Panel 1 – Shale Gas and Renewables: Friends, enemies, or frienemies?

The development of innovative extraction methods have led to an abundance – some might say an overabundance – of cheap shale gas as an energy source. Less polluting than fossil fuels but more polluting than renewables, shale gas is seen by some as a positive intermediate step towards a clean energy future, while others see it as a roadblock that will halt the momentum of renewables.

Panel 2 – Carbon Capture and Sequestration: How long until policy and technology align?

Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is hailed as a solution to ever-increasing greenhouse gas emissions; however, the benefits of CCS cannot be realized until several technology and policy hurdles are overcome. This panel will compare the current status of CCS technology with that of CCS policy. The discussion will focus on points of conflict between technology and policy, and the necessary steps to align the two.

Panel 3 – Energy Savings for the 99%: How to meet net-zero goals by scaling energy efficiency to middle- to low-income households

The low-income and middle-income housing represent a substantial opportunity for energy conservation, with great potential to implement and promote energy efficiency measures. Yet, despite the research-backed benefits, there are clearly many barriers to entry—whether it be in policy, technology, marketing, or behavior—that seem to be preventing these sectors from realizing maximum energy efficiency. This panel focuses on the residential sector, exploring what it takes to drive greater energy efficiency market penetration in affordable, low, and middle-income households.

Panel 4 – China’s Energy Agenda: Obstacle or opportunity for the US?

In the global energy industry, China has become a critical driver that is essential for any significant progress on energy security or climate change mitigation. This panel hopes to place the country’s energy policy in context of its socio-economic development plans, and will tackle topics such as technology innovation, international trade, and infrastructure investments with a view of analyzing what impacts there are for the United States and the rest of the world.

Panel 5 – Energy Subsidies: If, when and how to remove the training wheels

Government support plays an important role in the development and commercialization of energy technologies, but there is much debate over how it can be most helpful–and if it should exist at all. This panel explores the state of subsidies in the energy industry, with a focus on what types of subsidies are most effective at jumpstarting the renewables sector; when, if, and how those subsidies should be phased out; and what coordination occurs between state and federal governments.

Panel 6 – Energizing Cultural Innovations: How the arts can promote a sustainable energy future

Creating changes in energy production and consumption requires not only technological innovations, but also cultural innovations in how society understands the transformative potential of sustainable energy choices. Art has the proven ability to create movements and stimulate creative dialogue. This panel brings together a variety of experts and practitioners to discuss how the arts and new media can help produce the shift in public perception required to build sustainable communities based on “green” energy.

Panel 7 – Sites of Conflict: Lessons learned from utility-scale solar in California

Five years in to the “New Gold Rush” of California renewable energy, what lessons have been learned from the siting, permitting and deployment of utility-scale solar facilities? How might these inform more effective policies going forward? Siting factors including endangered species conflicts and proximity to existing transmission, and policy factors including public participation in decision-making and agricultural land considerations will be addressed by a panel of experts from industry, the environment, and academia.

Panel 8 – David and Goliath?: Developing clean technology in firms big and small

Can big companies innovate? What’s the best path to impact for a small company? Big companies are increasingly harnessing external ideas and putting their R&D to work in other sectors through open innovation. In energy, many small companies must partner to reach scale. This panel will illuminate the tension between big and small and compare the roles of national labs, innovators and incumbents in innovation.

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