7th Annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum-West
September 16-17, 2014  |  Palace Hotel  |  San Francisco, CA

2014 REFF-West Program

  • DAY 1 - SEPTEMBER 16, 2014
  • DAY 2 - SEPTEMBER 17, 2014
Time8:00 a.m.Registration and Coffee LocationRegency Foyer
Time8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.Welcome and Opening Remarks


LocationGrand Ballroom
Time9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Opening Keynotes


LocationGrand Ballroom
Time9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.Session 1: The Future of Renewable Energy in the Western Region
In this session, public and private sector renewable energy leaders will assess the marketplace and forecast the future of renewable power, transportation, and thermal energy markets in the West. Renewable energy businesses have traditionally relied on regulatory incentives and "open doors" for development. Speakers will address how the national debate over net metering, tariff reform, roll-backs of RPS policies, among other trends, will play out for the sector over the next few years. Some of the topics discussed will include:
  • How will the EPA caps on greenhouse gas emissions affect western states’ energy and transportation sectors, and what will they mean for renewable energy?
  • As RPS requirements are met, how will states continue to drive renewable energy development? And what is left to develop of these RPS targets?
  • What are the prospects for multi-state collaboration, for example among leaders in California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia to address climate change and expand renewable energy development?


  • Dan Reicher, Executive Director, Steyer-Taylor Ctr. for Energy Policy & Finance, Stanford University MODERATOR

  • Dan Adler, Managing Director, California Clean Energy Fund MODERATOR

LocationGrand Ballroom
Time10:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
 LocationRegency Foyer
Time11:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.Session 2: Moving past the ITC and PTC: Are Financing Innovations the Solution?
What is the future of renewable energy in 2016 and beyond with and without tax credits? This session will discuss how the industry will continue to finance renewable energy development in the years to come, and whether financing innovations, such as yieldcos, REITs, MLPs, PACE, securitization, and green bonds, will be able to continue the momentum spurred by the federal tax credits. Developers and financiers will share their predictions of the future.
  • What is the countervailing effect of new financing innovations?
  • How would the sector look if incentives were removed for all energy sources alike?
  • What would be the effects of tax reform on renewable energy industries?
  • What the IRS is going to do on REITs?
  • The economics of these finance innovations: cost/benefit analysis


  • Susan Mac Cormac, Partner, Morrison & Foerster MODERATOR

  • Kathy Weiss, Vice President, Federal Government Affairs, First Solar MODERATOR
LocationGrand Ballroom
Time12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
 LocationRegency Foyer
Time1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Session 3: The Net Metering Solution and the Future of the Utility Business Model

Introduction – Net Metering and/or Community-based Solutions
Net energy metering policies support the development of distributed generation in 43 states and the District of Columbia. A battle, however, is brewing pitting private sector developers, and their utilities/state regulators over the importance of net metering in its current form, and benefits/costs associated with continuing or altering net metering policies as we know them. In parallel, some states have begun to expand their net metering policies to support community-owned distributed generation systems, and to increase the penetration of PV on the grid.

This panel will discuss status of net metering, how net metering may be changing, and what is needed to strengthen net metering to promote more PV. In the course of this session, a discussion of the following topics will be included:

  • The status of net metering, including the pros and cons of current net metering policies, including net metering success stories.
  • Estimated impacts if net metering policies are repealed.
  • Net metering costs to non-participating ratepayers.
  • How virtual net metering or bill credit mechanisms are leveling the playing field.
  • What structures for community-based or shared solar energy models are used and why?
  • Impact of utility rates reform or restructuring on net metering programs and community-based business models.

Discussion Topics
The shifting climate surrounding the electric utility business model, or natural monopoly, has caused considerable uncertainty in a sector with historically predictable returns on investment. Customers and businesses, fueled by preferences, are demanding more control over their energy services and consumption. In order to survive, if not thrive, new models are being designed to provide alternatives to the standard approach to electricity services, as well as financing mechanisms to support those new models. From thee, innovative power companies rising to meet this new customer demand may be well positioned to disrupt and transition the direction of energy production and energy services in a changing world. These topics are included in this discussion:

  • How do both the regulatory structure and utility investment strategy need to evolve to facilitate business development and innovation?
  • How will the increase in private sector small, mid scale investments, and community utility scale investment influence the rate of change to the standard utility model?
  • Do changes to the monopoly utility environment influence the financial stability (or credit ratings) of the utilities, and to what extent does that impact renewable energy development?
  • Are efficiency improvements in the renewable energy industry resulting cost advantage over similar services provided by their utility counterparts?
  • Will competitive neutrality and affiliated transaction rules contribute to the velocity of change in the utility business model now that a bonafide private sector solution is emerging for the provision of renewable energy services?


LocationGrand Ballroom
Time3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
 LocationRegency Foyer
Time3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Session 4: Investing in Smart Grids, Microgrids and Energy Storage
Enabling technologies, such as smart grid, microgrids distributed generation and storage are redefining how we produce, transmit, distribute, and use electricity. Along with those changes, the same technologies are challenging utilities and regulatory models typically defined by goals of reliability, equity, keeping costs low and in some states fostering energy efficiency and at the same time are not defined by adopting to times of rapid change. This session will explore financing opportunities to fill the gaps in power generation infrastructure using these technologies.

  • Energy storage – potential, technology developments, and corresponding investment opportunities
  • When will energy storage technologies become cost competitive?
  • Accounting for the life cycle benefits of microgrids when financing integrated systems
  • Scaling up electric charging infrastructure with advances in smart grid and storage
  • Ability to deal with renewable energy intermittency and its impact on utility business model
  • Utility scale renewable energy--- has regulatory backlash, low gas prices and the microgrid killed the central station power plant?
  • State level financing mechanisms for improving transmission infrastructure.
  • Financing renewable energy technologies systems as an integrated package
  • Connecting investments between EV and energy storage and infrastructure
  • Using demand response to manage RE intermittency- What tools are available?
  • Battery leasing


  • Nicole Poindexter, Senior Director of Global Business Development, Opower MODERATOR
LocationGrand Ballroom
Time4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Session 5: The Increasing Role of IT in Driving Renewables
Information technology is changing life, business, and governance at an unprecedented rate and scale. It is also starting to create powerful new opportunities to accelerate the financing, development, and distribution of renewable energy. From new venture-backed solar customer acquisition start-ups, to Internet-of-Things products and platforms that connect distributed power to the Net, to big data analytics of renewable power performance, to online gaming solutions that drive renewable uptake, so called "Cleanweb" solutions are already becoming a major force in the evolution of renewable energy markets. This panel will explore some of the key opportunities and challenges of the emerging Cleanweb space:

  • How is IT enabling new business models in the renewable space?
  • What are the most promising emerging sectors where IT is adding the most value (financing, distribution, operation, other?)
  • How entrepreneurs, investors, corporates, and policy makers should be adjusting their strategies to leverage IT more effectively?
  • What can't IT do to help the growth of renewables?


LocationGrand Ballroom
Time8:00 a.m.Registration Opens LocationRegency Foyer
Time8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks


LocationGrand Ballroom
Time9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Opening Keynotes


LocationGrand Ballroom
Time9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Session 6: Big Banks - Their Changing Role in Financing Renewables
REFF-West is the only major renewable energy event on the West Coast to bring you up-to-the-minute commentary from both Wall Street and the West. A panel of top energy bankers, representing world-leading financial institutions, who are all currently leading major deals, will debate how the financial landscape has changed over the last twelve months and explore what we can expect from the market moving forward, whilst also considering the similarities and differences between investor attitudes on the East and West coasts respectively.


  • Michael T. Eckhart, Managing Director, Global Head of Environmental Finance, Citigroup, Inc.MODERATOR


LocationGrand Ballroom
Time10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
 LocationRegency Foyer
Time11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.Session 7: Early-Stage Investment for Renewable Energy Technologies
This session will explore venture capital and other early stage investment strategies for renewable energy projects and technologies, including crowd funding, cleantech funds, angel investors and more.
  • Why is investment being raised, from whom, and where is it going?
  • What are the trends and where are the opportunities for early stage investment?
  • The turning tide of venture capital and digital marketing
  • How energy efficiency transactions can provide solid returns
  • Investing in advanced transportation technologies
  • Investing in water energy resources
  • Impact investing
  • Venture fund formation: who’s succeeding?


LocationGrand Ballroom
Time12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
 LocationRegency Foyer
Time1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Session 8: Financing Middle-Market Renewable Energy
Renewable energy markets have seen growing investment in the middle market with investors focusing on project assets worth - 0 million.  While these projects are smaller than traditional large, capital intensive projects that utilities own and operate, the middle market represents an opportunity (and challenge) for investors to take advantage of an expanding class of renewable energy assets.

  • Is there a transition to middle market transactions from larger and smaller renewable energy deals?
  • What is the risk and return profile for projects in the middle market?
  • What are the best strategies to leverage tax equity and debt finance in middle market investments?
  • How can investors take advantage of rapid growth in this area?
  • What constraints exist for middle market projects?
  • What are the best strategies to mitigate costs and enhance returns on middle market projects?


  • Chris Diaz, Senior Vice President – Renewable Energy, Seminole Financial Services, LLCMODERATOR

  • Edwin F. Feo, Chief Operating Officer, Coronal Management LLC MODERATOR

LocationGrand Ballroom
Time2:30 p.m. –
3:30 p.m.

Session 9: Finance Opportunities Beyond our Borders
As renewable energy costs decline and global demand increases, renewable energy companies in the electricity, thermal energy, and transportation sectors are looking beyond our borders for growth and investment opportunities.  This session will examine foreign markets for renewable energy scale up and the corresponding investment opportunities, barriers and strategies.

  • The role that quasi-government organization such as OPIC, EXIM, IAC, IDM, play in financing RE projects internationally
  • Opportunities for Public/Private Partnerships
  • Investing in the renewable energy Projects in emerging  markets
  • Achieving the right blend of financing tools for investing in foreign markets
  • What is the status of renewable energy market design or reform in individual geographies? 


  • Brian O’Hanlon, Director of Political and Sovereign Risk Insurance, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)
LocationGrand Ballroom
Time3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
 LocationRegency Foyer
Time4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Session 10: Financing the Future of Renewable Transportation Technologies
California vehicle emission standards and fuel regulations have the ability to transform the entire transportation industry. What will be the investment impacts of the state's pioneering efforts in: vehicle efficiency regulations; the capping of GHG emissions from the transport sector; the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard; aggressive electric vehicle charging infrastructure goals; and a steady commitment to hydrogen as a transportation energy carrier? 

Innovation in transportation technology and policy originates from the western United States. Today, investment in renewable transportation technologies is expanding across the western U.S. due to state policies, technology advancements, infrastructure expansion and customer demand. Panellists will explore these investment trends, discuss the specific policies that are both fostering and hindering investment, and identify the firms and funds best positioned to profit from this market transformation.

  • What will be the effects of fuels under the AB32 GHG cap in 2015?
  • Is the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (CLFS) driving innovation in fuels production and the supporting infrastructure to bring these fuels to the marketplace?
  • What are the technology, deployment and investment trends in the movement of goods, transit and high-speed rail?
  • What have been the successful exits for technology companies in the transport sector?
  • Is the LCFS driving innovation, investment, and infrastructure?
  • What is the status of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure? How are standards being set? Who is investing and building?
  • Beyond personal transportation, what are the technology, deployment and investment trends in goods movement, transit and high-speed rail?


LocationGrand Ballroom
Time5:30 p.m.

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For general information about REFF-West, including registration, please contact us at:

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