Strategies for Power Sector Transition: Comparing the US and Germany

February 15, 2017 - 12:30 pm

Atlantic Council, 1030 15th ST NW, 12th Floor
Washington, DC

Comparing US and German Approaches to Energy Transformation

A conversation with:
John Banks
Adjunct Professor and Visiting Scholar
Johns Hopkins University

Anne Hoskins
Chief Policy Officer

Hans-Wilhelm Schiffer
Executive Chair, World Energy Resources
World Energy Council

Moderated by:
Thomas Cunningham
Deputy Director, Global Energy Center
Atlantic Council

Introduced by:
Ambassador Richard Morningstar (Ret.)
Founding Director and Chairman, Global Energy Center
Atlantic Council

The power sector is evolving rapidly. Renewable energy is expanding as a share of electricity generation worldwide.  In 2015, new capacity installations of renewables exceeded that of conventional for the first time.  Alongside this trend, low natural gas prices in the United States have led to significant fuel switching from coal to gas.  On both sides of the Atlantic, nuclear power is a vital part of the energy mix but its future is fraught with questions about safety and affordability.  Finally, changing consumer preferences, technological advancement and climate change considerations are adding pressure to utilities and regulators to provide low carbon solutions and to offer services in addition to electricity supply.  Join us for a conversation with power sector experts from the United States and Germany to discuss the drivers of this transformation, to compare the challenges these innovative countries are facing, what approaches are being taken, and explore the emerging future of this critical part of our societies.

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Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator) 
Washington, DC 

This event is open to press and on the record. 

Metro and parking info 


John Banks is an adjunct professor and visiting scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. In addition to teaching a graduate-level course on Global Electricity Markets, he is assisting the Energy, Resources, and Environment Program (ERE) in expanding electricity-related content in the curriculum. 
He also serves as a nonresident senior fellow in the Energy Security and Climate Initiative at the Brookings Institution. He contributed to the formation of, and helps run, Brookings’ Global Electricity and Technology Roundtable, a bi-annual, private meeting of senior utility and technology industry executives, state and federal government officials, financial institutions, regulators, academia , and others designed to discuss major developments in the global electricity sector. Since joining Brookings, he has worked on research dealing with nuclear power, the transition of the electricity sector in Germany and Japan, the role of distributed energy resources in the United States, electricity access in emerging markets, and the future role of coal. 

Banks worked as a management consultant for over twenty years advising governments, companies, and regulators throughout the world on energy policy, security, and governance issues. He has worked for a number of firms including Nexant, Inc., the successor company to Bechtel Technology & Consulting, and BearingPoint (now Deloitte) in New York. 
He has authored or co-authored dozens of energy reports, published numerous articles, and has provided expert testimony. He is a co-editor and author of a recently published book examining the role of the nuclear industry in proliferation prevention. Banks has worked in twenty-four countries outside the United States. He holds an MS in foreign service from Georgetown University.

Anne Hoskins serves as chief policy officer of Sunrun, the largest dedicated residential solar company in the United States. Anne is leading Sunrun's policy efforts to expand consumer access to solar energy and deploy local solar energy that modernizes the grid and benefits all grid users. Anne recently completed service on the Maryland Public Service Commission. While on the Commission, she adjudicated major merger and rate cases, service quality and consumer protection proceedings, and participated in rulemakings involving community solar, grid reliability, and competitive retail supply. Anne served as a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Board of Directors, as chair of the NARUC International Relations Committee and as a board member of the Organization of PJM States (OPSI). 

Previously, Anne led federal and state advocacy for the Public Service Enterprise Group and served as a visiting research scholar at Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. While at Princeton, she conducted research on the valuation of distributed energy. Prior to that, Anne served as senior counsel for Verizon Wireless, an attorney in private practice, and a policy adviser to the Governor of New Jersey. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton, and Cornell University.

Hans-Wilhelm Schiffer is the executive chair of the World Energy Resources program of the World Energy Council in London. He spent more than twenty years working for the RWE group in Essen, Germany, where he held various positions. He left his position as head of RWE´s General Economic Policy’s science department in April 2014, but continues to work for RWE as a consultant, advising the executive board on issues concerning international energy policy. Schiffer studied economics at the University of Cologne and at the Pennsylvania State University. Between 1974 and 1978,  he served as scientific assistant at the Institute for Energy Economics, Cologne University. In 1987, after a nine-year career with the Federal Economics Ministry, including a period with the British Department of Energy, he moved to work with the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety. Following his role as personal assistant to the parliamentary state secretary, Mr. Schiffer was appointed head of the Product-Related Environmental Protection division of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety. Schiffer is a visiting lecturer for Energy Economics in the Mineral Resources Engineering master’s program at RWTH Aachen University. He is also the author of the standard work Energiemarkt Deutschland. 

Thomas Cunningham is deputy director of the Global Energy Center at the Atlantic Council. He joined the council following a thirteen-year career at the US Department of State, where he most recently served as energy diplomacy team lead for Europe at the Bureau of Energy Resources (August 2013 to May 2016). In that role he advised the special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs and other senior US government officials on the intersection of energy and foreign policy in Europe and had lead department responsibility for organizing meetings of the US-EU Energy Council. He has also served at the State Department in the Bureaus of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, European and Eurasian Affairs, Economic and Business Affairs, and Diplomatic Security. Mr. Cunningham also worked on climate and energy legislation in the US Senate as a Brookings Legislative Fellow in 2009. He holds an MA in German and European studies from Georgetown University and a BA in English/creative writing and French from Colorado College. Mr. Cunningham is an adjunct instructor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Richard L. Morningstar is the founding director and chairman of the Global Energy Center at the Atlantic Council. He served as the US ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan from July 2012 to August 2014.

Prior to his appointment, since April 2009, he was the Secretary of State's special envoy for Eurasian energy. Prior to that, Morningstar lectured at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and Stanford Law School.

From June 1999 to September 2001, he served as US ambassador to the European Union. Prior to this, Morningstar served as special adviser to the president and secretary of state for Caspian Basin energy diplomacy, where he was responsible for assuring maximum coordination within the executive branch and with other governments and international organizations to promote US policies on Caspian Basin energy development and transportation. From April 1995 to July 1998, he served as ambassador and special adviser to the president and secretary of state on assistance for the new independent states of the former Soviet Union, where he oversaw all US bilateral assistance and trade investment activities. From 1993 to 1995, he served as senior vice president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

Morningstar also served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the Costar Corporation from 1990 to 1993 and as president and chief executive officer from 1981 to 1990. He was an attorney with Peabody and Brown (now Nixon and Peabody) in Boston from 1970 to 1981, where he became a partner in 1977.

Morningstar served as a commissioner of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (1989–1993). Prior to returning to the government in 2009, he served as director of the American Councils for International Education, a trustee of the Kosovo-America Educational Foundation, and a trustee of the Eurasia Foundation. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Morningstar received his BA from Harvard in 1967 and JD from Stanford Law School in 1970.