Podcast Ep. 30: Nicole Bouchez, PhD, on her unique role as NYISO’s Consumer Interest Liaison
You might say Nicole Bouchez’s role as the NYISO’s Consumer Interest Liaison and Senior Principal Economist combines deep data analytics with good, old-fashioned customer service.
She has an especially important responsibility evaluating the impacts of major market design changes for stakeholders, policymakers, and market participants. That’s where her PhD in International Economics comes in handy.
But a large part of her job also includes working directly with some of the largest energy consumers in the state so they understand those studies and how changes to electric system planning, operations, and decarbonization policies might impact their bottom line.
In addition to performing consumer impact analyses, her office also responds to consumer questions about the markets and provides important training and information sessions. Her knowledge of the New York energy markets and her time as Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Royal Holloway, University of London, make her especially suited for that responsibility.
Bouchez’s role is unique even among ISOs and other research entities. She says one of the things she likes most about her job is how outward-facing it is – interacting with a diverse cross-section of market participants and stakeholders invested in the future of how the electric system will perform.
Her office accesses “real-world” electric systems data in its presentations and materials for stakeholders, providing a deep but comprehensive look into how the energy industry and the grid is changing. “We’re able to leverage that information in our analyses, which is quite exciting,” she said.
Bouchez, who co-chaired a task force in 2017 designing a carbon pricing proposal, is optimistic about the role that markets can play in supporting the grid of the future.
“We learned a great deal about how we can incorporate carbon dioxide emissions costs into our markets to support clean energy policy goals without jeopardizing reliability,” Bouchez noted.
She explains that if competitive wholesale electric markets can integrate the cost of carbon dioxide emissions, there’s more incentive to efficiently invest in cleaner resources.
As New York State studies its options to meet the goals of the CLCPA, Bouchez thinks the task force’s efforts are important and especially timely.
“I think that there is a desire to lower our carbon emissions as a country and as a state. It's taking us down a future that I could have never anticipated in 2017 when we started this. This is a really exciting time for [the industry],” she said.
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