Corporate Pathways to Advanced Energy

Increasing Access to Next Generation Energy Solutions

The 3rd Annual Michigan Energy Conference will explore the considerations that are driving business acquisition of advanced energy resources, how emerging clean energy technologies and business models are impacting business performance, and the extent to which access to clean energy is affecting new investment and locational decisions.

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Myles Burnsed

Director of New Markets, groSolar

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Jay Dietrich

Program Manager: Climate Stewardship and Energy at IBM

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Gabe Wing

Director of Environmental Health and Safety at Herman Miller

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Steve Vavrik

Chief Commercial Officer, Apex Energy

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Ron Voglewede

Global Sustainability Director, Whirlpool Corporation

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Adam Kramer

Executive Vice President - Strategy, Switch

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Panel 1: Corporate Access to Advanced Energy

Corporate demand for clean energy is accelerating as increasing numbers of Fortune 500 companies are establishing renewable energy and other goals for electricity supplies. Many leading corporations like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Whole Foods have established 100 percent renewable energy targets and are aggressively moving to attain these goals. A growing number of companies are signatories to The Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles: Increasing Access to Renewable Energy, an initiative aimed at facilitating access to clean power sources. Clean energy procurement and reduced energy consumption have become core elements of corporate sustainability plans, aided by the improving economics of clean energy resources. Access to advanced energy resources is becoming an important consideration in evaluating locations for new investment.

Our panelists will explore the considerations that are driving businesses acquisition of clean energy resources, how corporate clean energy preferences are impacting business performance, and the extent to which access to clean energy is affecting new investment and locational decisions.

Anne Kelly, Senior Director of the Policy Program and Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) Coalition at Ceres

Rob Threlkeld, Global Manager - Renewable Energy, General Motors
Steve Vavrik, Chief Commercial Officer, Apex Energy

Panel 2: Considerations in Building and Managing Clean Energy Portfolios

Industries and large commercial enterprises interested in renewable energy face a number of issues and choices that complicate the procurement of clean electricity, including the availability of supply from utilities and third-party providers, distribution and market barriers, and issues relating to ownership or self-generation of energy onsite. More businesses and corporations are moving from passive customers of energy providers to active participants in energy markets. Where available, corporations are entering into long-term contracts for wind and solar energy from large utility scale projects, investing in the projects, or owning projects outright. Active management of both energy demand and supply requires an in house capacity to assess, procure and utilize new energy technologies and services and an understanding of energy markets and opportunities. Collaboration and coordination between executive offices, purchasing, accounting, and facility managers is essential.

The panel will discuss how clean energy procurement and energy efficiency affect the role of energy management within corporations with focus on the specialized skills, capacities, resources and expertise that must be assembled. Panelists will also identify the benefits and unanticipated consequences of businesses becoming active components of the power system.

Roger Fernandez, Director – Corporate and Institutional Engagement, U.S. EPA

Kevin Parzyck, Vice President - Development, Invenergy
Nancy Popa, Executive Director of Renewable Energy, Consumers Energy
Gabe Wing, Director of Environmental Health and Safety, Herman Miller

Panel 3: Barriers to Acquiring Clean Energy Resources

While interest is growing in long-term, fixed-price contracts for clean energy and access to new energy services that can reduce energy consumption, procuring such resources can be difficult. Decentralized and distributed generation technologies are not yet universally available and utility business models have not yet fully adapted to serve the expanding market for clean energy. Nor is the existing regulatory architecture designed to accommodate specific customer demands for clean energy or innovative energy services. Third-party providers of energy services face market and regulatory hurdles as well.

This panel will explore the challenges created by customer preferences for clean energy and the market and regulatory innovations that need to occur to meet the growing demand for clean energy resources from the perspective of both the customer and the energy service provider.

Greg White, Executive Director, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners

Jay Dietrich, Program Manager: Climate Stewardship and Energy at IBM
Ron Voglewede, Global Sustainability Director, Whirlpool
Rod Williamson, Global Energy Category Manager, Dow Corning

Panel 4: Creating the Future — Market Innovations in Corporate Energy Purchases

Despite businesses seeking to purchase larger shares of renewable energy and developers seeking to sell, a variety of challenges frustrate the execution of deals between buyers and sellers. And yet, progress is being made through innovative financial arrangements, policy advances, and the structuring of new financing and ownership platforms. In addition, new technologies are making inroads, with companies investigating fuel cells and other technologies that can deliver cleaner, more reliable, more cost-effective energy solutions that mesh well with overall corporate objectives.

The panel will highlight private- and public sector innovations that are helping to bridge the gap between buyers and sellers and leading to successful deals for companies seeking to integrate advanced energy solutions.

Letha Tawney, Director of Utility Innovation and Polsky Chair for Renewable Energy, World Resources Institute

Aakash Chandarana, Regional Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Northern States Power – MN
Miles Bernsed, Director of New Markets, groSolar