Centers | EMIC

2014 Austin Electricity Conference

The 4th Annual Austin Electricity Conference will once again convene a diverse group of experts from across the country to explore issues in the industry. The conference is an annual, invitation-only conclave of engineers, economists, policymakers, lawyers and other experts in the electric utility industry, drawn from academia, industry, government, and NGOs. The conference follows the Aspen Institute model, in which extended plenary discussions are organized around short (less than 10 min.) panel presentations so as to promote cross disciplinary discussion among the invited participants. In this way, the model treats all invited participants as "presenters" and puts less emphasis on formal panel presentations.

The conference will be held at the AT&T Conference Center and Hotel in Austin, Texas.

If you need an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact Jessica Miller no later than five business days prior to the event.

Click here for the list of 2014 AEC participants.

Day 1 Schedule

Thursday, April 3, 2014

 

8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. Registration and Breakfast

9:30 a.m.-9:45 a.m.  Classroom 105

Introduction and Conference Overview
David Spence, University of Texas at Austin
9:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Classroom 105

Panel 1 Discussion:  Decentralized Delivery Models for Electricity
Moderator: Varun Rai, University of Texas at Austin
Paul Wattles, ERCOT
Steven Weissman, University of California, Berkeley
Frank Wolak, Stanford University
Maura Yates, SunEdison

10:45 a.m.-11:00 a.m. Coffee Break
12:15 p.m.-1:45 p.m. Classroom 103 Lunch with Keynote Speaker
Robert Powers,  American Electric Power
1:45 p.m.-4:15 p.m. Classroom 105

Panel 2 Discussion: New Finance and Ownership Structures for Renewables and Distributed Generation
Moderator: Rob Jones, University of Texas at Austin
Richard Carrell, Prudential Capital Group
Kristian Hanelt,Clean Power Finance
Felix Mormann, University of Miami
Trey Price, MP2 Energy

2:45 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Coffee Break 
4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Conference Room 301

Reception

Day 2 Schedule

Friday, April 4, 2014

8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. Breakfast 
9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Classroom 105

Panel 3 Discussion: Opportunities and Challenges at the Gas-Electricity Nexus
Moderator: Ross Baldick, University of Texas at Austin
Mark Babula, ISONE
Alexandra Klass, University of Minnesota
Brett Perlman, Vector Advisors
Sandy Rizzo, Bracewell & Giuliani

10:00 a.m.-10:15 a.m. Coffee Break 
11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Classroom 103 Lunch with Keynote Speaker
Doyle Beneby, CPS Energy 
1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Classroom 105

Panel 4 Discussion:  Barriers to Innovation
Moderator: David Adelman, University of Texas at Austin
Chuck Harder, CenterPoint Energy
Joel Mickey, Ercot
Amy Stein, Tulane University
Michael Wara, Stanford University

2:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m. Coffee Break 
3:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Wrap Up
David Spence, University of Texas at Austin

Panels

Panel 1: Decentralized Delivery Models for Electricity

This panel will explore the growth of distributed generation, micro grids, and other decentralized delivery models in the electric utility industry, as well as the business and regulatory issues triggered by these new delivery models.  What is the role of the traditional electric utility in the development of these decentralized sources?

Panel 2: New Finance and Ownership Structures for Renewables and Distributed Generation

This panel will explore the economics of developing distributed generation, particularly new ownership structures and other devices used to finance new construction. This panel will also explore the potential extension of ownership/financing structures like the Master Limited Partnerships or Real Estate Investment Trusts to renewables, efficiency and other energy investments.

Panel 3:  Opportunities and Challenges at the Gas-Electricity Nexus 

The prospect of inexpensive natural gas in the foreseeable future has changed the relationship between gas and electricity markets, presenting both competitive challenges and business opportunities for gas and electric utilities, along with other providers of gas and electric services. This panel will explore the technical, economic and legal aspects of these challenges and opportunities.

Panel 4: Barriers to Innovation

In their efforts to promote alternative models of electric service, proponents may encounter legal and technical barriers to their visions of a new electric service future.  This panel will focus on those legal and technical obstacles, and the questions of whether and how they might be overcome.

Keynote Speakers

Doyle Beneby

President & CEO, CPS Energy

Headshot Doyle BenebyDoyle N. Beneby is President and Chief Executive Officer for CPS Energy, the largest municipal electric and gas utility in the nation. A veteran of the energy industry with over 30 years of experience, Doyle has expertise in many facets of the electric & gas utility industry including strategic planning, generation & delivery operations and asset acquisition.

During his time at CPS Energy, Doyle has transformed the vertically integrated utility’s generation fleet to one of the most diversified in the country, with an emphasis on low carbon and renewable sources. He has also created industry leading public private partnerships with clean technology companies that have brought thousands of jobs to the Greater San Antonio area. A passionate innovator, Doyle is currently championing the role grid optimization and demand response can play in reducing peak demand in the state of Texas.

Doyle is a graduate of Montana Technical College, earning a Bachelor’s degree in engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Miami. In 2008, he completed the Advanced Executive Leadership Program at Exelon Academy/Northwestern University and in 2003 he completed the Advanced Management Program at Exelon Training Center.

Doyle serves on the Board of Directors for industry organizations such as Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), Capital Power Corporation, Keystone Center & Energy Board, the American Gas Association (AGA), Texas Public Power Association (TPPA), and American Public Power Association (APPA). He also serves on local Boards including American Heart Association (AHA), Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, San Antonio Medical Foundation, San Antonio Acquisition Public Facility Corporation Board of Directors, and University of the Incarnate Word (UIW). 

Robert Powers

Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, American Electric Power 

Robert Powers Headshot

Robert P. Powers is executive vice president and chief operating officer, with responsibility for AEP Utilities; Unregulated Operations; Customer Services, Generation; Nuclear Generation; and Regulatory (Revenue) related activities. 

Previously, he was president - AEP Utilities, responsible for AEP´s electric utility operations that serve more than 5 million customers in 11 states. He was also responsible for regulatory and policy matters relating to utility operations.
 
From 2006 to 2008, he was executive vice president - AEP East Utilities.  Previously, he was executive vice president - Generation, a position he had held since 2003. Mr. Powers was responsible for all generation activities, including fossil and hydro generation; nuclear generation; project and field services; fuel, emissions and logistics, and business services. It was during this time that AEP was involved with planning and executing fossil plant modifications for SO2 and NOX. In addition, Mr. Powers led AEP’s efforts to add Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) Technology and ultra-supercritical coal as options for future coal generation. 

From 2001 to 2003, he was executive vice president - Nuclear and Technical Services, a position that gave Mr. Powers his first significant exposure to fossil plant construction and maintenance, along with responsibility for operation of the D.C. Cook Nuclear Plant. 

Mr. Powers joined AEP in 1998 as senior vice president - Nuclear Generation. He was hired to assure the successful restart of the two Cook nuclear units, which had been voluntarily shut down the year before. Under Mr. Powers’ leadership, AEP conducted a comprehensive engineering and maintenance re-verification of the plant and both units were successfully returned to service in 2000 -- with the added benefit of replacing and upgrading the steam generators for the plant. 

Prior to joining AEP, he previously served as vice president and plant manager of Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Generating Station. Mr. Powers was employed by PG&E for 17 years, joining the firm as a health physicist in 1982, and subsequently serving in the maintenance, quality assurance, and operations departments before becoming vice president. 
Mr. Powers first joined the utility business in 1976, when he was hired by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the utility’s nuclear program. Mr. Powers focused on radiation measurement and environmental assessment of TVA’s nuclear power plants and uranium mining properties. 

A native of Andover, Mass., Mr. Powers earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Tufts University in Boston and a master's degree in radiological hygiene (health physics) from the University of North Carolina. He earned national certification by the American Board of Health Physics. He earned senior reactor operator certification in 1991. In addition, Mr. Powers completed executive management programs run by the University of California – Berkeley and Duke University. 

Mr. Powers has recently joined the Board of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).  Mr. Powers is also active in the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), and is a member and past Chair of the Board for the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), an EEI organization focused on recruiting technical talent to the utilities.  Mr. Powers serves on the Technical Advisory Committee for the Braemar Venture Capital Fund.  He also served as a member of the National Nuclear Training Accreditation Board for six years until 2009. Mr. Powers served as a member of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Board of Directors from 2002 to 2009. During his term at EPRI he served as the Chair of the Compensation Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee. 

Locally, Mr. Powers serves on the Boards of Directors for the world renowned Columbus Zoo, and the Wilds, a wildlife conservation organization located on former AEP mining properties in central Ohio. Previously he served on the Dean’s Advisory Council for The Ohio State University Engineering department, and as a Trustee for the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges. Mr. Powers serves as Executive Champion of the AEP United Negro College Fund campaign at AEP in Columbus, and was recognized in 2009 with a Legacy Achievement Award by that organization.  Mr. Powers also serves as Executive Champion of the AEP United Way Campaign.

Powers lives in Powell, Ohio, with his wife Jan. They have three children. Daughter Erin is an attorney in Denver, Colorado. Middle son Jeff is a three-time Olympian in water polo, winning the silver medal for the United States in 2008. Steve is the youngest of Bob and Jan’s kids and is a store manager for Home Depot in Evergreen, Colorado.

Panelists

Panel 1 – Decentralized Delivery Models for Electricity

Moderator: Varun Rai, The University of Texas at Austin

Paul Wattles, ERCOT Click here for presentation slides
Steven Weissman, University of California, Berkeley Click here for Presentation Slides
Frank Wolak, Stanford University Click here for presentation slides
Maura Yates, SunEdison Click here for presentation slides

Panel 2 – New Finance and Ownership Structures for Renewables and Distributed Generation 

Moderator: Rob Jones, The University of Texas at Austin

Richard Carrell, Prudential Capital Group Click here for presentation slides
Kristian Hanelt, Clean Power Finance Click here for presentation slides
Felix Mormann, University of Miami Click here for presentation slides
Trey Price, MP2 Energy Click here for presentations

Panel 3 – Opportunities and Challenges at the Gas-Electricity Nexus

Moderator: Ross Baldick, The University of Texas at Austin Click here for presentation slides

Mark Babula, ISONE Click here for presentation slides
Alexandra Klass, University of Minnesota Click here for presentation slides
Brett Perlman, Vector Advisors Click here for presentation slides
Sandy Rizzo, Bracewell & Giuliani Click here for presentation slides

Panel 4 – Barriers to Innovation

Moderator: David Adelman, The University of Texas at Austin

Chuck Harder, CenterPoint Energy Click here for presentation slides

Joel Mickey, Ercot Click here for presentation slides
Amy Stein, Tulane University Click here for presentation slides
Michael Wara, Stanford University No slides available


Conference Organizers

Sponsorship and Meeting Coordinators

David Adelman
UT School of Law
512-232-0877
dadelman@law.utexas.edu

Ross Baldick
Cockrell School of Engineering
512-471-5879
baldick@mail.utexas.edu

Varun Rai
Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs & Cockrell School of Engineering
512-471-5057
raivarun@gmail.com

David Spence
Red McCombs School of Business
512-471-0778
David.Spence@McCombs.utexas.edu

Michael Webber
Webber Energy Group & Cockrell School of Engineering
512-475-6867
webber@mail.utexas.edu

Hotel and Logistics

Gena Dawson
Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law & UT School of Law
512-475-9328
GDawson@law.utexas.edu

Jessica Miller
Energy Management and Innovation Center
512-232-7077
jessica.miller@mccombs.utexas.edu

Accommodations

Hotels With a Room Block Available

AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center
1900 University Avenue, Austin, TX 78705
Website: www.meetattexas.com
Phone: (512) 404-3600
Cut off March 19, 2014 

 
 Hotels Without a Room Block Available

DoubletreeDoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotels
303 West 15th Street, Austin, TX 78701-1692
Website: www.doubletree.com
Phone: (512) 478-7000 

 

 mansion at judges hillHotel Ella
1900 Rio Grande Street, Austin, TX 78705
Website: www.mansionatjudgeshill.com
Phone: (512) 495-1857 
 

Four Seasons Hotel
98 San Jacinto Blvd., Austin, Texas 78701
Website:  www.fourseasons.com/austin
Phone: (512) 478-4500

 

 

Hilton Austin
500 East 4th Street, Austin, Texas 78701
Website: Click here
Phone: (512) 482-8000 


 
Hyatt Regency Austin
208 Barton Springs Road, Austin, Texas 78704
Website: www.austin.hyatt.com
Phone: (512) 477-1234




Omni Hotel Austin
700 San Jacinto Blvd., Austin, Texas 78701
Website: www.omnihotels.com/austin
Phone: (512) 476-3700

 

The Stephen F. Austin Inter-continental Hotel 

701 Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701
Website: www.austin.intercontinental.com
Phone: (512) 457-8800

Sponsors

  Cockrell School Logo          

    Law School Energy Center Logo    

EMIC Logo

Energy Institute Logo


      
     

                

The 2014 Austin Electricity Conference will explore the challenges to traditional modes of generating and delivering electricity posed by innovation in the electricity industry. Innovation poses challenges to the traditional utility-centric, central station model of energy service.  Innovation in generation, transmission and metering technologies, in business models and ownership structures for new electric generation facilities, and in regulatory regimes is driving rapid change in the electric utility industry. In some ways, this innovation is driving decentralization in the industry, including the development of distributed generation, micro grids, electricity storage (including, for example, electric cars), and other alternatives to traditional delivery of electric services, and creating new opportunities at the intersection of gas and electric markets.  In other ways, the transmission and distribution utilities sit at the center of all this change.

Page last updated: 3/20/2014