Speakers 2020

Panel 1

Does it Pay to be Ready?: Resource Adequacy
in the Northwest

Sarah E. Edmonds

Director of Transmission and Market Services, Portland General Electric
Portland, OR

Sarah Edmonds is responsible for regulatory and policy matters affecting PGE’s transmission and market services business.  She oversees the development of strategy and policy recommendations relating to market expansion and development, emerging regional and national marketplace initiatives, and transmission rates.

Steve Wright

General Manager, Chelan County PUD
Wenatchee, WA

Steve Wright was named General Manager of Public Utility District No. 1 of Chelan County (Chelan PUD) by the Board of Commissioners in September 2013.  He has served on the Boards of the American Public Power Association and the Alliance to Save Energy, on the Steering Committee for the Large Public Power Council and Past Chair of the Public Generating Pool (public power generators in Washington and Oregon).

He graduated from the University of Oregon with a Master’s degree in public administration. Wright held a number of positions within BPA, the last 12 years as Administrator. At BPA, he was in charge during the west coast energy crisis and the resulting financial recovery, completed a 10 year agreement for salmon restoration in the Columbia River basin, oversaw substantial increases in energy efficiency investments, established new transmission expansion and integration strategies to support wind power
development, and new 20-year power sales contract for all of BPA’s supply.

As General Manager, Wright has led the development of two community based Strategic Plans with the most recent plan finalized in October 2019. In a 2018 survey 97% of customers indicated they were very satisfied or satisfied with their Chelan PUD service.

Chelan PUD has taken a leadership role to identify a least cost path for achieving greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the Pacific Northwest electric sector. Chelan PUD and the National Hydropower Association have coauthored an agenda for public policy actions to reinvigorate the hydropower industry.

Randy Hardy

Principal, Hardy Energy Consulting
Seattle, WA

Randy Hardy provides strategic advice to utilities, wind/renewable generators, and other organizations in the current rapidly changing electricity environment.  His experience has covered regulatory, legislative and transactional work, including thirteen years as CEO managing two large electric utilities – Seattle City Light and Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).  He has dealt with the full range of challenges companies face in today’s electricity markets, from dramatically downsizing formerly large work forces to developing flexible, innovative marketing strategies to resolving complex integration problems.

As CEO of BPA from 1991 -1997, Hardy managed a $2.4 billion public corporation which supplies 40 percent of all electricity and over 75 percent of the high voltage transmission in the Northwest.  Hardy made significant cost and marketing changes to stabilize the agency’s financial position during fierce wholesale competition.  He also managed BPA’s recovery from the August 1996 West Coast power outage.  At Seattle City Light from 1984 to 1991, Hardy instituted a comprehensive productivity improvement program, negotiated natural resource issues for the successful relicensing of three major dams on the Skagit River, and arranged for an ownership interest in the third AC transmission line between the Northwest and California.

More recently, Hardy has assisted several Northwest wind generators with their transmission and marketing arrangements in the Pacific Northwest, as well as resolving their integration challenges with BPA and other transmission providers.

From 1982 to 1984, Hardy served as the Executive Director of the Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee (PNUCC), a long-range planning group for Northwest electric utilities and major industries.  He held various positions with the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Administration (FEA), and BPA from 1975 to 1982.  In 1975-76, he was selected as a White house Fellow and served as a Special Assistant to the FEA Administrator.

Hardy is a 1966 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  From 1966 to 1976, he was a naval officer, performing various shipboard and staff assignments worldwide.  He received his Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Washington in 1972.  Hardy is a former Chairman of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), past President of the American Public Power Association (APPA), and previous Board Member of the Large Public Power Council (LPPC) and Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS).


Therese Hampton

Executive Director, Public Generating Pool
Vancouver, WA

As Executive Director of the Public Generating Pool (PGP), Therese Hampton represents eleven consumer-owned utilities in Oregon and Washington.  PGP member utilities serve approximately one million customers and manage 8,000 MW of generating resources.

Prior to joining the PGP, Hampton spent 13 years at the Bonneville Power Administration in roles as Vice President of Environment, Fish and Wildlife, Manager of Power and Operations Planning and Manager of Transmission and Reserve Services. She also held the position of Managing Director of Hydro Regulatory Compliance with PacifiCorp and has provided consulting services to a broad range of industry clients.

She holds a Master and Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Portland State University.

Panel 2

Making Bigger Better: Regionalizing Trends in
the Western Interconnection

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.

Mark Rothleder

Vice President, Market Policy and Performance, California Independent System Operator
Folsom, CA

Mark Rothleder is Vice President, Market Policy and Performance at the California Independent System Operator Corporation. Before being named vice president, he was Executive Director of Market Analysis and Development. His previous positions included Principal Market Developer and Director of Market Operations. Being on the ISO start-up team in 1997, Rothleder is now the longest serving ISO employee.

In spring 2009, Rothleder led a multifunctional team in designing and implementing market rules and software modifications related to the ISO’s Market Redesign and Technology Upgrade (MRTU). Since joining the ISO twenty-three years ago, he has worked extensively on implementing and integrating the approved market rules for California’s competitive wholesale energy and reserves markets.

Rothleder is a registered Professional Electrical Engineer in the state of California and holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the California State University, Sacramento. He has taken post-graduate coursework in Power System Engineering from Santa Clara University and earned an M.S. in Information Systems from the University of Phoenix. Prior to joining the ISO, Rothleder worked for eight years in the electric transmission department of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, where his responsibilities included operations engineering, and transmission planning and sub-station design.

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.


Anita Decker

Member, Western Energy Imbalance Market Governing Body
Warrenton, OR

Anita J. Decker serves on the Governing Board for the Western Energy Imbalance Market. She was the executive director of the Northwest Public Power Association from 2014 to 2019 where she led the Association’s work in people development, legislative and regulatory advocacy and communication for over a 150 public/people’s utility districts, electric cooperatives, municipalities and crown corporations in 9 Western states and British Columbia.

From 2007 to 2014, she served as Chief Operating Officer for the Bonneville Power Administration responsible for BPA’s Power Services; Transmission Services; Environment, Fish & Wildlife; Internal Business Services. Prior to Bonneville, she spent 27 years with PacifiCorp, holding positions in Oregon, Wyoming and Utah rising to the role of business unit vice president.

Keynote Address

John Hairston

Acting Administrator & CEO, Bonneville Power Administration
Portland, OR 

John Hairston was named acting administrator and CEO in September 2020. In this 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 renewable energy to the region and beyond.

Hairston has served as chief operating officer since October 2019, where he has overseen Power Services; Transmission Services; Environment, Fish and Wildlife; Customer Support Services; and the Business Transformation Office.

Hairston also served as BPA’s chief administrative officer, beginning in June 2015. In this role he provided policy and strategic guidance concerning BPA’s internal operations and oversaw Safety; Human Capital Management; Security and Continuity of Operations; Supply Chain; Workplace Services and Information Technology.

Hairston joined BPA in 1991. He began his career as an economist in the Rates Forecasting and Rate Design organizations and then performed various positions in Energy Efficiency, including the program manager for Peak Load Management. In 2002, Hairston was assigned to implement and manage the BPA Power Services product, Slice. The Slice product accounts for a sizeable portion of BPA’s annual sales with a portfolio of its largest public customers.

In 2006, Hairston was named BPA’s chief compliance officer, leading the development and implementation of the Agency Compliance and Governance Organization, providing overall coordination and management of systems and processes established to assure agency compliance with regulatory rules and standards.

Hairston holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from The Southern University, a master’s degree in Urban Studies from Portland State University and a Juris Doctorate from the Lewis & Clark Northwestern School of Law. He also holds the certification of Compliance and Ethics Professional from the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics.

Capital Markets and Electoral Insights Address

Benjamin Salisbury

Director of Research & Senior Policy Analyst, Heights Capital Markets
Washington, DC

Benjamin Salisbury is Height’s Director of Research and leads the firm’s Energy and Utilities team, bringing his 15 years of experience as an equity research policy analyst in addition to his service as senior advisor for policy and international affairs in the U.S. Department of Energy and as an advisor to two Members of Congress.

He is known for differentiated analysis focusing on the impact of culture, economics, and policy on business and is frequently consulted by policymakers, stakeholders, and media outlets for his insights into the nexus between policy and markets. Salisbury holds a degree in Government from Georgetown University.

Panel 3

Shorting Carbon: Innovation in Climate Solutions

Adrian Anderson

Senior Director of Renewable Energy, Microsoft
Bellevue, WA

Adrian Anderson is Senior Director of Renewable Energy on the Microsoft Datacenter Cloud Environmental Sustainability team, currently responsible for Microsoft renewable energy procurement across the globe.

With over a decade of energy market experience in the Buy and Sell side and having worked at multiple tech companies in an energy structuring and procurement role, Anderson has tackled energy transactions across the US, Latin America, Europe, and APAC.

Travis Kavulla

Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, NRG Energy
Washington, DC

Travis Kavulla is vice president for regulatory affairs at NRG, where he leads a team of lawyers, economists, and engineers to ensure that energy markets continue to deliver value for electricity consumers. He joined NRG from the R Street Institute, where he led the think tank’s energy program. Previously, Kavulla served eight years as a commissioner at the Montana Public Service Commission, during which time he served as the President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and as a member of the advisory council of the Electric Power Research Institute.

Kavulla has also served on the governing body of one of North America’s largest electricity markets, the Western Energy Imbalance Market. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard University and a master’s, also in history, at the University of Cambridge, where he was a Gates Scholar.

Kevin Poloncarz

Partner, Covington & Burling LLP
San Francisco, CA

Kevin Poloncarz is a partner with Covington & Burling LLP, where he co-chairs the firm’s Environmental Practice Group and Energy Industry Group.

Poloncarz is ranked by Chambers USA among the nation’s top five climate change attorneys. He is a member of the boards of directors of the Environmental Law Institute and Center for Applied Environmental Law and Policy and is a Fellow and Regent of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.

He has extensive experience with California’s Cap-and-Trade Program, Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and Renewables Portfolio Standard, and is recognized as a leading advisor on carbon markets.

He is currently representing electric utilities, power producers and associations in several lawsuits in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging EPA’s repeal of the Clean Power Plan and its finding that mercury standards for coal-fired power plants are not appropriate and necessary, and EPA’s and NHTSA’s revocation of California’s and other states’ authority to enforce their own CO2 tailpipe standards for cars and trucks and the agencies’ rules weakening federal tailpipe and fuel economy standards.  He recently represented an amicus curiae in the United States’ constitutional challenge to the linkage between California’s and Quebec’s cap-and-trade programs.


Liz Thomas

Partner, K&L Gates
Seattle, WA

Liz Thomas is a partner in the firm’s Seattle office and member of the firm’s energy, infrastructure, and resources practice.  Thomas has a national practice, concentrating in a range of matters related to energy and water regulation, transactions and project development. This includes regulatory matters at utility commissions; licensing, re-licensing, and compliance for hydropower facilities; and advising clients on public policy issues.

She was named Best Lawyers’ 2012 Seattle Energy Law Lawyer of the Year and a Best Lawyer in America 2009-2021.  Thomas is a member of the Clean Energy Transition Institute Board of Directors.  She has also served on the board of the Legal Foundation of Washington Board of Trustees, the Climate Solutions Board of Directors, 2005-2010, and the Energy Facility Siting Process Review Committee. She holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Wellesley College.

Keynote Address

Richard Glick

Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC (invited)

Commissioner Richard Glick was nominated to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by President Donald J. Trump in August 2017 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 2, 2017.

Before joining the Commission, he was general counsel for the Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, serving as a senior policy advisor on numerous issues including electricity and renewable energy.

Prior to that, Glick was vice president of government affairs for Iberdrola’s renewable energy, electric and gas utility, and natural gas storage businesses in the United States. He ran the company’s Washington, DC, office and was responsible for developing and implementing the U.S. businesses’ federal legislative and regulatory policy advocacy strategies.

Glick previously served as a director of government affairs for PPM Energy and before that was director of government affairs for PacifiCorp. He served as a senior policy advisor to U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, and before that was legislative director and chief counsel to U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers of Arkansas. From 1988-1992 Glick was an associate with the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand.

He is a graduate of George Washington University and Georgetown Law.

Panel 4

Affected with the Public Interest: Regulators Roundtable

Paul Kjellander

Commissioner, Idaho Public Utilities Commission
Boise, ID

Paul Kjellander serves as president of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, having been appointed to his current six-year term in 2017 by former Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.

It is Kjellander’s second term in his second stint on the Commission, having previously served from January 1999 until October 2007. Gov. Otter reappointed Kjellander in April 2011, following his service as administrator of the newly created state Office of Energy Resources (OER).

A member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ (NARUC) board of directors, Kjellander serves as Second Vice President of the association and as the NARUC representative to the North American Numbering Council. He previously served as chairman of NARUC’s Committee on Telecommunications, and has served on NARUC’s Committee on Consumer Affairs and its Electricity Committee.

Kjellander also serves on the executive committee of the National Council on Electricity Policy, which is funded by the US Department of Energy and managed by NARUC. He is a member of the Federal Communications Commission’s 706 Joint Board and has served as chairman of the FCC’s Federal-State Joint Board on Jurisdictional Separations.

During his time at OER, Kjellander created an aggressive energy efficiency program funded through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. He also served on the board of the National Association of State Energy Officials.

Before joining the Commission in 1999, Kjellander was elected to three terms in the Idaho House of Representatives, where he served from 1994 to 1999. As a legislator, Kjellander served on a number of committees, including the House State Affairs, Judiciary and Rules, Ways and Means, Local Government and Transportation. During his final term in office, Kjellander was elected chairman of the House Majority Caucus.

Prior to his legislative service, Kjellander was director of Boise State University’s College of Applied Technology Distance Learning, where he earned tenured faculty status and served as program head of broadcast technology, station manager of BSU Radio Network, director of the Special Projects Unit for BSU Radio and as BSU Radio’s director of News and Public Affairs.

He earned undergraduate degrees in communications, psychology and art from Muskingum College in Ohio, and earned a master’s degree in telecommunications from Ohio University.

Ann Rendahl

Commissioner, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
Olympia, WA

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.

Mark Thompson

Commissioner, Oregon Public Utility Commission
Salem, OR

Mark Thompson was appointed to the Oregon Public Utility Commission by Governor Kate Brown in November 2019 to a four-year term.

Prior to his appointment, Thompson was a partner at a small law firm that specializes in energy and administrative law, where he provided counsel and representation to energy project developers, utilities, energy consumers and other businesses involved in energy.  Thompson also previously worked as the Senior Director of Rates and Regulatory Affairs at NW Natural Gas Company, and prior to that, was Staff Counsel for the Public Power Council, where he represented Northwest public power entities (public and people’s utility districts, cooperatives, and municipal utilities) before the Bonneville Power Administration and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Thompson holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Lewis and Clark Law School, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Conservation Biology from Brigham Young University.


Susan Ackerman

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

Susan Ackerman is currently the Chief Energy Officer at the Eugene Water & Electric Board in Eugene, Oregon, a position responsible for EWEB’s resource planning, power trading functions, and regional and legislative policy.

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.

Prior to the 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.  She holds a BA in political philosophy and a J.D.  She was admitted to practice law in Oregon, Washington, and California, although she is no longer a member of any bar association.

Spencer Gray

Executive Director, Northwest & Intermountain Power Producers Coalition
Portland, OR

Spencer Gray joined NIPPC as Executive Director in February 2020. He is responsible for leading NIPPC’s efforts toward a more competitive and nimble electric power system that can satisfy the region’s evolving policy objectives.

Gray worked in Washington, D.C., for a decade as a member of several congressional staffs. He served in senior capacities on Capitol Hill for U.S. senators from the Northwest, including as a legislative director and a member of the professional staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

His areas of legislative and oversight responsibility have included electric power markets, the Bonneville Power Administration, hydroelectric licensing, pollution regulation, and a variety of public land matters. He has also provided analytical expertise to public-interest organizations and the financial sector, including in the institutional brokerage segment of FBR Capital Markets.

A native of Montana, Gray is a graduate of Yale University.