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CPUC's 21st Century Thought Leaders in Essential Industries Speaker Series

The CPUC is hosting this ongoing guest speaker series designed to stimulate thought and discussion of some of the most pressing challenges facing California utility regulators and the private sector industries impacted by state policies. Leading experts from around the world  take center stage to offer their expertise and vision in areas such as communications, energy, water, transportation, the environment, green jobs, and more. These events are free and open to the public and take place in the CPUC's Auditorium at 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco.  The events are also viewable via video webcast in real time and also archived.       

Sign-up to receive future Thought Leaders announcementsFor questions or comments about a Thought Leaders event, either during the event or otherwise, please contact thoughtleaders@cpuc.ca.gov. You can also send us your suggestions regarding topics and speakers and feedback on our events. 

Upcoming Speakers

Check back soon for upcoming events.

Previous Speakers

This event is expected to achieve maximum room capacity. An overflow room will be provided. You are encouraged to arrive early. The session will also be broadcast live and archived via video webcast.

Feb. 27, 2014, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.: Innovation and the Impact of Regulation, featuring Elon Musk and Lyndon Rive. The discussion will center on the intersection between regulation and innovation, including how the combined role of government and entrepreneurs can help create a better environment and a better product for the common good. There will be a 45-minute audience-driven question and answer session following the discussion.

Where: CPUC Auditorium, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco; also available in real-time and archived via video webcast

Who:

Moderator: Paul Clanon, CPUC Executive Director

Panelists:

  • Michael R. Peevey, CPUC President and leader in the energy industry who has worked tirelessly to create energy policies that curb climate change.
  • Elon Musk, engineer and entrepreneur who builds and operates companies to solve environmental, social, and economic challenges. He co-founded PayPal and currently drives strategy, development, and design at two companies: Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), where he is founder and CEO, and Tesla Motors, where he is co-founder and CEO. He also is Chairman of the Board of a third company, SolarCity.
  • Lyndon Rive, co-founder and CEO of SolarCity, has grown the company to be the largest solar power provider in the U.S. in less than eight years of operation. SolarCity has more than 4,500 employees—including more than 2,000 in California—and is currently providing approximately one out of every three new residential solar power systems in America. A lifelong entrepreneur, Mr. Rive founded his first company at age 17. Prior to co-founding SolarCity, Mr. Rive co-founded the enterprise software company Everdream, which was ultimately acquired by Dell.

RSVP (not required, but appreciated)

Read our Media Advisory

 

Event Poster

 

Event Brochure

Nov. 14, 2013, 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.: Effective regulation: what it is, how it is achieved, the balance between under- and over-regulation, and the impacts on those affected.  [ Poster ]

Where: CPUC Auditorium, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco; also available in real-time and archived via video webcast at www.californiaadmin.com/cpuc.shtml 


Who:

  • Opening Remarks: CPUC Commissioner Mark J. Ferron
  • Moderator: Susan Kennedy, Consultant, Alston & Bird Law Firm; former Chief of Staff to Governor Schwarzenegger; and former CPUC Commissioner
  • Panelists:
    •  Mark Toney, Executive Director, The Utility Reform Network (TURN)
    • Peter Rive, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, SolarCity

Why: To foster a dialogue on how to recognize and create effective regulation.  The session will explore the impact of regulation and the role of the regulator on government, Californian consumers, and the economy as a whole.

RSVP (appreciated, not required)

 

Media advisory

Sept. 24, 2013, 9:30 a.m. -11:30 a.m.: This Thought Leaders event, co-sponsored by the California Energy Commission and Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), will address the ways energy data and analysis can be used to implement California’s energy goals. The discussion will cover how energy consumption data is currently used; what value it brings to policymakers to support the myriad of statewide energy goals; how customers are ultimately benefiting from utilization of data by researchers, market participants, utilities for energy efficiency purposes, distributed generation, grid reliability, and how the privacy of customers is maintained.

  • Where: State Capitol, Room 4202, 1315 10th St., Sacramento; also available via live webex at van.webex.com, meeting number 745 737 566, password: consumption; toll-free number: 866-703-9738, participant passcode: 8752561
  • Who:
    • Opening Remarks:
      • Assembly Member Quirk
      • Commissioner Carla Peterman, CPUC
      • Commissioner Andrew McAllister, California Energy Commission
      • Director Ken Alex, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research
    • Moderator:
      • Dr. Stephanie Pincetl, Adjunct Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA
    • Invited Panelists:
      • Sam Krasnow, Vice President, First Fuel Regulatory Affairs and Market Development (Presentation)
      • Wade Crowfoot, Deputy Cabinet Secretary and Senior Advisor, Office of California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.
      • Howard Choy, General Manager, Los Angeles County Office of Sustainability
      • Dan Kammen, Distinguished Professor of Energy, University of California, Berkeley (Presentation)
      • Severin Borenstein, Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy, Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley (Presentation)

RSVP (appreciated, not required)

Media Advisory

April 18, 2013, 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.: The potential benefits of allowing wider access to energy consumption data while protecting specific customer privacy is enormous.  Access to such data could enable both the evaluation of existing energy policies and the creation of new and more effective policies in the future. Currently, access to energy consumption data is difficult and sometimes impossible to obtain.  Consolidating and publishing that information in aggregate and anonymous form, for example through a centralized repository, could improve state energy policies and create new market opportunities to save energy.

  • Opening Remarks: CPUC President Michael R. Peevey
  • Presentation on the value of access to data: Dr. Stephanie Pincetl, Adjunct Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA
  • Presentation on building energy databases and the associated costs, privacy, and security issues in building and maintaining this type of database:  Jason Adge, Chief Financial Officer, Direct Technology 
  • Panelists:
    • Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Jerry Brown and the Director of the Office of Planning and Research
    • Andrew McAllister, Commissioner, California Energy Commission
    • Ian Kalin, Presidential Innovation Fellow, U.S. Department of Energy

RSVP (appreciated, not required)

Video Webcast

Read the CPUC’s staff paper: Energy Data Center

Read our Media Advisory

Feb. 27, 2013, 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Cybersecurity, in the CPUC Auditorium: This discussion will address the current state of cybersecurity policies in the U.S., the future of cybersecurity, the relationship between state and federal governments, and how the industry can move forward to avoid any major events. The discussion is free and open to the public.

  • Opening Remarks: CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio
  • Moderator: Gary Ackerman, Executive Director, Western Power Trading Forum
  • Panelists:

    • Kevin Stine, National Institute of Standards and Technology

    • Tim Roxey, North American Electric Reliability Corporation

    • Steven Dougherty, IBM

    • James Sample, Pacific Gas and Electric Company

RSVP (appreciated, not required)

Video Webcast

Read the CPUC’s staff paper on cybersecurity

 

Media Advisory

 

See our posterOct. 26, 2012, 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Green Economy Partnerships, in the CPUC Auditorium: This discussion will introduce the strategic public/private partnerships focused on developing the green economy in California. Green Economy Partnerships will highlight partnerships between multiple stakeholders such as utilities, government, industry, labor, educators, and investors who are aimed at leveraging limited resources and removing barriers in an effort to drive sustainable

Keynote Speaker and Moderator: Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor, State of California

Panelists:

  • Nancy Pfund, Managing Partner, DBL Investors
  • Doug Avery, CALCTP Manager, Southern California Edison
  • Tim Rainey, Executive Director, California Workforce Investment Board

Video Webcast

Brochure

Presentation of Doug Avery, California Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program: Training Contractors & Electricians on Advanted Lighthing Control Systems

 

Presentation of Tim Rainey, Executive Director, California Workforce Investment Board: The State Strategic Plan - Overview and Exchange

 

RSVP (not required, but appreciated)

Read the Media Advisory

View the poster

Read a CPUC staff paper on one aspect of the Green Economy

Aug. 2, 2012, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.: The Internet of Things, CPUC Auditorium - This discussion will introduce the Internet of Things - the expanding network of physical objects automatically collecting and transmitting data - and will address questions such as the current, future, and futurist applications of the Internet of Things; the potential for both consumer benefits and consumer perils; and the possible impact of the Internet of Things on California’s communications and energy infrastructure.

Moderator: Rachelle Chong, Vice President, Government Affairs, Comcast

Panelists:

  • Jeff Campbell, Senior Director of Technology Policy, Cisco Systems, Inc 
  • Richard Adler, Principal, People & Technology/Institute for the Future
  • Gabriel Broner, Head of Innovation, Ericsson

Moderator and Panelist Bios

Video Webcast

RSVP (appreciated, not required)

Read the Media Advisory

View the Flyer

Revitalizing the Clean Energy Economy, March 8, 2012, 1:30-3:30 p.m.: Just a few years ago, the U.S. appeared to have the ability and the will to become a global leader in the transition to a clean energy economy, with California at the forefront.  However, various political and economic events may have slowed that momentum. This panel discussion will identify new potential government policies and private sector strategies in California for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. 

The event is free to the public, but we do request attendees to register via our online system.

See our poster

Media Advisory

Panelists:  

  • Nathaniel Bullard, Director of Content, Bloomberg New Energy Finance
  • Efren Carrillo, Supervisor, 5th District, Sonoma County
  • Brad Copithorne, Energy and Financial Policy Specialist, EDF
  • Nancy E. Pfund, Founder and Managing Partner, DBL Investors
  • Moderator: Eric Wesoff, Senior Analyst, GTM Research 

Sept. 20, 2011: The Economic Viability of Energy Storage. This panel discussion addressed questions such as what is the optimal cost-benefit methodology for estimating cost effectiveness of electricity storage; what are the tangible and intangible costs and benefits of storage; what are the advantages and disadvantages of distributed versus centralized storage; which applications are most likely to have positive net benefits; and which technologies are closest to commercial viability.

  • Moderator: Amanda Stevenson, Director, Market Policy & Regulatory Affairs, West, Xtreme Power, Inc.
  • Special Guest: Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)

  • Panelists:
    • Joe Desmond, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Communication, BrightSource Energy, Inc.
    • Byron Washom, Director of Strategic Energy Initiatives, University of California, San Diego
    • Dr. Robert Schainker, Senior Technical Executive in the Power Delivery and Utilization Sector, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
    • Dr. Craig R Horne, President & CEO, EnerVault Corporation
  • Archived video webcast
  • Media Advisory

July 11, 2011: Lessons Learned: Solar Leadership from Germany and California. Germany has been very successful at encouraging solar power, particularly with Feed-in Tariffs, but not without stimulating much international analysis on the advantages and disadvantages of their government policies. More recently, Germany’s plan to phase-out all their nuclear power plants by 2022 is raising critical questions about how Germany will obtain adequate energy without nuclear (about 23 percent of total electricity supply currently), while achieving their goal of reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels in 2020.

Germany currently obtains about 17 percent of their electricity from renewable sources, with goals of 35 percent of total electricity from renewable sources by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050. However, if they are to replace the nuclear power with renewable energy, they may need to deliver as much as 50-60 percent of total electricity from renewable sources by 2020, as they already have very aggressive energy efficiency targets (to increase energy efficiency by 20 percent over 1990 levels).

California and Germany have many similarities (and some significant differences) with respect to energy policies. The following expert panel of solar industry executives discussed the challenges and opportunities for solar development in Germany and California in the context of the broader energy policy issues.

The panelists were :

  • Dr. Martin Heming, CEO, Schott Solar
  • Dr. Volker Nadenau, CTO, Bosch Solar Energy
  • Dr. Marc van Gerven, CEO, Q-Cells North America

Curtis Seymour, just recently returned from working in Germany on solar policy issues for the German government and German solar industry, was the Moderator.

March 24, 2011: Advanced Customer Engagement Platforms: Will Rewards, Competition, and Social Networking Motivate Consumers to Conserve Energy? The panel discussed the ways that software platforms and social media may help customers manage their energy usage, cut their energy bills, and save money. Panelists:

  • Jessica Alter, Founder & CEO, Formative Labs | Presentation
  • Bruce Ceniceros, Principal Program Planner, Sacramento Municipal Utility District | Presentation
  • Sean Harrington, Senior Director, Client Solutions, OPOWER | Presentation
  • Tom Scaramellino, Founder & CEO, Efficiency 2.0 | Presentation
  • Cameron Brooks, Senior Director, Market Development and Policy Strategy, Tendril | Presentation
  • Preston Read, SVP, Government Affairs, RecycleBank | Presentation

The moderator was Brad Kates, President of Opinion Dynamics (Presentation). Media Advisory | Archived Video

October 14, 2010, 1:30 - 3 p.m.: Jacques Besnainou, CEO of Areva North America; and John Hutson, President and CEO of the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group, discussed their plans for a new Clean Energy Park in the San Joaquin Valley, utilizing nuclear power and solar energy. Media Advisory | Archived video

September 22, 2010: Dr. Peter Fox-Penner, a Principal and Chairman Emeritus of Brattle Group. Mr. Fox-Penner, recognized as an international authority on energy and environmental policies and electric regulatory planning and competition issues, discussed his vision for electric utilities as described in his new book, Smart Power: Climate Change, the Smart Grid, and the Future of Electric Utilities. Media Advisory | Presentation | Archived video

August 12, 2010: Peter Darbee, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, and President of PG&E Corporation, shared his perspective on Climate Change for Policymakers and Business Leaders and his thoughts on how an energy utility can be successful in the rapidly changing local and global energy markets. Archived video | Media advisory

July 14, 2010: Panel discussion on The Real Cost of Water and the Coming Water Shortage. Discussion topics included: the energy and environmental costs of water production, transport, treatment, distribution, and use; climate change mitigation and adaptation costs associated with water; external costs not currently reflected in water prices; whether agricultural and urban users pay for the real cost of their water; whether California’s multiple water regulatory agencies should propose a joint plan for integrating water regulation; the advantages and disadvantages of CPUC cost effectiveness calculations in evaluating water projects; how the various beneficial uses of water can be appropriately reflected in the price of water.

  • Speakers:
    • Ellen Hanak, Senior Fellow, Public Policy Institute of California
    • Michael Hanemann, Chancellor’s Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley
    • Fran Spivy-Weber, Vice-Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board
    • Bob Wilkinson, Senior Lecturer, Environmental Studies and Bren School, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Video Webcast
  • Media Advisory
  • Flyer

June 30, 2010: Panel discussion on What Role Can Clean Tech and Smart Grid Start-Ups Play in Solving the Climate Change Crisis? Discussion topics included: how government can enable success of clean tech and Smart Grid start-ups; what utilities and tech companies should do to facilitate commercial success by viable clean tech and Smart Grid start-up companies; whether utilities and tech companies should actively provide venture capital funding to clean tech and Smart Grid start-ups.

  • Speakers: 
    • Saul Griffith, inventor; entrepreneur; MacArthur Fellow; and Chief Scientist at Other Lab, a company specializing in developing new ideas, concepts, and prototypes for creating new companies and reinvigorating old ones without using much energy; creator of Makani, a high-altitude wind energy company; Potenco, a human-powered generation company; WattzOn, a company that has created a tool to quantify, track, compare and understand energy use; and Onya Cycles, a company that produces hybrid electric bicycles. 
    • Cree A. Edwards, Chairman of the Board and a Founder of eMeter Corporation.  eMeter provides the essential software platform and applications that enable electric, gas, and water utilities to achieve large-scale Smart Grid deployments. Mr. Edwards co-founded CellNet Data Systems, Inc., an industry leader in providing advanced electricity metering data and communications to utilities.  His many roles at Cellnet included Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board.
  • See the Flyer
  • Video Webcast

April 8, 2010: Ralph Cavanagh, Senior Attorney and Co-Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Energy Program. Mr. Cavanagh discussed his vision for energy efficiency, clean energy, and climate change policies, followed by an interactive question and answer session.  Video Archive | Media Advisory

March 5, 2010: FERC Commissioner Philip D. Moeller. An interactive discussion with Commissioner Moeller on topics including FERC priorities, federal renewable energy and climate change efforts, FERC actions on grid needs to ensure reliability as more renewables interconnect and independent transmission projects. Video Archive | Media Advisory | Flyer

January 21, 2010: A panel discussion of carbon capture and storage and the role it plays in climate change mitigation. The panel featured Sally M. Benson, Director of the Global Climate and Energy Project at Stanford University; S. Julio Freidmann, Program Leader in Carbon Management at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; and George Peridas, Scientist at the Climate Center of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Video Archive | Media Advisory | Speaker BiosFlyer | Presentations: Benson, Peridas

September 24, 2009: The Honorable Claude Turmes, Member of the European Parliament and Vice President, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance. Mr. Turmes discussed European Policies for Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Climate Change Policies - Lessons to be Learned, followed with an interactive question-and-answer session with the audience. Mr. Turmes is considered by many as a leader in developing Europe's ambitious energy efficiency programs, the guiding light behind Europe's proactive Renewable Energy Directive, and a strong proponent for climate change mitigation. Video Archive | Presentation

August 27, 2009: An international panel of experts discuss feed-in tariffs. Moderated by Paul Douglas, Manager of Renewable Procurement and Resource Planning for the CPUC. The panel featured Jose Luis Gandia, Chief Operating Officer at Prosolia; David Wortmann, Vice President Policy and Public Affairs at First Solar; Oliver Schaefer, Director at SunPower; and Arno Harris, Chief Executive Officer at Recurrent Energy. Video Archive | Media Advisory

June 10, 2009: California's Budget Challenge and the California Green Economy -- a panel moderated by CPUC Senior Policy Analyst Kristin Ralff-Douglas. Speakers discussed California's budget challenge, clean energy as a smart economic stimulus, how California a model for other states in energy efficiency and how will energy efficiency create jobs in California. The panel featured F. Noel Perry, Founder of  Next 10 and Creator of  the 2009 California Green Innovation Index; Tracey Grose, Vice President for Research and Strategic Development for Collaborative Economics, Inc.; and David Roland-Holst, Ph.D. Economics, Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Berkeley and author of three books and 100 articles Video Archive | Presentation | Flyer

May 21, 2009: Mary Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board, discussed Creating California’s Clean Energy Future: Challenges, Lessons, and Opportunities. Video Archive | Speech Text

November 6, 2008: Vinod Khosla, Co-Founder of Sun Microsystems and Founder of Khosla Ventures, discussed clean technology and venture capital investments. Video Archive | Presentation | Speaker Bio

  

Last Modified: 3/3/2014


 
 
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