She is new to the state\u2019s energy profession while he is a 30-year-plus veteran. She\u2019s articulate and sits upright as she carefully chooses her words while talking about her experience and new post. He\u2019s unassuming, and sits back as he comfortably converses about a wide range of nuanced energy topics. She\u2019s a Hula-Hooper. He loves photography and travel. The latter is Bob Weisenmiller, the relatively new California Energy Commission chair. The former is Carla Peterman, the newest commission member. After interviewing the two commissioners back to back last week I thought viva la difference. The contrast in age, gender, energy, life experience, and hobbies is vital for the nearly 40-year old bureaucracy. At 32, Peterman insists her age places an \u201cextra sense of accountability\u201d on her because she\u2019ll likely be around to see the impact of polices adopted by the commission she sits on years down the road. Meanwhile, Weisenmiller harkened back to his work at the commission during Gov. Jerry Brown\u2019s previous governorship. \u201cWe\u2019re continuing work started more than 30 years ago,\u201d he said with a grin on his St. Nick-like face. He worked on developing co-generation and solar policies while at the commission in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Weisenmiller\u2019s resume also includes co-founding two energy consulting firms in 1982 and 1986, to offer technical and financial energy advice on a wide range of issues to public and private entities--from gas prices to bankruptcy. While it took more than a year to squeeze in an interview with Weisenmiller, including the months following his first appointment by the former governor to sit on the commission, Peterman agreed to meet a few days. She apologized for the delay when we met in person. I said hers\u2019 was the quickest commission interview granted. A former commissioner, for example, repeatedly declined requests for interviews for months. It was only after I introduced myself at a cocktail party during a three-day energy conference in the mountains that she agreed to meet. Peterman, the first African-American woman on the commission, touts her experience in the financial world and non profit-arena--neither of which she sees as mutually exclusive. Clean energy workforce training is an issue of much importance to her as are rates on the elderly and other vulnerable populations. A clean energy system must be \u201csafe, reliable and protect rate payers.\u201d When asked how cost containment may be achieved she said it was too early to say. Peterman joined The Utility Reform Network board in 2008 a few months after meeting Mark Toney, TURN\u201ds executive director. She did a short stint at a non-profit in her home state of New Jersey and worked at Lehman Brothers for two years. She\u2019s pursuing a doctorate in Energy and Resources at the University of California, Berkeley. The dissertation she\u2019s working on analyzes the cost impacts of the solar projects independent from the panels--from inverters to permitting. She noted that much of the focus on solar projects has been on the drop in photovoltaic panel costs from the surge in demand but the same emphasis on the non-module side is lacking. Only very reluctantly did she admit that she was an avid Hula-Hooper. But, her hobby is not disconnected from her professional pursuits. She owns a variety of hoops, including one lit by LEDs. She also gave herself the stage name of \u201cMegajoule,\u201d when performing \u201chip hoop\u201d at the graduate school talent show. While Weisenmiller is not a hip hooper--at least not yet--he is a UC Berkeley graduate; PhD in chemistry. Being chair has significantly curtailed his travel and photography. \u201cFree time, those were the glory days,\u201d he said. While Peterman is testing her mettle, Weisenmiller smoothly discusses energy policy and practice. He notes that key issues for the commission include helping implement the 33 percent renewable standard, including certifying small renewable systems, reducing energy demand in old buildings, as well as meeting the generation needs in the South Coast given power plant retirements and air quality permit constraints. The job requires that he, as well as his colleagues, get numerous hoops swirling simultaneously. Weisenmiller is not an advocate of having the commission resume \u201cneeds\u201d assessments. The pre-deregulation assessment of power needs in California looked at capacity and economics. He noted that today the equation is far more complex, particularly in Southern California where it entails environmental justice concerns, a shortage of air permits, pending retirements or replacements of the once through cooled coastal power plants, and greenhouse gas and California Environmental Quality Act requirements. If power reliability is successfully attained in this test case it could become the state energy policy template. The key to a successful and cost-effective renewable mandate, according to Weisenmiller, are demand-response, energy storage and an advanced digitized grid that more fully and quickly reacts to changes and disturbances on the system. To avoid a work overload, he said the thousands of small distributed generation systems expected to seek certification as tradable renewable energy credits under the state\u2019s renewable law should be aggregated. Approving clusters of like systems instead of individual verifications would ease the process for regulators and system owners.