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

Scott Gutting

President Emeritus, Energy Strategies
Salt Lake City, UT

Scott Gutting co-founded Energy Strategies in 1986 and helps lead the efforts of a team of economists, engineers, business strategists and financial analysts in Energy Strategies’ diverse consulting activities. Since 1986, Gutting has successfully led hundreds of consulting engagements for public and private sector clients including numerous Fortune 100 companies.

Over his 25-year career, he and Energy Strategies have supported the development of more than 11,000 MW of power generation and transmission assets. Generation technologies include wind, solar, natural gas, hydroelectric, co-generation, coal, and biomass power projects. Under his direction, the firm is actively engaged in the development of several thousand MWs of electric transmission development.

Gutting founded, and Energy Strategies managed, the Industrial Gas Resource Corporation, a natural gas fuel management corporation for commercial, industrial, and power generation consumers, with more than six Bcf of natural gas per year under management. He also served as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council from 2002 to 2013.

Ann Rendahl

Commissioner, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
Olympia, WA

Ann Rendahl was appointed by Gov. Inslee in December 2014. She previously was the Director of Policy and Legislation for the UTC.

Prior to leading the UTC’s Policy and Legislative Affairs Section, Rendahl 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 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). She recently served as co-chair of NARUC’s Task Force on Transportation, focusing on railroad safety issues.

Rendahl serves as a member of the Body of State Regulators for the California ISO’s Energy Imbalance Market, having served as the chair from 2015 to 2017, vice chair from 2017 to 2018, and currently as a voting member of the EIM Nominating Committee. She also serves as the chair of the Western Electric Coordinating Council’s Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS) Committee. She has been appointed to serve as a member of the Electric Power Research Institute’s Advisory Council through August 2019.

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.

Where are we in the West?

Tim Belden

Principal, Energy GPS
Portland, OR

Tim Belden has worked in the energy industry since 1992, attracted by the interesting environmental policy challenges it presented. He started at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where he authored numerous papers analyzing state and federal electricity policies. His energy education continued at UC Berkeley where earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy while studying Microeconomics, Statistics, Futures and Options Markets, and Analytic Methods for Energy and Resources.

An early pioneer in electricity trading, Belden held positions at The Williams Companies, Portland General Electric, Enron, and UBS. He served in several capacities – trading his own profitable book, building and managing successful trading teams, designing and implementing risk management systems, and innovating in renewable and retail electricity markets.

Belden also has experience as an energy developer – as a member of a small, alternative fuels development team he wore many hats. These included transaction structuring, interfacing with private equity and investment banks, negotiating supply and off-take agreements, and other aspects of the development process.

Letha Tawney

Commission, Public Utility Commission of Oregon
Salem, OR

Prior to her appointment as PUC Commissioner, Letha Tawney honed her skills as an expert on electric utility business models, state regulation, clean energy development, and large customer buying strategies for World Resources Institute (WRI). For the last five years, she led WRI’s Electricity Initiative in the U.S., developing new business and regulatory models for companies in the power sector. Tawney has gained expertise on the constraints and interests driving both utilities and their customers, a knowledge that is useful as a commissioner.

Tawney holds a Masters of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from George Fox University in business and computer science.

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 of Energy Resources, NW Innovation Works
Kalama, WA

Clay Riding has 34 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 and marketing, primarily in the Pacific Northwest. Prior to joining NWIW, he held various roles in resource acquisition and management, trading, marketing and business development, and finance for Puget Sound Energy, The Energy Authority and The Williams Companies.

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.



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

Clare Breidenich

Assistant Executive Director and Carbon and Clean Energy Committee Lead, Western Power Trading Forum
Seattle, WA

Clare Breidenich has over 18 years’ experience on greenhouse gas regulation and policy. In addition to her work with WPTF, Breidenich has worked on international climate issues with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of State, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat.  She has also served on the Washington State Governor’s Climate Action Team and on a National Academy of Science’s Committee on monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions.

Breidenich has a Masters in Environmental Science and Masters of Public Affairs, both from Indiana University.  She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan.

Mike MacDougall

Vice President, IT and Trade Policy, Powerex
Vancouver, BC

Mike MacDougall

Malcolm McLellan

Partner, Van Ness Feldman
Seattle, WA

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

Katie Sullivan

Managing Director, International Emissions Trading Association
Toronto, ON

Katie Sullivan serves as IETA’s Director of the Americas and Climate Finance. On behalf of IETA’s global multi-sector business membership, Sullivan leads efforts to inform climate change policy and market design with government and non-government partners across the Americas and the Pacific Rim. She also manages IETA’s growing international work on structures and mechanisms to leverage and scale private capital into climate projects and programs.

Sullivan is a member of the University of Toronto’s Environmental Finance Committee, Ontario Environment Commissioner’s Climate Change Advisory Panel, and the Climate Advisory Group to Ontario’s Minister of Environment & Climate Change. She regularly advises various industry-NGO initiatives and postgraduate research groups on carbon pricing design and market linkage.

Prior to joining IETA, Sullivan was a Senior Associate at ICF International, providing strategic climate and energy advisory services to corporate, government, NGO clients and UN agencies. She holds a Masters with Distinction in Environment, Development and Policy from the University of Sussex.

Ken Johnson

Vice President of Regulatory and Government Affairs, Puget Sound Energy
Bellevue, WA

Ken Johnson leads an organization that includes government relations, regulatory compliance and public policy. He focuses on federal, regional, state and local policies that enable PSE to meet their customers’ needs and grow their business in a time of rapid technological change and increasing climate concerns.

For more than 30 years, Johnson has worked in senior leadership roles in regulatory, legislative and public affairs. He joined PSE in 2006 and today serves as the company’s liaison with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC).

During his tenure, the regulatory affairs team has worked with Commissioners and WUTC staff, as well as customer, low-income and environmental advocates to set fair and just rates for electric and natural gas service, enabling PSE to provide customers with safe and reliable service.

Prior to joining Puget Sound Energy, Johnson worked for Bank of America as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. His responsibilities included strategic policy and relationship development and coordination of legislative advocacy in 11 western states.

Ken moved to Washington in 1998 after more than 20 years in Alaska. He studied business and economics in college, worked as senior policy staff for the Alaska State Legislature, and led government affairs efforts for multiple organizations.

Ty Johnson

Partner, Bracewell Law
Seattle, WA

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.

View from FERC

Carlos Clay

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

Carlos Clay

Closing Debate

To PURPA or not to PURPA

Jonathan Weisgall

Vice President, Legislative & Regulatory Affairs, Berkshire Hathaway Energy
Washington, DC

Jonathan Weisgall is Vice President for Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for Berkshire Hathaway Energy, formerly MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company. He also serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies and president of the Geothermal Energy Association.

He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he has taught a seminar on energy issues since 1990, and he has also guest lectured on energy issues at Stanford Law School and the Johns Hopkins Environmental Science and Policy Program.

Weisgall graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia College and from Stanford Law School, where he served on the Board of Editors of Stanford Law Review. He previously practiced law in Washington, D.C. at Covington & Burling, has written law review articles for Wisconsin Law Review and University of San Francisco Law Review, and has published articles in Legal Times, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Policy, SAIS Review, and The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Steve Levitas

Senior Vice President for Regulatory Affairs and Strategy, Cypress Creek Renewables
Asheville, NC

As Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Government Affairs, Steve Levitas oversees the company’s regulatory and government activities at the state and federal levels and advises the company about the impact of public policy on its commercial strategy. Prior to joining Cypress Creek, he spent over twenty years in private law practice, concentrating on renewable energy project development and environmental regulatory matters.

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 and he has consistently been recognized as one of the leading environmental lawyers in North Carolina.

He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Harvard Law School.

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.

State Of The Industry Address

Robert Kahn

Executive Director, NIPPC
Seattle, WA

Robert Kahn, Ed.D. serves as the Executive Director of the Northwest & Intermountain Power Producers Coalition (NIPPC). He is also a Principal of Robert D. Kahn & Company LLC, a strategic communications agency specializing in securing public acceptance of new, often controversial technology.

Since its incorporation in 2002, NIPPC, under Kahn’s leadership, has championed the competitive paradigm in the Northwest’s electric power industry. The Coalition advocates for independent power producers, marketers and transcos in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. It regularly intervenes before the three states’ regulatory commissions and engages with elected leadership in each capital. NIPPC represents its members’ interests before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Bonneville Power Administration.

In leading NIPPC, Kahn manages all of its regulatory advocacy. In addition, he organizes NIPPC’s acclaimed annual conference at Alderbrook Resort in Union, Washington. He produced and directed “The Risk Takers: Powering Our Future,” a short, compelling documentary on independent power and he edits JUICE, NIPPC’s e-newsletter. Kahn is a “go to” resource for the national trade press and Northwest’s largest daily newspapers.

After completing a B.A. at Colgate University, Kahn began his career as a staff member for the architect/philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller. He later joined the Program for the Study of the Future at the University of Massachusetts School of Education where he completed a doctorate in 1982. He served two years in California Governor Jerry Brown’s Administration as Public Information Officer for the Office of Appropriate Technology.

He has edited two books and authored numerous articles for such publications as: Electricity Journal; New Energy; Technology Review; Windpower Monthly; The Futurist; Water Environment & Technology; Independent Energy.