AEG Podcast

Ted Trabue, Managing Director, District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility

Ted Trabue, Managing Director, District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility

This episode of the AEG Podcast features an interview with Ted Trabue, Managing Director at the District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU). The DCSEU has a budget of $20 million. As a contractor to the DC government, they use this substantial budget to help DC residents, other utilities, and businesses cut down on their energy use, save money and install renewable energy systems. He talks about his leadership role in the company, as well as the challenges and opportunities that the DC is facing in relation to grid modernization and energy efficiency. As a part of this unique, multifaceted organization, he gives us an expert perspective into how the DCSEU incorporates job creation and other important social concerns into their work. Mr. Trabue also talks about his experience and the important lessons he learned at the AEG’s Washington DC Stakeholder breakfast.

Aaron Ordower, Senior Policy Advisor, NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability

Aaron Ordower, Senior Policy Advisor, NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability

This installment of the AEG Podcast features Aaron Ordower of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, who spoke about the office’s 80x50 goals. He emphasized the importance of a citywide reduction in building emissions – 90% of existing buildings today will be part of the building stock in 2050 – and outlined three main strategies to accelerate: renewable energy developments throughout the grid, energy retrofitting in existing buildings, and the establishment of distributed solar generation in communities. He also discussed policies aimed at improving energy efficiency, then briefly spoke about why the high costs and long payoff periods were justified.

Gregg Fischer, Director of Energy Systems, Tishman Speyer

Gregg Fischer, Director of Energy Systems, Tishman Speyer

Gregg Fischer, Director of Energy Systems at Tishman Speyer, talked about the important role thermal storage technology plays in managing 25 million square feet of the firm’s NYC real estate portfolio. He focused on Rockefeller Center in this installment of the AEG podcast, and efforts to retrofit landmark facilities with energy-saving technologies. The property was one of the earliest adopters of the now rapidly expanding thermal storage technology, which reduced electricity demand during peak periods and reduced operating costs. Mr. Fischer concluded by pointing out incentives can reduce investment payback periods from seven to thirteen years.

Frank Norcross, ‎Vice President, Hudson Yards Energy, Related Companies

Frank Norcross, ‎Vice President, Hudson Yards Energy, Related Companies

This installment of the AEG Podcast features Frank Norcross, Vice-President of Hudson Yards Energy. Frank opened his presentation by describing Hudson Yards Energy’s cogeneration plant on Manhattan’s west side. The plant serves as a microgrid within a district energy system. Mr. Norcross emphasized the need to reform the dynamics of the energy markets, as well as address the one-way power flow in the aged grid and the need to design and finance more holistic energy models. He also suggested that current regulation requires better and stronger collaboration to capitalize on the linkages in markets, underlying factors like the importance of interaction with grid operators including ConEdison, and the need for discussion around information technology and means of optimizing generation plants.

Damian Sciano, Director Distributed Resource Integration, Con Edison

Damian Sciano, Director Distributed Resource Integration, Con Edison

In this episode of the AEG podcast, we held a discussion with Damian Sciano, Con Edison’s Director of Distributed Resource Integration. He focused on the enabling role of grid modernization in the evolution of the existing energy system. He talked about Con Edison’s efforts to increase transparency and cross-sectoral collaboration to move from a single-value platform to a multi-value one – delivering a wide variety of services to build greater consumer involvement. Delving into the technicalities that make the company’s task of servicing New York City challenging, Mr. Sciano shared how ConEd's remote monitoring system is one of many that incorporate granular data collection, consumer engagement, and transaction improvements. He provided a glimpse into the future of grid modernization and architecture in responding to consumers’ changing expectations.

Janet Martin, Director Network Transformation, Verizon

Janet Martin, Director Network Transformation, Verizon

In this edition of the AEG podcast, Janet Martin, Director of Network Transformation at Verizon, presented her company’s new project for swapping copper wires for fiber optics throughout New York City. This was part of push for continued network improvement to contribute to grid modernization and power savings – copper wires have become uneconomical. She talked about the challenging task of installing fiber optics that are robust and sustainable. Janet discussed smart city opportunities with the public and private sector, substantial energy savings, the regulatory environment, and an increasing customer demand. With the goal of replacing 1 million copper wires, Verizon has laid out a comprehensive plan and its success requires working closely with building owners.

John Rice, Partner, AKF Group

John Rice, Partner, AKF Group

John Rice, a Partner at the AKF Group, summarized their process behind the creation of an Energy Master Plan for a major university. He outlined the energy generation models they considered for replacing a university’s central energy plant to create a modern and smart campus grid and demonstrate what could be done in an urban sprawl setting. A wide variety of options were explored, including absorption chillers, steam turbines, decentralized resources, thermal ice storage, batteries, and renewable energy technologies. After considering Annual Load Profile analysis and their experience with Hurricane Sandy, AKF’s final product was a co-generation plant that provides increased resiliency for the campus. This a process that they have replicated in several other campuses.

Judith Judson, ‎Commissioner, ‎Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources

Judith Judson, ‎Commissioner, ‎Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources

In this installment of the AEG Podcast, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson shares her insightful perspective on the Commonwealth’s goal of achieving a clean, affordable, and resilient energy future. She talked about the value of energy efficiency in being cost-effective while also reducing emissions consumers’ bills. She gives numbers to illustrate the the high success of their efficiency programs, citing the Green Communities Program and their many Solar Incentives and Programs. Judson suggests that efficiency and clean technologies are low-hanging fruit for energy efficiency and that the State’s next major opportunities lay in: reducing peak loads through demand response management, reducing gas consumption by fuel switching, setting higher standards and building codes for ubiquitous LED lighting and ‘EV Readiness,’ financing of solar deployment, the mass implementation of energy storage technology, and the maximization of existing infrastructure.

Joe Dalton, Project Director, MATEP LLC/Longwood Medical (Engie)

Joe Dalton, Project Director, MATEP LLC/Longwood Medical (Engie)

In this podcast episode, ENGIE Project Director Joe Dalton talks about ENGIE’s recently acquired Medical Area Total Energy Plant (MATEP LLC/Longwood Medical) and how he manages a microgrid energy system for multiple healthcare facilities within Boston. His insights on critical energy redundancy for these health and research facilities are tied to a decarbonized, decentralized, and digitalized ENGIE strategy. Mr. Dalton also shares how these operations are just one driver in the region’s growing innovation economy and how collaboration and customer engagement is essential in the development of smart grids and building retrofitting. He ends with the possibility of replicating the effect of the “3D” strategy.

Dennis Villanueva, Senior Manager, Energy & Sustainability - ‎Partners HealthCare System

Dennis Villanueva, Senior Manager, Energy & Sustainability - ‎Partners HealthCare System

In this installment of the AEG podcast, Dennis Villanueva shares his expertise on advanced energy systems for healthcare building operations as the Senior Manager of Energy & Sustainability at Partners HealthCare. As the largest healthcare organization in the East Coast, ‎Partners established a sustainable initiative with the goal of supporting its system to optimize patient care and employee support. Major climate and weather disruption threaten the regular service of their facilities and contribute to the likelihood of increased patient load during these extreme events; such instances increase the need for resiliency, due to critical necessity and the importance of reducing costs to provide more affordable healthcare. Villanueva reported on the success of their Strategic Energy Master Plan in reducing their energy consumption by 25 percent, moving towards more renewable energy generation, and increasing their facilities’ resiliency by switching to onsite cogeneration. He also presents the costs related to upgrading their energy system, then closes with an update of their sustainability goals, plans and partners for the future.

Jim Hunt, SVP for Regulatory Affairs & Chief Communications Officer, Eversource Energy

Jim Hunt, SVP for Regulatory Affairs & Chief Communications Officer, Eversource Energy

Jim Hunt is the Senior Vice President for Regulatory Affairs & Chief Communications Officer at Eversource Energy, the largest utility in New England, servicing water, gas and electricity in three large states and committed to working with the state and its communities for the reduction of carbon emissions and the ensured reliability and resiliency of the grid. In this podcast, Hunt highlights the importance of public-private partnerships in the energy transition and the ways in which this model optimizes grid modernization and energy efficiency efforts and investments for the company. Hunt offers insight into the importance of leveraging their unique customer relations in implementing demand response programs, distributed energy storage and EV charging networks. He says that such efforts are essential in addressing the challenges of peak demand and fossil fuel reliance, increasing the deployment of renewables and smart technology, and reducing costs in the system.

Chris Parent, Director, Market Development at ISO New England

Chris Parent, Director, Market Development at ISO New England

Chris Parent, Director of Market Development at ISO New England, presents the ISO’s recent work on the integration of demand response into the wholesale market in this episode of the AEG podcast. He highlights the ways in which markets are reflecting actions for energy efficiency and active demand response, as well as how behind-the-meter programs can address energy demand and reduce peaks. He explains that aggregation will enable distributed generation and storage technologies to participate more fully and economically in both wholesale and capacity markets. Parent closes with how FERC’s Order 841 influenced the NE ISO’s new and robust model to utilize and access battery storage and coordination with utilities within the region, and how well-developed requirements following the Commission’s open docket on distributed energy resources could move the ISO towards a more decentralized model.

Jill Brosig, Senior Vice President, Harrison Street

Jill Brosig, Senior Vice President, Harrison Street

This installment of the AEG podcast features Jill Brosig, the Senior Vice President of Harrison Street Real Estate. She presents the private investment management firm’s holistic approach to rating and ranking building performance in today’s electrified world. Ms. Brosig divided the standards of best building practices into categories —energy, water, waste, transportation, and human experience — and emphasized the importance of creating metrics to define the success of programs. She talks about transparency in communicating and understanding beneficiaries’ needs for smart buildings, giving anecdotes from her work in improving senior housing.

Kyle Hendricks, Senior Manager, Energy and Sustainability, CBRE

Kyle Hendricks, Senior Manager, Energy and Sustainability, CBRE

In this episode, Kyle Hendricks, Senior Manager of Energy and Sustainability at the CBRE Group, discussed smart buildings and grid modernization in relation to its corporate client McKesson, a medical equipment distribution company. He narrates the process behind the creation of a company roadmap for a smart building initiative, and how they defined success. Hendricks emphasizes how they managed the different expectations of what a smart building was by dividing priorities into five categories: experience, connectivity, savings, sustainability, risk, and future. CBRE created a roadmap for McKesson that will be manageable, achieve client objectives, and address future programming as well as new technologies. He highlights the need for innovative solution architecture and the gap between the roadmap and executing the required specification, the technology behind integration and commissioning, and the benefits of a fully-integrated smart building for a company like McKesson.

Mark Bettin, Vice President, Engineering and Sustainability, TheMART, a Vornado property

Mark Bettin, Vice President, Engineering and Sustainability, TheMART, a Vornado property

This AEG podcast episode features Mark Bettin, Vice President of Engineering and Sustainability at the Chicago Merchandise Mart. Mr. Bettin oversees occupant energy use and potential opportunities for savings at TheMART. He presented the Vornado property as both a pioneer in retrofitting and an ideal large scale learning opportunity in energy efficiency. He shares the actions undertaken by TheMART to respond to the reduction in the initial improvements to efficiency in recent years, due to the high-energy demand of new tenants and the ever-changing nature of buildings and metering. Mark also informs the group about a battery pilot project that has been installed and will begin operating soon to support the greater Chicago area grid and generate revenue in the region’s wholesale energy market.

Matt Thibodeau, Vice President, Sargent & Lundy

Matt Thibodeau, Vice President, Sargent & Lundy

This installment of the AEG podcast features Matt Thibodeau. The Vice President of Sargent & Lundy informed the group about the current trends in grid modernization from the electric power perspective. The abundance of low priced natural gas and the falling cost of renewables account for 90 percent of the 230 gigawatts of new installed capacity in the last decade, and Mr. Thibodeau shows how this evolution leads to a push towards further digitalization and modernization of the electric grid. He gives examples of their grid modernization initiatives that will lead to less frequent and shorter outages and DER integration, including storm hardening; smart switches, meters, and inverters; energy storage; and distribution automation.

Kristen Brown, Principal Business Technology Specialist, Utility of the Future, ComEd

Kristen Brown, Principal Business Technology Specialist, Utility of the Future, ComEd

This installment of the AEG podcast features Kristen Brown, Principal Business Technology Specialist of ComEd’s Utility of the Future team. She discusses how buildings can be used to increase the resiliency, reliability and safety on the distribution side of electric grid services by allowing real-time grid control through the inclusion of ancillary services like frequency regulation and distribution voltage optimization. Ms. Brown cautions that the different regulatory jurisdiction and technical requirements that exist within the grid, in addition to the varying market designs, make this task challenging. She also covers other challenges to be examined, including the cost trade-offs to utilities in building distributed assets versus bulk generation; the types of buildings and customers that can be targeted; appropriate technologies; and the significance of incentivizing upgrades and the range of services buildings can provide. Ms. Brown concludes up by commenting on a two-year study by Southern Company that seeks to test the role of homes and the microgrids to provide grid services, as an example of occupant and grid value.

Sadzi Martha Oliva, Commissioner, Illinois Commerce Commission

Sadzi Martha Oliva, Commissioner, Illinois Commerce Commission

In this episode of the AEG podcast, Illinois Commerce Commissioner Sadzi Matha Oliva presents the strategic path of the Illinois Commerce Commission in its grid modernization plan. She speaks about how the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA, 2017) improves their energy landscape through renewables and energy efficiency standards. This plan illustrates the importance of bringing together government, university, technology, and business stakeholders to plan the next phase of grid modernization. Ms. Oliva also describes the seven NextGrid Working Groups and two Advisory Councils that would be involved in their 18-month, consumer-focused Utility of the Future Study.

Steve Humes, Partner, Holland & Knight, LLP

Steve Humes, Partner, Holland & Knight, LLP

This installment of the AEG podcast features Steve Humes, Partner at Holland & Knight. Steve discusses the fate of zero-emission credits (ZECs) for nuclear power facilities. In May 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) weighed in on ZEC sources and sided with Illinois nuclear subsidies, raising questions on the scope of cooperative federalism. Mr. Humes explains that the states have the ability to take action on climate change and reduce carbon emissions through investments in clean energy and efficiency without interfering with FERC’s wholesale electricity market jurisdiction. He also briefly discusses the impact of renewable energy programs supported by ratepayer funds in Connecticut, where the state budget diverted Green Bank funds away from these programs in the face of a federal lawsuit.

Michael Carlson, President, Digital Grid North America, Siemens

Michael Carlson, President, Digital Grid North America, Siemens

In this podcast, Michael Carlson - President, Digital Grid North America, Siemens - joins Grant van Wyngaarden for a conversation on grid digitization, prosumers, and technology innovation in the energy industry. Mike shares his thoughts on the transition to a "prosumer-centric energy world", through greater adoption of distributed generation, storage, and virtual generation through demand response. Finally, Mike reflects on his experience as a Discussion Leader at the Advanced Energy Group Q3 2018 Stakeholder Breakfast.