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

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 apps: Apple, Google/YouTube, Spotify and Overcast. 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 5 is here!

For this 2024 season, we’re engaging a stellar list of guests from across the industry and government. Take a listen below, or find and follow Grid Forward Chats on your favorite podcast app.

Virtual Peaker is the sponsor for season 5 of Grid Forward Chats. Looking to maximize the value of distributed energy resources? Virtual Peaker’s cloud-based distributed energy platform empowers modern utilities to build the grid of the future and make demand as controllable as a gas turbine! The platform unifies all aspects of DER management, from DERMS to customer engagement and demand forecasting. Learn more at virtual-peaker.com.

Episode 3, Season 5 – Making the Grid Modern and Affordable

The National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA) represents the interests of utility consumers before state and federal regulators and in the courts. David Springe, Executive Director of NASUCA, discusses how modernizing the grid impacts affordability for the consumer. As infrastructure ages and electrification needs change, modernizing the grid is mandatory. However, these changes bring up issues concerning rate pressure, decarbonization versus lowest cost models, data centers, federal dollars, and resiliency. David discusses all this and more on this podcast episode.

AESO ERCOT SPP episode

Episode 2, Season 5 – Shifting Energy Market Dynamics: A Conversation with The Leaders of AESO, ERCOT and SPP

On this episode, we have three leaders from organized energy markets to address the shifting dynamics within the industry. They discuss which technologies are being developed in their various regions and how those assets are impacting the energy market. Bryce also asks our guests what they are doing to combat volatilities due to peak loads often being met. Of course, the impact of policy and regulations can either benefit or hinder the energy market. Oftentimes, the biggest challenges are social, environmental and industrial development policies, rather than energy-focused policies. The guests wrap up this episode by discussing modernization, evolving energy markets, the importance of diverse resources and the upward curve of demand.

Our guests for this episode are:

  • Michael Law, president and CEO of Alberta Electric System Operator
  • Barbara Sugg, president and CEO of Southwest Power Pool
  • Pablo Vegas, president and CEO of Electric Reliability Council of Texas
Whitney Muse, Senior Advisor for the Office of Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation at the White House , on Grid Forward Chats podcast

Episode 1, Season 5 – Discussion with the White House: The Federal Toolkit to Advance the Grid

To kick off this podcast season we have Whitney Muse, Senior Policy Advisor at the White House in the Office of Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation for a conversation about the federal toolkit of resources that are in place to help advance the grid. This includes billions of dollars from grants, tax credits, loans and financing for infrastructure expansion, resilience, and the clean energy transition. In addition to this, incentives are available for domestic, clean manufacturing of grid components, and there are special efforts to focus on workforce development and energy justice. Whitney also highlights some of the flagship work at the national labs, efforts supporting increased energy demand from electrification, and the role of AI on the grid. Don’t miss this wide ranging conversation of the federal support in motion to assist in modernizing the grid.

Grid Forward Chats Season 4

Grid Forward Chats season 4 spanned March to November in 2024.

Episode 11, Season 4 – Leading the Nation’s Largest Energy Delivery Company to Invest in Local Communities

Even though Exelon is the largest energy delivery company in America, the company is committed to investing in local communities and helping all of their operating utilities achieve their goals. CEO Calvin Butler discusses how Exelon turns government policies into action and how it has also applied for $700 million in federal funding for infrastructure projects to address the needs of individual communities. While some grants will help close the digital divide, and others help counties achieve decarbonization goals, all are aligned to the effort to modernize the grid. Calvin also discusses how the company is progressing towards becoming net zero by 2050, driving new innovation ahead while ensuring delivery of reliable and affordable power.

Guest host Devin Hampton, CEO of UtilityAPI and Grid Forward board member, takes the mic for this chat with Calvin.

Episode 10, Season 4 – The Complex Barriers to Building Transmission Infrastructure

What are the barriers to building transmission infrastructure? We know them well as planning, permitting, and paying. Rob Gramlich (founder and president of Grid Strategies LLC, executive director of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid and executive director of the WATT Coalition) joins the former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Rich Glick to unpack the complexities behind these barriers and update our listeners to the rulemaking that is in process to overcome these barriers. They also discuss how the tension between landowners and stakeholder interests can be balanced to reasonably move transmission development forward. To meet clean energy goals, stakeholders and policy makers must keep their eyes focused on this important issue.

Episode 9, Season 4 – Wildfire & The Grid and Firsthand Account of Lahaina Fires

This special episode of Grid Forward Chats starts with a conversation with Katherine Blunt, a reporter from the Wall Street Journal. Katherine recently published book California Burning which has been widely read and details PG&E in regard to the devastating California wildfires. Katherine and Bryce talk about lessons that grid stakeholders are learning as wildfires have increasing impact on energy systems, what the toolkit of mitigating wildfire risk looks like, and how utilities and various energy stakeholders can work together to address the increasing risks of wildfire relating to grid infrastructure.

In the second part of the episode Bryce talks with LiAnne Drissen with Trilogy Excursions one of the largest Lahaina companies and saw first hand the devastation from the recent Maui wildfires. LiAnne recounts the impact of the wildfires on her family, the company and the wider community. If you would be interested to join us in contributing toward the long road ahead for Lahaina recovery please consider donations to: 

Episode 8, Season 4 – Building Out the Global Supply Chain to Support a Clean Energy Future

Henry Sanderson, Executive Director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and author Volt Rush, wrote the book after he became aware of the scale of the resources needed for the clean energy transition. For the supply chain to provide the materials necessary for next-generation batteries, sourcing needs to be diversified to decrease risk. Geopolitical issues must also be considered when creating a stable supply chain for the future. Automations may alleviate some supply chain pressure and allow the cost of materials to remain affordable. Henry also discusses how government policies and investments impact the speed and support behind the clean energy transition.

 
You can purchase a copy of Volt Rush here.

Episode 7, Season 4 – Crossover Episode: Post Energy Crisis, The “Need For Speed” – Live from Brussels / Eurelectric with Leo Birnbaum (CEO E.ON)

This episode is a crossover episode from Redefining Energy. We hope you enjoy listening to this discussion of the energy crisis from a European perspective. Live from Brussels, on the 20th of June 2023, we were invited to interview Leonard Birnbaum. Since he came last on Redefining Energy (Ep50), the whole Energy Sector has been through hell with Russia invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent near-death experience of 2022. Leonard Birnbaum is the CEO of the giant German Utility E.ON and also president of Eurelectric, the sector association which represents the common interests of the electricity industry at pan-European level. We have a very lively debate about how E.ON survived the energy crisis. What changes he had to be undertaken, how luck played its part, but also the “need for speed”. Other key lessons were the end of tolerance for weaknesses, the acceleration of digitization and total engagement with their customers. We then moved the conversation to the proposed reform of the Energy Market that regulators are keen to put in place. Is it too little too late or, on the opposite, a solution in search of a problem.

Episode 6, Season 4 – Lessons Learned from Four Decades at SRP, a Discussion with Mike Hummel

Debra Smith, the General Manager and CEO of Seattle City Light, interviews Mike Hummel after his recent retirement as general manager and CEO of Salt River Project. They reflect on how the industry has changed during his career and look ahead to the exciting advancements SRP will make to provide clean, reliable energy to its customers. Mike shares about his career including some of his proudest accomplishments, lessons learned along the journey, and keys to leading others well.

Episode 5, Season 4 – The Time is Now to Create a More Flexible Grid

On this episode Grid Forward Advisor and guest host Ann McCabe, commissioner with the Illinois Commerce Commission, interviews Audrey Zibelman, former market operator in Australia, former regulator in NY, former investor at Google X, now an advisor to clean tech companies and organizations. They discuss how the industry can prepare the grid for future flexibility, while also protecting the interests of consumers. As higher levels of renewable energy sources are integrated into the power grid, the need for grid flexibility becomes more urgent. Consumers are showing that they will drive much of the clean energy transition, with or without government and utility incentives. Therefore, the grid must be ready for the transition as consumers decide to electrify their homes, vehicles and more. How can regulators and other key grid stakeholders keep up with the demands on the system? Listen in to learn more.

Episode 4, Season 4 – Taking an Innovative Grid Solution to Market

How do we modernize the grid when fast-moving technology innovation hits the seemingly glacial pace of change in regulated markets like energy? To explore that quandary we gathered the CEOs of an earlier stage, a growth stage and a later stage innovative grid solutions companies. Kaitlyn Albertoli of Buzz Solutions, Bill Burke of Virtual Peaker and Josh Wong of GE Digital. Listen in as they dive into market barriers, utility adoption cycle, culture of innovation, funding landscape and more. Can utilities break through the ‘death by pilot’ dilemma? Can promising solutions companies navigate complex approvals processes? How do solutions scale to meaningful commercial levels? We cover the key issues related to what it takes for game-changing solutions to come onto the electric grid.

Episode 3, Season 4 – Can Small Nuclear Play a Big Role on the Grid?

In this edition we explore the role of small modular nuclears (SMRs) in the energy system by talking with two industry veterans. Clayton Scott is EVP at NuScale Power, the first SMR company to receive Nuclear Regulatory Commission design approval. Ben Porath is COO at Dairyland Power Cooperative, a Midwest co-op looking to deploy SMRs on its grid. The two discuss the promise of modular nuclear power, how these systems fit into a changing energy mix, cost, safety, grid resiliency, system flexibility and more. Will SMRs play a significant role on the grid in the next 10 years? Listen in to decide for yourself. This episode hosted by Virtual Peaker.

Episode 2, Season 4 – States Driving the Grid Ahead: A Discussion with WA Governor Inslee

The Evergreen State has long pioneered efforts to advance the energy system. In this episode we talk with the U.S.’s longest standing governor, Jay Inslee of the state of Washington. Gov. Inslee is truly a leader on issues related to energy and the grid. We discuss the priorities for the state’s energy system, how the federal resources will impact the grid in the state, the role of state regulators, the importance of innovation, economic development opportunities and more. All of the efforts for the governor align to make sure states can do their part to progress climate action — progress he is confident we can achieve together.

Episode 1, Season 4 – Aligning Energy Systems to Climate Requirements, with RMI’s Jon Creyts

To start season 4 of the Grid Forward Chats podcast, we sit down with Jon Creyts, the new CEO of RMI. He discusses how to ensure the energy system aligns to the requirements for the climate in light of roughly $110 billion a year coming into the system over the next five to ten years thanks to recent federal legislation combined with peak oil demand occurring in regions across the world. From virtual power and decarbonized heavy industry to hydrogen and transmission, listen in to this wide-ranging discussion on the key pillars of the energy transition in the near to mid-term. This transition requires various stakeholders row in the same direction, and Jon lays out his thoughts regarding the central role that the grid plays. For more resources on recent RMI efforts, check out:

Launch of VP3: https://vp3.io 
Tracking overall energy investments: https://rmi.org/peaking-the-series/
The promise of green jobs: https://rmi.org/insight/realizing-the-green-jobs-promise/

Episode 11, Season 3 – PG&E’s Efforts to Increase Resiliency and Serve Customers Better

The need for a more resilient power system in California, and locations across the country, is evident. In the recent past, wildfires, storms, extreme heat, and other threats have all wreaked havoc on the energy grid. Communities of the largest utility in America in Northern and Central California know this all too well. Patricia K. Poppe, Chief Executive Officer of PG&E Corporation, joined the podcast to discuss how Pacific Gas & Electric is working diligently to improve the resiliency of California’s grid and to serve their customers better. No magical solution exists that will address every issue, but with a combination of various improvements, and we cover a lot in this session, PG&E is aggressively working to leverage modern capabilities to manage their grid effectively. Grid Forward chats is supported by Itron visit Itron.com to learn more. 

Episode 10, Season 3 – Strengthening Our Problem-Solving Skills with Diversity

Success for the energy sector will not come overnight but through small, meaningful steps that move the industry forward in its goal of a sustainable future. Paula Gold-Williams and Jackie Flowers joined the show to discuss the challenges facing the electric industry as it seeks to evolve with the various dynamics that are currently in motion. With more visibility to the end state and less clarity on the path to get there, they discuss why innovation is critical and how a diverse workforce is needed who can think creatively, problem solve and embrace new solutions.

Paula Gold-Williams recently retired after serving as the President and CEO of CPS Energy, and is now serving in various Board and Advisory roles including on the DOE Secretary Energy Advisory Board. Jackie Flowers is the director & CEO at Tacoma Public Utilities and Board Chair of Grid Forward.
 

Episode 9, Season 3 – Improving Reliability and Accelerating Innovation in a Brave Little State

Over the past decade, Green Mountain Power (GMP) has prioritized finding solutions that address the climate crisis. The company holds one of the nations most aggressive goals to provide 100% renewable energy by 2030. Advancements in technology not only make this ambitious goal possible, but also provide an opportunity for reliability and resiliency improvements. Mari McClure, president and CEO, discusses the company’s distributed resource programs and grid optimization technologies that they are leading the way deploying now and working to bring to Vermont in near future. This session is supported by Virtual Peaker.

Episode 8, Season 3 —Inflation Reduction Act Has Passed — What’s in it for the Grid?

Congress has made a huge next step in supporting the advancement of the electric grid. The Inflation Reduction Act passed the House on Friday and has about four times as much energy related investments as the infrastructure package that passed last year. From tax incentives, consumers credits, rural operator support and much more this set of investments is a major package to accelerate grid investments over the next 10 years. We jump on with two reporters who are closely following this — Catherine Morehouse of Politico and Jeff St John from Canary Media — and dive into the details.
 

Episode 7, Season 3 — Planning Resources for Transportation Electrification in California

In quarter one of 2022, 16% of all new car sales were zero-emission vehicles. On this episode, California Public Utilities Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen and California Energy Commissioner Siva Gunda discuss the adoption of electric vehicles in California and the innovation needed for the electric grid to handle the increase in load. The commissioners also discuss four compounding challenges that the grid is facing: climate change, rapid decarbonization, changing energy sources and reckoning with equity and social justice. How can all of these challenges be solved? Only through cooperation, coordination and consensus among industry leaders.
 

Episode 6, Season 3 — Are we Investing Enough in The Grid

The landscape of energy is changing rapidly. Are the investments being made today enough to meet needs we put on our grid?

On this episode of “Grid Forward Chats,” Gary Rackliffe, VP market development and innovation at Hitachi Energy, and Sanjeet Sanghera, head of grids and utilities at BloombergNEF, discuss the need to invest dollars into the electric system today to prepare for future demand. They also talk about centralized versus distributed generation, policies and structures that may hinder investments, the electrification of transportation and the government’s role in expanding advanced grid capabilities.

This episode was recorded LIVE at DistribuTECH 2022 in Dallas.

Episode 5, Season 3 – Federal Role for Modernizing the Grid – A Discussion with U.S. Senator Murkowski

“Prioritizing grid expansion, modernization, and security has to be a priority for us.” U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has long rolled up her sleeves to work deeply on critical energy policy. Murkowski’s priority is to ensure that the energy sector can keep up with the changes and challenges our country is facing. In this episode, Bryce chats with Senator Murkowski about the Energy Act of 2020, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, and more broadly about grid modernization and the benefits of bipartisan work on energy policy for Americans. This session is supported by our series sponsor Itron.
 

Episode 4, Season 3 – How Can we Keep Pace with the Rate of Grid Transition

To close the live GridFWD event April 20th in Seattle, Snohomish County PUD General Manager John Haarlow and Chief Policy Officer of Sunrun Ann Hoskins chat with Bryce. They cover wide ranging topics to examine the rate of the change on the grid, the dynamics driving those changes, barriers to overcome key obstacles, and then a listing of the solutions that need to develop and scale. You can feel the energy in the room being back together again at the packed gathering, listen into our first live edition of Grid Forward Chats. On demand recordings of a dozen sessions from the event are available — contact gerard@gridforward.org
 

Episode 3, Season 3 – Grid Transformation in a Deregulated Energy Market

ENMAX, one of the leading grid operators in Alberta, is leaning into the transformation of their energy system and the acceleration of innovation. Our advisor Mischa Steiner of Awesense chats with Jana Mosley President of ENMAX Power. They discuss the dynamics of grid needs in the pandemic and fluctuating energy markets, trends in decarbonization, culture and talent needs in the industry, and how the grid capabilities advance to meet the requirements that customers have for their energy service.
 

Episode 2, Season 3 – Trends in Grid Innovation Investments with Hans Kobler of Energy Impact Partners

Guest host Cameron Brooks a friend of Grid Forward who runs Think Microgrid talks with Terry Mohn of General Microgrids and Hamideh Bitaraf of Hitachi Energy. Terry and Hamideh bring their hands-on experience with many of the leading microgrid deployments sharing insights on what is driving the dynamics for microgrid expansion worldwide. They touch on specific examples around the globe, share perspectives on policy and market dynamics, and highlight what is driving them personally to be a part of the exciting developments as microgrids become increasingly mainstream.
 

Episode 1, Season 3 – Trends in Grid Innovation Investments with Hans Kobler of Energy Impact Partners

Season III of Grid Forward Chats kicks off with Energy Impact Partners’ (EIP) Managing Partner and Founder Hans Kobler. 2021 was a banner year for grid and energy venture investments. Hans shares perspectives about the landscape for fund raising by grid innovation companies which seem poised for strong continued activity after reaching record levels. EIP recently raised a $1B fund which in just a few months has already committed to about 70% of its investments. Our series sponsor for Grid Forward Chats is Itron. To learn more about about building tomorrow’s active grid visit them at www.itron.com
 

Season 2 Episodes

Episode 17 – DOE is Serious about Advancing the Grid with U.S. DOE Deputy Secretary David Turk

Episode 16 – Energy in Motion in Europe: Markets, Transition, & Recovery with Laurent Segalen, investor and founder, Megawatt X

Episode 15 – Long-Duration Energy Storage Goes Public at ESS with CEO Eric Dresselhuys

Episode 14 – Republican Perspectives on Climate and Energy Transition with Conservative Climate Caucus Chair Rep. John Curtis

Episode 13 – Getting to Carbon Negative By 2030 — How Does Microsoft Plan to Get There with Brian Janous, General Manager of Energy and Renewables at Microsoft

Episode 12 – Fusion Energy in the Era of Renewables with General Fusion CEO Jay Brister and board member Wal Van Lierop

Episode 11 – What’s at the Core of the Energy Transition with Peter Fox Penner, author of author of the 2020 book Power After Carbon

Episode 10 – Commercial Funding for Grid Innovation with Jigar Shah, director of the U.S. Department of Energy Loan Office

Episode 9 – What 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

Episode 8 – Energy and Climate Take Center Stage in Washington State Legislative Session with Representative Joe Fitzgibbon, leader of the the Washington State House Energy & Environment Committee

Episode 7 – Federal Funding for Grid Modernization with Karen Wayland, CEO GridWise Alliance

Episode 6 – Resiliency, Resource Diversiy and Lessons from the Last Year with CAISO President and CEO Elliot Mainzer (part 2)

Episode 5 – Near-Term Priorities and the Role of Regional Markets with CAISO President and CEO Elliot Mainzer (part 1)

Episode 4 – Taking Any Asset into Any Market with Surya Panditi, CEO of Enel X North America

Episode 3 – Beyond 2222: The Legacy of Commissioner Chatterjee at FERC with Commissioner Neil Chatterjee

Episode 2 – Making Sure FERC 2222 Meets Its Potential in a Future with Energy Storage with Dr. Ryan Wartena, VP of Strategy at Q CELLS.

Episode 1 – Driving Innovation with Authentic Leadership with Debra Smith, general manager and CEO of Seattle City Light, and Paula Gold Williams the President & CEO of CPS Energy

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

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