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.

Moderator: Susan Sakmar, Law Professor, University of San Francisco

Susan Sakmar is a visiting assistant professor and energy law scholar at the University of Houston Law Center.  She specializes in energy, international trade, and Middle East economics, and is the author of numerous articles exploring these subjects. She recently authored Energy for the 21st Century: Opportunities and Challenges for Liquified Natural Gas, which will be published this fall.  Prior to teaching, she was a commercial litigator in San Francisco and worked as an accountant for Chevron Corporation.


Jochen Harnisch, KFW Development Bank, Frankfurt, Germany

Dr. Harnisch coordinates strategy and product development for climate protection and adaptation to climate change in developing and industrializing countries at KFW Development Bank. Since 1999, Dr Harnisch has been actively working with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in various functions and is internationally recognized as a leading expert for transparent reporting of emissions, climate impacts and climate financing as well as the economic evaluation of climate protection measures and policies. Dr. Harnisch studied physics at the Universities of Tübingen and Göttingen in Germany, before receiving his doctorate in atmospheric physics for his work at the Max-Planck Institute for Aeronomy.

Andre Peterhans, Manager of Strategic Planning, Chevron Corporation

Andre Peterhans is Manager, Strategic Planning for Chevron Corporation.  He and his team are responsible for monitoring the activities and strategies of Chevron’s principal competitors and for providing analyses and guidance on strategic issues to Chevron’s senior executives.  His team also study key industry trends and assess their potential impact on Chevron and its competitors. Prior to his current assignment Mr. Peterhans was Commercial Manager for Marketing & Transportation for the company’s Eurasia Business Unit, based in London.  He served as Chevron’s principal advisor and negotiator for Caspian transportation issues, focusing on development of a southern export route extending from Kazakhstan to the Mediterranean Sea.  He also assisted the company’s TengizChevrOil operating subsidiary in a commercial advisory role.

Sheldon Kimber, COO, Recurrent Energy

Sheldon Kimber is COO of Recurrent Energy and leads all North American project development and origination activities and oversees project engineering and execution. Formerly vice president of finance at Recurrent, Sheldon was instrumental in developing and negotiating the company’s existing projects, fund raising, and joint venture agreements. Previously, he spent five years at Calpine, working on gas-fired power projects and power purchase agreements with large energy customers. Sheldon holds an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Alex Trembath, Policy Associate, Breakthrough Institute

Alex Trembath is a policy associate in the Energy and Climate Program at The Breakthrough Institute . He is the lead or co-author of several Breakthrough publications, including the 2012 report “Beyond Boom and Bust: Putting Clean Tech on a Path to Subsidy Independence” and “Where the Shale Gas Revolution Came From.” Alex is a graduate of University of California at Berkeley where he received his Bachelor’s in Environmental Economics and Policy. He was a 2011 Breakthrough Generation Fellow, contributing research on the collapse of federal funding for clean energy technology. He also writes regularly for The Energy Collective.