Former Vice President Al Gore will be our special keynote speaker on the opening day of GridNEXT. An established global leader on energy and environmental issues, he is a world-renowned advocate for the environmental and economic benefits of renewable energy technologies. Gore’s new film, An Inconvenient Sequel features his recent visit to Georgetown, Texas, to talk with city leaders about their successes after converting to 100% renewable energy.


Conference Highlights:

  • World-renowned founder of retail energy and Forbes contributor, Peter Kelly-Detwiler will serve as Emcee.
  • Additional Pre-Conference “Readiness” Workshops include:
    • Continuing education workshops for utilities and market stakeholders
    • Readiness workshops to prepare attendees for “deep-dive” afternoon sessions
    • World-renowned founder of retail energy and Forbes contributor, Peter Kelly-Detwiler will facilitate GridNEXT 1.0 and 2.0 Readiness Workshops.
  • The Present and Future State of Utilities: In a salute to CPS Energy’s 75th Anniversary of public utility ownership, COO, Cris Eugster, and Chief Safety Officer, Fred Bonewell address Texas operational excellence and policy trends.
  • Cleantech Open Pitch Competition: Some of the brightest entrepreneurs in Texas give their best shot in pitching a panel of judges with new ideas for clean energy solutions.
  • Building the Roadmap to Smarter Grid: Texas utility leaders provide an update on their utilities’ smart initiatives and place their efforts on the roadmap leading to their vision of the smart grid.
  • Electrical Vehicles (EVs) and the Grid: Driving Electrified Transportation in Texas.
  • Emerging Cyber-physical Security Challenges and the Microgrid
  • Cities in the Drivers’ Seat – Leading Transformation to a Cleaner Grid: Texas City Leaders discuss ways their cities are keeping their commitments to enact green energy policies that are rapidly transforming their 21st-century grid.

    Featured Speakers

    Conference Sponsors

    Supporting Organizations


    Download PDF

    Monday, October 23



    Conference Open: Registration


    Pre-Conference Event: Cleantech Open South Central Regional Finals

    Cleantech Open is a global accelerator for early-stage clean technology startup companies. We run an annual program to connect startups with the incredible people, resources, and visibility to help them succeed. The program culminates in a pitch competition where all of our companies will be presenting, with the winner advancing to the National Competition. Come see the exciting things happening in early stage clean tech in Texas and Arkansas.

    CTO Logo.png



    GridNEXT 1.0 Energy Markets, Regulatory & Technology

    This workshop will provide an overview of how ERCOT markets (and markets in general) work with respect to:

    • Declining costs curves for new resources (wind, solar, storage) and the dynamics driving them

    • The energy geography of ERCOT, as well as theoretical imitations for integrating renewables into a closed system such as ERCOT

    • Storage – in terms of costs, volumes, and new technology offerings

    • An intro to the concept of digitization as it applies to wind turbines -  but also to new and existing gas-fired generation that foster further renewables integration

    • Changes in how supercomputing and materials science are changing the entire energy landscape

    • How the above realities likely play out in the near-to-midterm, and things to watch for, such as: things to watch for, such as convergence of modes and technologies (e.g., transportation colliding with electricity; buildings becoming batteries; and lighting networks providing security and marketing)

    Sign Up


    Peter Kelly-Detwiler FORBES

    Peter Kelly-Detwiler



    GridNEXT 2.0 Renewable Energy Project Development & Finance

    This workshop addresses distributed renewable energy project development and project finance. These projects include solar, biomass, biogas, energy efficiency and energy storage. Understanding the complexities of project development and becoming familiar with various available funding mechanisms are important first steps for customers wanting to pursue such projects.

    This session will start with Baker Tilly introducing the basics of project finance, feasibility studies, stakeholders, discounted cash flows, power purchase agreements, financing options, and incentives. Then Texas PACE Authority will dive into the details of PACE financing and the progress made in Texas and other states in implementing the program. Strategen will close this workshop by providing insights into the rapidly evolving battery storage market.

    Sign Up


    Vijay Betanabhatla BAKER TILLY

    Vijay Betanabhatla

    Jonathan Blackburn TEXAS PACE AUTHORITY

    Jonathan Blackburn

    Lon Huber STRATEGEN

    Lon Huber





    How Local Communities can be Designated as SolSmart

    The workshop will focus on how the designation process works for cities and challenges and tips for success. Potential topics include: 1) Permitting; 2) Planning, Zoning, and Development; 3) Inspection; 4) Construction Codes; 5) Solar Rights; 6) Utility Engagement; 7) Community Engagement; and 8) Market Development and Finance.

    The workshop will also cover recent efforts in Texas cities to pass and implement solar-ready construction codes.



    Kristina Ronneberg




    Opening Lunch


    GridNEXT Special Opening Keynote Speaker: Former Vice President Al Gore

    Former Vice President Al Gore

    Former Vice President
    Al Gore



    Break Networking


    GridNEXT Keynote: CPS Energy COO Cris Eugster and Fred Bonewell, Chief Safety & Security Officer

    Cris Eugster CPS ENERGY

    Cris Eugster

    Fred Bonewell CPS ENERGY

    Fred Bonewell



    Opening Session: When Technology and the Grid Play, Clean Energy Shines

    When wind and solar ignited the deployment of technology on the grid, it marked the start of the biggest transformation in the history of electric industry, unleashing the trigger for more grid-centric technology. The play between technology and the grid demonstrates the optimization of the delivery of cleaner energy through the stacking of value of its components, resulting in cheaper energy and more flexible choice to the end consumer.

    Hala Ballouz: President, Electric Power Engineers


    • Lisa Martin: Austin SHINES Project Manager, Program Manager Advanced Technologies, Austin Energy
    • Jonathan "J.T." Thompson: Vice President of Regional Sales, Enbala Power Networks
    • Ken Donohoo: Former Director of Assets Planning, Distribution & Transmission, Oncor
    • Dean Tuel: Vice President Sales and Business Development, Younicos


    Break: Network Energy Break


    Session 2: Electric Vehicles (EVs) and the Grid: Driving Electrified Transportation in Texas

    EVs designed for mass-market appeal have arrived. How quickly are EVs gaining market share in Texas? How will grid operations, infrastructure, and planning be affected? What is the public sector’s role in managing the transition?

    Tom "Smitty" Smith, Former Director, Texas Public Citizen


    • Doug Murray, Sr.: Planning Engineer/Analyst, ERCOT
    • Bobby Hill: Vice President of Sales, U.S. and Caribbean, BYD
    • Stephen Dayton: Technical Specialist, Implementation Grants Section, Air Quality Division, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) 


    Session 3: Resilient, Smart Spaces & Solar + Storage

    Melissa Miller: Project Development Manager, EDF Renewable Energy


    • Judy McElroy: CEO, Principal Consultant, Fractal Energy Storage Consultants
    • Topher Blunt: Commercial Project Deployment, Tesla


    Happy Hour Reception & Awards: Cleantech Open Winners & Student & Business Leader Awards


    Tuesday, October 24


    Conference Open: Registration


    Breakfast: Networking


    Session 1: Emerging Issues In The Energy-Only ERCOT Market

    This session will cover the latest developments in the ERCOT wholesale market, including the PUC project addressing price formation rules, which was triggered by a white paper commissioned by NRG and Calpine. Other issues on the front burner include proposed changes to the ancillary services markets and the longstanding issue of real-time co-optimization of energy and ancillary services. A lively discussion can be expected from panelists representing different industry vantage points, including the independent market monitor.

    Cyrus Reed: Conservation Director, Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club


    • Steve Reedy: Deputy Director, ERCOT IMM, Potomac Economics
    • Bill Barnes: Director, Regulatory Affairs, NRG Energy
    • Walter Reed: Technical and Regulatory Consultant, ERCOT, Wind Coalition


    Break: Network Energy Break


    Session 2: Building the Roadmap to a more Resilient and Smarter Grid

    Texas utility leaders provide an update on their utilities’ smart initiatives and place their efforts on the roadmap leading to their vision of the smart grid. Learn about utility views on trends and technologies that are transforming the electric grid including Smart Meters, Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), Electric Storage, Smart Street Lighting, Demand management, Electric Vehicles etc.

    Andrew Johnston: Director, Global Energy Practice, Navigant & Chief Evangelist, ResilientGrid


    • Bill Hetherington: CEO/GM, Bandera Electric Cooperative


    Session 3: Addressing Emerging Cyber-physical Security Challenges and the Microgrid

    This panel will address countermeasures to real-world cyber physical threats to the microgrid ranging from a practitioner's perspective, R&D innovation, and simulation of industrial solutions. Experience a 'what if?' Q&A session with the panelists that attempt to emulate an emerging threat scenario and actionable solutions.

    Dr. Annette Sobel: Executive for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Health Security, Texas Tech University


    • Wes Rhodes: Digital Transformation Executive, Chief Technologist AI, Cloud & Cognitive, Director, Network Science Research Center, IBM
    • Igor Alvarado: Academic Business Development Manager, National Instruments
    • Mark Harral, CEO, Group NIRE
    • Chaaeun (Elizabeth) Kim: Petroleum Engineering, Texas Tech University
    • Beibei Ren: Director of the Dynamic Intelligent Systems, Control and Optimization (DISCO), Texas Tech University


    Lunch Break: Networking


    Lunch Panel: NREL: Technology Pricing Trends and the Competitiveness of Energy


    Session 4: Planning Resources for The Future: Public Power is Moving Toward Further Integration of Renewables and Technology

    From large-scale projects to smaller behind the meter projects, public power utilities in ERCOT are increasing their use of renewable technologies. However, in an energy-only market, how are utilities able to manage the risk if local load zone prices soar, or if congestion or line issues impact their utility-scale resources? How are these utilities incorporating new technology like storage or demand response into their resources? How are they encouraging local customer-sited solar and storage without impacting rates or cross-subsidizing rate payers? What are the trends moving forward? What is the value proposition of co-locating storage with renewables?

    Michael Jewell: Attorney, Jewell & Associates, PLLC & Principal, Osprey Energy Group, LLC


    • Khalil Shalabi: Vice President, Market Operations and Resource Planning, Austin Energy
    • Ingmar Sterzing: Vice President, Power Supply and Energy Services, Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC)
    • Chris Foster: Manager of Resource Planning and Integration, City of Georgetown, TX


    Session 5: Corporate Energy Management: Evolving Preferences and the Texas Grid

    Corporate energy managers are becoming more sophisticated as they seek to meet ambitious carbon-reduction goals. Texas has been fertile ground for corporate renewables, with over 2 GW of contracts signed to date. What new strategies are corporate energy managers pursuing, and what do they mean for the Texas grid?

    Sam Morris: ERCOT


    Closing Session: Cities In the Driver's Seat - Leading Meaningful Transformation to a Cleaner Grid

    Texas City Leaders discuss ways their cities are keeping their commitments to enact green energy policies that are rapidly transforming the 21st century grid.

    Dwain Rogers: Executive Director, CleanTX


    Closing Reception: Networking


    Download PDF