The James C. Bonbright Utilities Center at the University of Georgia will turn its attention to the transition to cleaner energy sources as it hosts the center’s 30th Electric and Natural Gas Conference in Atlanta Sept. 23–24.
Expert panels over the two-day conference will give an overview on federal energy legislation and changes to regulatory policy; discuss the potential for marketable renewable energies such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermal; examine technological advances that may cause natural gas to become a cleaner, more competitive energy alternative; and review the current state of nuclear power development and federal climate change legislation.
Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will be the keynote speaker at the opening luncheon Sept. 23. FERC is the agency that oversees wholesale electric transactions and interstate electric transmission and gas transportation in the United States. Wellinghoff was named chairman by President Barack Obama on March 19, 2009.
The Bonbright Utilities Center, which is part of UGA’s Terry College of Business, will also recognize three executives with honors and awards at the conference.
- David M. Ratcliffe, the chairman, president and CEO of Atlanta-based Southern Co., is this year’s James C. Bonbright Center Honoree. Ratcliffe, who has led one of the nation’s largest electric utility companies since 2004, will be presented the award at a luncheon Sept. 24.
- Lynne Adams, manager of regulatory relations for Florida Power & Light Co., will receive the conference’s Distinguished Service Award.
- Robert H. Forry, an executive committee member and the retired chair of the public law section of Troutman Sanders in Atlanta, will be presented the Lifetime Achievement Award. Forry has specialized in legal counsel on electric utility regulation, legislation and corporate transactions since 1972.
Established in 1992, the mission of the James C. Bonbright Utilities Center is to further the understanding of regulatory policy and the principles of management, economics, accounting and finance. The Bonbright Center conducts seminars and conferences for professionals in the electric and natural gas industries. The center’s purpose is to serve the educational needs of professionals in both the private and public sectors of these industries, and it does not advocate specific policies or conduct proprietary research.
The center is named in honor of James C. Bonbright (1891–1985), a distinguished professor of economics and political science at Columbia University. A pioneer in the field of public utility economics, Bonbright’s work influenced virtually every state and federal regulatory commission. Among his many books and articles was the classic treatise on regulation, Principles of Public Utility Rates.