CEATI Announces Additions to SOIG Executive Committee

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CEATI Announces Additions to the SOIG Executive Committee


The Strategic Options for Sustainable Power Generation Interest Group (SOIG) is pleased to announce the new Executive Committee for 2012. Mr. Ravi Seethapathy of Hydro One has now completed his two-year term as Chair, and during the last SOIG General Meeting in Montreal he was recognized for his outstanding efforts and contributions to the SOIG program. He will continue to share his knowledge as an advisor to the Committee. Advancing from her previous position as Vice-Chair, Ms. Helen Whittaker of BC Hydro will take over as the new Chair. New to the team, and joining her as Co-Vice Chairs, will be Claudia Banner of American Electric Power and Lovleen Bassan of Ontario Power Generation. Both Ms. Banner and Ms. Bassan bring many years of valuable experience to the position, and their combined areas of expertise will be important assets to the program moving forward.

In addition, CEATI welcomes Mr. Hal LaFlash to the SOIG Technology Advisor team comprised of Mr. Jerry Melcher and Mr. Duncan Sidey. With more than 30 years of energy industry experience with Pacific Gas and Electric Company and its parent, PG&E Corporation, Mr. Hal LaFlash will lend his technical expertise to project development primarily within the areas of Energy Storage (ESWG) and Renewable Energy. Mr. Melcher will focus on the Distributed Energy Working Group (DEWG) and the Sustainable Transportation Working Group (STWG), while Mr. Sidey provides technical leadership to the Climate Change Working Group (CCWG).

SOIG is the largest international utility-only forum in sustainable energy providing unrestricted information exchange and collaborative research opportunities. The latest edition of the SOIG Executive Committee is well-positioned to represent the diverse needs of SOIG participants and will continue to maintain SOIG as the leading platform for utilities seeking innovation through collaboration.



The 2012 SOIG Executive Committee Structure


SOIG Execute Committee Structure


The 2012 SOIG Executive Committee


Hal LaFlash

Technology Advisor: Energy Storage Working Group & Renewable Energy

Mr. Hal LaFlash was the Director of Emerging Clean Technologies in the Renewable Energy Department at Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) over the past four years. During his career at PG&E, Mr. LaFlash also held positions at PG&E Corporation in corporate development and business planning. Mr. LaFlash was a member of a Western Governors Association’s solar task force, he has served on Department of Energy peer review committees, and he was the project director for a successful $25 million grant application to the Department of Energy for PG&E’s 300-MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage demonstration project. Mr. LaFlash currently advises utilities, renewable energy developers, cleantech start-up companies, and non-profits. Mr. LaFlash has a BSME from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from Saint Mary’s College of California. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Wisconsin.


Jerry Melcher Technology Advisor: Distributed Energy Working Group & Sustainable Transportation Working Group

Mr. Jerry Melcher has thirty years electric utility industry experience in advanced technology management including key positions with EPRI, Landis & Gyr Systems, and American Electric Power (AEP). His work covers smart grid automation and control, energy storage, electric vehicles, and distributed energy resources including fuel cells, wind and solar generation. Mr. Melcher has led standards development activities at IEEE, IEC, NIST and SAE, and has successfully launched new technologies from the research and development phase through delivery into the adoption and deployment by the industry. He has performed engineering studies and financial analysis for CAES, SMES, lithium ion, sodium sulphur, and flow cell batteries. Mr. Melcher has managed grid integration and operation of renewable energy resources and large industrial loads including electric arc furnaces. Mr. Melcher holds a BSEE from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.


Duncan Sidey Technology Advisor: Climate Change Working Group

Mr. Duncan Sidey has over 30 years of experience in the power generation industry, including 25 years of involvement working for Ontario Hydro/Ontario Power Generation and further experience as Director of Engineering with AMEC NSS, the largest private nuclear consultancy in Canada. Mr. Sidey graduated with B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees in Metallurgy from University College of Swansea, Wales, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge, U.K. and visiting professor at Waterloo University, Canada. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Ontario, and has published and presented over 30 papers in a number of areas, including materials behavior and its impact on the operation and maintenance of fossil power plants, plant life assessment, plant performance troubleshooting and maintenance optimization applications.


Helen Whittaker Chair

Ms. Helen Whittaker is a Senior Strategic Technology Specialist in the Office of the Chief Technology Officer at BC Hydro, British Columbia, Canada. She is responsible for identifying and assessing new and emerging technologies for demonstration and potential deployment at BC Hydro. She is currently providing oversight for projects demonstrating energy storage and the development of a framework to dynamically simulate micro-grid networks. Helen holds a BTech degree from Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK and an MBA from Simon Fraser University, BC, Canada. She is a certified Project Management Professional and registered Professional Engineer in BC.


Claudia Banner Co-Vice Chair

Ms. Claudia Banner is Principal Engineer in Generation Engineering at American Electric Power (AEP). She has worked in new generation development, asset due diligence, power plant operations, and environmental permitting and compliance. Her current duties include evaluating all generation technologies and their associated costs for long-range planning purposes. Having received a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech and an MBA from Capital University, her technical and business knowledge makes her well equipped to offer sound advice on project development. She is a registered Professional Engineer, Certified Plant Engineer, Project Management Professional, and Certified Energy Manager.


Lovleen Bassan Co-Vice Chair

Ms. Lovleen Bassan is the Director of Technology and Strategic Initiatives – Thermal, at Ontario Power Generation (OPG). Her current role focuses on assessing forward looking technological advancements in the utilization of Biomass for Combustion energy. In order to assist OPG in making strategic decisions for the potential use of Biomass in its Thermal Repowering Program, Ms. Bassan leads an internal working group established to assess Advanced Biofuels and is Co-Chair of the Ontario sector Project to Commercialize Agricultural Biomass for Combustion Energy. With a Degree in Civil Engineering from Concordia University, Ms. Bassan has had extensive operational and executive experience, which she will apply to her role as vice-chair.


Ravi Seethapathy Past Chair/Advisor to Executive Committee

Mr. Ravi Seethapathy is Manager – Systems Innovation & Advanced Grid Development, at Hydro One Networks and currently leads the power systems aspects/technical architecture of its Advanced Distribution Solutions (Smart Grid) program as well as its Corporate RD&D efforts. He has over 25 years of experience (in Hydro One/ erstwhile Ontario Hydro) in all fields of electric utility business and has progressively held leading positions in Research, Protection & Control, Field Operations, Hydraulic Generation and Transmission Operations, Generation Performance, Distribution Strategy and Planning, Mergers & Acquisition, Corporate Audit, Asset Management and Asset Strategies Divisions. Ravi currently serves as an Adjunct Research Professor at the University of Western Ontario and as an Executive Adviser (Research and Innovation) to Ryerson University. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a registered Professional Engineer in Ontario. He has co-authored many leading technical papers in Advanced Grid systems and actively lectures at Conferences and Universities. He holds a B.Tech (Hons) in Electrical Power from IIT, India, an M.Eng in Electrical Power from University of Toronto and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto.


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