Clean energy summit puts Nevada in spotlight

That buzz coming from the convention center of the Mandalay Bay Resort will be coming from an electrified atmosphere, but you won’t be able to power your cellphone or iPad with this energy … at least not yet.

The event is the National Clean Energy Summit 8.0 with the focus on “Powering Progress.” In its eighth year, the summit has become the nation’s foremost clean energy conversation, bringing in panelists from around the country. This year will mark the first time that a sitting president will take the stage as Barack Obama delivers the keynote speech.

“I’m very pleased to host the National Clean Energy Summit in Nevada for the eighth year and to continue a constructive dialogue about clean energy progress in our country,” U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said. “Discussions like those that take place during the summit have been vital to achieving the rapid expansion of clean energy and innovation in this nation and beyond.”

With the president, other notable speakers will include Ernest Moniz, Energy secretary, and John Podesta, former counselor to Obama.

“To foster true progress in the future of clean energy will require increased public awareness and education about clean energy issues, along with collaboration among policymakers and investors to take action for change,” said Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress. “Through the development of jobs dedicated to creating improved infrastructure and innovative renewable energy solutions, we’re not only advancing our economy but also supporting a greater overall quality of life.”

As homes and appliances become more connected to the Internet and people generate more of their own clean electricity, the country will need to invest in innovative solutions to ensure the grid infrastructure is serving the needs of Americans. During the summit’s “Energy in the Information Age” segment, the panelists will explore how companies are inventing solutions that will ensure the grid communicates better with consumers and their homes, allowing them to save energy and deploy cleaner energy.

A discussion on “Energy in the American Life” will focus on how Americans are demanding cleaner energy, less pollution and solutions to climate change and on the ways in which communities are adopting those solutions today.

The “Ripple Effect: Game Changing Clean Energy Investments” discussion will focus on how clean energy investments have dramatic positive effects on the surrounding communities, including job creation, fostering entrepreneurship and building economic diversity. The panel will provide an opportunity to discuss cooperation between the public and private sectors to prepare the workforce to match the needs of a growing clean energy economy, with Tesla’s Gigafactory in Northern Nevada highlighted as one of many models of success.

One of the more timely debates for Nevada might be on “the merits of net energy metering and its role in the future of rooftop solar,” moderated by Rose McKinney-James, former Clean Energy Project chair and managing principal at McKinney-James & Associates.

“This new debate format is an exciting change as we see it as an important way to foster a robust discussion about an issue that’s fundamental for the future of rooftop solar,” McKinney-James said. “Like always, we’ll do our best to drill down to the bottom of the issue and see if we can stimulate conversations that will focus on solutions.”

Joining McKinney-James will be economist and co-founder of the Pacific Economics Group, Charles Cicchetti, and the executive director of the Institute for Electric Innovation and vice president of The Edison Foundation, Lisa Wood.

Other prominent panelists will include the following:

• Bill Ritter, former governor of Colorado.

• Antonio Villaraigosa, former mayor of Los Angeles.

• Nancy Pfund, founder and managing partner of DBL.

• Geisha Williams, president of electric operations at Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

• Susan Kennedy, CEO and board member of Advanced Microgrid Solutions.

• Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress.

• Diarmuid O’Connell, vice president of business development at Tesla Motors.

• Jamie Evans, managing director at Panasonic Eco Solutions.

• Dan Klaich, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

• Diarmuid O’Connell, vice president of business development at Tesla Motors.

• Jamie Evans, managing director at Panasonic Eco Solutions.

• Ellen Williams, director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy.

• Thomas Voss, chairman of Smart Wires.

• Amy Ericson, Alstom’s president for the United States

The clean Energy Summit and Exhibit Hall are open to the public. Tickets are $250 and $50 for students. To register go to

National Clean Energy Summit 8.0: Powering Progress is co-sponsored by Reid, the Center for American Progress, the Clean Energy Project, MGM Resorts International and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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