Law Seminars International Presents:

The 19th Annual Conference on

Electric Power in the Southwest

Changing federal and regional energy policies plus strategies for successfully navigating new challenges and opportunities

August 18 & 19, 2022

Live Online via Interactive Broadcast

As a value-added bonus, you'll receive access to downloadable audio and video recordings at no additional charge.

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Program Overview

Who Will Benefit from Attending

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

Why You will Benefit from Attending

This year's Electric Power in the Southwest conference will provide critical updates for energy law practitioners, industry executives, and regulators as the Southwestern states continue a transition to cleaner power, new market structures, and innovative technologies.

We will discuss the latest developments at FERC, the Department of Energy, and the EPA as federal policy makers look to implement the Biden Administration's Climate Initiatives.

State legislative and regulatory efforts are increasing taking the lead in defining energy policy objectives. You will hear about initiatives in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

New and exciting energy technologies will be discussed including a presentation on the Natrium nuclear technology in Wyoming and, in our second day, an exploration of innovations in the use of hydrogen as an energy source in the transportation sector.

We will analyze changing market structures in the Rocky Mountain West including presentations on regional transmission organizations, customer-driven renewable energy, and tribal renewable energy initiatives.

In the second day we will update attendees on current supply-chain constraints, Tribal renewable energy development, and hydrogen's role for generation and transportation.

Finally, the conference will include an ethics discussion on the interplay between energy policies and impacts on historically disadvantages people.

The topics we will cover and the speakers addressing them are extraordinary this year. Register soon!

~ Steve Michel, Esq. of Energy & Environmental Law and Thorvald Nelson, Esq. of Holland & Hart and Marc L. Spitzer, Esq. of Steptoe & Johnson, Program Co-Chairs

What You Will Learn

  • ~ Federal policy updates
  • ~ Regional legislative and Administrative developments
  • ~ Tribal renewable energy development
  • ~ Cost allocation and other new RTO developments
  • ~ Retail choice and customer-driven renewables
  • ~ Natrium Nuclear Technology as a potential game changer
  • ~ Hydrogen's role for generation and transportation
  • ~ Supply chain issues and their impact on new facilities
  • ~ Ethical considerations

What Participants Have Said About Similar Programs

  • The speakers and presentations were comprehensive, authoritative and most valuable.
  • 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.
  • Excellent presenters. Informative, up to date content.
  • It was a terrific program!
  • I still have not attended a Zoom or other web event that handled audience participation and the transition between speakers & agenda topics as well as you all did

Agenda Day 1

9:00 am

Mountain Time: Introduction & Overview

Steve Michel, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Energy & Environmental Law / 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

Special Opening Addresses: Federal Policy Updates

Regulatory priorities at the FERC in the coming year.

Matthew Christiansen, Esq. , General Counsel
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission / Washington, DC

Policy development at DOE; funding under the IIJA, possible tax incentives in the Build Back Better bill

Christian Bato , Southwest Regional Specialist
Department of Energy / Washington, DC

10:15 am

EPA Case Law Update

West Virginia vs. EPA and other cases on EPA's authority to implement Biden administration energy policies including ones intended to combat climate change by limiting carbon emissions from fossil fuel plants

Emily Schilling, Esq.
Holland & Hart / Salt Lake City, UT

10:45 am


11:00 am

Natrium Nuclear Technology as a Potential Game Changer for Climate Action

The technology: A 345-MW net reactor coupled with a molten-salt-based energy storage system that will enhance operating flexibility for owners by boosting output to 500 MW for more than 5.5 hours during periods of low renewable output

Tara J. Neider , Senior VP and Project Director
TerraPower LLC / Bellevue, WA

Update on PacifiCorp's Natrium reactor demonstration project at a retiring coal plant in Wyoming: A fully functioning power plant intended to validate the design, construction, and operational features of the reactor

Chuck Tack , VP of Nuclear Operations
PacifiCorp / Salt Lake City, UT

12:15 pm

Lunch Break

1:15 pm

Regional Legislative and Administrative Policy Developments


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


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


Robert Johnston, Esq. , Policy Advisor
Nevada Senate Democratic Caucus / Carson City, NV

New Mexico

Pat O'Connell , Deputy Director - Clean Energy
Western Resource Advocates / Santa Fe, NM


Gary A. Dodge, Esq.
Hatch James & Dodge / Salt Lake City, UT

3:00 pm


3:15 pm

Day Ahead Market and RTO Developments

Southwest Power Pool: Development of a voluntary Capacity Sharing Program as a compliment to the Energy Imbalance Market for energy for addressing anticipated capacity shortages in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain states

Kara Brighton Fornstrom, Esq. , Director, State Regulatory Policy
Southwest Power Pool / Cheyenne, WY

RTO West: Progress towards a greenhouse gas accounting framework

Vijay A. Satyal , Regional Energy Markets Manager
Western Resource Advocates / Salt Lake City, UT

California Independent System Operator is working with stakeholders on a day ahead market for the region, capitalizing on the significant benefits of the Western Energy Imbalance Market (WEIM).

Stacey Crowley , VP External Affairs
California Independent System Operator / Folsom, CA

5:00 pm

Adjourn Day 1

Friday, August 19, 2022

9:00 am

Retail Choice and Customer-Driven Renewables: A Demand-Side Look at Contracting with Utilities and the Roles Regulators and RTOs Should Play

Community choice of supply resources as part of a climate action plan by local governments

Jonathan Koehn , Interim Director, Climate Initiatives
City of Boulder / Boulder, CO

Community solar programs that expand the benefits of rooftop solar to people in the community who do not have a rooftop or the financial ability to install solar panels

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

10:30 am


10:45 am

Supply Chain and other Resource Adequacy Issues: Their Impact on the Region's Ability to Bring New Facilities Online

Resource adequacy in the desert Southwest and the implications for utility resource planning; extent to which there are water constraints on energy choices

Nicolai Schlag , Partner
Energy & Environmental Economics Inc / San Francisco, CA

11:15 am

Tribal Renewable Energy Development

Case study of the 1,500 MW/70 hour duration Carizzo Four Corners Hydroelectric Energy Storage Center, pumped hydro project on Navajo land

Thomas Conroy , Co-Founder
Kinetic Power / Santa Fe, NM

12:15 pm

Lunch Break

1:15 pm

Hydrogen's Role for Generation and Transportation

Update on Clean Energy Holdings renewable energy and technology platform and alliance: Partners, backlog, markets and technologies rolling out; the commercial deployment of green hydrogen through the Green Hydrogen and Technology Alliance

Nicholas Bair , Chief Executive Officer
Clean Energy Holdings / Laramie, WY

Infrastructure bill funding for hydrogen hubs in the US: The Western Four State MOU for a joint application for funding

Glen Murrell, Ph.D. , Executive Director
Wyoming Energy Authority / Cheyenne, WY

2:45 pm


3:00 pm

Ethical Considerations

The interplay between professional responsibility rules for lawyers and government policies requiring consideration of impacts on historically disadvantaged people

Paul L. Biderman, Esq.
UNM Institute of Public Law / Santa Fe, NM

Catharyn A. Baird, Esq. , CEO & Founder
EthicsGame / Greenwood Village, CO

4:00 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn

Faculty Bios

Steve Michel, Steve Michel, Program Co-Chair, is recently retired as the Deputy Director for the Clean Energy Program for Western Resource Advocates. His work primarily focused on advancing clean energy resources, such as renewables and energy efficiency, moving the power sector away from environmentally harmful fossil-fueled resources, and developing regulatory mechanisms for electric utilities to address climate change.

Thorvald Nelson, Thorvald Nelson, Program Co-Chair, is a partner at Holland & Hart where his clients include large electric consumers and electric consumer coalitions, independent power producers, renewable energy developers, and independent transmission developers. Before practicing law, he served as an economist with the Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel, where he served as a testifying expert on regulatory law and policy.

Marc L. Spitzer, Marc L. Spitzer, Program Co-Chair, is a partner at Steptoe & Johnson. He represents utilities and energy companies before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), at state utility commissions, Congress, federal agencies, and state legislatures. He formerly served as a FERC commissioner, as Chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission, and in the Arizona State Senate.

Nicholas Bair is Chief Executive Officer of Clean Energy Holdings, a renewable energy and technology firm, that provides program and construction management services. These include site evaluation, evaluation of financing, project design, permitting, and project operation.

Catharyn A. Baird Catharyn A. Baird is the CEO and Founder of EthicsGame. EthicsGame's products are based on Baird's pioneering work in business ethics during her 23 years as a professor at Regis University in Denver.

Christian Bato is a Southwest Regional Specialist at the Department of Energy.

Paul L. Biderman, Paul L. Biderman, retired Director of the Institute of Public Law at the UNM School of Law, previously served as New Mexico's Secretary of Energy and Minerals. His contributions to public ethics over the years have included service on both the Santa Fe Ethics and Campaign Review Board and on the Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on the Code of Judicial Conduct. He co-authored in 2015 the Attorney General's Compliance Guide to the Governmental Conduct Act.

Kara Brighton Fornstrom Kara Brighton Fornstrom is Director of State Regulatory Policy at the Southwest Power Pool. She previously was Chairman of the Wyoming Public Service Commission and, before that, worked in private practice.

Matthew Christiansen Matthew Christiansen is General Counsel at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He previously served as a Legal Advisor to Chairman Glick and as a staff attorney in the Commission's Office of the General Counsel. He also was an Energy Law and Policy Fellow at NYU Law School's Guarini Center on Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law.

Thomas Conroy Thomas Conroy is Co-Founder of Kinetic Power. He has domestic and international experience in generation plant start-ups, renewable project development, and new product introduction. Companies include Wind Tower Systems, Wasatch Wind, Evolving Energy, and Array Technologies.

Stacey Crowley Stacey Crowley is VP Regional and Federal Affairs for the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). She is responsible for delivering the organization's communications strategy, developing strategic partnerships, and overseeing governmental relations at the state, regional and federal levels. She also manages coordination with the EIM Governing Body and its committees to facilitate quality engagement and dialogue with stakeholders on a variety of western energy issues.

Gary A. Dodge, Gary A. Dodge, Hatch James & Dodge, He represents a broad spectrum of energy clients, including customers interested in green energy tariffs, energy project developers, industrial and commercial energy users, and municipal and cooperative utilities, with a specific emphasis on renewable energy.

Robert Johnston Robert Johnston is a semi-retired attorney who worked on clean energy legislation during the 2021 session of the Nevada Legislature as a policy advisor to the Nevada Senate Democratic Caucus. Prior to that, he served as a Senior Staff Attorney at Western Resource Advocates, working on clean energy and climate policy issues before the Nevada Public Utilities Commission and the Nevada Legislature. He currently serves on the board of the Nevada Clean Energy Fund.

Jonathan Koehn is Interim Director for Climate Initiatives at the City of Boulder. His team is responsible for implementing the city's sustainability agenda, specifically in relation to climate action, energy, and a resilient economy. He formerly served as Environmental Manager for the City.

Glen Murrell, Ph.D., Glen Murrell, Ph.D., is the inaugural Executive Director of the newly launched Wyoming Energy Authority. He previously worked for the University of Wyoming Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute, launching their reservoir data program and leading programs analyzing the CO2 EOR industry in the State.

Tara J. Neider Tara J. Neider is Senior VP and Project Director for the Natrium demonstration reactor at TerraPower LLC. She leads TerraPower's efforts to demonstrate the reactor as part of the Department of Energy's Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. Her team is responsible for plant design, testing, licensing, design integration, procurement, project leadership, and administration.

Pat O'Connell Pat O'Connell is Deputy Director for Clean Energy at Western Resource Advocates. His work is primarily focused on advancing clean energy resources. Before joining WRA, he led resource planning activities for the Public Service Company of New Mexico.

Arthur J. O'Donnell, Arthur J. O'Donnell, publisher of The Energy Overseer, is an independent energy journalist and electricity market analyst with direct experience throughout the Western Interconnected Grid. From 2012 - 2020, he worked at the California Public Utilities Commission as a Program & Project Supervisor in Grid Planning & Reliability (in Energy Division), and Risk Assessment & Safety Advisory (for Safety & Enforcement Division).

Greg Patterson, CPA, is D Greg Patterson, CPA, is D irector of the Arizona Competitive Power Alliance and the New Mexico Independent Power Producers Association. He formerly served as Director of the Residential Utility Consumer Office.

Vijay A. Satyal Vijay A. Satyal is Regional Energy Markets Manager for Western Resource Advocates. He previously served as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, a Senior Policy Analyst at the Oregon Department of Energy, and a Senior Consultant at Navigant.

Emily Schilling Emily Schilling leads the Environmental and Natural Resources practice group at Holland & Hart and focuses on complex air quality permitting and compliance including enforcement actions and rulemaking proceedings before state agencies and EPA.

Chuck Tack Chuck Tack is VP of Nuclear Operations at PacifiCorp where he leads PacifiCorp's development of the Terrapower Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. He previously served as the company's Managing Director for Generation Support.

Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 11.90 (1 Ethics included) NM MCLE, 12.00 (1 Ethics included) WA MCLE, 12.25 (1 Ethics included) CA MCLE, 11.50 (1 Ethics included) UT MCLE credits. It also qualifies for 12.00 ABCEP environmental professional credits. Upon request, we will help you apply for CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.

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