Sargent & Lundy Contributes Industry Expertise to NextGrid: Illinois Utility of the Future Study

In-house specialists from the firm partake in collaborative study alongside industry experts to advance Illinois’ electrical grid

January 8, 2019 - Sargent & Lundy contributes industry expertise to NextGrid, a consumer-focused study that addresses critical issues facing Illinois’ electric utility industry in the coming decade and beyond. Managed by the Illinois Commerce Commission, the study examines the use of new technologies to improve the state’s electric grid while minimizing energy costs to consumers.

As part of the study, seven working groups met regularly throughout 2018 to develop a shared base of information and build consensus on issues facing the electric utility industry. Working group participants included experts and thought leaders from utilities, energy companies, providers of grid modernization technologies, consumer advocates, environmental organizations, and other electricity market actors.

Four subject-matter experts from Sargent & Lundy were selected to contribute to the final report which aims to educate policy makers and energy stakeholders; identify options for modernizing grid infrastructure and the policies regulating it; and examine potential impacts for consumers, utilities, and the environment.

  • Brian Kelley, vice president and project director for Sargent & Lundy’s electric grid infrastructure business participated in Working Group 1 - New Technology and Grid Integration. Kelley examined the impact of changes to the grid caused by grid modernization, renewable energy integration, and energy efficiency initiatives. His group also explored how the modern grid could spur innovative new products and services by enabling collection, storage, and retrieval of information to which data analytics can be applied for efficient deployment and utilization of system resources.
  • Matthew LaCourt, project associate for Sargent & Lundy’s electric grid infrastructure business, provided key insight for Working Group 2 - Metering, Data, and Communications. LaCourt investigated the myriad changes of the rapidly evolving electric grid, with a concentration on metering infrastructure. The group collaborated to better understand and characterize the current state of metering, data, and communications in Illinois, and to define future needs to support distributed energy resources.
  • Lara Bledin from Sargent & Lundy’s consulting business contributed to Working Group 3 - Reliability, Resiliency, and Security (RR&S). Bledin identified various challenges, opportunities, solutions, and potential action items specific to critical areas of RR&S. This working group focused on topics that cover the elements of how utilities and other stakeholders who support and interact with the utilities can design, implement, support, assess, protect, and successfully operate all of the essential components of the grid.
  • John Wroble from Sargent & Lundy’s consulting business provided his expertise to Working Group 5 - Electricity Markets. Wroble considered methods to increase customer access to new technologies and stimulate distribution-level market participation. His group explored market-based platform transactions that the grid can enable and studied ways to enhance consumer access to Illinois’ competitive retail markets.

Stakeholders and the public are invited to review and comment on the draft final report. The draft is open for public comment until January 10, and any comments should be sent directly to Lynnea Johnson at

Following the public comment and review period, the lead facilitators, Dr. George Gross and Dr. Peter Sauer of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will issue a revised final report early in 2019. The draft final report is available on the NextGrid website.

Energy Business Consulting Services at Sargent & Lundy

Electric Grid Infrastructure Services at Sargent & Lundy

Sargent & Lundy to Participate in the NextGrid: Illinois’ Utility of the Future Study