Today’s Trends, Tomorrow’s Energy Needs

May 20, 2016 @ 8:30 am – 3:45 pm
Room 235, Pyle Center
University of Wisconsin: Pyle Center
702 Langdon St, Madison, WI 53706
$75 Members, $125 Non-members
Cara Lee Mahany Braithwait

Monitoring businessMarket Inflection Drivers for Electricity: Tracking the Trends 

Part 1 in this four-part series which explores the physical, investment, pricing and customer effects of a market undergoing massive change.

Trends: Who, what, why and where are trends in the industry happening?  What are the predictions for the trends? What does past history suggest? And the numbers are…? Forecasting Future Energy Needs.  

This session will explore changing demographics, housing stock, weather patterns, and economic issues that are factors that must be considered in forecasting future energy demand.  We will look at how much and where these changes will occur.


If you know your energy history, you know that forecasting and building for future energy loads was forever dramatically changed with Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS) in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1980s. WPPSS (“Whoops”, nicknamed at the time) is most famous for defaulting on $2.25 billion in bonds for its canceled projects—projects that, once turned on, found no market for their power.

What happened?  At the time, predictions of future energy behavior and need were based on models that used straight-line extrapolation from past points of growth.  The key fault was to ignore the context in which those points existed and not question whether the context had changed.

Forecasting today is done with sophisticated models that try to manage for many of the drivers that affect future demand.  This session looks at a number of these drivers.


Draft Agenda

8:15        Welcome Coffee/Tea

8:30        If It Is About the Future…. Cara Lee Mahany Braithwait, Director, Wisconsin Public Utility Institute

8:40        Reading the Tea LeavesWhat Do Energy Forecasters Look for? What should they care about and why?  Martin Day, Manager of Forecasting and Optimization, MG&E

9:10        Big Picture Trends in Population, Workforce and Housing –  What are the population trends? Is Wisconsin aging, building new homes or apartments? Is Wisconsin on pace with the rest of the US for birth rates? How does Wisconsin compare for manufacturing output as compared to the US?  Dan Barroilhet, Demographer, WI Dept. of Administration, Division of Intergovernmental Relations

9:40        Transportation Mega-Trend Survey –  Now that we know where and what our population centers will look like, how will we move people and goods between them?  Dr. Anna Haines, Professor & Director of the Center for Land Use Education, UW-Stevens Point  (* see Note)

10:10      Discussion – What does Wisconsin need to think about going forward?  Led by Ethan Frost, Urban & Regional Planner, Wisconsin Department of Transportation

10:30      Break

10:45      Economic IndicatorsThe WPPSS’s error was in not recognizing the effect that changes in local economics was going to have on market demand. This session looks at Wisconsin’s economic future.  Dennis Winters, Office of Economic Advisors, WI Dept of Workforce Development

11:15      The Big Swings: Industrial and Commercial Futures –  What do we expect from the heavy hitters that can seriously affect energy, industrial and commercial development?  Lee Swindall, Vice President, Business & Industry Development, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

11:45      Discussion –  led by R. William (Bill) Provencher, Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics, UW-Madison, and Director, Navigant Consulting

12:15     Lunch

12:45      What if? What Does a New Roadmap for Generation and Transmission Look Like Under a Low-Carbon Plan?  In preparation for expected changes in our fuel supply mix, MISO conducted an analysis of what the Midwest region might look like under different supply scenarios.  David Boyd, External Affairs, MISO Energy (Midcontinent Independent System Operator)

1:15       A Word About WeatherWeather is still the top cause of changes in energy demand, so what does our future hold? More or less ice? More or less flooding?  Dan Vimont, Associate Professor, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, UW-Madison

1:45        Break

2:00        What’s in Your House: Energy Trends in Residential Markets –  At a micro-level, what is happening inside the home of today and tomorrow?  Bill Provencher, UW-Madison; Study co-authors Kathleen Ward and Abby Mayer, UW-Madison Graduate Students in Agricultural and Applied Economics

2:30        The Utility Perspective — This session is an informal discussion of what all these trends mean for our energy future. Session Discussant Invited: Kira Loehr, Attorney, Foley & Lardner; Andy Mendyk, Senior Forecasting Analyst, Alliant Energy; Todd Tadych, Consultant Transmission Planning Engineer, American Transmission Company

3:00        Optional Public Discussion –  Anyone who wishes may stay and discuss the program’s content.

3:45        Program Concludes

* Link to a publication from UW-Stevens Point Center for Land Use Education

Your registration fee includes materials, meals/breaks and access to materials on our website post-program.

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