2020 Policy Makers Symposium Schedule

NCEW Policy Makers Symposium is going virtual and expanding its programming all weeklong. You’ll hear directly from the “who’s who” in clean energy decision making – including Republican and Democratic policymakers and top influencers in clean energy investment, innovation, and policy. You’ll also have an opportunity to participate in new kinds of online networking events and virtual collaboration opportunities, building strong relationships across the country as easily as next door – from wherever you are.


Monday, September 21st

10:15 - 10:30 AM ET

Deputy Secretary Mark Menezes, U.S. Department of Energy

  • Introduction: Heather Reams, Chair, National Clean Energy Week

10:30 - 11:00 AM ET

The Fight for States' Rights and Net Metering

A broad coalition of advocates, state policymakers, and energy industry leaders successfully defeated a petition over the summer asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to remove control of net metering from state jurisdiction. While the petition failed, the experience serves as a case study to discuss the larger issues of federalism and states’ rights at stake with energy policy.

  • Ted Thomas | Arkansas Public Service Commissioner
  • Tyson Grinstead | Director, Public Policy, Sunrun
  • Sean Gallagher | Vice President, State Affairs, Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Jason Shaw | Commissioner, Georgia Public Service Commission
  • MODERATOR: Brittany Zwierzchowski Tisler | Chief Operating Officer, Conservative Energy Network

1:00 - 1:30 PM ET

Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL), Member, House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis

1:30 - 2:30 PM ET

Clean Energy’s Secret Weapon: American Innovation

American innovation has reshaped the world while overcoming the most daunting challenges imaginable. This is in large part thanks to two core features of our innovation landscape: a hands-off regulatory approach that doesn’t require permission to build the future, and a market-oriented approach the focuses on complementary roles for the private sector, federal and state government, academia, and philanthropy. This panel will focus on policies to incentivize clean energy innovation, and how federal policy makers can build on significant progress made to further support technological innovation, and the mechanisms that can help better support cutting edge research and development.

  • Kristin Barbato | CEO & Founder, Build Edison
  • Marty Durbin | President, Global Energy Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Jeremy Harrell | Managing Director, ClearPath
  • Hemai Parthasarathy | Scientific Director, Breakout Labs
  • MODERATOR: Taite McDonald | Partner, Holland & Knight

2:30 - 3:00 PM ET

Conner Prochaska | Chief Commercialization Officer and Director, Office of Technology Transitions, U.S. Department of Energy

4:00 - 5:15 PM ET

Survive, Thrive, or Die? The Road Ahead for Clean Energy Finance and Investment

Private capital has long played an important role in moving America’s basic research and development beyond the lab and into the marketplace as game-changing innovations. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic fallout are rebalancing the investment landscape even as we speak. In this panel, speakers will address the status of private capital investment for clean energy.  Discussion will focus on current trends and anticipated needs to boost public and private investment, as well as the policies that promise to return fast growth on clean energy investments and position the U.S. as an exporter of clean and advanced technologies.

  • Jeff Eckel | President, CEO & Chairman, Hannon Armstrong
  • Melanie Nakagawa | Director of Climate Strategy, Princeville Capital
  • John Miller | Vice President & ESG Senior Research Analyst, Calvert Research and Management
  • Shayle Kann | Managing Director, Energy Impact Partners
  • MODERATOR: Jon Powers | Co-founder & President, Clean Capital

Tuesday, September 22nd

9:00 - 10:00 AM ET

Private Sector Innovation: Accelerating the Greening of the Grid in Forgotten America

Panelists will discuss how focus, innovation, and common sense can transform clean infrastructure investments for companies to have more tools to slash greenhouse gas emissions, expand access to clean energy, and spur economic growth across the United States. Clearloop, WattTime and Downstream strategies will release a new white paper and tool to focus U.S. solar development for greatest impact, expand the geographic spread of solar development and support U.S. communities getting left behind in the clean energy transition.

  • Phil Bredesen | Former Tennessee Governor
  • Joey James | Principal, Downstream Strategies
  • Henry Richardson | Senior Analyst, WattTime
  • Zdravka Tzankova | Professor, Vanderbilt University
  • Laura Zapata | Co-founder, Clearloop
  • MODERATOR: Michael Vandenbergh | David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair of Law Director, Climate Change Research Network

10:30 - 11:30 AM ET

Renewable Energy in My Backyard: A Focus on Property Rights

Federal and state energy policy can have a profound local impact. In many cases, the support or opposition to a particular project comes down to property rights. The panel will discuss siting challenges and issues, as well as the role of clean energy development in powering communities.

  • John Davis | Energy farmer, rancher, former Texas Policymaker
  • Jackson Keith | Director, Land and Liberty Coalition
  • Dahvi Wilson | Vice President of Public Affairs, Apex Clean Energy
  • Amy Farrell | Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs, American Wind Energy Association
  • MODERATOR: Larry Ward | Midwest Regional Director, Conservative Energy Network

11:45 AM - 12:00 PM ET

Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Chief Scientist, U.S. Department of Agriculture

12:00 - 12:30 PM ET

Senators' Dialogue with Senators Mike Braun (R-IN) and Chris Coons (D-DE), Co-Chairs of Senate Climate Solutions Caucus

MODERATOR: Kelly Ayotte | Former U.S. Senator and Senior Advisor, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions

12:30 - 1:30 PM ET

The American Farmer: Tomorrow's Clean Energy and Climate Solutions Mogul

Farming has been the heart and soul of America since its founding. American farmers not only feed the world, but they often lead the world on new farming practices and technologies that can increase the land’s productivity and lessen environmental impact. This panel will explore how the agricultural sector represents a new frontier for clean energy opportunities. Discussion will focus on policies that can help encourage emissions reductions and the role of voluntary carbon credit markets. Panelists will address historic barriers that farmers, ranchers, and land managers face in reducing emissions and the appropriate role for government to simplify the process.

  • Collin O’Mara | President & CEO, National Wildlife Federation
  • Vanessa Tutos | Director of Government Affairs, EDP Renewables North America
  • Jill Kolling | Vice President of Global Sustainability, Cargill
  • Cinch Munson | Senior Vice President, Business Development, Propane Education Research Council
  • MODERATOR: Charles Hernick | Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, CRES Forum

1:30 - 2:30 PM ET

Renewable Energy Development in the West: Successes, Hurdles and the Path For Increased Development

The Western United States is home to an abundance of renewable resources with nearly every type of resource being well suited for deployment across the region. From wind and solar to geothermal and hydroelectric, the West is seeing record levels of investments in utility-scale projects. This panel will look at what policies have driven successful projects, where roadblocks exist slowing development, and ideas for increasing development opportunities.

  • Taylor Henderson | Chief Energizing Officer, Outshine Energy
  • Mike Kruger | President & CEO, Colorado Solar and Storage Association
  • Jared McKee | Director of Business Development, Clēnera – Renewable Energy
  • MODERATOR: John Karakoulakis | Executive Director, The Western Way

2:30 - 3:00 PM ET

Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), Ranking Member, House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis

3:00 - 3:15 PM ET

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chair, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

3:15 - 4:30 PM ET

Towards a More Secure Power Supply: Domestically Resourced, Reliable, Resilient

As any emergency planner in Tornado Alley or the Hurricane belt can tell you, resiliency is critical to surviving and recovering from a natural disaster. But in today’s hyper-networked, “always on” global economy, the threats to our energy infrastructure don’t exclusively come from Mother Nature. This panel will explore current and reasonably foreseeable security risks to our critical energy infrastructure, as well as new technologies and tools to ensure a secure grid and reliable and resilient power supply. Panelists will discuss the importance of domestically sourcing rare earth minerals that make up the backbone of our energy and telecommunications technologies, supply chain risks exposed by COVID-19 and the risk of overreliance on imported technologies, and the role of renewables in defending the American homeland. The panel will highlight ongoing efforts at the U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense.

  • Scott Aaronson | Vice President, Security and Preparedness, Edison Electric Institute
  • Jonathon Monken | Principal, Converge Strategies & former Senior Director PJM Interconnection
  • Leia Guccione | Managing Director, Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Kellie Donnelly | Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Lot 16 Consulting
  • MODERATOR: Michael Wu | Principal, Converge Strategies

Wednesday, September 23rd

10:00 - 10:30 AM ET

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)

Ranking Member, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

10:30 - 10:45 PM ET

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO)

Member, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

10:45 - 11:45 AM ET

The New Cash Crop: Rural Renewables

Renewable energy projects are the new “cash crop” across many rural communities in America. Farmers and ranchers are diversifying their revenue streams by deploying renewables and these projects have been beneficial for regional economic development and local governments’ tax base too. In this panel, leading academic researchers will discuss recent economic impact studies from Texas, Michigan, Colorado, and Indiana. Join us to hear how this clean energy sector has become an economic engine across rural America.

  • Josh Rhodes | University of Texas Energy Institute, and Founding Partner, IdeaSmiths, LLC
  • Greg Brophy | Colorado State Director, The Western Way
  • Sarah Mills | Senior Project Manager, Graham Sustainability Institute – Lecturer, Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
  • Russell Hillberry | Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University
  • MODERATOR: Matt Welch | State Director, Conservative Texans for Energy Innovation

12:00 - 1:00 PM ET

New Technology Is Growing the Clean Energy Economy

Innovation is changing the way we think about how we generate energy. Learn more about some of the future technologies that can make our planet cleaner and secure our energy supply for generations to come.

  • Dr. Laura Nelson | Executive Director, Green Hydrogen Coalition
  • Richard Sweetser | President, Exergy Partners Corp
  • Tony Giroti | Founder and Chairman, Energy Blockchain Coalition
  • Chris Colbert | Chief Strategy Officer, NuScale
  • MODERATOR: Landon Stevens, Director of Policy & Advocacy, Conservative Energy Network

1:15 - 2:15 PM ET

How the Fortune 500 Charts a Voluntary Path to Lower Emissions

Despite economic headwinds and a global pandemic, more and more U.S. companies and utilities are committing to science-based targets, or to reach net-zero emissions by a specific date. Panelists from these companies will discuss their decision-making process for emissions reduction and sustainability initiatives, the strategies they have designed to reach their goals, how shareholders and customers have responded, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

  • Emma Cox | Manager of North American Sustainability, McDonald’s
  • Sara Neff | Senior Vice President, Sustainability, Kilroy Realty
  • Kevin Hagen | Vice President Environment, Social & Governance Strategy, Iron Mountain
  • Illina Frankiv | Global Energy Program Manager, WeWork
  • MODERATOR: Mark Porter | Director, Supply Chain & International Collaboration, Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance

2:30 - 3:30 PM ET

Targets For Reaching Net Zero Emissions: How Do We Get There?

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations, in order to prevent the plant from warming more than 1.5° C by 2050 and avoid some of the more devastating impacts of climate change, the world must reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions levels by that year. Some local governments, and companies have announced more ambitious goals, aiming to reach net zero by 2045, 2035, or 2030. Panelists will discuss the reasoning behind different timelines, potential and realistic pathways to reach these goals, the economic costs, and the technological and policy innovations that would be necessary to achieve them.

  • Ric O’Connell | Executive Director, Gridlab
  • Jamil Farbes | Principal, Evolved Energy Research
  • Natalie M. Mahowald | Irving Porter Church Professor of Engineering, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University
  • Emily Fisher | General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Edison Electric Institute
  • MODERATOR: Kavya Balaraman, Energy Reporter, Utility Dive

4:00 - 5:00 PM ET

Oil and Gas Industries: Looking Ahead at Low Carbon Investments, Energy Transition, and Net-Zero

Some industries are more difficult to decarbonize than others, which makes the net zero goals by oil majors and other fossil fuel companies even more significant. This discussion will dig deeper into why the petroleum industry is committing to net zero emissions, what technology pathways could lead to decarbonize operations, and what that means for the fuels and products that they produce.

  • Robert Stout | Vice President and Head of U.S. Policy, BP America, Inc.
  • Trude Sundset | CEO, Gassnova SF
  • Seth Levey | Director, Political and Public Affairs, Equinor
  • Matt Most | Vice President of Government Relations, Ovintiv
  • MODERATOR: Jeff Stein | Policy Advisor, American Petroleum Institute

Thursday, September 24th

9:15 - 10:15 AM ET

Clean Energy Jobs Now and for the Future: A Workforce on the Rise

Clean energy jobs have been on a steady rise over the past decade, topping over 3.4 million jobs at the end of 2019. The business conditions under COVID-19 have impacted clean energy workers significantly, with nearly half-a-million people still unemployed. Bringing back these jobs in clean energy sectors and creating new ones can be a critical part of our economic recovery. As demand for clean energy continues to grow, so will the need to have a capable and well-trained workforce – representative of the diversity of our customers. In this panel, clean energy executives will talk about their current and future workforce needs, challenges, and opportunities; workforce development and recruiting programs in use; and the broad range of jobs offered in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors.

  • Beau Butler | Director, Valuation Services, Weaver
  • Ben Evans | Vice President of Public Affairs, Alliance to Save Energy
  • John Steele | Senior Director of Government Relations, Johnson Controls
  • Laura Thompson | Vice President, Flow Energy
  • Michael Van Brunt | Senior Director of Sustainability, Covanta Energy
  • Moderators: Lisa Jacobson | President, Business Council for Sustainable Energy; and Lynn Abramson | President, Clean Energy Business Network

10:30 - 11:00 AM ET

Karen Harbert

President and CEO, American Gas Association

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM ET

Texas' Path to Net Zero Emissions and CCUS Leadership

Texas is poised to become a leader in Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS), a necessary component of the clean energy future. The panel will explore why Texas is poised to be a leader in CCUS, what policies are needed, and how investments in CCUS can help catalyze Direct Air Capture (DAC).

  • Ken Medlock | James A Baker III and Susan G Baker Fellow in Energy and Resource Economics, and Senior Director, Center for Energy Studies, Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University
  • Laura Goldberg | Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Communications, Center for Houston’s Future
  • William Swetra | Senior Policy Analyst, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures
  • MODERATOR: Rich Powell | Executive Director, ClearPath

12:00 - 12:30 PM ET

Rep. John Curtis (R-UT)

Member, House Natural Resources Committee

12:30 - 1:30 PM ET

Heavy Industry: Expanding the American Economy While Shrinking Our Carbon Footprint

In the wake of the pandemic, there is renewed emphasis on local supply chains, domestic manufacturing, and job creation in hard-to-decarbonize industrial sectors. Panelists will examine emissions reductions needs and opportunities in industry, with a focus on the relevance of “embedded,” or imported, carbon in the sector. The discussion will also highlight prospects for a U.S. comparative advantage in clean industrial processes and linkages to trade.

  • Robert Niven | Chief Executive Officer & Founder, Carbon Cure
  • Jason Walsh | Executive Director, Blue Green Alliance
  • Tom Dower | Senior Director, Government Relations, ArcelorMittal
  • Kate Simonen | Executive Director of the Carbon Leadership Forum, Chair of the Department of Architecture, University of Washington
  • MODERATOR: Jessie Stolark | Public Policy & Member Relations Manager, Carbon Capture Coalition

2:00 - 3:00 PM ET

Transportation: New Fuels and the Electrification of American Transportation

The transportation industry is the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Panelists will address the ways in which commonsense climate change solutions address transportation emissions, including the role of electric vehicles, and emissions reductions options for sectors that are particularly difficult to decarbonize, such as marine and air transportation. The discussion will focus on federal policy and state and regional policy, including the Transportation Climate Initiative.

  • Rob Threlkeld | Global Manager for Sustainable Energy, Supply & Reliability, General Motors
  • Randy Bell | Director of the Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council
  • Vicki Arroyo | Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center, Georgetown University
  • Emma Russell | Vice President, Vision Ridge Partners, LLC
  • MODERATOR: Amy Brink, Vice President, State Government Affairs, Alliance for Automotive Innovation

3:15 - 3:45 PM ET

Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL)

Chair, House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis

4:00 - 5:00 PM ET

Report from the Front Lines: How Conservatives Can Talk About Clean Energy

Clean energy is shaping up to be a decisive issue in the upcoming elections. Learn how top Republican pollsters and policymakers are talking about clean energy in this informative panel discussion.

  • Glen Bolger | Partner, Public Opinion Strategies
  • Rich Thau | President, Engagious
  • Carrie Coyner | State delegate, Virginia (R-62)
  • Nathan Ballentine | State representative, South Carolina (R-71)
  • MODERATOR: Mark Fleming | President & CEO, Conservatives for Clean Energy

Friday, September 25th

9:00 - 9:30 AM ET

Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL)

Member, House Ways and Means Committee

10:00 - 11:00 AM ET

Markets Over Mandates: the Future of Electricity Competition

Energy competition has been shown to be an economic driver in some states like Texas. Recent studies have demonstrated the vast potential to lower costs for ratepayers, increase technological innovation, and improve utility service for consumers through competition. A spotlight has been put on the issue on the heels of recent utility corruption scandals in Ohio and Illinois. Join us for a conversation to learn more about the importance of energy competition and hear from experts on the frontlines fighting to level the playing field and open market access for renewable technologies.

  • Bryn Baker | Director of Policy Innovation, Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance
  • Devin Hartman | Director, Energy and Environmental Policy, R Street Institute
  • Adrian Moore | Vice President of Policy, Reason Foundation
  • MODERATOR: Mark Pischea | President & CEO, Conservative Energy Network

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM ET

Rep. David McKinley (R-WV)

Member, House Energy and Commerce Committee

12:00 - 1:00 PM ET

Designing Reliability: From Macro Solutions to Microgrids

The panel will delve into macro- and micro- visions of increasing America’s energy resilience. National macro-grids are a focus of renewed attention as states aim to achieve aggressive clean energy targets and modernize with smart grid technologies. So, too, are community microgrids, supported primarily by renewable energy sources for their vast potential to bolster the resilience and reliability of a central grid by serving as backup when there are power outages. Panelists will discuss the importance of redundancy in the grid, and how in this case, a “think global, act local” approach actually can solve multiple challenges at the same time.

  • Tim Hade | Co-Founder & COO, Scale Microgrid Solutions
  • Tom Smith | Managing Director, HFT Power Solutions
  • Andy Vesey | Former CEO, PG&E
  • MODERATOR: Allie Detrio, Chief Strategist, Reimagine Power

2:00 - 3:00 PM ET

Clean Energy and the November Election

Recent polls indicate a growing public interest in clean energy, and that most Americans feel the government should do more to address climate change. The panel will discuss evolving public attitudes towards clean energy and climate issues in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery, and upcoming elections.

  • Rick Santorum | Former U.S. Senator, Advisor, Conservative Climate Change (C3) Solutions
  • Mary Landrieu | Former U.S. Senator
  • Moderator: Abby Smith | Energy Reporter, Washington Examiner

3:15 - 4:30 PM ET

Gen Z, Climate and the GOP

Join young conservative leaders for a conversation on the growing importance of climate action among conservative youths, their vision for the development of renewable energy in the construction of a more sustainable future, and why the GOP should make climate action a higher priority.

  • Nate Hochman | Student, Colorado College
  • Benji Backer | President & Founder, American Conservation Coalition
  • Ben Rajadurai | Executive Director, College Republican National Committee
  • Morgan Zegers | Founder & CEO, Young Americans Against Socialism
  • Special remarks and moderator: Kelly Ayotte | Former U.S. Senator and Senior Advisor to Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions