2023 EBA Mid-Year Energy Forum

The theme of this year’s forum: Regulating a Modern Resource Mix

2023 EBA Mid-Year Energy Forum
October 10-11, 2023 | Washington, DC – The Westin Washington

2023 Mid-Year Energy Forum Was a Great Success!
Thank you to all who attended this year’s forum; we were thrilled to have over 360 attendees join us in Washington, DC for this annual event. We would like to extend a special thank you to our sponsors (listed below) for making this event possible, and to our Professional Education Council (PEC), especially its Co-Chairs Andrew DeVore and Holly Rachel Smith, for their hours of hard work and planning. 

We hope all attendees enjoyed their time, and we look forward to seeing you at an upcoming EBA event. See below for an overall event recap, and follow EBA on LinkedIn for more detailed session highlights.

Thank you to our media partner RTO Insider for their coverage of this event. Check out the following featured forum articles:

Tuesday, October 10

Women in Energy Lunch: Sponsored by McGuireWoods
Julia English, Partner, McGuireWoods, was an early advocate for launching the Women in Energy Breakfast which was expanded into the opening lunch at the Mid-Year Energy Forum. To kick off the first session of the event, Julia interviewed featured speaker Carrie Allen, SVP and Deputy General Counsel, Regulatory and Compliance at Constellation Energy. Carrie shared her personal lessons learned from a successful career including the impact of leaders who advocate for, and support, employees’ growth opportunities, finding opportunities for mentorship, and the importance of bringing your full self to work.

General Session 1: Interconnection Queue Reform – How FERC’s New Pro Forma Interconnection Procedures Could Advance New Generation
The first general session focused on providing an overview of FERC’s new interconnection procedures, what has changed and the associated challenges, and new proposals of large-scale transmission projects aimed at delivering clean energy.

Inching Toward Organized Markets: Value Proposition for Energy Imbalance and Energy Exchange Markets. Panelists explored the developments of imbalance in exchange markets, their influence on the clean energy transition, and what they may mean for energy consumers.

Managing the Promises and Complexities of Renewable Natural Gas. The influx of operational Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) facilities has led to lengthy proceedings at FERC regarding natural gas quality specifications in pipeline tariffs. This session touched on challenges facing the natural gas industry and stakeholders. 

Fully Charged: Recent Process in Distributed and Grid-Scale Battery Storage. This panel discussed the benefits and challenges of co-locating batteries with generation assets, what the Inflation Reduction Act may mean for the battery industry, and the unique interconnection challenges they may bring.

EPA 111(b) and (d) Rulemaking Revisited. Topics included in-process EPA proposals of new greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for new and existing fossil fuel-fired power plants that will be implemented under sections 111(b) and (d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA). 

Special Event: 2023 Honorable Chief Judge Curtis L. Wagner Jr. Administrative Law Judges Reception

Thank you to Baker Botts for hosting this year’s ALJ Reception! Over 200 guests gathered to honor FERC’s Administrative Law Judges during an evening of mingling, light bites and cocktails at the Foundation of the Energy Law Journal‘s biggest annual fundraiser.

FELJ President Justin Mirabal gave remarks and introduced FERC Acting Chief Judge Andrew Satten as the event speaker. Judge Satten’s remarks honored the evening’s special guest, Shaun Dempsey-Miller, who has been an integral part of the Office of Administrative Law Judges for over 20 years and who was hired by Chief Judge Wagner. 

Special thanks to Jay Ryan, Co-Chair of Baker Botts’ Energy Regulatory Practice, and all of the people at Baker Botts for hosting the ALJ Reception and supporting the Energy Law Journal.

Wednesday, October 11

General Session 2: Climate Goals, Electrification and Utility Regulation
This panel explored where ambitious ongoing climate goals of cities, states, and provinces can be in tension within the context of existing regulatory regimes. They discussed how new laws and requirements have implications for the future of both electric and gas distributions companies and their state utility regulators. 

Special Event: Young Lawyers Council (YLC) Meet Up

EBA’s Young Lawyers Council (YLC) provides attorneys who have been practicing 8 years or less an opportunity to connect with likeminded young professionals and seasoned practitioners. Thank you to YLC Chair Jonathan Namazi (Davis Wright Tremaine) and Co-Chair Mary Yang (FERC) for planning this great coffee meet-up event during the forum!

Gas-Electric Coordination – A Tough Nut to Crack. Panelists discussed the critical topic of Gas-Electric coordination, and the increased interdependence of the natural gas and electric sectors, both of which provide essential services to customers and businesses.

The Supreme Court’s Energy Docket: Where It Has Been, and Where It Is Going. As the Supreme Court’s 2023 Term begins, panelists discussed the cases from this Term that are poised to affect energy law and regulation, how past Supreme Court cases are affecting energy litigation in the lower courts, and what energy issues might make their way up to the high court next.

Luncheon, Awards Presentation & Keynote Remarks from FERC General Counsel Matthew Christiansen
We were thrilled to have an energetic, engaging Keynote from FERC General Counsel Matthew Christiansen! He discussed how energy industry professionals are in the middle of an unprecedented moment and are presented with opportunities to affect changes that will ensure future reliability of the industry. His speech wove together the conference theme of regulating a modern resource mix, and received rave reviews.

We were thrilled to honor two EBA special awards recipients during the luncheon! Congratulations to the 2023 recipients, who were nominated by their peers for these prestigious recognitions. Read more about award details here and this year’s award recipients below:

2023 Paul E. Nordstrom Award: Rick Smead

  • This award honors exemplary long-term service to the community by a current or past member through the EBA, the Charitable Foundation of the EBA, or the Foundation of the Energy Law Journal. (Rick Smead was unable to join us at the luncheon.)

2023 State/Provincial Regulatory Practitioner Award: Cliona Mary Robb

  • This award recognizes individuals who have made substantial contributions to the advancement of energy law in the state(s) or province(s) in which the nominee practices.

2023 Rising Star in Energy AwardSerena A. Rwejuna

  • An Inaugural 2023 award, given to a member in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the EBA, CFEBA, and/or FELJ during the first ten years of their law career.

Electricity Market Incentives that Ensure Reliability – The Carrot and the Stick. The implicit – and often explicit – goal of complex electricity markets is to ensure that resources are online when and where they are needed. This panel centered around the question of how to improve reliability incentives for generators in electricity markets.

Whose Side Are You On: Managing Conflicts of Interest in Serving Today’s Energy Client (Ethics). Energy attorneys today, whether they are engaged in private practice or in-house, are increasingly called upon to advise clients with diverse energy resources and/or plans. This panel explored what qualifies as a conflict, business conflicts vs. ethical conflicts, what can be handled through advance waivers vs. through other means, and practical ways to deal with these issues.

Closing General Session: The Hope and Promise of Permitting Reform
Panelists explored how energy transition developments and policies have affected, and will affect, the building of electric transmission and interstate pipelines going forward, and how additional permitting reforms could expedite the growth of the nation’s energy infrastructure.

Thank you to our Mid-Year Energy Forum Sponsors!