Alumni in Energy Affinity Group banner

Third Annual Energy Symposium

Energy System Optimization: The Role of Decentralization

October 6, 2016 / 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Bracewell LLP, 2001 M St. NW, Suite 900, Washington D.C.

Historically the U.S. energy system has relied upon large, centralized power plants for its electric generation needs. But decentralization of the electric system has the potential to create more efficient uses of regional resources and to redefine the electric industry from being a “service industry”—yet, many questions of feasibility remain.

The 2016 Vermont Law School Alumni in Energy Symposium will explore the current critical technological and regulatory policy designs that are helping—and hindering—a decentralized grid structure, both in the U.S. and internationally. The speakers will examine models of where and how decentralization has been (and can be) optimized, proactive responses to specific barriers, the roles of the public and private sectors, and timeframes for implementation.


Introduction and Overview of Agenda (1:00 PM-1:15 PM)

Speaker: Dan Phillips JD/MSEL'04, Vermont Law School Alumni in Energy Affinity Group

PANEL 1: “The Status of Distributed Generation and Energy Efficiency Technology in the U.S. and Abroad“ (1:15 PM AM– 2:30 PM)

The first session will present the benefits and challenges of decentralization from a technological perspective, including the pros and cons for implementation in different regions in the U.S. and internationally.

Moderator: Jon Blansfield JD'14, Manager, Strategic Alliances for the Institute for Electric Innovation


PANEL 2: U.S. Penetration of Distributed Generation and Energy Efficiency (2:30 PM-3:50 PM)

Session 2 will focus on current domestic distributed generation and energy efficiency initiatives, identification of imminent and future barriers, and tangible response actions to barriers, drawing on experience from case studies. This session will assess where we are now, and how we should or should not be strategically crafting next steps to increase DG and EE penetration in this country.

Moderator: Stephen J. Hug, Associate, Bracewell


    • Betty Ann Kane, Chairman, D.C. Public Service Commission
    • Kira Loehr, Senior Counsel, Perkins Coie (former Executive Director of Wisconsin’s CUB)
    • Bob Mudge, Principal Attorney, The Brattle Group
    • Ari Peskoe, Harvard Law School Senior Fellow in Electricity Law

BREAK (3:50 PM-4:00 PM)

PANEL 3: Achieving International Targets: Energy Innovation and Access (4:00 PM– 5:00 PM)

Session 3 will compare international models for decentralization activities and key location-specific considerations. The link between access to energy and access to justice will be illuminated and tied into energy policy in the climate change era, with emphasis on mechanisms to achieve targets set by the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.

Moderator: Mindy Blank MELP'13, Professor of Environmental Studies, Green Mountain College; Founder and Partner, The Spring Network LLP


Closing Remarks and Tribute to Michael Dworkin (5:00 PM - 5:30 PM)

Reception (5:30 PM - 7:00 PM)

At the close of the symposium panels, we will honor Professor Michael Dworkin for his decade of leadership of the Institute for Energy and the Environment and the VLS energy program. Beginning this past summer Professor Dworkin stepped down as Director of the IEE and remains involved as the Founder and continues to teach full-time at VLS. Professor Kevin Jones has taken the over as Director of the Institute for Energy and the Environment.


Our Sponsors

Symposium sponsor logos 

Become a Sponsor

If you would like to be a sponsor of the 2016 Symposium, please contact Melissa Harwood.


 Make a Gift to VLS

Not yet logged in on vlsConnect?

Access our jobs board, alumni directory, and your giving history through secure registration and login. Share your professional news with us so we can promote you and your accomplishments. Join our online alumni community!



Register for vlsConnect button


Log in to vlsConnect button