Jon Wellinghoff

Chief Policy Officer, SolarCity; Former Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Jon Wellinghoff
  • Advises SolarCity chairman Elon Musk on federal and state policy issues
  • Strong track record of commitment to the clean energy revolution
  • One of the nation’s most influential voices on energy policy

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Jon Wellinghoff is the Chief Policy Officer of SolarCity, the number one provider of distributed solar energy in the United States, and the former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Today, Jon advises SolarCity chairman Elon Musk on federal and state policy issues, and oversees SolarCity’s regulatory and legislative affairs. Hailed as one of the nation’s most influential voices on energy policy, Jon is an internationally recognized energy expert known for his forward-thinking approach to energy policy and his track record of moving the needle on the clean energy revolution. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, Jon draws on his decades experience in energy, policy, and business to discuss future opportunities in the fields of wind power, solar power, electric cars, and the development of smart cities, as well as implementing innovative business strategies and corporate cultures. His presentations reveal the promises and pitfalls of advanced energy technology coupled with eye-opening visuals and can’t-miss insights.

FERC Expertise. The longest serving chair in FERC history, Jon was instrumental in instituting visionary policies that opened the electric markets to competitive energy technologies including rooftop solar and electric vehicles. As a result, he has come to represent a monumental shift in energy policy and was dubbed a “new breed” of chairman by the Washington Post. During his tenure, he advocated for building a stronger national power grid through the use of renewable energies like wind and solar power, working to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy. He also backed the growth of U.S. hybrid vehicles and the creation of a national “smart grid” power source. He worked to make the U.S. power grid cleaner and more efficient, and championed the agency’s landmark Order 1000, which required grid planners and public utilities to coordinate regional power line projects and encouraged the integration of solar and wind installations.

As chairman, he also created FERC’s Office of Energy Policy and Innovation, which is responsible for investigating and promoting new efficient technologies and practices, and oversaw development of the National Assessment of Demand Response Potential and the National Action Plan for Demand Response. He also established three top priorities: the integration of renewable energy sources into the electric grid; the implementation of advanced technologies that make energy use and distribution more efficient; and the promotion of demand-side energy practices, including real-time electricity pricing and the use of electric cars. Jon has particular expertise in renewable integration, plug-in electric vehicles, energy storage and efficiency, demand response, and energy infrastructure security, including cyber security. He brings to the table experience in federal and state energy policy, regulation, and project development.

Legal Expertise. A renowned energy attorney, Jon is a partner at Stoel Rives LLP and co-chair of the firm’s energy team. He also served as general counsel at the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (1998–2000) and served two terms as the State of Nevada’s first Advocate for Customers of Public Utilities, where he authored the first comprehensive state utility integrated planning statute which later became a nationwide model. He was the primary author of the groundbreaking Nevada Renewable Portfolio Standard Act, and went on to assist six other states with the development of renewable portfolio standards.

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Speaker Video

Jon Wellinghoff on the Future of Energy

Jon Wellinghoff on Sustainable Energy

The Future of Energy. In an engaging and smart presentation full of fascinating case studies and visuals, Jon Wellinghoff offers audiences a behind-the-scenes look at what the future of energy holds for the United States, detailing where we’ve been, where we are today, and, most importantly, where we’re going. Everything we depend upon is tied to energy. When the lights go out, we can’t get food, medicine, or gas. With no energy, we can’t extract ourselves from natural or man-made disasters like Hurricane Sandy or terrorism. How are we dealing with these issues? How are we preparing for the next steps? The future of energy will capitalize on the rapidly growing amount of distributed generation (ie energy produced by individuals via solar panels) and the connectivity of devices, utilities, and appliances to the “internet of everything.” This means that utilities must adapt their business models to the changing environment as we look to technology to facilitate this transition and improve our quality of life through increased energy efficiencies and control.

Energy Security. In an exciting – and sometimes hair-raising – presentation, Jon Wellinghoff shares insights into the state of our nation’s energy security. From the most significant domestic terror attack on the physical energy grid to how cyber security plays a role, he offers audiences a look at where we are now and where we need to be to prevent vulnerabilities. He shares the trends audiences need to know – from how big corporations and the military are moving to micro-grids so they’re not dependent on private infrastructure to how destroying nine substations can take down the entire country’s power for months (and how shoddy security both online and onsite feeds into the issue). With great visuals and stories, Wellinghoff lays out a plan and details what businesses and individuals can do to protect themselves.

Energy Politics, Policy, and Regulation. With interesting visuals and compelling anecdotes, Wellinghoff shares insights from his time as the head of the FERC to address the politics, policy, and regulation of energy. From introducing new standards for renewables to which key players will be affected most by upcoming policy changes, he offers an insider’s look into how energy policy gets made and details what organizations need to know about coming energy standards and practices.

A Day in the Life of the Grid. Wellinghoff takes audiences on an eye-opening tour of a “Day in the life of the energy grid.” With so much riding on the steady availability and cost of energy, this presentation is not to be missed. He looks at how the grid functions from an economic standpoint and how operators run independent whole sale markets in addition to managing substations and running operations. But if you could make the power grid more efficient you’d normalize the cost and drive it down for everyone. Wellinghoff shares fascinating anecdotes and slides of energy costs across time and looks at how we could change the grid’s efficiency/cost dynamic by consumers bidding products and technology into the system.

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