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FERC & Virginia Tech, EnVision Forum 2021

Future of Electric Energy for an Industry in Transformation

Virtual Event,
Co-Hosted by FERC and Virginia Tech
Monday, April 26 and Tuesday, April 27

As the fourth industrial revolution unfolds, the future of everything is changing. The energy sector is no exception. As global demand grows, consumer behaviors and preferences change, and technological innovations accelerate, the energy landscape is quickly evolving—with new opportunities and challenges on the horizon. Advances in planetary scale cloud computing, electronic processing of electrical energy, grid innovations and vulnerabilities, the rise of electric and autonomous vehicles and the internet of things have all placed the energy sector at the forefront of disruption in the digital age.

The complex issues of the day require bold visions, novel theories, and creative partnerships. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Virginia Tech are partnering to bring together leading thinkers, universities, government partners, and corporate entities to discuss, share, and innovate. The second annual EnVision Forum will open a series of conversations to explore the innovations and limitations that are driving what’s next in energy future.

Together, we will investigate key issues in the energy sector and ask questions such as: Where are the major innovations happening? Where are the major vulnerabilities/limitations? What has the global pandemic taught us? How are leading private and public sector partners addressing the issues? What’s next?

Conference Schedule

Day 1: Monday, April 26, 2021
(11:00 AM to 5:00 PM EDT / 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM PDT)

Opening Session:

Welcome from President of Virginia Tech, Tim Sands; Chairman of FERC, Richard Glick and Conference Technical Co-Chairs Dushan Boroyevich and Chen-Ching Liu
[11:00AM EDT/ 8:00AM PDT ]

Tracks

Richard Sedano
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Regulatory Assistance Project

Kelcey Brown
President and Chief Executive Officer,
MidAmerican Energy

Curt Morgan
Chief Executive Officer,
Vistra  

Audrey Zibelman
Vice President,
X- The Moonshot Factory

The phrase “grid resilience” has become a watchword—especially now, as extreme weather events dominate headlines and our energy landscape rapidly evolves. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation oversee an extensive set of standards to ensure the reliability of the bulk power system; however, the concept of resilience is less well-defined. Further, oversight of measures that deliver resilience rests in federal, state and even local hands. This panel will offer executive insights on—and build shared understanding around—what it means to have a resilient grid, how we can achieve it, and the role of regulators in this moment.

Bryan Hannegan
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Holy Cross Energy

Jill Anderson
Senior Vice President,
Southern California Edison

Ben Kroposki
Director of Power Systems Engineering Center,
National Renewable Energy Lab

Elliot Mainzer
President and Chief Executive Officer,
California ISO

Mark McGranaghan
Vice President for Technology Innovation,
Electric Power Research Institute

Danielle Merfeld
Vice President and Chief Technology Officer,
General Electric Renewable Energy

As we move towards decarbonization, the great challenge of the current electrical grid is its unstoppable evolution to a more complex multi-way meshed network where more renewable and distributed power generation are integrated into the grid, where end-points are not only consuming, but also producing power. Power electronics play an increasingly vital role in the electrical energy systems of the future, with the potential to enhance stability with appropriate controls at an affordable cost. Consequently, FERC’s focus is shifting towards regulating new electrical energy systems that will significantly enhance availability, stability, security, and robustness, including regulatory requirements for power electronics to enhance the stability of the power system.

The discussions in this track will address questions such as: what will the future grid architecture look like? What existing assumptions and paradigms should be reexamined or challenged to accelerate our progress towards the future grid? What regulatory incentives can be deployed to drive innovation to enhance the availability, stability, and robustness of the future grid? What can be appropriate retail models in a new electricity market that will provide customers with competitive options in energy exchange?

It can be argued that a hint for answering these questions comes down to a very simple one question – two worlds – three equations rule: one question – as implied in the title of this track, can be answered if two worlds - power systems and power electronics - came together and solved three seemingly independent equations: technology, economics, and regulation.

Remarks by Ed Baine, President Dominion Energy Virginia

Ralph Cavanagh
Co-director, Energy Program,
National Resources Defense Council

Bob Cummings
President,
Red Yucca Power Consulting

Matthew Gardner
Director of System Protection,
Dominion Energy

Tom O’Brien
Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer,
PJM Interconnection

Kenyon Wells
Senior Vice President,
CGI

Tongxin Zheng
Director of Advanced Technology Solutions,
ISO New England

Advanced analytics, automation, power electronics, and other smart technologies are helping utilities value and optimize their assets. This track will explore the incorporation of such technologies into the grid and electricity market topics related to IT, cyber security, and cloud computing technologies, with a focus on vulnerabilities and risk mitigation. We will examine the adoption of new technologies by the power industry to gain efficiency and security in cyber-power systems, including asking question such as: How will cyberattacks impact grid reliability and electricity markets? How will extreme natural events impact grid resiliency and electricity markets? Are Distribution System Operators (DSOs) emerging as main entities to drive a highly decentralized grid of the future? Is the decoupling of power grid into a power-electronics-enabled agglomeration of microgrids a way to increase resilience?

As market forces drive innovation, why do we see fast technological developments in certain areas, such as transportation, while it is absent in others? What is a role of energy storage in the future grid? Do we need new solutions for better power flow control, black-start capabilities, low-voltage ride-through, and protection coordination? What is the role of HVDC and FACTS in the future grid?

Closing Remarks, Day 1, Neil Chatterjee, Commissioner, FERC
[5:00 PM EDT  / 2:00 PM PDT]

 

Day 2: Tuesday, April 27, 2021
(11:00 AM to 5:00 PM EDT / 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM PDT)

Welcome, Envision Forum Day 2:

Julia Ross, Virginia Tech, College of Engineering and Dan Sui, Vice President, Office of Research and Innovation
[11:00AM EDT/ 8:00AM PDT ]

Tracks

Colette Honorable
Partner,
Reed Smith

Patricia Hoffman
Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Electricity,
U.S. Department of Energy

Mark Lauby
Senior Vice President and Chief Engineer,
North American Electric Reliability Corporation

Gordon van Welie
President and Chief Executive Officer,
ISO New England

Brent Wanner
Lead World Energy Outlook Power Sector Modelling,
International Energy Agency

Large-scale penetration of wind and solar PV energy is already here. In 2020 and 2021, several regional transmission organizations and independent system operators reported record renewable energy penetration on the electricity grid. The issuance of FERC Orders 2222 and 841 further enable the deployment of energy storage resources, and the impact of these resources on the energy mix will be a game changer. Technological and RD&D advancements prompt considerations of the role of hydrogen and other resources in the future generation mix. These dynamics are occurring globally, nationally, regionally and locally. In this track we will address questions such as: How does the changing generation mix impact the regulatory environment, and vice versa? Will the changing generation mix impact reliability of the grid, and if so, how? Will security become more challenging as the ownership of energy devices becomes decentralized, and why? How should grid infrastructure expand to accommodate highly fluctuating distributed energy resources and a bidirectional energy flow where loads can become sources in a fraction of a second – such as energy storage? What new market opportunities may arise for small, non-utility renewable energy owners, such as Virginia Tech? Developed societies are in transition from times of energy scarcity to an era of energy abundance, but have failed to develop ways to bring energy to everyone who needs it. Still every sixth person on this planet has no access to electricity at all. How do we facilitate global energy development while also supporting new and emerging technologies?

Mark Johnson
Director, Center for Advanced Manufacturing,
Clemson University

David Danielson
Managing Director,
Breakthrough Energy Ventures

Tom Hassenboehler
Founder and Executive Director,
The Coefficient Group

Tim Heidel
Chief Technology Officer,
VEIR

Cheryl Martin
Founder,
Harwich Partners

Abigail Regitsky
Senior Associate,
Breakthrough Energy

Adam Rosenberg
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology,
Subcommittee on Energy

Mehul Sanghani
Chief Executive Officer,
Octo Consulting

Jetta Wong
President,
JLW Advising

Energy infrastructure is operated by industry that is optimized for dependability and low cost, with huge sunken investments, while the supply of technology, equipment, software, as well as construction, is dominated by a small number of global companies. As the new technologies emerge, the industry is expected to broaden. However, this transformation cannot be smooth without strong support by society and through government policies. New IT and cyber security technologies are changing our lives in many ways. The human, societal, and economic impacts of COVID-19 illustrate the interconnectedness of the world. Innovations are critically needed to ride out the crisis and prosper in the new reality. Enhanced connectivity provides a new opportunity for wider reach.

Partnerships among academic institutions, government, entrepreneurs, established industry and communities are more important than ever. Here we will explore questions such as: How will innovations impact the electric energy industry? What new partnerships are emerging? How can we facilitate them and what can we learn from them? What are economic aspects of new energy delivery? How behind-the-meter resources and consumers might play in a new, consumer-driven market? What lessons can we learn from other developed societies such as Europe and Australia? What steps have to be taken to engage and start educating new generation of students and leaders to become driving forces for leading-edge research and development in the future of electric energy? How can FERC help to accommodate and stimulate new academic environments (e.g. living labs). The Virginia Tech Climate Action Working Group proposes the vision of a “Climate Action Living Laboratory” in which university facilities collaborate closely with research and educational programs, e.g., the partnership between Virginia Tech Electric Service and the Power and Energy Center.

Jeff Dennis
Managing Director and General Counsel,
Advanced Energy Economy

The Hon. Lamont Bagby
Delegate,
Virginia House of Delegates

Carine Dumit
Director, Market Development and Public Policy
East, EVgo

Duncan McIntyre
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Highland Electric Transportation

Chris Nelder
Manager, Carbon-Free Mobility,
Rocky Mountain Institute

The deployment of Electric Vehicles (EVs) and EV charging infrastructure to support the electrification of fleets and passenger vehicles is increasing nationwide, creating a pressing need to explore and understand their effects on and value to our energy systems. This panel will address both the opportunities and challenges that fleet and passenger transit electrification will create for our changing grid, evolving electric markets, and consumers. The ground-breaking planned deployment of an all-electric public school bus fleet in Montgomery County, Maryland, will serve as a real-world case study to anchor the discussion, which will bring together perspectives from leaders in EV fleet deployment, state policymakers, and system planning experts. They will discuss the opportunities for fleets, passenger EVs, and charging infrastructure to provide services to the grid, the unique infrastructure planning and construction challenges of electrification of transportation, and innovative federal and state policy approaches to these opportunities and challenges.

Closing and Conference Summary

 

Steering Committee

Neil Chatterjee
Commissioner,
FERC

Dushan Boroyevich photo

Dushan Boroyevich
Associate Vice President for Research and Innovation and Director Center for Power Electronics Systems,
Virginia Tech

Chen-Ching Liu photo

Chen-Ching Liu
American Electric Power Professor and Director, Power and Energy Center
Virginia Tech

Rob Glenn photo

Rob Glenn
Director,
Virginia Tech Electric Service

Bryan Hannegan photo

Bryan Hannegan
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Holy Cross Energy

Nari Hingorani photo

Nari Hingorani
VP Emeritus,
Electric Power Research Institute

Richard Hirsh photo

Richard Hirsh
Professor, History and Science and Technology Studies,
Virginia Tech

Colette Honorable photo

Colette Honorable
Partner,
Reed Smith, Energy and Natural Resources Group

Mark Johnson photo

Mark Johnson
Director, Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Clemson University

Mark Lauby photo

Mark Lauby
Senior Vice President and Chief Engineer,
North American Electric Reliability Corporation

Rachael Marsh photo

Rachael Marsh
Legal Advisor,
FERC

David Roop photo

David Roop
DWR Associates, LLC and (retired) Director of Electric Transmission Operations and Reliability, Dominion Energy

Vickie VanZandt photo

Vickie VanZandt, PE, LMIEEE, PRO.DIR
ISO New England Board of Directors, Chair System Planning and Reliability Committee
President, VanZandt Electric Transmission Consulting

 

Richard Zhang photo

Richard Zhang
Chief Technology Officer (retired),
GE Grid Integration Solutions

Contact  and Social Media

Email: EnVision@FERC.Gov
Website: vt.edu/link/envision-forum
Twitter: EnVision Forum
Facebook: EnVision Forum

Media Relations:

  • Rachael Marsh, FERC, Legal Advisor to Commissioner Neil Chatterjee 
  • Lindsey Haugh, Director of Marketing and Communications, Office of Research and Innovation

Organizing Committee

Committee Co-Chairs:

  • Brandy Salmon, Associate Vice President, Innovation and Partnerships, Virginia Tech
  • John Umberger, FERC

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