SPEER + Zpryme

Resilience Workshop + Happy Hour

Join us on November 1st from 2-6 PM for an afternoon of learning, engaging with energy experts, and networking. The workshop if free and includes drinks and hor dourves during the happy hour to follow. 

Moontower Cider Company
1916 Tillery St, Austin TX 78723

*Please note parking is available onsite but limited to 15 spots. Street parking is available as well. 

With our state’s growing population and extreme temperatures on the rise, there is a need for the expansion of all potential energy optimization resources to meet increasing demand needs and improve the reliability of our grid. Energy efficiency remains an important and cost-effective resource Texas can use to increase resiliency and lower peak demand at a fraction of the cost compared to many expensive supply-side generation mechanisms. Other benefits of utilizing energy efficiency and optimization include improved indoor air quality (and potential health benefits), reduced pollution, lower utility bills, and increased building comfort to name a few. The PUCT stated in their Phase I Proposal for the Wholesale Market Redesign Project 52373 that increasing energy efficiency programs were needed and would be completed as part of that Phase.

We can reduce energy consumption and cut peak loads with simple efficiency measures and flexibility services: incentive programs for attic insulation, sealing, heat pumps, smart thermostats & demand response programs, and more. Our Workshop and Happy Hour will bring together top minds in Texas energy to talk about how we can tap into our potential for a better, more reliable grid.

We’ll discuss:

  • > Ways consumers can be part of the solutions through energy efficiency upgrades, utility programs, and demand response.
  • > The recent passing of SB 1699
  • > PUCT’s Aggregated Distributed Energy Resources (ADER)Task Force pilot program
  • > Future role Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) and microgrids will play in the ERCOT market


Michael Lee, Octopus Energy

Michael Lee has worked in the renewable energy industry for more than a decade and currently serves as CEO of Octopus Energy U.S. After earning his MBA from Harvard, Michael quickly unlocked his passion for cleaner and cheaper electricity, working on some of the first battery storage projects and developing solar solutions for global Fortune 500’s. He spent nearly a decade in the IPP industry helping finance some of the earliest batteries, wind and solar projects before the industry matured to its current form. He then launched an energy retailer in Texas called Evolve Energy, with the idea that customers can optimize energy usage to ease grid tensions and save money on their bills through AI and IOT. Through a shared mission to decarbonize energy using tech and smart rates, Evolve Energy was acquired by Octopus Energy in 2020. Octopus Energy U.S. wants to enable a more modern, reliable and resilient grid across the country, starting in Texas. Octopus Energy is currently valued at more than $5 billion in 2023 and is backed by some of the largest global energy players such as Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management, Origin Energy, Tokyo Gas and CPP.

Carmen Best, Recurve

Carmen leads Recurve’s policy outreach and development, working to enable demand flexibility as a market-based procurable resource. Recurve brings transparency to demand-side transactions with consistent, accessible performance analytics for all market actors. Carmen ardently supports the development of open-source methods and software to revolutionize how demand flexibility can contribute to grid optimization. [52 words] 

Before joining Recurve, Carmen spent several years at the California Public Utilities Commission, bringing the findings and insights from evaluation to statewide energy policy through demand forecasting, integrated resource planning, and overall improvements in the deployment of energy efficiency. She led the Energy Efficiency Commercial Programs & Evaluation team and was a senior analyst. She facilitated the Commission’s transition to standardized data and reporting, priority-based evaluation planning, and stakeholder engagement processes to manage its large-scale energy efficiency evaluation portfolio. 

Julia Black, Austin Energy

Julie Black has been the Energy Development Program Manager for the Resiliency as a Service (RaaS) program at Austin Energy since August of 2023 where she oversees the development of on-site, distributed, back up generation for commercial customers that run on fuel sources other than diesel.  Prior to that role, she served as an Economist in Austin Energy’s Data Analytics and Business Intelligence department since 2015, where her work included leading a machine learning project to identify electric vehicle premises based on household load shapes.  She also facilitated a weekly Data Enhancement meeting with multiple stakeholders.  Additionally, she has worked on customer segmentation, geographical information systems, and time of-use rate impacts on energy consumption and costs.  Before Austin Energy, she was a Competitive Wholesale Market Economist and then a Rate Analyst at the Public Utility Commission of Texas.