4/28/2020 7:00:00 AM | Hilton Americas Hotel, Houston, TX

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GCPA Spring 2020 Conference

Online registration is now closed. On-site will be available at the event at on-site registration prices.

March 17, 2020
Based on the recommendations of the CDC and other governmental and public health authorities regarding the Coronavirus, Gulf Coast Power Association has decided to cancel its upcoming spring conference scheduled on April 28-29, 2020 in Houston, Texas. We are also temporarily suspending our monthly luncheons in Houston and Austin.
GCPA will be issuing 100% refunds for all attendees who are currently registered for any GCPA event; registered attendees should expect to hear from GCPA regarding refunds during the next 5-10 business days. Spring conference sponsors and exhibitors will also be contacted.

We have been in touch with The Hilton Americas hotel, and we expect that they will be reaching out to those of you with hotel room reservations in connection with spring conference. If you do not hear from them within the next week or so, you should contact the hotel directly to confirm that your reservation has been canceled and/or to cancel your reservation. 
As many of you have shared, the opportunity to network with GCPA members and industry colleagues is highly valued. In the coming weeks, we will be exploring opportunities to connect on the web.
We hope you and your families stay safe and healthy during this extraordinary time, and we hope to see you later this year.
Kim Casey
Executive Director, GCPA









 8:00 AM       GCPA President’s Welcome - Katie Coleman, Partner, Thompson & Knight LLP
                      Recognition of Chairs - Kim Casey, Executive Director, GCPA
                      Conference Introduction - Kenny Mercado, Sr. VP, CenterPoint Energy
                                                                Caitlin Smith, VP, AB Power Advisors

8:15 AM  KEYNOTE ADDRESS - “What Innovation Isn’t” - Mary Anne Brelinsky, President, EDF

8:45 AM    Session I - Retail Innovations
Since the ERCOT retail market opened to competition in 2002, Retail Electricity Providers have introduced new and innovative products, services and business models. On this panel, Pat Wood will facilitate a conversation about the newest retail offerings inside and outside of ERCOT. Industry innovators will share perspective on what attracts new customers including marketing, product offerings and pricing models, and the trends they see for the future. 
Moderator: Pat Wood III, Principal, Wood3 Resources
Jesson Bradshaw, CEO, Energy Ogre
Gregory Craig, CEO, Griddy
Matt Duesterberg, CRO & Founder, OhmConnect 


10:15 AM   Session II - Energy Storage Technology Solutions
Energy storage will play an increasingly important role in the future of the electric grid. Storage will integrate clean energy into the grid, reduce costs associated with meeting peak electric demands, and increase efficiency. Additionally, energy storage can stabilize supply and help keep critical systems online during an outage. This panel will examine trends in U.S. battery storage installations including alternative technologies and costs as well as market and policy drivers.  
Moderator: Robert Hebner, Director, UT Austin Center for Electromechanics
John Battaglini, Director, Business Development, Marketing & Sales, Lockheed Martin Energy
Thomas Cornell, Vice President, Power & Energy Solutions, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems
Ray Hohenstein, Market Applications Director, Fluence
Brian Weber, Managing Director, Transmission Development, AEP

11:15 AM    Session III - Electrifying Fleets
Amazon recently placed an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans, representing the largest purchase of medium-duty electric vehicles in history. This action signals the opportunity other private and public fleet owners anticipate by electrifying delivery fleets, truck fleets, taxi fleets, and ride-hail fleets. This panel will explore some of the economics and technology innovations playing a key role in the decision to go electric.
Moderator: Chris Brown, Controller, City of Houston
Chris Miller, Senior Manager, Public Policy, Texas, Uber
Jeff Slye, Strategic Accounts, Enel X North America
Francesa Wahl, Sr. Policy Associate, Tesla


1:30 PM    KEYNOTE ADDRESS - Neva Espinoza, Low Carbon Resource Initiative, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)

2:00 PM    Session IV - CEO Panel:  A Conversation with Top Utilities in Texas and the U.S.
CEOs from three of the largest Texas regulated electric utilities join us to share their perspectives on the key issues driving future investments to serve ERCOT and beyond. Don’t miss this top-level conversation on the evolving electric and gas utility issues shaping the future of the industry at the local, state and national level.
Moderator: Kenny Mercado, Sr. Vice President, CenterPoint Energy

Nick Akins, Chairman, President & CEO, American Electric Power
Allen Nye, CEO, Oncor 



3:45 PM   KEYNOTE ADDRESS - “Energy Transition: Impacts to ERCOT” - Brandon Schwertner, Founder & Managing Partner, Teleios Commodities

4:05 PM    Session V - Innovative Programs in Smart Cities
As municipalities plan for future infrastructure, they are looking for ways to incorporate new technologies and to integrate sustainable resources to become more attractive and resilient for residents. This panel will share how sophisticated cities are collaborating with utilities and other partners to solve key issues using advanced technology, data analytics and innovation to address critical areas in transportation, disaster response, and public safety.
Moderator: Elizabeth Brock, Director of External Engagement, CenterPoint Energy
Jay Boisseau, Founder, Austin CityUP
Vivian Bouet, Chief Information Officer, CPS Energy
Jessie Bounds, Director of Innovation, City of Houston

5:00 - 7:00 PM   COCKTAIL RECEPTION AT THE GROVE WITH SPECIAL GUEST - HOUSTON MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER: Rain or shine, join your colleagues and mingle with the Mayor of Houston for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at this beautiful rooftop location overlooking Downtown Houston — just across the street from the Hilton Americas.



8:15 AM  OPENING KEYNOTE ADDRESS - Jamey Rootes, President, Houston Texans

8:45 AM    Session VI - Demand Response: How is Load Helping Scarcity in ERCOT & Other ISOs? 
With low reserve margins or shortfalls in capacity, regulators and stakeholders are looking for transparency surrounding the amount and frequency of demand response. With increasing access to smart meter data, are there new programs or products to be considered? What does the future look like and how will emerging technology impact demand response? This panel will discuss demand response inside and outside of ERCOT, including industrial load resource programs, Emergency Response Service, Four Coincident Peak, price responsive load, and other forms of demand response.
Moderator: Caitlin Smith, Vice President, AB Power Advisors
Michael Brown, Chair, Peak Load Management Association
Bill Burke, Founder & CEO, Virtual Peaker
Tim Carter, Vice President, Demand Response, MP2 Energy LLC 

10:15 AM    Session VII - Data Centers: The New Commercial & Industrial Consumers of the Power Market 
Data centers are the new and future large users of power. It has been reported that data centers and digital computing may consume over 20% of the world’s electricity by 2030. This panel will discuss data centers as load resources and the advanced demand response products they can provide. The panel will also discuss how data centers are procuring power, co-locating with renewables resources, using waste gas, and more.
Moderator: John Bick, Managing Principal, Priority Power Management
Chad Harris, Global Director, Whinstone
Michael McNamara, CEO, Lancium
Michael Mindell, Senior National Account Executive, CPower

11:00 AM    Session VIII - Distributed Energy and Microgrids
The increasing availability and affordability of distributed energy resources combined with recent severe weather events has created strong interest in microgrids. This panel will share relevant experiences with modern microgrid projects and how such microgrids are becoming an increasingly important part of the changing operational, legal, and regulatory landscape for the electric industry.  
Moderator: Dan Bradley, Partner, Energy, Sustainability, & Infrastructure, Guidehouse
Corey Amthor, President, Enchanted Rock
Steven Looney, Vice President & General Manager, Microgrids and Distributed Generation, N.A., ABB
Jeff Morris, State Affairs Director N.A., Schneider Electric
Bill Muston, Manager Research & Development, Oncor 



Sponsored by: GCPA’s emPOWERing Women’s Program at Topgolf Houston-Katy, 1030 Memorial Brook Blvd, Houston, TX 77084

TIME: 12:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Check-In/Buffet open at 12:30 PM; Play begins promptly at 1:00 PM; Prizes at 4:00 PM

From aspiring pros to those who have never walked 18 holes, anyone can play Topgolf. All you have to do is swing a club and try to hit your microchipped balls into dartboard-like targets. Join us at this terrific networking event with great food, full-service bar, upscale facilities and competitive fun that EVERYONE can enjoy!

Pricing: $115 WITH Conference Registration; $140 w/out Conference Registration. Fee includes game, buffet, snacks, beer bucket in bay, one drink ticket and prizes.

Visit the Topgolf website for information about Topgolf.

To request placement with partner/groups: Email Penny Sullivan.



“Storage in ERCOT”

The Hilton Americas Houston 1:00 - 4:30 (Check-In at 12:30 PM)

Everybody is talking about storage and recently ERCOT has seen a sharp increase in storage interconnection requests as well as a significant increase in the number of storage projects planned to be added on the distribution system. Integrating storage into ERCOT has the potential to increase grid reliability and presents both opportunities and challenges for ERCOT and its Market Participants. Currently ERCOT and its stakeholders are considering operational and market design policies using a two-step approach: (1) rules that can be implemented in the short-term to integrate battery Energy Storage Resources under the “combination model” structure, and (2) rules that can be implemented on a longer timeline to integrate battery Energy Storage Resources under a “single model” structure.

This Storage in ERCOT Workshop is designed to educate and inform ERCOT Market Participants (including Consumers, Resource Entities, Power Marketers, Retail Electric Providers, Investor-Owned Utilities, Electric Cooperatives, and Municipally Owned Utilities) and other interested parties (including Developers, Emerging Tech, Attorneys, Accountants, and more). This workshop will include presentations from ERCOT staff, as well as a panel of active ERCOT stakeholders and a panel of storage developers with experience inside and outside of ERCOT. The workshop will discuss ERCOT’s overall approach and issues list for storage integration, as well as the challenges encountered, milestones, goals and what’s next for the development of storage in ERCOT. 

See next tab - Pre-Conference Workshop Agenda - for full agenda

Pricing WITH Conference Registration: $200

Pricing without Conference Registration: $300



Mingle and network at this reception at the Hilton Americas - Houston

Reception from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Pricing: $30

“Storage in ERCOT”
Monday, April 27th
~ 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Recently ERCOT has seen a sharp increase in storage interconnection requests as well as a significant increase in the number of storage projects planned to be added on the distribution system. In this workshop, ERCOT will set the current landscape for storage in ERCOT and expectations for the queue.

ERCOT is developing policy for storage through a dedicated task force called the Battery Energy Storage Task Force (BEST Force). ERCOT will explain their two-step approach: (1) rules that can be implemented in the current day or near-term, and (2) rules that can be implemented to integrate battery Energy Storage Resources under a “single model” structure expected in 2024. ERCOT will outline the approach of BEST FORCE and highlights of the issues.

  • The first panel will discuss the questions and concerns ERCOT stakeholders had before the task force, how those were addressed, and what additional steps need to be addressed. This panel will cover the perspectives of load, generation, TDSPs and QSE operators.
  • The second panel will feature perspectives of experienced storage developers, as interest in owning storage in ERCOT grows and costs continue to come down. Developers from Texas and across the country will discuss the opportunities and challenges in becoming more engaged in storage development in ERCOT.



1:00 PM – INTRODUCTION: Caitlin Smith, Vice President, AB Power Advisors

1:10 PM – STORAGE IN ERCOT: Current Day Status, Future Expectations & BEST Force

Sai Moorty, Principal, Market Design & Analysis, ERCOT
Kenneth Ragsdale, Principal, Market Design & Development, ERCOT
Sandip Sharma, Manager Operations Planning, RTC and Energy Storage Integration, ERCOT 

2:10 PM – STAKEHOLDER PERSPECTIVES: Inclusion of Storage in ERCOT Market Rules

Panel Moderator: Ian Haley, Director ERCOT Regulatory Policy, Vistra Energy

Kevin Bunch, Manager of Regulatory Affairs, EDF Trading North America, LLC
Andy Nguyen, Lead Energy Analyst, Lower Colorado River Authority
Christian Powell, Director, Energy Regulatory Affairs, Pedernales Electric Cooperative
Ivan Velasquez, Regulatory Affairs Manager, Oncor

3:05 PM – BREAK 

3:20 PM – DEVELOPER PERSPECTIVES: Storage Proliferation in ERCOT

Panel Moderator: John Fernandes, Sr. Consultant – Emerging Technologies, Customized Energy Solutions

Shannon Caraway, Vice President – Business Development, Solar Prime
Doug Moorehead, Managing Partner and Chief Technology Officer, Broad Reach Power


Presenter: Kenneth Ragsdale, Principal, Market Design & Development, ERCOT



PEs: As part of the Continuing Education Program requirements for Professional Engineers in Texas, each licensed engineer is required to earn 15 hours per year of Professional Development Hours (PDH). Attendees will receive approximately 9.25 hours of credit if all conference sessions  are attended. 3.25 credit hours will also be available for the workshop on 4/27.

CPAs: GCPA is a Board Registered CPE Sponsor with the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. This registration does not constitute an endorsement by the Board as to the quality of our CPE program. The learning objectives for CPAs attending the conference are: to obtain an in-depth understanding of retail innovations, energy storage technology solutions, electrifying fleets, key issues faced by top utilities, innovative programs for cities, how load is helping scarcity in ISOs, data centers, and distributed energy and microgrids. There are no prerequisites. Attendees will receive approximately 10 hours of credit if all sessions are attended. 3.5 credit hours will also be available for the 4/27 workshop.

Attorneys: GCPA will be applying to the Texas State Bar for MCLE approval of portions of the conference. Please check back for information on the hours approved for this conference.


CONFERENCE PRICING - price includes one and a half day conference on 4/28 - 4/29 and cocktail reception on 4/28.*Non-Member rate includes 2020 Individual Membership good through 1/31/21.


Early bird Registration
through 4/7/20

Regular Registration
4/8/20 - 4/24/20
On-site Registration
4/28/20 & 4/29/20
GCPA Members $650 $800 $900
Non-Members *  $875 $1025 $1125
State Govt. Employees $195 $195 $250
GCPA Members in Job Search Mode $200 $200 $300
Non-Members in Job Search Mode $425 $425 $525
Full-time Students $85 $85 $95


TOPGOLF Early Bird Registration
through 4/7/20
Regular Registration
4/8/20 - 4/24/20
Onsite Registration
Fee w/ conf. registration $115 $125 Not Available
Fee W/O conf. registration $140 $150 Not Available


WORKSHOP Early Bird Registration
through 4/7/20
Regular Registration
4/8/20 - 4/24/20
On-site Registration
Members, All Conf. Attendees, Govt. $200 $220 $250
Non-Members W/OUT conf. reg. $300 $320 $350

WELCOME RECEPTION PRICING - 4/27 reception includes one drink ticket and appetizers.

RECEPTION Early Bird Registration
through 4/7/20
Regular Registration
4/8/20 - 4/24/20
Onsite Registration
Fee $30 $30 $35

REFUND POLICY - Cancellations must be received by 5 PM on Friday, April 10 in order to receive a refund. A 10% service fee (minimum fee of $10) will be charged against all refunds. Please direct all cancellation requests to Mary Armstrong at MArmstrong@GulfCoastPower.org.