Speakers

Speakers 2019

Balancing The Paradigm


Julien Dumoulin Smith

Head of US Power, Utilities and Alternative Energy, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
New York, NY

Julien Dumoulin-Smith joined UBS in 2007 with a singular goal: to cover utilities. He covered the sector for 10 years, carving out a name for himself in the carbon-fueled world as well as with newer technologies. In 2017 he made the jump back to Bank of America Merrill Lynch where he and his team cover stocks spanning from coal providers to nuclear, wind, solar, and natural gas.


Tim Belden

Principal, Energy GPS
Portland, OR

Tim Belden co-founded Energy GPS LLC in 2009. Energy GPS provides analytics for wholesale electricity and natural gas traders on a subscription basis and provides consulting services to a broad range of customers in the renewable power space.

Belden’s expertise lies where intermittent resources intersect with wholesale electricity markets, bringing insights to customers to help them better understand value and risk. Prior to starting Energy GPS, Belden held a variety of positions in the energy industry dating back to 1992.

At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory he authored papers analyzing state and federal electricity policies.  He held energy trading positions at Williams, Portland General Electric, Enron, and UBS.

Belden earned a BA from Hamilton College and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley.


Ann Rendahl

Commissioner, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
Olympia, WA
(moderator)

Ann Rendahl was appointed to serve as a commissioner of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission by Gov. Inslee in December 2014 for a term ending January 2021. 

She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Electricity Committee and a member of the Critical Infrastructure Committee for the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners (NARUC).

Rendahl serves as a co-vice chair of the Committee for Regional Electric Power Cooperation, or CREPC, a joint committee of the Western Interstate Energy Board and the Western Conference of Public Service Commissioners. She serves as a member of the Body of State Regulators for the California ISO’s Energy Imbalance Market, having served as the chair, vice chair, and currently as a voting member of the EIM Nominating Committee. Rendahl also serves as the chair of the Western Electric Coordinating Council’s Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System Committee. She has been appointed to serve as a member of the Electric Power Research Institute’s Advisory Council through August 2022.

Rendahl previously served as the Director of Policy and Legislation for the UTC. Prior to leading the UTC’s Policy and Legislative Affairs Section, she served as the Director of the Administrative Law Division, as an administrative law judge for the UTC, and as an assistant attorney general representing the Utilities and Transportation Division. 

Rendahl is a graduate of Wellesley College and received a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her law degree from Hastings College of the Law, University of California, San Francisco.


Panel 1

Natural Gas: Reckoning With The Future


Dan Kirschner

Executive Director, Northwest Gas Association
West Linn, OR

Dan Kirschner has been the Executive Director of the Northwest Gas Association (NWGA) since 2002. An expert on natural gas matters in the Pacific Northwest, Kirschner works to foster understanding among opinion leaders and informed decision-making by governing officials on issues related to natural gas in the region.

Kirschner adds an MBA to his policy and public affairs experience giving him a unique perspective on the intersection of public policy and business imperatives. His duties with the NWGA include formulating and disseminating market intelligence, policy analysis on issues affecting the Northwest regional natural gas market and communicating the industry’s perspective on a variety of issues to an array of stakeholders.


Clay Riding

Vice President, Energy Resources, NW Innovation Works
Kalama, WA

Clay Riding is Vice President of Energy Resources for Northwest Innovation Works, and is responsible for securing and managing natural gas and power supply resources.  Riding has 38 years of experience in the energy industry covering a broad-range of areas including resource acquisition, risk management, utility operations management, trading, and business development & marketing, primarily in the Pacific Northwest.

He has an extensive background in the acquisition and management of energy supply resources, utility and interstate pipeline operations, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulations.  Riding has also been extensively involved in regional and national discussions regarding the growing interdependency of natural gas and electricity, and the resulting reliability concerns associated with such growth, as well as the use of LNG as a fuel in marine and transportation markets.

Over the past thirty years Riding has focused extensively on the development of natural gas markets in the west.  Prior to NWIW, he spent fourteen years with Puget Sound Energy, six years with The Energy Authority, and sixteen years with The Williams Companies in various trading, marketing & business development, and finance roles.

He holds a bachelor of science degree in accounting from the University of Utah.


Ken Dragoon

Executive Director, Renewable Hydrogen Alliance
Portland, OR

Ken Dragoon was the founding inspiration for RHA, and provides management services through his consulting firm- Flink Energy Consulting. He has thirty-five years of experience in the electric power industry, focusing on the interactions between variable renewable resources and the electric grid.

Dragoon began his career in hydro power planning and modeling, and transitioned to managing other renewable resources in 2003. In his long career, he has previously worked for: Ecofys, NW Power and Conservation Council, Renewable Northwest, PacifiCorp, Bonneville Power Administration, Schlumberger Well Services.

He authored Valuing Wind Generation on Integrated Power Systems (2010) and holds an MS in physics from University of New Hampshire.


Alyssa Moir

Partner, K&L Gates
Seattle, WA
(moderator)

Alyssa Moir is a partner K&L Gates’ Seattle office. Her practice focuses on regulatory compliance and litigation related to air quality, water resources, land use, greenhouse gas regulation, Washington’s Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA)  and the Comprehensive, Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Moir works closely with agricultural, viticultural, beverage producers and energy clients to evaluate and secure water rights in both the near- and long-term.  She also advises clients in permitting strategies for large infrastructure projects in a range of industries, including renewable energy facilities, natural gas-fired facilities, energy export facilities, data centers, and beverage producers.  She represents clients before state regulatory agencies, administrative hearings boards and in state courts, working within the frameworks of the Washington state and federal Clean Air Act (CAA) the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), the Washington Shorelines Management Act, and the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). She routinely works with state and local regulatory agencies in all aspects of her practice.

Prior to private practice, Moir was a judicial clerk to the Honorable Marlin J. Appelwick of the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division 1.

Moir has a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law.


Ankur Tohan

Partner, K&L Gates
Seattle, WA
(moderator)

Ankur Tohan is a partner in the K&L Gates’ Seattle office and practice group coordinator for the firm’s global environment, land and natural resources practice group. His practice focuses on energy infrastructure, natural resource development, compliance counseling, and defense of governmental and citizen enforcement actions.

Tohan assists clients with complex regulatory, permitting, and enforcement matters under a range of environmental statutes, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Clean Air Act (CAA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), Comprehensive, Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), and Model Toxic Control Act (MTCA).

Prior to joining K&L Gates, Tohan was an assistant regional counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where he worked on complex environmental enforcement, civil defense, and permitting matters.  Tohan served as a lead attorney in Region 10 on wetland enforcement actions and jurisdictional issues under the CWA; oil and gas NPDES permitting; and forestry matters under the CWA and NEPA.

Tohan has a B.A. from the University of Vermont, an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin and earned his J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School.


Luncheon Address

Elliot Mainzer

Administrator, Bonneville Power Administration
Portland, OR

Elliot Mainzer was named Administrator in January 2014 but had served as Acting Administrator since July 2013. In that role, he is responsible for managing the nonprofit federal agency that markets carbon-free power from Columbia River hydroelectric dams and the region’s one nuclear plant. BPA also operates most of the high-voltage power grid across the Pacific Northwest, distributing wind and other energy to the region and beyond.

From February to July of 2013, Mainzer served as BPA’s acting deputy administrator, responsible for Finance, Strategy, Legal, Public Affairs, Risk Management, Compliance, Governance and Internal Audit functions. He also served as the principal policy and strategy adviser to the BPA administrator.

Mainzer, who joined BPA in 2002, has held a variety of management positions within the agency’s Power, Transmission and Corporate organizations, including trading floor manager and manager of Transmission Policy and Strategy. Most recently, as executive vice president of Corporate Strategy, he led the agency’s strategic planning process and provided policy leadership and cross-agency coordination on renewables integration, market design, climate change and integrated planning.

He has provided leadership and coordination of significant regional initiatives, including the Northwest Wind Integration Action Plan in 2007 and the Northwest Power Pool Members’ Market Assessment and Coordination Initiative. Prior to joining BPA, Mainzer established and managed Enron’s Renewable Power Desk out of its offices in Portland, Ore.

Mainzer earned his bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of California, Berkeley. He has an MBA and Master of Environmental Studies degree from Yale University.


Panel 2

Transmission – Are We “There” Yet?


Donald Furman

Director, Fix The Grid 
Sacramento, CA

Don Furman is the director of Fix the Grid, a campaign to create a low carbon grid using the California Independent System Operator as a platform. Most recently, Furman was the Senior Vice President of External Affairs for Iberdrola Renewables, Inc. (now Avangrid Renewables), the second largest wind power operator in the U.S. While with Iberdrola, he had responsibility at various times for development, transmission, communications, regulation and public policy. In 2009-10, he chaired the board of the American Wind Energy Association.

Furman was previously with PacifiCorp, most recently as Senior Vice President of Regulation and External Affairs. At various times, he also held the roles of Vice President of Mergers and Acquisitions and Vice President of Transmission. He led PacifiCorp’s efforts to form an RTO in the Pacific Northwest. He also founded and served as the first President of PPM Energy, which is now Avangrid Renewables.

Prior to joining PacifiCorp, Furman held various senior positions in a power marketing company, and he also practiced law for nine years. He received a BA in economics from Northwestern University in 1979, and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in 1982.


Faranak Sarbaz

Power Engineer Manager, Transmission Planning, LA Department of Water & Power
Los Angeles, CA

Faranak Sarbaz started her career with City of Los Angeles in 1992, as an Electrical Engineer. She joined Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), Water System in 2001. Sarbaz continued her career by moving to LADWP Power System in 2006, where she was promoted as a Group Lead in Engineering Division, Major Projects.

She moved to Transmission Planning in 2008 to supervise LADWP System Planning including the Western Transmission affairs such as WECC and North America Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) TPL reliability standard related to long term System Planning. Consequently, she was promoted a Power Engineer Manager of Transmission Planning and Contracts, responsible for Long Term Transmission Assessment of High Voltage AC and DC system, Interconnections studies, Regulatory Compliances,  Transmission Contracts, managing all joint facility agreements, interconnection agreements, maintaining Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT), and Pacific DC Intertie (PDCI) Advisory coordination, compliance with State, City, and regulatory mandates such as Renewable Portfolio Standard, Integrated Resource Plan, Once Through Cooling, coal replacement, other related to Bulk Electric System requirements, and coordinate the external Transmission Planning work for LADWP system with other utilities and entities including FERC Order 1000.

Sarbaz holds a Bachelor Science Degree in Electrical Engineering, and a Master of Business administration from USC.


Mike MacDougall

Vice President, Trade Policy & IT, Powerex Corp.
Vancouver, BC

Mike MacDougall is the Vice President, Trade Policy & IT for Powerex Corp.  He has been at Powerex for 20 years and is a member of the Executive Team.   During his tenure MacDougall has been actively involved in many aspects of the electricity industry, with particular focus on market design, transmission tariffs, business practices and the interplay between transmission rules and the energy markets they facilitate.  He leads a team of professionals that cover the many regions in North America where Powerex conducts its business.  With respect to IT, MacDougall provides the link between the company’s strategic business direction and the continued enhancement and evolution of the IT program.

Prior to joining Powerex, he spent 7 years in the Natural Gas Industry following the deregulation of interstate natural gas transmission and was responsible for rate design and contracts for a major Canadian Natural Gas Pipeline.


Malcolm McLellan

Partner, Van Ness Feldman
Seattle, WA
(moderator)

Malcolm McLellan’s practice focuses on the transmission, generation, marketing, and distribution of electric energy. McLellan has an intricate knowledge of the technical, legal, and business considerations facing electric utilities. His counseling includes electric transmission and ancillary services, rates, reliability standards, enforcement actions and investigations, market based rate authority, and hydroelectric licenses. His transactional experience includes power purchases and sales, interconnection and transmission access, and asset sales.

McLellan has a B.A. from the University of Washington and earned his J.D. cum laude from Gonzaga University School of Law.


Panel 3

Carbon Policy: Where Are We Now?


Kristen Sheeran

Energy and Climate Change Policy Advisor / Director, Carbon Policy Office, Oregon Governor Kate Brown
Salem, OR

Kristen Sheeran is the Director of the Oregon Carbon Policy Office and the Energy and Climate Change Policy Advisor for Governor Kate Brown.  She holds a PhD in Economics with expertise in energy and natural resources policy.

She previously served as Oregon Director of Climate Solutions, Vice President of Knowledge Systems at Ecotrust, and is the founder of the Economics for Equity and Environment Network.

A professor of economics for seven years at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Sheeran has written and spoken extensively about climate change and clean energy.


Glenn Blackmon

Manager, Energy Policy Office, Washington Dept. of Commerce – State Energy Office
Olympia, WA

Glenn Blackmon is a senior energy policy specialist for the Washington State Department of Commerce. He manages the state’s renewable energy credit program and several energy efficiency finance initiatives. He previously led the regulatory staff of the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission, where he led the restructuring of telecommunications regulation.

He holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School and a degree in Economics from Brunel University.


David Mills

Senior Vice President of Policy and Energy Supply, Puget Sound Energy
Bellevue, WA

David Mills leads a team that is responsible for managing PSE’s generation and natural gas resources, energy trading and transmission services, product development and growth, regulatory and government affairs, and strategic initiatives.

Mills served as Senior Vice President of Energy Operations from 2015 to 2018; prior to that, he was Vice President of Energy Supply Operations.  Mills joined PSE in 2002 as the director of Energy Supply & Planning, responsible for power and natural gas trading, generating plant dispatch, merchant transmission issues, and the company’s long-term integrated resource planning.  His team also managed integrating renewable resources in to PSE’s generation portfolio.

Prior to joining PSE, Mills was the trading floor manager for the Bonneville Power Administration in Portland.  He has more than 25 years of experience in energy operations, transmission and energy trading.  Mills is currently the vice chair of the Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee and serves on the executive committee of Columbia Grid, the executive committee of the Western Systems Power Pool, and the National Board of Directors for Hire America’s Heroes.

Mills earned a degree in economics from Portland State University. He also served in the U.S. Navy.


Ty Johnson

Associate, Bracewell LLP
Seattle, WA
(moderator)

Ty Johnson counsels domestic and international participants in the energy industry on regulatory matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Department of Energy, the Bonneville Power Administration, and other federal agencies.

As a former naval officer serving aboard a United States Navy submarine where he operated a nuclear power plant and conducted ship-board operations, Johnson brings a technical experience to the federal regulation of the transportation and transmission of energy. He leverages his naval managerial experience to lead clients through complex regulatory proceedings. In particular, he advises both marketers and transmission owners in matters involving FERC’s electric market based rate program and compliance with the Federal Power Act. Johnson advises clients participating in the electric energy markets and clients with renewable power projects.

Johnson has experience with regulatory proceedings involving the Bonneville Power Administration, including rate cases. He also counsels clients involved in regulatory litigation before FERC and in related appellate litigation. In addition, he counsels clients regarding FERC’s natural gas transportation regulations, including representing shippers and pipelines in FERC regulatory and transactional matters, such as tariff and certificate proceedings, compliance audits and enforcement proceedings. Johnson advises clients on numerous aspects of liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports and exports, such as Department of Energy licensing and FERC proceedings, and he advises crude pipeline companies on compliance with the Interstate Commerce Act and related regulations.

He graduated from Yale University in 2000 and received his J.D, from Washington College of Law in 2010.


Banquet Program

Dinner Speaker

Susan Ackerman

Chief Energy Officer, Eugene Water and Electric Board
Eugene, OR

Susan Ackerman is currently the Chief Energy Officer at the Eugene Water & Electric Board in Eugene, Oregon, a position she assumed in January 2018. In this role, Ackerman is responsible for EWEB’s resource portfolio, resource planning, and power trading functions. Prior to EWEB, she served on the Oregon Public Utility Commission from 2010 to 2016, the last four years as Chair of the Commission. She served as Chair of the Electricity Committee of NARUC, on the Advisory Committee to EPRI, and as one of NARUC’s representatives on the NARUC – U.S. DOE Smart Grid Working Group.

Before joining OPUC, Ackerman was a lawyer representing a variety of clients in electricity and natural gas matters, including integrated resource planning, competitive solicitations, transmission services, reliability standards, power sales contracting, and electric and natural gas rate matters.


David Danner

Chairman, Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission
Olympia, WA

Governor Jay Inslee appointed David W. Danner chairman of the Utilities and Transportation Commission in February 2013.

Danner had been the agency’s executive director since 2005 and secretary since 2008. Before that, he served as executive policy advisor to Washington Gov. Gary Locke on energy, telecommunications, finance and elections issues. In 2004, Gov. Locke named Danner to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board and Shoreline Hearings Board, where he served before moving to the commission.

Danner has also been a telecommunications attorney in private practice, counsel to the Washington Senate Energy and Utilities Committee, and senior policy advisor at the Washington State Department of Information Services.

Danner currently serves on the Energy Resources and Environment (ERE) and International Committees of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). He is a member of the State Technology Services Board, the Board of Directors of the National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI), and the Advisory Council of the Center for Public Utilities at the New Mexico State University College of Business.

Danner has a B.A. from Columbia University, an M.A. in communications from the University of Washington, and a law degree from George Washington University.


View from FERC


Steven Wellner

Director, OEMR Division of Electric Power Regulation – West, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC

Steven Wellner serves as the Director of the Division of Electric Power Regulation-West, within the Office of Energy Market Regulation at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  In that capacity, he is responsible for FERC’s oversight of Western electricity markets and transmission rates, as well as FERC’s market-based rate and corporate programs.

From April 2014 through July 2019, Wellner served in a number of advisory capacities for Chairman and Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur, including serving as FERC’s Acting Chief of Staff from January through August 2017.  At various times, he was responsible for advising her regarding the California Independent System Operator Corp., PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc., and Southwest Power Pool markets, as well as bilateral markets in both the Western and Southeastern United States.  From June 2012 through April 2014, he served as an Attorney-Advisor in FERC’s Office of General Counsel.  Before coming to FERC in June 2012, he worked in private practice, largely representing competitive power developers.

Wellner received his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2007, and graduated in 2002 from Rice University with a double major in history and political science.


PURPA At A Crossroads


Steve Levitas

Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Pine Gate Renewables
Asheville, NC

On September 1, 2019 Steve Levitas will assume the position of Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at Asheville-based Pine Gate Renewables.  In that capacity he will lead the company’s engagement in energy market reform and the expansion of offtake opportunities for independently owned solar generation resources.

He previously served as Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Government Affairs for Cypress Creek Renewables, where he oversaw the company’s regulatory and government activities at the state and federal levels and advised the company about the impact of public policy on its commercial strategy. Prior to joining Cypress Creek, Levitas served as Vice President for Business Affairs and General Counsel for FLS Energy and spent over twenty years in private law practice, concentrating on renewable energy project development and environmental regulatory matters.  He is a leading authority and frequent speaker on the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA).

Levitas also served as Deputy Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources and founded and served as Senior Attorney for the North Carolina office of the Environmental Defense Fund. In 2015 he was the recipient of The Charlotte Business Journal’s Energy Leaders Award.  He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Harvard Law School.


Resource Adequacy In The Pacific Northwest


Arne Olson

Senior Partner, E3 – Energy + Environmental Economics
San Francisco, CA

Arne Olson helps clients navigate changes to bulk electric system operations and investment needs brought about by aggressive government policies promoting clean and renewable energy production. He has consulted extensively for utilities, electricity system operators, asset owners, project developers, electricity consumers, and regulators. In 2013 he led the technical analysis and drafting of the landmark report, Investigating a Higher Renewables Portfolio Standard for California, prepared for the five largest utilities in California, documenting the challenges of and solutions for achieving a 50 percent renewable grid in California by 2030.

Olson has 25 years of experience in energy analysis, and he is a frequent speaker at energy conferences on the role renewable energy will play in decarbonizing the grid. Prior to joining E3 in 2002, he served for six years in the Energy Policy Division of the Washington State Energy Office and its successor agencies.

He holds an MS in international energy management and policy from the University of Pennsylvania and the Institut Français du Pétrole; a BS in statistics, and a BS in mathematical sciences from the University of Washington.