23rd Annual New England Energy Conference & Exposition:
Powering New England’s Evolution in the 21st Century
On May 10-11, 2016, the Northeast Energy and Commerce Association (NECA) and the Connecticut Power and Energy Society (CPES) hosted more than 250 attendees at the 23rd Annual New England Energy Conference & Exposition at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in North Falmouth, Massachusetts.
The conference began the evening of May 10 with an inspiring keynote address from Sara Burns, President and Chief Executive Officer of Central Maine Power Company.
On May 11, the conference opened with a roundtable discussion on New England’s Energy Balancing Act. David O’Connor, Senior Vice President for Energy of ML Strategies, LLC, moderated a panel of energy industry representatives including Anne George, Vice President of External Affairs & Corporate Communications for ISO New England; Camilo Serna, Vice President of Strategic Planning & Policy for Eversource Energy; Dan Dolan, President of the New England Power Generators Association; and Rebecca Tepper, Deputy Chief of the Energy and Environment Bureau for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. The discussion centered around the challenges facing New England and the solutions proposed by the region to address those challenges.
Anne George spoke of the dramatic shift toward natural gas-fired generation over the last 15 years and the significant number of new gas-fired generators looking to interconnect to the system. When asked about the most pressing challenge facing the region, George pointed to the balancing of public policy objectives with the administration of competitive wholesale electricity markets in New England.
Camilo Serna identified inadequate natural gas infrastructure as the region’s greatest challenge, pointing to the Access Northeast pipeline expansion project as a potential solution to that problem. He also discussed the challenge of meeting the region’s clean energy goals without imposing too many costs on electric ratepayers. He supported a diverse portfolio of resources to achieve these goals, including large-scale hydropower from Eastern Canada and other cost-effective clean energy resources. Dan Dolan discussed turnover in New England’s generation fleet and the resources that stand ready and willing to replace those that are retiring. He noted that more than 1,400 MW of new generation cleared in the most recent Forward Capacity Auction out of more than 6,000 MW of new resources that qualified to participate in the auction. Rebecca Tepper spoke of the region’s thriving wholesale electricity market, which is producing some of the most cost-effective resources in the country. She said that the Attorney General’s Office has not been supportive of out-of-market solutions, like funding natural gas pipeline expansion projects through electric ratepayers. This risky and untested plan, she said, is being challenged in the Massachusetts court system.
The day continued with a panel discussion on Restructured Energy Markets and the Grid of the Future: Can They Work Together?
Kathleen Kelly, Principal Consultant and Vice President of Consulting Operations for Daymark Energy Advisors moderated a panel of energy industry representatives including Leah Gibbons, Director of Regulatory Affairs for NRG Energy; David Littell, Principal for the Regulatory Assistance Project; Tim Roughan, Director of Energy and Environmental Policy for National Grid; and Micah Remley, Senior Vice President of Product for EnerNOC, Inc.
Panelists discussed the innovative, value-added products and services available to customers to give them greater control over their energy usage and the regulatory structures that are needed to deploy these products and services on a larger scale.
Attendees took a break for lunch, where they heard from keynote speaker Stephen Whitley, former President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York ISO. Whitley spoke of his experiences working for Tennessee Valley Authority, ISO New England, and the New York ISO. He said that some his greatest challenges involved the issue of energy infrastructure.
Panels IIIA and IIIB
Two panels were offered in the afternoon, including Cutting Carbon: Stop or Step on the Gas and Energy of Tomorrow: Not Your Mother’s Centralized Power Plant! They featured the following speakers and perspectives:
Panel IIIA: Cutting Carbon: Stop or Step on the Gas
Shaela McNulty Collins, Senior Counsel, Regulatory, NiSource/Columbia Gas of Massachusetts
Tracy Babbidge, Bureau Chief, Energy and Technology Policy, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
GAS GENERATION PERSPECTIVE:
Daniel Allegretti, Vice President, State Government Affairs, East, Exelon Corporation
ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATION PERSPECTIVE:
David Ismay, Clean Energy and Climate Change Staff Attorney, Conservation Law Foundation
Tom Kiley, President and Chief Executive Officer, Northeast Gas Association
Panel IIIB: Energy of Tomorrow: Not Your Mother’s Centralized Power Plant!
Janet Gail Besser, Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs, NECEC
Sean Becker, President, SparkPlug Power
Matthew Morrissey, Managing Director, Offshore Wind: Massachusetts
Matt Cinadr, Project Manager, SourceOne
TOOLS TO MANAGE THE ENERGY FUTURE:
Kerrick Johnson, Vice President, Vermont Electric Power Company
The final session of the day included leaders from each of the six New England states including Paul Roberti, Commissioner of the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission; Mark Vannoy, Chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission; Michael Caron, Commissioner of the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority; Jolette Westbrook, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities; Christopher Recchia, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service; and Donald Kreis, Consumer Advocate for the New Hampshire Office of Consumer Advocate.
The panelists provided their thoughts on developments taking place within their respective states and around the region, including energy efficiency investment, renewable energy development, grid modernization, and natural gas pipeline expansion.