All Things DER: An Interview with Our Host, Dr. Elizabeth Cook

by Nora Mead Brownell, Founding Partner of ESPY Energy Solutions

Welcome to the All Things DER podcast! In this podcast, we’ll be digging in, defining, and discussing where the new energy economy is heading with electric industry leaders, and explore all the ways that distributed energy resources can modernize and improve our ever-evolving power grid.

In today’s episode, we’re turning the tables! You’ll be learning more about our host, Dr. Elizabeth Cook. As the General Manager for Advanced Grid Solutions for Duquesne Light in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the host of the All Things DER podcast, Dr. Cook is sharing more about what energized her to pursue cleaner energy, and how she hopes this platform will allow us to work cooperatively to find synergistic solutions to the most pressing power industry issues of this generation.

Dr. Cook is being interviewed by Nora Mead Brownell, founder of ESPY Energy Solutions and former FERC and Pennsylvania state regulator. Nora is passionate about working toward a new utility business model. We discuss the importance of ongoing education and continuous communication across all sectors of the power industry and how we can embrace new DER while ensuring the reliability of current systems. From how we can define and build systems from a resiliency perspective to incentivizing thinking outside the box across the industry as a whole, we dig into a variety of ways to educate, communicate, and utilize the diverse distributed energy resources we have available in this new energy economy.

Here’s what you’ll discover:

  • How Dr. Cook’s background in energy consulting and a system planner perspective primed her interest in exploring DER further
  • Why embracing and utilizing AMI data can allow us to see the grid differently and approach grid planning more holistically
  • What integrated distribution planning can do for incentivizing customers to become active participants in building cleaner energy resources while still serving those who aren’t interested yet
  • Why “stepping outside the box” isn’t necessarily encouraged across the industry, and how continuous education can serve as a catalyst for changing this dynamic
  • How embracing new ways of thinking will be key to efficiently utilizing all the new advancing technologies to the best of our abilities
  • Why DLC has partnered with the University of Pittsburgh on a real time digital simulator (RTDS) project, and how this collaboration is a prime example of finding synergistic solutions for embracing cleaner energy resources moving forward