Keynote Topics and Panels

2015 Symposium Keynote Topics and Panels

Solutions for the 2025/30 International Climate Accord: Scaling-up Clean Energy Production, Policy Innovations, and Business Investment


Dates: March 18 and 19, 2015
Location: Hearst Memorial Mining Building and Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley


International Challenges for a Clean Energy Economy
John Woolard, Google, will describe the energy saving designs of Google’s globally distributed data centers, each with their own constraints based on unique regional energy-suppliers. Specific technologies for data center control and building efficiency will be discussed. The longer-term challenge of creating carbon-free energy supplies for rapidly expanding developing countries will also be considered with alternative routes for clean energy and sustainable growth.

Manufacturing Scale-Up and Clean Energy
Sir Mike Gregory, Cambridge University’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), will describe pathways for rapidly expanding clean energy production. This relies on design for manufacturability and installation of wind-power systems; a focus on design for assembly (often called the balance of systems in PV technology installations); and cyber- physical product design and manufacturing of the type being used by Rolls Royce and GE for creating high-value reliable products. When applied to renewable energy systems the goals are to produce manufactured systems that compete well with incumbent fossil fuels.

Panel: Science & Technology for Carbon-free Alternatives at the Right Price
Stuart Bernstein, Goldman Sachs, will lead and moderate a panel of manufacturing experts who will focus on the efficient design and production of cost-effective clean energy systems that include PV, biofuels, large-scale thermoelectric systems and very new opportunities in small footprint modular nuclear systems.

Policy’s Role to Accelerate Clean Energy in China and the U.S
Professor He Jiankun, Tsinghua University, Beijing, will describe in detail the very recent and timely policy agreements between President Xi of China and President Obama of the United States. These policies, once forged into a formal accord, would further accelerate the opportunities for clean energy production in both countries. The policies would ideally penalize extensive expansions of coal-fired electricity generation in favor of lower carbon natural gas, renewables and modular nuclear energy production in China.

Panel: Pioneering Policy Solutions at International, Federal and State Levels
Lynn Price, China Energy Group, LBNL will lead a panel focused on for new mitigation policies used at different levels of governance. This panel spans subnational experience with the carbon markets in California, national energy reforms in Mexico that may open many new markets for cleaner fuels and renewable energy production and use, European Union carbon policies, and approaches for minimizing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. BECI’s work with FERC, the USDA and the DoI that recommends mitigation actions that the President can take within existing regulations will also be described in this session.

A Governor’s Obsession: Energy Federalism – Job Growth through Clean Energy Policy in the States
Jennifer Granholm, Former Governor of Michigan, BECI Senior Fellow, and Professor in Law and Public Policy, will describe BECI’s game changing work being carried out in 10 US “purple” states to simultaneously stimulate economic growth and clean energy production. Many BECI students from several affiliated Campus departments have engaged with the local businesses and development organizations in these states and their results on economic stimuli will be specifically described. The impact of her research is beginning to take effect in government circles.

The Next Decade on the Bridge to Renewables
Arjun Murti, formerly at Goldman Sachs and now with Warburg Pincus, has been tracking the impact of the natural gas expansion in the US over a 10-year period and is a national expert on the growth, economic impact, job creation and energy security issues of this new energy landscape. His talk will be data rich and show new trends in the US energy boom.

Panel: The Responsible Transition to Low Carbon Alternatives & Renewables
Professor David Dornfeld of the Berkeley manufacturing community will lead a panel that first focuses on reducing energy usage via energy efficiency in all sectors – residential, commercial, architectural and industrial. Colleagues who are expert in the economic modeling of new energy production, and a spiraling effect in new business opportunities, will tie this panel together by showing the positive economic impacts of a switch to clean energy sources.

Investments that Scale Renewable Energy in China
Sonny Wu is one of the largest investors in clean energy in China and in his own words “For China: renewable energy is not an option.” His talk will outline the recent rapid growth in renewable energy investments throughout Asia and globally, and show how this trend could be rapidly accelerated by supportive tax incentives, subsidies and long-term interest rates.

Panel: Investing to Create an Efficient & Sustainable Global Infrastructure
Jeff McDermott, Greentech Capital Advisors, will lead a panel, including Mr. Wu, on “Investment Opportunities in a Sustainable Grid: DG, Distributed Storage, Grid Intelligence and Engaged Consumers.” The support from a more flexible and cooperative “smart grid” is needed and recent experiences with the operation of the European grid will first be described. Within the EU grid, a specific installation of a large PV system, supported by large-scale battery storage and a look-ahead real-time IT system, will be described. Many new business opportunities for distributed generation, large-scale distributed storage, grid intelligence, and the engagement of customers who install and use rooftop solar as well as understand the benefits of demand response will also be covered.

Panel: The Perspective of the Next Generation of Energy and Climate Students
Cathy Koshland, Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education at UC Berkeley, will conclude the meeting and lead the perspectives of our students. Overall the goals of the Forum and our ongoing education and research activities are to reduce the world’s dependence on the carbon intensive energy sources – coal, oil and gas. These remain at 87% of global consumption as shown in the graph below. Renewable energy remains a small fraction (only ~2.2%) of overall energy production and consumption. A massive change in “technology-scaling,” supportive policy, and business leadership, is needed to keep carbon dioxide below the desired level of 450ppm for this future generation of students. Communicating this message more broadly is important and the Journalism School will be a part of this final session.

Back to Top