On behalf of PESD, Stanford co-hosts PIE, TomKat, and SIEPR, and external sponsors Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and the Kauffman Foundation, convened an all-day conference on September 15 on “Transmission Policies to Unlock America’s Renewable Energy Resources”
The traditional transmission paradigm was well-adapted to fossil fuel plants built near cities and operated by vertically-integrated utilities. We need a whole new transmission paradigm to realize the potential of intermittent wind and solar generation in today’s wholesale markets.
The conference sessions (see Agenda) focused on different aspects of what this new paradigm will have to look like, focusing on the Western region. How can markets for renewable energy credits help drive transmission policy? Who will pay for new transmission that straddles state lines and service areas? How can environmental impacts be weighed without bogging down transmission planning?
Our distinguished speakers and discussants have many years of experience working on precisely these issues from the academic, industry, nonprofit, and government perspectives. This event brought new insights into how to move forward on transmission in the West, and we thank everyone who participated.
Opening remarks by Frank Wolak, Director, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development
Session 1: The Paradigm Shift in the Role of the Transmission Network
Speaker—Lorenzo Kristov, Principle, Market and Infrastructure Policy, California Independent System Operator (ISO)
Discussants: James Bushnell, Associate Professor, UC Davis Department of Economics and Udi Helman, Director, Economic and Pricing Analysis, BrightSource Energy
Session 2: Policy Tools for Meeting Renewable Energy Goals
Speaker—Harry Singh, Vice President, Goldman Sachs
Discussants: Sydney Berwager, Director, Strategy Integration, Bonneville Power Administration and Julie Fitch, Director, Energy Division, California Public Utilities Commission
Session 3: Developing a Regional Transmission Planning Process
Speaker—Brad Nickell, Director of Transportation Expansion Planning Western Electricity Coordinating Council
Discussants: Scott Cauchois, Transmission Expansion Planning Policy committee Chair, Western Electricity Coordinating Counsil and Rebecca Wagner, Commissioner, Nevada Public Utilities Commission
Session 4: Paying for Transmission
Speaker—Douglas Kimmelman, Senior Partner, Energy Capital Partners and Perry Cole, Managing Director, Energy Captial Partners
Discussants: Michael Hindus, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP and Darrel Thorson, VP, Business Development North America, BP Wind Energy
Session 5: Environmental Impacts of Transmission Siting
Speaker—Sean Gallagher, Managing Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs, K Road Power
Discussants: Julia Souder, Project Development Manager, Clean Line Energy Partners and Carl Zichella, Director of Western Transmission, Natural Resources Defense Council
Session 6: Lessons for Transmission Planning and Pricing
from Other Jurisdictions
Speaker—Benjamin Hobbs, Director, Environment, Energy, Sustainability,
and Health Institute, Johns Hopkins University
Discussants: Cristian Munoz, Engineer, AES Gener, Santiago, Chile and
Alex Papalexopoulos, President and CEO, ECCO International, Inc.