Robert M. Balzar
Imperial Irrigation District

Robert M. Balzar, PE, specializes in helping companies plan, develop, deliver and implement energy efficiency, demand response and small scale renewable energy programs. He is a nationally recognized industry leader in the development and delivery of end use customer demand side management programs.

Mr. Balzar has almost 40 years of engineering and project management experience working within several utility environments having worked for two municipal owned public power utilities, a federal owned regional power provider and an investor owned utility.  Over the last 20 years he has concentrated on customer programs, energy efficiency and small scale renewable power programs. He has demonstrated expertise in developing, implementing and managing very large scale multi-faceted, multi market programs with complex delivery models and solutions.

Currently, he works at a regional Manager of Operation for the Energy Department of the Imperial Irrigation District in Southern California.  In this position he is responsible for new customer growth, development and programs in the La Quinta region of the District.  He is also working with cross functional utility teams on developing new utility rates and other customer programs as the utility model changes for the 21st century.

Previously from Sept 2014 to Oct 2106, Mr. Balzar is engaged as the Director of EmPower TN for the State of Tennessee.  He is developing a three pronged approach to understand, manage and reduce the State of Tennessee’s $190M plus utility costs.  This effort includes identifying and procuring a Utility Data Management System for over 7000 monthly power bills from over 300 utilities, developing a process for pushing out over $100M in energy efficiency investments to develop an 8-year plan to achieve a 28% use reduction and identifying behind the meter renewable energy solutions to reduce the state’s carbon footprint and hedge against utility rate increases.

In addition, Mr. Balzar has partnered with the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance and Milepost Consulting and is the principal developer in a comprehensive new approach for utility investment in the low income residential sector.  This solution when fully implemented will create new investment opportunities for utility companies while helping their most challenged customers with energy budgets and access to new energy management technology.  He recently presented his paper to utility and industry leaders at an industry conference in Atlanta.  He concept is being well received and he has been asked to work with a large investor owned and mid size municipal utility in the Southeast region

Before starting with the State of Tennessee in Oct of 2014, Mr. Balzar led a team of more than 100 professionals at the Tennessee Valley Authority that built an 1100MW virtual power plant with energy efficiency, demand response and small scale renewable programs with an annual budget of $130M.  For four years in a row under his leadership, TVA’s energy efficiency programs met or exceeded annual savings goals.  This success has helped the 9 Million people of the TVA region avoid over $700M in new capital commitment and saves almost $90M per year in annual fuel, purchase power and operations and maintenance expense.

Since 2001, Mr. Balzar has launched and developed the energy efficiency, demand response and small scale solar photovoltaic program at Nevada Power Company/Sierra Pacific Power Company, now NV Energy.  He has managed the Conservation Resources division at Seattle City Light, the greenest public power utility in the country developing an innovative small commercial customer direct install program and a very successful community solar program.  And at TVA, while building the 1100MW virtual power plant, he led the team that has developed a new customer engagement demand side management solution for residential customers.

Mr. Balzar has been on the board of directors of many regional and national industry policy and collaborative organization including the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA), and the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE).  He has served on the Power Delivery Advisory Council of the Electric Power Research Institute.  He currently sits on the national board of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).  And Mr. Balzar has presented at numerous industry trade shows and conferences.