Please join a distinguished panel discussion on the strategic, tactical, and financial considerations needed to develop innovative and reliable solutions to modernize the grid.


Gleacher Center
Room 350
450 Cityfront Plaza Drive
Chicago, Illinois

Event Details

One of the most difficult ongoing challenges for utilities is balancing energy demand and supply. Utilities have to ensure at all times that contingent energy sources are planned and available to quickly ramp up or down to deal with unexpected spikes or drops in demand or supply. For example, electric utilities historically only dealt with fluctuations in demand. Driven by mandates, technological improvements, and market incentives, significant yet intermittent renewable resources like wind and solar are creating variations in supply magnifying the need for fast reacting sources of energy. Gas utilities must also ensure that variations in demand and supply are properly managed.

In the past, the need to balance an ever-changing grid were met by running traditional coal plants at suboptimal outputs. With the looming decommissioning of many of these facilities, in combination with the increase in renewables and technological advancements, utilities and their regulators are looking to new and different grid balancing options. Several alternatives, including utility scale battery storage and highly-responsive natural gas fired power plants have emerged to address this need.

What are current & future cost competitiveness and comparative advantages of the various alternatives? What are the most innovative solutions under consideration and the market & regulatory drivers for various solutions? What are the impacts to the overall strategy of the utility? What economic / investment opportunities are available in this market?

Please join the following distinguished speakers in an engaging panel discussion on this topic.


$8 in advance, $10 at the door.  Seating is limited. 


Register Online

Seating is limited

Deadline: 2/26/2015


6:15 PM-7:00 PM: Networking / Cocktails

7:00 PM-8:15 PM: Panel Discussion

8:15 PM-8:30 PM: Q & A

Speaker Profiles

Peter Disser (Panelist)
CFO, Northern Indiana Public Service Company

Peter Disser is Chief Financial Officer for Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), a unit of NiSource, Inc, a Fortune 500 energy holding company. In addition to the finance and accounting functions, he has responsibility for NIPSCO's gas and electric supply portfolio management and dispatch, and the rates and regulatory services functions. Disser joined NiSource in 1997 and has formerly served in variety of roles, including NIPSCO customer service director, and as VP or president of several non-regulated energy businesses including a natural gas marketing entity, a 525MW combined cycle merchant power plant, and an energy technology business focused on distributed generation/combined heat and power. As VP of Corporate Development for NiSource, he managed nearly $1B of strategic divestitures, as well as an energy technology venture capital portfolio. Prior to NiSource, Disser worked for Gemini Consulting in its corporate strategy practice.

Disser is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor's degree in finance and economics. He also holds a master's of management degree with Beta Gamma Sigma distinction from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, concentrating in finance and strategy. He has served on boards of the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, the Notre Dame Alumni Club of LaPorte County, and numerous technology start-ups. He currently serves on the board of Opportunity Enterprises.

Sonny Garg (Panelist)
CIIO, Exelon

Combining operational excellence and financial discipline with values-based leadership, social capital analysis and entrepreneurship to accelerate change and drive innovation, Sonny Garg has led organizations through critical points of inflection, including large-scale integrations, new business models, turnarounds and disruptive innovation. He is currently Chief Information and Innovation Officer (CIIO) of Exelon Corporation, a Fortune 150 company, and is a member of their Executive Committee.

Sonny leads the development and execution of an innovative strategy for Exelon's $1B IT department designed to rapidly adapt to emerging consumer technologies, to the proliferation of smart devices, big data, and distributed generation across the energy industry, and to increased physical and cyber threats facing critical infrastructures. He also recently oversaw the successful delivery of $150M in IT-related synergy savings from the 2012 acquisition of Constellation Energy.

Prior to his current role, Sonny was the President of Exelon Power, where he oversaw the operations of 8,500 MW of generating assets. Under his leadership, Exelon Power safely retired 1000 MWs of coal generation while concurrently integrating a $1 billion wind company acquisition and growing the wind fleet by 50%.

During the 2008 financial crisis, Sonny designed and executed Exelon's $350M cost reduction initiative, which included workforce reductions and modification to compensation and benefit plans. He also has served as Exelon's Senior Vice President for Human Resources, where he led all HR functions, including benefits, union relations and talent management, and improved operational performance while reducing costs by 15%.

Sonny began his career in the public and non-profit sectors, serving as an Assistant to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and was appointed a White House Fellow by President Clinton, where he served as the Senior Advisor to the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. As a research associate at the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall Center for Children, he published a number of papers on youth and community development in inner-cities. Sonny is a Henry Crown Leadership Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He currently serves as a guest lecturer at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, with a focus on build high-performing environments and on leadership.

With a track record of transforming organizations, Sonny is a sought-after speaker and governance leader, serving in a variety of board roles at emerging growth companies and civic groups, including DonorPath, Project&, Leadership Greater Chicago, Chapin Hall, the Clean Energy Trust, and the Chicago Children's Theatre. He co-chairs Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Chicago NEXT Committee on Clean Tech, is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, and is a new venture advisor and entrepreneurial mentor at 1871, a leading US business accelerator.

Sonny earned a M.B.A. and a B.A. at the University of Chicago, and a M.P.P. from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Sonny lives in Chicago with his wife and two children.

Steven Ignelzi (Panelist)
Executive Director, J.P. Morgan

Steve Ignelzi has been with JPMorgan Chase (and predecessor firms) for over 25 years and currently heads up the Energy Investments Asset Management team at JPMorgan Capital Corporation overseeing a portfolio of U.S. domestic investments in wind, solar and geothermal power projects. Prior to his asset management role, Steve originated investments for renewable energy and traditional power generation assets under partnership and leveraged lease structures. Steve has been involved with tax equity investments in the wind sector for over ten years. He graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering and received an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Chris McKissack (Panelist)
VP Development, Glidepath

Chris McKissack joined the founder of GlidePath Power in early 2014 and has successfully led the development of the largest commercial energy storage projects in North America from greenfield conception to construction. Chris brings with him 15 years of energy experience, including advancing roles in engineering, project management, transmission, and power marketing at Lincoln Renewable Energy, where he was instrumental in bringing 500MW of wind and 40MW of solar to construction. Prior to this, Chris was responsible for engineering, construction, and testing critical transmission & distribution equipment at GE Energy and ComEd, an Exelon Company.

Chris earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago. He is also a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in the State of Illinois as well as a Project Management Professional (PMP).


Ed Tirakian, '93 
Program Manager