Fireside Chat: Tensions in Energy: Aligning innovation, investment, and policy

Today, energy has become a key mainstream issue in most national debates, more so than in the recent past. With concerns of national energy security, affordable energy for economic growth and global warming, today’s energy debate has distinct groups with diverging viewpoints. The fireside chat will serve as the capstone of this year’s BERC Energy Symposium and attempt to explore the debate from three different points of view: a policy-maker, an innovator and an investor. How do we reconcile these three constituencies, their objectives and their needs?

Moderator: Dan Kammen, Professor in Energy and Resources Group, Public Policy and Nuclear Engineering, UC Berkeley

Daniel Kammen is the Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy with appointments in the Energy and Resources Group, The Goldman School of Public Policy, and the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.  Kammen directs the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) and the Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC).  During 2010 – 2011 Kammen served as the first Chief Technical Specialist for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. He now serves as a Fellow of the U. S. State Department’s Energy and Climate Partnership for the Americas (ECPA).


Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Jon Wellinghoff was named Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) by President Barack Obama on March 19, 2009. First appointed as a Commissioner to the FERC in 2006, Chairman Wellinghoff is an energy law attorney with 37 years experience in regulatory, consumer and commercial law. Before joining FERC, he was in private practice focusing exclusively on client matters related to renewable energy, energy efficiency and distributed generation. Chairman Wellinghoff received his B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Nevada, Reno, his Master’s in Mathematics from Howard University and his JD from Antioch School of Law. He has lectured at numerous universities around the country and is a published writer and sought after speaker in the energy industry. He has been heralded as a consumer advocate and a leader in regulatory policy innovation.

Nancy Skinner, 14th District Assembly Member

Elected in November 2008, California State Assemblymember Nancy Skinner represents parts of Alameda and Contra Costa counties. She is the chair of the Committee on Rules and the Joint Committee on Rules. Prior to her election in 2008 to the State Legislature, Skinner worked internationally on climate issues. A founder of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, Skinner led ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection program from 1993 to 2004. Her expertise in energy efficiency includes initiating the first citywide energy efficiency retrofit laws and the first municipally owned ESCO (Energy Services Company) while she was a Councilmember in the City of Berkeley during the 1980s. As U.S. Director of the London-based Climate Group, Skinner worked with Fortune 500 companies and state, provincial, and national leaders to enact greenhouse gas reduction plans. Skinner passed legislation, Assembly Bill 758, to spearhead the first statewide program aimed at achieving energy efficiency retrofits for all existing residential and commercial buildings. Her landmark pieces of legislation continue to move California’s leadership on energy efficiency from gold to platinum and promise to create thousands of new jobs to aid California’s economic recovery.