On March 22, we explored how strategic undergrounding of powerlines can make the grid more resilient by minimizing damages from hazards and threats such as extreme weather events and wildfires. Undergrounding powerlines is, not only aesthetically pleasing, but has the added benefit of mitigating societal and economic disruptions caused by electricity outages.

This virtual event highlighted how to evaluate the cost versus the value of undergrounding powerlines to help target this solution to the areas where it’s feasible. Virtual attendees heard from utilities that have implemented this strategy and the challenges they had to overcome. Additionally state and local regulators discussed their approach to assess undergrounding projects in their respective jurisdictions.

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On March 22, we explored how strategic undergrounding of powerlines can make the grid more resilient by minimizing damages from hazards and threats.
Courtesy of the Department of Energy


Please contact Stewart Cedres at stewart.cedres@hq.doe.gov.

March 22, 2022 | 1:00 - 4:30 PM ET



1:00 – 1:10 pm


  • Patricia Hoffman, Acting Director, Grid Deployment Office

1:10 – 1:40 pm

Undergrounding Power Lines – Cost vs. Value

Keynote Speaker:

  • Peter Larsen, Electricity Markets & Policy Department, Lawrence Berkley National Lab

1:40 – 1:45 pm


1:45 – 3:00 pm

Experiences from the Field  

Representatives from utilities will discuss their experiences with undergrounding powerlines. Speakers will discuss:

  • Challenges
  • Technologies needed to overcome current and future challenges
  • Cost-effective approaches


  • Eric Hsieh, Director, Grid Components and Systems, Office of Electricity [moderator]
  • Arie Makovoz, Technical Expert; Transmission Line Engineering Department, Con Edison
  • Michael Jarro, VP of Distribution Operations, Florida Power and Light
  • Jerry Cook, Senior Director, Project Development, Florida Power and Light
  • Jamie Martin, VP of Undergrounding, PG&E
  • Clay Koplin, Chief Executive Officer, Cordova Electric

3:00 – 3:15 pm


3:15 – 4:15 pm

From the Regulator’s Perspective

State and municipal regulators will provide their perspectives on undergrounding powerlines. Speakers will discuss:

  • Challenges, rules, and regulations
  • Success stories


  • Joseph Paladino, Acting Director, Grid Technical Assistance [moderator]
  • Tom Ballinger, Director, Division of Engineering, Florida Public Service Commission
  • Joey Chen, Senior Advisor to the Chairman, Maryland Public Service Commission  

4:15 – 4:30 pm


  • Michael Pesin, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Advanced Grid R&D Division, Office of Electricity
Keynote Speaker Peter Larsen

Keynote Speaker Spotlight

Peter Larsen is Staff Scientist/Leader of the Electricity Markets and Policy Department at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a Research Fellow at the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research. Peter conducts research and analysis on the economics of electricity reliability and resilience; energy service company industry and project trends; long-term electric utility planning; risk to infrastructure from extreme events; and islanded power systems. Peter has published his research in a number of reports, book chapters, and peer-reviewed journals including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Global Environmental Change, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Energy Policy, and Energy Economics.

Earlier in his career, Peter worked at the Institute of Social and Economic Research in Anchorage, Alaska, the Societal Impacts Program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and Stratus Consulting (now Abt Associates). Peter holds a Ph.D. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University; M.S. degrees from Stanford University (Management Science and Engineering) and Cornell University (Natural Resource Economics); and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Montana at Missoula.