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AEE and MIT-IPC Hold Executive Forum to Forge Path Toward a 21st Century Electricity System

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For Immediate Release:

August 16, 2013

AEE and MIT-IPC Hold Executive Forum to Forge Path Toward a 21st Century Electricity System

 Energy leaders discuss business models to promote rapid adoption of advanced energy technologies in the electric power sector, with eye toward pilot projects

ASPEN, CO – Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Industrial Performance Center (MIT-IPC) today held the third in a series of forums around the country to bring together leaders of electric utilities, advanced energy businesses, and regulatory agencies to discuss how new technologies and services can be adopted more rapidly in the electric power sector.

This series of closed-door, invitation-only events will culminate in an action plan for achieving tangible results toward four goals that have emerged from the discussions:

  1. Develop innovative business and regulatory models that enable risk sharing between load serving entities and providers of new technologies and services;
  2. Focus on innovation in retail services to meet differentiated customer needs;
  3. Enable the movement of low-cost capital to where it is most needed;
  4. Develop a shared strategic vision that enables load-serving entities, other market participants, and regulators to work towards solutions to well-defined challenges.

The purpose of the initial forums, held at MIT in Cambridge, MA, and at CPS Energy in San Antonio, TX, was to convene key stakeholders from utility companies, advanced energy companies and regulatory agencies to identify new business models and regulatory frameworks that can help accelerate advanced energy growth within the power sector. At today’s forum in Aspen, participants began to refine business models and regulatory frameworks, and identify states and utility companies that could pilot test some of the concepts developed. A fourth forum, to carry this process further, is being planned for November in New York City.

The 21st Century Electricity System Executive Forum series is led by AEE co-founder and co-chair Hemant Taneja, a managing director of General Catalyst Partners; and Richard Lester, Japan Steel Industry Professor and head of MIT’s Nuclear Science and Engineering Department, and Faculty Director of the MIT-IPC.

 “Modernizing our nation’s electricity system is critical to America’s economic future,” said AEE co-founder Hemant Taneja. “These forums allow utilities, regulators and advanced energy leaders to take a hard look at the status quo and find new business models for electricity generation, distribution, and utilization that enable rapid innovation. Advanced Energy Economy is proud to join with MIT’s IPC to highlight and explore the potential for transforming America’s electric power system.”

 “Accelerating the take-up of new technologies in the electric power sector may well be the most important innovation challenge this nation faces,” said Richard Lester.  “Our goal for these forums is to catalyze new thinking, new actions, and new policies for energy innovation, enabling faster growth for local and regional economies, and an effective response to the challenge of climate change.”

 “These industry leaders are engaged in a vital conversation about what the electricity system needs to look like for the 21st century,” said Lisa Frantzis, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Corporate Development, who manages the initiative for AEE. “Many of the forum participants are committed to taking action that will show the way toward a smarter, more secure, more flexible system that capitalizes on innovation.”

The first forum in the series took place on March 6, 2013, at MIT. Attendees included top executives from PSEG Energy Holdings, Northeast Utilities, CPS Energy, NRG Energy, NextEra Energy Resources, CLEAResult, EnerNOC, Gridco Systems, AES Energy Storage, SustainX, Viridity Energy, California ISO and others.

The second session, hosted by CPS Energy in San Antonio, TX, focused on the development of the advanced energy sector in Texas and what lessons might be learned from the state’s experience that could be relevant to other parts of the country. This session included participants from the first forum, plus executives from OGE Energy, First Solar, Silver Spring Networks, Landis+Gyr, Green Energy Corp., C3 Energy, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

This third forum in the series included participants from the first two forums, plus executives from North American Power, Competitive Power Ventures, Dian Grueneich Consulting (former California utility commissioner), Arizona Public Service Co., Recurrent Energy, Invenergy, RES Americas, Pacific Gas & Electric, FERC, McAfee (Intel), Holy Cross Energy, Energy Innovation, Solar Electric Power Association, and the American Wind Energy Association.

“How quickly the electricity system can adapt and evolve for a new century will greatly impact industry, climate change and our economy,” said Chip Comins, Chairman and CEO of the American Renewable Energy Institute, which hosted the forum in Aspen. “This cross-industry collaboration and frank discussion sets a precedent for further forums to come.” 

About Advanced Energy Economy

Advanced Energy Economy is a national association of businesses and business leaders who are making the global energy system more secure, clean, and affordable. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable the rapid growth of advanced energy companies. For more information, please visit www.aee.net.

About the MIT Industrial Performance Center

The IPC is dedicated to the study of innovation, productivity and competitiveness in the U.S. and around the world. The Center specializes in bringing together multidisciplinary teams of researchers in engineering, science, management and the social sciences to carry out research on industrial development and transformation, national and regional economic growth and competitiveness, and innovation performance.  The IPC’s participation in this initiative is sponsored by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. www.web.mit.edu/ipc

 

Contact:         Amy Widdowson, Advanced Energy Economy

                        (415) 766-0338

                        Elisabeth Beck Reynolds, MIT Industrial Performance Center

                        (617) 452-2054