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Friday, November 8, 2019

Independence Institute Energy and Environmental Policy Center and Clean Energy Action are hosting the first ever Colorado Microgrid Summit. Microgrids, which allow individuals and businesses to share the electricity they generate, are a growing global trend in electricity generation and distribution.  Join us and our lineup of microgrid experts as we explore this increasingly popular option to our current centralized grid. Our speakers discuss everything from what is a microgrid to their wide appeal across the political spectrum and what obstacles face Coloradans who may want to invest in microgrids.

Can’t make it to Denver?  A live streaming option is available for those who want to hear from our experts but cannot attend in person. Register below.


Interested in being a sponsor of the first Colorado Microgrid Summit? Please contact Amy Oliver Cooke amy@i2i.org or Leslie Glustrom at lglustrom@cleanenergyaction.org.



Independence Institute
727 East 16th Avenue
Denver, CO 80203


8:30- 9:00 am: Registration, sign-in, continental breakfast

9:00-9:15 am: Welcome (Amy Oliver Cooke, Independence Institute and Leslie Glustrom, CEA)

9:15-10:00 am: What is a Microgrid? (Peter Lilienthal, Homer Energy)

10:00-10:45 am: Microgrids: the Intersection of Free Markets, Conservation, and Innovation (Dan Gregory, Shell New Energies; Amy Simpkins, muGrid Analytics; Amy Oliver Cooke, Independence Institute; and Dr. Joseph Goodman, Rocky Mountain Institute)

10:45-10:55 am: Break

10:55 am-12:05 pm: Microgrids: Powering the 21st Century – a Solution for America and the World (Steve Drouilhet, Sustainable Power Systems; Michael Kadillak, Gallatin Energy Corporation; and Philip Rutkowski, Wärtsilä)

12:05-1:00 pm: Lunch with recorded message from Jennifer DeCesaro of the Department of Energy

1:00-1:30 pm: The Importance of Microgrids in Protecting Against EMP Attacks (Dwight Eckert)

1:30-2:30 pm: What Now? Obstacles to Microgrid Development in Colorado (State Senator John Cooke and State Representative Edie Hooton)

2:30-3:00 pm:  Networking


Access to the Microgrid Summit presentations page is password protected. If you did not attend the summit but would like to access the materials, pay below.


Amy Oliver Cooke, Independence Institute

Amy is the Executive Vice President and Director of the Energy and Environmental Policy Center for the Independence Institute, Colorado’s free market, state-based think tank. She has worked in both policy and operations since 2004.

Amy began working in energy policy in 2010. She is proud to be one of the original state-level, free market energy policy advocates and is famous for her provocative messages like “Mothers In Love with Fracking” and “I’m an energy feminist because I’m pro-choice in energy sources,” which the eco-left called “hands down the worst kind of feminism.”

She founded a Colorado non-profit organization the Coalition of Ratepayers to provide a voice for captive ratepayers and to intervene in regulatory proceedings on behalf of small business and residential utility customers.

In December 2016, she was honored to be the second person named to President Trump’s Transition Team for the Environmental Protection Agency.

State Senator John Cooke

John served as Weld County Sheriff before being elected in 2014 to the Colorado Senate, representing State District 13 which includes much of Weld County.

As of 2016, Cooke serves as a member on the Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee, the Judiciary Committee, and the Transportation Committee. He has sponsored legislation to revise the process of review of state carbon emission plans, to refine the requirements for medical testing that occurs in cases of first, second, and third degree assault, to eliminate certain duties for probation officers, and to increase the class of offense in certain cases of second or third degree assault.

John believes consumers and the environment both benefit with a market approach toward energy resources free from mandates and government selected winners and losers.

Steve Drouilhet, Sustainable Power Systems

Steve is Founder and CEO of Sustainable Power Systems, Inc., a microgrid controls technology developer in Boulder, Colorado.  Steve is well versed in electrical, mechanical, and controls engineering disciplines and holds engineering degrees from Brown University, the Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, and the University of California at Berkeley.

Steve began his professional career in 1982 as a field test engineer on the first California wind farm in Altamont Pass. From 1994 to 2002, he worked at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), where he led NREL’s program in wind-diesel hybrid system research and development.

Sustainable Power Systems has implemented grid-tied, island, and village microgrid systems in Alaska, California, Colorado, Kansas, Hawaii, and China.  Steve has led the technical development of the company’s major products, which include the company’s flagship Universal Microgrid Controller®, its ControlFreq® frequency.

Dwight Eckert, EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security

Dwight retired from Lockheed Martin in 2017 where he was Principal Engineer, Avionics Power and Wiring and Orion Avionics Architect. He has over 39 years of experience in Electrical Engineering in the Aerospace Industry.

Dwight is the Colorado State Director of the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security. Without a functioning electric grid our modern civilization could not survive. The U.S. Electric Grid is susceptible to the effects of Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) from either natural or manmade causes. Although the complexity of the grid and the physics from the effects on the grid make the exact outcomes of an event highly unpredictable, it is not beyond careful extrapolation that Coloradans will be affected. Based on scientific analysis from at least five national reports, including the US Congressional EMP Commission and the National Academies of Science the electrical power grid could experience irreplaceable destruction due to an EMP event. Within the first few months of an EMP or Geomagnetic Disturbance (GMD) event, as few as a million to a few hundred of millions could be at risk of dying or being injured through 1) societal chaos, 2) disease, especially water borne illnesses like cholera, diphtheria, and typhoid, and 3) starvation.

Although this is of national concern, the Colorado EMP Task Force has been established to work Colorado specific concerns as well as to support the national interests.

Leslie Glustrom, Colorado Energy Action

Leslie is trained as a biochemist and has spent over 30 years working at the interface of science and society in a variety of roles including science writing, teaching, policy analysis. In addition, she has a long history of activist work on a variety of environmental issues.

In 2004, Leslie resigned from her job managing a biochemistry research lab at the University of Colorado-Boulder to work full time on climate change. She is a founding member of Clean Energy Action, served as the Director of Research and Policy for several years and is now serving on the Board of Clean Energy Action. She has spoken throughout the country on the environmental and economic imperative of accelerating the transition to a world without fossil fuels and has won many awards for her work. She is currently still very active in clean energy issues at the local, state and national level.

Joseph Goodman, Rocky Mountain Institute

Joseph is a Principal with Rocky Mountain Institute’s electricity practice. He is an energy systems engineer with over 10 years experience in renewables and energy efficiency. He has extensive experience leading multidiscipline design teams and bringing new technologies to market.

Currently at RMI, Joseph is leading the Model T solar program to accelerate the deployment of community solar. This program is focused on supporting communities to realize the full potential of community solar as the lowest cost and highest value form of grid connected solar electricity.

Prior to joining RMI, Joseph was a Principal Investigator of solar PV systems research at Georgia Tech Research Institute. Concurrent to his time on the research faculty, Joseph completed a PhD in the college of architecture with a dissertation that developed performance measures for residential PV structural response to wind effects.

Previously, Joseph worked at Arup as a strategic energy consultant. In his role he developed and implemented energy efficiency and renewable energy plans for Fortune 500 companies cities, international cities, and governmental organizations.

Dan Gregory, Shell New Energies

Dan is the Head of Microgrid Solutions, Shell New Energies. He is a 30+ year energy industry executive, entrepreneur, and technologist focused on delivering secure energy solutions globally. Dan founded Pos-En, which recently was acquired by Shell New Energies.

He is a member of IEEE, CIGRE, National and Homeland Security EMP Task Force, and Vice Chair of the National Science Foundation FREEDM Systems Center. He holds two US patents and has published multiple industry papers and articles.

State Representative Edie Hooton

Edie was a legislative aide in the US Senate and the Alaska State Legislature in the 70s and 80s during a time when both parties worked together to find common ground. As a State Representative from Boulder, House District 10, she brings the same spirit of bipartisanship to the State Capitol. She serves in a leadership role as the Majority Caucus Chair and Vice Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee.  She also serves on the Committees for Transportation and Local Government, Statutory Revision, and Emergency Preparedness. Edie listens to the people she represents, and knows the best solutions come through cooperation and collaboration.

Michael Kadillak, Gallatin Energy Corporation

Michael is the President/CEO of Gallatin Energy Corporation an energy advisement firm he founded in 1999 . Gallatin Energy focuses on providing strategic guidance and revenue enhancement recommendations to large industrial energy consumers, oil and gas producers, natural gas and power utilities as well as Midstream companies throughout the United States, Eastern Canada and parts of the EU.

Michael began his career in 1980 after graduating from Montana Tech in Butte, Montana with a degree in Petroleum Engineering. Michael worked for 10 years as a reservoir, drilling and completions engineer for Amoco Production Company in Farmington, New Mexico and Union Pacific Resources in Denver, Colorado before transitioning to the deregulated natural gas, crude oil and NGL markets with Ladd Petroleum, KN Energy and eventually Gallatin Energy Corporation.

Michael has dimensional expertise in analyzing energy commodities and regularly educates executives on the highly nuanced challenges within these volatile markets.  Michael also provides clients with creative business solutions that culminates in a wide range of project executables. Over the years Michael has learned that in business randomness in the decision process is rare and therefore takes place for highly specific reasons. The challenge for the successful business executive is intelligently quantifying that reason and integrating this derived market intelligence into their own unique management risk / reward decision assessment process.

Peter Lilienthal, Homer Energy

Dr. Lilienthal is the CEO of HOMER Energy. Since 1993, he has been the developer of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s HOMER® hybrid power optimization software, which has been used by over 200,000 energy practitioners in 193 countries. NREL has licensed HOMER Energy to be the sole world-wide commercialization licensee to distribute and enhance the HOMER model.

Dr. Lilienthal was the Senior Economist with International Programs at NREL from 1990 – 2007. He was one of the creators of NREL’s Village Power Program. He has a Ph.D. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. He has been active in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency since 1978. This has included designing and teaching courses at the university level, project development of independent power projects, and consulting to industry and regulators. His expertise is in the economic and financial analysis of renewable and micro-grid projects.

Philip Rutkowski, Wärtsilä

Phil is Regional Director for Wärtsilä North America, Inc.  He manages a 12 person team and is ultimately responsible for everything that happens or fails to happen for Wärtsilä in the USA and Canada in regards to thermal generation and battery storage.  He has been with Wärtsilä since 2015.

Before joining Wärtsilä, Phil worked in various sales and business development roles in the energy industry.  Before his career in energy, Phil spent approximately 10 years in the military and at the Pentagon.  He holds a MBA from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he also played football and rugby for Army.

Amy Simpkins, muGrid Analytics

Amy has over 15 years of experience in technical engineering and project management of complex systems and software. She is Chief Executive Officer at muGrid Analytics.

Prior to joining muGrid, Amy was an engineer and spacecraft systems architect with Lockheed Martin, where she worked on advanced R&D and design integration for earth observing and manned spacecraft. In this capacity, she assessed architectural choices based on design performance, operational power constraints, and program finance. Amy also spent several years in flight operations for unmanned scientific exploration spacecraft, where she helped monitor and manage the solar array performance, energy storage systems, and power budgets of long duration deep space missions. Her technical expertise includes system and software architecture, system-level performance modeling, and design tradespace analysis.

Amy has coached and consulted on product innovation, business strategy, marketing, and sales for startups and small businesses in the renewable energy, healthcare, and SaaS sales spaces. She is an internationally recognized speaker on innovation and integration for entrepreneurs and is author of the book, Spiral: A Catalyst for Innovation and Expansion (Amazon). She holds an MS in Astronautical Engineering from the University of Southern California and an SB in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.