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Grid Talk

Business & Economics Podcasts

Award winning energy journalist Marty Rosenberg shares insights from electric industry experts on emerging technology and trends for powering our lives. We highlight how the electrical grid is changing faster and more dramatically than ever. Grid Talk is part of the Voices of Experience Initiative sponsored by the DOE Office of Electricity’s Advanced Grid Research division.


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Award winning energy journalist Marty Rosenberg shares insights from electric industry experts on emerging technology and trends for powering our lives. We highlight how the electrical grid is changing faster and more dramatically than ever. Grid Talk is part of the Voices of Experience Initiative sponsored by the DOE Office of Electricity’s Advanced Grid Research division.




Community Solar Ready to Shine

Community solar allows households and businesses to access the benefits of solar energy, such as lower electricity costs, regardless of whether they’re able to host a system on their own roof. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Jeff Cramer who is the president and CEO of Coalition for Community Solar Access. “We’ve figured out a way for any electricity customer to be able to participate and benefit from local clean energy deployment in less than five minutes with guaranteed savings,” said Cramer. And interest in community solar projects is growing, with more states considering community solar programs. “It’s thousands of projects around the country in over 20 states across the country.” By the end of the year there will be six gigawatts of community solar on the system. Cramer expects that to grow significantly in the future. “What Community Solar offers is it offers a sort of a hub for the deployment of, a central hub for the deployment of distributed generation.” Jeff Cramer has served as President and CEO of CCSA since its founding in 2015. Prior to CCSA, Cramer co-founded and served as a Partner at 38 North Solutions, a Washington DC public affairs firm that focused exclusively on federal clean energy and sustainability policies and advocacy. He has a B.A. in government, philosophy from Clark University.


Tom Kuhn Sees Massive Utility Culture, Business Shift

The utility sector is embracing new values and attracting a new kind of work force as it empowers America with a sustainable, affordable, secure grid. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg interviews Tom Kuhn, president and CEO of the Edison Electric Institute which represents investor-owned utilities providing electricity to 235 million Americans. The discussion focuses on the current state of the industry and its future. “We are very cognizant of how important electricity is to every household in this country so it’s very, very important for us to maintain reliability and affordability, but what is going to have to change is obviously our response to increasing growth and the need to maintain reliability for our customers,” said Kuhn. Additionally, Kuhn talks about the impact electric utilities adopting new cultural values. “We have gotten so much cleaner and we are so much committed to it, we are attracting really a tremendous number of young people into this business right now and they’re coming because they see a purpose in life.” He also discusses how recent federal initiatives are spurring deep changes. “The Congress and the White House led the charge on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that we got a few years ago and clean energy tax credits, the Inflation Reduction Act. They were historic pieces of legislation that our infusing-needed capital into this business to help us to achieve this clean energy transition and to enable us to bring on new technologies.” Tom Kuhn joined the Edison Electric Institute in 1985 as executive vice president, was named chief operating officer in 1988, and elected president in 1990. Prior to joining EEI, he was president of the American Nuclear Energy Council, which subsequently merged with the Nuclear Energy Institute. The Council represented virtually all of the companies in the commercial nuclear power industry. Mr. Kuhn served on the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board and the Board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves on the Boards of the Alliance to Save Energy, the United States Energy Association, the Electric Drive Transportation Association, and the American Council for Capital Formation. Mr. Kuhn received a BA in Economics in 1968 from Yale University, served as a Naval Officer following his graduation, and received an MBA in 1972 from George Washington University.


Hawaii’s Pivot to Sustainability

Hawaii gets about one-third of its energy from renewables, and it aims to get to 100 percent by 2045. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg interviews Stephen Walls, the deputy chief energy officer of the Hawaii State Energy Office. The state is still busy assessing the impact of Maui’s devastating fires on its electric grid. “The office is going through an exercise of trying to think through and identify what resources the state does have, to make sure that the energy system remains available, even in, during strange or extreme weather events,” said Walls. Long term, the question is how the state gets to 100 percent renewable generation. “I think we’re encouraged by a few things. One, Kauai - over half of its energy supplied is renewable and if they are able to complete their pump storage hydro project, then they’ll be pushing over 70 percent and they’ll still have the rest of the time to figure out what else they should do” Walls says the state is banking on continued technology change and cost improvements. “We’ve led with the use of and reliance on distributed energy renewable resources and will continue to do that and be at one of the leading voices in smart inverters and inverter-based resources in providing grid services there. Stephen Walls has worked on energy and climate issues in the private, public, non-profit, and academic sectors. Prior to working for the Hawaii State Energy Office, he worked for the U.S. Department of Energy and General Electric. Stephen earned his J.D. with honors from The George Washington University Law School and studied International Relations (B.A.) and Economics (B.S.) at the University of Delaware.


Big Boost to Renewables’ Reserves

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will make a big difference in boosting our reliance on intermittent renewable wind and solar power. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg interviews Dalia Patiño-Echeverri, professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. With renewable energy being deployed at a rapid pace, making sure there is back up, or reserve, power available to meet peak demand is critical. Patiño-Echeverri is using sophisticated forecasting models to precisely predict fluctuations in renewables and reserve generation needs to be ramped up or down. “We will be in a better position to integrate the valuable renewable energy that we get from solar and from wind because we will be considering all the possibilities and we’ll be prepositioning our system in the best way to cope with the variability and the uncertainty of these resources,” said Patiño-Echeverri. “The number one benefit that we see in our technology is that we’re going to have the right level of reserves at each moment and in time in our system.” “And with artificial intelligence and with machine learning, we have found ways to run these models that are more sophisticated, more demanding of computational resources. We have found ways to simplify those requirements and we have found ways to run them faster.” interviews Dalia Patiño-Echeverri Dalia Patiño-Echeverri is the Gendell Associate Professor of Energy Systems and Public Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University where she explores, assesses, and proposes technological, policy, and market approaches to contribute to the goal of striking a balance between environmental sustainability, affordability, and reliability in electricity systems. She received B.S. and M.Sc. degrees in Industrial Engineering from University of The Andes, Bogotá, Colombia and the PhD degree in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.


Wind Mystery and Grid Update at SPP

Wind production in America’s wind basket, a 14-state region including Iowa and Kansas, fell off the table in June, yet the region has served its power load during the hot summer. In this episode of Grid Talk host Marty Rosenberg interviews Lanny Nickell who is executive vice president and CEO for the Southwest Power Pool. Nickell talks about the summer’s wind mystery. “We have over 32,000 megawatts of nameplate wind capacity in SPP. Again, that’s across 14 states. On June 6 of this year at 10 o’clock in the morning, out of the 32,000 megawatts of nameplate wind capacity, only 110 megawatts of energy was actually produced,” he said. “That’s less than 0.4% and what’s remarkable about that number is that you would expect across a broad geographic footprint covering all or parts of 14 states that you would see more wind than what we saw.” It’s alarming because during our peak conditions, we expect to see a little over 5,000 megawatts of wind production,” he said. The system avoided blackouts and brownouts but not by much. “It was stressed, absolutely.” Lanny Nickell – As executive vice president and chief operating officer, Lanny Nickell is responsible for SPP’s provision of engineering, operations, and information technology services to members and customers. These services include coordination of reliable power system operations, development, design and administration of energy markets, development of transmission expansion plans needed to facilitate delivery of reliable and affordable energy to consumers, and administration of resource adequacy policies. Nickell received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tulsa and is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program


One Trillion Dollars for Tomorrow’s Green Grid

Federal spending of one-trillion dollars is aimed at transforming the electric grid and transitioning to clean energy. In this episode of Grid Talk, we talk with Sheri Givens, president and CEO of the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA). The discussion focuses on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. “In looking and listening to our many members and regulators who are involved in accessing those funds, I think it’s an exciting time for clean energy investment and investment in infrastructure,” said Givens. There are still many questions about how the influx of funding will flow down into actual projects. “I know it takes a while to ramp up such large targeted investment and I know a lot of the utilities and the stakeholders are waiting for clear guidance from the federal government,” Givens said. Other challenges include implementing new ideas. “Sometimes innovation can be stymied by the regulatory process. There’s going to need to be some openness and some agility and some flexibility to allow for utilities and third parties and other entities to come in and to make some of these innovative solutions available to customers nationally.” Sheri Givens joined SEPA as president and CEO in November 2022. Her professional experience includes nearly twenty years in legal, regulatory, legislative, and external affairs in both the public and private sectors. She previously served as vice president of US Regulatory and Customer Strategy at National Grid. Prior to joining National Grid, she consulted on utility consumer education and regulatory policy issues in energy markets nationwide. Givens earned a Bachelor of Arts in government from the University of Texas at Austin and a Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center.


PJM’s Massive Grid Evolution

The electric grid in in America’s northeast industrial heartland is in the midst of profound transformation. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Kenneth Seiler who is vice president for PJM Interconnection. Seiler talks about how the electric system is rapidly evolving with PJM evaluating 2,700 new major grid related projects. “We just went through the interconnection reform process to get those most-ready projects out the door.” said Seiler. There are some difficult challenges to getting new projects connected to the grid. “There’s a lot of energy being put on this right now to address any number of these issues whether it’s the queue reform and the bottlenecks that we’re experiencing based on the volumes we’ve been seeing; whether it’s supply chain issues; whether it’s the financing; whether it’s local opposition.” Within PJM, there are 1,500 generation units touched by the transmission grid. “With the amount of renewables that we’re seeing with solar and wind and storage facilities, that number will increase greatly,” Seiler said. “I don’t know what that number will be in the next five years but I will tell you that a lot of the people who are looking to build solar panels and solar farms right now are looking to interconnect at the same exact spot where we have a retired fossil unit,” he said. Kenneth Seiler has been with JPM Interconnection for 23 years. He is responsible for all activities related to resource adequacy, generation interconnection, interregional planning and transmission planning, including the development of the Regional Transmission Expansion Plan. Prior to joining PJM, Seiler worked for Metropolitan Edison Company/GPU Energy for nearly 14 years in various operations and engineering roles. Seiler earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Business Administration from Lebanon Valley College.


Give the Grid a Digital Spine

In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg chats with Audrey Zibelman about the push to make the national grid fully digital. Zibelman is an experienced energy regulator who is advocating for giving the grid a “digital spine. Zibelman was the chair of the New York State Department of Public Service when it introduced its REV new vision for electric energy. She’s also been CEO and managing director of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and, most recently, was vice president of at the Moonshot X Factory at Google. “At X, where I continue to be an advisor, I was brought in to lead a project around grid digitalization. To me, the big critical part of thinking about the whole process of decarbonization is that it’s the amount of information we need to use… as well as the ability to integrate data and all the various devices that are going to be used.” “To help manage an affordable, reliable, clean electric system is massively more complex obviously than it was historically and part of this is going to be creating these digital spines or digital platforms that allow us to manage this data and share it.” Audrey Zibelman is an experienced energy industry executive who has driven innovation within organizations and across the sector. She has been at the helm of multiple organizations leading the transition of the power industry into a decarbonized world as a CEO, Board Member, and government leader. Audrey currently serves on President Biden’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council, is a Board member of EOS Energy, Squadron Energy, and SPAN, and Senior Advisor to the Pollination Group, Meridiam, Alliance Capital, and Camus energy.


Denmark Pioneers Vast Expansion of Wind Power via Two Energy Islands

Two Danish islands will serve as hubs of massive new offshore wind turbines to serve itself and neighboring countries and spur development of clean hydrogen green fuel for aircraft and factories. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Hanne Storm Edlefsen who is the vice president of Energy Islands, a project of the Energinet transmission system operator in Denmark. One complex will be on Bornholm Island in the Baltic and link up 3,000 megawatts of wind power, simplifying the collection of the power and its transmission to land. The second complex will be on a new island to be built in the North Sea. “Well out in the North Sea, we’re going to build an artificial island so that’s a whole other project. This is supposed to be finished in 2033 as the plans are now. It will be in the beginning three or four gigawatts of offshore wind which is to be decided by Parliament within the next couple of months, but the ambition is actually that later there will be added even more gigawatts so the artificial island in the North Sea will end on 10 gigawatts which is so much electricity,” said Edlefsen. Wind power provides half of Denmark’s electricity, and the goal is to increase it by 80% by 2024. “It definitely takes some braveness from the politicians to start these projects where a lot of the technology is still new or untested when they are taking the decisions,” she said. Hanne Storm Edlefsen has been with Energinet for 11 years. Energinet owns, operates, and develops the transmission grids for Danish electricity and gas supply. Her work focuses on sector coupling and large-scale renewables. Edlefsen has a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Copenhagen.


Ten Times Hotter than the Sun

Two major fusion initiatives are making headway in the decades long goal to find the ultimate source of clean energy. In this episode of Grid Talk, we visit with Laban Coblentz who is the head of communications at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project in the south of France. Coblentz described the long quest for fusion and its implications. “Fusion has the potential to give a baseload source of energy without only a fraction of the waste concerns of fission, without the safety concerns of fission, but with the ability to provide clean energy for a planet in a concentrated way.” It will be safe and should not trigger many of the concerns of conventional nuclear reactors that have been around for decades. “Fusion will not be without waste, but it won’t have any long-lived, high activity radioactive waste.” “The fact that the physics don’t allow a meltdown or that kind of thing; you could in fact place it in greater proximity to cities, to industry if you get the local—if you get the regulatory authorities to agree.” The European Union and the United States are two of the seven key, international players in ITER. “ITER is not just a fusion device, it’s an exercise in what happens when the global community believes so much in a common goal and in a better future for our kids that we are willing to put aside our known ideological differences to try to pool our best expertise, something that science has done for a longtime.” Laban Coblentz has been with ITER since 2015. He is an entrepreneur and consultant with leadership roles at several companies. He has been involved with communication, energy policy, advanced science and technology, and entrepreneurship since attending the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power School in the 1980’s. He holds an M.A. in English, English Literature from San Francisco State University and a B.A. in degree in English, Psychology from Malone University.


Creating Stars, Powering the World - Here Comes Fusion!

Fusion power, clean and limitless, long elusive to scientists, may be headed our way sooner than many suspected thanks to a breakthrough experiment in early December at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) in California. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Annie Kritcher, the physicist who designed the successful experiment that recreated the energy source of the sun. She explained: “What we’re doing here is essentially creating a miniature star in a lab about the size of a human hair to half the size of the human hair. We have 192 giant lasers and when we say giant, that means that the whole system that is used to create this laser energy and all the details associated with it, it’s the size of three football fields when you put all of the 192 laser beams together.” Fusion research has been going on for decades, but the December experiment is a significant breakthrough and represents a new approach. “The thing that’s different this time is that for the first time we’ve actually demonstrated in the laboratory that we can achieve fusion energy gain in a controlled way. Before that, we’ve never actually generated fusion energy output that was controlled in a laboratory setting. This result motivates and is a proof of principal for all the different approaches out there,” said Kritcher. That increases the likelihood of success. “There’s also a huge resurgence in the number of people working in this area and the different approaches that are being looked at and when you have that many people looking at a problem, the progress is highly accelerated.” Dr. Annie Kritcher is the design lead within the Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) team as part of the National Ignition Facility at LLNL. Dr. Kritcher started at LLNL as a summer intern in 2004. She earned a PhD in Nuclear Engineering and Plasma Physics and a MS Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Annie earned her BS in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences at the University of Michigan.


Here Come Residential Heat Pumps

In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Michael Sachse who is the CEO of Dandelion Energy. Dandelion Energy’s mission is to enable the widespread adoption of geothermal. “If you think about what we need to decarbonize, heating’s really a challenge because so much about heating comes from burning natural gas; a lot of homes burn fuel oil, and so really, we got focused on that problem,” said Sachse. The company offers homeowners affordable geothermal heating & cooling systems as an alternative to gas, oil, propane, or electric heating. “There’s a strong and growing emotional sense that people want to be sustainable, and they want to make investments that are going to speak to their values.” Sachse also talks about the cost of installing geothermal heat pumps and how long it takes for a unit to pay for itself. Michael Sachse is an experienced executive who has previously scaled start-ups through periods of rapid growth. Sachse was previously CEO of Stardog, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at NEA, and Chief Marketing Officer at Opower, where he helped to guide the company through its IPO and acquisition by Oracle. Sachse is a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Law School. Snippet: “Geothermal is a terrific fit for any part of the country that has hot summers and cold winters.”


Kansas City’s Massive Solar Ambitions

Kansas City, Missouri is working to place the largest municipal solar farm in the nation next to its $1.5 billion new Kansas City International Airport. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with the Brian Platt who is the City Manager. “If we ever want to make positive change and progress in these existential and generational challenges that we’re facing, we have to be big and bold,” said Platt. The project is adding to Kansas City’s reputation as a leader in reducing carbon emissions and much more. “We identified 3,100 acres of land that can be used for solar development that can produce up to 500 megawatts of solar panels on that site. We could potentially power 70,000 homes from a solar array in this location which would be about a third of the city.” Platt is big on thinking creatively. “Well, one of the things that we’re thinking about as a city is how we can be better stewards of the environment and improve health and quality of life for our residents. And one of the things you think about of course with air quality and pollution and health outcomes is how do we reduce carbon emissions?” Brian Platt has been the city Manager since December of 2020. The city manager is responsible for making city services run efficiently and economically. Platt previously served as City Manager for Jersey City, New Jersey. He earned his Master of Public Administration at Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at Emory University.


Dramatic Fed EV Charging Expansion

The federal government is spending $7.5 billion on Electric Vehicle infrastructure to increase EV adoption across the country. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg chats with Nick Voris who is the senior manager of electrification for Evergy. “It’s going to unlock nationwide travel with respect to EVs,” said Voris. The money will be spent over the next five years to create electrification corridors. “The National EV Infrastructure Program… is intent on creating charging sites every 50 miles along our major highway corridors coast-to-coast.” “Once we get to the point that we have highway corridor stations every 50 miles, it really reduces or dare I say, eliminates range anxiety because you have so many charging options that do not exist right now so if you can travel Interstate with an EV.” Voris believes this one of the most dynamic corners in the utility industry right now. “I don’t think there’s anything that the utility does that’s sexy, but this is the closest thing.” Nick Voris leads the Evergy team responsible for developing and implementing electrification products and services, including the utility’s long-term electrification roadmap. He been with Evergy since 2017. He previously worked for Kansas City Power and Light and City Utilities of Springfield, MO. Voris has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology.


Austin Seeks Equity for Electric Customers

In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with the General Manager of Austin Energy, Jackie Sargent. The discussion is focused on the city-owned utility’s push to be carbon free by 2035 and ensuring equity for electric customers. “When we are at looking moving forward and reaching those carbon-free goals, affordability is part of that equation, and it’s really important for us that we address the customers who are most vulnerable within our community,” said Sargent. Austin Energy has one of the most robust customer-assistance programs in the country. “Not only do we provide utility bill subsidies and savings for those customers, but we have a whole slate of wrap-around services. We actually work with 56 partners in our community to support these customers because you could help them with their utility bill, but they have a lot more needs than just paying for their electricity.” The utility is proactive in making sure programs are accessible. “We’ve also brought on a consultant to create a Customer Journey Map to help us understand what our customers experience when they’re requesting, and they’re receiving, services from us, and we’ll use that to help us to better direct those services to those or the people that most need them and create the best customer experience for all of our customers.” Jackie Sargent rejoined the Austin Energy team as General Manager in August 2016. From 2010 to 2012, Sargent served as Senior Vice President of Power Supply and Market Operations at Austin Energy before joining Platte River Power Authority in Fort Collins, Colorado, as General Manager and CEO. Sargent also served as Vice President of Power Supply and Renewables Integration for Black Hills Corporation in South Dakota. Sargent is a licensed professional engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Science in Technology Management from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.


Enel of Italy Leads a Surge in US Renewables

Italian utility powerhouse Enel is championing a surge of renewable investments in America and transformation of the grid. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Mona Tierney-Lloyd who’s head of U.S. Public Policy at Enel North America. Enel is the world’s leading private electricity distribution provider and it’s also the world’s largest renewable developer. The discussion focuses on the significant transformations happening in the energy sector. “This is the most interesting time to be in the energy sector that I’ve ever experienced,” said Tierney-Lloyd. “It’s really great to see all of these policies become implemented at customer levels and at the grid levels and really become a significant factor in the energy industry.” The podcast also looks at the Italian company’s push in the U.S. Market. “Enel is very bullish on development in the United States. We have eight gigawatts of renewable development operational today and we have expectations of adding at least two gigawatts per year of additional renewable development. Most of our new development that we have underway we’re also adding utility-scale battery storage alongside of that new renewable development.” Mona Tierney-Lloyd has 30 years of experience in the energy industry and policy development. She has worked for Enel and Enel predecessor companies for nearly 15 years. Tierney-Lloyd has been with Enel North America since 2020 where she supported regional transmission organization bills that passed in Nevada and Colorado. She Participated in stakeholder process that developed policies for distributed energy resource participation in markets in MISO, ERCOT, and CAISO. Tierney-Lloyd previously worked as Senior Director, Western Regulatory Affairs at EnerNOC. She has a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering from Penn State University.


Grid Italian Style - ENEL Defines the Future

Italy is at the forefront of major utilities worldwide realizing its vision of the future of electricity. The massive utility aims to be carbon neutral by 2040. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Antonio Cammisecra, who’s the head of the Enel Grids within the Enel Group in Italy. Enel Grids operates a massive 1.5 million miles of predominately distribution lines. “Without a doubt we are the most digitized distribution company in the world,” said Cammisecra. “We are the absolute leader in this field.” It is all part of a sweeping, utility sector transformation. “It took us 20 years to completely digitalize the Italian grid for which we are very well advanced. And we had several waves of digitalization so, now we are at the third generation of digital meter. We have achieved basically two things: the capability to open up a much more modern electricity market because the digitization of the metering itself is the beginning of a much more modern market so you can have hourly pricing for example.” “We understood there was a new era approaching to the industry and you cannot, let’s say, survive or prosper or lead the industry without deep profound change in the way you wanted to stay in that industry, which, of course, conceives a different approach to innovation and to sustainability.” Antonio Cammisecra became Head of the Enel Grids Business Line on October 1, 2020. Prior to that, he was the Sole Director of Enel Green Power and Director of the Africa, Asia, and Oceania region. He joined the International Division of Enel Group in 1999 and has served in multiple positions. Cammisecra studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Naples Federico II, graduating with first class honors in 1996. He received an MBA from Milan’s Bocconi University in 2004.


Microgrids Blanket Alaska - Prime US Testbed

Alaska is global leader in microgrid technology with one of highest concentrations of renewably powered microgrid projects in the world. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Peter Asmus who is Executive Director of Alaska Microgrid Group. The group offers access to expertise from the utility industry and research community to leverage decades of experience designing, building and operating microgrid projects across Alaska. “What’s unique about Alaska is it’s number one in the U.S. for total microgrid capacity,” said Asmus. Just about every Alaskan is served by a microgrid. “At last count I saw something like 3,500 megawatts of installed capacity. Most of those systems are what I would call remote power systems where there is no grid and that’s what’s unusual about Alaska”. Microgrids loom large over the future of an electric grid that will be integrating increasing amounts of renewable energy, providing ever greater levels of resilience, Asmus said. “I see microgrids becoming a bigger and bigger thing as climate change impacts accelerate and the power outage rate keeps going up. People are so dependent on electricity; they’re going to want some form of a microgrid resiliency.” Peter Asmus is a leading global authority on microgrid markets and other emerging trends in sustainable and resilient energy systems. Author of four books, he has been writing about and analyzing emerging trends in energy policy, technology and applications since 1986. Most recently, he was Research Director with Guidehouse Insights where he started up the world’s first global data set on microgrids and developed a forecast methodology to estimate future growth. Additionally, he was editor of the Clean Power Journal, assistant editor of California Policy Choices, and has written for several energy trade publications, including Windpower Monthly and Electric Utility Week. Asmus holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin.


Utilities Fully in on Carbon Fight

Three out of four Americans are served by utilities out to slash carbon emissions, according to Julia Hamm, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Smart Electric Power Alliance. In this episode of Grid Talk, Hamm sits down with host Marty Rosenberg to talk about how the power industry has changed over the last 19 years. “73% of all U.S. electric customers are served by a utility that has a public target for a hundred percent carbon reduction, so I’d say that’s pretty significant,” said Hamm. With utilities making clean energy a core part of their mission, they are driving significant changes to the industry. “Utilities are now playing an active leadership role in helping to decarbonize not only their own business operations but also working proactively with customers, others in their supply chain and really across the whole economy in order to accelerate decarbonization.” To match that profound change, utility regulators and policymakers need to better coordinate the rules governing the energy sector, she said. “We need to see an increased level of coordination at the federal, state, and local levels far beyond what we have historically seen,” Hamm said. For the past 20 Julia Hamm has been advising and collaborating with utilities, solution providers and government agencies on business models, grid modernization, and clean energy policies, strategies and programs. She oversees SEPA’s research, education, and collaboration activities for its 1,100 member companies. Hamm is a graduate of Cornell University.


States Get Ready for Fed Grid Spend

A federal infusion of $80 billion in infrastructure spending is generating new levels of innovation and cooperation when it comes to maintaining and upgrading the electrical grid. In this episode of Grid Talk, we hear from Dianne Solomon who is a commissioner on the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU). She also is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and currently serves as Chair of the Committee on Critical Infrastructure. This gives her a unique perspective on how federal dollars will be spent across the states. “There’s no 50-state agreement on how and where the grid needs to be improved, in what fashion. It really is based upon where you are located and where you stand is sort of where you sit in terms of what you…each state determines what the needs are for their area. But the one thing that all commissioners can agree upon is their charge as commissioners and that’s to ensure safe, reliable service at reasonable rates.” Solomon also talks about the role of innovation in shaping the grid of the future. “There is a tremendous amount of innovation being supported in the utility space at both the federal and state level. The Committee of Critical Infrastructure that I chair has a great working relationship with the Department of Energy and that’s always helpful. The states’ initiatives with the federal government is going to be very important in moving these innovations forward.” Commissioner Solomon was confirmed to serve as Commissioner of the Board of Public Utilities in 2013. She was re-confirmed in 2017. Prior to her appointment to the NJBPU she served as Commissioner of the South Jersey Transportation Authority, which is responsible for operating the Atlantic City Expressway, Atlantic City Airport, and shuttle service in and around South Jersey. Commissioner Solomon is a graduate of Rider University with a degree in Political Science.