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News Release

Vermont Law School Hosts 6th Annual Energy Law and Policy Symposium: Securing the Future Low Carbon Grid

Monday, October 14, 2019


The Sixth Annual Vermont Law School (VLS) Energy Law and Policy Symposium entitled Securing the Future Low Carbon Grid will take place on October 17 in Washington D.C., from 1 to 5:45 p.m.  The event will be hosted by Bracewell LLP and the VLS Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEE). Alumni are welcome to attend and stay for refreshments following. The symposium will be held at 2001 M Street Northwest.

The symposium will include three panels of distinguished legal experts who will explore the role of natural gas in clean power, challenges and opportunities for grid-scale solar development, and federal and state policies that can help protect the electric grid from cybersecurity attacks., The keynote address will be by former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, and former Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Ridge.

“We’re pleased to continue providing unique, cutting edge content in the environmental energy legal sphere,” said Vermont Law School Alumnus Dan Phillips, symposium co-coordinator. “This symposium brings together a broad array of thought leaders at the energy and environment interface, and we expect an informative and exciting discussion as a result.”

Symposium details include:

PANEL 1: The Role of Natural Gas in a 100% Clean Power Sector 

Samantha Williams, Midwest Region Director, Climate and Clean Energy Program, NRDC (moderator)

Mike O'Boyle, Director of Electricity Policy, Energy Innovation

Kim Smaczniak, Managing Attorney, Clean Energy Program, Earthjustice

Josh Robichaud, Associate, Bracewell

PANEL 2: Challenges and Opportunities for Grid Scale Solar Development

Zoë Gamble Hanes, Attorney, Nelson Mullins (moderator)

Stephen Shparber, Attorney, Nelson Mullins

Jonathan Willson, Business Development Manager, Capital Power

Solar Energy Industries Association, Regulatory Affairs, Invited

PANEL 3: Federal and State Policy for Electric Grid Cybersecurity

Mark James, Senior Fellow IEE (moderator)

Andrew Dressel, Associate Director, Energy Risk Compliance and Security, Navigant Consulting

Mike Bardee, Advisor, Protect our Power

Lynn Costantini, Deputy Director, Center for Partnerships & Innovation, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC)

Although the symposium is not open to the media, it is available via webcast and the proceedings are published in the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law ( To learn more about the symposium and to register for the webcast or event, please go to