News

George Minter
Submitted on December 11, 2014 - 4pm

As California seeks to meet greenhouse-gas emissions reduction goals set out by AB32, utilities are grappling with the intermittence of renewable resources like solar and wind. George Minter, Senior Director of Policy and Environment at the Southern California Gas Company, works on SoCalGas’s electrolysis commercialization and expansion program, which aims to address this challenge. In the following interview with VerdeXchange News, Minter discusses power-to-gas—how it works, precedents for its use in the European Union, and its potential as a solution to excess power on the grid. Minter also discusses natural gas’ impact on transportation, the “hydrogen highway,” and efforts to decarbonize the pipeline—lowering the carbon content of California’s natural gas supply.

David Kaiserman
Submitted on December 11, 2014 - 4pm

Lennar Corporation is the second-largest homebuilder in the US. As President of Lennar Ventures and CEO of SunStreet Energy Group, David Kaiserman is pioneering a new model for residential developers: including solar systems as standard features on new homes. Kaiserman spoke with VerdeXchange News in the midst of SunStreet’s market-by-market deployment about the intersection of homebuilding and alternative energy, explaining SunStreet’s innovative approach and its potential impact on the solar industry if adopted more widely.

Submitted on December 11, 2014 - 4pm

Appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Long Beach in June, Jon Slangerup joins POLB with 34 years of corporate leadership experience—including expertise in aviation, logistics, and clean technology. In agreeing to head a seaport that moves $180 billion worth of trade annually, Slangerup faces logistical and technological hurdles that the port must overcome. In this interview with VerdeXchange News, he discusses current infrastructure challenges and improvements at the Port of Long Beach, efforts to green operations, and POLB’s relationship with the Port of Los Angeles. He also remarks on POLB’s economic health and awareness of growing global seaport competition.

Submitted on December 11, 2014 - 4pm

In order to improve Los Angeles’ earthquake preparedness, Mayor Eric Garcetti has brought in the US Geological Survey’s world-renowned Dr. Lucy Jones as his Science Advisor for Seismic Safety to create a resiliency report. Jones spoke with VerdeXchange News to describe the document’s scope and purpose. The interview was conducted in anticipation of its release in December. (Link to final report here: (https://www.socalgrantmakers.org/sites/default/files/files/news/Earthqua...) Jones explained the particular risks facing the city during a natural disaster, from water to housing stock, with a focus on the economic repercussions of “The Big One.”

Submitted on December 11, 2014 - 4pm

Appointed to the California Public Utilities Commission by Governor Jerry Brown in 2012 after serving on the California Energy Commission, Carla Peterman is an authority on energy policy in the state—which has long been a pioneering leader in developing sustainable energy practices and policy. She recently sat down with VerdeXchange News to talk about electric vehicle regulation and energy storage, among other topics. Peterman provides an optimistic perspective on both of these areas, taking into account market responses to CPUC regulations and initiatives that have already been adopted.

Submitted on December 11, 2014 - 4pm

At the symposium “Global Climate Negotiations: Lessons from California” held in Sacramento, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and current Governor Jerry Brown discussed the state’s landmark environmental policy, particularly efforts to curb greenhouse-gas emissions in light of climate change. VerdeXchange News includes their edited addresses below, along with a related comment from former Mayor of Long Beach Bob Foster. The program was hosted by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, California Air Resources Board, Cal EPA, and R20 Regions of Climate Action.

David Abel
Submitted on October 31, 2014 - 5pm

The founder of ABL Inc. and the VerdeXchange conference is essentially the Kevin Bacon, or the Lois Weisberg, of the green world. Here he discusses LA's growing public transit system and what's impressed him about the sustainability world.

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Andy Lipkis
Submitted on June 24, 2014 - 5pm

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.

Jeff Kightlinger
Submitted on May 23, 2014 - 11pm

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.

Submitted on April 29, 2014 - 10pm

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.

Submitted on April 29, 2014 - 10pm

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?

Submitted on April 29, 2014 - 10pm

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.

Submitted on April 29, 2014 - 10pm

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.

Submitted on April 29, 2014 - 10pm

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.

Submitted on April 29, 2014 - 12am

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.

Submitted on April 29, 2014 - 12am

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.

Submitted on April 28, 2014 - 9pm

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.

Submitted on March 18, 2014 - 5pm

Pat Proano, Assistant Deputy Director of the Environmental Programs Division at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, spoke with VerdeXchange News about strategies for meeting AB 341’s mandate to recycle 75 percent of trash in LA County. He focuses on the promise of conversion technology, which transforms organic waste into fuels, and the efforts at a state-wide, legislative level to clarify this practice. Proano also outlines benchmarks he expects the county to meet in the next year in terms of organics management, waste steam diversion from landfills, and citizen education. With landfills already full, a paradigm shift is underway to handle the 22 million tons of trash generated each year.

Submitted on March 18, 2014 - 12pm

In a June speech at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama outlined his strategy for both mitigating climate change and responding to its repercussions. The plan’s three pillars involve reducing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere, increasing readiness for the impacts of climate change, and serving as a global leader to address the issue. In the following article, VerdeXchange News has reprinted the beginning of the plan’s introduction. To provide an overview, VerdeXchange News has also reprinted a summary of the text that first appeared in The Washington Post.

Submitted on March 17, 2014 - 11pm

VX2013 featured the panel “California’s Water Supply: Demand & Quality”, moderated by the State Water Resources Control Board’s Felicia Marcus. In the discussion, Paul Helliker (Deputy Director of the California Department of Water Resources), Phil Isenberg (Chair, Delta Stewardship Council), and Jeff Kightlinger (General Manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California) focus on the challenges of bringing water from Northern California to Southern California as that supply becomes less dependable with climate change. Coupled with vulnerable Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta infrastructure, Californians are due for serious capital investments to ensure the continued existence of a reliable water supply.