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New York Energy Week is the innovative event series launched by Energy Solutions Forum and the New York Energy Week 2014 Opening Ceremony will break new ground this year by bringing together the State’s most influential energy regulatory decision makers to discuss how New York is charting a course toward a cleaner and more efficient energy system.

As utilities grapple with a business environment shifting toward greater use of distributed generation sources like wind and solar, energy efficient technology and demand response, regulatory questions and challenges inevitably arise. Just look at the net metering debate unfolding in several states as an example.

“As energy policy analysts, one of ESF’s founding missions is to bridge the gap that exists between policymakers and market participants. The 2014 Opening Ceremony will offer the perfect platform for the State’s administration to address the gaps and offer market-based solutions that will drive forward the collaboration and investment needed for innovation,” Angelique Mercurio, Founder & CEO, Energy Solutions Forum told Breaking Energy.

Business leaders in various energy sectors overwhelmingly say they need regulatory consistency and transparency in order to accurately make long-term investment decisions that limit risk, which is precisely why the New York Energy Week 2014 Opening Ceremony will be a must-attend event for many energy industry stakeholders. The convocation will provide valuable insight into the state’s evolving regulatory framework and policy mechanisms designed to increase the adoption of cost-competitive renewable energy.

“By changing the utility business we want to stimulate market demand for energy efficiency and renewable energy, which requires changes to the customer-utility contract that’s been in effect since the early 20th Century,” Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York Richard Kauffman told Breaking Energy in an email. “We are promoting policies that will help the utilities deliver energy in the most cost-effective and efficient manner possible,” he added.

From the utility perspective, Con Edison – which delivers power, natural gas and steam service to millions of residents in New York City and Westchester County – is working with regulators on this transition.

“We are working with our regulator, the New York State Public Service Commission, to project how the Utility of the Future must be structured and function in order to meet customer’s fast-changing needs. We have appointed a Utility of the Future team to coordinate this effort,” John McAvoy, president and CEO of Con Edison Inc. told Breaking Energy via email.

Tackling the Challenges

“One of the challenges is making sure that we are serving all our customers fairly. We support policies that ensure fair rates and cost allocation for all customers – those that choose to pursue DG solutions, and those that prefer traditional energy supply options,” said McAvoy.

“There are a number of challenges, but let’s talk about moving the government away from the current subsidy and grant-based funding system to one that’s more market-based we hope will aid in scaling up clean energy in New York. Government has an important role to play in the space that is close to the market on an evolving frontier,” Kauffman said.

He went on to explain that, “By filling gaps near to where the market is currently operating, we’re looking to animate the market to become self-sustaining, allowing us to harness market forces for achieving economic development and climate benefits. If we do this correctly, eventually we want to step aside and let the market forces lead. But the challenge is that there is still a learning curve with the private sector in understanding what we are doing. The Green Bank’s strategy of engaging with the private sector to fill financing gaps and transform markets without crowding out the private sector is a different kind of strategy for a public entity.”

Some of these issues are likely to come up during the opening panel discussion that will feature – in addition to John McAvoy – Audrey Zibelman, Chair of the New York Public Service Commission; Gil Quiniones, President & CEO of the NYPA; John Rhodes, President & CEO of NYSERDA; Alfred GriffinPresident of the New York Green Bank; Angelique Mercurio, Founder & CEO of Energy Solutions Forum and Emily Bjorklund, Chief Marketing Officer at Energy Solutions Forum.

As a major event sponsor, Con Edison is excited for New York Energy Week – which will take place during the week of June 16 to June 20.

“Con Edison is proud to be a Terawatt sponsor of New York Energy Week and to host the opening ceremony. Fast-evolving technology is driving rapid changes in our society’s energy needs and our customers’ expectations. Citizens and companies are more mindful than ever of leaving a clean, safe planet for future generations. Utility customers want resilience, costs they can manage, and information across multiple platforms – traditional platforms such as the phone and mainstream media and new ones, such as the mobile web, e-mail and social media. New York Energy Week will bring together thousands of people from numerous professions with a stake in America’s energy future to discuss how we can meet the challenges we face,” said McAvoy.

For his part, Richard Kauffman sees New York’s changing regulatory structure as a way to achieve the energy holy trinity of affordability, cleanliness and reliability, while fostering a healthy economic environment.

“The new utility regulation regime will transform how we compensate utilities and incentivize customers to cut demand. We are putting policies in place to really give the customer control over how they use energy and energy companies more flexibility and market-certainty with how they can efficiently deliver that energy in an affordable way that cuts cost for the ratepayers. This is part of an overall new approach that ultimately aims to preserve the environment, decrease utility bills and create opportunities for economic growth,” Kauffman explained.

Founded in 2011, Energy Solutions Forum (ESF) provides U.S. energy policy research and data services to support investment decisions across all sectors of the energy industry. Headquartered in New York City, ESF is proud to be a NYC ACRE company.

ESF is the creator of EnerKnol, the first one-stop platform for comprehensive US energy policy information, providing energy market participants with regulatory data directly from U.S. Federal, State, and local energy policy information in real-time. ESF launched New York Energy Week to support the company’s founding mission to drive industry investment through information access and collaboration across all sectors of the diverse, and often fragmented, energy industry.