Summer 2022 Fellow: Jake Hofgard
Learn more about Jake’s experience:
This fellowship is part of a partnership between Stanford in Government, the Precourt Institute for Energy, and the Bill Lane Center for the American West. If you are accepted as the fellow for this office, you will be required to complete a one-unit course on energy in California taught by Professor Bruce Cain and Visiting Fellow Felcia Marcus.
Take a one-unit workshop spring course, ‘Energy Policy in California and the West’ taught by Bruce Cain that will provide an in-depth analysis of the role of California state agencies, the Western Interstate Energy Board, and the Western Electricity Coordinating Council in driving energy policy development, technology innovation, and market structures. Course number is CEE 263G / POLISCI 73 / PUBLPOL 73 / ENERGY 73.
Schedule: Wednesdays from 10:30 am – 11:30 am. (Please note: You can only enroll in the course after getting approved for the fellowship and receiving a permission number.) Please refer to the Shultz Energy Fellowships website for the most up-to-date information about the course.
The Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB) is an organization of eleven western states and two western Canadian provinces. The governor of each state and the premier of each province appoint a member to the Board. WIEB’s purpose is to “provide the instruments and framework for cooperative state efforts to enhance the economy of the West and contribute to the well-being of the region’s people.” WIEB works to achieve this purpose through cooperative efforts among member states and provinces and the federal government. WIEB’s office is in downtown Denver, Colorado.
For more information on WIEB, please visit WIEB’s homepage: http://westernenergyboard.org/wieb/
Maury Galbraith, Executive Director of WIEB, will act as the principal mentor for this project. Mr. Galbraith provides overall strategic direction to the Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB), enabling the organization to effectively identify and address important energy issues in the West and to support cooperative western state/provincial efforts in the energy field.
Laura Rennick, Director of State, Federal, and International Affairs, will also act as a mentor for this project. Ms. Rennick is responsible for managing communications with the Western Interstate Energy Board’s state, federal, and international partners.
2023 Internship Project – “Electric Utility Forward Purchasing in the Western Bilateral Wholesale Electricity Market”
The goal of this project is to investigate the forward contracting practices of electric utilities in the West. Electric utilities in the West have established trading floors that regularly engage in “Front Office Transactions” to manage power supply risk. “Front Office Transactions” can include fixed price physical power, index price physical power, fixed price financial power, as well as financial and physical call options and swaps. If the contract is for physical power, the generating source is often unspecified. The transactions typically occur between one month and twenty-four months in advance of delivery when a large number of buyers and sellers are willing to participate in the market. Knowledge and understanding of the purpose and practice of electric utility forward contracting is important in many public policy contexts, including the design and performance of organized wholesale electricity markets, of regional resource adequacy programs, and of regional greenhouse gas accounting and reporting programs.
The students will be the lead researchers on the project, with guidance from WIEB advisors, and will develop surveys and conduct interviews with electric utility trading floor personnel. The students will investigate the goals and objects of utility forward contracting. They will also describe the risk management policies and procedures that guide and limit these transactions. The students will collect anonymized data from electric utilities and tabulate the types of physical and financial products being traded, quantify the time between contract signing and contract delivery or settlement, and count the number of counterparties active in market. Students will investigate whether there is a trend away from contracts with an unspecified generating source with tightening supply and demand conditions in the West. The students will highlight ongoing and potential changes to electric utility forward contracting that could result in improved performance of organized wholesale electricity markets, of regional resource adequacy programs, or regional greenhouse gas accounting and reporting programs.
This project will provide students with substantive public policy work, clear direction, and guidance on how to complete the work, and the autonomy to be creative and to conduct independent research. The students will create a written public policy brief documenting the goals and objects of utility forward contracting, describing the risk management policies and procedures that guide and limit the utility contracting, and discussing ongoing and potential changes to forward contracting that could result in improved performance of organized wholesale electricity markets, regional resource adequacy programs, or regional greenhouse gas accounting and reporting programs. Finally, the students will have the opportunity to present their work to state and provincial policymakers and regulators in the West. At the conclusion of a successful project, the students will feel that they are a part of the WIEB team and have made a significant contribution to enhancing regional electricity policy in the West.
Desired Skills and Knowledge
The ideal student candidates will have the following skills and knowledge:
- Good research and analytic skills.
- Good written and verbal communication skills.
- Experience using Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
- Ability to work independently and as a member of a research team.
- Coursework in economics, finance, or statistics.
- Coursework related to energy or environmental policy.
- Interest in public policy, law, economics, engineering, or related fields.
- Interest in working on electricity policy issues.
- Interest in working with energy policy makers in the West.