the United States Supreme Court, the Arkansas Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the Eight Circuit, and the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas.

Chairman Thomas is Vice President of the Organization of MISO States (OMS) and serves on the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Washington Action Committee and the Committee on Electricity.


Sarah Van Cleve

Energy Policy Advisor

Tesla 

Sarah manages Tesla’s energy storage policy development, collaborating with regulators and legislators on policies affecting the development of energy storage in US electricity markets. 

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She leads Tesla’s policy on various electricity industry issues including resource procurement, integrated resource planning, and wholesale market design. Prior to working at Tesla, Sarah managed energy storage policy at Southern California Edison where she helped guide the utility’s groundbreaking procurement of 264 megawatts of energy storage. Sarah started her career as a financial analyst in electricity and emissions markets working in operations, trading, and market design. She holds a B.A. in Economics from UCLA.

 

 

 

Learn more about the Midwest Energy Storage Summit and register today!

Energy Transition Lab at Energy Storage North America 2017

July 20, 2017Megan ButlerEvents, MESA, UncategorizedComments Off on Energy Transition Lab at Energy Storage North America 2017

Ellen Anderson Speaking at Energy Transition Lab’s Energy Storage Summit

Energy Transition Lab Executive Director Ellen Anderson will be speaking at Energy Storage North America (ENSA) about how Minnesota has worked to optimize existing transmission distribution and generation assets with storage.

Ellen Anderson will join Brian Burandt of Connexus Energy, Ed Burgess of Strategen Consulting, and Jessica Harrison of MISO for a discussion detailing Minnesota stakeholders’ efforts to evaluate the value of storage across grid generation, transmission, and distribution domains and jumpstart the local energy storage market. The presentation will review key model findings on the cost-benefits of storage to Minnesota’s grid, update attendees on energy storage RFPs, and detail next steps to engage in this emerging market.

Read more →

Modernizing Minnesota’s Grid: An Economic Analysis of Energy Storage Opportunities

Energy Storage Paired with Solar Found to Be More Cost Effective in Minnesota Today than Natural Gas Peaking Plants

As federal policy on renewable energy is being rolled back, a new UMN-led report finds that when environmental benefits are considered combined energy storage and solar arrays can be a more cost-effective alternative in Minnesota – implementable today – to natural gas peaking plants, which are fired up only to meet peak demand.

It also shows that increasing the deployment of energy storage combined with renewable energy would help Minnesota meet its statutory goal of 80 percent carbon reduction by 2050 sooner and at a lower cost than other technologies.

The report, “Modernizing Minnesota’s Grid: An Economic Analysis of Energy Storage Opportunities,” is the result of months-long effort led by the Energy Transition Lab (ETL) at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. Lessons learned could also be applied to other Midwest states that are in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) footprint.

“Energy storage is a linchpin for Minnesota: It has the potential to reduce our system costs, increase electric grid resiliency, and even decrease greenhouse gas emissions in our broader coal-dependent region,” said Ellen Anderson, director of the Energy Transition Lab. “While the federal government questions the reliability of renewable energy, states like Minnesota are stepping up to show it’s possible to connect renewables and storage to reduce both costs and greenhouse gas emissions, while maintaining a reliable grid.”

Input from dozens of Minnesota energy experts laid the foundation for the analysis and final report.   ETL convened more than 60 stakeholders, including representatives from utilities, energy technology companies, nonprofits and government, in two Energy Storage Strategy Workshops starting in 2016 to assess the opportunities for energy storage in Minnesota and at MISO. Participants explored whether and how energy storage could be used to help Minnesota achieve its energy policy objectives, and enable greater system efficiency, resiliency and affordability. Project collaborators Strategen Consulting and Vibrant Clean Energy conducted the use-case and system-wide modeling for the analysis, with input from MISO.

In addition to showing that storage plus solar already could be more cost effective than peaking gas plants, including environmental benefits, the analysis shows that the deployment of storage in Minnesota is projected to increase the use of low-cost renewable energy generation dispatched in MISO and to reduce the need for expensive transmission investments.

Furthermore, it shows that as standalone storage becomes more economic, it will be able to compete with and displace new gas combustion turbines installed to meet peak demand. Beyond 2022, storage was found to be more cost effective than a simple cycle gas-fired peaking plant for meeting Minnesota’s capacity needs.

Connexus, Minnesota’s largest distribution cooperative, was a participant in the workshops and is already pursuing procurement of a 20MW, 40MWh energy-storage system. It will be one of largest storage projects of its kind in the Midwest. According to Connexus, responses to its Request for Proposals have been encouraging, with prices even more competitive than anticipated.

“We have been assessing energy storage to understand its potential benefits to our distribution system and members. Just like solar PV, with continuing drop in storage pricing, it is now becoming cost effective in specific applications,” said Brian Burandt, Vice President of Power Supply and Business Development at Connexus. “While we expect broad applications will be enabled with ongoing cost reductions and performance enhancements, we believe the technology is ready today for application on our system. That will save our member-owners and Minnesotans on electric costs, but in tandem, facilitate renewable energy growth to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The energy storage planning process was spearheaded by ETL and the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance (MESA), with support from the Energy Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Minneapolis Foundation, the Carolyn Foundation, AES Energy Storage, General Electric, Next Era Energy Resources, Mortenson Construction, Great River Energy and Strategen Consulting.

MESA Hot Topic: What can MN learn from the West Coast?

May 1, 2017Barb JacobsEvents, MESAComments Off on MESA Hot Topic: What can MN learn from the West Coast?

Recently, the Energy Transition Lab led a Minnesota delegation on a week long tour of energy storage and microgrid projects in California and Washington. On 5-15-17, the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance hosted a Hot Topic event focusing on the experiences and lessons-learned from this group, comprised of University of Minnesota, Public Utilities Commission, NGO and Utility representatives.

You can watch a recording of the event by clicking here.

You can access the slides shown at the presentation here.

The discussion, facilitated by Ellen Anderson, executive director of the Energy Transition Lab, featured:

  • Commissioner John Tuma, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
  • Mike Kaluzniak, Facilities Staff, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
  • Alison Hoxie, Professor, University of Minnesota-Duluth
  • Amy Fredregill, Resource Planning and Strategy Manager, Xcel Energy
  • Erick Van Meter, Assistant Director for Utility Operations, University of Minnesota
  • Jodi Slick, CEO, Ecolibrium3
  • Joel Tallaksen, Renewable Energy Research Scientist, West Central Outreach and Research Center, University of Minnesota
  • Shane Stennes, Director of Sustainability, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • Troy Goodnough, Director of Sustainability, University of Minnesota-Morris

Is energy storage the game changer we’ve been looking for? Find Out February 23 at 12:00

February 21, 2017Megan ButlerEvents, MESA1

Photo Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory   (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Why is energy storage called the “Swiss Army Knife” of the electric grid?  It can potentially provide many different services to enhance renewable energy, reduce unnecessary infrastructure expenses, and help smooth out demand/supply curves.  But is this a good deal for customers?  Is the technology ready for prime time? And is it just about batteries? Attend the next presentation for the Institute on the Environment’s Frontiers in the Environment series and find out. The presentation will feature a panel discussion moderated by Ellen Anderson, Executive Director, Energy Transition Lab. The panel will include: Brian Burandt, Connexus Energy; Ron Nelson, Attorney General’s office; Ned Mohan, Engineering Professor, University of Minnesota, and Don Fosnacht, Associate Director, Natural Resources Resource Institute. Burandt, an electric cooperative and Nelson, a ratepayer advocate, will discuss the value proposition for utilities and customers.  Mohan and Fosnacht will discuss technology advances in energy storage.Join YouTube Live here for 2/23.

Date: Thursday, February 23 at 12:00 PM

Location: Digital Technology Center, Walter 402, 117 Pleasant St SE, Minneapolis

Minnesota Energy Storage Strategy Workshop

November 3, 2016Megan ButlerEvents, Featured, MESAComments Off on Minnesota Energy Storage Strategy Workshop
Photo Credit:

Energy Storage System Photo Credit: Portland General Electric (CC BY-ND 2.0)

DOWNLOAD THE FINAL WORKSHOP REPORT HERE.

In September the Energy Transition Lab convened and hosted an informal Energy Storage Strategy Workshop in partnership with the Energy Foundation and a number of key local and national storage and utility industry leaders. Workshop partner and co-facilitator, Strategen Consulting, provided technical assistance and case studies of storage projects from around the country and is working to analyze specific energy storage use cases in Minnesota.

The goal of the workshop was to identify and prioritize key electric power sector challenges in Minnesota which can potentially be addressed cost-effectively by energy storage. Additionally, the workshop served to inform Minnesota stakeholders about various grid services energy storage can provide such as reliability, peak shaving, efficiency, flexibility, power quality, and renewable energy enhancement.

The workshop was the first of its kind in the nation, bringing together a diverse set of key Minnesota energy ecosystem stakeholders in an informal, small group meeting format to form hypotheses for how energy storage can be locally deployed across electric power sector silos, and to develop methodologies and approaches to evaluate its cost-effectiveness. The Energy Transition Lab and Strategen Consulting envision this informal approach as a potential model that can be expanded to other states looking to evaluate if and how energy storage can be integrated into their electric power sector.

The workshop included several presentations on energy storage which can be accessed below:

See the resources below for additional information:

 

Attend the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance Hot Topic: Rate Design and Energy Storage

October 25, 2016Megan ButlerEvents, MESAComments Off on Attend the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance Hot Topic: Rate Design and Energy Storage

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The Energy Transition Lab Invites You to Attend MESA’s Hot Topic: Rate Design and Energy Storage

You are invited to attend the Hot Topic discussion hosted by the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance (MESA) on rate design and Energy Storage. The discussion will feature a presentation by Chris Villarreal, Director of Policy for the Minnesota Public Utility Commission and Char of the NARUC (National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners) Staff Subcommittee on Rate Design. Chris will talk about the final version of the NARUC Manual on Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Rate Design and Compensation, rate design, and the role of DER going forward including the relevance of rate design to energy storage applications.

This event is part of a series of Hot Topics on Storage hosted by MESA, where energy enthusiasts can indulge their inner energy geek and engage in an in-depth, informal conversation with experts.

Time and Place: This event will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 on Wednesday, November 9 at the University of Minnesota Law School Room 40. The Law School, Mondale Hall, is at 229 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, 55455.

Getting here:  We are located near the West Bank light rail stop on the Green Line.  From the stop, go up the stairs/elevator to 19th Avenue, turn right, and walk to the nearest building on your right, which is Mondale Hall. The University of Minnesota Law School is located on several Metro Transit bus routes including routes 23 7 and 22 as well as the University of Minnesota’s Campus Connector. By car, parking in pay lots at Mondale Hall is available at a variety of locations on the U of M West Bank campus including: Surface Lot C86, north of Mondale Hall, the 19th Ave. Ramp and the 21st Ave. Ramp.  

MESA will provide beverages and light refreshments. This event is free and open to all interested, so feel free to invite friends or colleagues Read more →

Attend MESA’s First Hot Topic Brown Bag: Assessing the Capacity Value of Energy Storage

June 23, 2016Megan ButlerEvents, MESA, UncategorizedComments Off on Attend MESA’s First Hot Topic Brown Bag: Assessing the Capacity Value of Energy Storage

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The Energy Transition Lab Invites You to Attend MESA’s First Hot Topic Brown Bag: Assessing the Capacity Value of Energy Storage

Register Today

You are invited to attend the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance– MESA’s first Hot Topic Brown Bag Lunch discussion on assessing the capacity value of Energy Storage. The discussion will focus on how to best assess the value of energy storage as it relates to capacity resource adequacy in Minnesota, how capacity planning and adequacy is conducted at both the MISO level and the distribution utility level, and approaches that have been used for renewable resources (wind/solar) that may be applicable to energy storage. Discussion leaders will include Rao Konidena (MISO), John Reinhart (MISO), Alan Gleckner (Fresh Energy), John Frederick (Energy Storage Consultant), and a representative from Xcel Energy.

This event is intended to be first in a series of Hot Topics on Storage, where energy enthusiasts can indulge their inner energy geek and engage in an in-depth, informal conversation with experts.

Time and Place: This event will be held from 11:30 to 1:30 on Monday, July 11 at the University of Minnesota Law School Room 50. The Law School, Mondale Hall, is at 229 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, 55455.

Getting here:  We are located near the West Bank light rail stop on the Green Line.  From the stop, go up the stairs/elevator to 19th Avenue, turn right, and walk to the nearest building on your right, which is Mondale Hall. The University of Minnesota Law School is located on several Metro Transit bus routes including routes 23 7 and 22 as well as the University of Minnesota’s Campus Connector. By car, parking in pay lots at Mondale Hall is available at a variety of locations on the U of M West Bank campus including: Surface Lot C86, north of Mondale Hall, the 19th Ave. Ramp and the 21st Ave. Ramp.  

This will be a brown bag lunch event. MESA will provide beverages and cookies but please bring your own lunch. Some suggestions for locations nearby to pickup a take out lunch include:

This event is free and open to all interested, so feel free to invite friends or colleagues

Register Today

Featured Image Photo Credit: Sandia Labs

 

June 15 Power Pairings Event: Using solar and storage to enhance community preparedness

May 23, 2016Megan ButlerEvents, MESAComments Off on June 15 Power Pairings Event: Using solar and storage to enhance community preparedness

St.-Paul-skylineAlways Ready: Using solar and storage to enhance community preparedness.

Fresh Energy’s next Power Pairings Event will be held on Wednesday, June 15 from 7:00 to 8:30 AM.

When: Wednesday, June 15, 7:00-8:30 AM

Where: Town and Country Club, 300 N Mississippi River Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55104

Cost: $30 Fresh Energy members/Government employees/Students, $45 General admission

*Early Bird tickets available for $10 off through May 31. Registration will be open through Thursday, June 9.* 

Register Today

Click Here for more information 

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Administration
The Energy Transition Lab is a strategic initiative of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment in partnership with the Law School.
Funding
Funding for the Energy Transition Lab is primarily provided by the Institute on the Environment. Other funders include McKnight Foundation, Energy Foundation, Carolyn Foundation, US Department of Energy, Wind Energy Foundation and the University of California Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute. Support for energy storage work is provided by the Minneapolis Foundation, Great River Energy, Mortenson Construction, AES Corporation, Next Era Energy Resources, and General Electric. Funders have no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of any manuscript.