Grid Forward Podcasts and Presentations

We bring regional industry experts to your desktop or smartphone through Grid Forward Chats, our podcast series, and Grid Forward Insights presentations on YouTube.

Regional and National Leaders Talk About Current Trends in Grid Modernization

We work with our members, advisors and friends to bring you current expert insights on how to pursue grid modernization, no matter what challenges are facing our community. Check out:

  • Grid Forward Chats podcast interviews
  • Grid Forward Insights video presentations

Grid Forward Chats podcasts

In about half an hour, each Grid Forward Chats episode gives you candid insights, new observations and a feel for how a prominent industry leader thinks, feels and grapples with the fast evolving energy landscape. You can find Grid Forward Chats on on these top podcast app: Apple, Google, Spotify and Podbean. Or follow the link below to listen through your browser. Subscribe to Grid Forward Chats to be first to hear upcoming episodes.

Grid Forward Chats Season 2

The second season of Grid Forward Chats podcast series is under way, with Bryce chatting with a couple of industry thought leaders each month. If you have questions or topics that you would like us to consider including in these upcoming conversations, please let David know.

If you would have a great idea for a topic or a person who should be on Grid Forward Chats, please contact Bryce.

Long-Duration Energy Storage Goes Public at ESS

ESS Inc. recently went public, raising over $300 million to scale its long-duration iron flow battery technology in the market. We talk with ESS CEO Eric Dresselhuys about the energy transition and the role of long-duration energy storage and grid flexible resources. What does this mean internationally, for the U.S., regionally, and specifically for customers buying batteries — we cover it all. We dive into value streams of energy storage, energy storage’s role in grid resiliency, market structure and dynamics, the talent pipeline, and more.

Episode 14, Season 2 – Republican Perspectives on Climate and Energy Transition: A Discussion with Conservative Climate Caucus Chair Rep. John Curtis

Congress is working on two massive legislative packages — a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package (through the Senate) and potentially a multi-trillion dollar reconciliation spending package (drafts through House committees). Both would have significant impact for the grid and their fates seem intertwined as Congress works toward the latest imposed deadline of October 31. In this episode we talk with U.S. Congressman John Curtis of Utah, who chairs the Conservative Climate Caucus which includes 72 House members. Rep. Curtis covers the climate and energy topics important to him and a solid number of House Republicans including grid modernization capabilities, cyber security investment, nuclear fleet utilization, wildfire mitigation, grid resiliency, energy storage innovation, natural gas capacity, and much more. How can the country meet the needs of communities like Carbon County in Utah as the Biden Administration would like to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half? What breakthrough is Emery County Utah cooking up? Listen to our conversation as Congressman Curtis lays out how starting with the bipartisan infrastructure package and addressing other important areas are critical steps for the country.

Episode 13, Season 2 – Getting to Carbon Negative By 2030 — How Does Microsoft Plan to Get There with Brian Janous

Major corporate entitles, in particular the big tech companies, are rapidly accelerating their positions in expanding clean energy and supporting the energy transition. Microsoft ramped up its commitment earlier this year to 100% clean energy for the entire reach of its company, 100% of the time, by 2030. That is certainly an ambitious target and meeting it will bring a diversity of lessons for the industry along the way. Listen is as we talk with Brian Janous, General Manager of Energy and Renewables at Microsoft on the role of their partners (including utilities), what they are learning along the way, and how they believe they can meet their significant commitments.

Episode 12, Season 2 – Fusion Energy in the Era of Renewables with Jay Brister & Wal Van Lierop

For this session we talk with Jay Brister of General Fusion and one of their early investors and Board members Wal Van Lierop about the future of fusion energy. We hear about their recent demonstration plant in the UK, how they see the tech advancing, the difference in regulation vs fission nuclear energy, and much more. Can the future of a deeply decarbonized grid happen without fusion? Is the tech still far in the future? listen into the discussion for the latest and judge for yourself.

Episode 11, Season 2 – What’s at the Core of the Energy Transition with Peter Fox Penner (live recording)

What if you could ask the author of 2020 book Power After Carbon, ‘OK, what’s next’? Listen in as Scott Harden of Microsoft interviews Peter Fox Penner about energy policy, measuring impact and foundational clean energy technology. Want to dive in deeper on the aspects of business models in the energy transition and how they will impact each link in the system? Get a copy of Peter’s book Power After Carbon here.

Episode 10, Season 2 – Commercial Funding for Grid Innovation with Jigar Shah (live recording)

How does the US Department of Energy Loan Office actually work to finance clean energy? Audrey Lee of Microsoft asked the source, the new director Jigar Shah. The conversation highlights a number of breakthroughs in the energy sector and how senior debt from the federal government helps accelerate them. Hear how Jigar describes the role of the loan office, how they plan to put their billions of dollars of funds to use, and how you can get involved. 

Episode 9, Season 2 – What Grid Operators Can Do For Decarbonization of Electric Systems (live recording)

To go deeper on the topic of his recent article, “Beyond solar and wind: 10 steps to meet President Biden’s clean electricity target,” Bryce Yonker chats 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. The conversation ranges from distributed energy (“In Hawaii, DERs are our one choice.”) to R&D (“That’s what we need to get to 100%.”) to investments (“We know: hardware is hard.”) and more. Don’t miss this live recording featuring three expert viewpoints in one lively discussion.

Episode 8, Season 2 – Energy and Climate Take Center Stage in Washington State Legislative Session

Representative Joe Fitzgibbon leads the the Washington State House Energy & Environment Committee and has made fighting climate change a priority for his more than 10 years in service in the state congress. The 2021 legislative session has been an especially busy one with the narrow passage of two major pieces of policy: a low carbon fuel standard as well as a carbon tax. Added to the clean energy legislation from 2019, the state has one of the most aggressive packages to set a path for decarbonization not only of the energy system but the overall state economy. Listen in as we chat about the lessons and insights from the state’s historic legislative actions with Rep. Fitzgibbon guiding at the helm. 

Episode 7, Season 2 – Federal Funding for Grid Modernization with Karen Wayland of GridWise Alliance

We got the chance to sit down with the new CEO of GridWise Alliance Karen Wayland. She shared her perspectives on the priorities for grid modernization from the new administration, as well as the possibility of significant funding for expanded capabilities for the grid through infrastructure investment via the America Jobs Plan. You’ll find a lot to learn from her broad experience and perspectives in this episode. For more details see the $50B policy framework for modernization funding prepared GridWise Alliance. 

Episode 6, Season 2 – Resiliency, Resource Diversiy and Lessons from the Last Year with CAISO’s Elliot Mainzer

In part two of our two-part discussion with Elliot Mainzer, the President and CEO of CAISO, we discuss how the organization and region are taking lessons from the last year into plans going forward. Hear insights on the importance of resource diversity, priorities for decarbonization pathways, how the region is collaborating and preparing for future stresses to the system, efforts to consider resource adequacy, and other topics.

Episode 5, Season 2 – Elliot Mainzer on CAISO’s Near-Term Priorities and the Role of Regional Markets

In the first episode of our two-part series, we hear from new President and CEO of the California ISO Elliot Mainzer. After a longer career at Bonneville Power Administration, including the last seven years as Administrator, Elliot moved over to head up CAISO in October of 2020. Tune in to hear his thoughts on the roles of regional markets and the plans CAISO has for upcoming summer and beyond.

Episode 4, Season 2 – Taking Any Asset into Any Market with Enel X

From their start as an Italian utility to becoming a multinational energy solutions provider targeting 67 GW of capacity with clean energy resources, Enel and Enel X are leading the way in the deployment of new energy opportunities. Listen to our conversation with Surya Panditi, CEO of Enel X North America, as we explore the various leading-edge capabilities that they are bringing across the globe to help grid operators and other energy stakeholders.

Episode 3, Season 2 – Beyond 2222: The Legacy of Commissioner Chatterjee at FERC

Our new Grid Forward Chats podcast goes deep with Commissioner Neil Chatterjee of the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee. During his tenure, FERC issued significant rulings about the opportunity for aggregated DERs to access markets, interconnection for storage and related resources, expanding the potential of cloud investments, and other key topics. Listen into our discussion about the role that markets and the federal regulator plays among the rapid dynamics unfolding in the electric sector.

Episode 2, Season 2 – Making Sure FERC 2222 Meets Its Potential in a Future with Energy Storage

Dr. Ryan Wartena grew Geli to be the leading software and storage optimization solution provider over the last decade. Now Geli is part of solar leader Q CELLS where Ryan is now VP of Strategy. Listen into this fascinating discussion on the evolution of the organization as it drives open a wider space in the industry. We also dive deep on how market dynamics need to evolve to unlock big advances of the FERC Order 2222. Will storage and integrated edge solutions be entering a new frontier and bring the flexibility and resiliency our energy systems are requiring? Ryan thinks so. Listen to see if you agree.

Episode 1, Season 2 – Driving Innovation with Authentic Leadership

Season two of Grid Forward Chats kicks off with special guest host and a former guest Debra Smith, general manager and CEO of Seattle City Light, in discussion with Paula Gold Williams the President & CEO of CPS Energy in San Antonio Texas. As these two municipal power leaders talk, they cover various topics around the acceleration of innovation on our grid, including as Paula puts it how to “blend the tried and the true with the new.” We hope you are inspired by the authentic leadership both Paula and Debra bring to their organizations and the practical ideas they share for how we can progress our energy systems to meet rapidly evolving changes. 

Season 1 Episodes

Episode 14 – Creating the Grid We Need for Deep Decarbonization with Hunter Lovins (President, Natural Capitalism Solutions), Ralph Cavanagh of NRDC and Elliot Mainzer, CEO and president of the California ISO

Episode 13 – The Path to 100% Clean Energy at Xcel with Alice Jackson, President of Xcel Energy Colorado

Episode 12 – Opportunities for Transmission to Unlock Deeper Renewables with Lisa Grow, President and CEO of IDACORP, Inc. and Idaho Power

Episode 11 – How Do 2019 Plans Work in 2021 with Colorado PUC Chair Ackermann

Episode 10 – Energy Market Innovation with AEMO CEO Audrey Zibelman

Episode 9 – Ensuring Grid Resiliency Through Robust Applied Research with Carl Imhoff, leader of the Grid Modernization Lab 

Episode 8 – Expanding Renewables and Grid Modernization at PacifiCorp with Stefan Bird, President and CEO, Pacific Power

Episode 7 – How to Build A More Effective Structure for Energy Ecosystems with Rich Sedano, CEO, Regulator Assistance Project

Episode 6 – Bringing Innovation to Life With Customer Needs at the Core with Maria Pope, CEO, Portland General Electric

Episode 5 – Making People Part of the Energy Solution at Uplight with Justin Segall, Chief Strategy Officer, Uplight

Episode 4 – Seattle City Light Adjusts Plans and Prioritizes Customers During the COVID-19 Pandemic with Debra Smith, CEO, Seattle City Light

Episode 3 – Putting Grid Modernization to the Test in Tacoma with Jackie Flowers, Director of Tacoma Public Utilities

Episode 2 – Regulatory and Business Model Toolkit in Dealing with COVID Impacts with Matthew McDonnell, Consulting Director at Strategen

Episode 1 – Modernizing Regulation in Hawaii for Renewables Through and Beyond the Pandemic with Hawaii PUC Commissioner Jennie Potter

Subscribe and listen to Grid Forward Chats on the Apple, Google, Spotify and Podbean apps as well as on the web.


Watch our Grid Forward Insights videos in which you can hear from key people in our community about new data, trends and insights into grid modernization today. Please Subscribe to our YouTube Channel so you are first in line for new videos – and share it with others.

Recent Videos

LADWP Load Impacts and Adjusted Forecasts from COVID-19 with Lous Ting, Director of Power Planning Development & Engineering at Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Global Electric Load Impacts from COVID-19 with Mark McGranaghan, VP of Innovation at EPRI

Trends in Grid Venture Investing in the Midst of a Health and Economic Crisis with Cassie Bowe, Vice President of Energy Impact Partners.

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