2015 Schedule

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Friday, Oct 2
10:00am — 11:30am
Galvanize (Platte - Atrium/Deck)
194 attending

Innovations on the Electric Grid: How Colorado Companies Can Navigate the Opportunities

A perfect storm is driving transformation of the electric grid: distributed resources and renewables, aging infrastructure, new smart and connected components, increasing reliance on natural gas, cyber threats and climate policy (to name a few). Utility investment on the U.S. electric grid will top $1 trillion between now and 2030, plus hundreds of billions more on distributed energy resources like energy storage, solar, electric vehicle infrastructure and home automation. Despite the massive ongoing opportunities, venture-backed startups have had difficulty navigating the regulatory and cultural landscape of the electric industry.

Colorado has extraordinary resources that can help position local companies to seize new opportunities and understand the playing field in the electric industry. This panel will offer insights into the electric sector -- innovation opportunities, hot button industry concerns, differences across states and perspectives on working with regulated utilities -- from a group of panelists with deep experience in the space.

Panelists that have committed include:

  • Tom Duckett, President, RES Distributed, Renewable Energy Systems Americas, an international wind, solar and battery storage developer headquartered in Broomfield.

  • Sunil Cherian, CEO of Spirae, a Fort Collins smart grid company,

  • DR Richardson of Vision Ridge Partners, a Boulder cleantech and energy infrastructure investor,

  • Dr. Martha Symko-Davies, Director of Partnerships at NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility, and

  • Frank Prager, Vice President, Policy and Federal Affairs, Xcel Energy, Colorado's largest utility and the #1 wind utility in the U.S. for the last decade.

The aim is for participants to walk away from the panel with:
(1) ideas for innovation opportunities in the electric sector (e.g. What software and data could better forecast and control variable generation? How do we make the grid more secure? Can we improve on battery storage? Which states are focused on these issues?);
(2) enhanced understanding of working with utilities (e.g. What keeps C-level utility execs up at night? Does my solution need utility buy-in? What does the utility sales cycle look like? How is CO different from CA, NY or TX?); and
(3) connections to the panelists and other Colorado resources that can help navigate opportunities in the electric sector.