Law Seminars International: Buying and Selling Electric Power in the West

  • by BPC Staff
  • on November 26, 2013

Law Seminars International Presents: The 19th Annual Conference on

Buying & Selling Electric Power in the West
An insightful and practical update on new regulatory, policy, legal and business developments


January 13 & 14, 2014
Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA

Who Should Attend

Attorneys, industry executives, governmental officials and customer representatives involved with electric energy issues

Why You Should Attend

This will be the 19th annual Buying & Selling Electric Power in the West conference. This conference began just a year after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued the “mega-NOPR” that would become Order No. 888, the cornerstone of the electric industry that we know today. The stated goal of Order No. 888 was to transition the monopoly-dominated electricity regime of the past to one in which numerous alternative sellers can compete and in which electricity is more competitively priced. Today, nearly twenty years later, we are still trying to figure out how best to achieve this ambitious goal.

Over the two days of the conference, you will hear from commissioners at the state and federal level, senior executives of both publicly and privately-owned utilities in the region, and leading electric industry economists and legal practitioners. All will provide insight into the issues they face today. Among other things, they will describe the engineering, economic, and regulatory challenges of integrating fast-developing wind and solar projects coming online throughout the West, while simultaneously trying to plan and construct a transmission grid that provides reliable electric service in the Western United States. You will hear of the ambitious continuing efforts to expand competitive electric markets in the West, and also of the stumbles along the way, including updates on recent proceedings alleging manipulation of those markets.

While many things have changed in our industry, some things remain the same. Customers continue to demand the benefits of competition, regulators continue to demand reliable service, and investors continue to demand a profit. Our hope is that this conference will provide each of you with the latest information on these ever-present legal and policy goals.


~ Stan Berman, Esq., Slade Gorton, Esq. and Thomas Grim, Esq., Program Co-Chairs

What You Will Learn

  • FERC policy priorities going into 2014
  • How the political winds in the nation’s capital are affecting energy policy
  • State Commissioners’ regional energy policy priorities at the state level
  • Regional load and resource developments
  • The implications of ICC v FERC (7th Cir. 2013) on in-state renewable preferences
  • New developments on the supply side for renewables
  • Operational issues from Bonneville’s (BPA) perspective
  • The challenge of integrating intermittent renewables
  • Transmission in the Pacific Northwest and how the regional entities are coordinating their activities
  • Potential operational changes arising from renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty
  • Market manipulation and enforcement
  • Major grid and market operational developments


Monday, January 13, 2014

8:30 am

Introduction & Overview

Stan Berman, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Sidley Austin LLP / Seattle, WA

Slade Gorton, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Slade Gorton LLC / Bellevue, WA

Thomas M. Grim, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Cable Huston LLP / Portland, OR

8:45 am

Special Opening Address: FERC Policy Priorities Going into 2014

Proceedings with the greatest potential impact on the West

The Hon. Philip D. Moeller, Commissioner
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission / Washington, DC

9:15 am

How the Political Winds in the Nation’s Capital are Affecting Energy Policy

Slade Gorton, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Slade Gorton LLC / Bellevue, WA

10:00 am


10:15 am

State Commissioners’ Policy Priorities: Key Issues in the Three Pacific Northwest States


The Hon. David W. Danner, Esq., Chairman
Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission / Olympia, WA


The Hon. Stephen Bloom, Esq., Commissioner
Public Utility Commission of Oregon / Salem, OR


The Hon. Marsha H. Smith, Commissioner
Idaho Public Utilities Commission / Boise, ID

11:45 am

Lunch (on your own)

1:00 pm

Regional Load and Resource Developments

Load growth from data server farms: Unique characteristics and stress on the system; how they fit into power markets in the NW; impacts on distribution utilities and RPS compliance

Massoud Jourabchi, Manager, Economic Analysis
NW Power & Conservation Council / Portland, OR

Coal and the impact of plant closures: Economic outlook for Centralia coal strip; other closures and potential closures with an impact on Western energy markets

Kimberly J. Harris, President and CEO
Puget Sound Energy / Bellevue, WA

Natural gas supply outlook; infrastructure development; price forecasts

Dan Kirschner, Executive Director
Northwest Gas Association / West Linn, OR

Natural gas uses: Usage factors affecting the long-term viability of gas for generating electricity

Edward A. Finklea, Executive Director
Northwest Industrial Gas Users / Lake Oswego, OR

3:00 pm


3:15 pm

In-State Renewable Preferences

Implications of ICC v FERC (7th Cir. 2013) and other Commerce Clause cases on whether states can give preference to resources generated within their borders

Marie L. Fiala, Esq.
Sidley Austin LLP / San Francisco, CA

4:00 pm

New Developments on the Supply Side for Renewables

Future of hydroelectric generation in the Pacific Northwest: Provisions of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 and it’s potential impact on hydro development in the Pacific Northwest; other developments in the hydro world

William H. Holmes, Esq.
K&L Gates LLP / Portland, OR

The future for utility-scale solar photovoltaics

David W. Brown, Senior Principal and Co-founder
Obsidian Renewables, LLC / Lake Oswego, OR

5:00 pm

Reception for Faculty and Attendees

Sponsored by Sidley Austin LLP and Cable Huston LLP


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

8:30 am

Introduction to Day 2

Stan Berman, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Sidley Austin LLP / Seattle, WA

Slade Gorton, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Slade Gorton LLC / Bellevue, WA

Thomas M. Grim, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Cable Huston LLP / Portland, OR

8:45 am

Operational Issues from Bonneville’s (BPA) Perspective

Key issues for the coming year

Elliot Mainzer, Deputy Administrator (Acting)
Bonneville Power Administration / Portland, OR

9:30 am

The Continuing Challenge of Integrating Intermittent Renewables

Perspectives on the current issues: Oversupply; regulations and other charges for integrating renewables (including recent FERC filings by PacifiCorp and Puget Sound Energy, Inc.); other hot spots in the relationship between developers and utilities

Gary D. Bachman, Esq.
Van Ness Feldman, LLP / Washington, DC

Lara L. Skidmore, Esq.
Troutman Sanders LLP / Portland, OR

10:30 am


10:45 am

Transmission in the Pacific Northwest: How the Regional Entities are Coordinating Their Activities

Overview of the entities and current issues under consideration

Sarah Dennison-Leonard, Esq.
Sarah Dennison-Leonard, Attorney At Law / Portland, OR

Bonneville Power Administration

Charles H. Combs, Esq., Office of General Counsel
Bonneville Power Administration / Portland, OR

Columbia Grid

Jeffrey C. Miller, P.E., Vice President & Manager, Planning
ColumbiaGrid / Portland, OR

12:15 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 pm

Potential Operational Changes Arising from Renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty

Update on the current state of the negotiations as they relate to river flows and energy transactions

James C. Waldo, Esq.
Gordon Thomas Honeywell LLP / Tacoma, WA

2:15 pm

Market Manipulation and Enforcement

Lessons from recent high-profile enforcement actions involving JP Morgan, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, and others

Stan Berman, Esq., Moderator, Program Co-Chair
Sidley Austin LLP / Seattle, WA

Sean K. Collins, Deputy Director, Division of Analytics and Surveillance
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission / Washington, DC

Lessons from recent high-profile enforcement actions involving JP Morgan, Barclays, Deutsche Bank; and others

Shaun D. Ledgerwood, Esq., Ph.D., Senior Consultant
The Brattle Group, Inc. / Washington, DC

3:15 pm


3:30 pm

Quick Updates on Other Major Grid and Market Operational Developments

Grid Reliability: Status Report on the PacifiCorp/Cal ISO Proposal for a West-Wide Energy Imbalance Market including an update on the FERC proceeding; expected impact on Western energy markets if it is approved

Natalie L. Hocken, Senior Vice President, Transmission & System Operations
PacifiCorp / Portland, OR

Electric grid cyber security: NARUC cyber security risk assessment and risk mitigation planning

The Hon. Philip B. Jones, Esq., Commissioner
Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission / Olympia, WA

The most appropriate role for power marketing agencies: Update on the US Department of Energy report on where they are effective and where not; implications for the best fit into power markets in the Pacific Northwest

Randall W. Hardy, Principal and Founder
Hardy Energy Consulting / Seattle, WA

5:00 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn



Regular tuition for this program is $1245 with a group rate of $935 each for two or more registrants from the same firm. For government employees, we offer a special rate of $830. For students and people in their job for less than a year, our rate is $622.50. All rates include admission to all seminar sessions, food and beverages at breaks, and all course materials. Make checks payable to Law Seminars International.

Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 13 WA CLE credits. Upon request, we will apply for, or help you apply for, CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.


The conference will be held at the Washington State Convention Center at 800 Convention Place in Seattle, WA 98101. For overnight accommodations, call The Roosevelt hotel directly at 800-716-6199 for reservations at the special negotiated rate of $119 (plus taxes). Ask for the Law Seminar rate code: “LAWSEM”. Rooms are on a first come, first served basis. For information on The Roosevelt, visit:
More about the Location
Map & Directions

If You Cannot Attend

Our complete Homestudy Course, consisting of a DVD recording and the course materials, is available for $1255. The course materials alone are available for $100. We will ship your Homestudy order via UPS ground within two weeks after the seminar or from the date we receive payment.
Order Homestudy

Cancellation & Substitution

You may substitute another person at any time. We will refund tuition, less a $50 cancellation fee, if we receive your cancellation by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. After that time, we will credit your tuition toward attendance at another program or the purchase of a Homestudy. There is a $25 cancellation fee for Course Materials orders and $50 for Homestudy orders.

Faculty Bios

Stan Berman, Program Co-Chair, partner, Sidley Austin LLP, specializes in FERC, appellate and courtroom litigation concerning electric utility issues, including market operations, transmission, rates, mergers and acquisitions, enforcement, and reliability. Previously, he worked at FERC, where he supervised all electric matters set for hearing, including the nation-wide implementation of FERC’s Order No. 888.

Slade Gorton, Program Co-Chair, Slade Gorton LLC, spent 18 years as a U.S. Senator, where he was appointed to committee posts including Energy and Natural Resources. He is a Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center and was on the National War Powers Commission.

Thomas Grim, Program Co-Chair, partner, Cable Huston LLP, has 25 years experience in energy and public utility law, including: Commercial transactions, energy project development, administrative and judicial proceedings.

The Hon. Philip D. Moeller, Special Address, Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, was an energy policy advisor to U.S. Senator Gorton where he worked on electricity policy, electric system reliability, hydropower, energy efficiency, nuclear waste, energy and water appropriations.

Gary D. Bachman, partner, Van Ness Feldman, LLP, focuses on litigation, finance, transactional and regulatory matters pertaining to the electric industry, including: project development, ownership structure, regulatory treatment, permitting, siting, and the environmental and natural resource issues.

The Hon. Stephen Bloom, Commissioner, Public Utility Commission of Oregon, is a former lawyer and U.S. magistrate judge. Previously, he was General Counsel to Everpower Wind Holdings, Inc.

David W. Brown, Senior Principal and Co-founder at Obsidian Renewables LLC, focuses on transaction structures, tax and finance, and resolving or liquidating distressed companies and assets, with an emphasis on forest products, finance, energy and bankruptcy estates.

Sean K. Collins is Deputy Director of the Division of Analytics and Surveillance (DAS) within the Office of Enforcement (OE) of FERC. DAS performs detailed market surveillance and portfolio analysis related to the identification, investigation, and prosecution of market manipulation and other potential violations of federal energy laws.

Charles H. Combs is an attorney for Bonneville Power Administration, Office of General Counsel.

The Hon. David W. Danner is Chairman of the Utilities and Transportation Commission, and has been the Agency’s Executive Director and Secretary. Previously, he was Energy and Telecommunications Policy Advisor to Gov. Gary Locke, a member of the Pollution Control and Shorelines Hearings boards, and an attorney in private practice.

Sarah Dennison-Leonard, Attorney at Law, serves as facilitator for the Northwest Power Pool Members’ Market Assessment and Coordination Initiative (MC Initiative). She is an independent practitioner representing and advising utility industry clients.

Marie L. Fiala, partner, Sidley Austin LLP, has a trial, litigation and counseling practice emphasizing antitrust, energy, and financial issues. She is a recognized Best Lawyer and Super Lawyer.

Edward A. Finklea, Executive Director at Northwest Industrial Gas Users, specializing in natural gas and electricity regulation. Previously, he was a partner at Cable Huston Benedict Haagensen & Lloyd LLP.

Randall W. Hardy, Principal and Founder of Hardy Energy Consulting, was Administrator of Bonneville Power Administration and Superintendent of Seattle City Light. He now provides strategic advice on electric power and transmission issues in the West.

Kimberly J. Harris, President and CEO of Puget Sound Energy, was the Chief Resource Officer, and has guided the expansion of the company’s energy efficiency and wind power programs. Previously, she held positions in the company’s regulatory and legal departments.

Natalie L. Hocken, Senior Vice President, Transmission & System Operations, PacifiCorp, is responsible for the transmission operations of PacifiCorp’s two balancing authority areas in the west. Previously, she was the Vice President and General Counsel for Pacific Power and lead counsel and Assistant General Counsel in PacifiCorp’s Office of the General Counsel.

William H. Holmes, partner, K&L Gates LLP, focuses on energy and infrastructure projects and transactions with an emphasis on wind energy, solar energy, hydroelectric power, geothermal, biomass, natural gas, carbon offsets, and energy storage.

The Hon. Philip B. Jones, Commissioner, Washington Utilities & Transportation, is President of NARUC, where he has been on the Task Forces of Intercarrier Compensation and ETC Designations, and is Chair of Federal Legislation and Vice Chair of the Washington Action Committee.

Massoud Jourabchi, Manager, Economic Analysis at the NW Power & Conservation Council, is responsible for regional economic forecasts, electricity demand forecasts, forecasts of energy prices and analysis of the economic structure of power markets.

Dan Kirschner is Executive Director of the Northwest Gas Association, representing the natural gas industry in the Pacific Northwest. Previously, he was Chief of Staff for the Majority Caucus of the Washington State House of Representatives.

Shaun D. Ledgerwood, Esq., Ph.D., Senior Consultant, The Brattle Group, specializes in the economic analysis of manipulation claims in commodities markets. He focuses on competitive matters within and across physical and financial markets; regulatory issues in energy markets, and the determination of liability and damages in matters involving torts, contracts and fraud.

Elliot Mainzer, Deputy Administrator (Acting), Bonneville Power Administration, oversees BPA’s Finance, Strategy, Legal, Public Affairs, Risk Management, Compliance, Governance and Internal Audit functions and is the principal policy and strategy advisor to the BPA Administrator.

Jeffrey C. Miller, P.E., Vice President and Manager of Planning at ColumbiaGrid, is responsible for planning activities including the development of a Biennial Transmission Expansion Plan. Previously, he was the Director of Transmission Planning at PacifiCorp.

Lara L. Skidmore is the Office Managing Partner for Troutman Sanders’ Portland office. She works in the firm’s Federal Regulation of Electricity and Gas practice group, where she specializes in transmission access, integration of renewable energy resources, transmission contract and rate issues, and regulatory compliance.

The Hon. Marsha H. Smith is serving her fourth term as a member of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. She is immediate past Chair of the WECC Board of Directors and represents Idaho on the Western Interconnection Regional Advisory Body and the State-Provincial Steering Committee.

James C. Waldo, partner, Gordon Thomas Honeywell LLP, focuses on complex negotiations, project permitting, and implementation and representation of public and private entities in multi-party negotiations.