Energy & Environment Policy Task Force: Siting Large-scale Renewable Energy Projects: Federal, State and Private Sector Perspectives

2012 National Leadership Conference

CSG Energy & Environment Policy Task Force
Siting Large-scale Renewable Energy Projects: Federal, State and Private Sector Perspectives
May 18, 2012

The Obama administration announced dramatic goals for developing alternative energy. What does that mean for states and what considerations should policymakers undertake to turn aspirations into reality? Panelists provided insight from federal, state and private sector perspectives in siting large-scale, commercial renewable energy power plants. This session  covered the financial, regulatory and stakeholder process associated with developing complex projects to help states anticipate future challenges.

Renewable Energy Discussion

State policymakers and Task Force participants heard presentations from Ellen Aronson, the Pacific Region Director from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and Tom Pogacnik, the Deputy State Director of the California Office of the Bureau of Land Management regarding how the federal government plans to work with states them in meeting the ambitious goals the President set in his state of the union address; where he committed to permitting 11,000 megawatts of  renewable energy projects on federal land by 2013. California Public Utilities Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon shared his insight as a state regulator on balancing obligations to ratepayers for reliability and affordability, while meeting the nation’s most rigorous renewable energy requirements. Laura Genao, the Director of Regulatory Affairs, Southern California Edison Company, suggested that state renewable energy laws and regulations should encourage competition to keep costs low on consumers. She also noted the difficulties utilities face in siting and permitting large-scale renewable projects due to disputes over transmission lines and other external factors from stakeholders.

Ellen Aronson, Pacific Region Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

  Download the Presentation: "BOEM's OCS Renewable Energy Program" in PDF (without audio) or as a Video (with audio)

Tom Pogacnik, Deputy State Director, Resources, Bureau of Land Management's California Office

  Download the Presentation: "Conservation and Renewable Energy Development in California" in PDF (without audio) or as a Video (with audio)

Laura Genao, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Southern California Edison Company

  Download the Presentation: "Southern California Edison" in PDF (without audio) or as a Video (with audio)

Timothy Alan Simon, Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission

  Download the Presentation: "Siting Large Scale Renewable Energy Projects" in PDF (without audio) or as a Video (with audio)

Associates in Action: Jim Herries, ESRI

  Download the Presentation: "Maps for Policy Making: An Example - Energy in America" in PDF (without audio) or as a Video (with audio)

Speaker Biographies:

Ellen Aronson
Ellen G. Aronson is the Pacific Region director for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
She has over 33 years of experience with the Department of the Interior. She most recently served as the BOEMRE Pacific Region director. Ms. Aronson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from Sara Lawrence College and a Master's of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Southern California. 

Laura Genao
Laura Genao is a director of regulatory affairs for Southern California Edison Company. In that role, Laura manages advocacy of the company’s position regarding renewable and conventional procurement, greenhouse gas emissions and distribution level transmission policy before the California Public Utilities Commission. Prior to this position, Laura was the manager of regulatory and legislative matters in the Renewable and Alternative Power section of Southern California Edison Company. In that role, Laura coordinated the development of the company’s policies with regard to renewable electricity and alternative power. Laura also spent several years as regulatory attorney for SCE, representing the company on issues such as long-term procurement planning, issues surrounding cost recovery for new generation, cost of capital, and development of a regulatory framework for greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

Laura received her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and an undergraduate degree in History and Literature from Harvard College. Before becoming an attorney, Laura was a member of Teach for America, where she taught middle and high school English, Spanish and Journalism in Pasadena, Calif. She also spent a few years as a newspaper reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she was part of a team of reporters nominated for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize. In her spare time, Laura serves as president of the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice.  

Tom Pogacnik
An Ohio State graduate with a bachelor's degree in wildlife biology, Tom left his native Ohio for Montana to be a biologist for the U.S. Forest Service.  A few years later, he worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rangeland Insect Laboratory in Bozeman, Montana, while completing his masters degree in rangeland ecology at Montana State University.  Upon completing his schooling, he came to work for BLM at the Tonopah Resource Area as a rangeland conservationist.  Most of the grazing allotments under Tom's responsibility also supported large herds of wild hoses and burros.  When the field office wild horse and burro specialist moved, he picked up the duties "temporarily."  The temporary assignment turned out to be twenty-one years.

In addition to being the wild horse and burro specialist in Tonopah, Tom has held increasingly responsible position in the program.  He was the Nevada wild horse and burro program manager, the senior wild horse and burro specialist for the national program office, the chief of the national wild horse and burro program, and operations manager for the national program.  He came to California in 2002 as the state wild horse and burro program lead.  

He became the assistant DSD for resources on January 6, 2008, assuming full responsibilty for the division as the acting deputy state director when Tony Danna retired on May 25, 2008.  He was selected as the Deputy State Director on October 2, 2008.  He has a staff of  23 in the state office and 4 others scattered throughout the state.

Tom and his wife Peggy live in Citrus Heights.  Peggy, recently retired as the lead archaeologist with BLM in the Carson City Field Office. 

Timothy Alan Simon
Timothy Alan Simon was appointed to the California Public Utilities Commission by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Feb. 15, 2007. As a former securities and banking industry attorney involved in financial product and services, Commissioner Simon firmly supports investment in California's utility infrastructure as being critical to the state's economic future, and encourages a balanced public policy in areas of utility regulation.

On a national level, Commissioner Simon is chair of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Committee on Natural Gas. He is also a member of NARUC's Board of Directors, Critical Infrastructure Committee, Consumer Affairs Committee, Utility Market Access Partnership Sub-committee, Gas Speculation Task Force, and Wireless Task Force. In his role as NARUC Gas Committee Chair, Commissioner Simon also sits on the National Petroleum Council, an oil and gas advisory committee to the secretary of the Department of Energy. Commissioner Simon is a member of the First Friday Caucus, a national educational group on competitive utility markets, the Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States (ABACCUS) reporting committee, and the former chair of the Liquefied Natural Gas Partnership between NARUC and DOE. He is also on the Executive Committee of the of the the Western Conference of Public Service Commissioners, a regional association within NARUC.

At the state level, Commissioner Simon is a member of the Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative at U.C. Berkeley, and the California Green Collar Jobs Council.  Prior to joining the CPUC, Commissioner Simon served as the Appointments Secretary to Governor Schwarzenegger, the first African American in California history to hold that post. 

Commissioner Simon received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of San Francisco, and a Juris Doctor from Hastings College of the Law, University of California.  He currently is an adjunct professor of Securities Regulations at the Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, and acts as an advisor on international securities in Golden Gate’s U.S. Legal Studies Program.


simon.pdf538.71 KB
pogacnik.pdf845.18 KB
genao.pdf2.17 MB
aronson.pdf4.84 MB