2019 CLE SPEAKERS & PANELISTS

Weston  Adams, III is a Partner and Co-Chair of the Energy Industry Group at Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough.  In this role, he has acted as lead counsel on regulatory, permitting, and litigation issues regarding for solar, biomass, microgrid, EV, biofuels, biogas, and waste to energy renewable energy projects, and on more than 100 appeals to the South Carolina Supreme Court, the South Carolina Court of Appeals, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Weston received his undergraduate degree from Sewanee, a master’s degree from the University of Florida, and his law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he was Research Editor of the SC Law Review. Weston also served as the Chairman of the SC Conservation Bank, where he helped oversee the permanent conservation of 250,000 acres of South Carolina land.

Sue Berkowitz is the Director of the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, an organization which fights for low-income South Carolinians to overcome social, economic, and legal injustice. The goal is to influence policymakers to ensure the law is fair, to educate the public and their advocates about the law, and to assist attorneys in bringing systemic litigation where the law is unfair. Prior to her current role (which she has held for 29 years), Sue served as a staff attorney at Palmetto Legal Services. Sue received her undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina at Columbia and her law degree from Western New England.

Lauren Bowen is an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection of natural resources, communities, and special places in a six-state region of the Southeast.  SELC partners with over 150 national and local groups to achieve its goals and works in all three branches of government. Lauren’s practice focuses on promoting clean, renewable solar power. She received her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her work is based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Chad Burgess currently serves as the Director and Deputy General Counsel within the Southeast Energy Group at Dominion Energy, Inc. where he leads a team of attorneys who are responsible for providing legal counsel and representation to Dominion Energy and its subsidiaries before various federal and state regulatory agencies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the N.C. Utilities Commission, the Georgia Public Service Commission, and the Public Service Commission of South Carolina. Prior to joining Dominion Energy, Chad was as an associate with the law firm of Willoughby & Hoefer and also served as a staff attorney for the South Carolina Supreme Court. He received his law degree from the University of South Carolina and undergraduate degree from Francis Marion University.

J. Ashley Cooper is a Partner with Parker, Poe Attorneys & Counselors at Law and  chairs the energy industry team as well as the Charleston office.  He practices regulatory and commercial law with a focus on energy law and counsels energy clients on compliance with government regulations relating to Open Access Transmission Tariff administration, generator interconnection processes, market manipulation rules, electric reliability rules, renewable energy transactions, and transmission planning. Prior to joining Parker Poe, Ashley served as Chief Compliance Officer and Assistant General Counsel for an energy-based holding company. Ashley received his undergraduate degree from Clemson University and his law degree from the University of South Carolina.

Thad Culley is Regional Director for Vote Solar, a non-profit organization that focuses primarily on state policies to bring solar energy into the mainstream of consumer choices and utility planning. Thad works on solar campaigns in the Carolinas and Virginia, but also is involved as legal counsel on regulatory matters concerning customer access to rooftop solar. Prior to joining Vote Solar, Thad was a partner with the law firm Keyes & Fox LLP, establishing the firm’s presence in North Carolina. Thad represented clients in general rate cases, net metering and interconnection rulemakings, and solar-specific tariff filings across multiple jurisdictions during his years in private practice.  Thad received his law degree from Tulane University School of Law and his undergraduate degree from NC State University.

Hamilton Davis is the Director of Regulatory Affairs for Southern Current LLC, a leading solar developer in the residential, commercial and utility-scale markets with over $2 billion of planned investments across six states. He is currently managing multiple state and federal utility proceedings related to avoided cost, integrated resource planning, interconnection, rate design, and PURPA. Prior to joining Southern Current, Hamilton spent a decade working on clean energy policy and regulatory issues for the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League. Hamilton earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Clemson University and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Rebecca Dulin is Associate General Counsel for Duke Energy Corporation, where her work focuses on renewable energy matters, including avoided cost, generator interconnection, integrated resource planning, and other PURPA-related matters in South Carolina. Prior to joining Duke Energy, she worked as an associate for Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein and as an attorney for the Public Service Commission of South Carolina. Rebecca received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of South Carolina.

Nanette Edwards is the Executive Director of the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff.  Nanette joined the Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) in 2005. Before joining the ORS, Nanette served as a vice president and regulatory attorney for ITC^DeltaCom where she represented the company before state and federal agencies and managed all regulatory litigation activities. At the ORS, Nanette first served as a staff attorney in the ORS Legal Department before being promoted to Deputy General Counsel and then to Chief Counsel and Director of Legal Services. While serving as Chief Counsel, Nanette also led the ORS Telecommunications Department. She became Deputy Executive Director of the ORS in 2014 and Executive Director for the agency in 2018. Nanette is a graduate of Erskine College and holds a law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University

Frank Ellerbe III is an attorney at Robinson Gray where his practice is focused on utility-related regulation and litigation within the energy and telecommunications industries. Frank has appeared before the South Carolina Public Service Commission for 30 years on a range of issues related to electricity, telephone, gas, and water regulation.  He represents individuals and entities in disputes involving regulatory and administrative matters, and tries cases through jury trials and appeals. Frank received an undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University and his law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Paul Esformes is attorney with Ecoplexus Inc., a utility-scale renewable developer, primarily focusing on regulatory and policy matters at the state and federal level.  In this role, he is responsible for negotiations and disputes with utilities and other offtakers regarding issues such as interconnection, PURPA, avoided cost, battery storage, and land use permitting.  Paul also develops and advocates for positions in rulemaking proceedings at state public utility commissions and FERC. Prior to his current role, Paul worked on clean energy policy and regulatory affairs at Pacific Gas and Electric and practiced environmental law in the San Francisco Bay area.  He earned his master’s and law degrees from Duke University and his undergraduate degree in public policy from Princeton University.

Matt Gissendanner is Assistant General Counsel for Dominion Energy, representing the utility before the Public Service Commission of South Carolina and negotiating renewable power purchase agreements.  Matt received a B.S. in chemical engineering from Clemson University and a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law.  Prior to his current position, Matt clerked for the Hon. Karen J. Williams on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Tyson Grinstead is the Director for Public Policy at Sunrun, the largest dedicated rooftop solar company in America.  In this role, Tyson covers policy for the 12 southeastern states. Prior to his position with Sunrun, Tyson served as the Political Director for U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican Party’s Victory 2014 campaign, and for Congressman Tom Rice’s 2012 primary election campaign. Tyson received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law. 

Dawn Hipp is the Chief Operating Officer of the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff. is the Chief Operating Office for the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff. This office represents the public interest in utility regulation for the major utility industries -- electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water/wastewater, and transportation -- before the Public Service Commission of South Carolina, the court system, the South Carolina General Assembly, and federal regulatory bodies. Prior to her current position, Dawn worked in hazardous waste regulation specializing in Department of Defense contracting. Dawn received her undergraduate degree from Minnesota State University.

Carri Grube Lybarker is the Administrator/ Consumer Advocate of the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs. In this capacity, she oversees the daily operations of the state’s consumer protection agency and the administration and enforcement of the over 120 laws under the agency’s jurisdiction, including the South Carolina Consumer Protection Code. She also advises the Governor and General Assembly on legislation and laws to protect the interests of consumers. Carri is a frequent presenter on consumer protection topics and has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts to discuss consumer fraud and credit issues.   She received her law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law and her undergraduate degree from Winthrop University.

Steven Shparber is Of Counsel at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP and based in Washington, DC, where he is a member of the Firm’s Energy & Utilities Industry group. He counsels clients on domestic and international projects and corporate financings, as well as federal and state regulatory issues. He focuses on providing strategic counsel to new participants in wholesale power markets and advocating for new market opportunities on behalf of independent power producers and national renewable energy trade groups. He also has extensive experience counseling parties seeking to deploy distributed energy resources, including microgrid developers, energy efficiency, demand response and EV charging providers, utilities, and governmental entities. Before joining Nelson Mullins, Steven was in-house counsel at PJM Interconnection. Steven received his undergraduate degree from New York University, an MBA from Villanova University and his law degree from New York Law School.

Ben Snowden is a Counsel with Kilpatrick Townsend. His energy practice focuses on representing companies developing, acquiring, or selling energy projects, in particular PURPA qualifying facilities. He assists companies at all stages of project development, including acquisitions and sales, negotiating power purchase agreements and other contracts, resolving interconnection problems, and addressing regulatory issues before state utilities commissions and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He has also represented leading clean energy industry associations on regulatory issues before the North Carolina and South Carolina utilities commissions.  Ben received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University and his law degree from New York University School of Law.

Heather Shirley Smith is Deputy General Counsel for Duke Energy focusing on regulatory work in South Carolina. She leads Duke Energy’s South Carolina legal team in cases before the Public Service Commission of South Carolina and has also represented the Company in numerous rate cases in both North and South Carolina.   Prior to her current position, Heather worked as a partner with the law firm of Troutman Sanders. Heather received her undergraduate degree from Emory University and her law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

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