Julia Hamm, CEO of the Smart Electric Power Alliance, and Sharon Allan, CEO of SGIP, kicked off DistribuTECH 2017 with an announcement of the intent to merge the two organizations under the SEPA brand and organizational umbrella.
Speaking at a breakfast briefing, Hamm and Allan said that given the increasing integration of distributed energy resources (DERs) and grid modernization, a merger of SGIP and SEPA just makes sense. A smart transition to a clean energy future is driving changes to business and regulatory models plus improved customer engagement, SEPA’s particular areas of expertise for SEPA. It also means enhanced planning and grid operations plus technological advancement, the corresponding areas of expertise for SGIP.
“Within SEPA’s mission of facilitating the electric power sector’s smart transition to clean energy future, integrating SGIP’s technical knowledge is another way to serve our members. As a result of the merger, we are excited to add as many as 100 new member organizations to our existing base of 1,000 members, including utilities, private sector corporations and government agencies,” Hamm said. “Moreover, the combination of SEPA’s and SGIP’s resources and expertise will accelerate grid modernization efforts and have an even greater impact on the industry.”
Allan also stressed that, “SGIP’s focus areas of DER management, the energy Internet of Things, cybersecurity, standards and solar data exchange will continue to be a priority under the SEPA umbrella. Plus, a merger with SEPA will provide members with a much broader network of experts to collaborate and consult with on their grid modernization and DER questions and efforts.”
SEPA and SGIP share the same vision about the future of the energy sector. SEPA’s focus on market research, conferences and events, and advisory services — combined with SGIP’s technical depth — will enable greater cross-fertilization of ideas and initiatives in the industry dealing with business and technical issues, and market and regulatory concerns.
The merger has been approved by the boards of both organizations and now goes to the full SGIP membership for a vote. If approved by SGIP’s members, the merger could be legally finalized in the late first or early second quarter of 2017. However, to ensure the continued, orderly operations of the two organizations, the integration will be phased in during the remainder of the year. All of SGIP’s staff will transition to positions at SEPA and will continue to focus their work on programs originated at SGIP.