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Decarbonizing the Grid - An Interactive Workshop Series

Rendered image with electric grids in background and Decarbonizing the Grid text

Many companies and countries have pledged to become carbon-neutral. These commitments are driving new and more aggressive market design, systems engineering and technology innovation. Oversimplifying somewhat, the most promising strategy can be defined as “electrify energy demand” while “decarbonizing the electricity sector”. 

Over the course of six workshops our expert panelists  will focus on how we can enable a grid that facilitates the integration of renewables, DERs, expansion of demand and decline of fossil fueled power supply. There is an element of policy in the solution but it is primarily driven by market design, systems engineering and technology innovation.  We will address the roles of grid interconnection, policy, storage integration and cooridination of demand.


This series, hosted by Bits & Watts faculty co-directors Arun Majumdar and Charlie Kolstad, is free and open to the public, registration required.

Upcoming Workshops

Workshop 2: The Role of Grid Interconnection for Decarbonization

Wednesday, March 3, 8:30-10:30am Pacific Time

Robust long-distance transmission lines (both HVAC and HVDC) will enable delivering clean energy to customers and expanding the ways that clean energy is used. Interregional planning and coordination are usually difficult in the U.S. due to different planning approaches, models, FERC 1000 processes, and market rules among the various RTO/ISOs. On a global scale, international grid interconnection projects are being proposed and developed very actively for efficient and economic use of clean energy.

This is the second virtual panel in a series of workshops. It will focus on the role of grid interconnection for decarbonization. Panelists will discuss interregional (international) transmission expansion plan, planning process, as well as social, economic, and geopolitical aspects of large transmission projects.

Jay Caspary: As a Vice President at Grid Strategies LLC, Jay Caspary provides analysis and strategic guidance on transmission grid planning and operations to support a clean energy portfolio.

Jay has 40 years of experience in transmission planning, engineering, management, tariffs, transmission services, and retail marketing. Most recently he oversaw Research, Development & Tariff Services for the Southwest Power Pool. He also served as SPP’s Director of Engineering and head of Transmission Development.  In 2012-2013, Jay served as Senior Policy Advisor for the U. S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) with a focus on grid modernization.  Prior to SPP, he served in several staff and managerial roles at Illinois Power.

Dimitrios Chaniotis: Dimitrios is the Senior Advisor to the Director of Power System Economics at RTE and since May 2018 is holding the office of Chairman of the System Development Committee at ENTSO-E. He has previously held the position of Project Director at RTE in charge of the establishment and building of its technical campus in Lyon France. 

He started his career in the R&D department at EDF in 2001 and subsequently at RTE in 2003 as a research engineer. He has since held positions within RTE working on transmission allocation mechanisms, management control, and R&D. Between 2009 and 2013 he served as head of the System Development section at ENTSO-E.

Damien Ernst: Damien received M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in engineering from the University of Liège, Belgium, in 1998 and 2003, respectively. He is currently Full Professor at the University of Liège, where he is affiliated with the Montefiore Research Unit. His research interests include electrical energy systems and reinforcement learning, a subfield of artificial intelligence.  He is also the cofounder of Blacklight Analytics, a company developing intelligent software solutions for the energy sector. He has co-authored more than 300 research papers and two books. He has also won numerous awards for his research and, among which, the prestigious 2018 Blondel Medal. He is also regularly consulted by industries, governments, international agencies and the media for its deep understanding of the energy transition.

Liang Min: Managing Director, Bits & Watts Intiative

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Workshop 3: Policies Facilitating Decarbonization of Supply

Wednesday, March 17, 8:30-10:30am Pacific Time

The wholesale electricity market will continue to improve its efficiency and competitiveness to integrate renewables and DERs. Local competitive energy markets (or retail pricing) will provide cost-benefit tradeoffs to prosumers by creating opportunities to bid for competing services.  Carbon pricing, policies to facilitate the transition away from coal mining and combustion, technology-forcing regulations to accelerate the development of new technology are examples of actions that can be taken to accelerate the decarbonization of the grid.

Larry Goulder, Lawrence H. Goulder is the Shuzo Nishihara Professor in Environmental and Resource Economics at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford Center for Environmental and Energy Policy Analysis. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and at Stanford's Precourt Institute for Energy; a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research; and a University Fellow of Resources for the Future.

Goulder's research examines the environmental and economic impacts of environmental policies in the U.S. and China, with a focus on policies to deal with climate change and air pollution. His work also has explored the sustainability of natural resources and well-being in several countries. He has conducted analyses for several government agencies, business groups, and environmental organizations, and has served on advisory committees to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board. Results from his work have been published in academic journal articles as well as in the book, Confronting the Climate Challenge: Options for US Policy, which was published by Columbia University Press in 2017.

Christopher Knittel: Christopher Knittel is the George P. Shultz Professor of Applied Economics in the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the Director of MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research which has served as the hub for social science research on energy and the environmental since the late 1970s. Professor Knittel also co-directs of The E2e Project, a research initiative between MIT and UC Berkeley to undertake rigorous evaluation of energy efficiency investments. He joined the faculty at MIT in 2011, having taught previously at UC Davis and Boston University. Professor Knittel received his B.A. in economics and political science from the California State University, Stanislaus in 1994 (summa cum laude), an M.A. in economics from UC Davis in 1996, and a Ph.D. in economics from UC Berkeley in 1999. His research focuses on environmental economics, studying how firms and consumers respond to policies. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in the Productivity, Industrial Organization, and Energy and Environmental Economics groups. He is the co-editor of the Journal of Public Economics, and an associate editor of the Journal of Transportation Economics and Policy, and Journal of Energy Markets, having previously served as an associate editor of The American Economic Journal -- Economic Policy and The Journal of Industrial Economics. His research has appeared in The American Economic Review, The American Economic Journal, The Review of Economics and Statistics, The Journal of Industrial Economics, The Energy Journal and other academic journals.

Richard J. GreenRichard Green has been Professor of Sustainable Energy Business at Imperial College Business School since 2011.  He was previously Professor of Energy Economics and Director of the Institute for Energy Research and Policy at the University of Birmingham, and Professor of Economics at the University of Hull.  He started his career at the Department of Applied Economics and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.  He has spent time on secondment to the Office of Electricity Regulation and has held visiting appointments at the World Bank, the University of California Energy Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

He has been studying the economics and regulation of the electricity industry for over 25 years.  He has written extensively on market power in wholesale electricity markets and has also worked on transmission pricing.  More recently, the main focus of his work has been on the impact of low-carbon generation (nuclear and renewables) and energy storage on the electricity market, and the business and policy implications of this.

Moderator: Charlie Kolstad - Co-Director Bits & Watts Initiative, Professor and Sr. Fellow at Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) Stanford University

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Past Workshops

Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - 8:30am