Fall Lunch & Learn Series: October – November 2021 (virtual)

Thank you to our Sponsor!

Session 1: Introduction to Utility Integrated System Planning

October 20, 12:00pm – 1:30pm (PST)/ 1:00PM – 2:30pm (MT)

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Most utilities in the Northwest develop integrated resource plans (IRPs) to evaluate their energy needs to ensure that they plan ahead to meet future energy demand. 

  • How does the IRP process work? What are the goals? 
  • How can customer side resources be incorporated into an IRP? (Customer-side resources, sometimes called demand-side resources, include: energy efficiency measures, demand response, electric vehicles, storage, and distributed generation such as rooftop solar) 
  • How can a diverse set of stakeholders feel welcome in these planning processes?  

Moderator: Annabel Drayton, Policy Associate at the NW Energy Coalition


  • Elaine Prause, Senior Associate at The Regulatory Assistance Project
  • James Gall, IRP Manager at Avista

Session 2: Planning for the Future and the Changing Clean Energy Policy Landscape in the Northwest

October 27, 12:00pm – 1:30pm (PST) / 1:00pm – 2:30pm (MT)

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Now more than ever, state policies that advance clean energy are the driving force in resource selection for utilities.  

  • What is the potential impact of various state clean energy and climate policies and utility commitments on the way utilities plan for the future?  
  • How do we ensure there are no conflicts between resource planning requirements and clean energy and climate regulations?
  • How can utilities and regulators think more about system planning (resources, distribution, and transmission planning) and evolve their approaches to meeting customer needs?

Moderator: Joni Bosh, Senior Policy Associate at the NW Energy Coalition


  • Elaine Hart, Founding Principal at Moment Energy Insights LLC
  • Letha Tawney, Commissioner at the Oregon Public Utility Commission

Session 3: Getting the Most Value out of Customer-Side Resources and Distribution System Planning 

November 3, 12:00pm – 1:30pm (PST) / 1:00pm – 2:30pm (MT)

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Customer-side resources can enable utilities to optimize their system, manage electricity demand, and reduce the need for additional utility-scale generation, leading to a cleaner, more efficient, resilient, and affordable energy system. Fully deploying these resources (including energy efficiency, storage, distributed generation, flexible demand) highlights the importance of distribution system planning – something that has traditionally been done without stakeholder input. Distribution system planning (DSP) is critical for the planning and development of the electric grid. It is a way to forecast and maintain the electric system’s reliability and efficiency while providing affordable services to customers.   

  • How can distribution system planning be done with greater stakeholder involvement?  
  • How can this lead to the development of more customer-side resources?  
  • How can customer interests and benefits be fully considered in distribution system planning?

Moderator: Jeff Bissonette, Senior Advisor at the NW Energy Coalition


  • Samir Succar, Senior Director for Distributed Grid Strategy at ICF
  • Bradley Williams, Vice President, Industry Strategy & Innovation Engineering at Oracle
  • Angela Long, Manager of Planning & Strategy at Portland General Electric

Session 4: Electricity Reliability and the Clean Energy Future 

November 10, 12:00pm – 1:30pm (PST) / 1:00pm – 2:30pm (MT)

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A reliable electric system is crucial for the wellbeing of Northwest communities. 

  • What are the measurements for resource reliability that are key for grid operators and how do we ensure the benefits of clean and distributed resources are properly valued? 
  • What are the tools available for grid operators so that they can incorporate clean energy resources more effectively? 
  • How do we ensure that clean energy resources are incorporated in a way that ensures system reliability? 

Moderator: Fred Heutte, Senior Policy Associate at the NW Energy Coalition


  • Debbie Lew, Associate Director of Energy Systems Integration Group
  • Nicole Hughes, Executive Director at Renewable Northwest

These events are free and open to all. 

The Coalition encourages you to make a donation of an amount that is meaningful to you. 

Thank you for supporting these learning sessions!