Grid Modernization & Innovation

Solar Power International & Energy Storage International

Reimagining Innovation in the Utility of the Future

Tuesday, September 25
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: 207AB

What will the utility of the future look like in the United States? This interactive session will identify innovative modernization efforts from major utilities around the world, and debate how United States utilities will evolve to incorporate new technologies.

Christine Stearn, MS, MBA

Senior Manager, 51st State Initiative
Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA)

Christine joined SEPA in 2015. She has advised utilities on strategic and operational plans for programs, products and services that will drive integration of clean energy resources into utility resource portfolios and business operations. Currently, she manages SEPA’s 51st State Initiative (, a collaborative platform that is an alternative to the contentious debates surrounding market and rate reform occurring in many jurisdictions. The initiative creates an ongoing, safe forum for experts and industry leaders to shape the evolution of the energy sector.

Prior to SEPA, Christine has had a variety of rewarding work experiences ranging from startups to working at a global sustainability think tank, to building an analytic program for a $3 billion operating organization. Christine presents on energy, sustainability, technology, climate and risk topics. Christine earned both a MBA and a M.Sc. from Columbia University and her BS from Babson College where she majored in Management Information Systems.

Christine has a love of travel, a taste for pancakes, an aptitude for technology, an itch to run and a desire to connect with others.


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Jill C. Anderson

Vice President, Customer Programs & Services
Southern California Edison

Jill Anderson is vice president of Customer Programs and Services at Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the nation’s largest electric utilities. She is responsible for leading SCE's energy efficiency, demand response and clean self-generation program portfolios as well as customer strategy, marketing, e-commerce and strategic alliance functions.

Previously, Anderson was executive vice president and chief commercial officer at the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the country’s largest state power organization. She directed all wholesale and retail operations. She was responsible for sales, marketing, new products and technology, and energy efficiency programs. In this role, Anderson also oversaw the marketing of NYPA’s generation assets, trading, fuel operations, hedging and business development for new transmission and generation activities. Prior to serving in this position at NYPA, she led energy policy, sustainability, corporate communications, regulatory affairs and government relations departments at the organization.

Before joining NYPA, Anderson worked for Hess Corporation, leading global process improvement projects focused on revenue enhancement, cost reduction and environmental excellence, including greenhouse gas emissions reduction efforts.

Anderson has also worked for Consolidated Edison Company of New York, leading teams responsible for natural gas and electric substation construction and operation, redesign of the distribution system to improve efficiency and integrate new technologies, and electricity and natural gas procurement.

Anderson received a Master of Business Administration degree from New York University and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from Boston University.


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Michael O’Boyle

Electricity Policy Manager
Energy Innovation

Mike O’Boyle is the Electricity Policy Manager for Energy Innovation, working to uncover policy and technology solutions for a clean, reliable, and affordable U.S. electricity system.
Mike is also a leading expert for America’s Power Plan (APP), a platform for policymakers, advocates, and utility stakeholders to reform the utility regulatory model and identify opportunities for grid transformation and optimization. He has worked with stakeholders from California, Rhode Island, New York, Hawaii, Minnesota, and more to improve the link between public policy goals and electric utility incentives.
Mike is the predominant author and editor for APP’s monthly Trending Topics newsletter, which keeps policymakers and stakeholders updated on today’s most pertinent power sector issues. He has authored reports covering a wide range of power sector topics, including distributed energy resource ownership and operation, mechanisms for adopting performance-based regulation, grid modernization, and more.


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Hilary Pearson

Key Manager, Energy and Environmental Policy
Exelon Utilities


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Rob Threlkeld

Global Manager, Renewable Energy
General Motors

Rob Threlkeld is global manager of renewable energy for General Motors, leading the company’s commitment to meet the electricity needs of its global operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Threlkeld manages GM’s growing renewable energy portfolio and develops future projects to support GM’s sustainability strategy. Threlkeld is responsible for negotiating long-term power purchase agreements for GM facilities across the globe, including opportunities associated with battery storage, behind-the-meter applications and EV integration.

As part of GM’s sustainability team, Threlkeld shares best practices for renewable energy procurement with internal and external audiences, offering solutions for large and small businesses alike to benefit from the use of renewables.

Threlkeld is a board member of the American Wind Energy Association and involved in the Solar Energy Industries Association, two energy groups advancing the use of these renewable forms of energy. He also serves on the advisory board of Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center, and supports the World Wildlife Fund and World Resources Institute’s Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles, organizations designed to help utilities and renewable energy providers meet rising demand. He is a member of the Association of Energy Engineers, the Engineering Society of Detroit, and the Solar Power International Education Council.

Threlkeld began his career at General Motors in 2000 as manager of the powerhouse and wastewater treatment plant operations at GM’s Lordstown, Ohio Assembly Complex. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Purdue University. He is a registered Certified Hazardous Material Manager, Certified Energy Manager and Business Energy Professional.


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Reimagining Innovation in the Utility of the Future

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