2015 PANEL TOPICS

Financing the Solar Energy Future

 

The solar industry has grown exponentially over the last decade and is now cost-competitive with conventional energy sources in many U.S. markets. This growth is due in large part to the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which has brought down the cost of capital for investors and helped provide readily accessible project financing for renewable energy developers. On December 31st, 2016, the ITC will drop by 2/3 for commercial projects and will no longer be available for residential projects.  This panel will examine the potential repercussions caused by the loss of this financing tool, as well as the possible solutions necessary to maintain the stable growth of solar energy in the U.S.

Transforming the Energy System Towards a Low-Carbon Future

 

Coordinated policy efforts are needed within the energy system to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Debates encircle finding the best policy mechanisms to enable the transition to a low-carbon energy system. What role can smart financing mechanisms play? Can holistic international policies be effective? What should we expect from COP21? How do costs, carbon abatement, and the inherent time lag in investment flows affect policy decisions?
Development of Global Natural Gas Markets

 

Global natural gas markets are in a state of transformation. New suppliers pose a challenge to entrenched incumbents and established pricing systems. Core demand is shifting, LNG is growing, and trade routes are being redrawn.   How will U.S. and Australian LNG projects affect global natural gas prices?  How will Japan’s restart of nuclear reactors affect global demand? Is China serious about its natural gas targets? How will burgeoning LNG markets impact Russia’s relationship with Europe and East Asia?
City of the Future
 

Disruptive innovations within the energy sector pose opportunities and challenges to cities and planning. This panel explores the nexus of urbanism, climate change, renewable energy, and buildings. How might urban engagement be utilized to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? How can renewable energy be integrated into new urban designs? How can cities be designed to take advantage of natural resource and improve energy efficiency?

 

Politics of U.S. Energy: Looking ahead to November 2016
 
Energy policy in the U.S. has been a key component of the current President's agenda. Given recent trends, the next President will need to act quickly and decisively to address the geopolitical and economic forces currently shaping U.S. energy policy. As the campaigning for the 2016 Presidential elections intensifies, this panel will look to identify what potential policies may arise as a result of the upcoming election.
Incorporating Innovation into the Power Grid

 

The panel will focus on the latest developments in the utilities space, including the Clean Power Plan and the current environment for state and federal renewable tax incentives.  There will be a discussion on the state of distributed generation, the future of net metering, and the economics and incorporation of energy storage into the grid.  Considering all these factors along with the latest innovations in energy efficiency, the panel will discuss and predict the most likely and significant changes to the power grid over the next 3-5 years.