Smart Energy Research

Our annual utility survey is now open.

Our best-in-class smart energy research offers data and insights that equip our members with the knowledge they need to make educated decisions about solar power, demand response, energy storage and other enabling technologies.

What makes our research valuable?

Trusted

We approach a problem holistically. As an educational non-profit, our members rely on us to provide objective insights that they can rely on.

Industry Driven

Through collaborations, contributions and partnerships, our industry members power our research content.

Practical

Our explorations and market intelligence helps our members in their day-to-day work from planning to program implementation.


Latest Research

Check out our knowledge center to view our research publications.


Meet the SEPA Research Team

Feel free to contact our experts with your research questions.

Aaron Smallwood

Senior Director, Technical Services, SEPA

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Aaron Smallwood

Aaron has been in Information Technology for 20 years and in the utility industry for the last 15 years. As Director of IT Operations at the Electric Reliability of Council of Texas (ERCOT), Aaron was responsible for the multi-data center IT operations of ERCOT’s real-time grid and market systems, deregulated retail market systems, Enterprise Data Warehouse, systems integration, and market settlement systems. In other roles at ERCOT he led business/technology alignment, IT strategy development, program financial management for the Texas Nodal Market Implementation, IT stakeholder relationship management, and the IT divisional project office.

Prior to ERCOT, Aaron was responsible for managing the relationship between IT and utility business units at Aquila, Inc., working with utility and IT leaders to ensure that IT services were aligned with business objectives and that IT was positioned to support their needs.

Phone: 202.871.7414     Email: asmallwood@sepapower.org

Brenda Chew

Research Analyst

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Brenda Chew

Brenda joined SEPA in 2017. She manages SEPA’s Annual Utility Survey and Snapshot Series, and supports a range of research efforts on the integration of distributed energy resources. Prior to SEPA, Brenda worked as a consultant at ICF, focusing on distributed energy resources, Utility of the Future and grid modernization efforts.

She holds a master’s degree in sustainable development from the University of St. Andrews, and a bachelor’s degree in economics and environmental studies from Emory University.

Phone: 202.753.8955     Email: bchew@sepapower.org

Chris Schroeder

Senior Director, Advisory Services

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Chris Schroeder

Chris Schroeder joined SEPA in July of 2017 as a Senior Director of Advisory Services. In this role, he is responsible for helping SEPA members define a variety of programs, strategies, and solutions for distributed energy resources supporting the advancement of clean energy and grid modernization.

Chris has over 20 years of consulting experience in the electric, gas, and renewable energy industries. Prior to joining SEPA, Chris served as a Senior Vice President at Nexant, Inc. where he led their Energy Delivery and Management division providing over 100 pilot and full-scale utility distributed energy resource programs, including energy efficiency, demand response, and renewable energy offerings. Chris has also provided strategic consulting services for state regulatory proceedings, stakeholder facilitation, utility tariff review and energy storage initiatives for utilities and groups throughout North America.

Chris has a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics from Willamette University and a Master of Science in Building Systems Engineering from the University of Colorado.

Phone: 202.871.9340     Email: cschroeder@sepapower.org

Christine Stearn

Senior Manager, 51st State Initiative

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Christine Stearn

Christine joined SEPA in 2015. She has advised utilities on strategic and operational plans for programs, products and services that will drive integration of clean energy resources into utility resource portfolios and business operations. Currently, she manages SEPA’s 51st State Initiative (http://sepa51.org), a collaborative platform that is an alternative to the contentious debates surrounding market and rate reform occurring in many jurisdictions. The initiative creates an ongoing, safe forum for experts and industry leaders to shape the evolution of the utility sector.

Prior to SEPA, Christine has had a variety of rewarding work experiences ranging from startups to working at a global sustainability think tank, to building an analytic program for a $3 billion operating organization. Christine presents on energy, sustainability, technology, climate and risk topics. Christine earned both a MBA and a M.Sc. from Columbia University and her BS from Babson College where she majored in Management Information Systems.

Christine has a love of travel, a taste for pancakes, an aptitude for technology, an itch to run and a desire to connect with others.

Phone: 202.753.8926     Email: cstearn@sepapower.org

Dave Hardin

Chief Architect, SEPA

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Dave Hardin

Dave Hardin has extensive experience designing, integrating and managing enterprise information and automation in the energy and manufacturing sectors. He has held senior technical and management positions at EnerNOC and Schneider/Invensys. Dave has been active in Smart Grid initiatives since 2006 including serving on the OpenADR Alliance Board of Directors, SGIP Board of Directors, co-chair of the SGIP Architecture Committee, chair of the SGIP Industrial-to-Grid Domain Expert Working Group and vice chair of the SGIP Transactive Energy Coordination Group. Dave is also serving on the OPC Foundation Technical Advisory Council and is member emeritus of the GridWise Architecture Council (GWAC), a Registered Professional Engineer (PE), Project Management Institute Project Management Professional (PMP), and an IEEE Certified Professional Software Engineering Master (PSEM).

Phone: 202.871.7444     Email: dhardin@sepapower.org

Daisy Chung

Manager, Research

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Daisy Chung

Daisy Chung joined SEPA’s research team in 2014 to lead specialized research ranging from nationwide policy to utility customer offerings. She focuses on utility deployment at the distribution level, with specialty in asset management and operations & maintenance. She also collaborates with industry stakeholders such as electric service providers and integrators.

Daisy comes with seven years of thin‐films engineering, process implementation, as well as technical knowledge transfer experience from Samsung. Through her global experience, she specialized in system start‐ups, qualification, standardization, and failure and root-cause analysis through Six Sigma data analytics and system monitoring strategies.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, with minors in Business Foundation and Chinese Language from the University of Texas; she is also an honor’s graduate of the Master in International Public Affairs program, specializing in Energy Analysis and Policy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Longhorns and badgers play nicely together in her household.

Phone: 202.559.2027     Email: dchung@sepapower.org

Dan Chwastyk

Manager, Utility Strategy

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Dan Chwastyk

Dan Chwastyk joined SEPA in 2015, where he works as Utility Strategy Manager on the Advisory Services team. Dan helps utilities develop and execute customer facing renewable energy offerings and leads SEPA’s research into community solar programs across the country.

Dan formerly worked for Navigant where he worked primarily on energy efficiency, smart grid and demand response issues for government, utility and private sector clients. He holds his bachelor’s in structural engineering from Penn State University and his master’s of business administration from Wake Forest University.

Phone: 202.660.0861     Email: dchwastyk@sepapower.org

Erika Myers

Director, Research

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Erika Myers

Erika Myers joined SEPA in July 2015. In her role, Erika directs research team activities, oversees research collaborations with key partners, and manages the development of content. She specializes in renewable energy and electric vehicle infrastructure and staffs SEPA’s Electric Vehicle Working Group. She has authored and co-authored numerous reports, briefs, articles, and blogs while at SEPA and regularly speaks at trade events around the country.

Prior to joining SEPA, Erika spent nearly four years as a consultant with ICF International and five years with the South Carolina Energy Office with a focus on renewable energy and alternative transportation fuel policy and regulatory planning and development. She also had a short stint as a supervisor at a solar installation firm in the southeast, before deciding she much preferred being behind a desk and not on top of a roof.

Erika has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Clemson University and a master’s degree in earth and environmental resources from the University of South Carolina.

Phone: 202.379.1615     Email: emyers@sepapower.org

John Sterling

Senior Director, Advisory Services, SEPA

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John Sterling

John Sterling, Senior Director of Research & Advisory Services with the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), is responsible for helping SEPA members drive the integration of distributed energy resources into utility portfolios and business operations. Mr. Sterling assists SEPA members in their consideration, development, and ultimate implementation of innovative customer programs, business models, and rate designs. He has facilitated multiple stakeholder processes across the country on issues such as distributed solar valuation methodologies, pilot program design, and retail rate modifications. At SEPA he has co-authored multiple reports, including: “Blueprints for Electricity Market Reform: Building a Structure for Collaborative Stakeholder Discussions” (SEPA 2016) and “Proactive Solutions to Curtailment Risk: Identifying New Contract Structures for Utility-Scale Renewables” (SEPA 2017). Prior to joining SEPA, Mr. Sterling spent 11 years at Pinnacle West Capital Corporation/Arizona Public Service. He holds a BS in Finance and an MBA from Arizona State University.

Phone: 202.559.2022     Email: jsterling@sepapower.org

Jared Leader

Senior Associate, Utility Strategy

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Jared Leader

Jared joined SEPA in June 2017, where he joins SEPA’s Advisory Services team of experts in utility business and distributive energy to provide strategic and operational planning that drives integration of distributed energy resources into utility resource portfolios.

Prior to joining SEPA, Jared spent three years as a consultant at Arcadis US. Jared was responsible for the design, implementation, and management of several environmental programs for both municipal and commercial clients in the energy and water sectors.

Jared holds a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Virginia, where he conducted research on algae-based bio-fuels and focused in sustainable practice. He is currently earning his MS in Energy Policy and Climate from Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC

Phone: (202) 869-3836     Email: jleader@sepapower.org

Kate Strickland

Senior Associate, 51st State Initiative

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Kate Strickland

Kate joined SEPA in July 2017, where she works with SEPA’s 51st State Initiative (http://sepa51.org), a collaborative platform that is an alternative to the contentious debates surrounding market and rate reform occurring in many jurisdictions. The initiative creates an ongoing, safe forum for experts and industry leaders to shape the evolution of the utility sector.

Prior to SEPA, Kate completed her master’s degree in International Relations & Economics, with a concentration in Energy, Resources & Environment from John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Her studies focused on electricity markets, renewable energy, and distributed energy resources. Additionally, she completed a graduate consultant project for BP Global on the future of the U.S. transportation sector, as well as graduate internships at the Edison Foundation’s Institute for Electric Innovation (IEI), the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and Fresh Energy.

Prior to SAIS, she worked in Kyoto-fu, Japan for the JET Programme, and was the development manager for Milkweed Editions, an independent book publisher based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University, with a B.A. in art history and political science.

Kate has worked and lived in Japan, Italy, India, and South Africa, and is always planning her next adventure.

Phone: 202.350.4667     Email: kstrickland@sepapower.org

Medha Surampudy

Research Associate

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Medha Surampudy

Medha joined SEPA as a Research Associate in 2017. She supports the Utility Database operations through information and website functionality upkeep. She also assists with research efforts for SEPA members and internal projects. Prior to SEPA, Medha served as Research Assistant at Bloomberg BNA and the University of Chicago.

She holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from North Carolina State University.

Nick Esch

Senior Associate, Research

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Nick Esch

Nick Esch joined the SEPA team full time as a Research Associate in August 2015 after interning with the research team since January 2015. Nick manages the data that is collected from SEPA’s annual utility survey, which includes annual solar, storage and demand response deployment data from utilities. Nick is also the staff lead on SEPA’s Energy Storage Working group.

Nick holds a bachelor’s degree in Climate Science from the University at Albany and a master’s degree in Solar Energy Engineering and Commercialization from Arizona State University.

Ted Davidovich

Manager, Utility Planning

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Ted Davidovich

Ted is SEPA’s Manager, Utility Planning and is responsible for helping SEPA members develop strategic and operational plans that will help with the integration of solar resources. Prior to joining SEPA, Ted held various positions at Allegheny Energy, most recently in the Corporate Development and Strategic Planning areas with a focus on renewable energy, rates and regulation and generation planning.

He has an associate’s degree in electrical engineering technology from Penn State and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

Phone: 202.559.2020     Email: ted@sepapower.org