Energy Storage for the Grid: Watchful Waiting or the Perfect Storm?

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Energy storage has become one of the most studied energy topics since the national grid was first developed and will be an important element of our future electrical infrastructure. Unlike energy transmission which provides electricity where you need it, large-scale energy storage also provides electricity when you need it, potentially offering a more efficient system while integrating clean renewable energy sources, managing peak demands, and allowing for new applications such as electric vehicles on the grid. Federal stimulus dollars, state government policies, and consumer demand for renewable energy have fueled studies in a large range of solutions, including batteries, flywheels, pump storage, compressed air, hydrogen, and time-of-use / demand response in pilot programs or on the horizon. 

But is the timing right for cost-effective energy storage? Are technologies ready to be integrated into the grid, or are we at a watchful waiting stage? Is change too fast for utilities and power generators, or not fast enough for energy entrepreneurs and investors? Join us next Tuesday, May 8 and get valuable answers to the jigsaw puzzle of questions regarding the where, how, why, and at what scale of energy storage from our panel 

Following opening remarks by Jimmy Jia, CEO and Co-founder of Distributed Energy Management, Bill Holmes, Partner, Stoel Rives, LLP will moderate our panel of industry experts that includes:  

  • Terry Oliver, Chief Technology Innovations Officer, Bonneville Power Administration
  • Chris Wheaton, Chief Operating & Financial Officer, EnerG2
  • Nathan Adams, Manager of Development and Emerging Technologies, Puget Sound Energy 

Alexander Slocum, Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will join us via video chat from Boston, Mass. for the Q&A section of the event. 

Audience takeaways

During this event, you will learn:   

  • The most promising energy storage strategies
  • How the different storage methods could work together with the grid in the Northwest and nationally
  • How entrepreneurs, the changing energy marketplace, grid operators, and utilities are responding to the call to build the foundation for a clean energy economy 


Jimmy Jia, CEO & Co-founder, Distributed Energy Management

Jimmy is LEED® Green Associate and CEO / Co-founder of Distributed Energy Management. Founded in 2009, the company uses business intelligence of energy consumption data to drive decision-making and lower costs. Jimmy is developing the technology and business strategy to reach underserved markets with few options for energy management solutions. Formerly, Jimmy was a Territory Manager for Olympus Industrial America’s microscopy division where he managed several Fortune 500 accounts in New England. Prior to that, he served as an Associate Engineer at Panasonic where he helped develop innovative methods and applications for femtosecond laser drilling.

Jimmy’s work resulted in three patents granted and several more pending. He also performed the first quantitative review of the MIT Technology Licensing Office’s energy patent portfolio and helped quantify the institute’s impact on the industry. Jimmy is an active leader in the energy industry, serving as a committee member with the MIT Enterprise Forum of the NW, an MIT Energy Ambassador and a member of the events committee of the Washington Clean Technology Alliance (WCTA). He is also on the faculty of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute where he is instructing the Energy Certificate program. Jimmy holds a BS and MS from MIT and received his MBA from the University of Oxford.


Bill HolmesBill Holmes is a partner at where he concentrates his practice in the area of energy law, with a special emphasis on wind, solar, hydroelectric, hydrokinetic, tidal and ocean, geothermal, and biomass.  He has also advised clients on regulatory and transactional aspects of energy storage as a means of integrating renewable energy.  Bill has been selected to be included in the 2007 through 2012 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in Energy Law and Environmental Law and was selected as a “leader in the field” by Chambers Global (Projects: Renewables & Alternative Energy – USA), 2011.  He was also named the Best Lawyers’ 2011 Portland, Oregon Energy Lawyer of the Year.

Bill is an adjunct professor at the University of Oregon Law School, where he has taught one of the first renewable energy law courses in the nation since 2008.  Bill joined the firm in 1985 and has been a member since 1992.  Before joining Stoel Rives, he served as law clerk to Judge Louis F. Oberdorfer, United States District Court for the District of Columbia (1984-1985).


Nathan AdamsNathan Adams is the Manager of Development and EmergingTechnologies for .  In this role he leads the company’s thermal and renewable generation development and its efforts to assess and implement emerging energy technologies.  His emerging technology work focuses on understanding the potential impact that new storage and generation technologies may have on PSE and where and how they can be implemented to achieve efficiencies and improved system reliability.

He has over 13 years of experience in the energy industry spanning the value chain from power generation valuation, acquisition and development to energy efficiency program evaluation.  Prior to his work at PSE, Nathan worked for Weyerhaeuser Corp. managing mergers and acquisitions and major energy projects and at E Source where he consulted to a number of energy companies on energy pricing and asset valuation.  Nathan is an avid, but under-achieving fly-fisherman and spends his spare time thrashing about the scenic rivers of Western Washington.  He holds a BA from the University of Vermont and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. 

Terry OliverTerry Oliver is the Chief Technology Innovation Officer of the Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, BPA is a federal agency that markets wholesale electricity and transmission to Northwest utilities and to some large industries. It provides about half the region's electricity and operates about three-fourths of its high-voltage transmission (15,000 miles and 300 substations). Terry has worked globally to advance energy conservation and renewable energy and he joined BPA in 1981. In the Pacific Northwest, he managed one of the world's largest residential energy conservation programs, the PNW Residential Weatherization Program, led ground-breaking research on community-based energy conservation applications in the Hood River Conservation Project, and established two enduring icons of energy efficiency innovation, the Lighting Design Lab and the Energy Ideas Clearinghouse. In 1992 he moved to Bangkok, Thailand, to lead the Asia Regional Office of the International Institute for Energy Conservation (IIEC). In 2000, he returned to BPA where he worked on BPA's EnergyWeb concept and its application to the PNW. As part of this effort he helped create BPA's Non-Wires Solutions initiative, participated in EPRI's Intelligrid grid architecture initiative, and led the GridWise Alliance Demonstrations Working Group. In June 2005 Oliver was appointed to his current post – a newly created position with responsibility for re-energizing, focusing, and managing BPA's research and development activities.

Chris WheatonChris Wheaton is the Chief Operating & Financial Officer and co-founder of .  Founded in 2003, EnerG2 has developed and commercialized proprietary-processing technologies to engineer superior carbon materials for energy storage applications. EnerG2 is currently focused on delivering advanced carbons for multiple applications within the industries for lead acid batteries, ultracapacitors, lithium ion batteries, and next generation lithium chemistries. In addition to enhancing electrochemical energy storage devices, EnerG2 carbons can be tailored for high efficiency storage of natural gas as well as hydrogen gas.

Chris has executive responsibility for all of the internal operations of EnerG2, including product development, finance and manufacturing. Since co-founding the company in 2003, he has helped capitalize it with over $50 million in funding from venture capital, banks, governments, the military, corporations and community development entities. Prior to co-founding EnerG2, Chris served as VP of Operations for Loudcloud, one of the last successes of the first dot-com era in Silicon Valley. After joining Loudcloud early in its history, Chris rose through the ranks to lead the team of 140 data center operators and developers that produced Opsware, an enterprise software platform that was ultimately sold to Hewlett Packard in a $1.6 billion acquisition. Chris received a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Via video chat from Boston, Mass.

Alexander SlocumAlexander Slocum is the Neil and Jane Pappalardo Professor of Mechanical Engineering and MacVicar Faculty Fellow Professor, at the  Professor Slocum’s focus is on energy storage where he works with students to tackle the challenge of growing energy demand with solutions that don’t add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. His research includes an energy-storage system for offshore floating windmill installations; and storing solar power, using molten salts, to store the thermal energy for delivery later. 

Slocum’s research and teaching interests include micro-electrical-mechanical systems, nanotechnology, precision engineering, machine design, product design, and physics via sports, such as going faster on his snowboard and staying down longer SCUBA diving.  He is a member of
the Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Society for Precision Engineers and the IEEE.  Professor Slocum was named Massachusetts’ “professor of the year” in 2000 and earned the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Leonardo da Vinci Award in 2004 which honors achievement in the design or invention of a product that is universally recognized as an important advance in machine design.

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Event schedule

5:00 - 6:15 pm – Networking / cash bar / dinner buffet

6:15 - 8:00 pm – Panel discussion

8:00 - 8:15 pm – Q&A 

Parking information

Although complimentary parking is available outside the venue, it is limited for the number of guests we are expecting for this event. Please consider arriving early, carpooling, or taking the bus (lines # 25, 43, 48, 167 and 545). Below are some additional parking options: 

Please note that our early bird rate expires at 5:00 pm on May 2. Online registration will automatically close at 5:00 pm on May 7th. Unless the event is already sold out, walk-ins are welcome on event night ($60 at the door).

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 (All day)