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CUB Policy Conference

The CUB Policy Center, in partnership with the University of Oregon School of Law, is pleased to announce its fourth annual policy conference, Changing Climate: Adapting to New Regulations. This conference will explore the challenges and opportunities facing utilities in the Pacific NW as federal law introduces new regulations to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. The program is specifically designed to educate utility analysts, policy analysts, attorneys, industry professionals, stakeholders, and others. This event will take place on October 24th, 2014, at the University of Oregon’s White Stag Block in Old Town Portland. The program will proceed as follows:

  • 8:00-8:30am: Registration

  • 8:30-9am: Breakfast and Opening Keynote Speaker: Utility Regulation in an Era of Climate Change
  • Speaker: John Savage - Commissioner, Oregon Public Utility Commission
    • This presentation will discuss climate change science and how Oregon has developed policies to respond to climate change. What authority does the Public Utility Commission have to address climate change? How is carbon risk treated in utility resource planning? What effect do current EPA regulations have on utility planning? How will the proposed EPA 111(d) rule affect utilities?

  • 9-9:30am: Presentation 1: Changing Climate: Adapting to New Utility Regulations
  • Speaker: Bob Jenks - Executive Director, Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon
    • Climate change is a key policy issue for utilities. The federal government has not adopted comprehensive climate policy, yet utilities must make resource investments that will be around for decades. As a key stakeholder in Oregon’s regulatory process, CUB’s Bob Jenks will set the stage for today’s discussion with a presentation on how to account for climate change in utility regulation.

  • 9:30-9:45am: Break

  • 9:45-11am: A Climate of Change: Opportunities for Utility Leadership
  • Panelists: Bob Jenks - Executive Director, Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon; Gregg Kantor - President and CEO, NW Natural; Jim Piro - President and CEO, Portland General Electric; Patrick Reiten - President and CEO, Pacific Power, PacifiCorp
  • Moderator: Sara Patton - Executive Director, NW Energy Coalition
    • In this opening session, three of Oregon's private utility executives will join Bob Jenks to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by Oregon's electric and gas utilities as a result of actual and potential new regulations.

  • 11-11:15am: Break

  • 11:15am-11:45am: Midday Keynote Speaker: Latest Developments in Climate Science
  • Speaker: Dr. Philip Mote - Director, Oregon Climate Change Research Institute; Professor, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University Corvallis
    • Assessment reports provide periodic syntheses of the state of science. In the past year, major assessment reports have been released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the US National Climate Assessment, and (for the Northwest) the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute. While broadly confirming previous findings that humans are changing global climate, they also highlighted new issues and challenges.

  • 11:45-12:30pm: Networking Lunch

  • 12:30-12:45pm: Break

  • 12:45-2:15pm: Afternoon Breakout Session 1 (Choice of one)

    • Topic 1: SB 844: Utility Projects to Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    • Panelists: Dr. Philip H. Carver - Senior Policy Analyst, Oregon Department of Energy; Bill Edmonds - Director of Environmental Management and Sustainability, NW Natural; Ann Gravatt - Oregon Director, Climate Solutions; Jason R. Salmi Klotz - Climate Change Lead, Oregon Public Utility Commission
    • Moderator: Sommer Templet - Staff Attorney, Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon
      • For years, utilities have been developing and deploying efficiency and renewable energy projects in the region that benefited the system and, as a side effect, mitigated greenhouse gas emissions. As the implementation of Oregon's Senate Bill 844 nears, natural gas utilities have the opportunity to pursue projects that intentionally reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also benefitting customers. What projects should be prioritized? What ideas are gaining traction?

    • Topic 2: Confronting Carbon: Baseload Fossil Fuels vs. Renewables
    • (This session is now at capacity and no longer open for registration.)
    • Panelists: Megan Decker - Chief Counsel, Renewable Northwest; Cathy L. Ehli - Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Bonneville Power Administration; Sara Patton - Executive Director, NW Energy Coalition; Brett Sims - Director, Origination, Structuring & Resource Strategy, Portland General Electric
    • Moderator: Nadine Hanhan - Utility Analyst, Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon
      • This panel asks the question: Is there a role for baseload fossil fuels in a region where energy efficiency, distributed generation, and renewable generation are becoming the reality? Panelists will explore ways to move the region's utilities past baseload fossil fuels and into a cleaner, carbon-free energy generation mix.

  • 2:15-2:45pm: Break

  • 2:45-4:15pm: Afternoon Breakout Session 2 (Choice of one)

    • Topic 3: 111(d): EPA’s Proposed Rule for Existing Coal Plants
    • Panelists: Jason Eisdorfer - Utility Program Director, Oregon Public Utility Commission; Dave Robertson - Vice President, Public Policy, Portland General Electric; Gloria Smith - Managing Attorney, Sierra Club; Mary Wiencke - Director, Environmental Policy and Strategy, PacifiCorp
    • Moderator: Catriona McCracken - General Counsel/Regulatory Program Director, Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon
      • At the time of this writing, utilities, regulators, and stakeholders are holding their collective breath and waiting to see what the US Environmental Protection Agency's 111(d) rules - out in final form in June 2014 - will require. Following publication in June, discussion will turn to how they will be implemented, how must utilities respond, and what the role is for state public utility commissions and for other state actors. Our panelists will be discussing these important questions.

    • Topic 4: The Appropriate Role of Natural Gas in a Carbon Constrained World
    • (This session is now at capacity and no longer open for registration.)
    • Panelists: Tom Eckman - Director of Power Planning, Northwest Power and Conservation Council; Wendy Gerlitz - Senior Policy Associate, NW Energy Coalition; Dan Kirschner - Executive Director, Northwest Gas Association
    • Moderator: Jaime McGovern, PhD - Senior Utility Analyst, Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon
    • Moderator:
      • Fast-ramping natural gas turbines offer a way to bridge the variability of flexible resources. Natural gas in transportation provides a cleaner, more affordable replacement for petroleum. This panel investigates how natural gas can be effectively used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the short and long term.

  • 4:15-4:30pm: Break

  • 4:30-5:30pm: Closing Panel – Least Cost/Least Risk/Least Carbon
  • Panelists: Jeff Bissonnette - Policy Director, Citizens' Utility Board of Oregon; Scott Bolton - Vice President, Community and Government Relations, Pacific Power; Jason Eisdorfer - Utility Program Director, Oregon Public Utility Commission; Lisa Schwartz - Energy Efficiency Team Leader, Electricity Markets and Policy Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Gloria Smith - Managing Attorney, Sierra Club
  • Moderator: Bill Bradbury - Council Chair, Northwest Power and Conservation Council
    • SB 844 and EPA’s 111(d) require that regulatory stakeholders move beyond the traditional least cost/ least risk approach to utility regulations and also consider greenhouse gas reduction. Join our panelists for a robust discussion of what the future of energy regulation could look like.

  • 5:30pm-7:00pm: Reception

  • Current and previous conferences:

CUB is a proud member of

Link to The Nonprofit Association of Oregon 2011 Oregon Business 100 Best Nonprofits Link to Oregon Conservation Network Link to Oregon Electric Vehicle Association