10 Reasons to Be Excited for the BERC Energy Summit (Feb. 23-24)

February 6, 2017

The 11th annual BERC Energy Summit is on Thursday and Friday, February 23rd and 24th and I cannot wait! Each year, BERC brings together 600 people from across academia, cleantech, the public sector, and more to connect about energy issues at our flagship conference. Under this year’s theme, The Path Forward: Building our Energy Future together, the BERC Energy Summit will explore how we can advance a clean energy future in today’s divided political climate. You can see the event’s full program and register at www.bercenergysummit.com. Here are 10 reasons why the BERC Energy Summit is not to be missed!

10. Berkeley Cleantech University Prize (CUP) Pitch Competition

On Thursday night, watch 5 student teams pitch their cleantech innovations to a panel of expert judges as they compete for a $50,000 prize. The student teams have been working with industry mentors for 15 weeks preparing for this day. The winner will be announced during the all-day Summit on Friday, Feb 24th.

2016 BERC Innovation Expo

2016 BERC Innovation Expo (source: BERC)

9. BERC Innovation Expo

Immediately following the CUP Pitch Competition, enjoy appetizers and drinks as you learn about exciting new research on energy and climate change from 30 undergraduate and graduate students from UC Berkeley, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and USC. Contestants will compete for a $5,000 prize pool.

8. Keynote by Jim Rogers, Former CEO, Duke Energy

Come hear Jim Rogers, one of the most influential energy leaders of our time, kick-off the all-day Friday portion of the BERC Energy Summit. Mr. Rogers has made wide-ranging and distinguished contributions to the fields of natural gas, electricity, climate policy, rural energy access, and more. His unique perspective will help us expand our frame of reference for the day and set our sights on the path forward.

7. “Renewable Energy under the Trump Administration” panel

By the time the BERC Energy Summit arrives the Trump Administration will have completed one month in the White House. During our first panel of the day, speakers from across the political spectrum will discuss how the new administration’s policies may affect renewable energy going forward.

6. “Equity in the Clean Energy Economy” panelSolar workers

Hear panelists explore the most memorable question about energy policy in the 2016 Presidential Debates, posed by the infamous Ken Bone: how can we “meet our energy needs while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?”

5. “Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement” panel

As federal policies supporting renewable energy are expected to stall under the Trump Administration, many believe that businesses will play an increasingly important role in scaling up renewable energy. Hear from companies including Google and MGM Grand about why procuring their own renewables makes both environmental and business sense.

4. “Autonomous vehicle transportation” panel

Once an idea that only seemed possible in the Jetsons, self-driving technology is here. Learn how autonomous vehicle technology will transform public, private, and commercial transportation and energy consumption.

3. Debate on Energy Efficiency

Can we rely on energy efficiency to contribute significantly to achieving California’s 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction goals? Come see UC Berkeley’s Dr. Catherine Wolfram and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s Chuck Goldman square off to answer this pressing question.

2. Fireside Chat with Cathy Zoi, CEO of Axess Energy, and Danny Kennedy, Managing Director at California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF)

Cathy Zoi and Danny Kennedy are each pioneers in cleantech investing, environmental protection, and energy access in their own right. In conversation with our BERC co-president Christie Howe, they will share their perspectives on what the future of energy looks like around the world and words of wisdom from their experiences.

1. Be inspired by the passion and bright ideas of hundreds of fellow energy enthusiasts

View of UC Berkeley from Cal Memorial Stadium

View of UC Berkeley from Cal Memorial Stadium (source: Cal Memorial Stadium)

Whether it’s seeing cutting-edge research at the BERC Innovation Expo, hearing an inspiring comment from a panelist, or having an interesting energy conversation with a new acquaintance during the reception at Cal Memorial Stadium’s University Club, you’ll leave BERC Summit feeling inspired by the community of people working to build a clean energy future together.

We look forward to seeing you on February 23rd and 24th!