Lorenzo Kristov is an energy policy strategist working to transform the architecture of our electricity systems to a distributed, layered structure that’s designed from the bottom up to provide community-level resilience and other local economic benefits, a structure that mimics the way nature designs complex organisms and ecosystems.
From 1999 to 2017 Lorenzo was a principal in market design for the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the not-for-profit public benefit corporation that operates California’s high-voltage power grid and wholesale electricity markets. Following California’s notorious energy crisis in 2000, Lorenzo worked with a small group of CAISO experts to redesign the markets to be more stable and flexible by aligning the market systems with the physical structure and operation of the grid. Over the years he led other major projects to redesign core CAISO functions to align with and facilitate the rapid growth of renewable solar and wind resources.
In 2013 Lorenzo began to focus on the revolution in electric service being spurred by new clean technologies of all sizes that can be customized and installed locally, to meet local priorities and reduce dependence on the more vulnerable bulk power grid. The growth of scalable distributed resources upsets the century-old electricity paradigm, especially the utility-regulatory framework, which was designed for the centralized fossil fuel-based bulk power grid and is not adequate to meet today’s needs for sustainable energy, resilience and environmental and social equity.
Meeting these 21st century needs requires opening the power system to bottom-up design and deployment of local electricity systems, which the 20th century power system cannot accommodate without major reforms. Lorenzo therefore works on redesigning the institutional structure of the power industry — who’s responsible and accountable to do what; how should regulated monopoly utilities be defined to yield the greatest societal benefits of competitive third-party innovation and private investment. Using the discipline of grid architecture developed by the Department of Energy, Lorenzo is reimagining the regulated utilities as open-access platforms and technical experts supporting local governments and communities to create local electricity systems and enabling energy customers to become active participants in the operation of the power network.
Prior to joining the CAISO Lorenzo was an Energy Economist at the California Energy Commission (1995-9) and a Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia (1993-4). He has a BS in Mathematics from Manhattan College, MS in Statistics from North Carolina State University, and PhD in Economics from the University of California Davis.
Notable Papers and Articles:
21st Century Electric Distribution System Operations (with Paul Di Martini, co-author) – May 2014 (NOTE: For an additional Academy Fellows commentary on this paper, please see The Role of Fuel Cells within a Microgrid System – by Rinaldo S. Brutoco, Nov 2014)
NOTE: Originally published in May 2015, Public Utilities Fortnightly (paywall)
To read more about Lorenzo’s work and find links to his publications please visit his LinkedIn page.