2015 Philomathia Forum on Energy and Environment


Solutions for the 2025/30 International Climate Accord: Scaling-up Clean Energy Production, Policy Innovations, and Business Investment

Dates: March 18 and 19, 2015
Location: Hearst Memorial Mining Building and Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley


The annual Philomathia Forum will bring together international experts in the science and technology of energy production; smart manufacturing; policy innovations; and business leadership. The Forum will focus on achievable solutions to the goals set out in the recent China and U.S. climate accord. California’s climate goals are even more ambitious, including the production of 50% renewable energy before 2030. Achieving these goals clearly requires an accelerated focus on the scalability, i.e. volume production, of low-carbon energy production, the policy tools that can support clean energy over traditional fossil fuels, and new business and investment models that support low-carbon production. The Forum will also include a focus on sustainability and energy efficiency in all sectors.

Keynote Speakers Include:

  • John Woolard, Vice President of Energy, Google
  • Sir Mike Gregory, Director of the Institute for Manufacturing, and Director of the Institute for Industrial Sustainability, Cambridge University, UK
  • Professor He JiankunTsinghua University Beijing, and Deputy Director of the National Expert Committee on Climate Change, PRC
  • Jennifer GranholmFormer Governor of Michigan & Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy, UC Berkeley
  • Arjun MurtiAdvisor, Energy Group, Warburg Pincus LLC
  • Sonny Wu, Co-founder and Director, GSR Ventures, Beijing, China

Panel Moderators and Topics:

  • Science & Technology for Carbon-free Alternatives at the Right Price
    Stuart Bernstein, Global Head of Clean Technology, Goldman Sachs              
  • Pioneering Policy Solutions at International, Federal and State Levels
    Lynn Price, Leader of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's China Energy Group            
  • The Responsible Transition to Low Carbon Alternatives & Renewables
    David Dornfeld, UC Berkeley ME Professor - Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability
  • Investment Opportunities in a Sustainable Grid: DG, Distributed Storage, Gridand Engaged Consumers
    Jeff McDermott, Managing Partner, Greentech Capital Advisors
  • The Perspective of the Next Generation of Energy and Climate Students 
    Cathy Koshland, Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education, UC Berkeley


Keynote and Panel Details:

International Challenges for a Clean Energy Economy
John Woolard, Google, will describe the energy saving designs of Google’s globally distributed data centers, each with their own constraints based on unique regional energy-suppliers. Specific technologies for data center control and building efficiency will be discussed. The longer-term challenge of creating carbon-free energy supplies for rapidly expanding developing countries will also be considered with alternative routes for clean energy and sustainable growth.
Presentation slidedeck 

Manufacturing Scale-Up and Clean Energy
Sir Mike Gregory, Cambridge University’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), will describe pathways for rapidly expanding clean energy production. This relies on design for manufacturability and installation of wind-power systems; a focus on design for assembly (often called the balance of systems in PV technology installations); and cyber- physical product design and manufacturing of the type being used by Rolls Royce and GE for creating high-value reliable products. When applied to renewable energy systems the goals are to produce manufactured systems that compete well with incumbent fossil fuels.
Presentation slidedeck

Panel: Science & Technology for Carbon-free Alternatives at the Right Price
Stuart Bernstein, Goldman Sachs, will lead and moderate a panel of manufacturing experts who will focus on the efficient design and production of cost-effective clean energy systems that include PV, biofuels, large-scale thermoelectric systems and very new opportunities in small footprint modular nuclear systems.
Presentation slidedeck | Panel notes

Policy’s Role to Accelerate Clean Energy in China and the U.S
Professor He Jiankun, Tsinghua University, Beijing, will describe in detail the very recent and timely policy agreements between President Xi of China and President Obama of the United States. These policies, once forged into a formal accord, would further accelerate the opportunities for clean energy production in both countries. The policies would ideally penalize extensive expansions of coal-fired electricity generation in favor of lower carbon natural gas, renewables and modular nuclear energy production in China.
Presentation slidedeck

Panel: Pioneering Policy Solutions at International, Federal and State Levels
Lynn Price, China Energy Group, LBNL will lead a panel focused on for new mitigation policies used at different levels of governance. This panel spans subnational experience with the carbon markets in California, national energy reforms in Mexico that may open many new markets for cleaner fuels and renewable energy production and use, European Union carbon policies, and approaches for minimizing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.  
Panel notes

A Governor’s Obsession: Energy Federalism - Job Growth through Clean Energy Policy in the States
Jennifer Granholm, Former Governor of Michigan, BECI Senior Fellow, and Professor in Law and Public Policy, will describe BECI’s game changing work being carried out in 10 US “purple” states to simultaneously stimulate economic growth and clean energy production. Many BECI students from several affiliated Campus departments have engaged with the local businesses and development organizations in these states and their results on economic stimuli will be specifically described. The impact of her research is beginning to take effect in government circles.
Presentation slidedeck

The Next Decade on the Bridge to Renewables
Arjun Murti, formerly at Goldman Sachs and now with Warburg Pincus, has been tracking the impact of the natural gas expansion in the US over a 10-year period and is a national expert on the growth, economic impact, job creation and energy security issues of this new energy landscape. His talk will be data rich and show new trends in the US energy boom.
Presentation slidedeck

Panel: The Responsible Transition to Low Carbon Alternatives & Renewables
Professor David Dornfeld of the Berkeley manufacturing community will lead a panel that first focuses on reducing energy usage via energy efficiency in all sectors – residential, commercial, architectural and industrial. Colleagues who are expert in the economic modeling of new energy production, and a spiraling effect in new business opportunities, will tie this panel together by showing the positive economic impacts of a switch to clean energy sources. 
Presentation slidedeck | Panel notes

Investments that Scale Renewable Energy in China
Sonny Wu is one of the largest investors in clean energy in China and in his own words “For China: renewable energy is not an option.” His talk will outline the recent rapid growth in renewable energy investments throughout Asia and globally, and show how this trend could be rapidly accelerated by supportive tax incentives, subsidies and long-term interest rates.

Panel: Investment Opportunities in a Sustainable Grid: DG, Distributed Storage, Grid and Engaged Consumers
Jeff McDermott, Managing Partner of Greentech Capital Advisors, will lead a panel emphasizing the need for a more flexible and cooperative “smart grid”.  Discussion points include: the technical unknowns about the distribution grid with regards to integrating renewables; the need for precision measurements so we can confirm—or adjust—our models of distribution; unexpected/surprising measurements found so far in an ARPA-E micro-synchrophasor grid-integration project; recent experiences with the operation of the European grid; new business opportunities for distributed generation, grid intelligence, and the engagement of customers; the role of large-scale distributed battery and other storage; and how the mission of the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA) is to make energy storage a mainstream energy resource, one that leverages renewable energy technology and promotes a more reliable, affordable, and secure electric power system. 
Presentation slidedeck | Panel notes

Panel: The Perspective of the Next Generation of Energy and Climate Students
Cathy Koshland, Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education at UC Berkeley, will conclude the meeting and lead the perspectives of our students. Overall the goals of the Forum and our ongoing education and research activities are to reduce the world’s dependence on the carbon intensive energy sources—coal, oil and gas. These remain at 87% of global consumption as shown in the graph below. Renewable energy remains a small fraction (only ~2.2%) of overall energy production and consumption. A massive change in “technology-scaling,” supportive policy, and business leadership, is needed to keep carbon dioxide below the desired level of 450ppm for this future generation of students. Communicating this message more broadly is important and the Journalism School will be a part of this final session.