Providing thoughtful, sophisticated policy solutions on energy, climate and consumer issues.


Sponsorships are available at varying levels for the 2015 CUB Policy Conference.

Contact Pamela White for more information at, or 503-227-1984 x10.

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CUB Policy Conference

The CUB Policy Center is pleased to announce its fifth annual policy conference, Utility 2025: Building the Northwest's Energy Future. Imagine it is the year 2025. Oregon utilities have complied with the 25% RPS and are in the middle of complying with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Energy Imbalance Markets are functioning throughout the region and with demand response programs, customers are actively participating in utility efforts to balance supply and load.

Or, maybe not. This CUB Policy Conference will explore the challenges and opportunities that NW utilities face in the coming decade. The program is specifically designed to educate utility analysts, policy analysts, attorneys, industry professionals, stakeholders, and others working in and around the energy industry.

This event will take place on October 23rd, 2015, at the Downtown Portland Hilton.

Our early bird deadline has been extended. Register by Wednesday, October 7th to take advantage of Early Bird pricing!

Click on the names of the speakers and panelists below to read their bios!

The program will proceed as follows:

  • 7:15-8:00am: Registration

  • 8:00-8:30am: Breakfast and Opening Presentation: What Does the Future Hold for Utility Customers?
  • Speaker: Bob Jenks - Executive Director, Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon
    • In his opening presentation, Bob will be discussing his view of the future challenges for the region’s utilities and customers. Carbon regulation is here. How will it affect us over the next decade? Can the region keep running the best energy efficiency programs, or will we run out of opportunities? Will the promise of demand response actually make a difference to the region? Will we avoid the conflict between rooftop solar advocates and utilities that we have seen in other parts of the country? How will all of the coming changes affect customers of our investor-owned and public utilities?

  • 8:30-9:45am: The View From the Top: A Conversation With NW Utility CEOs
  • Panelists: Stefan Bird - President and CEO, Pacific Power; Bob Jenks - Executive Director, Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon; Gregg Kantor - President and CEO, Northwest Natural; Elliot Mainzer - Administrator and CEO, Bonneville Power Administration; Scott Morris - Chairman, President and CEO, Avista Corporation; Jim Piro - President and CEO, Portland General Electric
  • Moderator: Jude NolandSenior Contributing Editor, Clearing Up
    • Our opening panel convenes five utility CEOs, along with CUB's own Bob Jenks, to discuss how utilities will evolve through the next 10 years of regulatory progress, policy development, market transformation, technological innovation, customer engagement, and more. How will our utilities adapt to climate regulation? Can they strike a balance with distributed generation? How do we anticipate and plan for load growth? What will Oregon's resource mix look like in 2025? This will be a unique and engaging conversation.

  • 9:45-10:00am: Break

  • 10:00–11:15am: Break-Out Session 1

    • Topic 1: They’re Hee-re…111(d)'s New Regulatory Reality
    • Panelists: Collin McConnaha - Senior Climate Policy Analyst, Oregon DEQ; Ruchi Sadhir - Senior Policy Advisor, Oregon Public Utility Commission; Mary Wiencke - Director, Environmental Policy and Strategy, PacifiCorp; Rachel Wilson - Senior Associate, Synapse Energy Economics, Inc.; Cameron Yourkowski - Senior Policy Manager, Renewable NW
    • Moderator: Jaime McGovern, PhD - Senior Economist, Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon
      • After months (and months) of waiting, the Clean Power Plan (EPA rule 111(d)) is now a reality. So where did we actually end up, and how will the rules be implemented? What are the implications for the utility of the future? We will explore these questions, touching on possibilities for inter-state cooperation and the nitty-gritty of greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

    • Topic 2: Distribute This: Generation for a New Generation
    • Panelists: Tom Kelly - President and CEO, Neil Kelly Co.; Michael O'Brien - Energy Policy Analyst, Renewable NW; John Patterson - President, Mr. Sun Solar; Bryce Dalley - Vice President, Regulation, Pacific Power; Bryce Yonker - Executive Director, Smart Grid Northwest
    • Moderator: Nadine Hanhan - Utility Analyst, Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon
      • Much has been made of the "utility death spiral", or the perception that centrally located baseload plants are under threat from ever more distributed resources such as rooftop solar. Is this worry justified, or can distributed generation be a win-win proposition? How will the utility of 2025 balance distributed generation with the demands of safety, reliability, and affordability?

  • 11:15–11:30am: Break

  • 11:30am–12:00pm: Midday Keynote: Utility 2025: What You Can Expect From Oregon Regulators
  • Speaker: Susan Ackerman - Chair, Oregon Public Utility Commission
    • The energy industry is in the midst of a transition, as technology, climate concerns, and customers are changing. Some of the nation’s state regulators (such as Hawaii, California, and New York), are investigating meaningful changes to the electric utility business model and the distribution system. Will Oregon follow suit? What can stakeholders expect from Oregon regulators over the next decade?

  • 12:00–12:45pm: Networking Lunch

  • 12:45–2:00pm: Break-Out Session 2

  • Topic 3: The Customer Side of the Meter: Energy Efficiency and Demand Response
  • Panelists: Scot Davidson - Vice President, Program Delivery, Enhabit; Mike Hoffman - Senior Energy Analyst, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Joe Keller - Senior Program Manager, Portland General Electric; Lisa Schwartz - Energy Efficiency Team Leader, Electricity Markets and Policy Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; John Wellschlager - Account Executive - Bulk Marketing, Bonneville Power Administration
  • Moderator: Charlie Grist - Conservation Resources Manager, NW Power & Conservation Council
    • The EPA’s Clean Power Plan relies on energy efficiency to make carbon emissions reduction affordable. Increasingly, utilities are using demand response programs to reduce peak loads. Maintaining the level of energy efficiency that is expected in the Clean Power Plan will require programs that we have not yet envisioned. Making demand response a key part of a power system that relies less on large baseload power plants will require a level of customer engagement that we have never seen. What role will customer engagement play in making these programs achievable?

    • Topic 4: Got Gas? Bridge Fuel or Bridge to Nowhere?
    • Panelists: Bill Edmonds - Director of Environmental Management and Sustainability, NW Natural; Jason Eisdorfer - Utility Program Director, Oregon Public Utility Commission; Ed Finklea - Executive Director, Northwest Industrial Gas Users; Nancy Hirsh - Executive Director, NW Energy Coalition; Dan Kirschner - Executive Director, Northwest Gas Association
    • Moderator: Sommer Templet Moser - Staff Attorney, Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon
      • The role of gas utilities grows uncertain as we look toward an increasingly carbon-constrained industry. Can gas resources be used to shape and firm renewable resources? What are the possibilities for renewable gas? How can gas utilities operate and use their commodity as an integrated part of the energy industry of the future?

  • 2:00–2:15pm: Break

  • 2:15–3:30pm: Break-Out Session 3

    • Topic 5: Let’s Get Loaded: Weed, Web, Wheels and a Growing Load
    • Panelists: Jeff Allen - Executive Director, Drive Oregon; Peter Freed - Data Center Energy Program Manager, Facebook; Wendy Gerlitz - Policy Director, NW Energy Coalition; Brendan McCarthy - State Government Affairs Specialist, Portland General Electric; John Morris - Policy and Regulatory Affairs Director, CLEAResult; Geoff Sugerman - Director of Public Affairs and Compliance, Groundwork Industries
    • Moderator: Mark Ohrenschall - Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Energy NewsData
      • Server farms and indoor agriculture (marijuana farming warehouses) are here and are a growing presence in the region. Concerns over carbon are also increasing the use of electricity and natural gas as vehicle fuels. After more than a decade with little load growth in the region, is there about to be a change? If so, what will utilities need to do to maintain reliability in the face of these changes?

    • Topic 6: Beyond the RPS
    • Panelists: Bill Corcoran - Western Regional Director, Beyond Coal Campaign, Sierra Club; Kevin Lynch - Managing Director, External Affairs, Iberdrola Renewables; Julie Peacock - Senior Policy Analyst, Oregon Department of Energy; Maria Pope - Senior Vice President of Power Supply and Operations and Resource Strategy, Portland General Electric; Rachel Shimshak - Executive Director, Renewable NW
    • Moderator: Jeff Bissonnette - Policy Director, Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon
      • By 2025, Oregon's Renewable Energy Standard will be fully implemented, requiring the state's largest utilities to get 25% of their power from renewable resources. But what‘s next? A higher RPS? Other incentives? Where will renewables fit into the mix as we enter the second quarter of the 21st Century?

  • 3:30 – 3:45pm: Break

  • 3:45 – 4:15pm: Closing Presentation: The Price is Right: Not an Easy Game for Energy
  • Speaker: Dr. Tom Potiowsky - Director, Northwest Economic Research Center; Chair, Economics Department, Portland State University
    • The price of energy is constantly in the news. It impacts our economy and our lives. As policy moves to address environmental concerns, we will see changes in the price of energy. Do we know if the price of energy we get is the right one for policy and the economy? We discuss in general terms the price of energy and what "value" the price represents. We conclude with how the price of energy can be used to combine fiscal public policy and environmental goals.

  • 4:15 – 4:30pm: Closing words from Bob Jenks

  • 4:30 – 6:00pm: Reception

Current and previous conferences:

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