As distributed energy gains steam in California, state regulators, policymakers, utilities and DER providers are shaping the rules, regulations, and markets that will ensure the transition is speedy and smooth. It’s a complex, exciting landscape, and today’s actions in California will undoubtedly influence tomorrow’s DER market across the country.
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THE FUTURE OF THE GRID EDGE IN CALIFORNIA
Michael Picker is President at the California Public Utilities Commission. Prior to his recent appointment, Mr. Picker was a Senior Advisor for Renewable Energy in the Office of the Governor starting in 2009 and a member of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District Board of Directors since 2012. He was a principal at Lincoln Crow Strategic Communications from 2000 to 2009 and a consultant at Kaufman Campaign Consultants from 2000 to 2002. Mr. Picker was deputy treasurer in the Office of the California State Treasurer from 1998 to 1999 and chief of staff to Sacramento Mayor Joe Serna Jr. from 1992 to 1999. He was deputy assistant for toxic substances control in the Office of the Governor from 1981 to 1982 and an organizer at the Campaign for Economic Democracy from 1978 to 1982.
Caroline Choi is the Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs for Southern California Edison (SCE). She is responsible for analysis of federal and state energy and environmental policies; analysis and development of a long-term environmental, energy and technology strategy for SCE; and directing case management for key regulatory filings. Prior to joining SCE in 2012, Choi was executive director of Environmental Services & Strategy at Progress Energy, where she was responsible for leading environmental permitting, compliance and policy. She served the company in various roles, including director, Energy Policy & Strategy, and manager, Federal Public Affairs. Choi has served on various non-profit boards and is a board member of the Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund, the National Forest Foundation and the California Advisory Board of The Trust for Public Lands. Choi has a bachelor’s degree in government from Dartmouth College.
Lorenzo Kristov is Principal, Market and Infrastructure Policy at CAISO. He develops CAISO policy in the areas of market design, transmission planning, new generator interconnection, and integration of distributed energy resources. During the industry restructuring of the 1990s he worked at the California Energy Commission developing the rules for retail direct access, and before that he was a Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia working on a commercial and regulatory framework for direct foreign investment in power generation.
Ryan Hanley is the Vice President of Grid Engineering Solutions at SolarCity. He leads SolarCity’s efforts to leverage distributed energy resources – including residential and commercial solar, batteries, load management systems, smart inverters and microgrids – to benefit the electric grid and its customers. Ryan and his team work collaboratively with utilities, regulators, vendors, national research laboratories and other industry stakeholders to leverage distributed energy resources to tackle some of the most challenging topics in grid design and operations. Ryan oversees SolarCity’s Power Systems Engineering, Advanced Grid Product Management, and Market Integration teams. Prior to SolarCity, Ryan managed the Pacific Gas & Electric’s emerging technology and smart grid portfolio for electric distribution where he directed $80M in pilot and demonstration projects. Ryan holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, an MS in Civil Engineering from Trinity College Dublin and an MBA from UC Berkeley.
Sonita Lontoh is Vice President of Strategic Marketing at Siemens Digital Grid. She is a technology executive focusing on the Internet of Things (IoT), 'Smart' Connected Energy/Devices and Green Technology. Her work addresses the intersection of technology, business models and policy in smart grids and IoT. In particular, she focuses on societal benefits and global cross-collaborations on innovation, human capital and leadership development. Prior, Lontoh was an executive at Trilliant and at PG&E Corporation. Earlier in her career, she was a management consultant at the strategy consulting firm Bain & Company and spent a few years as a technology entrepreneur.
Lontoh has been invited by the White House to speak at President Barack Obama’s Global Innovation Summit and to attend an event honoring AAPI Women Champions of Change. She has also been recognized by and invited to meet with former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and current US Secretary of State John Kerry. She is a selection committee member and mentor for TechWomen, a U.S. Department of State's women-in-technology initiative, and for Endeavor, the high-impact entrepreneurship nonprofit. Additionally, she is a co-founder and Executive Director of the Silicon Valley Asia Technology Alliance (SVATA).
Lontoh has spoken at, contributed to, and appeared in the World Economic Forum, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, NBC, Reuters, BBC, TIME, Bloomberg and other respected publications.
Sonita earned her Master of Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), her MBA in Strategy and Marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and her B.S. in Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Mark Esguerra has been with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) over 18 years where he has held various leadership positions within the Company. This includes 13 years in PG&E’s Electric Transmission Planning Department where he was responsible for shaping the transmission planning and generation interconnection processes to support expansion and reinforcement of the transmission grid. Mark was also the Manager of PG&E’s Generation Interconnection Department where he managed the distributed generation interconnection process, as well as led process improvements to streamline the interconnection of residential and commercial roof top solar, including behind-the-meter energy storage interconnections. Currently, Mark is the Director in PG&E’s Integrated Grid Planning team in the Grid Integration and Innovation Organization where he leads the development and implementation of various DER integration activities, including the Distribution Resources Plan (DRP) and Integrated Distributed Energy Resources (IDER) proceedings.
Mark Esguerra earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from San Francisco State University. He also obtained a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Masagung School of Business at the University of San Francisco. Esguerra is a registered professional Electrical Engineer for the State of California.
Will is a product manager at Nest Labs, architect of the thoughtful home. In this role, Will oversees the ongoing strategy and development of Rush Hour Rewards and Time of Savings, energy services that Nest offers energy providers to help manage load and save customers money when energy is expensive.
Prior to Nest, Will worked at Greenstart, a design consultancy and venture capital firm. He also served as the CEO of Xite Solar, a company he co-founded using technology developed at UC Berkeley to enable production of high-efficiency, low-cost photovoltaics from a variety of earth-abundant materials. Earlier in his career, Will spent several years at the U.S. Department of Energy, where he worked as a commercialization advisor for advanced cooling technologies in the newly formed Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E).
Will holds a Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, and a MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
Dr. Sonja Glavaski is a Program Director at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) overseeing portfolio of projects developing innovative and disruptive technologies that would facilitate cost-effective building energy audits, more efficient renewable energy generation, and enable electricity grid to be more responsive and resilient. Her technical focus area is data analytics, and distributed control of complex, cyber-physical systems with emphasis on operations and security of energy systems. Dr. Sonja Glavaski spearheaded development and is currently helming ARPA-E Network Optimized Distributed Energy Systems (NODES) Program that aims to develop transformational grid management and control methods to create a virtual energy storage system based on use of flexible loads and distributed energy resources (DERs).
Prior to joining ARPA-E, Dr. Glavaski served as Control Systems Group Leader at United Technologies Research Center advancing knowledge and technology in the area of control & intelligent systems. Before being at UTRC, Dr. Glavaski led key programs at Eaton Innovation Center and Honeywell Labs. During her 20-plus-year career, Dr. Glavaski has contributed significantly to technical advancements in numerous product areas, including energy systems, hybrid vehicles, energy efficient building HVAC/R systems, and aircraft systems. Dr. Glavaski received Ph.D. and MS in Electrical Engineering from California Institute of Technology, and Dipl. Ing and MS in Electrical Engineering from University of Belgrade.
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