Award winning energy journalist Marty Rosenberg shares insights from electric industry experts on emerging technology and trends for powering our lives. We highlight how the electrical grid is changing faster and more dramatically than ever. Grid Talk is part of the Voices of Experience Initiative sponsored by the DOE Office of Electricity’s Advanced Grid Research division.
Transmission Key to LA’s Renewable Goals
With a goal of going 100% renewable by 2035, Los Angeles will need to amp up its transmission resources and nearly double its renewable energy production.
In this episode of Grid Talk, we talk with Jason Rondou who is the Director of Resource Planning, Development and Programs, at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).
“2030 is right around the corner and we have the opportunity and the plans to get to 80% renewable by 2030 which will put us at 97% carbon-free and so we’ve got the framework of how to achieve that,” said Rondou.
“If you look at all the storage, all of the solar, all of the wind, all the geothermal that we have to-day, we’re going to have to double it.”
The podcast also hits on the importance of long-term storage to ensure the reliability of and all renewable system and how hydrogen may be the answer.
“When you have consecutive high heat days and you have the threat of something like a wildfire or earthquake, we need to ensure that we have the ability to provide power for multiple days should we have an outage for multiple days, and hydrogen does provide that opportunity for us.”
Jason Rondou oversees LADWP’s LA100 Study, which aims to identify the major investments required to reliably and cost-effectively transition LADWP to 100% renewable energy. Mr. Rondou was formerly responsible for LADWP’s entry into the California Independent System Operator’s Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) as well as its demand response, local solar development, and community solar programs. He previously worked at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation on light rail development and bus rapid transit.
Mr. Rondou graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and has a Master of Public Administration from USC and an MBA from UCLA.
Los Angeles - A Global Energy Pioneer
Los Angeles aims to be a global trendsetter in renewables and sustainability with a goal of going 100% renewable by 2035. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Lauren Faber O’Connor who is the Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Los Angeles. The discussion focuses on how L.A. is achieving its goal.
“We have the power within this city to be able to do that because we control our energy operations through municipal utilities so it’s an incredibly exciting process,” said O’Connor.
Ms. O’Connor also talks about the scale of the project and the impacts beyond Los Angeles.
“Not only are we doing right by Angelinos by leading the charge and really making sure that we are ushering in a clean and reliable and affordable energy system, but we know that what we do in LA has reverberations way beyond our border. Climate change is indeed a global challenge and so what we do here really matter from a global stage.”
“We are moving markets when it comes to our pursuit of renewable energy of distributed local clean generation. New technologies that we’re piloting here in Los Angeles – it has the ability to really move and commercialize new types of technology that’s going to be needed not just in LA but anywhere else.”
Ms. O’Connor has spent her career working on environmental issues from serving as West Coast Political Director for the Environmental Defense Fund to being appointed Assistant Secretary for Climate Change Programs at the California Environmental Protection Agency.
Ms. O’Connor holds a Bachelor’s degree in Earth Systems and Economics from Stanford University, and Master’s degree in Climate and Society from Columbia University.
California Braces for Fire, Massive Storage Deployments
In this episode of Grid Talk, Host Marty Rosenberg talks with Elliot Mainzer who is the President and CEO of the California Independent System Operator (ISO). The discussion focuses on the effort to bring on more renewable generation in California and what that means for the delivery of energy. Battery storage will play a significant role in meeting peak demand.
“The next five to seven years, California is going to be bringing on a monumental amount of new supply into the system. The amount of storage on the California grid this summer is going to be one of the largest in the world,” said Mainzer.
Mr. Mainzer also talks about what’s ahead for the evolving energy market in the West including the need for additional generation and new infrastructure.
“There’s just no way we’re going to be able to meet our clean energy objectives reliably without additional transmission resource diversification.”
The podcast ends with a discussion about the ongoing drought in the Southwest and the threat to the grid from wildfires.
Elliot Mainzer took over as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Independent System Operator in September of 2020, following an 18-year career at the Bonneville Power Administration. The ISO is responsible for managing the flow of electricity that serves 80 percent of California and a small portion of Nevada.
Mr. Mainzer earned his bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of California, Berkeley. He has an MBA and Master of Environmental Studies degree from Yale University.
Securing the Grid, Addressing Energy Poverty at USEA
Grid security and global energy policy are two of the top issues for the United States Energy Association (USEA). This episode of Grid Talk features Sheila Hollis who is the Acting Executive Director of the USEA. USEA’s members include more than 100 organizations from the U.S. energy sector, including governmental entities, nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies and utilities. All of them are focused on securing the grid from attacks.
“We have done an enormous amount of work on the cybersecurity issue which I must say is one of the peak key issues that keep me up at night,” said Hollis.
“There are malefactors, there are gamesmen, there are unfortunately bad forces that have extreme capabilities to try and attack and sabotage the United States in many ways.”
Another key issue for the association is global energy poverty.
“Energy to me is a human right, it’s a human right. It’s like water and air. It’s a human right now to be part of the modern world, and in some cases, just to survive, you must have energy.”
As the Acting Executive Director of the United States Energy Association, Ms. Hollis represents the broad interests of the U.S. energy industry and interacts with domestic and international leaders to advance knowledge and seek partnerships to develop and enhance energy infrastructure worldwide.
Prior to becoming Acting Executive Director, she served as the Association’s Chairman of the Board. She has served on the USEA Board of Directors for 15 years.
Ms. Hollis is also Of Counsel and Chair of the Duane Morris, LLP Washington, D.C. office. She practices in the areas of energy policy and, transactional and regulatory law worldwide.
Ms. Hollis is a graduate of the University of Denver College of Law and the University of Colorado at Boulder, in general studies and journalism.
Surging EVs and An Ongoing Fire Threat - San Diego Utility Responds
The wildfire season is in full swing and that has utility officials in the drought stricken Southwest preparing for an active summer. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Caroline Winn who is the CEO of San Diego Power & Gas (SDP&G). They’ll discuss how the utility has prepared for a fire season that lasts all year long, including how it uses technology to limit the impact of forced outages.
“So having a more surgical approach has helped us ensure again that only the most endangered communities are turned off,” said Winn.
They’ll also talk about renewables and promising new hydrogen storage technology.
“The holy grail is really long-duration energy storage that can really provide backup power during extended power outages and help to synchronize the supply and demand across the seasons.”
Finally, the discussion turns to meeting the demand as more EV’s hit the road.
“The challenge ahead of us is how do we manage the electrification of everything; the cars, the buildings and other facets of our economy.”
Caroline Winn has been with SDG&E since 1986 and became CEO in August 2020. Previously, she served as the chief operating officer of SDG&E, overseeing operations of the utility’s gas and electric infrastructure assets, and customer services. Winn also served as chief energy delivery officer, managing all energy delivery activities for SDG&E, including electric distribution operations and gas services, customer services, and external and state legislative affairs.
Ms. Winn has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from California State University Sacramento and is a registered professional engineer in the State of California.
Massive Puerto Rico Grid Modernization Underway
As official hurricane season barrels down on the Caribbean, this month the LUMA Energy consortium embarks on an unprecedented $20 billion, 15-year project to rebuild the damaged, long-neglected electric infrastructure on Puerto Rico.
In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg follows up with two former guests to get an update on the project.
Wayne Stensby is the President and CEO of Luma Energy. David Owens is the Vice-Chair of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.
“We will be administering the deployment of the FEMA funding to rebuild what is desperately needed here in Puerto Rico in terms of a badly dilapidated and damaged… transmission and distribution…and kind of all the elements of technology in the power system,” said Wayne Stensby.
FEMA, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, is providing $10 billion to support the effort, one of its largest undertakings ever.
“We interact extremely well with the FEMA, with the Department of Energy, with other agencies who have a keen interest in the work that Wayne is going to be doing to rebuild the grid, so I think we’re on target,” Owens said.
David K. Owens is an accomplished executive with extensive experience in public policies surrounding utility operations, strategic planning, technology development, rate making and regulation. He is recognized as one of the foremost authorities on electric utility issues, industry restructuring, and transformation. His experience in the electricity sector includes leading the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI’s) efforts over a broad set of issues that affect the future structure of the electric industry and new rules in evolving competitive markets.
He spearheaded efforts to enhance the public policy climate for investments in America’s electric infrastructure with emphasis on the role of new technologies to address climate change, and to enhance energy efficiency through smart buildings, smart appliances, smart meters, and smart electric grids.
Mr. Owens is a graduate of Howard University with a Bachelor and Master of Engineering degrees. He also has a Master in Engineering Administration from George Washington University.
Luma Energy was formed Quanta Services, ATCO, and Innovative Emergency Management to rebuild Puerto Rico's electrical grid.
Mr. Stensby joined ATCO in 1988 and has held a variety of leadership positions, including assignments in Canada, the U.K. and Australia. Most recently, in mid-2019, Mr. Stensby was appointed Executive Vice President, Corporate Development, where he was responsible for the growth of Canadian Utilities’ global portfolio of investments in premier energy infrastructure.
Mr. Stensby holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alberta and is registered as a Professional Engineer with APEGA.
Must listen content - cross cutting, insightful, and on point
Ev use in KC
Very good, clear, educational, and informative presentation. Questions drew out interviewee to the full extent that resulted in good podcast.
Innovative. Insightful. Critical listen for anyone in the industry.