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FERC & Virginia Tech, EnVision Forum 2021

Future of Electric Energy for an Industry in Transformation

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

Recorded Session Videos

Day 1:  Monday, April 26, 2021

Welcome
Tim Sands, President of Virginia Tech
Richard Glick, Chairman of FERC
Dushan Boroyevich, Conference Technical Co-chair and Associate Vice President for Research and Innovation and Director Center for Power Electronics Systems, Virginia Tech

Chen-Ching Liu, Conference Technical Co-chair and American Electric Power Professor and Director, Power and Energy Center, Virginia Tech

Welcome Message from FERC's Mittal Desai

Moderator
Richard Sedano, President and Chief Executive Officer, Regulatory Assistance Project

Speakers
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.

Welcome by FERC Commissioner Allison Clements

Moderator
Bryan Hannegan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Holy Cross Energy

Speakers
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, GE 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

Moderator

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

Speakers
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

This session is followed by Closing Remarks, Neil Chatterjee, Commissioner, FERC

 

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?

Day 2: Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Welcome


Julia Ross, College of Engineering, Virginia Tech
Dan Sui, Vice President, Office of Research and Innovation, Virginia Tech

Moderator

Colette Honorable, Partner, Reed Smith

Speakers
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?

Moderator

Mark Johnson, Director, Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Clemson University

Speakers

Tom Hassenboehler, Partner, Coefficient
Tim Heidel, Chief Technology Officer, VEIR
Cheryl Martin, Founder, Harwich Partners
Abigail Regitsky, Senior Associate, Breakthrough Energy
Adam Rosenberg, Staff Director, 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.

Moderator

Jeff Dennis, Managing Director and General Counsel, Advanced Energy Economy

Speakers
The Hon. Lamont Bagby, Delegate, Virginia House of Delegates
Carine Dumit, Director, Market Development and Public Policy, Eastern U.S., EVgo
Duncan McIntyre, Chief Executive Officer, Highland Electric Transportation
Peter Muhoro, Vice President – Strategy and Technology, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative
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

Dushan Boroyevich, Technical Co-chair EnVision Forum, Associate Vice President for Research and Innovation and Director Center for Power Electronics Systems, Virginia Tech, Previous Panel Moderator

Mark Christie, Commissioner, FERC
Chen-Ching Liu, Technical Co-chair EnVision Forum, American Electric Power Professor and Director, Power and Energy Center, Virginia Tech

Neil Chatterjee, Commissioner, FERC

Virtual Event Lobby Videos

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