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Dr. William Acker is a well-known and highly-regarded scientist, business leader and entrepreneur in the field of energy. He currently serves as the first Executive Director of NY-BEST, the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium. Under his leadership, NY-BEST has grown its membership to more than 150 companies, created the BEST Test and Commercialization Center and new battery prototyping capabilities, and has performed pioneering work in advancing markets, policy, technology and product development. Dr. Acker is an active and influential voice for energy storage industry in New York State’s groundbreaking Reforming the Energy Vision initiative and he is leading the industry’s participation in the State’s Energy Storage Roadmap initiative.
Dr. Acker’s more than 25-year career in energy includes management and leadership roles with Optiwind, MTI and MTI MicroFuel Cells, Plug Power and Texaco. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for Future Energy Systems at RPI, the RIT Battery Prototyping Center, and the Southern Tier Clean Energy Incubator. Previously he served as a Commissioner on the NY Ready Commission that was established by Governor Andrew Cuomo in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. He received a Ph.D, in Applied Physics and Engineering from Yale University and a B.S. in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic University.
Mia collaborates with internal and external stakeholder groups to synthesize market insights and guide the prioritization of investments for the development of new market products. MISO’s markets clear more than $37 billion dollars in energy transactions annually. With an evolving fleet, market strategy focuses on what new products are needed to continue to drive non-discriminatory market efficiency and price transparency, aligned with grid reliability, and also send appropriate price signals to guide investment decisions. Prior to MISO, Mia worked at 3M in Corporate Strategy and in Global Sustainability in Corporate R&D on innovating new products to address major world challenges like climate change and water scarcity. Earlier experiences were gained at Gamesa in wind farm development and in management consulting for market strategy for clean tech and renewable energy clients. Mia has a Masters in Sustainability and Environmental Management from Harvard University, an MBA from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in Communications and Swedish from North Park University.
Mr. Shawn Bennett, Senior Advisor, Air Force Office of Energy Assurance (OEA), Washington, D.C., develops resiliency solutions at Air Force installations, primarily through the procurement and development of utility-scale generation and microgrids. In addition, he is leading a solicitation process to demonstrate a new "Energy-as-a-Service" business model that seeks to achieve comprehensive energy solutions at Air Force installations. He is currently on a detail assignment from the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC).
Prior to his assignment with OEA, Mr. Bennett served in various roles at FERC, most recently as branch chief in the Division of Analytics and Surveillance. In this role, he managed a team tasked with statistically analyzing and reviewing company transactional data in electric and natural gas markets to evaluate for potential market manipulation. Prior to this role, he served as technical advisor to Commissioner John Norris, to whom he provided policy recommendations to support competitive energy markets and energy infrastructure development.
Mr. Bennett began his career as an engineer with Siemens and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal.
Steve Brick is an independent consultant and has worked for more than forty years at the intersection of energy and environmental policy; his expertise includes utility regulatory policy, energy economics, energy technology assessment and air pollution control policy and economics.
Since 2009 he has been a Senior Fellow in Climate and Energy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Senior Advisor in Technology and Policy at the Clean Air Task Force.
From 2005 to 2009 Mr. Brick served as the manager of the environment program for the Joyce Foundation in Chicago. In this capacity he directed a $6 million per year grant portfolio focused on energy and water issues in the Great Lakes region. Previously he served as Research Director at the Energy Center of Wisconsin, where he was responsible for a wide range of studies on energy efficiency, renewable energy and on the environmental impacts of energy systems. Other experience includes director of environmental affairs for PGE National Energy Group, science and policy director for the Clean Air Task Force, and co-founder and vice president of the energy consulting firm MSB Energy Associates. He received his BA and MS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Donald Chahbazpour is currently the Director of Climate Change Compliance at National Grid. Don is leading company’s efforts in addressing sustainability issues of the natural gas business, mainly focusing on directly engaging federal, state and local stakeholders to support efforts to reduce methane emissions from the natural gas distribution sector. His efforts include collaborating with various organizations to create a new voluntary EPA program to reduce methane emissions, represent the company in several scientific research studies, develop and manage projects to assess integrating new technologies to quantify and reduce emissions from operating a gas utility business. Don is also responsible for raising awareness and engaging policy makers regarding the potential of renewable natural gas and other technologies that can lower the carbon footprint of the natural gas system.
Previous to his current position, Don was the Director of Utility of the Future. His previous positions at National Grid include Corporate Strategy, M&A and Energy Portfolio Management. Prior to National Grid, Don was working for a start up energy technology company focusing on emerging distributed generation technologies and related regulatory issues.
Don has a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration (MPA) from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a Bachelor’s with honors in Mechanical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Mark’s work focuses on several topics related to the changing nature of the electricity grid. Mark has contributed to RMI’s work on new approaches to grid resource planning that better account for the expanding role of renewable energy and distributed energy resources. Mark also helped lead RMI’s analysis of the potential of demand flexibility to reduce grid emissions and costs, and has engaged with several industry partners to launch new business models that take advantage of that potential.
Prior to joining RMI, Mark worked at Ascend Analytics, helping deploy software for grid dispatch optimization and financial modeling to several large energy companies. Mark has also held research positions at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory working on improving regional electricity system planning models, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory working on analysis of the potential for aggregated demand response programs to provide ancillary services.
Mr. Gilbert is a Principal at Energy Capital Partners and is a member of the Valuation Committee. He is involved in all areas of the firm’s investment activities, with particular emphasis on fossil and renewable power generation and environmental services. Mr. Gilbert serves on the boards of Calpine Corp., Wheelabrator Technologies, Inc. and Triton Power, played a critical role in our transaction with Dynegy Inc. and was instrumental in our management of EquiPower Resources Corp., Brayton Point Power, LLC, Broad River Power Holdings, LLC and Odessa Power Holdings, LLC.
Prior to joining Energy Capital Partners in 2010, Mr. Gilbert was part of Citigroup’s Global Energy Investment Banking Group, where he focused on the midstream sector.
Mr. Gilbert received a B.S. in Finance and Economics from New York University Stern School of Business and is a CFA Charterholder.
Alain Halimi is a Director, Project & Specialized Finance, Institutional Banking & Markets of Commonwealth Bank of Australia covering the renewable energy, conventional power, infrastructure and resources sectors in the Americas. Alain has been a financier for 14+ years, originating secured and unsecured debt financing, project financing, acquisition financing, capital markets, mezzanine and holdco PIK financings and advising clients on a range of project financings, acquisitions and divestitures transactions. He has completed 100+ transactions with combined value of US$30+ billion in the Americas and EMEA. Earlier, Mr. Halimi was a VP at BNP Paribas New York in the Structured Debt Group advising or arranging transactions for international clients including origination, structuring, negotiation and closing of numerous limited and non‐recourse project & structured financings, in the capacity of agent/underwriter.
Ray Hohenstein is a Market Applications Director at Fluence, a joint venture between Siemens and AES and a leading global provider of energy storage systems and services. In this role, he is responsible for identifying markets and applications that are attractive for energy storage development and educating potential customers on business cases for energy storage. Prior to joining Fluence, he worked for McKinsey & Company, where he served utility and tech clients on a range of topics including digital capability building, mergers and acquisitions, and operations transformations. He holds an M.B.A. from Duke University and a B.A. from Harvard University.
Lon Huber directs Strategen’s private sector consulting practice. In this capacity, Lon provides independent analysis, strategy, and policy solutions to some of the energy sector’s most controversial issues. On behalf of a diversity of clients, he is involved in numerous public proceedings across the US, covering such topics as rate design modernization, community solar, energy storage policy, and the designing of new ratepayer friendly market structures.
Prior to joining Strategen, Lon worked for the consumer advocate office in Arizona, in the private sector for solar technology firms, and in academia at an energy focused research institute. Due to his efforts in the community, Mr. Huber received a congressional recognition award for his work in educating citizens about solar energy. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree and MBA from the University of Arizona Eller College of Management.
Thomas McAndrew founded Enchanted Rock Ltd. in 2006 and currently serves as the President and CEO. McAndrew brings over 34 years of experience in energy asset management ranging from large, complex nuclear plants to small distributed generation. Prior experiences include VP of Trading and Risk Management at Calpine, CEO at Progressive Power Solutions, VP of West Power Trading at Statoil, and Director at Enron. McAndrew has also served in U.S. Navy as Lieutenant. He holds B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Rana Mukerji is responsible for the Market Design; Product and Project Management; Strategic and Business Planning; Research and Development; and Market Training teams.
Mr. Mukerji joined the NYISO in 2006. Previously, he spent several years as a global leader for ABB’s Utility T&D Services, Asset Management and Consulting businesses in North Carolina and Zurich. He also played a key role as General Manager for GE’s Power Systems Energy Consulting Division.
He earned a B.S in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, a M.S. in Electric Power Engineering and a M.B.A. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. Mr. Mukerji is also a NY registered Professional Engineer.
Seth Mullendore is vice president and project director for Clean Energy Group, where he serves as manager, analyst, and technical adviser for power systems, solar PV applications, and battery storage projects. Seth works with policymakers and project developers on outreach and coordination of energy storage project development, and he provides research and reporting of energy storage technologies, policies, and supporting market structures. Prior to joining Clean Energy Group, Seth served as a Sustainable Energy Fellow with Union of Concerned Scientists and worked with Maine Clean Communities to help advance clean transportation initiatives in Maine. Seth holds a M.S. in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, and a B.S. in Geosciences from the University of Southern Maine.
Abe Silverman is NRG's Vice President for Regulatory Affairs Group and Deputy General Counsel in charge of regulatory issues. The Regulatory Affairs group consists of a national team of lawyers, economists, and engineers and works to ensure that energy markets continue to deliver value for electricity consumers and execute on clean energy objectives. Silverman works on a variety of issues, including wholesale market design, promoting competition and choice at the retail level, carbon pricing, and next-generation green energy solutions.
Kelly Speakes-Backman is the first CEO of the Energy Storage Association. Kelly has spent over 20 years working in energy and environmental issues in the public, NGO and private sectors, including organizations such as United Technologies, SunEdison and Alliance to Save Energy. She is a former Commissioner of the Maryland Public Service Commission where she also served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, co-vice chair of the NARUC Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment, and member of the EPRI Energy Efficiency & Grid Modernization Public Advisory Group. She is a mechanical engineer from Boston University.
Landon Stevens is the Policy Director for Commissioner Andy Tobin at the Arizona Corporation Commission. He is the principle author of the recently proposed Arizona Energy Modernization Plan which would see Arizona get 80 percent of its energy from clean sources by 2030 while also setting the nation’s largest energy storage target and adopting a ‘clean peak standard’ for regulated utilities.
Landon previously directed research at an academic think tank focusing on energy and environmental policy and was the Director of Policy for the Institute for Energy Research in Washington D.C. Landon earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and his Master’s in Public Policy from George Mason University.
Swami Venkataraman is a Senior Vice President in the Global Utilities & Infrastructure Finance Group at Moody’s, covering utilities, merchant power, gas midstream and renewable energy companies. He is a member of Moody’s global Environmental Risk Assessment group and represents Moody’s in the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Electricity” roundtable. Prior to joining Moody’s, Swami was a Director of Project & Export Finance at Standard Chartered Bank in Mumbai, India, responsible for business development and execution of project and export credit financings in India covering power, renewable energy, and other infrastructure sectors. One of his solar PV projects won the “PFI Asia-Pacific Renewables deal of the year” award in 2013. Over the last 15 years, Swami has developed broad expertise in energy, especially clean energy, across geographies and sectors. He has worked in New York, San Francisco, London, Mumbai and Mexico City and his expertise in the clean energy space includes creating project finance methodologies for the first solar PV projects financed in the US capital markets, evaluating commercially unproven technologies for the US Department of Energy loan guarantee program, developing specialized financial products for the carbon markets and green bond assessments. Swami is a CFA charterholder, with a B.Tech in Electronics and Communications Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras.
Ms. Walter evaluates strategic market design and economic issues for PJM, including quantitative and qualitative analytical support on topics that impact PJM strategy, including state and federal policy initiatives, technological advances and broader economic trends. Ms. Walter focuses on market design and economic trends in electricity markets and grid operations. Currently, Laura is leading a team to implement FERC Order 841: Electric Storage Participation in Markets Operated by RTOs and ISOs in PJM.
Previous roles at PJM included stints in Performance Compliance, Market Analysis and Finance. Prior to joining PJM in 2008, Ms. Walter worked in Commodity Supply Planning at FirstEnergy Solutions and Rates and Regulatory Affairs at FirstEnergy Corp. Ms. Walter earned a Master’s degree in economics from Kent State University.
Ms. Walter has a passion for STEM education; she is the Chair of the Mid-Atlantic Women's International Networking Utility Professionals and the Vice Chair of the PJM STEAM Employee Resource Group.
PJM Interconnection, founded in 1927, ensures the reliability of the high-voltage electric power system serving 65 million people in all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. PJM coordinates and directs the operation of the region’s transmission grid, which includes over 84,042 miles of transmission lines; administers a competitive wholesale electricity market; and plans regional transmission expansion improvements to maintain grid reliability and relieve congestion. PJM’s regional grid and market operations produce annual savings of $2.8 billion to $3.1 billion. For the latest news about PJM, visit PJM Inside Lines at insidelines.pjm.com.