Smart Energy Voices- Episode 51

Smart Energy Voices- Episode 51

Renewable Energy Innovations in Regulated Markets, with Robert Day and Grant Wilkerson

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NOTICE: The views and opinions of our guests from Evergy Energy Partners today are based solely on their personal knowledge and experience in the energy industry and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of Evergy or the company’s opinions of the current or future energy markets.

This episode of Smart Energy Voices is produced in partnership with Evergy Energy Partners. Host John Failla is joined by Evergy’s Robert Day, Executive Director of Origination, and Grant Wilkerson, Director of New Business Development to discuss how Evergy is responding to the unique needs of large power users in both regulated and deregulated markets for renewable energy. Listen to learn more about their inside perspective.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Who are Robert and Grant? [01:42]
  • What do customers want in regulated markets? [04:09]
  • The background of Evergy [07:00]
  • Evergy’s renewables in regulated markets [08:37]
  • Customer response to tariffs [14:49]
  • Evergy’s unregulated market projects [17:09]
  • The future of Evergy [21:37]

Who is Evergy?

Evergy was created three years ago from the merger of Kansas City Power and Light and Westar Energy. This consolidation made sense as a way to bring a better product to their customers, allowing them to provide less expensive long-term costs to the service areas they had in common.

The Evergy Energy Partners division of Evergy looks at how to optimize assets for their customers and deal with the integrated market in a way that best performs for these customers. Their efforts are focused on doing what they can to push forward for the customer and provide the best products available.

Unregulated markets

Evergy has had several wholesale customers who want renewable products. One action they’ve taken for these customers is to aggregate a wind farm, bringing togethers six customers who signed up for the facility. This resulted in a fully subscribed wind farm at a price the companies were willing to pay, thus giving them access to a renewable resource at a competitive price.

Another way Evergy has reached unregulated markets is through selling solar arrays to various companies. Baldwin City, Kansas has had a solar array online for about two years, allowing them to provide solar power to their community. Evergy is constructing another solar array in West Plains, Missouri, which will be completed in the Spring of 2022. Another array that is being completed within the month is located in Paragould, Arkansas. Additionally, wholesale customers have approached Evergy for help with renewables.

The future of Evergy Energy Partners

Technology is changing dramatically and quickly. Solar itself has come a long way from when it was introduced to where it is now. Now the question is how to integrate technologies. In the next couple of years, demand response will play a significant role in integrating the renewable energy stream. The customers can control some of the demand response and help integrate renewable energies into their portfolios.

Customers are going to play a vital role in the future of renewables as they integrate technologies and make progress happen. Relatively simple actions such as integrating EV charging stations into the portfolio are moving in the right direction. Everyone brings something to the table and will help figure out how to make everything work together. They’ll figure out new technologies like hydrogen fuel generation and green ammonia. At some point, the resource will be found that provides what the grid needs. One of the biggest challenges in renewables is a safety net, and customers will play a crucial role in creating that technology.


Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Robert Day

As Executive Director of Origination, Robert Day supports the originators by removing roadblocks for the group, as well as the entire Evergy Energy Partner team. Robert has been with Evergy Energy Partners during his entire 16-year career with the company and says, "The best part of working with our customers is knowing we are bringing value to them while satisfying their needs."

Connect with Grant Wilkerson

Grant Wilkerson is Evergy’s Director of New Business Development. This group is responsible for renewable product development and services for both retail customer programs as well as wholesale customers. The group concentrates on products and services centered around energy integration in retail tariffs as well as wholesale RTO market participation. He has been involved in more than 4,000 MW of renewable energy participation in Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) markets. Grant has over 30 years of industry experience. His experiences include roles in the electricity market including trader, marketer, market analytics, market design, tariff, and regulatory development. He began his career in the natural gas industry and includes Engineering and pipeline design, regulation station design and construction, metering, and SCADA system design.

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