Nancy E. Pfund is Founder and Managing Partner of DBL Partners, a venture capital firm with offices in San Francisco and Palo Alto, whose goal is to combine top-tier financial returns with meaningful social, economic and environmental returns in the regions in which it invests. As a leading player in the growing field of “impact investing,” DBL has helped to reveal the power of venture capital to promote social change and environmental improvement, and Nancy writes and speaks frequently on this topic. Ms. Pfund currently sponsors or sits on the board of directors of several companies, including; SolarCity, BrightSource Energy, Tesla Motors and Pandora Media.
Susan Kennedy has served for two decades at the highest levels of state and federal government, most recently as chief of staff to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, cabinet secretary and deputy chief of staff to Governor Gray Davis and communications director for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. She served from 2003-2006 on California's Public Utilities Commission, regulating the state's investor-owned electric utilities, telecommunications providers and private water companies. She was at the center of many of California's groundbreaking environmental policies, including the carbon reduction mandate and cap-and-trade program under AB 32, as well as the Low-Carbon Fuel, Auto Emission and Renewable Portfolio Standards. She coordinated the State's emergency demand response efforts during the energy crisis of 2000-2001 and as a member of the PUC, she authored what was then the largest energy efficiency program in utility history.
Fossil carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies can dramatically reduce CO2 emissions from existing and future infrastructure, but the world has seen relatively little deployment in the past decade. This panel—loosely structured as debate—will discuss the costs and scalability of CCS and what role it plays in decarbonization of our economy. Bruce Nilles, Sr. Director of the Beyond Coal Campaign for the Sierra Club, and Dr. Jane C.S. Long, former Principal Associate Director at Large for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will present divergent views of our energy future.
The Transportation industry is undergoing massive innovation with new Electrical Vehicles, Hybrids, and autonomous vehicles set to change how we get from point A to point B. Despite the technological leaps, clean transportation adoption has been relatively slow over the past 10 years. How can entrepreneurs, policy makers, and industry giants push adoption of clean transportation options? What will transportation look like in 10 years? What does this mean for infrastructure? What will drive consumers to make more sustainable transportation decisions? Panelists from a range of sectors will weigh in on the clean transportation future and what can be done to make immediate impacts on this nascent industry.
In December 2015, nations from around the world came together to identify mechanisms to deliver a joint response to climate change. The agreement that came out of these meetings has been lauded by some as a meaningful step towards preventing the worst consequences of climate change, while others have condemned an approach that they perceive lacks teeth. The panel assembled to discuss this agreement range from those who were intimately involved with the practicalities of negotiations themselves, to those whose work to set out what sort of climate policy we should be aiming towards. Importantly for conference participants, the panelists will discuss not only what happened in Paris, but also the implications of this agreement for energy policy and markets.
During this session, current BERC co-presidents Katie Pickrell and John Romankiewicz will debut a new short video highlighting BERC's accomplishments over the past ten years. Then, former BERC co-presidents Merrian Borgeson and Henry Stern will provide remarks on BERC's history and future. Finally, representative of BERC's latest innovations, the winner of the first inaugural Berkeley Cleantech University Prize will be announced by Jit Bhattacharya, cleantech entrepreneur and former BERC co-president.
Over the past decade, natural gas has been touted as the ultimate bridge fuel, not only ideal, but necessary for the transition to a more renewable-intensive power grid and a movement away from worldwide dependency on oil for transportation. Within electricity, natural gas has historically played a key role in setting wholesale electricity prices, fueling power plants that provide important grid reliability functions, and heavily influencing the investment in grid infrastructure and future electricity generation. This panel will discuss the future of natural gas in the electricity sector, sharing views on the ideal resource mix for tomorrow’s power grid and whether natural gas power plants will play a star role or be cast aside for other technologies. With their expertise, the panelists will also break down trends in natural gas that will continue to be a major influence on the world’s electricity systems.
Distributed energy resources (DERS) are disrupting the energy landscape in California. In an industry traditionally driven by centralized decision making, demand side technologies are democratizing our power systems. The ubiquity of information technology has made it possible for disparate distributed resources to coordinate and interface with the grid. Moreover reductions in the cost of solar, energy storage, and EVs, combined with innovative financing models have made it easier than ever before for consumers to control their own energy production and consumption. This panel will address the impact of DERs on the Californian energy industry and the technical and regulatory challenges they pose.
David Hochschild was appointed to the California Energy Commission in 2013. He fills the environmental position on the five-member Commission. Commissioner Hochschild’s career has spanned public service, environmental advocacy and the private sector. He first got involved in the solar energy field in 2001 in San Francisco as a Special Assistant to Mayor Willie Brown where he launched a citywide $100 million initiative to put solar panels on public buildings. He served as executive director of a national consortium of leading solar manufacturers and worked for five years at Solaria, a solar company in Silicon Valley. For his work to advance clean energy, Commissioner Hochschild was awarded the Sierra Club’s Trailblazer Award, the American Lung Association’s Clean Air Hero Award and the Department of Energy’s Million Solar Roof True Champion Award