EMFC Delivers Practical and Strategic Insight


The conference will be held at the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort, September 14-16, 2016


(Photos courtesy of Sahabia Ahmed, Entergy; Cameron Porter, Robin Hood Studios; and EPIS employees.)


EPIS headed south to Georgia’s beautiful Stone Mountain as it hosted the premier Electric Market Forecasting Conference (EMFC) for the 19th consecutive year, which took place Sept. 14-16. The EMFC featured a stellar lineup of speakers and activities to facilitate Expanding Perspectives on the Future of Energy Markets and provide a unique networking opportunity for over 75 industry experts and professionals in attendance.

The conference kicked off with a fun and relaxing evening at Stone Mountain Park’s Memorial Hall with an impressive view of the mountain and a one-of-a-kind Mountainvision® laser show, inclusive of fireworks and musical scores.

Thursday’s speakers focused on industry-wide issues opening with Jeff Burleson, vice president, system planning of Southern Company, who said that utilities couldn’t ignore what happens on the customer side of the meter. Burleson went on to state that past planning has focused on wholesale generation and transmission, but going forward, utilities will need to consider how customers are shaping and changing their load with new technologies.

Other Thursday morning presentations included “Outlook on Opportunities in Renewable Development” from Mark Herrmann, vice president, structuring of NRG Energy; “Market Evolution for Renewable Integration” from Todd Levin, Ph.D., energy systems engineer of Argonne National Laboratory; and “Advances and Opportunities for Internal Combustion Engine Power Plants” from Joe Ferrari, market development analyst of Wärtsilä North America.

The afternoon proceeded with Lakshmi Alagappan, director, and Jack Moore, director, market analysis, of Energy and Environmental Economics (E3), who presented “California Clean Energy Policy: Implications for Western Markets”. In the session, Alagappan stated that as California’s aggressive RPS comes to fruition, the EIM Market may help alleviate some over-generation by reducing thermal dispatch across the West Interconnection to make room for cheap exports to flow out of California. Alagappan went on to say that over-generation is not an abstract concern. Already, roughly 10 percent of dispatch hours in CAISO this year have resulted in zero or negative prices.

Following Alagappan and Moore, Larry Kellerman, managing partner of Twenty First Century Utilities wrapped up Thursday’s session by proposing a new paradigm for utilities that would allow these organizations to take advantage of low cost of capital and play a role in developments on the customer side of the meter. Strategies included personalized rate structures and curated services and technologies. Kellerman said, “We talk about energy efficiency as a resource, but energy efficiency is only a resource when you can deploy the capital and make the investment.”

Networking continued outside the conference room during Thursday’s afternoon activities. Some attendees took in the scenic views of Stone Mountain on a championship golf course while others participated in a breezy cruise on beautiful Stone Mountain Lake in a 1940’s era Army DUKW followed by a guided tour, highlighting early Georgia life, through Stone Mountain’s Historic Square.

During Friday’s Electric Market Forum speakers, and expert users of AURORAxmp, showcased effective examples of how to enhance your modeling endeavors.  The morning began with Morris Greenberg, managing director, gas and power modeling of PIRA Energy Group. Greenberg, focusing on “Integrating Natural Gas and Power Modeling”, said that the electrical sector is one of the most price elastic categories of natural gas demand. Combining gas and electrical models can capture feedback loops between gas and power markets. Greenberg continued by saying that as the electrical market’s share of total gas consumption increases, the behavior of the electrical market will continue to have a larger and larger impact on gas prices.

Switching gears, Eina Ooka, senior structure and pricing analyst of The Energy Authority, gave a very well received presentation on “Discovering Insights from Outputs – Exploratory Visualization and Reporting Through R”. Ooka said, “Interfacing AURORAxmp with other tools, such as R, allows users to quickly and effectively perform detailed analysis by automating almost all stages of the process.” Ooka concluded with a detailed discussion and demonstration on the visualization of data to make complex information easily digestible.

Additional Friday presentations included “Investing in Mexico Gas and Power” from Brett Blankenship, research director Americas primary fuel fundamentals from Wood Mackenzie and “Challenges of Forecasting Reliability Prices – Capacity Price in PJM & ORDC in ERCOT” from Joo Hyun Jin, commercial analysis of E.ON Climate & Renewables North America.

The EMFC is a once-a-year opportunity for industry professionals. Attendees of the 19th Annual EMFC gained new connections and an enriched market perspective.  As one attendee put it, “I really enjoyed the [presentations]… it was great to have exposure to such a wide range of topics from such qualified speakers. Congrats for doing such a great job with conference planning and execution.” Join EPIS next year for the 20th anniversary in Las Vegas!

For more information on this year’s speakers, please visit http://epis.com/events/2016-emfc/speakers.html

To obtain a copy of any or all of the presentations from this year’s EMFC, please go to EPIS’s Knowledge Base using your login credentials here. If you do not have login credentials, please email info@epis.com to request copies.

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