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Three Concepts Selected As Focus Of SEPA’s 51st State Summit On April 27

The Solar Electric Power Association will focus discussion at its 51st State Summit on Monday April 27 in San Diego on three concepts selected from a dozen submitted by individuals and organizations from across the energy industry. A panel of five energy leaders chose the submissions as representative of some of the most creative and thought-provoking ideas put forward in response to SEPA’s challenge to take a ‘clean slate’ approach to designing a 21st century energy system.

The invitation-only half-day summit will highlight the ideas put forward in the following papers:

● “An Adaptive Approach to Promote System Optimization”, by Michael O’Boyle

● “The Sharing Utility: Enabling & Rewarding Utility Performance, Service & Value in a Distributed Energy Age”, by Karl Rabago and Jim Kennerly

● “The 51st State: Market Structures for a Smarter, More Efficient Grid”, by Jon Wellinghoff, James Tong, and Jenny Hu

The full text of these and all qualified submissions can be found here.
“The three concepts selected by our panel provide an excellent launching point for discussion on options for changes to the 21st century electric industry that could optimize the contribution of distributed energy resources while ensuring customers continue to receive safe, affordable, reliable and increasingly clean power,” said Julia Hamm, President and CEO of SEPA. “Next steps in the 51st State initiative will be to highlight insights found in all of the submitted concepts, and to begin to develop ways and means to put constructive ideas into action in markets across the country.”

The Innovation Review Panel for the 51st State includes Ron Binz, Former Chair, Colorado Public Utilities Commission; Nancy Pfund, founder, DBL Investors; Jim Rogers, former CEO and Chairman, Duke Energy; Sue Tierney, Analysis Group and former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy, and Jigar Shah, founder, SunEdison and former CEO, Carbon War Room.

SEPA launched the 51st State last year as a broad challenge to re-imagine a 21st-century energy system from the ground up, as if for a hypothetical 51st state that has no rules, regulations or market structures in place. What the 51st state will require is an energy system that is reliable, affordable, meets the needs of all stakeholders and supports a robust market for solar and other distributed energy resources.

Some submissions see in a 51st state strong, ongoing roles for existing regulatory bodies and utilities — investor-owned, public and electric cooperatives. Others imagine an energy market in which the role of utilities change dramatically and consumers contract for energy services, using dynamic distribution grids that allow power to be generated, stored, bought and sold locally.

Still other papers focus more on the core values and concepts that should underlie the 51st state’s energy sector, rather than specific technologies or market and regulatory structures.

Public input will be encouraged by SEPA as it moves toward Phase 2 of the 51st State Initiative, which will focus on developing practical road maps to help utilities and policy makers turn some of the top ideas from these papers into real changes in the energy sector.

Media contact: K Kaufmann, [email protected]
The Solar Electric Power Association is an educational non-profit dedicated to helping utilities integrate solar power into their energy portfolios for the benefit of the utility, its customers and the public good. With close to 1,000 utility and solar industry members, SEPA provides unbiased utility and solar market intelligence, up-to-date information about technologies and business models, and peer-to-peer interaction. From hosting national events to providing customized advisory services, SEPA helps utilities make smart solar decisions.