The Answers To Hit Your Carbon Reduction Goals

April 12 - 14, 2021

The 2021 Virtual Experience

Utility Conference is exclusively for the busy utility professional responsible for distributed and renewable energy programs.  They need answers from the community they trust.

This is an experience where peer-to-peer utility learning is emphasized and supported by subject matter experts.

Get the tools, experience and expertise to increase performance, innovation, and peer-to-peer collaboration as the energy system moves to a carbon-free future.

  • Utility thought leaders responsible for carbon reduction and grid modernization programs from across the U.S.
  • A utility-only community experience
  • Intense, collaborative learning with your peers

What’s new this year

Be the office legend

Bring all of your coworkers (the entire company if you want, no caps, no limits) for the cost of one in-person event registration.

Learn better in a team?

Let SEPA do the legwork so you can nail down takeaways and brainstorm with utility peers.

Make networking fun with pub-style trivia

  • Monday, April 12
  • Tuesday, April 13
  • Wednesday, April 14
  • 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
    Incentivizing Innovation Through Thoughtful Regulation
    The 2021 Utility Conference opening general session will feature a fireside chat with SEPA President and CEO Julia Hamm. This chat will investigate the challenges, opportunities, and realities of the shifting economics changing utilities, and the interstate wholesale power markets that serve them. The conversation will discuss the role of distributed energy resources in transmission, the investment risk of fossil fuel assets, an analysis of recently implemented carbon reduction strategies, and much more.
    • Julia Hamm
      President and CEO
      Smart Electric Power Alliance
  • 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    Welcomes, Introductions, and Trivia Quiz

    This year’s virtual event is a different experience from past years, but we’ve done our best to create a creative, instructional, and engaging event.  One of the biggest challenges we face with the virtual experience is facilitating organic collaboration between attendees. Attendees have been grouped together in diverse groups with similar educational goals, and we've organized a bit of what we hope will be a fun, competitive utility trivia challenge. The next 90-minutes will provide you with an opportunity to get to know your group, and have some fun competing with your fellow attendees.

  • 1:00 PM - 1:45 PM
    What a Long Strange Year it's Been: Navigating Uncertainty to Create a More Resilient Utility
    After the initial shock in March 2020, utilities faced significant, and urgent, internal challenges to first maintain services and then continue with the general business of the utility, including the essential efforts of grid modernizations. Most successful utilities have turned these challenges into opportunities and led with exceptional courage and compassion.
    • Jenell McKay
      Policy & Strategy Manager, Advanced Clean Technology
  • 2:00 PM - 2:45 PM
    Is Stakeholder Engagement Zooming Along?
    When it comes to developing pilots, programs, and other customer offerings stakeholder engagement is the secret sauce. How are utilities supporting the communities they serve while proactively engaging stakeholders in a virtual environment? This session will investigate the opportunities for utility/stakeholder engagement, lessons learned, and best practices when face to face isn't an option.
    • Mary C Palmer
      Environmental Program Coordinator
      Austin Energy
  • 2:00 PM - 2:45 PM
    Integrated Distribution Planning: Strategy Stories from Peers
  • 3:00 PM - 3:45 PM
    The Tale of 2222: Emerging Technologies and Wholesale Markets
    DERs are rapidly changing the way the grid is managed. This session will investigate the rapid adoption of these technologies and the effects they have on overall utility performance both at the circuit level and in different applications from high density feeders to rural circuits. Our panel of experts will discuss emerging regulatory and technological advances including cluster studies, performance metrics, the proliferation of dispatchable smart inverters and how FERC order 2222 will tie it all together.
  • 3:00 PM - 3:45 PM
    Equitable Program Design for a Carbon-Free Future
    Maximizing participation in clean energy programs and initiatives is a group effort. This session will discuss how the emPOWER campaign became a scalable model for addressing the needs of low to moderate income customers and improving access to environmental benefit programs in California.
    • Tom Knox
      Executive Director
      Valley Clean Air Now
  • 1:00 PM - 1:45 PM
    A Clean and Modern Transition: Ensuring the Table is Set for What Comes Next
    Customers and external stakeholders are hungry for what comes next with a clean and modern grid but we know effectively managing that transition is a challenge for utility leadership, their teams, and the systems and services their customers rely on. How can we set the table today by thoughtfully implementing carbon reduction and grid modernization plans that will ensure customers enjoy a sustainable and reliable system down the road. Start off your last day of Utility Conference with an appetite for solutions!
    • Jolene Thompson
      President and Chief Executive Officer
      American Municipal Power
    • Sharon Allan
      Chief Strategy Officer
  • 2:00 PM - 2:45 PM
    The Customer is Always Right: Tailoring Solutions Through Green Tariff Programs
    For large buyers, purchasing clean energy is not one size fits all. Utilities can utilize green tariffs as a bespoke option for meeting customer's clean energy needs and goals. This session will compare different green tariff solutions from across the country.
    • Heather Mulligan
      Manager, Customer Renewable Energy Programs
      Puget Sound Energy
    • Kevin Brannan
      Manager, DER Products and Services
  • 2:00 PM - 2:45 PM
    Achieving Municipal and Transit Agency Electrification Goals
    Municipalities and transit agencies across the country are rapidly adopting clean transportation goals. This session will cover strategic approaches to help these entities achieve their goals including increasing charging infrastructure and utilizing microgrids, energy storage, and grid energy services.
    • Garrett Fitzgerald
      Principal, Electrification
    • Yamen Nanne
      Electric Transportation Program Manager
  • 3:00 PM - 3:45 PM
    Deliberate Collaboration: Building the Utility of the Future at the Expense of None
    Aggressive state and local carbon reduction goals have led to an increase of renewable generation and transmission assets, many of which need to be sited on land under the stewardship of proactive community leadership. How can utilities proactively collaborate, and not compete with these communities? This session will identify how PNM successfully transitioned to a culture of thoughtful, deliberate collaboration with 23 sovereign tribal nations across the state to partner for the effective stewardship of the environment to the benefit of all parties.
  • 3:00 PM - 3:45 PM
    Unique Pairings: Rate Design for a Carbon-Free Future
    Concerned with developing modern utility pricing solutions that accelerate carbon reduction efforts? This unique made for virtual session will feature pre-recorded interviews and a live Q&A with our panelists who will investigate recent efforts to renovate rate design to support carbon reduction efforts. Get ready to challenge your pre-existing assumptions about rate design.

Past Speakers

Sangeeta Ranade

VP, Clean Energy Business, New York Power Authority

Sangeeta Ranade

Sangeeta leads the New York Power Authority’s Clean Energy Business which is developing and financing distributed energy resource projects across New York State. Her responsibilities include managing the team’s profit and loss, signing over $300M in construction contracts per year, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions for NYPA’s governmental customers 40% by 2030. Sangeeta currently serves as a Board Member to the New York State Smart Grid Consortium and the Advanced Energy Research & Technology Center. She is also a member of the Building Energy Exchange’s Industry Leadership Council. She holds an MBA and MS in Environmental Management from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a BS in environmental engineering from Northwestern University.

Jim Alberts

Senior Vice President, Business Development and Strategy, Hawaiian Electric Company, Board Chair

Jim Alberts

Board Chair

Jim Alberts, Senior Vice President for Customer Service at Hawaiian Electric Company, spearheads the utility’s integration of distributed energy resources to help reach Hawaii’s mandate to run 100 percent on renewables by 2045. Jim joined Hawaiian Electric in 2012 as the Senior Vice President of Customer Service, coming to the company with more than 20 years of utility experience at Kansas City Power & Light and Aquila.

During his career, Jim has led teams and designed and implemented programs that focused on establishing top quality customer service and efficiency. While at KCP&L and Aquila as the Vice President of Customer Service, he was responsible for all customer contact channels, customer relations, quality assurance, e-services, billing, accounts receivable management, field services and meter reading. While at Aquila, he was a Lean Six Sigma Deployment Champion and certified Black Belt leading improvement teams across the Company.

He serves as a Board member of Hospice Hawaii, a non-profit organization dedicated to bring hope, reduce fears and impact lives in end-of-life care, and on the Hawaii Employers Council Board of Governors. Jim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Minnesota State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Drake University.

Luis Reyes

CEO & General Manager, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc.

Luis Reyes

Mr. Luis Reyes has been Chief Executive Officer and General Manager at Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc. (KCEC) since 1993. KCEC’s solar fleet serves 10% of capacity. KCEC has undertaken constructing a Solar Deployment Plan in 2017. Solar energy will account for approximately 40% of KCEC’s energy needs to serve its current and future member’s loads. KCEC’s goal is to be able to build to approximately 100% of KCEC’s daily electrical energy needs by 2023 by utilizing solar electric generation capacity in approximately 1 MW facilities located in various locations around KCEC’s service territory.