Paul De Martini Visits as Inaugural Cazier Practitioner in Residence

Pardee RAND was excited to welcome our first Cazier Practitioner in Residence, Paul De Martini, for a week in April. De Martini is an ICF fellow and part of the CalTech faculty as an expert in smart grids, power grid modernization, and power distribution—the future of energy in the United States.

The School was able to host Paul through the John and Carol Cazier Energy and Environmental Sustainability Initiative. The intent of the initiative is to connect our students, faculty, and RAND researchers with the people who make and implement policy, those who “do.” We are proud to offer the opportunity to talk with De Martini about what it takes to get things done and the real world of providing power to the public while working with constraints and demands for efficiency, sustainability, access—and profit.

De Martini's activities and interactions with Pardee RAND faculty and students included an informal lunch, open office hours, and a set of tabletop gaming exercises with students, faculty, and RAND staff as participants.

He also led a seminar on The Evolving Distribution Grid, in which he discussed how the growth in volume and diversity of distribution-connected, distributed energy resources is driving an evolutionary process that is reshaping transmission and distribution infrastructure planning, integrated grid operations, energy markets and controls, regulatory frameworks, and utility business models across the nation.

He argued that, unlike previous major shifts in the industry, this is being largely driven by customer choice enabled by technological advancement. As a result, this system-wide transition is driving the need for a paradigm shift from a deterministic central planning model to a customer behavioral based planning model to address changes in the use and value of the grid. These new models will need to recognize the difference in structured and unstructured customer adoption of distributed resources on achievement of policy objectives.