Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment

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Monday, February 15, 2016

10:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Committee on Energy Resources and Environment
View Presentations 
Renaissance East/Congressional
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Driving Decisions via Deep Data-Diving & Dashboards: How big data can lead to better decisions for utilities, customers, and regulators.
Rapid advances in grid modernization, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), computer automation, and large-scale data analytics – so called “big data” – are converging to change what is possible for achieving least cost utility planning and operations, blending increasing amounts of variable renewable resources and storage technologies, and achieving greater efficiency in both utility operations and consumer usage. For the utility, AMI, distribution automation, and large-scale data analytics are converging to offer new possibilities for optimizing grid operations. On the customer side of the meter, many thousands of customers are already benefiting from products like intelligent thermostats and services available from control software and analytic tools, and new opportunities are emerging all the time. There are potential roles for all kinds of communications and controls, business to business, business to consumer, and even machine to machine. At the same time, there could be lost opportunity costs if such innovations face too many hurdles in reaching their market potential. This panel reviews some of the most important early applications, providing current information to help commissioners think about emerging standards utilities might be directed to achieve.

Moderator: Hon. Beth Trombold, Ohio
Paul Alvarez, President, the Wired Group
Cameron Brooks, President, Tolerable Planet Enterprises
Jeff Steffes, EVP External Affairs, Direct Energy


1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Energy Storage: Coming Soon to Theaters Near You
Already, a baker’s dozen States have ongoing dockets, working groups and other agency activities addressing how to open up utility planning, markets, and rates to enable energy storage to participate in as many as a dozen or more grid-supporting roles, as long as storage can prove that it is cost effective or that it can take on the appropriate technology-performance risk. At a time during which energy storage installations are increasing and prices of energy storage systems are decreasing, economic regulators must decide whether and how to facilitate the deployment of these resources in their States. The panel aims to explore what role energy storage technology could serve in meeting the simultaneous reliability, affordability and sustainability demands on the energy system, as well as the different types of regulatory barriers encountered by grid-scale versus customer-sited energy storage applications.

Moderator: Hon. Jeannette Mills, Maryland
Hon. Lorraine Akiba, Hawaii
Hon. Dave Danner, Washington
Hon. Carla Peterman, California


2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
Electric Rate Design: Moving Beyond Net Energy Metering
(JOINT MEETING with the Staff Subcommittee on Rate Design)

Advances in technology, including distributed generation, electric vehicles, and “smart” appliances, combined with advanced metering infrastructure and more sophisticated utility monitoring systems may call for a more refined method of designing the rates charged to customers. A traditional $/kWh structure may no longer be the most effective basis for rate design. Panelists will discuss how rate designs can affect choices made by customers, utilities, and other electric market participants. They will explain how rate designs can balance all major interests, provide a framework for stable regulation of utilities, and enable utilities to meet electricity requirements.

Moderator: Hon. Donna Nelson, Texas
Paul Gastineau, VP of Regulatory Affairs, CenterPoint Energy
Rick Gilliam, Program Director DG Regulatory Policy, Vote Solar
Lon Huber, Director, Strategen
Debbie Kimberly, VP for Customer Energy Solutions, Austin Energy


4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Natural Gas Pipeline Siting - Easy, right?
(JOINT MEETING with the Committee on Gas)

The volume of natural gas that is being produced in the United States has increased exponentially from a previous record of 22,647,549 Mcf in 1973 to 27,336,644 Mcf in 2014. At the same time, consumption of natural gas by various sectors, including the energy sector, has also increased to 26,698,068 Mcf in 2014 and will likely continue to increase with implementation of the CPP. While consumption increases, there is a growing recognition that there is insufficient pipeline infrastructure to move the resource to areas of need. The pipeline siting process, regardless of whether the pipe is intrastate subject to state commission jurisdiction or interstate under FERC jurisdiction, often becomes contentious drawing concerns from a variety of fronts on issues ranging from property rights, to impacts to sensitive environmental areas to emissions from pipeline activities.

Moderator: Hon. Pam Witmer, Pennsylvania
Hon. Tony Clark, FERC
Hon. Dianne Solomon, New Jersey
Sharon Buccino, Director, Land and Wildlife Program, NRDC
The Williams Companies (invited)



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

10:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Committee on Energy Resources and Environment
View Presentations 
Renaissance East/Central
10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Business Meeting
Hon. James Gardner, Kentucky
Hon. Nancy Lange, Minnesota
Hon. Donna Nelson, Texas

Wally Nixon, Commissioner’s Legal Advisor, Arkansas
Dan Delurey, Wedgemere Group, “The Evolution of Demand Response Dialogue Project”
Ron Edelstein, Gas Technology Institute
Ruth McCormick, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, “Sustainable Energy in America Factbook”
Lauren Ross, ACEEE, “Multifamily EE Program”
Tom Stanton, National Regulatory Research Institute
Barbara Tyran, Electric Power Research Institute



1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Are You Ready for the Distribution System Evolution?
A diverse set of distributed energy resources is beginning to reshape infrastructure planning, grid operations, markets, and regulation. This panel offers a practical three-stage framework to assist State Commissioners as they plan for and guide the evolution of utility distribution systems.

Panelists will discuss actions that State regulators can take now to plan and develop a preferred distribution system tailored to meet the objectives of their jurisdiction, recognizing that safety, reliability, and efficient operation remain paramount. Potential models for a future operation of distribution systems will also be discussed, including an independent system operator versus the utility serving in that role.

Panelists include the authors of a new report for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, "Distribution Systems in a High Distributed Energy Resources Future: Planning, Market Design, Operation and Oversight." The report is part of an innovative Future Electric Utility Regulation series funded by DOE that examines issues facing the electric industry with changing technologies, customer trends, and State and federal policies. The Manager of Distribution Planning for EPRI will tie the Integrated Grid work underway at EPRI with the findings of the new report.

Moderator: Hon. Nancy Lange, Minnesota
Paul De Martini, Senior Fellow, ICF International
Lorenzo Kristov, Principal, Market and Infrastructure Policy, CAISO
Jeff Smith, Manager, Power System Studies, Electric Power Research Institute


2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
Shared Renewables and Community Solar
Although solar and other renewable resources deliver benefits across the country, the traditional panels-on-your-roof approach to solar simply doesn't work for the majority of Americans. The participation of families and businesses that rent, those with low credit scores, and those with shaded rooftops is limited. However, well-designed shared renewable energy programs can connect these Americans with the clean energy they want. Whether or not they own a suitable rooftop themselves, consumers would be able to subscribe to a local clean energy project and receive credit on utility bills for their portion of the clean power produced. This panel looks to address lessons learned from community solar programs.

Moderator: Hon. Ellen Nowack, Wisconsin
Sara Baldwin, Director, Regulatory Program, Interstate Renewable Energy Council
Dan Chwastyk, Utility Strategy Manager, Solar Electric Power Association
Aakash Chandarana, Regional VP of Rates and Regulation, Xcel Energy


4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
After the Paris Climate Talks
(JOINT MEETING with the Committee on International Relations)

The 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) reached a landmark agreement setting a goal of limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees C. Meeting this goal will require a carbon-neutral world within a few decades. This panel will review the outcomes of COP21 and the implications for the United States. Panelists, all of whom were at COP-21, will discuss the overall agreement, the role of carbon trading in future compliance efforts and the path to implementation.

Moderator: Hon. Anne Hoskins, Maryland
Jonathan Pershing, Principal Deputy Director, Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, US Department of Energy
Hon. Ann McCabe, Illinois
Steve Rose, Sr. Project Manager-Global Climate Change, Electric Power Research Institute