Law Seminars International Presents:

The 22nd Annual Conference on

Buying & Selling Electric Power in the West

The premiere annual update on legal, regulatory and business developments for energy professionals

January 23 & 24, 2017

Seattle, WA

Download PDF Brochure
Seattle - WA


Who Should Order

Attorneys, industry executives, government officials, customer representatives and anyone else involved with electric energy issues

Why You Should Order

A whirlwind of change is hitting the electric industry. A centrally organized electric market now includes western utilities stretching from the Canadian to the Mexican borders. The region continues to prepare for new clean air rules, phasing out coal-burning generation, and bringing yet more renewable resources online. At our 22nd annual Buying & Selling Electric Power in the West conference, we will explore these changes that are fundamentally altering the Western energy business.

You will hear from senior executives of the region's utilities, leading electric industry practitioners, and commissioners at the state and federal level, at our two day conference. They will address the new western imbalance markets and efforts to create a west-wide RTO. You will learn about the region's response to national and state clean energy initiatives, and the continued shift from coal to renewable energy supply. You will learn about new energy business models, and about some of the growing pains that are being experienced during this industry shift.

The attorneys, executives, regulators, and industry leaders at our conference are leading the transformation of western energy markets. They will bring you up to speed on the legal and policy issues of today, and prepare you for tomorrow.

We have a truly great group of speakers. Hope to see you there!

~ Stan Berman, Esq., Slade Gorton, Esq., and Katherine A. McDowell, Esq., Program Co-Chairs

What You Will Learn

  • FERC Update
  • Clean power litigation update
  • New clean power state policy developments in the West
  • Washington's transition to cleaner generating resources
  • Policy and market changes affecting Bonneville's resource and infrastructure plans
  • Jurisdiction: New electric markets and the state/federal divide
  • Growth of solar as an alternative generating resource
  • Impact of distributed solar generation on utility business models
  • Energy storage and its role in integrating renewables
  • Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) and ISO expansion
  • Public power issues: New clean power policies and changes in market operations
  • Dispatch operations: Are market incentives achieving optimal results?
  • Regional PUC commissioners discussing state policy priorities

What Attendees Said

  • "Great presentations, great conference."
  • "I am amazed at the high level and quality of the speakers at this conference."
  • "Commissioner's panel was outstanding, a good mix of insight, candor, and humor. Panel on the Clean Power Plan also was very informative."
  • "See you next year, wouldn't miss it."

Agenda Day 1

Monday, January 23, 2017

8:00 am

Registration Opens

8:30 am

Introduction & Overview

Stan Berman, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Sidley Austin LLP / Seattle, WA

Katherine A. McDowell, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
McDowell Rackner & Gibson PC / Portland, OR

8:45 am

A New President and an At-Least-Partially New Congress: The Likely Impact on Federal Energy Policy

Slade Gorton, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
K&L Gates LLP / Seattle, WA

9:15 am

FERC Update

Pending cases and insights into future policy directions for the agency

Douglas Smith, Esq.
Van Ness Feldman LLP / Washington, DC

9:45 am

Clean Power Litigation Update

Status report on the appeal of the Clean Power Plan and other developments

Kyle W. Danish, Esq.
Van Ness Feldman LLP / Washington, DC

10:15 am


10:30 am

New Clean Power State Policy Developments in the West

Oregon's Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan: Key provisions and progress towards implementation

Richard H. Allan, Esq.
Marten Law PLLC / Portland, OR

Washington Department of Ecology's Clean Air Rule and SB 6248 authorizing Puget Sound Energy to create a fund to cover the cost of decommissioning and cleanup costs for the Colstrip 1 & 2 plants in Montana

Karen M. McGaffey, Esq.
Perkins Coie LLP / Seattle, WA

California's transition to 50 percent renewables: How is it impacting markets in other states?

Paul Bernstein , Vice President
NERA Economic Consulting / Washington, DC

12:15 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 pm

The Bumpy Road to Cleaner Generating Resources in the Northwest

Overview of the primary challenges

Craig Gannett, Esq. , Moderator
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP / Seattle, WA

Washington's SB 6248: Responsive legislation in Montana to avoid adverse economic impacts by assessing fees on producers pre-maturely closing plants

Thorvald A. Nelson, Esq.
Holland & Hart LLP / Greenwood Village, CO

Views from the trenches on what's working and not for addressing the issues and overcoming the challenges

Nancy Hirsh , Executive Director
NW Energy Coalition / Seattle, WA

Jon Norling, Esq.
Cleantech Law Partners PC / San Francisco, CA

3:15 pm


3:30 pm

Special Operational Address: How State Policy and Market Changes are Affecting Bonneville's Resource and Infrastructure Plans for the Region

Current key operational issues for the Pacific Northwest and exports to California

Elliot Mainzer , Administrator
Bonneville Power Administration / Portland, OR

4:15 pm

Jurisdiction: New Electric Markets and the State/Federal Divide

Recent Supreme Court and lower court cases on federal preemption and commerce clause issues related to capacity markets, demand response programs, and other market incentives; trends in use of federal proceedings to challenge state energy policies

Kenneth W. Irvin, Esq.
Sidley Austin LLP / Washington, DC

5:00 pm

Continue the Exchange of Ideas: Reception for Faculty and Attendees

Sponsored by McDowell Rackner & Gibson PC, K&L Gates LLP, and Sidley Austin LLP

Agenda Day 2

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

8:30 am

The Growth of Solar as an Alternative Generating Resource

Evolving business models in the solar industry: Who is providing capital and how are costs being recovered?

Thomas J. Starrs, Esq., Ph.D. , VP, Market Strategy and Policy
SunPower Corporation / Portland, OR

9:00 am

Community Solar: Lessons from Early Experiments

How community solar models work; how they differ from individual rooftop models (e.g., rooftop solar with net metering); tips for getting a community together and finding funding

Brian Orion, Esq.
Stoel Rives LLP / San Diego, CA

9:30 am

Impact of Distributed Solar Generation on Utility Business Models

Post-op on the failed acquisition of Hawaii Electric due to concerns about distributed solar and the implications for utility M&A in other states

Jason T. Kuzma, Esq.
Perkins Coie LLP / Bellevue, WA

10:00 am

Energy Storage and its Role in Integrating Renewables

Implications of heightened renewable goals on power transactions in the West

John A. McKinsey, Esq.
LeClairRyan / Sacramento, CA

10:30 am


10:45 am

State Commissioners' Policy Priorities: Key Issues in the Western States

Policy priorities and primary challenges around the region; perspectives on ways to address the issues arising from the debate over cost shift value of solar and NARUC's recent draft rate design Manual on Distributed Energy Resources Compensation

Jeffrey D. Goltz, Esq. , Moderator
Cascadia Law Group / Olympia, WA


The Hon. Ann E. Rendahl, Esq. , Commissioner
Utilities & Transportation Commission / Olympia, WA


The Hon. Paul Kjellander , Commission President
Public Utilities Commission / Boise, ID

12:15 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 pm

Emerging Solar Over-Generation in California

New state requirement of 50% RPS by 2030; implications for West Coast electricity markets

Randall W. Hardy , Principal and Founder
Hardy Energy Consulting / Seattle, WA

2:00 pm

Institutional Structures Governing Electric Operations in the West: Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) and ISO Expansion

Overview of the move away from smaller markets for optimizing dispatch; role for meeting state renewables goals in an era of increasing RPS targets; status of other efforts to build a broader regional market

Don Fuller , Director, Strategic Alliances
California ISO / Folsom, CA

An early-adopter's perspective on the net benefits from ISO expansion and EIM participation

Sarah E. Edmonds, Esq. , Vice President and General Counsel
PacifiCorp Transmission / Portland, OR

2:45 pm


3:00 pm

How Will Public Power Fit in the Evolving Markets?

Special issues for public power arising from new state and federal policy initiatives and evolving markets

Thomas M. Grim, Esq.
Cable Huston LLP / Portland, OR

3:45 pm

Dispatch Operations: Are Market Incentives Achieving Optimal Results?

The impact of continued depressed prices in natural gas markets on base load plants; negative prices that arise from wind projects being paid to over-generate in the evening; comparison with market operations in other parts of the country

Robert McCullough , Principal
McCullough Research Associates / Portland, OR

Natural gas markets from a customer's perspective

Edward A. Finklea, Esq. , Executive Director
Northwest Industrial Gas Users / Lake Oswego, OR

5:00 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn

Faculty Bios

Stan Berman, Stan Berman, Program Co-Chair, partner, Sidley Austin LLP, represents electric utilities and other electric industry participants in complex high-stakes litigation. Previously, he was Assistant General Counsel in charge of the Office of Hydroelectric and Electric Litigation at the FERC.

Slade Gorton, Slade Gorton, Program Co-Chair, is Of Counsel at K&L Gates LLP. He joined the firm after spending 18 years representing Washington State in the United States Senate where his committee assignments included Energy and Natural Resources.

Katherine A. McDowell, Katherine A. McDowell, Program Co-Chair, is a named partner at McDowell Rackner & Gibson PC. She advises and represents utilities and energy companies on a full range of regulatory and administrative law issues.

Elliot Mainzer, Elliot Mainzer, Special Address, is Administrator, Bonneville Power Administration, responsible for managing the carbon-free power from Columbia River hydroelectric dams and the region's one nuclear plant.

Craig Gannett, Craig Gannett, Moderator, partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, focuses his practice in the fields of electric utility regulation, renewable energy development, and climate change-related regulation.

Jeffrey D. Goltz, Jeffrey D. Goltz, Moderator, is of counsel at Cascadia Law Group PLLC, where he focuses on energy, telecommunications and state and regulatory matters. Previously he chaired the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

Richard H. Allan, Richard H. Allan, Portland office managing partner, Marten Law PLLC, represents developers in the acquisition, siting, expansion and operation of major projects, with an emphasis on energy facilities.

Dr. Paul Berns tein is an associate director at NERA who has been involved in the construction, operation, and analysis of economic models involving energy and environmental issues for over 20 years. He specializes in developing economic models applied to such diverse fields as climate change policy, alternative-fueled vehicles, fuel markets, and electricity generation. He developed NERA's electricity sector model, which NERA has utilized in many engagements ranging from ones studying environmental issues such as carbon limits or renewable portfolio standards to projects that forecast regional wholesale electricity prices and unit-level costs and dispatch. He has also led engagements using this model and other NERA models to evaluate state environmental policies such as California’s AB 32.

Kyle W. Danish, Kyle W. Danish, partner, Van Ness Feldman LLP, advises a range of clients on environmental and energy matters, including regulation, permitting, enforcement, and legislation under the Clean Air Act.

Sarah E. Edmonds Sarah E. Edmonds is Vice President and General Counsel at PacifiCorp Transmission. Previously, she served as Director, Transmission, and Legal Counsel at PacifiCorp.

Edward A. Finklea, Edward A. Finklea, is Executive Director, Northwest Industrial Gas Users, specializing in natural gas and electricity regulation. Previously, he was a partner at Cable Huston Benedict Haagensen & Lloyd LLP.

Don Fuller Don Fuller is Director of Strategic Alliances at the California ISO. He has led the ISO initiative to expand regional collaboration across the west, including development and expansion of the energy imbalance market (EIM).

Thomas M. Grim, Thomas M. Grim, partner, Cable Huston LLP, focuses his practice on energy and public utility law, in commercial transactions, administrative contested cases and judicial proceedings.

Nancy Hirsh, Nancy Hirsh, Executive Director, NW Energy Coalition, directs the Coalition's efforts to enhance investments in energy efficiency, renewable resources, and low-income energy services.

Kenneth W. Irvin Kenneth W. Irvin is Co-Leader of the global Energy practice at Sidley Austin LLP. He has a wide-ranging energy and commodities practice.

The Hon. Paul Kjellander The Hon. Paul Kjellander is Commission President, Idaho Public Utilities Commission. Previously, he was Administrator of the Idaho Office of Energy Resources, overseeing energy planning, policy, conservation and coordination.

Jason T. Kuzma, Jason T. Kuzma, is a partner in the Environment, Energy & Resources practice at Perkins Coie LLP. He represents major utilities, investment banks, renewable energy developers, independent power producers and large electricity customers.

Robert McCullough, Robert McCullough, Principal, McCullough Research Associates, has been working in the energy industry for over thirty years. McCullough Research is an energy research firm providing advice in planning, negotiations, and testimony to utility, industry, governmental, and aboriginal clients.

Karen M. McGaffey Karen M. McGaffey is firm-wide Chair, Environment, Energy & Resources, at Perkins Coie LLP. She assists clients with energy project development, permitting, compliance and regulatory matters.

John A. McKinsey, John A. McKinsey, partner, LeClairRyan, serves as lead counsel for siting major power projects, compliance and regulatory matters, facility development and operation..

Thorvald A. Nelson, partner, Holland & Hart LLP, represents utility consumers and utilities in regulatory matters at the local, state and federal levels throughout the Mountain West including CO, WY, UT, ID, MT, and NM.

Jon Norling, Jon Norling, Cleantech Law Partners PC, is experienced working as general counsel for a regional energy developer in the process of developing wind, solar and wave energy projects.

Brian Orion, Brian Orion, of Counsel, Stoel Rives LLP, provides project development, transactional and regulatory counseling to clients in the solar, electric vehicle, energy efficiency, energy storage and climate change arenas.

The Hon. Ann E. Rendahl The Hon. Ann E. Rendahl is Commissioner, Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission. She previously was the Director of Policy and Legislation for the WUTC.

Douglas Smith, Douglas Smith, partner, Van Ness Feldman LLP, represents clients on electricity matters before FERC, and on energy efficiency matters before DOE. Previously, he was General Counsel at FERC and Deputy General Counsel for Energy Policy at DOE.

Thomas J. Starrs, Ph.D., Vice Thomas J. Starrs, Ph.D., Vice President, Market Strategy and Policy for SunPower Corporation, is responsible for the company's policy analysis, advocacy, and downstream market strategy.


Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 13.25 Washington, 13.5 California, 13.25 Idaho (pending) and 14.25 Oregon (pending) MCLE credits. Upon request, we will apply for, or help you apply for, CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.

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