2012 Program

Check back regularly for program updates!

Welcome Reception

September 26, 2012

6:00pm - 8:00pm

Foyer Terrace & Exhibition Area

Four Seasons San Francisco

Join us for a drink and an initial meet and greet with your fellow event attendees on the eve of the conference.

Sponsored By:

Marathon Capital, LLC


SEPTEMBER 27-28, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

7:30am Registration and Coffee

Welcome and Opening Remarks


Session 1: Opening Keynote

This opening session will provide a backdrop for subsequent conference proceedings by giving high-level perspectives on public policy, financial markets and corporate strategy in the renewable energy sector.




Session 2: Setting The Scene – Understanding The Context of Renewable Energy

There is no doubt that the energy debate has changed in the last year. The expiration, or threatened expiration, of key Federal incentives, including the PTC, ITC and Loan Guarantee programs, have combined with low natural gas prices to create an uncertain landscape for renewable energy. This session puts all the latest developments into context, setting the scene for the following two days. Issues for discussion include:

  • The evolution of the natural gas industry – can the renewable energy sector work in tandem with it?
  • The increasing importance of state-level policy for renewable energy and how individual states are emerging as game-changers
  • How do renewables intersect with traditional fuel sources in the broader energy debate?



  • Paula Gant, Senior Vice President, Policy and Planning, American Gas Association
  • Nancy Ryan, Deputy Executive Director, California Public Utilities Commission
  • Jonathan Powers, Federal Environmental Executive, White House Council on Environmental Quality
  • Paul Detering, CEO, Tioga Energy
  • Nat Kreamer, CEO, Clean Power Finance
10:45am-11:15am Networking Refreshment Break

Session 3: Financing Smaller Deals

Returning after huge success in 2011, our Financing Smaller Deals panel turns the spotlight on those deals in the $9-$25million range, highlighting the differences and similarities between these deals and the big-ticket deals, and offering you practical advice on moving smaller-scale projects forward.

  • Breaking into the project finance market: Which traditional large-scale project finance mechanisms are applicable?
  • Smaller utility-scale and distributed generation projects: Where do they fall and what are the key returns investors are looking for in this space?
  • Identifying key sources of funding: Can you pull together strands from different financing vehicles to make it work?
  • The role of community and residential power projects: How are these projects being financed and who is doing it?


  • Ed Feo, Managing Director, USRG Renewable Finance
  • Edward W. Zaelke, Partner, Akin Gump Straus Hauer & Feld LLP


12:45pm-2:15pm Networking Lunch

Session 4: The Military: A Major New Customer For Renewable Energy

The military is emerging as a major potential customer for the renewable energy sector. It is demonstrating a clear commitment to sustainability – hundreds of renewable energy initiatives are already in place across military bases in the U.S., in the supply chain and supporting forward troops, and annual spending on renewable energy is expected to rise to in excess of $10 billion per year by 2030. Key issues for the debate include:

  • Supporting emerging technologies: Opportunities for innovation and how the military is responding to newer technologies
  • A new type of investor: Is the military more than just a customer, and is it prepared to take a role in the development of new renewable energy technologies?
  • Getting in front of the right people: How can you effectively navigate and penetrate this market?
  • How can smaller players break into this lucrative marketplace using partners who are already operating in the space?



  • David BeloteVice President for Federal Business, Apex Wind Energy, Inc.
  • Lawson (Stan) Lee, P.E., Senior Program Manager, Energy Division, US Army Engineering Center, Huntsville, AL
  • Karen Butterfield, Director of Federal Programs, Sunpower
  • Kathleen Ahsing, Director of Planning and Development, U.S. Army Energy Initiatives Task Force
3:45pm-4:15pm Networking Refreshment Break

Session 5: Emerging Commercial Technologies

The West Coast is undeniably the hub of innovative renewable energy technologies, but there remain significant challenges in securing the funding to bring these technologies to market effectively. This session will equip you with strategies for overcoming these challenges and identify a pathway for deployment outside of traditional project finance mechanisms.

  • Exploring how you can deal with 'First-Cost' effectively
  • Bridging the gap between late-stage venture capital and project finance: What elements of these two different funding mechanisms can work effectively in tandem?
  • High risk but high reward: What level of returns do you need to be able to generate on emerging technology projects to make it attractive given the high-risk climate? At what scale is the risk worth taking?
  • Crossing the 'Valley of Death' and moving from demonstration to deployment: How can you find a route to get these technologies to market



5:30pm Close of Conference Sessions


Evening Networking Reception
Thursday, September 27, 2012
5:30pm - 7:30pm

Yerba Buena Ballroom
Four Seasons San Francisco

Join us for our lavish evening networking reception at the end of Day One, for a chance to discuss the day's proceedings with fellow delegates, cement existing relationship and meet new business partners, in a relaxed informal setting.

 Sponsored by:

clean-power-finance-200 snr-denton-logo-200

Friday, September 28, 2012

Networking Breakfast
Friday, September 28, 2012

8:00am - 8:55am

Raise your profile at our popular networking breakfast, where delegates will have the opportunity to introduce themselves to their fellow conference attendees using a roving microphone.




8:00am Registration Opens
9:00am-9:15am Conference Opens

Session 6: Welcome & Keynote Presentation

The opening session on Day Two will feature a keynote address from a senior level industry executive, considering changing dynamics in the renewable energy markets and providing a context for the day's discussions.



Session 7: East Meets West: Investment Banking Perspectives

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 investment bankers, representing world-leading financial institutions, who are all currently leading major deals, will debate how the financial landscape has changed over the last 12 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.



11:00am-11:30am Networking Refreshment Break

Session 8: Renewable Energy Project Finance

Having considered the financing of smaller projects on Day One, we now turn our attention to the financing of major projects, comparing different financial models and their outlooks as we move forward, and their applicability to different renewable energy projects and technologies, including:

  • Tax equity and other tax considerations, including improving the attractiveness of U.S. projects to overseas investors
  • Risk allocation: Who assumes the risk, and when? Can this be leveraged further to get better rates on your financing?
  • Project debt and equity
  • Leasing and other project finance structures
  • Overall deal structuring, issues and trends



1:00pm-2:10pm Networking Lunch

Session 9: Developers' Viewpoints – What's happening on the ground?

This session, specifically focused on West Coast developers and across a range of renewable energy technologies, will debate the challenges they faced in achieving success, and give you practical advice on how you can guarantee the bankability of your projects. Issues discussed will include:

  • Developing projects successfully – What financing is attractive to developers, and what projects are attractive to investors?
  • The notion of energy efficiency and its application to existing projects to improve margins
  • Rooftop vs. large-scale solar installations
  • Managing risk effectively – How can you protect yourself from unforeseen situations?



3:40pm-4:00pm Networking Refreshment Break

Session 10: Broadening the Debate – New Financial Structures For The Future

This new session for REFF-West will focus on the broadening applications of renewable energy technology and the wider infrastructure investment picture. Topics for discussion include:

  • Attracting pension funds and sovereign wealth funds to major infrastructure projects – How are their investment attitudes different and how can they be complementary to other investment classes?
  • Clean transportation – Where do electric cars and other clean transportation initiatives fit into the renewable energy landscape and how is the approach to this class of projects different?
  • Will project bonds encourage investment in infrastructure projects?
  • The scale-up of transmission assets and the smart grid – Are we moving towards grid parity?
  • Structuring infrastructure deals – How are they different from other renewable energy projects and what opportunities are there for partnering within this space?



  • Luka Erceg, Founder, President & CEO, Simbol Materials
  • Rick Needham, Director of Energy & Sustainability, Google Inc.
  • Alex Keros, Senior Project Engineer, General Motors
  • Brad Copithorne, Director of Financial Innovation, Energy Program, Environmental Defense Fund
  • John Bohn, Chief Executive Officer of Renewable Energy Trust Capital, Inc

Session 11: All of the Above: Competing Visions for Renewable Energy in the 2012 Election

This moderated and well-informed discussion will highlight key differences in how the Presidential candidates propose to meet America's future energy needs. Delegates will come away with  a much better understanding of the essential role that renewable energy will, or will not, play in a more diversified energy portfolio for both transportation and power generation.


  • Gregory Dalton, Vice President of Special Projects & Director of Climate One Project,The Commonwealth Club of California


  • Jeremy Carl, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
  • Dan Reicher, Executive Director, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University

Closing Remarks

5:35pm Close of REFF-West 2012


To learn more about REFF-West:

(US) +1 212 901 3828
(UK) +44 20 7779 7222
See the entire contact list

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