Replay available from our video archive

The 17th Annual Conference on

Electric Power in the Southwest

The impact of the wave of investment in clean power on resource development, state energy policy, and market operations

Media Sponsor: Energy News Network a nationally recognized news publication featuring original state-based reporting, dedicated to keeping stakeholders, policymakers, and citizens informed about the important changes taking place within the transition to a clean energy economy.

Presented on August 17 & 18, 2020

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Program Overview

Who Should Order

Attorneys, industry executives, governmental officials, Tribal representatives, customer representatives and anyone else involved with energy development in the Southwest

Why You will Benefit from the Replay

This year has seen Southwestern states continue their transition to clean power in the West while the Trump Administration continues its push for greater fossil fuel consumption. We'll provide updates on both federal and state policy trends, including a detailed look at implementation of New Mexico's Energy Transition Act mandating 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040.

Tribes are becoming increasingly important players in Southwestern energy markets and you'll have an opportunity to hear about an innovative three-way partnership under which the Public Service Company of New Mexico will provide power generated by the Jicarilla Apache Nation to the City of Albuquerque.

The second day includes a deep dive into the emerging technologies that will further enable a transition to clean power and the deep decarbonization required to combat climate change. You'll be able to hear about how wholesale markets can be expected to adapt to new technologies and players. Lawyers who need ethics credits will be happy to hear that we've added an ethics hour this year.

Take a detailed look at the practical topics we'll be covering and the speakers you'll be able to hear and ask to address your specific questions. We hope you'll be able to join us for both the program and the reception at the end of the first day.

~ Steve Michel, Esq. of Western Resource Advocates,

Thorvald A. Nelson, Esq. of Holland & Hart, and

Marc L. Spitzer, Esq. of Steptoe & Johnson, Program Co-Chairs

What You Will Learn

  • Federal update: FERC, DOE, and EPA
  • Tribes as energy suppliers in the Southwest
  • Implementation of New Mexico's Energy Transition Act (ETA)
  • State policy transitions to clean energy in other Southwestern states
  • Energy storage and the interplay with electrification of transportation
  • Wind and solar for producing hydrogen from electrolysis
  • Closed loop hydrogen for clean energy production
  • Carbon sequestration viability
  • Wholesale market changes
  • The need for new transmission

What Participants Said

  • "Thank you. These seminars are the better ones. I find them pertinent, I always gain a lot of new updated perspectives and they are good networking opportunities too. And Santa Fe is nice."
  • "Excellent presenters. Informative, up to date content."
  • "I've been to a lot of energy conferences and this was by far the best. I plan to come back next year."

Agenda Day 1

8:30 am

Registration Opens

9:00 am

Introduction & Overview

Cydney Beadles, Esq. , Program Co-Chair, Senior Staff Attorney
Western Resource Advocates / Santa Fe, NM

Thorvald Nelson, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Holland & Hart / Greenwood Village, CO

Marc L. Spitzer, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Steptoe & Johnson / Washington, DC

9:15 am

Federal Energy Outlook

DOE and EPA: Issues at the intersection of federal policy support for fossil fuel industries vs local, state, regional, Tribal, and customer desires for more clean energy

Doug Little , Senior Advisor, Office of Electricity
US Department of Energy / Scottsdale, AZ

Michelle De Blasi, Esq. , Environmental & Energy Attorney
Law Office of Michelle De Blasi / Scottsdale, AZ

10:15 am


10:30 am

FERC Update

Recent decisions, pending issues and how the outcomes are likely to be affected by an increase in partisanship

Marc L. Spitzer, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Steptoe & Johnson / Washington, DC

11:15 am

Tribes as Energy Suppliers in the Southwest

Tribal interest in exercising sovereignty over their energy future and pursuit of clean energy projects; Tribal organizational structures relating to energy production; dealmaking trends; implications for Southwestern energy markets

Pilar Thomas, Esq.
Quarles & Brady / Tucson, AZ

Energy development on Tribal lands: Lessons from the past and a few from the present

Bidtah N. Becker, Esq. , Associate Attorney
Navajo Tribal Utility Authority / Fort Defiance, AZ

12:15 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 pm

State Policy Transitions to Clean Energy: Update on Implementation of New Mexico's Landmark Energy Transition Act (ETA)

A look forward as the state adapts its implementation strategies to post-passage events

The Hon. Sarah Cottrell Propst , Cabinet Secretary
Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department / Santa Fe, NM

Overview of implementation activies to date including bills in the 2020 legislature; who is arguing what, and the outcomes

Cydney Beadles, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Western Resource Advocates / Santa Fe, NM

Pending regulatory issues: What next after the New Mexico Supreme Court's ruling that the Public Regulation Commission must apply the ETA to PNN's application for abandonment and securitization of the San Juan Generating Station

Richard L. Alvidrez, Esq.
Miller Stratvert / Albuquerque, NM

2:45 pm


3:00 pm

State Policy Transitions (cont'd): Developments in Other Southwestern States


Greg Patterson, CPA , Director
Arizona Competitive Power Alliance / Phoenix, AZ


The Hon. Jeffrey P. Ackermann , Chairman
Colorado Public Utilities Commission / Denver, CO


Thorvald Nelson, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Holland & Hart / Greenwood Village, CO


Phillip J. Russell, Esq.
James Dodge Russell & Stephens / Salt Lake City, UT

5:00 pm

Adjourn Day 1

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

9:00 am

Energy Storage for Integration of Renewables and the Interplay with Electrification of Transportation

Progress report on development of storage and other grid reliability and resiliency solutions

Arthur J. O'Donnell
The Energy Overseer / Albuquerque, NM

Using variable wind and solar for producing hydrogen from electrolysis: Continuing downward trends in production costs; viability as a fuel for longer-range and heavy truck transportation; use as a replacement fuel for gas peaker plants

Rao Konidena , Principal
Rakon Energy LLC / Roseville, MN

Utility compliance with NERC and regional reliability standards

Suzanne Keppeler, Esq.
Van Ness Feldman / Washington, DC

10:30 am


10:45 am

Technological Developments for Addressing Climate Change and the Associated Need for Deep Decarbonization

Closed loop hydrogen from agricultural or land fill operations for clean energy production or storage

Karl Rudisill , Founder and CEO
Element One Technologies, Inc. / Salt Lake City, UT

Carbon sequestration: Current technological and cost viability; interplay with Wyoming's legislation requiring that utilities attempt to market coal plants slated for closure

Terrence R. Manning , CEO
Glenrock Energy / Casper, WY

12:00 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:15 pm

Coal Plant Closures: Managing and Transferring Water Right Assets

Regional coal plant closures and water potentially coming to market: Water law in the Colorado River Basin; resulting physical and legal limits on who can acquire it; water market operations; how new supplies will interface with existing water markets

Brett Bovee , Rocky Mountain Regional Director
WestWater Research / Fort Collins, CO

2:00 pm

Growing Investment in Solar and Wind: Wholesale Market Changes and Related Impacts

Expansion of ISO's, RTO's, and EIMs

Todd Fridley , Vice President of New Mexico Operations
Public Service Company of New Mexico / Albuquerque, NM

The need for new transmission: Practicalities from a developer's perspective for adapting to changes in the generating mix and the need to rebuild the economy after COVID-19

Joseph C. Taylor , Manager, Transmission Access
Xcel Energy Services, Inc. / Denver, CO

3:15 pm


3:30 pm

Legal Ethics

Special issues for lawyers working with regulatory agencies and legislative bodies

Paul L. Biderman, Esq. , Director (ret.)
UNM Institute of Public Law / Santa Fe, NM

4:30 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn

Faculty Bios

Cydney Beadles, Program Co-Chair, is Senior Staff Attorney at Western Resource Advocates. Prior to that, she served as a managing attorney at the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and its predecessor, the New Mexico Public Utility Commission, including serving as Legal Division Director

Thorvald Nelson, Thorvald Nelson, Program Co-Chair, is a partner at Holland & Hart. A former economist and testifying expert, he represents a broad spectrum of utility consumers and utilities in regulatory matters.

Marc L. Spitzer, Marc L. Spitzer, Program Co-Chair, is a partner at Steptoe & Johnson and a former FERC and Arizona CC commissioner. He counsels and represents utilities and energy companies.

The Hon. Jeffrey P. Ackermann The Hon. Jeffrey P. Ackermann is Chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Prior to his appointment, he served as executive director of the Colorado Energy Office.

Richard L. Alvidrez Richard L. Alvidrez is a Director at Miller Stratvert. He has been active in proceedings arising from New Mexico's Energy Transition Act.

Bidtah N. Becker Bidtah N. Becker is an Associate Attorney for the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. she served as the Executive Director of the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources where she oversaw energy development issues for the Nation, among many other issues.

Paul L. Biderman Paul L. Biderman is a semi-retired attorny who was the Director of the Institute of Public Law at the University of New Mexico Law School. He also formerly served as New Mexico's Secretary of Energy and Minerals.

Brett Bovee Brett Bovee is the Rocky Mountain Regional Director for WestWater Research. Brett has performed water rights investigations for Federal, Tribal, and private clients.

The Hon. Sarah Cottrell Propst The Hon. Sarah Cottrell Propst is the Cabinet Secretary for New Mexico's Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

Michelle De Blasi, Michelle De Blasi, from the Law Office of Michelle De Blasi, focuses on traditional and renewable energy project development, environmental permitting and compliance, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Todd Fridley Todd Fridley is Vice President of New Mexico Operations for Public Service Company of New Mexico.

Suzanne Keppeler Suzanne Keppeler is of counsel to Van Ness Feldman. She represents electric utilities on a wide range of regulatory matters before the FERC, NERC, and US Courts of Appeal.

Rao Konidena Rao Konidena is a Principal at Rakon Energy LLC. His expertise includes energy storage, commercial "behind-the-meter" solar projects, and wholesale market operations.

Doug Little Doug Little is a Senior Advisor in the Office of Electricity at the US Department of Energy. He was formerly the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental and External Affairs for the US Department of Energy.

Terrence R. Manning Terrence R. Manning is the CEO for Glenrock Energy. It seeks to become the nation's first carbon-negative upstream energy exploration & production company.

Arthur J. O'Donnell, Arthur J. O'Donnell, The Energy Overseer, formerly served as a Program and Project Supervisor working on smart grid and storage implementation for the California PUC.

Greg Patterson is t Greg Patterson is t he Director of the Arizona Competitive Power Alliance. He formerly served in the Arizona legislature and as Director of the state's Residential Utility Consumer Office.

Karl Rudisill Karl Rudisill is Founder and CEO of Element One Technologies, Inc. Over the past two years he has been developing an industrial scale hydrogen project on the Navajo Reservation in both Arizona and New Mexico.

Phillip J. Russell Phillip J. Russell is President and Shareholder of James Dodge Russell & Stephens. He representts large commercial and industrial customers in regulatory matters in Utah, and represents renewable developers in regulatory matters in both Utah and Wyoming.

Joseph C. Taylor Joseph C. Taylor is the Manager of Transmission Access for Xcel Energy Services, Inc. In this role, he is responsible for obtaining and maintaining transmission service, ancillary services and Company-owned generator interconnections for the Company's retail and wholesale loads.

Pilar Thomas Pilar Thomas is a partner at Quarles & Brady. Prior to entering private practice, she was the Deputy Director for the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs at the US Department of Energy,

Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 11.7 New Mexico MCLE credits (including 1.0 ethics) and 11.75 ABCEP environmental professional credits. Upon request, we will help you apply for CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.