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Alice K. Jackson is President of Xcel Energy – Colorado, a company serving 1.4 million electric customers and 1.3 million natural gas customers. The company is a recognized industry leader in delivering affordable and reliable service, providing clean energy choices, and in reducing carbon and other emissions. Since joining Xcel Energy in 2011, Ms. Jackson has held various positions of increasing responsibility. Most recently Ms. Jackson was Vice President of Strategic Revenue Initiatives, where she built a team to generate new revenues through exploring and integrating new technologies and economic development initiatives in addition to looking at new options for Xcel Energy’s unregulated businesses. Prior to her corporate strategic role, Alice held the lead regulatory position with Xcel Energy—Texas/New Mexico and then with Xcel Energy—Colorado.
Before her time with Xcel Energy, Alice spent close to 10 years with Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy) managing the energy needs of this large consumer across the country. Through her involvement in the federal and state electric markets, multiple rate cases, and interaction with customers large and small, Alice developed a unique respect for utilities and their contributions to society.
Because having a full-time career, being married to her high school sweetheart and having four sons is not enough of an adventure in life, Alice recently took on the challenge of advancing her business acumen. In 2017 Alice completed the Program for Leadership Development at Harvard University. Before her professional experience, Alice obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in Management Information Systems from Texas A&M University.
Governor Jared Polis, born and raised in Colorado, is an entrepreneur, education leader, environmentalist, and public servant. After launching several successful companies, including one out of his college dorm room, Polis committed himself to making sure other Coloradans had the opportunity to pursue their dreams and preserving our Colorado way of life. Prior to serving as Governor, Polis served on the State Board of Education and represented Colorado's 2nd Congressional district where he introduced historic public land conservation legislation, worked to reduce our carbon emissions, and pushed for increased usage of renewable, clean sources of energy. Governor Polis has laid out a bold agenda to move Colorado to be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2040, which means cleaner air and water, creating good-paying green jobs that can never be outsourced, and combating the harmful effects of climate change. In his first term, Polis enacted laws to prioritize health and safety first when it comes to oil & gas drilling operations and empowered local communities to regulate oil & gas activities within their borders. He also signed legislation and an executive order to support a transition to electric vehicles, enacted landmark Public Utility Commission reform, and is supporting various efforts to expand energy efficiency, increase community solar and encourage our public utilities to transition to renewable sources of energy.
Audrey deploys and aggregates home solar, batteries, and other energy services to serve residential customers, utilities, and grid operators in creating a more affordable, clean, reliable electricity grid. Audrey also serves on the NIST Smart Grid Advisory Committee. Previously, Audrey was VP of Analytics & Design at Advanced Microgrid Solutions, where she built the analytics and operations platform to optimize a 50 MW fleet of customer-sited batteries as a virtual power plant in Southern California after the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. This resulted in Series A and B corporate funding and a $200 million project finance raise – the largest dedicated energy storage finance vehicle at the time. Prior to that, Audrey led policy and analysis at the CA Public Utilities Commission President’s office, Harvard University, U.S. Department of Energy and the International Energy Agency. She holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Princeton University. At home she builds forts and Snap Circuits with her two children.
Frances A. Koncilja was appointed to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission by Governor John Hickenlooper in January of 2016 and confirmed by the Colorado Senate in February with almost unanimous bipartisan approval. Her four-year term expires in January of 2020.
Frances, originally from Pueblo, has practiced law in the Denver area since 1972. She began her career with the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office, and later worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. She entered private practice in 1978 and in 1993 founded the law firm Koncilja & Associates, which Frances closed as the result of her appointment to the PUC. For 23 years, the firm handled a broad range of commercial, civil and bankruptcy disputes in state and federal courts.
Throughout her career, Frances has dedicated herself to public service and the people of Colorado. Some of her notable appointments and affiliations have included:
Frances earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southern Colorado State College in Pueblo and received a Juris Doctorate from the University of Colorado law school. Frances credits any of her successes to her Italian and Slavic blue-collar working class background and the work ethic she learned from her parents, grandparents, friends and family in Pueblo.
Ted Vatnsdal serves as Executive Director, Business Adoption and Transition, Strategy and Business Development at Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), focusing on the role of technology innovation in expanding MISO’s value proposition. MISO is an independent, not-for-profit organization that delivers safe, cost-effective electric power across 15 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. MISO operates one of the world’s largest energy markets with more than $29 billion in annual gross market energy transactions.
Prior to joining MISO in 2018, Ted held various roles with ACES Power Marketing, a national energy trading and risk management company owned by and providing services primarily to rural electric cooperative. At ACES, Ted held roles in portfolio analytics, marketing, and strategy roles, and finally as Chief Operating Officer where he had responsibility for ACES’ trading and advisory functions, overseeing $4 billion in energy trading and $2 billion in advisory work annually. Prior to ACES, Ted worked in finance and advisory for companies in the marketing industry.
Ted has an undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Nebraska- Omaha, and an MBA with specializations in Strategy and Economics from the University of Chicago.
Thomas Plagemann is the Chief Commercial Officer at Vivint Solar. In this position, he is responsible for developing Vivint Solar’s tax equity, capital markets, market expansion, and fundraising efforts and leading the financing strategy beyond its existing third party financing structures. Thomas is based in New York City and has more than 20 years of experience originating and executing financings and investments in energy and infrastructure assets.
During his career, Thomas has been involved with projects valued in excess of $29 billion and has completed transactions across the balance sheet from debt to equity. Prior to joining Vivint Solar, Thomas was Head of Energy, U.S. Corporate & Investment Banking for Santander Global Banking & Markets. While there he was responsible for all the bank’s activities with North American Energy clients across the energy sector, including Oil & Gas, Utilities, and Independent Power Producers.
Prior to joining Santander, Thomas was at First Solar as the Global Head of Project Finance and Transaction Execution. There he ran the sales processes for all of First Solar’s utility scale solar projects globally. He and his team financed and closed the sale of projects totaling over 1.6GW-AC of capacity with a total value in excess of $8 billion across 6 transactions.
Prior to First Solar, Thomas was responsible for AIG FP’s principal investment strategy in the renewable energy sector. His responsibilities included covering the renewable and conventional power industry and general infrastructure and also leading the team that closed tax equity investments in wind and geothermal projects totaling over $1 billion.
Before joining AIG, Thomas was a Managing Director with GE Capital’s energy investment business. There he was responsible for originating specialized equity, debt, and structured transactions for the financing of power plant construction and acquisitions. Thomas started his career as a banker in Deutsche Bank’s project finance group where he was responsible for originating, underwriting, and syndicating non-recourse energy financing.
Thomas received a BA from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in International Affairs with a specialization in finance from Columbia University.
Paul Suskie serves SPP as executive vice president of regulatory policy and general counsel. He is responsible for managing the organization’s legal and regulatory policy groups and serves as corporate secretary.
Prior to joining SPP, he was appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe as chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission and a member of the Governor’s cabinet — positions in which he served from 2007-2010. At the time of his appointment to the Commission, he was in his third elected term as North Little Rock’s city attorney. Prior to joining the city attorney’s office, Paul worked for former United States Sen. David Pryor and for Arkansas Attorney General Winston Bryant. Paul is a colonel in the Army Reserve where he serves in the JAG Corps. He has served as a military judge for the Arkansas Army National Guard and is a veteran of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Morgan is the CEO of Energy Storage for GE Renewable Energy, joining the company in early 2018. He has over 30 years of experience in global energy markets. During a 15- year career with the AES Corporation, he led electric power plant and integrated utility businesses as CEO/GM in Kazakhstan, Chile and El Salvador. Mr. Morgan then co-founded and led corporate strategy and project development activities at Agile Energy, Inc. and Ausra, Inc. He most recently spent 4 years at RES Americas as Chief Strategy Officer and EVP for New Business where he was responsible for new commercial activities, including building the company’s energy storage portfolio as leader of strategy, corporate communication and market development.Mr. Morgan has closed more than 8 GW of project transactions worldwide representing more than $5 billion in project value. He was instrumental in building companies by successfully developing, acquiring and operating utility-scale renewable and conventional power generating assets.Mr. Morgan holds a BA in Economics and MS in Engineering from Stanford University. He currently serves on the board of Grid-Net, Inc. a software company powering advanced metering and infrastructure networks around the globe.
Nate Blair is a Group Manager within the Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC) at NREL. Nate has over twenty years of experience in renewable and efficiency energy systems modeling and energy analysis. He worked as the TRNSYS project manager at the Univ. of WI – Solar Energy Laboratory, briefly at Sandia National Laboratories, Global Energy Partners, and Thermal Energy System Specialists. Nate has a B.A. in physics from Gustavus Adolphus College, an M.S.M.E. and an MBA from the UW-Madison.
His 14 years of NREL activities include helping develop the Solar Analysis Model (SAM) and PVWatts as well as working with the ReEDS electric grid palnning model. He currently manages a team of system modelers and the geospatial Data Science (GDS) staff. Recently, he worked at the World Bank from 2015-2016 on assignment from NREL.
Melisa Johns is vice president of Business and Product Development for Duke Energy’s Distributed Technology team. She is responsible for leading the development, origination, execution and implementation of investment opportunities and customer offers related to distributed assets for the regulated companies which includes solar, wind, energy storage, CHP and micro grids.
Previously, Melisa was responsible for developing strategy for the Emerging Technology team and directing Duke Energy’s technology demonstration projects which provide lessons learned regarding the technology application, operational implications, and technology transfer within the business.
During her tenure with Duke Energy, she also served as director of wholesale origination and was responsible for leading the wholesale origination team in the execution of long-term sales contracts from the regulated generation portfolios of Duke Energy Carolinas and Indiana and for the procurement of supply side resources for the company. In addition, she has operational experience in system, planning and operating, and power delivery, as well as experience in regulatory affairs and business planning.
Melisa earned her Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree, in Electrical Engineering, from Clemson University. She has also completed the Strategic Leadership Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Margarett Jolly collaborates with technology leaders to develop new solutions that open the grid for customers and grid participant. Her professional and personal background provides her the technical and policy tools, partnerships and passion that are making the grid a better place.
She is recent Director of R&D at Con Edison and currently Director Demonstration Projects in the Customer Energy Solutions organization where her team solicits, develops, demonstrates, and scales alternative ways of doing business with the utility. Demonstrations include new business models for storage, solar, rate design, low and middle-income customers, and web portals to connect residential and commercial customers with innovative energy management tools.
She has been with Con Edison since 1997. Margarett’s early career included power plant control systems and boiler operations, followed by regulatory and energy markets policy, electric distribution engineering, and as the Company’s DG Ombudsperson.
She graduated from New York City Technical College in 1993 and from the Cooper Union in 1997 with a BE in Mechanical Engineering. A licensed Professional Engineer in New York State since 2004, Margarett serves on the Boards of Green City Force and Grid Alternative Tri-State, and NY-Best.
Margarett speaks regularly about the evolving role of the electric grid.
Jackie Sargent rejoined the Austin Energy team as General Manager in August 2016. She brings almost 30 years of utility experience, as well as the focus and passion to continue the utility’s cutting edge reputation while providing tremendous community benefits.
From 2010 to 2012, Sargent served as Senior Vice President of Power Supply and Market Operations at Austin Energy before joining Platte River Power Authority in Fort Collins, Colorado, as General Manager and CEO. Sargent also served as Vice President of Power Supply and Renewables Integration for Black Hills Corporation in South Dakota.
Throughout her career, Sargent has demonstrated leadership by working with teams to accomplish goals and plan for the future. Some notable accomplishments include managing major construction projects, developing resource plans, supporting acquisitions and mergers, leading utility rate cases, negotiating power purchase and sale agreements, developing and growing energy marketing departments, integrating renewable resources, and creating collaborative energy efficiency programs.
Sargent believes Austin Energy can be a great value to its customers by focusing on these five core values: safety, financial integrity, operational excellence and reliability, exceptional customer service, and engaged employees. A strong financial base along with operational excellence allows a publicly owned utility to be competitive while creating value for the community. By continuing Austin Energy’s standard of exceptional reliability and advancements in grid technology, the utility will be able to offer new levels of communication and collaboration with its customers. But these achievements can only happen with engaged employees in a safe environment that extends to the customers the utility serves.
Sargent is a licensed professional engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Science in Technology Management from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
Mr. Boris Schubert is General Manager, solar and storage, at Shell New Energies and a Director at Silicon Ranch Corporation. With more than 15 years of experience in cleantech, electric utilities, technology and consulting, Borish has held executive roles at Q-Cells International USA Corporation, ET Solar Industry Limited, ET Capital Solar Partners, Inc., and Hanwha Q CELLS USA. He has deep expertise in solar project financing, development, EPC and O&M management. He started his career as a management consultant at Accenture, where his client work included developing market entry strategies for Distributed Energy Resource players, B2B CRM process optimization and data warehousing, and analytics reporting for utilities. Boris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering and a Master of Business Administration degree, both from the University of Augsburg, Germany.
Kate McGinnis is Managing Director for North America at Fluence, a joint venture between Siemens and AES Corporation and a leading global provider of energy storage systems and services. In this role, she leads sales to utilities, IPPs, and developers in the region. Prior to joining Fluence, she spent three years working with AES Energy Storage, resulting in nearly 200MW of contracted projects in the western US. Her start in storage was with Chevron Technology Ventures, where she led development of stationary storage projects co-located with oil & gas infrastructure globally. She has nearly two decades of experience in the energy space, and has worked in areas including energy efficiency, carbon markets, and a variety of renewables. Kate is a board member and past chair of the California Energy Storage Alliance. She holds a BS in Environmental Science from George Washington University and an MBA from Cornell.
Tilak Gopalarathnam is currently the Director of Energy Technology Partnerships at LG Corp., the parent company of LG Electronics and LG Chem. In this role, he is responsible for open innovation, partnerships and new business development in solar photovoltaics, energy storage and grid edge technologies.
This corporate role enables Tilak to work across business units and develop the technology strategy for new solutions in partnership with startups as well as established companies. One of his focus areas has been the development of corporate strategy and solar + storage solutions for the residential, commercial and utility markets.
Tilak has been working on various aspects of renewable energy and energy efficiency for the past 20 years, including solar module manufacturing innovations, solar power conversion and automotive hybrid system power electronics. He has an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering with a power electronics focus.
Kevin Vannoy is MISO’s Director of Market Design. He has over twenty three years of Management and Consulting experience in the electric utility industry, including Regional Transmission Organizations, and regulated and deregulated markets. He has been with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) since 2005.
He was MISO’s Director of Forward Operations Planning from June 2015 to September 2017, his responsibilities included; Transmission and Generation Outage Coordination, Tariff Administration and Scheduling, Forecast Engineering and Seams Administration.
He was MISO’s Director of Market Administration from 2010 to June 2015, responsible for administering Auction Revenue Rights (“ARRs”), the Financial Transmission Rights (“FTR”) Markets, the Day-Ahead Energy and Operating Reserves Markets, Resource Adequacy Administration, Forecast Engineering, the Forward Reliability Assessment Commitment and Real-Time Ex-post Locational Marginal Pricing functions.
Kevin managed Market Services starting in 2005 following the launch of the Midwest Energy Markets. He led Market Quality and Dispute Resolution, Market Settlements, Tariff Pricing and Transmission Settlements until 2010.
Kevin has been involved with numerous Market development and improvement initiatives at MISO, including the Ancillary Services Markets implementation, Revenue Sufficiency Guarantee Allocation Redesign, Financial Transmission Rights Funding efforts, Transmission Multi-Value Project Auction Revenue Rights Allocation, Annual Resource Adequacy Auctions, and Extended Locational Marginal Pricing.
Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida. Prior to joining MISO, he held management roles with both the Structure Consulting Group LLC in their Regional Transmission Organization Consulting Practice, and Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) in their Utilities Industry Practice. Prior to joining Andersen Consulting in 1995, he served as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Navy.
Kari Smith manages energy storage policy and procurement at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Prior to the CPUC, she served as the Director of Policy and Market Development for SunPower Corporation, one the world’s leading solar manufacturers. Kari led renewable and energy efficiency policy advocacy for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and served on the board of directors of numerous clean energy trade associations, including the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA). Kari co-founded the Solar Alliance and Texas Solar Power Association. She is a graduate of the University of California and has a Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado.
Lara Pierpoint joined Exelon in October 2016, focusing on energy technology innovation. She leads the Corporate Strategy technical team from her post in Danville, California, advising the company on energy technology trends and running Exelon’s partnership R&D program. Prior to joining Exelon, she directed the Office of Energy Supply Security in the U.S. DOE Office of Policy and Systems Analysis, where she was responsible for policy and analysis related to coal, gas, and nuclear power and energy cyber and physical security. Before her work at DOE she served as an AAAS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, focusing on nuclear power and waste issues, energy finance, and electricity storage. She received her PhD in 2011 from MIT in Engineering Systems, studying deployment of advanced technologies for nuclear waste recycling, and she holds dual masters degrees from MIT in nuclear engineering and technology policy. She is a native Californian, and completed her B.S. in physics at UCLA in 2004.
Shounok currently leads the Products & Structuring function for Constellation Energy’s Distributed Energy business. He is based in Baltimore and focuses on the renewable and distributed energy sector. At Constellation, Shounok has led the new product development, financial structuring and asset acquisition efforts for competitive bidding and internal underwriting helping deploy over $1B of capital on Distributed Energy development; opportunities span multiple asset classes including Solar PV, Storage, Fuel Cells & Biomass. In addition, Shounok has extensive experience in Project Financing and was involved in non-recourse debt offerings on utility scale renewable and gas generation assets totaling over $1.5B. Shounok holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Instrumentation Engineering from BMS College of Engineering, India and has a MBA from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Brandon currently leads Distributed Energy innovation & integration for Microsoft's Energy Strategy & Research team. Her background combines renewable energy asset management and project finance experience with political risk consulting and environmental policy. Prior to joining Microsoft, she has held senior positions at SunEdison, Bloom Energy and Albright Stonebridge Group. Brandon holds a BA, Environmental Studies and a MESc Environmental Science from Yale University; and an MBA from Stanford University.
Seth Baruch is National Director for Energy and Utilities at Kaiser Permanente and is responsible for managing sustainable energy programs across the organization, including solar projects at a hundred different hospitals, data centers and medical office buildings. Part of this program includes the development of microgrids and rapid installation of electric vehicle charging stations at selected sites in California. Seth is also helping lead the effort for Kaiser Permanente to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020.