SEPA and SGIP To Merge

On Tuesday at a breakfast meeting during DistribuTECH, Julia Hamm, CEO and President of the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), and Sharon Allan, CEO and President of Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), announced their intent to merge the two organizations under the SEPA brand and organizational umbrella. 

The mission of the combined organization will be to facilitate the electric power sector’s smart transition to a clean energy future through education, research, standards and collaboration.

The transition to a clean energy future is forcing changes to all aspects of utilities’ organizations and both SEPA and SGIP are poised to help them manage those changes. SEPA’s particular area of expertise includes changes to business and regulatory models plus improved customer engagement. SGIP’s areas of focus include planning and grid operations plus technological advancement.

One way to foster transformation and change in an organization is to break down silos and bring disparate groups together to figure out solutions.

Allan explained that when SGIP conducts meetings with utilities she is often introducing people to each other who work in the same organization. In addition, Hamm said that when SGIP and SEPA reviewed each other’s members they saw that while they had the same utilities and companies as members, they worked with very different people within those organizations.

The merger will continue to help break down silos within the utility industry.

“Within SEPA’s mission of facilitating the electric power sector’s smart transition to clean energy future, integrating SGIP’s technical knowledge is another way to serve our members,” Hamm said in a press release. “As a result of the merger, we are excited to add as many as 100 new member organizations to our existing base of 1,000 members, including utilities, private sector corporations and government agencies.”

Hamm added that “the combination of SEPA’s and SGIP’s resources and expertise will accelerate grid modernization efforts and have an even greater impact on the industry.” 

SEPA and SGIP share the same vision about the future of the energy sector. SEPA’s focus on market research, conferences and events, and advisory services — combined with SGIP’s technical depth — will enable greater-cross fertilization of ideas and initiatives in the industry dealing with business and technical issues, and market and regulatory concerns.

Allan stressed that her organization’s focus areas of DER management, the energy Internet of Things, cybersecurity, standards and solar data exchange “will continue to be a priority under the SEPA umbrella.” She added that the merger “will provide [SGIP] members with a much broader network of experts to collaborate and consult with on their grid modernization and DER questions and efforts.”

The merger has been approved by the boards of both organizations and now goes to the full SGIP membership for a vote. If approved by SGIP’s members, the merger could be legally finalized in the late first or early second quarter of 2017. However, to ensure the continued, orderly operations of the two organizations, the integration will be phased in during the remainder of the year. All of SGIP’s staff will transition to positions at SEPA and will continue to focus their work on programs originated at SGIP.

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Jennifer Runyon
Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com Today, in addition to managing content on Renewable Energy World and POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference and expo for the transmission and distribution industry. In her role, she works in close cooperation with a large team of committed industry executives to shape the educational content for the event. She also helps assemble the renewable energy content for POWERGEN and helped launch the first Grid-Scale Storage Summit, a co-located event at HYDROVISION International. She has traveled to Germany to see onshore and offshore wind installations; Iceland to see geothermal energy in action; and France to see cutting-edge smart grids. In the U.S. she has visited and reported about bioenergy power plants in Florida, both large-scale and small-scale hydropower; and multiple wind farms, solar PV, and CSP installations. Formerly, she was the managing editor of Innovate Forum, an online publication that focused on innovation in manufacturing. Prior to that she was the managing editor at Desktop Engineering magazine. In 2008, she won an "Eddy Award" for her editing work on an article about solar trees in Vienna. In 2010, RenewableEnergyWorld.com was awarded an American Business Media Neal Award for its eNewsletters, which were created under her direction. She holds a Master's Degree in English Education from Boston University and a BA in English from the University of Virginia.

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