The Answers To Hit Your Carbon Reduction Goals

May 2 - 4, 2022
Portland, OR

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

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

2021 Agenda
All times shown are in Eastern Daylight Time.
  • Monday, April 12
  • Tuesday, April 13
  • Wednesday, April 14
  • 4:00 PM - 4:30 PM
    Incentivizing Innovation Through Thoughtful Regulation
    The 2021 Utility Conference opening general session will feature a fireside chat with SEPA Managing Director, Janet Gail Besser. This discussion will investigate the challenges, opportunities, and realities of the shifting economics facing utilities, and the interstate wholesale power markets that serve them. The conversation will explore the role of distributed energy resources in transmission, the investment risk of fossil fuel assets, an analysis of recently implemented utility carbon reduction strategies, and much more.
    • Janet Gail Besser
      Managing Director
      Smart Electric Power Alliance
      Moderator
    • Allison Clements
      Commissioner
      FERC
      Speaker
  • 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM
    Quick talks

    Aggregation of Customer-Sited Assets to Support The Grid & Customer's Goals

    Presenter: Sangeeta Ranade, VP, Clean Energy Solutions, NYPA

    NYPA is working to bring distributed resources such as solar, storage, and level 2 chargers to governmental and commercial customers across New York State. Sangeeta will share how NYPA's solution to aggregate government customer-sited assets helps to better support the grid and customer's goals.


    Change Imperative: An Economywide View of Decarbonizing the Electric Sector 

    Presenter: Stephen Torres, Principal Manager, Climate Adaptation & Resilience Planning and Analytics, Southern California Edison

    As other states adopt GHG reduction targets, electric utilities will need to understand how decarbonization in other sectors impact the electric sector, the impact of these new loads in hourly demand, and how to integrate higher level of renewables to meet states' GHG reduction goals. Stephen Torres will discuss how SCE utilized economy-wide GHG reduction pathways to support their role in decarbonizing the economy in California.


    • Stephen Torres
      Principal Manager, Climate Adaptation & Resilience Planning and Analytics
      Southern California Edison
      Speaker
  • 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 maintain services for customers. Today, successful utilities have turned these challenges into opportunities and led with exceptional courage and compassion.
    • Chris Schroeder
      Vice President, Strategic Solutions
      Smart Electric Power Alliance
      Moderator
    • Jenell McKay
      Policy & Strategy Manager, Advanced Clean Technology
      San Diego Gas & Electric
      Speaker
    • Josh Gould
      Director of Innovation
      Duquesne Light
      Speaker
    • Rebecca Tolene
      Vice President, Environment
      Tennessee Valley Authority
      Speaker
  • 2:00 PM - 2:45 PM
    Is Stakeholder Engagement Zooming Along?
    How do you continue to develop pilots, programs, and other customer offerings, when in-person convenings are impossible? Dig into opportunities, lessons learned, and best practices from utilities who are setting the bar for virtual stakeholder engagement.
    • Kate Strickland
      Manager, Industry Strategy
      Smart Electric Power Alliance
      Moderator
    • Mary C Palmer
      Environmental Program Coordinator
      Austin Energy
      Speaker
    • Rachel Huang
      Director, Energy Strategy, Research and Development
      SMUD
      Speaker
    • Brian Schuster
      Director, Customer and Community Engagement
      National Grid
      Speaker
  • 2:00 PM - 2:45 PM
    Integrated Distribution Planning: Strategy Stories from Peers
    Growing DER adoption and electrification, coupled with an unprecedented number and magnitude of natural disasters have highlighted significant challenges to current distribution system capabilities and planning processes. Several state clean energy mandates and grid modernization processes have driven increased movement towards integrated distribution planning (IDP). Panelists will share their experiences in different phases of investigation and implementation and execution of IDP plans.
    • Ben Ealey
      Principal, Grid Integration
      Smart Electric Power Alliance
      Moderator
    • Lavelle Freeman
      Director of Distribution System Planning
      Eversource
      Speaker
    • Susan Mora-Schrader
      Senior Director, Strategic Initiatives
      Exelon Utilities
      Speaker
  • 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 impacts of growing DER adoption 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 FERC Order 2222.
    • Lee Hall
      Smart Grid Program Manager
      Bonneville Power Administration
      Moderator
    • Anja Gilbert
      Principal, Integrated Grid Planning and Innovation
      PG&E
      Speaker
    • Henry Yoshimura
      Director, Demand Resource Strategy
      ISO-NE
      Speaker
  • 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.
    • Ben Russak
      Director, Public Partnerships
      Liberty Hill Foundation
      Speaker
    • Tom Knox
      Executive Director
      Valley Clean Air Now
      Speaker
    • Michelle Nuttall
      Sr. Advisor, Energy Equity & Access Policy
      Southern California Edison
      Moderator
  • 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM
    Quicktalks

    The State of Utility Low-Income Solar

    Presenters: Jared Leader, Senior Manager, Research and Industry Strategy and Ravi Malhotra, Founder and President, ICAST

    SEPA and ICAST will present recent research highlighting the latest utility and state actions on reducing utility costs for low-income communities through solar PV and discuss how solar PV and community solar programs can help with housing affordability for low-income populations. SEPA is a partner on ICAST's U.S. DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) supported initiative, Project Sunlight, which seeks to provide solar PV access to low-income customers and develop a cost-effective approach to scale these projects.


    Non-Wires Alternatives: A Look at Eversource’s Screening Framework

    Presenter: Gerhard Walker, Principal Engineer, Eversource 

    Gerhard Walker will share insights from Eversource's NWA Screening Framework that looks at a broad portfolio of NWA options, both from a technical and a financial standpoint.

    • Gerhard Walker
      Principal Engineer
      Eversource
      Speaker
    • Jared Leader
      Senior Manager, Research and Industry Strategy
      SEPA
      Speaker
    • Ravi Malhotra
      Founder and President
      ICAST
      Speaker
  • 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. However, effectively managing that transition is a challenge for utility leadership and their teams. How can you set the table today by thoughtfully implementing carbon reduction and grid modernization plans that will ensure 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, Inc.
      Speaker
    • Luis A. Reyes
      Chief Executive Officer
      Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc.
      Speaker
    • Sharon Allan
      Chief Strategy Officer
      Smart Electric Power Alliance
      Moderator
    • Mary Kipp
      President
      Puget Sound Energy
      Speaker
  • 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 charging infrastructure and utilizing microgrids, energy storage, and grid energy services.
    • Fabio Mantovani
      VP, e-Mobility
      New York Power Authority
      Speaker
    • Garrett Fitzgerald
      Principal, Electrification
      Smart Electric Power Alliance
      Moderator
    • Jordan Smith
      Consulting Engineer
      SCE
      Speaker
    • Yamen Nanne
      Electric Transportation Program Manager
      LADWP
      Speaker
    • Sejal Shah
      Senior Program Manager
      National Grid
      Speaker
  • 2:00 PM - 2:45 PM
    The Customer is Always Right: Tailoring Solutions With Renewable Energy Products
    For buyers small and large, purchasing clean energy isn’t one size fits all. Utilities can utilize renewable energy products as a bespoke option for meeting customers’ clean energy needs and goals. This session will compare different solutions from across the country.
    • Chris Hansen
      VP, Origination and Renewables
      Tennessee Valley Authority
      Speaker
    • Heather Mulligan
      Manager, Customer Clean Energy Products
      Puget Sound Energy
      Moderator
    • Kevin Brannan
      Manager, DER Products and Services
      Evergy
      Speaker
  • 3:00 PM - 3:45 PM
    Unique Pairings: Rate Design for a Carbon-Free Future
    Concerned about developing modern utility pricing solutions that accelerate carbon reduction efforts? This unique session will investigate recent efforts to renovate rate design to support carbon reduction efforts. Get ready to challenge your pre-existing assumptions!
    • Lon Huber
      Vice President, Rate Design and Strategic Solutions
      Duke Energy Corporation
      Moderator
    • Margot Everett
      Director, Energy, Sustainability and Infrastructure
      Guidehouse
      Speaker
    • Nick Brown
      City Energy Manager
      City of Phoenix
      Speaker
  • 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 increased renewable generation and transmission assets, many of which need to be sited on land under the stewardship of proactive community leadership. How can utilities 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.
    • Cathy Newby
      Director, Tribal Government and Customer Engagement
      Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM)
      Speaker
    • Max Zuni
      Former Governor
      Pueblo of Isleta, New Mexico
      Speaker

2021 Top Speakers

Lon Huber

Vice President, Rate Design and Strategic Solutions, Duke Energy Corporation

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Lon Huber

Lon Huber is a Vice President at Duke Energy overseeing the development and implementation of pricing and strategic solutions for the collection of over $22 billion in regulated revenue per year. Responding to changing customer needs, Lon is tasked with the development of new innovative electric rate designs in all jurisdictions of Duke Energy. Lon works to create new customer centric product bundles by leading the company’s demand side management and energy efficiency strategy as well as customer renewable strategy.
Lon also heads Duke’s Regulated Wholesale Portfolio consisting of 7.6 GW of contracts and over $2 billion revenue. Lon’s team structures all renewable QF contracts, which in the North Carolina consists of the nation’s second largest state portfolio of solar, second only to California. Finally, his team supports Duke’s generation procurement, helping Duke transition its 53 GW fleet to net zero by 2050.
Lon has received numerous awards for his creative solutions to the electricity industry’s most pressing issues, including the top honor from the Energy Storage Association as well as Utility Dive’s Innovator of the Year award.

Luis Reyes

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

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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.

Jolene Thompson

President and Chief Executive Officer, AMP

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Jolene Thompson

Jolene Thompson was named AMP President/CEO in 2020. She has been with AMP since 1990, having most recently served as executive vice president of member services and external affairs where she provided oversight of AMP’s government relations, communications, technical services, environmental affairs, sustainability initiatives, risk, insurance, strategic planning and member programs, including North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) compliance activities. She also serves as the general manager of the Municipal Energy Services Agency (MESA).

Thompson, active nationally, serves as chair of the American Public Power Association (APPA) Board of Directors and as a member of the executive committee. She is a member of the Boards of The Energy Authority (TEA) and Large Public Power Council (LPPC). Thompson was previously a member of the Transmission Access Policy Study (TAPS) Group Board of Directors, where she served on the executive committee and as chair of the legislative committee. She previously chaired the APPA Advisory and Legislative and Resolutions committees and sat on the Consumer Federation of America Board of Directors.

Thompson is a recipient of APPA’s Harold Kramer-John Preston Personal Service Award and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Otterbein University. She served as the executive director of the Ohio Municipal Electric Association (OMEA) from 1997-2020. Thompson led the environmental permitting and public relations teams that worked on AMP generation projects in multiple states. She directed the successful launch of the $26-million Efficiency Smart program for AMP members, and has overseen major human resource and benefit program updates. Throughout her career, Thompson has worked closely with AMP members and advocated with state and federal policymakers on behalf of AMP and public power.

In February 2020, the AMP Board of Trustees named Thompson to replace long-time AMP President and CEO Marc Gerken, PE, following his retirement.

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2021 Utility Patron

2021 Solution Providers