Energy Storage Summit Speaker and Moderator List
Director/H.W. Sweatt Chair/Professor
University of Minnesota Technological Leadership Insitute
At TLI, Dr. Amin leads 8 endowed chairs and 64 associated faculty from across the 8 colleges in the University of Minnesota, executives from industry and governmental leaders, who develop local and global leaders for over 400 technology enterprises.
Before joining the university in 2003, Dr. Amin held positions of increasing responsibility at the Electric Power Research Institute(EPRI) in Palo Alto. After 9/11, he directed all Infrastructure Security R&D and led Grid Operations/Planning and Energy Markets. Prior to that, he served as head of mathematics and information sciences, pioneered R&D in Smart Self‐Healing Grids in 1998, and is considered the “father of Smart Grid.” At EPRI, he led the development of 24 technologies that transferred to industry, and twice received the Chauncey Award, the Institute’s highest honor.
Dr. Amin has maintained an active research program and made significant contributions in predictive system identification methods coupled with analytical and multi-domain modelling, fast simulation, optimization, testing methodologies, and applies them to complex and large dynamical systems. A major thrust of his work is on enabling smarter, more secure, sustainable and resilient critical infrastructures for interdependent energy, computer networks, communications, transportation and economic systems.
He is the author of over 200 peer-reviewed publications and editor of 7 collections of manuscripts, and served on the editorial boards of six academic journals. He served as a member of the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment (BICE) at the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (2001-2007) and member of the Board on Mathematical Sciences and Applications (BMSA) at the National Academy of Sciences (2006-2009). Since 2003, he has given four briefings at the White House, eleven Congressional briefings, and one testimony at the U.S. FERC on smart grids, security, and leadership in scientific R&D. Post 9/11, he advised the U.S. OHS/DHS, the White House and OSTP, Director of the NSF, Undersecretaries at the U.S. DoE and DoD, DIA, FBI, and other agencies, innovating effective solutions and pragmatic strategies against advanced threats.
University of Minnesota Energy Transition Lab
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; cthe 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.
Ellen is married and has two teenage sons. She enjoys reading, travel, gardening, bicycling, hiking and the great outdoors.
Vice President of Public Relations
Nina Axelson oversees public affairs for Ever-Green Energy and its affiliates. Axelson’s role includes community energy planning and authoring studies, including reports for the Department of Energy and International Energy Agency. This work also features education programming, including the development of a local education and sustainability platform.
Manager: Emerging Technology Research and Development Team
Al Choi is currently the manager of Xcel Energy’s Emerging Technology R&D team. He has been with Xcel Energy for the past seven years starting with their SmartGridCity program in 2008. Al and his team focus on research and demonstrations about emerging and disruptive technologies that may impact utilities in the 5-10 year time-frame.
Design Phase Executive: Renewable Energy Group
Former Chief Executive Officer
Energy Efficiency Program Coordinator
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
As the founder and CEO of Innovative Power Systems, Inc., Ralph spent the first decade of his twenty-five years in the solar industry designing and installing off-grid, battery-based power systems for homes and cabins, utilizing combinations of PV, small wind, and gas or propane generators. He is also interested in how biomimickry can inform our use of storage to improve the electric power system.
Ralph is a NABCEP certified installer for both solar electric and solar thermal systems; one of only a few installers in Minnesota and Wisconsin who can make that claim. As former President of the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA) Ralph worked with legislators, regulators, and utilities to craft renewable energy policy.
Ralph Jacobson tried farming early in his life, found it more difficult than he could handle, and retreated to enjoying the easy task of selling solar in Minnesota. He went through a 1 -year solar training program in 1979, found that only partly prepared him for a career in solar energy, and went back to college and earned a BS in Materials Science and Engineering at the U of MN. There he got really excited about photovoltaics. For the past 25 years, he has been creating opportunities in solar for himself and others, by growing a business and serving on the boards of the MN Renewable Energy Society and the MN Solar Energy Industry Association. In 2014 Ralph was honored with a lifetime achievement award by MnSEIA for his long term commitment to renewable energy and the solar industry in Minnesota.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Distinguished McKnight University Professor
Alexandra B. Klass is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. She teaches and writes in the areas of energy law, environmental law, natural resources law, tort law, and property law. 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) and The Practice and Policy of Environmental Law (Foundation Press, 3d ed. 2014) (with Ruhl, Salzman, and Nagle). 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 Resident Fellow 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 will be a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School in Fall 2015.
Senior Manager for Transmission Asset Management Operations
Rao Konidena is Senior Manager for Transmission Asset Management Operations at MISO in Eagan, MN. In this role, he is responsible for process based compliance, and business management & forecasting functions for transmission planning area. He is a proud member of Finnish American Chamber of Commerce, and volunteer Finance Commission member at City of Roseville, MN.
Rao has Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management Executive management program. He also has graduated with a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from University of Texas at Arlington.
Professor and Deputy Director
Founder and Managing Partner
Janice Lin brings more than two decades of experience in clean energy strategy, market development, and corporate strategy to Strategen. During this time she has advised a diverse range of clients including renewable energy equipment manufacturers and service providers, large corporations diversifying into clean energy, and real estate developers building sustainable communities.
In 2014 Janice co-founded the Global Energy Storage Alliance (GESA), an international non-profit organization, and currently serves on the Board of Directors and as Chair of the Executive Committee. Prior to that Janice co-founded the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA) in 2009, and currently serves on the Board of Advisers for the Energy Policy Initiatives Center (EPIC) and the Energy Storage Committee of Joint Venture Silicon Valley. Janice is also a Member of the Advisory Council of the German American Chamber of Commerce, the UCSD Strategic Energy Initiatives Advisory Council, and Chair of the annual Energy Storage North America (ESNA) conference.
Prior to founding Strategen in 2005, Janice held several senior management positions with PowerLight Corporation (now SunPower Corporation), including Vice President of Product Strategy and Vice President of Business Development. During her tenure at PowerLight, Janice led initiatives in product and new market strategies, business development, regulatory affairs, strategic partnerships, investor relations, and customer finance.
Janice holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, a BS from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Arts and Sciences. She is the winner of ESA’s 2013 Phil Symons Energy Storage Award, and NAATBATT’s 2014 Market Development Award.
Solar Policy Specialist
Stacy Miller has been a Solar Policy Specialist with the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources for the past 9 years. She is a nationally recognized solar policy expert with a unique combination of technical, policy, and business knowledge gained through 15-plus years of experience in various aspects of the solar industry. She has helped implement numerous solar policies in the state and has administered several programs that promote the use of solar energy and distributed generation resources in Minnesota.
Oscar A. Schott Professor
Ned Mohan (LF-IEEE) joined the University of Minnesota in 1975, where he is Oscar A. Schott Professor of Power Electronic Systems and Morse-Alumni Distinguished Professor. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur in 1967. His PhD in Electrical Engineering and Master’s in Nuclear Engineering are from UW-Madison. He has written 5 textbooks; all together, they have been translated into eight languages. He has graduated 36 PhDs. His area of research is in power electronics applied to power systems and he holds several patents.
Ned Mohan received the H.T. Morse Distinguished Teaching Award for undergraduate education from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He has received 2008 IEEE-PES Outstanding Educator Award, 2010 IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2010 UWIG Achievement Award from Utility Wind Integration Group, 2011 Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT-Kharagpur (India), and 2012 IEEE Power & Energy Society Ramakumar Family Renewable Energy Excellence Award. In 2013, he received the Innovative Program Award from the ECE Department Heads Association made up of over 250 U.S. universities. In 2014, he received the Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award from the University of Minnesota and the IEEE Nari Hingorani FACTS Award from the IEEE Power & Energy Society.
He is a Fellow of the IEEE and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
As an environmental sociologist, Dr. Kristen C. Nelson contributes to the interdisciplinary understanding of environmental change and human systems. Her recent research focuses on urban ecosystems (household choices and community planning), deliberative governance and policy formation, environmental risk assessment, and the dynamics of social networks. In all environmental issues her interest is in providing theoretical and practical insights regarding what influences human behavior and societal change at multiple scales.
At the University of Minnesota, she is a H.T. Morse Faculty Award recipient and Professor in the Department of Forest Resources and the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology. Her collaborative projects in the U.S. include work with the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service, Minnesota DNR, Minnesota MPCA as well as numerous cities and counties. Internationally her collaborative projects have been with Rockefeller Foundation as well as scientists, managers, and decision makers in Switzerland, Kenya, Brazil, Nicaragua, Chile, Mexico, Vietnam, Malaysia, and China.
Vice President of External Relations and Power Solutions
Steve Nisbet is the Vice President of External Relations & Power Solutions at Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association in Rockford, MN. Steve is responsible for the planning, design, testing, commissioning, and maintenance of renewable and alternative energy systems at Wright-Hennepin. He received a bachelor’s degree in electric engineering from Texas Tech in 1993, and he has been working with telephone and electric cooperatives in both operational and consulting roles in Texas and Minnesota since that time.
University of Minnesota Energy Transition lab
Hari Osofsky is a Professor of Law; the Faculty Director of the Energy Transition Lab; and the Director of the Joint Degree Program in Law, Science, and Technology at the University of Minnesota Law School. She also is on the faculty of the Conservation Biology Graduate Program, an adjunct professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Society, and a Fellow with the Institute on the Environment. She been awarded the 2014-15 Julius E. Davis Chair in Law and the 2013-14 Fesler-Lampert Chair in Urban and Regional Affairs, as well as the 2015 Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award, which recognizes women faculty at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities who have achieved significant national and international accomplishments and honors and who contribute as leaders on campus. Osofsky received a B.A. and a J.D. from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in the Geography from the University of Oregon.
Osofsky’s over fifty publications focus on improving governance and addressing injustice in energy and climate change regulation. Her scholarship, which has received peer recognition from both lawyers and geographers, includes books with Cambridge University Press on climate change litigation, textbooks on both energy and climate change law, and articles in leading law and geography journals. Osofsky is actively involved in public policy work on energy transition and climate change through the Energy Transition Lab and her teaching. She has supervised course contributions to the American Wind Energy Association, Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, Earthjustice, Great Plains Institute, Hennepin County, Twin Cities Met Council, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the National Regulatory Research Institute, Northwest Arctic Borough, the Phillips Community, the Southern Environmental Law Center, the University of Minnesota, and the Western Environmental Law Center. She also assisted with the Inuit Circumpolar Conference’s petition on climate change to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Her professional leadership roles have included, among others, serving as President of the Association for Law, Property, and Society; chair of the American Association of Law School’s Section on Property; and a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law and the International Law Association’s Committee on the Legal Principles of Climate Change. She also is a member of the Board of Governors of the Society of American Law Teachers, the International Bar Association’s Model Statute on Climate Change Remedies Working Group, and the editorial board of Climate Law.
Director of Power Supply
Julie Pierce currently has 15 years in the Electric Industry with a diverse set of experiences. After earning a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from North Dakota State University, Julie has worked in a variety of industry roles of increasing responsibility. Including topic areas of transmission reliability operations, national transmission congestion policy and operational tools, transmission reliability and market operations in the Midwest and most recently resource adequacy and power supply planning. In recent years, Pierce’s role as a Director of Power Supply she provides strategic vision, risk assessment and directional recommendations for the company’s evolving power supply that are vital to successfully guiding Minnesota Power’s EnergyForward resource strategy. Among her many outside activities, Pierce serves as a chairwoman of the Junior Achievement Board of Directors for the Twin Ports region, and serves as a director on two regionally focused financial funds that help advance regional projects. She and her husband, Peter, live in Duluth with their two daughters Abby and Emma.
Post-doctoral research associate
University of Minnesota
Professor and Director
Vice President of Strategy and Government Affairs
James Tong is Vice President of Strategy & Government Affairs at Clean Power Finance (CPF). James leads CPF’s initiatives to reduce solar soft cost and develop strategies to integrate more renewables into the grid. He authored three grants for the DOE’s SunShot Initiative and received a total of $4.5MM. James is also a principal in an unprecedented big data analysis led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; awarded a $2.3MM grant, the project will study consumer adoption of solar. James is frequently asked to speak at industry forums such as the White House Solar Summit and Solar Power International (SPI), and has co-authored a series of papers with former FERC Chairman, Jon Wellinghoff, on distributed energy resources and utility reforms. He was named a finalist for the Platts Global Energy Awards Rising Star in 2013 and 2014. Prior to entering the solar industry, James served in various management positions at GE, where he completed its elite commercial leadership program. James earned a BA in economics from Yale University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
John Tuma was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission by Governor Mark Dayton, effective February 2, 2015. Commissioner Tuma is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and serves on the NARUC Committee on Critical Infrastructure. He is also a member of the Mid-America Regulatory Conference.
Prior to his appointment Commissioner Tuma had decades of experience working on energy and conservation policy issues for a variety of nongovernmental organizations. He most recently served as a Government Relations Associate with Conservation Minnesota. He helped lead efforts to pass key energy legislation, including Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standard – which garnered broad bipartisan support. He also served many other clients previously as a legislative policy liaison, most notably the Minnesota Inter-County Association covering areas of public safety and corrections.
Commissioner Tuma served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1995 to 2002, representing parts of Rice, LeSueur, Scott, and Dakota counties. During his time in the House, he served as Chair of the Crime Prevention Committee and as Vice Chair of the Local Government Committee. While in the Legislature, Tuma was an active member of Judiciary Finance, Higher Education Finance, and Environment Policy committees. Mr. Tuma was awarded Legislator of the Year by ARC of Minnesota, the state’s largest disability organization; PACER, an organization defending the rights of the disabled in education; the Minnesota League of Conservation Voters; and the Women’s Auxiliary of the VFW.
Commissioner Tuma has practiced law in Northfield, Minnesota in the areas of workers’ compensation, criminal law, real estate, business organization and litigation, special education law, and personal injury litigation. He was Managing Attorney for Tuma and Thompson LLC from 1994 to 2001 in partnership with Minnesota Senator Dave Thompson. Commissioner Tuma is married to Wendy Tuma, lives in Northfield, and has two adult children, Cal and Molly. He earned his B.A. from University of Minnesota, Mankato, and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.
His term expires January 4, 2021.
Dean and William S. Pattee Professor of Law
University of Minnesota Law School
Professor David Wippman is a recognized authority in international law. He has taught public international law, international criminal law, international human rights, and ethnic conflict. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Princeton University in 1976, his M.A. through a fellowship in the Graduate Program in English Literature at Yale University in 1978, and his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1982. While at Yale, he was the editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. He clerked for The Honorable Wilfred Feinberg, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Professor Wippman became Dean of the University of Minnesota Law School on July 1, 2008.
Previously, he was a professor and Associate Dean at Cornell Law School and served as Vice Provost for International Relations at Cornell University.
In 1998–99, he had taken a year away from Cornell to serve as a director in the National Security Council’s Office of Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs, where he worked on war crimes issues, the International Criminal Court, economic sanctions, and U.N. political issues.
Before joining Cornell, Professor Wippman practiced law for nine years in Washington, D.C., with a focus on international arbitration, political consulting on public and private international law issues, and representation of developing countries in litigation. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. He has co-authored two recently released books on international law: International Law, Norms, Actors, Process: A Problem-Oriented Approach (3rd ed.) and Can Might Make Rights? Building the Rule of Law After Military Interventions.