Spring 2014

Australia’s Rainwater Cisterns Inspire TreePeople’s Lipkis

Issue: 
Andy Lipkis

At the USC Center for Sustainability’s Spring Forum on May 6, titled “Envisioning Drought Resilient Cities,” Founder and President of TreePeople Andy Lipkis shared the unprecedented success Australia experienced after its citizens installed rainwater-capture cisterns on their homes during the country’s historic 12-year drought. Lipkis discussed how, in the face of changing weather patterns due to climate change and with fewer trees to capture, clean, and store rainwater than we once had, those living in cities must mobilize to collect as much precipitation as possible—and local water agencies must work together on stormwater solutions rather than remaining in isolation. VX News has included an edited transcription of his remarks.

Kightlinger on MWD’s Response to Drought and the Challenges of Climate Change Adaptation

Issue: 
Jeff Kightlinger

California Governor Jerry Brown may have declared a drought emergency this Spring, but for many in Southern California water conservation is never ending—in great measure the result of the foresight and investments of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. In the following VXNews interview, Jeff Kightlinger, General Manager of MWD, specifically details the ongoing preparation and response his regional water agency has championed in the face of the driest calendar year in California’s history. Kightlinger additionally addresses recent adjustments to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), planning for a water bond for the November ballot, and meeting the goals of California’s AB32.

EDF’S Lauren Faber On: California's AB 32, Cap-and-Trade, and New Goals for State’s Renewable Portfolio Standard

Issue: 

As West Coast Political Director for the Environmental Defense Fund, Lauren Faber is closely involved in California’s ongoing implementation of its cap-and-trade program. Faber spoke at the VerdeXchange 2014 Conference in Los Angeles on panels titled “Cap-and-Trade: Following the Money in California’s Carbon Market” and “Cleantech Grid Integration of Renewables.” Faber brings experience at the California Environmental Protection Agency to her work at EDF. In the following interview with VX News, she elaborates on her role at EDF and offers insight into cap-and-trade’s effectiveness—noting what Californians can expect as transportation fuels come under the cap and considering how the state may allocate funds from the program.

VX2014: New Tools & Markets For Financing & Insuring Water, Energy, and Resilient Infrastructure Projects

Issue: 

Communities and utilities across the nation face the challenges of aging infrastructure, climate change, increased costs, and limited funding. With such challenges come opportunities to be innovative and for our utilities and communities to become more efficient, sustainable, and resilient. Solutions such as green infrastructure and renewable energy projects are addressing these issues while enhancing the quality of life in our communities. Funding them, however, is a major challenge. With creative financing ideas being tried across the nation to help utilities and communities meet these challenges, what are some of the best ideas and examples in the water and energy sectors?

Clinton Global Initiative Comes To Los Angeles—A Commentary: Dear President Clinton & Mayor Garcetti: Can We Make A Deal?

Issue: 

Mark Gold, Associate Director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, recently opined on Former President Bill Clinton’s visit to Los Angeles, during which he co-hosted a workshop with Mayor Eric Garcetti to discuss infrastructure and resiliency in the city. Gold questioned Clinton and Garcetti’s optimism that infrastructure issues can be readily remedied, pointing out financing roadblocks that could stand in the way. VX News has reprinted the piece, originally published by the LA Observed online journal, with permission of the author.

LADWP’s New GM Ready and Expected to Lead Nation's Largest Municipal Utility On Energy & Water

Issue: 

In February the Los Angeles City Council approved Marcie Edwards as the new General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest municipal utility in the US. Edwards began working at LADWP in 1976 at age 19 as a clerk typist, rising to the position of assistant general manager for the marketing and the customer service business units. She left LADWP in December 2000 to serve as general manager of Anaheim’s municipal water and electric utility. In her new position, Edwards faces the challenge of maintaining relations with the department’s strong labor coalition as well as balancing capital investments in infrastructure with state mandates on sustainability.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Keynotes VX2014: Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities

Issue: 

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti addressed the VerdeXchange VX2014 Conference in Downtown Los Angeles on January 28. He delivered the following transcribed remarks during a luncheon plenary entitled, “Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities—Greener by Design.” Garcetti discussed Los Angeles’ commitment to sustainability—from the first residents of the pueblo to the current administration—touching on the role of Chief Sustainability Officer Matt Petersen, the use of metrics to reach goals in the city, and his position on President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

Martin L. Shultz Frames Arizona’s VerdeXchange: Net Metering Issue Not Settled, More Investment in Infrastructure Needed

Issue: 

With extensive expertise in Arizona energy, transportation, and politics, Martin Shultz now holds the position of Senior Policy Director at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. He sat down with VX News to cover a range of topics that will be addressed at VX Arizona 2014—charting the progress of solar energy in the state, evaluating the viability of traditional utilities’ business model moving forward, and considering whether nuclear energy will grow in the US. Schultz also comments on Arizona’s needed investments in infrastructure and the status of water in the Southwest.

Berkshire Hathaway Renewables, Since Launching Two Years Ago, Has Invested $14B In Wind & Solar

Issue: 

Jonathan Weisgall serves as Vice President for Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. Since 2012, the company has invested extensively in unregulated solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal projects, under the primary subsidiary MidAmerican Renewables. Weisgall spoke with VerdeXchange News to update readers on MidAmerican Renewables’ progress since its founding, as well as the promise of energy imbalance markets and MidAmerican’s role in bringing an EIM to the western United States.

California’s Drought: Governor Brown Issues Second Emergency Proclamation

Issue: 

The Los Angeles Business Council held its annual Sustainability Summit on April 25 at the Getty Center, to discuss the city and region’s progress on producing renewable energy, protecting water resources, and building the city resiliently. Speakers included business leaders, elected officials, regulators, and utility representatives. VX News presents a transcript of California Governor Jerry Brown’s keynote address, in which he discusses the importance of prioritizing sustainability, the challenges it presents, and California’s continued leadership around environmental stewardship.

VX2021 Speakers: