VerdeXchange 2014 Demystifies Green Economy Opportunities

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, UC President Janet Napolitano, CPUC President Michael Peevey, and CARB Chair Mary Nichols joined 600 global, national, and state renewable energy and finance entrepreneurs, water and transportation leaders, utility regulators and environmental stewards at the VerdeXchange Green Marketmakers Conference January 27-28 in Los Angeles.

California and global trendsetters met under one roof to forecast energy, water and transport policy and investment, share what is driving markets, and pave the way for future marketplace collaborations.

Los Angeles, Calif., January 29, 2014—Top names in clean technology, transportation, waste to energy, utility regulation, finance. and climate change policy gathered for the VerdeXchange 2014 Conference, January 27-28, in Los Angeles to share market knowledge and form partnerships. The stellar group of green economy market-makers featured Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; University of California President and Former USSecretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; SolarCity's Co-Founder Peter RiveKathleen Brown, Partner, Manatt Phelps & Phillips and Former State of California Treasurer; and Jonathan Weisgall, Vice President, MidAmerican Energy- which has $17 billion invested in Renewables. 

Mayor Garcetti addressed a full ballroom during a luncheon plenary entitled “Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities—Greener by Design” on Tuesday, January 28. He touched on the work of the City of Los Angeles’ Chief Sustainability Officer, Matt Petersen—also a VX2014 speaker—as well as his recent appointment to President Obama’s Climate Change Task Force. President Napolitano focused on the leadership of University of California students in prioritizing sustainability as a goal of the UC system, including students’ decision on seven campuses to charge themselves extra fees intended for green initiatives. 

Additional conference highlights include: former California Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg moderating a panel, "The Role of Carrots and Sticks as Drivers of Markets;" a lively panel on whether "American Utilities are in a Death Spiral," which included CPUC President Michael Peevey and Jim Avery , Senior VP at San Diego Gas and Electric; a panel asking "To Frack or Not to Frack," which included President Catherine Reheis-Boyd of the Western State Petroleum Association, George Minter of SoCalGas, and Donald Paul, the Executive Director of USC's Energy Institute. Other well attended panels included: “Global Cleantech Investment Trends: Brazil, China, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom,” and “Cars 2.1: The Market Today and Tomorrow for Clean and Fuel-Efficient Cars.” 

Another conference hit was the Monday, January 27 post-lunch plenary, “Rethinking Utility Regulation to Get from Megawatts to Gigawatts,” moderated by Susan Kennedy, former Chief of Staff to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Deputy Chief of Staff to Gov. Gray Davis. The distinguished panelists—Bob Foster, Mayor of Long Beach and Chair, ISO Board of Governors; Michael Picker, appointed recently by Governor Jerry Brown to the CPUC; current California Public Utilities Commissioner Carla Peterman; Robert Weisenmiller, Chair, California Energy Commission; and Leslie Starck, Senior Vice President, Regulatory Policy and Affairs at Southern California Edison—discussed energy storage and reaching 33 percent renewables by 2020 in a lively session.

For the seventh year running, the VerdeXchange California Conference brought together under one -roof state, national, and global private and public sector leaders, along with environmental stewards, to assess what’s in and about to be in-market, tackling pressing energy and sustainability issues. 600 executive-level, cross-industry/cross-platform audience members attended over two days.

The distinguished list of confirmed VX2014 contributors also included: Ambassador Vilma Martinez, Chair, Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners; Michael Peevey, President, CPUC; Kathleen Brown, Partner, Manatt Phelps & Phillips and Former Treasurer for the State of California; Jonathan Weisgall, Vice President, MidAmerican Energy; Bob Foster, Mayor, City of Long Beach and Chair, ISO Board of Governors; Daniel Breton: Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for Transport Electrification, National Assembly of Quebec; Ian Parker, Managing Partner, Public Sector and Infrastructure Banking, Goldman Sachs; Mary Nichols, Chairman,California Air Resources Board; Lauren Faber, West Coast Political Director, Environmental Defense Fund; Atsushi Honzawa, Senior Engineer, Hitachi Ltd.; David Fransen, Canadian Consul General; Bob Hertzberg, Partner, Mayer Brown, LLP; Indrani Graczyk, Manager, Commercial Program Office, Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Renata Simril, Senior Vice President, External Affairs, LA Dodgers; Robyn Beavers, Senior Vice President, NRG Energy; K.Y. Cheng, Director of Strategic Markets, East West Bank; Adel Hagekhalil, Assistant Director, City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation; Jack Baylis, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Baylis Group; Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President, Western States Petroleum Association; Dan Sperling, Director, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis; Board Member, California Air Resources Board; Felicia Marcus, Board Member, California State Water Resources Control Board; Robert Weisenmiller, Chair, California Energy Commission; Nate Lewis, Scientific Director, Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) at Caltech; Jan Van Tilburg, Principal, Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh and Honorary Consul, Consulate of the Netherlands, Los Angeles; Paul Bunje, Senior Director of Oceans, XPRIZE Foundation; Ron Finley, Co-Founder, LA Green Grounds; Omar Brownson, Executive Director, LA River Revitalization Corporation; Deana Carrillo, Acting Executive Director, California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority; Mike Rosenfeld, Vice-Consul—UK Trade and Investment, British Consulate-General, Los Angeles; Enrique Zaldivar, Director, Bureau of Sanitation, City of Los Angeles.

Sponsors included: Urban Land Institute-LA, Edison International, Southern California Gas Company, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, BYD, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, The Port of Long Beach, The Canadian Consulate-Los Angeles,The Port of Los Angeles, Water Replenishment District of Southern California,  NRG Energy, Government of Québec, Subaru, The Japanese Consulate-Los Angeles, Green Building and Design Magazine, Trammell Crow Company, Levin & Associates Architects, City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and Carollo Engineers.

Please find additional speakers here

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Kevin Madden