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In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with Patti Poppe who is the President and CEO at CMS Energy in Jackson, Michigan. The company is using new technology and old school techniques to accelerate its clean energy plan. Ms. Poppe discusses a first-of-its-kind partnership with Google and UpLight to optimize energy usage. Also, find out how Jackson, Michigan became the most energy efficient small town in the United States.

Ms. Poppe joined CMS Energy in 2011. She was named President and CEO in 2016.  She has extensive utility knowledge, including customer experience and satisfaction, rates and regulation, generation, and distribution. Ms. Poppe has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. She obtained a Master of Science in Management from Stanford University. 

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The Latest in Solar R&D

With Mary Werner, Solar Program Manager, NREL

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Community Solar Ready to Shine

With Jeff Cramer, President and CEO, Coalition for Community Solar Access

Nov. 17, 2023

“We’ve figured out a way for any electricity customer to be able to participate and benefit from local clean energy deployment in less than five minutes with guaranteed savings.”

Tom Kuhn Sees Massive Utility Culture, Business Shift

With Tom Kuhn, President and CEO, Edison Electric Institute

Nov. 10, 2023

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Hawaii’s Pivot to Sustainability

With Stephen Walls, Deputy Chief Energy Officer, Hawaii State Energy Office

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“The office is going through an exercise of trying to think through and identify what resources the state does have, to make sure that the energy system remains available, even in, during strange or extreme weather events.”

Big Boost to Renewables’ Reserves

With Dalia Patiño-Echeverri, professor, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University.

Sept. 18, 2023

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Wind Mystery and Grid Update at SPP

With Lanny Nickell, Executive Vice President and CEO, Southwest Power Pool

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One Trillion Dollars for Tomorrow’s Green Grid

With Sheri Givens, President and CEO, SEPA

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“Whether or not enough is being done, time will tell. I know it takes a while to ramp up such large targeted investment and I know a lot of the utilities and the stakeholders are waiting for clear guidance from the federal government.”

PJM’s Massive Grid Evolution

With Kenneth Seiler, Vice President, PJM Interconnection

March 30, 2023

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Give the Grid a Digital Spine

With Audrey Zimbelman, former Vice President, Moonshot X Factory at Google

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Denmark Pioneers Vast Expansion of Wind Power via Two Energy Islands

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“It definitely takes some braveness from the politicians to start these projects where a lot of the technology is still new or untested when they are taking the decisions.”

Ten Times Hotter than the Sun

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Jan. 30, 2023

“It will change everything (on the potential of fusion).”

Creating Stars, Powering the World - Here Comes Fusion!

With Annie Kritcher, Physicist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Jan. 19, 2023

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Here Come Residential Heat Pumps

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Kansas City’s Massive Solar Ambitions

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Dramatic Fed EV Charging Expansion

With Nick Voris, Senior Manager of Electrification, Evergy

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“It’s going to unlock nationwide travel with respect to EVs.”

Austin Seeks Equity for Electric Customers

With Jackie Sargent, General Manager, Austin Energy,

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“When we are looking at moving forward and reaching those carbon-free goals, affordability is part of that equation, and it’s really important for us that we address the customers who are most vulnerable within our community.”

Enel of Italy Leads a Surge in US Renewables

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“We have expectations of adding at least two gigawatts per year of additional renewable development.”

Grid Italian Style - ENEL Defines the Future

With Antonio Cammisecra, Head of the Enel Grids

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“We are the absolute leader in this field.”

Microgrids Blanket Alaska - Prime US Testbed

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“I see microgrids becoming a bigger and bigger thing as climate change impacts accelerate and the power outage rate keeps going up. People are so dependent on electricity; they’re going to want some form of a microgrid resiliency.”

Utilities Fully in on Carbon Fight

With Julia Hamm, CEO, Smart Electric Power Alliance

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Nuclear Renaissance Ahead

With Maria Korsnick, President and CEO, Nuclear Energy Institute

June 3, 2022

“Imagine nuclear really forming the backbone of that clean-energy, highly-reliable grid upon which the intermittent resources can also be added.”

LA’s Bold, Equitable Energy Vision

With Simon Zewdu, Director of Transmission Planning, Regulatory Processes and Innovation, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

May 18, 2022

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Feds Aim to Speed Approval of Infrastructure

With Christine Harada, Executive Director, Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council

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ComEd Pursues Equity as it Decarbonizes

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April 20, 2022

“We want to make sure that we’re putting our customers at the center of this transition.”

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April 8, 2022

“I would love to see it this calendar year.”

Midwest, West Ready for Major Federal Grid Upgrades

With Tracey LeBeau, Administrator and CEO, Western Area Power Administration (WAPA)

March 2, 2022

“As a new administrator, folks often ask me what keeps me up at night and I often have responded with weather. Weather keeps me up at night.”

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With Andrew Phillips, Vice President of Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure for the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)

Feb. 11, 2022

“We have the opportunity and to build new transmission lines and not build them to the same specs and standards that we used in the ‘80s and ‘70s but to think of new ways of doing it that have higher power flow, higher reliability, and are more compatible with the environment.”

Grid Heads to New Era Via Infrastructure Spend

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“The new infrastructure is proving to be robust against even the storms that we’re seeing today, but what we do need to ... determine (is) whether or not the cost-benefit relationship has changed.”

National Grid Takes New York Green

With Rudolph Winter, President, National Grid New York

Oct. 18, 2021

“We have very ambitions climate goals in New York State, 70% renewable electricity by 2030; 100% decarbonized electricity by 2040. In order to get to those kinds of targets we need to start now.”

EVs Take Off - Grid, Regulations to Evolve

With Philip Jones, Executive Director, Alliance for Transportation Electrification

Oct. 6, 2021

“It’s a much more complex system to run and manage for the utility and the grid operator but it offers a lot of load for a management flexibility.”

The Future Grid - Ameren Transmission’s Take

With Shawn Schukar, Chairman and President, Ameren Transmission

Sept. 23, 2021

“What is happening in mid-America is sweeping the nation, and more transmission and distribution line planning must be coordinated.”

Transmission Key to LA’s Renewable Goals

With Jason Rondou, Director of Resource Planning, Development and Programs, LADWP

Aug. 24, 2021

“Maximizing the local solar, storage, and demand response... regardless of what scenario we go with, we know that there’s a baseline of no-regrets transmission investment that we need to make.”

Los Angeles - A Global Energy Pioneer

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Aug. 6, 2021

“Not only are we doing right by Angelinos by leading the charge and really making sure that we are ushering in a clean and reliable and affordable energy system but we know that what we do in LA has reverberations way beyond our border.”

California Braces for Fire, Massive Storage Deployments

With Elliot Mainzer, President and CEO, California Independent System Operator

July 26, 2021

“There’s just no way we’re going to be able to meet our clean energy objectives reliably without additional transmission resource diversification.”

Securing the Grid, Addressing Energy Poverty at USEA

With Sheila Hollis, Acting Executive Director, United States Energy Association

July 9, 2021

“Cybersecurity and security in general of the grid… are the key issues of the day and extremely worrisome.”

Surging EVs and An Ongoing Fire Threat - San Diego Utility Responds

With Caroline Winn, CEO, San Diego Gas & Electric

June 24, 2021

“The holy grail is really long-duration energy storage that can really provide backup power during extended power outages and help to synchronize the supply and demand across the seasons.”

Massive Puerto Rico Grid Modernization Underway

With Wayne Stensby, President and CEO, LUMA Energy

June 4, 2021

“We will be administering the deployment of the FEMA funding to rebuild what is desperately needed here in Puerto Rico in terms of a badly dilapidated and damaged … transmission and distribution …”

Hawaii All-in on Solar - Goes Big on EVs

With Connie Lau, President and CEO, Hawaiian Electric Industries

May 24, 2021

“We have to get ready for a lot more provision of electricity because we’ll be providing electricity not to just the normal parts of the economy - but now if transportation starts switching over to use electricity as a fuel, we’ll have to be prepared to provide that as well.”

Renewables Land in Midwest - MISO Ready

With John Bear, CEO, MISO

May 6, 2021

“We are going to need some significant transmission changes… to make sure that we can move the wind and solar around so they don’t have to curtail it when we don’t have enough load to absorb it in the regions that it’s in.”

Colorado Aims for a Million EVs

With Alice Jackson, President, Xcel Energy Colorado

April 22, 2021

“It is a big target and a goal but it’s one that we’re really excited about taking on.”

Lesson of the Winter Power Collapse

With Barbara Sugg, President and CEO, Southwest Power Pool

April 1, 2021

“We would be naive to think that won't happen again.”

Diving into the Texas Grid Collapse

With Ken Melock, Senior Director, Center for Energy Studies at Rice University

March 16, 2021

“You should never ever have a system designed where there is a single point of catastrophic failure.”

Electrification 2030 for the Empire State - Going Big on Offshore Wind

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March 2, 2021

“The two big issues that we need to think about are resiliency, and cyber risk and physical security risk.”

The ABCs of Electrification - Exelon Evolves in Atlantic City, Baltimore, Chicago and Beyond

With Calvin Butler Jr., CEO Exelon Utilities

Feb. 15, 2021

“The utilities are going to be critical as we move into this new era of the energy company of the future.”

Transcending Success – Southern Company’s Tom Fanning

With Tom Fanning, Chairman, President and CEO of Southern Company

Jan. 29, 2021

“One of the greatest harbingers of future failure is past success.”

The Googlization of Electricity

With Raiford Smith, Energy, Analytics, and Markets Lead, Google

Jan. 13, 2021

“We now want to have carbon-free energy every hour of every day everywhere at all times by 2030.”

Texas Wind - The ERCOT Story

With Bill Mangess, President and CEO, ERCOT

Jan. 4, 2021

“It’s affected most every part of our planning and our operations to try to manage these different sorts of resources because they do behave really differently on the system.”

Leading Puerto Rico to Electric Resilience

With Wayne Stensby, President and CEO, Luma Energy

Dec. 15, 2020

“It takes investments, and it takes systems, and it takes a methodical approach, but it is absolutely possible.”

Pivotal Energy Research Ahead - New Leader at EPRI

With Arshad Mansoor, President and CEO, EPRI

Dec. 1, 2020

“The next decade could be the most pivotal decade for the energy industry.”

Lights On, Puerto Rico! David Owens’ Career Capstone

With David Owens, Vice-Chair, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority

Nov. 13, 2020

“This is really about the future of Puerto Rico. This is about bringing jobs back to Puerto Rico, enhancing economic development, re-establishing businesses in Puerto Rico, getting Puerto Ricans employed.”

Buildout of the Digital Grid - CenterPoint's Leading Edge

With Kenny Mercado, Senior Vice President of Electric Operations, CenterPoint Energy

Oct. 16, 2020

“The wholesale market is competitive, and the retail market is competitive, and so many entities can participate and it enables the real evolution of technology to come to the forefront and we make investments across the supply chain.”

Grid Evolution, Northwest Style

With Bob Rowe, President and CEO, NorthWest Energy

Sept. 30, 2020

“The entire West is concerned about the ability to meet peak. Within the Pacific Northwest, that concern has, for a number of years, been more acute, but for us the arrow has been at red really going back to our 2015 electric supply plan.”

Transmission Challenges in a Carbon-Free World

With Mark Gabriel who, CEO and Administrator, Western Area Power Administration

Sept. 11, 2020

“There's an opportunity for the right investments, the right construction, and the ability to work towards...a carbon-free or reduced-carbon future.”

Grid Gets Artificially Intelligent

With Vivian Bouet, Chief Information Officer, CPS Energy

Aug. 31, 2020

“You want to be able to demonstrate the impact to the customer and have their voices reflected in what you’re doing.”

Annapolis Pilots Efficiency

With Sam duPont, Principal of Strategic Programs, Baltimore Gas and Electric

Aug. 10, 2020

“The technology can be brilliant. It can be leading edge. It can be amazing, but if no one actually uses it, then it doesn't really matter. We're trying to balance that leading-edge tech with leading-edge community engagement.”

Xcel Excels in Carbon Slash, Microgrid Boost

July 29, 2020

“The technologies that I think about to get that last 20% out are things like the hydrogen-- development of hydrogen fuel as well as storage, advanced nuclear, carbon capture, dispatchable renewable generation, and of course additional storage and demand side management type opportunities.”

Duquesne Light’s Industrial Midwest

With Steve Malnight, President and CEO, Duquesne Light Holdings and Duquesne Light Company

July 17, 2020

“We're going to serve customers safely, reliably every day with the power they need but do it in very different ways, in ways where customers are not just flipping a switch on and not thinking about where their power comes from but are focused and concerned about their environmental footprint, the resiliency of their system, maybe their self-sufficiency”

Austin Energy Accelerates Green Goals

With Thomas Pierpoint, Vice President of Electric System Engineering and Technical Services, Austin Energy

June 30, 2020

“We've got batteries that are tied to large-scale grids. We have the ability to reduce, significantly reduce load off the system at the grid level.”

Rural Colorado Pioneers Affordable, Green Homes

With Bryan Hannegan, President and CEO, Holy Cross Energy

June 16, 2020

“We can have all the best technology in the world, but it we don’t deploy it in a a way that's of benefit to the customer… (it) isn’t going to get us anywhere.”

Grid Wards off Threats, Rapidly Evolves

With Jim Robb, President and CEO, North American Electric Reliability Corporation

June 2, 2020

“We have a real opportunity here to really integrate kind of how the grid is planned, how it's operated, and how it's secured as we go through this reinvention process.”

California Utility’s Big Pivot in Tumultuous Times

With Drew Murphy, Senior Vice President, Edison International

April 22, 2020

“Our longer-term strategy is to build a resilient grid that can provide more and more energy that fuels the economy and the society that we live in.”

Smart Grid in the Age of Corona

With Joe Svachula and Eric Helt, Exelon Utilities

April 9, 2020

“What smart meters have done is taken essentially a big meter reading contingent for us off of the street. They've been redeployed as linemen and elsewhere through the company. If you can imagine 10 million meters that need to be read once every month, our employees were literally touching every home, every business in the service territory on a monthly basis.”

NYC Plugs into Carbon-Free Era

With Matthew Ketschke, Vice President, Con Edison

March 19, 2020

“You're going to see more rooftop solar. Battery systems will be going on roofs and parking lots of buildings. The way our systems work--it's going to look a lot moe like cross-town traffic in midtown Manhattan.”

New Mexico Beyond Coal

With Patrica Collawn, Chairman, President, and CEO, PNM

March 4, 2020

“Some feel we gave up money that rightly should have gone to shareholders... But we think the solution to climate change will require a compromise on everybody's part.”

Dawn of the Urban Microgrid

With Dr. Shay Bahramirad, Vice President, Engineering and Smart Grid, ComEd

Feb. 12, 2020

“We have to think about accommodating more and more renewable energy and distributed energy resources in the system. That means that we need to rethink the design and how the electric grid works.”

Utility Goes Smart Grid

With Maria Pope, President and CEO, Portland General Electric

Feb. 4, 2020

“With the pace of technological advances, we're going to continue to see lower and lower costs and better integration of renewable energy.”

Dominion Goes Big with Offshore Wind, Methane Capture, E-School Buses

With Thomas Farrell, Chairman, President, and CEO of Dominion Energy

Jan. 20, 2020

“It’s a brand-new industry in the United States. We do believe it’s ready for prime time.”

Utilities and Agencies Need to Work Together

With Elliott Mainzer, Administrator, Bonneville Power Administration

Jan. 6, 2020

“It comes down to collaboration…to achieve the kind of objectives that we have for the future of our power system.”

Embracing Sustainability

With Ralph Izzo, Chairman, President & CEO, PSEG

Dec. 19, 2019

“We view ourselves as an energy infrastructure company and not as someone who lives to pump greater volumes of gas or electricity to our customers.”

Plugging in to Small Nuclear Power

With Doug Hunter, CEO and General Manager, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS)

Dec. 9, 2019

“We think it’s a game changer. We think this is a market-based solution for greenhouse gas in the electric sector around the world.”

EV's Rapid Growth in the Heartland

With Chuck Caisley, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Public Affairs & Chief Customer Officer, Evergy

Nov. 26, 2019

“This is kind of a triple play. It's a win for the environment; it's a win for our shareholders, and it's a win for our customers from a cost perspective.”

The Vermont Energy Vision

With Mary Powell, President and CEO, Green Mountain Power

Nov. 15, 2019

“We're very excited about this because this is the opportunity for customers to completely transform their relationship with energy by going with solar, with storage, with an EV and bundling it all into one price and bundling it all into, you know, what we all know as subscription pricing.”

Global Electric Change

With Audrey Zibelman, CEO, Australian Energy Market Operator

Oct. 25, 2019

“We have to be prepared that for the resources that come in, they are very different than the resources that are leaving, and they require different types of network capability, and that has to be addressed in advance, not after the fact.”

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