Wednesday 2019

Wednesday, February 6 – Navigating Dynamic Markets

Keynote Address | Panel Discussions | Energy Tours

8:00 – 8:45


8:45 – 9:00

Opening Remarks

9:00 – 10:00

Keynote Address
Arthur C. D’Andrea, Commissioner, Texas Public Utility Commission

10:00 – 11:00

Panel 1: Energy-Only Market Design for Resource Adequacy: Stakeholder Perspectives
As an energy-only market, ERCOT’s market rules are designed to ensure resource adequacy primarily through price signals. In this session, ERCOT stakeholders will first discuss recent successes and challenges maintaining reserve margins in an energy-only market and then move into a forward-looking discussion about potential market or policy changes that may promote resource adequacy in the next decade. Panelists will address questions such as, does current market design adequately incentivize investment? Which fuels and technologies will be used to maintain reserve margins in the next ten years, and what are the associated challenges?
David Spence, Baker Botts Chair in Law, UT Austin (Moderator) • Click to view PDF slide
Connie Corona, Division Director of Competitive Markets, Texas Public Utility Commission
Bob Helton, Director of Government & Regulatory Affairs for Engie North America
John Dumas, Vice President of Market Operations, Lower Colorado River Authority
Michele Gregg, Executive Director, Texas Competitive Power Advocates
Brandon Whittle, Director of Government & Regulatory Affairs, Calpine

11:00 – 11:15


11:15 – 12:15

Panel 2: Energy Storage: Competitive Market and Policy Frameworks that Encourage Flexibility
The panel will focus on the unique functions of energy storage and why electricity markets are increasingly valuing ‘flexibility.’ FERC and the Texas PUC are currently re-considering market design for storage. Panelists will discuss why, despite the multiple value propositions of storage, the technology doesn’t fit neatly into current market design. For example, to fully capture the value of storage, should transmission and distribution utilities be able to own these assets, or do other ownership models make more sense? What might new market products for energy storage look like?
Alison Silverstein (Moderator) • Click to view PDF slides
Judith Talavera, President, AEP Texas • Click to view PDF slides
Suzanne L. Bertin, Executive Director, Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance• Click to view PDF slides
Kristin Abbott, Market Analyst, Texas Public Utility Commission• Click to view PDF slides

12:15 – 1:30

Lunch keynote address:
Diversifying University Lands’ Energy Portfolio – Spotlight on Renewables
Mark Houser, Chief Executive Officer, University Lands • Click to view PDF slides

1:30 – 2:45

Panel 3: Funding Renewable Energy Infrastructure in Africa
Globalization has given room for growth, development, fair trade and economic development. Renewable energy is at the forefront due to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. What role will distributed solar generation play in evening the distribution of generation through Sub-Saharan Africa? The panel will focus on trying to evaluate the bankability of main-grid and microgrid solar PV and what this means for the future of financing structures. Panelists will tell their opinions on how current initiatives such as the USTDA’s Power Africa and the US’s Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative are drawing investors eager to turn a profit, how main-grid versus Micro-grid funding structures may differ and possible future trajectories of private investors and funding banks such as Credit Suisse.
Richard Amato, GCG Program Manager, IC2 Institute (Moderator)
Seyi Fabode, CEO/Founder, Varuna • Click to view PDF slides
Guy Koloko, CEO, KNS Solar
Joshua Eisenman, Assistant Professor of Public Affairs, LBJ School of Public Affairs
Rushabh Desai, Head of Finance, Yotta Solar

2:45 – 3:00


3:00 – 4:00

Panel 4: Managing Uncertainty in Energy Investment
The financial markets are currently facing an energy ecosystem in transition. This introduces uncertainties, risks and opportunities with regards to future investment opportunities. While fossil fuels are likely to comprise a dominant share of the energy supply for decades, we see significant changes in that arena. Coal’s declining future is clear as it is marginalized by natural gas, renewables are capturing a significant share of the growing demand for power locally displacing natural gas and burgeoning natural gas supply from shale oil and gas is being pushed overseas as LNG. Many car manufacturers and jurisdictions have committed to all electric light duty vehicle fleets. Shale resources have not entirely delivered on their financial promise with little to no free cash flow being generated by the industry as a whole. The backdrop is volatile oil prices and growing concern about rising CO2 emissions from combustion of fossil fuels.
Richard Chuchla, Director, Energy & Earth Resources Program at UT Austin (Moderator)
Glenn Jacobson, Partner, Trilantic North America
Billy Prather, Director of Natural Resources, UTIMCO
George Vaughan, Principal Consultant, Corporate Investment Appraisal, ConocoPhillips

4:00 – 4:15

Closing Remarks

4:30 – 6:30


  • ExxonMobil Historical Collection at the Briscoe Center
  • UT Power Plant Tour