Grid Modernization: Where are we today? An industry roundtable discussion

Following a major recent international energy conference in the USA, we have gathered some industry experts who were in attendance to gain their insights on the status of the industry and grid modernization initiatives.

May 1, 2024 

11:00 AM ET / 10:00 AM CT / 8:00 AM PT / 4:00 PM GMT

Duration: 1 hour 

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There is no shortage of information and dialogue describing the state of the industry and what needs to be done to modernize the electric grid. The drivers are well known. We have seen an unprecedented amount of investment from both public and private sectors to accelerate grid modernization projects to support the growing demand for power and the integration of renewable energy sources.

In this panel discussion we will hear from global industry experts who are investing in projects and technology solutions designed to facilitate a more automated, reliable, agile, sustainable and secure grid. Their experiences and insights will shed light on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as we move toward a more sustainable power grid.

Key topics of discussion:

  • Critical technologies that will drive grid modernization projects
  • Energy companies’ near-term challenges of integrating Distributed Energy Resources (DERs)
  • The role of OEMs in grid modernization projects
  • Challenges facing electric utilities to meeting and proving net-zero CO2 emissions. Net-zero, and or other carbon performance terms, are closely tied to ‘grid modernization’ especially in the context of lifecycle carbon analysis (LCA). Utilities are exploring a range of alternatives to fossil fuel-generated power such as onsite renewables with microgrids with battery storage, carbon capture & sequestration, direct air capture, and switching to alternative fuels (RNG, hydrogen, ammonia) for power plants. 
  • Incentives for energy producers to invest in grid modernization projects.



Russell Boyer, 
Global Energy Field Director, Utilities
Dell Technologies

A passionate innovator, he leads the Utilities Industry practice at Dell Technologies focused on advancing human progress by developing solutions that accelerate the energy transition. His responsibilities include strategy, solution development, partner management, and key account engagements enabling the digital transformation of the energy industry. With twenty-five years’ experience, he is a proven utility solutions expert, applying policy, regulations and standards to drive technology solutions which deliver business outcomes. A firm believer in accelerating collaboration leads the Dell global utility industry community. He also serves as a board member of the GridWise Alliance and Texas A&M Smart Grid Center focused on advancing grid modernization. 

Russell graduated from Texas A&M University with an MBA and a Bachelors in MIS. He enjoys golf, pickleball, autocross, and spending time with his family.

Karen Wayland
GridWise Alliance

Dr. Karen Wayland is CEO of GridWise Alliance and Principal at kW Energy Strategies, where she provides strategic consulting on grid modernization and clean energy policy. She is a recognized expert in national energy and environmental policy and served in leadership positions at the highest levels of government and nonprofits, including as policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy and to the Speaker of the House. She serves as Director on the Board of Center for Sustainable Energy and is a Distinguished Associate at Energy Futures Initiative, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy and an Equity in Energy Ambassador at the US Department of Energy. She holds a Master of Science from the University of Connecticut and a Dual Ph.D. in the fields of geochemistry and resource development from Michigan State University.

Marco Nunes
Global Grid EDGE & Cloud Manager Grid Components 

Marco has held different Marketing & Sales and Product Marketing positions for ABB Switzerland before to join the Global Product Group organization during 2017, as Global Product Marketing Manager for ABB’s Distribution Solutions, Protection & Control Products. 

During January 2024, he was appointed as Head of Grid Edge & Cloud analytics for Digital Substations, to accelerate Protection & Control Virtualization and A.I. powered solutions for Distribution and Transmission Grids.

Marco Nunes works has a BSc in Electrical Engineering/Power Systems from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, a Swiss Federal Diploma of Commerce and a Postgraduate Diploma in International Business Management from the University of Cumbria in UK.

Bill Greek
Head of Origination, Critical Infrastructure and Utilities
Context Labs

Bill leads the Critical Infrastructure and Utilities practice at Context Labs. Context Labs is a software as a service (SaaS) company, based in Cambridge, MA, focused on transforming complex, instrument- and sensor-generated information into Asset Grade Data (AGD). Our goal is to make carbon an operating variable; carbon intensity a competitive differentiator; and climate performance a profit center.  Bill’s responsibilities include providing technical, financial, operational and project execution insights and solutions to the utility industry. With 43 years’ experience, Bill is a subject matter expert in engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC); Energy and Infrastructure as a Service; project and green finance; and operations & maintenance of energy-intensive physical assets.   Bill is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering and Construction Management and is a licensed general contractor.  Bill lives in the Texas Hill Country with his family.

Dimitrios Tzelepis, PhD
CTO, Co-Founder
SMP Networks

Dimitrios Tzelepis, with degrees in BEng, MSc, and PhD, is a leading expert in power system control, protection, and automation. As co-founder and CTO of SMPnet, he is committed to digitalizing power grids and leads its technology strategy. His instrumental role in shaping intelligent, software-defined electrical grids has led to the creation of the Omega suite, a state-of-the-art, virtualization-ready grid management platform that provides adaptive optimization and real-time control of power grids. Dimitrios impacts the global energy sector through his involvement in technical committees. He has authored over 70 publications and driven advancements in power grids, including developing Grid Codes in various regions and pioneering projects, patents, and prototypes for the industry.

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