Panel Discussions


The Green Technologies Conference Committee is pleased to offer four panel discussions featuring experts and leaders from both local area and also international companies and organizations.  The general panel descriptions are as follows:

  • Grid Security
  • Renewable Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution
  • Distributed Control
  • Microgrids
  • Big Data Analytics for Power Systems

Grid Security  (Thurs, March 30 1:00-3:00pm)

As our economy transitions from analog, manual and paper oriented business processes to digital, automated and virtual processes the threat from hacker, system errors and physically driven cyber events becomes real and imminent.  Stuxnet, Black Energy and Havex are three examples of malware developed by Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) that have been in the news as disrupting critical infrastructure in nations such as Iran, Ukraine and the US respectively.  Additionally the global statistics for cyberattacks on business processes and operational technology in recent years are mind boggling and there is no relief in sight based on current trends. In this panel we will discuss a systematic approach to mitigating the risk from APT cyberattacks against the corporate and operational technology side of any enterprise.  I will share the positive cybersecurity R&D results over the past 2 years to address these threats. We will also identify where some of the gaps are in technology, business processes, policies and workforce development that are exacerbating the cyber problem globally.  The panelists will share their unique perspectives and build consensus with the audience on a path forward.

 Erfan Ibrahim, NREL

 Scott Nelson, Secureset
 Michael Semmens, irprimus
 Robert Twitchell, Dispersive Technology

Renewable Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution  (Thurs, March 30 9:30am-12:00pm)

This panel will discuss various aspects of renewable power generation in a panel discussion forum, to encourage engineers especially to participate in research, development, and demonstration of renewable power generation activities, to open dialog among many different experts and stakeholder organizations working in the area of renewable power generation for possible future collaborations. The panelists include engineers and researchers actively involved in research and development efforts in renewable power technologies to improve performance, lower cost and ultimately support our ability to sustainably meet its growing energy demand.

  Eduard Muljadi, NREL

  Steven Saylors, Vestas
  Sandip Sharma, ERCOT
  Eduardo Ibanez, GE
  Abe Schneider, Natal Energy

Advances in Optimization and Control of Sustainable Distribution Grids  (Fri, March 31 9:30am-12:00pm)

The power system is gradually evolving towards a massively distributed infrastructure with millions of controllable assets. Transformative changes are particularly pronounced at the distribution level, where growing numbers of renewable sources of energy (e.g., photovoltaic systems and distributed wind), energy storage devices, and flexible loads — collectively referred to as distributed energy resources (DERs) — are being deployed. Considering the volatile dynamics of renewable generation coupled with the formidable growth network complexity, it is apparent that existing operational strategies lack the computational and communication flexibility to enable distributed decision making on time scales that match the dynamics of future distribution systems. The panel will focus on recent efforts towards the development of computationally-affordable control and optimization algorithms for monitoring, control, and optimization of distribution systems with high integration of DERs. Breakthrough approaches for distributed, real-time, and optimal control of DERs will be discussed, along with future pricing and market settings.

  Emiliano Dall'Anese, NREL

  Scott Backhaus, LANL
  Josh Taylor, University of Toronto
  Sairaj Dhople, University of Minnesota
  Andrey Bernstein - NREL

The Market, Business Cases, and Technology of Microgrids  (Thurs, March 30 3:15-5:45pm)

This panel will feature very short presentations by the panelists and then a moderated discussion of the markets, business cases, and technology of microgrids. It will cover the very diverse set of markets from very small systems appropriate in rural areas of Africa, to island power systems that consist of tens of MWs of diesel generators, to campus and municipal systems being deployed in the US to increase the resilience of critical infrastructure, and other grid connected systems being used all over the world to improve electric service reliability. Specific niches, such as military, communications, mining, and tourism applications will also be discussed.

  Peter Lilienthal, HOMER Energy

  Mike Murray, Spirae 
  Leia Guccione, Rocky Mountain Institute 
  David Riley, Pennsylvania State University 

Big Data Analytics for Power Systems (Thurs, March 30 9:30am-12:00pm)

As variable resources’ penetration in both transmission and distribution power systems continue to increase, the complexity of managing and control such variety of resources becomes more challenging. Meanwhile, the spawn of data acquisition and communication ready devices are also providing data and information to power system operators that has otherwise not been visible to them before. This panel will focus on big-data analytics that are critical to achieve the operation and control target. The discussions cover industry visions and current developments, transmission and distribution systems application, power and resource forecasting.

  YC Zhang, NREL

  Jason Ausmus, Peak Reliability
  Kevin Tomsovic, University of Tennessee
  Jie Zhang, University of Texas, Dallas
  Power Zhao, Oncor
  Jason Bank, Electrical Distribution Design Inc.