A highly functioning economy should take reliable power and heating for granted. Yet the two largest states in the US have both had events of instability in the last 18 months. California’s power grid was taxed by high heat in the summer of 2020, causing power prices to spike and brownouts to roll across service areas. In 2021, drought has forced gas-fired generation to take a substantially larger share of generation this year versus last. Texas suffered massive power failures in February 2021 due to a variety of factors including poor weatherization of its energy supply chain including traditional and renewable energy.

Both states, whether by design or open markets, have relied much more heavily on renewable power in recent years.  Have market participants and policymakers associated these failures with higher renewable penetration? How does a grid successfully plan for peaks in summer AND winter with an increasing share of power being generated by solar and wind?  Can nuclear power plants like Diablo Canyon be shut down as scheduled while still having grid stability?

Between Texas and California, what features does each grid planning model have to its advantage and disadvantage?  Are either of them or another state getting it right? What are some lessons to be learned in general as we move forward with energy transition?

We are joined by James Bushnell, professor in the Department of Economics at the University of California, Davis, and Gabriel Collins, Baker Botts Fellow in Energy and Environment at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. Carolyn Kissane, NY Energy Forum board member and Academic Director of the graduate program in Global Affairs at NYU's Center for Global Affairs, will moderate the discussion.

This event will be a virtual session via Zoom from 12:00 until 1:30 PM NY EST. Additional details will be provided to registered attendees prior to the session.


James Bushnell

Dr. James Bushnell is a professor in the Department of Economics at the University of California, Davis, and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prior to joining UC Davis, he spent 15 years as the Research Director of the University of California Energy Institute in Berkeley, and two years as the Cargill Chair in Energy Economics at Iowa State University. Professor Bushnell has long been actively involved in energy and environmental policy. Since 2002, he has served as a member of the Market Surveillance Committee (MSC) of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).  He has also advised the California Air Resources Board on emissions trading and other climate policies.

Gabriel Collins

Gabriel Collins is the Baker Botts Fellow in Energy & Environmental Regulatory Affairs at Rice University's Baker Institute. He was previously an associate attorney at Baker Hostetler, LLP, and is the co-founder of the China SignPost™ analysis portal. Collins has worked in the Department of Defense as a China analyst and as a private sector global commodity researcher, authoring more than 100 commodity analysis reports, both for private clients and for publication.

Collins’ research portfolio is global. His work currently focuses on legal, environmental and economic issues relating to water — including the food-water-energy nexus — as well as unconventional oil and gas development, and the intersection between global commodity markets and a range of environmental, legal and national security issues. His analysis draws from a broad swath of geospatial and other data streams, and often incorporates insights from sources in Chinese, Russian and Spanish.


Carolyn Kissane

Carolyn Kissane is Secretary, Energy Forum Advisory Board and serves as the Academic Director of the graduate program in Global Affairs at New York University's  Center for Global Affairs. She is a Clinical Professor where she teaches graduate level courses examining the geopolitics of energy, comparative energy politics, energy, environment and resource security, a regional course focusing on Central Asia.

Dr. Kissane is Coordinator of the Energy and Environmental Policy concentration at the Center and is faculty adviser to the Energy Policy International Club (EPIC). She was awarded the esteemed NYU Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007, the SCPS Award for Teaching Excellence in 2009, and nominated for the NYU-wide Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008, 2009, 2016 and 2018. She is a recipient of the Graduate Enhancement Area and Language Studies Award, Fulbright-Hayes Dissertation Award, IREX Grants, NYU Curricular Development Challenge Fund Grant, and NYU Dean's Research Grant.

She was named Breaking Energy's Top Ten New York Women in Energy and Top Ten Energy Communicator. She hosts Fueling our Future, an energy series she moderates which bring in energy and environment experts for conversation and debate. She also serves on the boards of the NYU Tandon Clean Start Advisory Board, CIV-Lab, and Art for Refugees in Transition. Dr. Kissane received her Ph.D. from Columbia University.


12:00 - 1:30 PM: Presentation and Discussion


This session is complimentary for all registrants. Registration is required for event link details.


We would be pleased to answer any questions you might have about The Energy Forum, Inc. or about this session. For updates, follow us on twitter @NYEnergyForum