Association Webinars: Texas' and Other Power Markets After the Big Freeze: Diagnosis and Prognosis


Freezing in the dark - in Texas?!? That was supposed to be a risk that could happen someplace else, according to the old bumper stickers. But it happened, revealing both operational vulnerabilities and market outcomes that are being painfully assessed. As the multiple interconnected generation and system failures are better understood, who will pay to keep them from recurring the next time the Arctic sends down another unwelcome polar vortex? What electricity supply and financial risks can customers truly be expected to take? What signals can they see and react to in time to limit their costs and stabilize the market? Is prevention of the next "winter blunderland" a role for the market - or for the regulators? Join Lynne Kiesling and three other expert forensic economists to hear what, at least for the Texas grid's reputation, will be a post-mortem analysis and assessment of alternatives.


Lynne Kiesling is an economist focusing on regulation, market design, and the economics of digitization and smart grid technologies in the electricity industry. She is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Co-Director of the Institute for Regulatory Law & Economics, and a Faculty Affiliate in the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, at Carnegie Mellon University. She also provides advisory and analytical services as the President of Knowledge Problem LLC, and is an Adjunct Professor in the Masters of Science in Energy and Sustainability program at Northwestern University. She served as a member of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Smart Grid Advisory Committee, and is an emerita member of the GridWise Architecture Council. Her academic background includes a B.S. in Economics from Miami University (Ohio) and a Ph.D. in Economics from Northwestern University.


Janusz Bialek from Newcastle University, UK, will offer a wider perspective by discussing what the Texas and other recent blackouts tell us about the current state and future of decarbonised power systems. He received his MEng (1977) and PhD (1981) degrees in Electrical Engineering from Warsaw University of Technology. Currently, he is Professor of Power and Energy Systems at Newcastle University, UK, and Full Professor at Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), Russia, where he was the founding Director of Center for Energy Systems. Previously he held Chair Professor positions at the University of Edinburgh (2003-2009) and Durham University (2009-2014). His main research interest is in the application of advanced mathematical methods to address techno-economic problems of achieving low-carbon power systems.

Beth Garza is a senior fellow with R Street's Energy & Environmental Policy Team.
Prior to joining R Street, Beth served as the director of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Independent Market Monitor from 2014 through 2019 after serving as the deputy director since 2008. In this role, she was responsible for monitoring market participant activity, evaluating wholesale market operations and recommending improvements to the wholesale market design.

Over the course of her 35-year career in the electric utility industry, Beth has held a variety of leadership roles in generation and transmission planning, system operations, regulatory affairs and market design for both regulated and competitive entities. Her previous employers include Nextera and Austin Energy. Beth is a graduate of the University of Missouri and is a registered professional engineer in the State of Texas.

Alison Silverstein is a consultant, strategist, researcher and writer on electric transmission and reliability, energy efficiency and technology adoption issues. She has worked for decades to advance the use of clean energy and advanced grid technologies as part of a reliable, resilient energy system. She has written seminal papers on electric system reliability and resilience and forward-looking power market design. Her work on major federal electricity efforts includes the U.S. Department of Energy's Staff Report on Electric Markets and Reliability, three national transmission congestion studies, the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative framework, and the industry-wide advancement of synchrophasor technology.

Silverstein has been an independent consultant since 2004. She worked as a senior advisor to Chairman Pat Wood, III, at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from 2001 through 2004, co-chairing the 2003 U.S.-Canada blackout investigation. She has worked at the Public Utility Commission of Texas and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Silverstein presently serves on the boards of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians and lives in Austin, Texas.


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