Welcome to Episode 17. I joined Gordon van Welie, President and Chief Executive Officer of ISO New England on a clear late summer's day at his office just outside of Springfield, Massachusetts. The general population would likely not be aware of the pivotal and critical role that an independent system operator plays in the reliable delivery of electricity across large regions of the United States moment by moment, 24/7.
ISO New England is an independent system operator that is responsible for the transmission of electricity across the six-state New England region that includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The company's power system engineers, economists, computer scientists and other professionals ensure that the region has reliable, competitively priced wholesale electricity today and into the future.
Gordon hails from South Africa and spent the foundational years of his career in a variety of engineering roles with Eskom, South Africa's electric utility. He joined Siemens and served as vice president and general manager of their power system's control division, delivering IT solutions for electric companies. From Siemens, he joined ISO New England as COO in September of 2000 and, shortly thereafter, was promoted to CEO in May of 2001.
Informative and Helpful Links
Program Guide Episode 18
0:30 Introduction to Episode 17
1:07 Introduction to ISO New England and Gordon van Welie its President and CEO
2:18 Foundations and origins of Independent System Operators and Regional Transmission Operators
3:50 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Orders 888 and 889
4:30 Critical policy question – how to decarbonize the electric system.
8:05 Break 1
8:22 The regional, state and federal level policy tapestry that affects the ISO
14:50 Break 2
10:56 The regional-level versus state-level policy in New England
17:55 Break 3
18:17 Operational risks such as fuel supply and the changing generation resource mix
19:23 “Fuel security” explained
21:24 Break 4
21:46 Is there a phased approach to a carbon-free future that assures power availability?
24:16 Electricity storage and other constraints on arrival speed to our clean energy future
26:40 Break 5
27:01 What can policy makers do to alleviate the constraints?
28:47 Resources, people and talent at the ISO that lead and stay abreast
30:26 Working with universities – intern programs and R&D work with professors
32:23 Closing comments – Perspective for young people coming up in a dramatically more exciting electric industry.
Biographies of Guests
Mr. Gordon van Welie
Gordon van Welie is President and Chief Executive Officer of ISO New England Inc., having previously served as the company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He joined ISO New England from Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution LLC, where he served as Vice President and General Manager of the Power Systems Control Division and was responsible for managing information technology solutions for electric companies. Before coming to Siemens, Mr. van Welie held several positions at ESKOM, South Africa’s electric utility based in Johannesburg. Mr. van Welie is a member of the Executive Committee of the US National Committee of CIGRE and the Member Representatives Committee of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). In 2016, he was awarded the Leadership in Power Award from the IEEE Power & Energy Society.
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