Artificial intelligence and machine learning will make a big difference in boosting our reliance on intermittent renewable wind and solar power.
In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg interviews Dalia Patiño-Echeverri, professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.
With renewable energy being deployed at a rapid pace, making sure there is back up, or reserve, power available to meet peak demand is critical. Patiño-Echeverri is using sophisticated forecasting models to precisely predict fluctuations in renewables and reserve generation needs to be ramped up or down.
“We will be in a better position to integrate the valuable renewable energy that we get from solar and from wind because we will be considering all the possibilities and we’ll be prepositioning our system in the best way to cope with the variability and the uncertainty of these resources,” said Patiño-Echeverri.
“The number one benefit that we see in our technology is that we’re going to have the right level of reserves at each moment and in time in our system.”
“And with artificial intelligence and with machine learning, we have found ways to run these models that are more sophisticated, more demanding of computational resources. We have found ways to simplify those requirements and we have found ways to run them faster.”
interviews Dalia Patiño-Echeverri Dalia Patiño-Echeverri is the Gendell Associate Professor of Energy Systems and Public Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University where she explores, assesses, and proposes technological, policy, and market approaches to contribute to the goal of striking a balance between environmental sustainability, affordability, and reliability in electricity systems. She received B.S. and M.Sc. degrees in Industrial Engineering from University of The Andes, Bogotá, Colombia and the PhD degree in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.
Wind production in America’s wind basket, a 14-state region including Iowa and Kansas, fell off the table in June, yet the region has served its power load during the hot summer.
In this episode of Grid Talk host Marty Rosenberg interviews Lanny Nickell who is executive vice president and CEO for the Southwest Power Pool. Nickell talks about the summer’s wind mystery.
“We have over 32,000 megawatts of nameplate wind capacity in SPP. Again, that’s across 14 states. On June 6 of this year at 10 o’clock in the morning, out of the 32,000 megawatts of nameplate wind capacity, only 110 megawatts of energy was actually produced,” he said. “That’s less than 0.4% and what’s remarkable about that number is that you would expect across a broad geographic footprint covering all or parts of 14 states that you would see more wind than what we saw.”
It’s alarming because during our peak conditions, we expect to see a little over 5,000 megawatts of wind production,” he said.
The system avoided blackouts and brownouts but not by much.
“It was stressed, absolutely.”
Lanny Nickell – As executive vice president and chief operating officer, Lanny Nickell is responsible for SPP’s provision of engineering, operations, and information technology services to members and customers. These services include coordination of reliable power system operations, development, design and administration of energy markets, development of transmission expansion plans needed to facilitate delivery of reliable and affordable energy to consumers, and administration of resource adequacy policies.
Nickell received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tulsa and is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program
Federal spending of one-trillion dollars is aimed at transforming the electric grid and transitioning to clean energy. In this episode of Grid Talk, we talk with Sheri Givens, president and CEO of the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA). The discussion focuses on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.
“In looking and listening to our many members and regulators who are involved in accessing those funds, I think it’s an exciting time for clean energy investment and investment in infrastructure,” said Givens.
There are still many questions about how the influx of funding will flow down into actual projects.
“I know it takes a while to ramp up such large targeted investment and I know a lot of the utilities and the stakeholders are waiting for clear guidance from the federal government,” Givens said.
Other challenges include implementing new ideas.
“Sometimes innovation can be stymied by the regulatory process. There’s going to need to be some openness and some agility and some flexibility to allow for utilities and third parties and other entities to come in and to make some of these innovative solutions available to customers nationally.”
Sheri Givens joined SEPA as president and CEO in November 2022. Her professional experience includes nearly twenty years in legal, regulatory, legislative, and external affairs in both the public and private sectors. She previously served as vice president of US Regulatory and Customer Strategy at National Grid. Prior to joining National Grid, she consulted on utility consumer education and regulatory policy issues in energy markets nationwide.
Givens earned a Bachelor of Arts in government from the University of Texas at Austin and a Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center.
The electric grid in in America’s northeast industrial heartland is in the midst of profound transformation. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Kenneth Seiler who is vice president for PJM Interconnection.
Seiler talks about how the electric system is rapidly evolving with PJM evaluating 2,700 new major grid related projects.
“We just went through the interconnection reform process to get those most-ready projects out the door.” said Seiler.
There are some difficult challenges to getting new projects connected to the grid.
“There’s a lot of energy being put on this right now to address any number of these issues whether it’s the queue reform and the bottlenecks that we’re experiencing based on the volumes we’ve been seeing; whether it’s supply chain issues; whether it’s the financing; whether it’s local opposition.”
Within PJM, there are 1,500 generation units touched by the transmission grid.
“With the amount of renewables that we’re seeing with solar and wind and storage facilities, that number will increase greatly,” Seiler said.
“I don’t know what that number will be in the next five years but I will tell you that a lot of the people who are looking to build solar panels and solar farms right now are looking to interconnect at the same exact spot where we have a retired fossil unit,” he said.
Kenneth Seiler has been with JPM Interconnection for 23 years. He is responsible for all activities related to resource adequacy, generation interconnection, interregional planning and transmission planning, including the development of the Regional Transmission Expansion Plan.
Prior to joining PJM, Seiler worked for Metropolitan Edison Company/GPU Energy for nearly 14 years in various operations and engineering roles. Seiler earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Business Administration from Lebanon Valley College.
In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg chats with Audrey Zibelman about the push to make the national grid fully digital. Zibelman is an experienced energy regulator who is advocating for giving the grid a “digital spine. Zibelman was the chair of the New York State Department of Public Service when it introduced its REV new vision for electric energy. She’s also been CEO and managing director of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and, most recently, was vice president of at the Moonshot X Factory at Google.
“At X, where I continue to be an advisor, I was brought in to lead a project around grid digitalization. To me, the big critical part of thinking about the whole process of decarbonization is that it’s the amount of information we need to use… as well as the ability to integrate data and all the various devices that are going to be used.”
“To help manage an affordable, reliable, clean electric system is massively more complex obviously than it was historically and part of this is going to be creating these digital spines or digital platforms that allow us to manage this data and share it.”
Audrey Zibelman is an experienced energy industry executive who has driven innovation within organizations and across the sector. She has been at the helm of multiple organizations leading the transition of the power industry into a decarbonized world as a CEO, Board Member, and government leader. Audrey currently serves on President Biden’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council, is a Board member of EOS Energy, Squadron Energy, and SPAN, and Senior Advisor to the Pollination Group, Meridiam, Alliance Capital, and Camus energy.
Two Danish islands will serve as hubs of massive new offshore wind turbines to serve itself and neighboring countries and spur development of clean hydrogen green fuel for aircraft and factories. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Hanne Storm Edlefsen who is the vice president of Energy Islands, a project of the Energinet transmission system operator in Denmark.
One complex will be on Bornholm Island in the Baltic and link up 3,000 megawatts of wind power, simplifying the collection of the power and its transmission to land. The second complex will be on a new island to be built in the North Sea.
“Well out in the North Sea, we’re going to build an artificial island so that’s a whole other project. This is supposed to be finished in 2033 as the plans are now. It will be in the beginning three or four gigawatts of offshore wind which is to be decided by Parliament within the next couple of months, but the ambition is actually that later there will be added even more gigawatts so the artificial island in the North Sea will end on 10 gigawatts which is so much electricity,” said Edlefsen.
Wind power provides half of Denmark’s electricity, and the goal is to increase it by 80% by 2024.
“It definitely takes some braveness from the politicians to start these projects where a lot of the technology is still new or untested when they are taking the decisions,” she said.
Hanne Storm Edlefsen has been with Energinet for 11 years. Energinet owns, operates, and develops the transmission grids for Danish electricity and gas supply. Her work focuses on sector coupling and large-scale renewables.
Edlefsen has a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Copenhagen.
Two major fusion initiatives are making headway in the decades long goal to find the ultimate source of clean energy. In this episode of Grid Talk, we visit with Laban Coblentz who is the head of communications at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project in the south of France.
Coblentz described the long quest for fusion and its implications.
“Fusion has the potential to give a baseload source of energy without only a fraction of the waste concerns of fission, without the safety concerns of fission, but with the ability to provide clean energy for a planet in a concentrated way.”
It will be safe and should not trigger many of the concerns of conventional nuclear reactors that have been around for decades.
“Fusion will not be without waste, but it won’t have any long-lived, high activity radioactive waste.”
“The fact that the physics don’t allow a meltdown or that kind of thing; you could in fact place it in greater proximity to cities, to industry if you get the local—if you get the regulatory authorities to agree.”
The European Union and the United States are two of the seven key, international players in ITER.
“ITER is not just a fusion device, it’s an exercise in what happens when the global community believes so much in a common goal and in a better future for our kids that we are willing to put aside our known ideological differences to try to pool our best expertise, something that science has done for a longtime.”
Laban Coblentz has been with ITER since 2015. He is an entrepreneur and consultant with leadership roles at several companies. He has been involved with communication, energy policy, advanced science and technology, and entrepreneurship since attending the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power School in the 1980’s.
He holds an M.A. in English, English Literature from San Francisco State University and a B.A. in degree in English, Psychology from Malone University.
Fusion power, clean and limitless, long elusive to scientists, may be headed our way sooner than many suspected thanks to a breakthrough experiment in early December at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) in California. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Annie Kritcher, the physicist who designed the successful experiment that recreated the energy source of the sun.
She explained: “What we’re doing here is essentially creating a miniature star in a lab about the size of a human hair to half the size of the human hair. We have 192 giant lasers and when we say giant, that means that the whole system that is used to create this laser energy and all the details associated with it, it’s the size of three football fields when you put all of the 192 laser beams together.”
Fusion research has been going on for decades, but the December experiment is a significant breakthrough and represents a new approach.
“The thing that’s different this time is that for the first time we’ve actually demonstrated in the laboratory that we can achieve fusion energy gain in a controlled way. Before that, we’ve never actually generated fusion energy output that was controlled in a laboratory setting. This result motivates and is a proof of principal for all the different approaches out there,” said Kritcher.
That increases the likelihood of success.
“There’s also a huge resurgence in the number of people working in this area and the different approaches that are being looked at and when you have that many people looking at a problem, the progress is highly accelerated.”
Dr. Annie Kritcher is the design lead within the Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) team as part of the National Ignition Facility at LLNL. Dr. Kritcher started at LLNL as a summer intern in 2004.
She earned a PhD in Nuclear Engineering and Plasma Physics and a MS Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Annie earned her BS in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences at the University of Michigan.
In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Michael Sachse who is the CEO of Dandelion Energy. Dandelion Energy’s mission is to enable the widespread adoption of geothermal.
“If you think about what we need to decarbonize, heating’s really a challenge because so much about heating comes from burning natural gas; a lot of homes burn fuel oil, and so really, we got focused on that problem,” said Sachse.
The company offers homeowners affordable geothermal heating & cooling systems as an alternative to gas, oil, propane, or electric heating.
“There’s a strong and growing emotional sense that people want to be sustainable, and they want to make investments that are going to speak to their values.”
Sachse also talks about the cost of installing geothermal heat pumps and how long it takes for a unit to pay for itself.
Michael Sachse is an experienced executive who has previously scaled start-ups through periods of rapid growth. Sachse was previously CEO of Stardog, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at NEA, and Chief Marketing Officer at Opower, where he helped to guide the company through its IPO and acquisition by Oracle. Sachse is a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Law School.
Snippet: “Geothermal is a terrific fit for any part of the country that has hot summers and cold winters.”
Kansas City, Missouri is working to place the largest municipal solar farm in the nation next to its $1.5 billion new Kansas City International Airport. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with the Brian Platt who is the City Manager.
“If we ever want to make positive change and progress in these existential and generational challenges that we’re facing, we have to be big and bold,” said Platt.
The project is adding to Kansas City’s reputation as a leader in reducing carbon emissions and much more.
“We identified 3,100 acres of land that can be used for solar development that can produce up to 500 megawatts of solar panels on that site. We could potentially power 70,000 homes from a solar array in this location which would be about a third of the city.”
Platt is big on thinking creatively.
“Well, one of the things that we’re thinking about as a city is how we can be better stewards of the environment and improve health and quality of life for our residents. And one of the things you think about of course with air quality and pollution and health outcomes is how do we reduce carbon emissions?”
Brian Platt has been the city Manager since December of 2020. The city manager is responsible for making city services run efficiently and economically. Platt previously served as City Manager for Jersey City, New Jersey. He earned his Master of Public Administration at Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at Emory University.
The federal government is spending $7.5 billion on Electric Vehicle infrastructure to increase EV adoption across the country. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg chats with Nick Voris who is the senior manager of electrification for Evergy.
“It’s going to unlock nationwide travel with respect to EVs,” said Voris.
The money will be spent over the next five years to create electrification corridors.
“The National EV Infrastructure Program… is intent on creating charging sites every 50 miles along our major highway corridors coast-to-coast.”
“Once we get to the point that we have highway corridor stations every 50 miles, it really reduces or dare I say, eliminates range anxiety because you have so many charging options that do not exist right now so if you can travel Interstate with an EV.”
Voris believes this one of the most dynamic corners in the utility industry right now.
“I don’t think there’s anything that the utility does that’s sexy, but this is the closest thing.”
Nick Voris leads the Evergy team responsible for developing and implementing electrification products and services, including the utility’s long-term electrification roadmap. He been with Evergy since 2017. He previously worked for Kansas City Power and Light and City Utilities of Springfield, MO.
In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with the General Manager of Austin Energy, Jackie Sargent. The discussion is focused on the city-owned utility’s push to be carbon free by 2035 and ensuring equity for electric customers.
“When we are at looking moving forward and reaching those carbon-free goals, affordability is part of that equation, and it’s really important for us that we address the customers who are most vulnerable within our community,” said Sargent.
Austin Energy has one of the most robust customer-assistance programs in the country.
“Not only do we provide utility bill subsidies and savings for those customers, but we have a whole slate of wrap-around services. We actually work with 56 partners in our community to support these customers because you could help them with their utility bill, but they have a lot more needs than just paying for their electricity.”
The utility is proactive in making sure programs are accessible.
“We’ve also brought on a consultant to create a Customer Journey Map to help us understand what our customers experience when they’re requesting, and they’re receiving, services from us, and we’ll use that to help us to better direct those services to those or the people that most need them and create the best customer experience for all of our customers.”
Jackie Sargent rejoined the Austin Energy team as General Manager in August 2016. From 2010 to 2012, Sargent served as Senior Vice President of Power Supply and Market Operations at Austin Energy before joining Platte River Power Authority in Fort Collins, Colorado, as General Manager and CEO. Sargent also served as Vice President of Power Supply and Renewables Integration for Black Hills Corporation in South Dakota.
Sargent is a licensed professional engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Science in Technology Management from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
Italian utility powerhouse Enel is championing a surge of renewable investments in America and transformation of the grid. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Mona Tierney-Lloyd who’s head of U.S. Public Policy at Enel North America. Enel is the world’s leading private electricity distribution provider and it’s also the world’s largest renewable developer.
The discussion focuses on the significant transformations happening in the energy sector.
“This is the most interesting time to be in the energy sector that I’ve ever experienced,” said Tierney-Lloyd. “It’s really great to see all of these policies become implemented at customer levels and at the grid levels and really become a significant factor in the energy industry.”
The podcast also looks at the Italian company’s push in the U.S. Market.
“Enel is very bullish on development in the United States. We have eight gigawatts of renewable development operational today and we have expectations of adding at least two gigawatts per year of additional renewable development. Most of our new development that we have underway we’re also adding utility-scale battery storage alongside of that new renewable development.”
Mona Tierney-Lloyd has 30 years of experience in the energy industry and policy development. She has worked for Enel and Enel predecessor companies for nearly 15 years. Tierney-Lloyd has been with Enel North America since 2020 where she supported regional transmission organization bills that passed in Nevada and Colorado. She Participated in stakeholder process that developed policies for distributed energy resource participation in markets in MISO, ERCOT, and CAISO. Tierney-Lloyd previously worked as Senior Director, Western Regulatory Affairs at EnerNOC. She has a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering from Penn State University.
Italy is at the forefront of major utilities worldwide realizing its vision of the future of electricity. The massive utility aims to be carbon neutral by 2040. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Antonio Cammisecra, who’s the head of the Enel Grids within the Enel Group in Italy.
Enel Grids operates a massive 1.5 million miles of predominately distribution lines.
“Without a doubt we are the most digitized distribution company in the world,” said Cammisecra. “We are the absolute leader in this field.”
It is all part of a sweeping, utility sector transformation.
“It took us 20 years to completely digitalize the Italian grid for which we are very well advanced. And we had several waves of digitalization so, now we are at the third generation of digital meter. We have achieved basically two things: the capability to open up a much more modern electricity market because the digitization of the metering itself is the beginning of a much more modern market so you can have hourly pricing for example.”
“We understood there was a new era approaching to the industry and you cannot, let’s say, survive or prosper or lead the industry without deep profound change in the way you wanted to stay in that industry, which, of course, conceives a different approach to innovation and to sustainability.”
Antonio Cammisecra became Head of the Enel Grids Business Line on October 1, 2020. Prior to that, he was the Sole Director of Enel Green Power and Director of the Africa, Asia, and Oceania region. He joined the International Division of Enel Group in 1999 and has served in multiple positions.
Cammisecra studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Naples Federico II, graduating with first class honors in 1996. He received an MBA from Milan’s Bocconi University in 2004.
Alaska is global leader in microgrid technology with one of highest concentrations of renewably powered microgrid projects in the world. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Peter Asmus who is Executive Director of Alaska Microgrid Group. The group offers access to expertise from the utility industry and research community to leverage decades of experience designing, building and operating microgrid projects across Alaska.
“What’s unique about Alaska is it’s number one in the U.S. for total microgrid capacity,” said Asmus.
Just about every Alaskan is served by a microgrid.
“At last count I saw something like 3,500 megawatts of installed capacity. Most of those systems are what I would call remote power systems where there is no grid and that’s what’s unusual about Alaska”.
Microgrids loom large over the future of an electric grid that will be integrating increasing amounts of renewable energy, providing ever greater levels of resilience, Asmus said. “I see microgrids becoming a bigger and bigger thing as climate change impacts accelerate and the power outage rate keeps going up. People are so dependent on electricity; they’re going to want some form of a microgrid resiliency.”
Peter Asmus is a leading global authority on microgrid markets and other emerging trends in sustainable and resilient energy systems. Author of four books, he has been writing about and analyzing emerging trends in energy policy, technology and applications since 1986. Most recently, he was Research Director with Guidehouse Insights where he started up the world’s first global data set on microgrids and developed a forecast methodology to estimate future growth. Additionally, he was editor of the Clean Power Journal, assistant editor of California Policy Choices, and has written for several energy trade publications, including Windpower Monthly and Electric Utility Week.
Asmus holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin.
Three out of four Americans are served by utilities out to slash carbon emissions, according to Julia Hamm, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Smart Electric Power Alliance. In this episode of Grid Talk, Hamm sits down with host Marty Rosenberg to talk about how the power industry has changed over the last 19 years.
“73% of all U.S. electric customers are served by a utility that has a public target for a hundred percent carbon reduction, so I’d say that’s pretty significant,” said Hamm.
With utilities making clean energy a core part of their mission, they are driving significant changes to the industry.
“Utilities are now playing an active leadership role in helping to decarbonize not only their own business operations but also working proactively with customers, others in their supply chain and really across the whole economy in order to accelerate decarbonization.”
To match that profound change, utility regulators and policymakers need to better coordinate the rules governing the energy sector, she said.
“We need to see an increased level of coordination at the federal, state, and local levels far beyond what we have historically seen,” Hamm said.
For the past 20 Julia Hamm has been advising and collaborating with utilities, solution providers and government agencies on business models, grid modernization, and clean energy policies, strategies and programs. She oversees SEPA’s research, education, and collaboration activities for its 1,100 member companies.
Hamm is a graduate of Cornell University.
A federal infusion of $80 billion in infrastructure spending is generating new levels of innovation and cooperation when it comes to maintaining and upgrading the electrical grid. In this episode of Grid Talk, we hear from Dianne Solomon who is a commissioner on the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU). She also is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and currently serves as Chair of the Committee on Critical Infrastructure.
This gives her a unique perspective on how federal dollars will be spent across the states.
“There’s no 50-state agreement on how and where the grid needs to be improved, in what fashion. It really is based upon where you are located and where you stand is sort of where you sit in terms of what you…each state determines what the needs are for their area. But the one thing that all commissioners can agree upon is their charge as commissioners and that’s to ensure safe, reliable service at reasonable rates.”
Solomon also talks about the role of innovation in shaping the grid of the future.
“There is a tremendous amount of innovation being supported in the utility space at both the federal and state level. The Committee of Critical Infrastructure that I chair has a great working relationship with the Department of Energy and that’s always helpful. The states’ initiatives with the federal government is going to be very important in moving these innovations forward.”
Commissioner Solomon was confirmed to serve as Commissioner of the Board of Public Utilities in 2013. She was re-confirmed in 2017. Prior to her appointment to the NJBPU she served as Commissioner of the South Jersey Transportation Authority, which is responsible for operating the Atlantic City Expressway, Atlantic City Airport, and shuttle service in and around South Jersey.
Commissioner Solomon is a graduate of Rider University with a degree in Political Science.
The push to decarbonize electricity production in the U.S. focuses heavily on solar and wind generation. But delivering reliable energy from intermittent resource will require an upgrade in energy storage capabilities.
This episode of Grid Talk features Don Sadoway who is the John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry at MIT. He’s one of the leading experts on emerging battery products and at the helm of about a half dozen startups ready to speed deployment of the most promising approaches into the marketplace.
“We have to deal with the intermittency. And nobody wants green electricity that’s only available part-time; they want it all the time, so that means storage.”
That’s where the liquid metal battery comes in. Sadoway will explain why he believes it will revolutionize battery storage.
“The aluminum/sulfur battery is no cobalt, no nickel, no manganese, no volatile flammable electrolyte, no graphite, forget the silicon. This is no lithium.”
One of his companies is set to release its first product in about a year. When people see it working, things could really take off.
“A liquid metal battery could be in the basement of every one of the skyscrapers in Manhattan.”
Professor Sadoway has been at MIT for 44 years. His research seeks to establish the scientific underpinnings for technologies that make efficient use of energy and natural resources in an environmentally sound manner. This spans engineering applications and the supportive fundamental science. The overarching theme of his work is electrochemistry in nonaqueous media.
He holds the following degrees:
B.A.Sc., Engineering Science, University of Toronto
M.A.Sc., Chemical Metallurgy, University of Toronto
Ph.D., Chemical Metallurgy, University of Toronto
America’s reliance on nuclear power is poised to rapidly expand given a new generation of more affordable small modular reactors (SMR). In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Maria Korsnick who is the President and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute. The conversation focuses on how SMRs can deliver carbon-free energy.
“We are about 90 gigawatts of generation today so it will be an additional 90 gigawatts of generation and because we’re talking more small modular reactors, that 90 gigawatts could turn into about 300 SMRs that would be added to the grid,” said Korsnick.
According to Korsnick, nuclear power will increasingly replace fossil fuel generation plants that contribute to climate change and nuclear power is needed to supplement solar and wind power.
“Imagine nuclear really forming the backbone of that clean-energy, highly-reliable grid upon which the intermittent resources can also be added.”
The 300 small reactors built out in the next two decades would triple the number of nuclear power plants in the nation and help lower the cost of transitioning away from carbon.
“It’s very, very clear when you add nuclear to the mix, the overall system cost is reduced.”
Maria Korsnick has been NEI’s President and CEO since 2017 where she draws on her engineering background, hands-on experience in reactor operations, and a deep knowledge of energy policy and regulatory issues to increase understanding of nuclear energy’s economic and environmental benefits among policymakers and the public.
Korsnick previously served as the NEI’s COO. She has been in the energy industry since 1986 working in various roles for Constellation Energy and then Exelon Nuclear.
Korsnick holds a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Maryland and has held a senior reactor operator license.
The nation’s largest municipal utility, serving Los Angeles, wants to move to 100% clean energy by 2035. To do that, the utility needs to significantly boost renewable energy generation and it’s banking on the rapid development of energy storage technology. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Simon Zewdu who is the Director of Transmission Planning, Regulatory Processes and Innovation at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).
The price tag to reach 100% clean energy is estimated as high as $86 billion for increased generation, transmission, and distribution.
“We need to significantly increase the capacity of existing transmission lines that we have. The Department owns and operates about 3,600 miles of transmission lines that traverse in five western states. We need to operate those. Not only that, we need to look into how we can come up with some new corridors, collaborate with other agencies to build new transmission lines to be able to support the load within the City of Los Angeles.”
Equity will be center stage, as the utility works to bring affordable energy transformation to all customers.
“Everything will be looked at from a prism of equity so that we monitor it on a regular basis and report to our communities whether we have met our equity targets,” said Zewdu.
Mr. Zewdu has been with LADWP for 20 years with duties spanning from substation design to project management, strategic planning, and special projects. He holds an undergraduate degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering and an MBA in finance. He is a registered Electrical Engineer in the State of California.
The federal government is on track to invest $1.2 trillion to overhaul American infrastructure, with $80 billion headed to the electric grid. In this episode of Grid Talk, we talk with Christine Harada who is the Executive Director of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council. It was created in 2015 to help facilitate government approvals of major projects.
“I want to make sure that we’re putting boots on the ground—that we have the construction workers who are there and actually making the infrastructure happen,” Harada said.
The impact of the council’s work is significant and measurable.
“We have found that we were able to decrease the overall timeframe by upwards of 2-2½ years just simply because of the transparency provided by the dashboard and by the activities that this Council takes on to be able to help negotiate and review and resolve challenges.”
As for transmission projects, Harada hopes to trim approval times by at least 10 percent.
“I am an overachiever so I would love to achieve something like 25%. I think that’s certainly just within the federal agencies’ realm of control, 10% is a great target. Working with state and local entities, I think that something like a 25% reduction would be a great stretch target.”
Harada was named Executive Director in July of 2021. She will manage a portfolio of nearly $60 billion in large-scale infrastructure projects—most of which are renewable energy, coastal restoration, and electricity transmission. Harada will lead 13 federal agencies, state agencies, and project sponsors to develop and implement project-specific timetables for all required reviews and authorizations.
Harada holds a master's degree in international studies from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School at Penn. Additionally, she has a master's degree from Stanford University and a bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in aeronautics and astronautics.
Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) is one of the nation’s largest utilities, serving Chicago. Last month, ComEd announced it is spending $113 million a year on “income-tested programs” to slash energy use and energy bills for those who can least afford them, while combating climate change.
In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Gil Quiniones who is the ComEd CEO. They’ll talk about initiatives to make sure disadvantaged communities and historically underserved communities are prioritized as the utility pursues decarbonization.
“It’s not just really deploying technologies. It’s how do we engage the community in the process of deploying those technologies in terms of STEM programs with the local schools as well as opportunities for workforce development, whether it’s directly for trade-type, craft-type jobs or being a utility professional engineer or scientist.”
Quiniones talks about opportunities related to the federal government’s $80 billion infrastructure spend on energy. Investing in communities is top priority.
“We want to make sure that we’re putting our customers at the center of this transition.”
You’ll also hear what ComEd is adding is it reimagines the grid.
Gil Quiniones was named CEO of ComEd in November of 2021 and oversees utility decisions that impact more than four million customers. Mr. Quiniones joined ComEd after spending a decade as the president and CEO of the New York Power Authority, the nation’s largest state-owned public power organization. He is an internationally recognized leader in modernizing power grids, and delivering clean, safe and affordable energy for customers, leading to economic and environmental benefits for diverse communities.
Mr. Quiniones holds a B.S. from De La Salle University in Manila. In 2020, he earned a Corporate Director Certificate at Harvard Business School.
The U.S. Department of Energy is closing in on a timeline for disbursing $80 billion allocated to electric grid upgrades contained in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Michelle Manary who is the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Resilience Division in the Office of Electricity at the U.S. Department of Energy. The discussion focuses on when and how the money from the infrastructure package will be spent.
“I would love to see it [flowing] this calendar year. That is a goal but we’ll see what happens there,” said Manary.
There’s a lot of planning that goes in to allocating the funding.
“That hat $80 billion-ish to the DOE comes in several different flavors and so everything’s kind of continuing on from solar and battery and kind of that generation or storage-side but you also have probably about $20-ish billion or so on the transmission side.”
Manary also talks about the collaborative nature of the new programs.
“We’re trying to set this up, so it works for the industry.”
Michelle Manary helps lead DOE's division focused on national transmission infrastructure policy issues in support of national clean energy objectives. She came to the Department of Energy from the Bonneville Power Administration where she served as executive vice president and chief financial officer. Manary joined BPA in 1998 and successfully held several management positions within the agency’s Corporate, Power and Transmission organizations.
Manary holds a Bachelor of Science in finance from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, and Master of Business Administration and Public Administration from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.
The federal power market spanning the Midwest and West is poised to capitalize on an enormous infusion of funds from the federal bipartisan infrastructure law. In this episode of Grid Talk, we sit down with Tracey LeBeau who is the Administrator and CEO of the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA).
“There are a number of provisions that seek to provide additional opportunities or tools to help facilitate the development, the investment, and the construction of new or expanded transmission infrastructure,” said LeBeau.
The additional spending will also further enhance investments to adapt the national grid for increased use of renewable energy.
“Those tools, those programs, that funding is all getting flushed out as we speak, and programs are getting ready to be stood up,” said LeBeau.
WAPA has 17,000 miles of transmission lines in its 15-state region and carries electricity generated by 57 federal hydroelectric generating facilities. LeBeau will talk about what impact drought and fire conditions are having on operations.
“As a new administrator, folks often ask me what keeps me up at night and I often have responded with weather. Weather keeps me up at night.”
Tracey LeBeau has more than 20 years of executive experience in management, clean energy and infrastructure development, public-private partnerships, utility business operations, and federal program leadership and policy. She joined WAPA in 2014 as the organization’s Transmission Infrastructure Program manager. Ms. LeBeau will be the first woman and the first Native American to lead the organization.
Ms. LeBeau received her Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Iowa.
With society becoming more and more dependent on electricity, upgrading the electric grid is an urgent challenge. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Andrew Phillips who is the Vice President of Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure for the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The conversation focuses on what it will take to ensure the reliable delivery of electricity in an age of electrification.
“We have the opportunity and to build new transmission lines and not build them to the same specs and standards that we used in the ‘80s and ‘70s but to think of new ways of doing it that have higher power flow, higher reliability, and are more compatible with the environment,” said Phillips.
Phillips says the transmission system needs to expand exponentially, and there are several limitations that need to be addressed.
“It’s going to be supply chain, workforce, and permitting; those are going to be the three things.”
Andrew Phillips has been with EPRI for more than 25 years. In 2018 he became Vice president of Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure. His work has focused on transmission and distribution asset research. Prior to joining EPRI, Mr. Phillips managed research of insulation, aging equipment and lightning for J.A. Jones Power Delivery company and performed research for the South African electric power industry at the University of Witwatersrand - the university where he earned bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering.