A History of Impactful Events

Expanding on a successful platform that brings our members and community together for education, sharing, networking and moving the grid forward.

Past Events Triangle image

Ongoing Focus on the Region’s Overall Objectives

Under our prior name Smart Grid Northwest, our organization, its members and partners produced a progression of events culminating in our new signature event, GridFWD 2018. This event proved the evolution of our focus and aspirations: from discrete technologies and techniques such as DR and blockchain, to themes based on shared outcomes including resiliency, flexibility, electrification and decarbonization. In 2019, our organization became Grid Forward, and we evolved GridFWD to meet the challenges of our electric grid as we faced COVID-19, wildfires, equity and the many other challenges of 2020. Looking forward, we will continue a diverse array of virtual events to keep our community engaged and moving forward, together.

GridFWD 2023, Skamania Lodge, Columbia River Gorge, Washington

On October 17 and 18, Grid Forward gathered over 350 industry and government leaders together under the theme of Embracing Disruption. We explored how to take advantage of new opportunities to modernize the grid in the face of natural disasters, demands for more clean and equitable energy, and unprecedented new funding opportunities from the U.S. federal government. In particular, we welcomed leaders from the U.S. Department of Energy to explain new programs such as the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program investments. Coincidentally, we learned that Grid Forward and its members and partners were recipients of two DOE GRIP awards with a total investment of as much as $140 million.

In addition to keynotes, panels and huddle discussions, we introduced our new Tech Jam case study sessions: 30 minute presentations pairing a solution provider and a utility presenting results from grid modernization in the field. 

We once again held our Grid Innovation Pitch Competition, with eight carefully selected start-ups getting five minutes to impress our panel of judges. The 2023 winner is Delphire, whose under-the-forest-canopy AI monitoring device detects and reports fires in the incipient phase using visual images for rapid human confirmation.

GridFWD 2022, Empower Stadium, Denver

On October 25 and 26, roughly 350 attendees at GridFWD 2022 enjoyed a constructive two days of panels, huddle sessions, a pitch competition and socializing in the stimulating Empower Stadium at Mile High in Denver. The event opened with a talk by U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (CO 2nd District) and featured many senior DOE officials detailing ongoing federal programs. 

Exodigo, a non-intrusive subsurface imaging platform, is the winner of the 2022 Grid Innovation Pitch Competition held during GridFWD 2022 in Denver. Eight carefully vetted startups with breakthrough technology or services for advancing grid resiliency participated in the fast-paced pitch hosted by Grid Forward, supported by Amazon Web Services and Accurant. The other finalists included AmperonKartorium and RhizomeSee the announcement here >

GridFWD Seattle

Finally face-to-face again after more than two years, there was so much to experience at GridFWD Seattle: over 400 attendees in person and virtual, more than 30 sponsors, national leaders as well as your friends from across the region, informal huddles and renewed networking. Read these recaps from our opening sessions:

Utility Round Tables

Utility Roundtable meetings–virtual gatherings of utility executives in a frank, open discussion of current challenges and opportunities. Grid Forward hosts between 12 and 15 participants each month by invitation. Some of the topics included:

Annual Member Meeting 2021

Grid Forward once again gathered virtually in June of 2021 to share updates, elect board members, catch up with our fellow members and celebrate the second annual Grid Innovation Awards, this year honoring Esource, Snohomish PUD and PNNL’s Carl Imhoff. We also enjoyed a discussion panel on “10 Things Grid Operators can do for Decarbonization of Electric Systems,” with Michael Pesin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Energy, Jennifer Potter, Hawaii PUC Commissioner; and Bill Ritter, former Colorado Governor and Director, Center for New Energy Economy.


GridFWD Virtual Summit 2021

On November 16, 2021, Grid Forward held a summit on Managing and Modernizing the Grid Under Stress that featured updates at the federal level about significant legislation and administration priorities as well as at the regional level with on-the-ground developments from key modernization efforts. View the agenda here, and click here to watch the recordings.

Grid Forward Decarbonization Summit

From June 8-9, 2021, the Decarbonization Summit explored the monumental transition to a carbon-free future. Building the Decarbonized Grid covers the critical capabilities that need deeper investment to ensure that deeply decarbonized energy systems run effectively and reliably across the wider region. Watch as a diverse set of grid operators, industry practitioners, government offices and thought leaders share, debate and prioritize the solutions that will make the decarbonized grid a reality. View agenda here and click here to watch the recordings.

GridFWD 2020

Over eight days from October 6 to 15, 2020, GridFWD 2020 brought together our a wide range of stakeholders to address the biggest challenges and opportunities for grid modernization in our region. Over 500 people participated in this virtual event that explored the many changes, perspectives and solutions our regional stakeholders are pursing to support not just reliable, affordable electric service, but also the welfare of our customers, co-workers and communities. Attendees took their pick of a wide range of activities: from live podcast recordings to small themed social groups, from  expert debates to interactive sessions. Click here to see the agenda.

Annual Member Meeting 2020 + Grid Innovation Awards

Grid Forward members came together on August 20 for our first virtual annual meeting! We caught up on organization initiatives, elected board members, and recorded a live podcast with Audrey Zibelman, CEO of Australia Energy Market Operator. We also announced our first Grid Innovation Award winners. Congratulations to Uplight, Portland General Electric and Terry Oliver.

GridFWD 2019

GridFWD 2019 took place at Benaroya Hall, in the heart of Seattle. The event comprised three interwoven themes that explore grid modernization across multiple dimensions: Modernization Best Practices in techniques and technology; Culture of Innovation, exploring the creation of an environment that welcomes and accelerates new ways of working; and Markets & Models, delving into regulatory and business frameworks that unleash the promise of new technologies and organizations. More than 420 attendees, 120 speakers and 30 sponsors came together to make this our most impactful event.

GridFWD 2018

At GridFWD 2018, leaders from regional utilities, solution providers, regulatory agencies and governments came together in Vancouver, B.C. Together, they explored the evolution of the region’s energy systems to accommodate the radical changes in energy sources, distribution systems and usage that are surging through the electrical infrastructure of the Northwest. You can see the complete agenda and speaker presentations here.


NW Energy Resiliency Summit

Our members and the broader community from across the region – Washington, Oregon, Idaho and B.C. – came together at the 2018 Northwest Energy Resiliency Summit on June 12, 2018. At this unique one-day meeting, stakeholders participated in presentations, panel discussions and working sessions focused on helping regional stakeholders with developing resiliency solutions for energy systems in our region. This event dug deep into some our most critical topics: developing microgrids at critical facilities, preparing for cyber resiliency, asset monitoring, rapid restoration, all-hazard resilience, and finding metrics for tracking and quantifying resiliency efforts. For more details download the agenda.

Cordova Talk


2018 Membership Meeting

Smart Grid NW hosted a lively discussion on how capital-efficient investments in grid modernization can improve energy reliability and resiliency. Today we enjoy an expanding portfolio of solutions to strengthen and better manage energy systems — diverse demand side management options, increasingly cost-effective storage, integrated resource management systems, various asset monitoring, sophisticated controls, rich analytics and more. But investing in energy resiliency improvements can be tricky, especially traditional infrastructure built-outs that have often become expensive. How can a new wave of solutions, paired with smarter policy and updated business models, help accelerate the right path forward? Participants engaged in this debate on how grid modernization solutions can help increase the resiliency of the Pacific NW energy system, and what regional stakeholders should do to make it happen. Get the details by downloading the agenda.

Event Talk


2017 DR & Energy Storage Summit

Demand response (DR) and energy storage are two interrelated pillars for building a more flexible and resilient electric grid and optimal energy resource mix for the Pacific Northwest. To help advance these important trends, Smart Grid Northwest hosted the Northwest Demand Response & Energy Storage Summit on September 27 and 28, 2017. Hundreds of leaders at regional utilities, and those working with them, came together to explore DR and energy storage options and implementations. See the speakers and topics on demand response here and energy storage here.

Event photo