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Students showcasing research posters at the 2015 GCEP Symposium

Global Challenges of Electric Grid Operations during COVID-19

June 16, 2020 - 7:00am to 8:30am
Recording available.

Recording available

Event Sponsor: 
Precourt Institute for Energy
Contact Email:

Given the unprecedented COVID-19 situation, providing safe and reliable electric service is more essential today than ever before. Electric grid operators are applying their decades of expertise and innovative technologies to balance electricity supply and demand every minute of the day to keep the lights on. Stanford University, Washington State University, and U.S. National Academy of Engineering put together this panel with global thought leaders to share their experiences, lessons learned and ways forward.

Sally Benson, co-director, Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford University, USA
Moderator: Anjan Bose, Regents Professor, Washington State University, USA


  • Giacomo Donnini, Head of Strategies, Development and System Operation, TERNA, Italy
  • Sushil Kumar Soonee, Founder and Former CEO of POSOCO, India
  • Gordon van Welie, President and CEO of ISO New England, USA

Speaker bios:

Giacomo Donnini is currently Head of Strategy, Development and System Operation at TERNA and holds the position of Director with delegated powers for National Electricity System Dispatching activities at Terna Rete Italia S.p.A. He was previously Head of Grid Planning and Interconnections. He has significant experience in the energy sector, covering power infrastructure, traditional and renewable generation, oil & gas manufacturing and gas storage. He worked at Enel, GE Oil & Gas, Ergycapital, 9REN Group and Ital Gas Storage. Giacomo graduated from the University of Florence in Mechanical Engineering in 1993.

Sushil K. Soonee, the former and Founder Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (POSOCO), is presently serving as Advisor to the POSOCO. He has more than four decades of firsthand experience of Power System Operation of various Regional Grids of India and has worked extensively towards Integration of State Grids to form Regional Grids, and subsequent integration of Regional Grids leading to the formation of the National Grid and now SAARC Grid. He specializes in Power System Operation, Planning, Commercial, Settlement, Restoration and the entire gamut of Power Pooling and Governance. Other areas of interest include Electricity Markets, Open Access, Regulatory affairs besides expertise in Load Despatch Technology, integration of Renewable Energy including REC Mechanism, Transmission Pricing, and development of Ancillary Services. Mr. Soonee is a Life Fellow of Institution of Engineers (India), Fellow of IEEE, Fellow INAE, Distinguished Alumnus IIT Kharagpur, Distinguished Member CIGRE, Foreign Member NAE USA. He has received many distinguished awards, from CEA, CBIP, NPSC, POWERLINE etc and has many publications to his credit. He has represented India on the CIGRE Study Committee C2 on Power System Operation and currently represents India on the CIGRE Study Committee C5 on Electricity Markets and Regulation.

Gordon van Welie, President and CEO of ISO New England, oversees New England’s 32,000 megawatt power system, the multi-billion dollar wholesale electricity marketplace, and a robust system planning process. Gordon is leading the strategic initiative to keep New England’s power system reliable while it undergoes a dramatic transformation from oil, coal and nuclear generation to natural gas, renewable and distributed resources. Before ISO-NE, Gordon was Vice President and General Manager of Power System Control for Siemens. Earlier in his career, he worked with the South African utility, Eskom. Gordon holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.