Please note the new 8:45 AM start time.

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Registration is free but space is limited to 150 attendees
Please note you are able to attend only some of the sessions

A live webcast will be streamed at 8:15 AM EDT at (wireless connection permitting)

Download the agenda


This year's second WIRES University explores an oft-neglected but fundamental aspect of North American INFRASTRUCTURE—the high voltage electric transmission grid. This whole-day session explains the grid’s importance as an enabler of markets and new technology as the economy becomes more thoroughly electrified. Our grid must also adapt to a distributed energy future which calls for a smarter and more flexible network.

This session delves into the details of why modernizing our high-voltage grid infrastructure is more critical than ever, given the age of the nation’s transmission facilities, the fundamental changes occurring in electric generation, and the demands on the system. Expansion and upgrade of the grid will make it more resilient and deliver increased economic, environmental, and consumer benefits in the range of $50 billion annually.

Speaker Slides

The largest machine in the world—the U.S. electric grid—is struggling to meet the needs of our modern, energy-intensive economy, with demand expected to rise by more than 30 percent over the next two decades. Even after substantial investment in this privately-owned asset over the last decade, the American Society of Civil Engineers still rates the transmission grid a mere D+, just like many other U.S. infrastructure assets.

Speakers, including leaders from Congress, regulatory agencies, industry, and think tanks, will examine what challenges need to be overcome to upgrade our transmission system. Policymakers and regulators play a critical role in our nation's energy infrastructure, and there is much room for improved coordination and planning.

Panels will address grid modernization, transmission’s role as a strategic asset and an enabler, regulatory and financial challenges, and the role that the wired network plays in the distributed energy environment, clean energy, and in tech innovation environments.

AGENDA (subject to change)

8:45 AM Welcome
Moderator. Jim Hoecker, Counsel to WIRES
Husch Blackwell LLP & Hoecker Energy Law & Policy,
Former Chairman of FERC
8:45 AM

Continental Breakfast and Discussion

9:15 AM

Hon. Jerry McNerney (CA)
Co-Chair, Grid Innovation Caucus; Member, House Committee on Energy & Commerce

9:45 AM

Patrick McCormick
Chief Majority Counsel, Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee
[scheduling conflict -- will speak in the afternoon]

10:00 AM

Grid Modernization for the Electrified Economy

Preparing for Changed Market Fundamentals
What Will the Electrified Economy Look like in 2037?
The Evolving Public Interest
How Should We Define the “Need” for Transmission?

  • Barbara Tyran, Executive Director-Government & External Relations, Electric Power Research Institute
  • Cristin Lyons, Partner & Practice Lead–Grid Transmission, ScottMadden
  • Judy Chang, Principal/Director, The Brattle Group
11:15 AM Thinking About the Grid as a Strategic Asset, an Enabler, and Problem Solver
  • Integrating Resources–Rob Gramlich, Founder, Grid Strategies LLC
  • Workable Bulk Power Markets–J. Arnold Quinn, Director-Office of Energy Policy & Innovation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
  • Resilience and Energy Security–Caitlin Durkovich, Toffler Associates
  • Cross Border Trade–Dan Prowse, Transmission & Special Projects Officer, Manitoba Hydro
  • Sustainable Workforce–Tiler Eaton, International Representative, IBEW
12:30 PM

TED Talks - T(ransmission) E(locution) while D(ining)

Complimentary lunch provided

Hon. Tim Walberg (MI)
U.S. Representative; Member, House Energy & Commerce Committee

Department of Energy representative [invited]

1:15 PM

Why Invest In Transmission Infrastructure, Why Now? Economic & Financial Drivers

  • Christi Tezak, Managing Director-Research, Clear View Energy
  • James Lucier, Managing Director, Capital Alpha Partners
  • Dr. Sugandha Tuladhar, Associate Director, NERA Economic Consulting
  • Todd Ryan, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Smart Wires, Inc.
2:15 PM

The Wires Network in the Distributed Energy & Tech Innovation Environment

  • Laura Manz, Managing Director-Transmission, Navigant
  • Stephen Harper, Global Director-Environment, Energy & Sustainability Policy, Intel Corporation
  • Tim Ash, Market Director, AES Energy Storage
3:15 PM Wrap-Up: Lessons Learned


Download the agenda


This event is sponsored by WIRES in conjunction with the House Grid Innovation Caucus, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), the GridWise Alliance, and EESI.


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