SEPA’s 51st State Summit to Focus on Three Concepts

Innovation Review Panel Choices Re-Imagine Design of U.S. Electricity Markets

Washington, DC, April 17, 2017 — The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) will focus discussion at its 51st State Summit on Monday April 27 in San Diego on three concepts selected from a dozen submitted by individuals and organizations from across the energy industry. A panel of five energy thought leaders chose the submissions as some of the most creative and provocative ideas put forward in response to SEPA's challenge to take a "clean slate" approach to designing a 21st century energy system. The invitation-only summit, set for April 26-27 in San Diego, will highlight the ideas put forward in the three papers:


"An Adaptive Approach to Promote System Optimization", by Michael O'Boyle
"The Sharing Utility: Enabling & Rewarding Utility Performance, Service & Value in a Distributed Energy Age", by Karl Rabago and Jim Kennerly
"The 51st State: Market Structures for a Smarter, More Efficient Grid", by Jon Wellinghoff, James Tong, and Jenny Hu

"The three concepts selected by our panel provide an excellent launching point for discussion on options for changes to the 21st century electric industry that could optimize the contribution of distributed energy resources while ensuring customers continue to receive safe, affordable, reliable and increasingly clean power," said Julia Hamm, President and CEO of SEPA. "Next steps in the 51st State initiative will be to highlight insights found in all of the submitted concepts, and to begin to develop ways and means to put constructive ideas into action in markets across the country."

The Innovation Review Panel for the 51st State includes Ron Binz, Former Chair, Colorado Public Utilities Commission; Nancy Pfund, founder, DBL Investors; Jim Rogers, former CEO and Chairman, Duke Energy; Sue Tierney, Analysis Group and former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy, and Jigar Shah, founder, SunEdison and former CEO, Carbon War Room.

About SEPA and the 51st State
The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) is an educational nonprofit working to help utilities integrate safe, reliable, reasonably priced solar energy into their portfolios for their own, their customers' and the general public's benefit. A co-sponsor of both PV America and Solar Power International, the membership organization provides research and educational and networking opportunities to a broad range of utility and solar industry stakeholders.

SEPA launched the 51st State last year as a broad challenge to re-imagine a 21st-century energy system from the ground up, as if for a hypothetical 51st state that has no rules, regulations or market structures in place. What the 51st state will require is an energy system that is reliable, affordable, meets the needs of all stakeholders and supports a robust market for solar and other distributed energy resources.

Some submissions see in a 51st state strong, ongoing roles for existing regulatory bodies and utilities -- investor-owned, public and electric cooperatives. Others imagine an energy market in which the role of utilities change dramatically and consumers contract for energy services, using dynamic distribution grids that allow power to be generated, stored, bought and sold locally.

Still other papers focus more on the core values and concepts that should underlie the 51st state's energy sector, rather than specific technologies or market and regulatory structures.

Public input will be encouraged by SEPA as it moves toward Phase 2 of the 51st State Initiative, which will focus on developing practical road maps to help utilities and policy makers turn some of the top ideas from these papers into real changes in the energy sector.

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