8th Annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum-West
November 5-6, 2015  |  Four Seasons  |  San Francisco, CA

2014 REFF-West Program

  • DAY 1 - SEPTEMBER 16, 2014
  • DAY 2 - SEPTEMBER 17, 2014

Welcome Reception

September 15, 2014
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
French Parlor, The Palace Hotel

Time Session Speakers Location
Time7:30 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


  • Jennifer Granholm, Former Governor of Michigan, Distinguished Practitioner of Law and Public Policy, UC Berkeley

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, future of RPS policies, among other trends, will play out for the sector over the next few years.
  • How will the EPA caps on greenhouse gas emissions affect western states’ energy and transportation sectors?
  • 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 is the prospect for multi-state collaboration to address climate change and expand renewable energy development?


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

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

  • Izzet Bensusan, Founder & CEO, Karbone

  • Stephan Dolezalek, Managing Director and Group Leader, VantagePoint Capital Partners

  • Ruben J. Rojas, Deputy Executive Director, California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank
LocationGrand Ballroom
Time10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
  LocationRegency Foyer
Time11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.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 and accelerated depreciation.
  • Can these innovative financing structures work in conjunction with the current tax incentives to produce better after-tax returns for renewable energy investors?
  • Will new financing innovations be sufficient to attract significant investment in renewable energy if the tax incentives are no longer available?
  • How would the sector look if incentives were removed for all energy sources alike?
  • How will Congress tackle REITs and MLPs?
  • The economics of these finance innovations: cost/benefit analysis


  • Kathy Weiss, Vice President, Federal Government Affairs, First Solar MODERATOR

  • Jeff Weiss, Co-Chairman & Managing Director, Distributed Sun, LLC MODERATOR

  • Kushal D. Patel, Consultant, Energy + Environmental Economics (E3)

  • Cisco DeVries, CEO & President – Renewable Funding, California PACE Program

  • Jamie Evans, Managing Director, Head of U.S. Eco Solutions, Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company

  • Michael Picker, California Public Utilities Commission, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)

  • Ryan Bennett, Vice President, Structured Finance, SunEdison

  • Uday Varadarajan, Senior Analyst, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI)
LocationGrand Ballroom

Networking Lunch

September 16, 2014
12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Gold Ballroom, The Palace Hotel

Time Session Speakers Location
Time1:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Session 3: The Net Metering Solution and the Future of the Utility Business Model

INTRODUCTION: The Net Metering Solution

Net energy metering policies support the development of distributed generation in 43 states and the District of Columbia. A battle, however, is brewing among private-sector developers and their utilities about net metering. 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 renewables on the grid. Speakers will discuss what is needed to strengthen net metering to promote more renewables.

DISCUSSION: The Future of the Utility Business Model

The shifting climate surrounding the electric utility business model has caused considerable uncertainty in a sector with historically predictable returns on investment. Customers and businesses, fueled by preferences and new technology, 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. The 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.
  • 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 and mid-scale investments and community utility-scale investment influence the rate of change to the standard utility model?
  • Do changes to the monopoly and competitive market 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 in a 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 bona fide private sector solution is emerging for the provision of renewable energy services?

Session Chair:

Introduction: The Net Metering Solution:

  • David K. Owens, Executive Vice President of Business Operations and Regulatory Affairs, Edison Electric Institute (EEI)

  • Sanjay Ranchod, Assistant General Counsel & Director Electricity Markets Policy, SolarCity

  • Bryan Miller, VP Public Policy and Power Markets, SunRun, Inc.

  • Andrew Birch, Co-Founder and CEO, Sungevity

Session Discussion: The Future of the Utility Business Model

  • James H. Caldwell Jr., SVP Power Markets Strategies, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (CEERT)

  • Gregory Aliff, Vice Chairman and Senior Partner, Energy & Resources, Deloitte LLP
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


LocationGrand Ballroom
Time4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Session 5: Early Stage Investment For Renewable Energy Technologies
What is the investment climate for new renewable energy and energy enabling technology? While it is true that the headlines paint a less than rosy picture and many high-profile shops on Sand Hill Road may have shifted strategies, it is also true that innovation in the energy sector has continued at a robust rate. And the universe of investment dollars has broadened to include family offices, “impact” investors and strategic as well as traditional venture and private equity funds. Come to this panel to hear the complete story and receive a more accurate portrait of technology advancements that will impact the sector in the years to come.
  • Who’s investing? How has the composition and investor pool shifted over the past 5 years?
  • What companies or projects are receiving funding?
  • Will the emphasis remain on energy efficiency and storage? A re project lenders still too adverse to IP risk to drive significant innovation on the generation side?
  • What about distributed generation and the movement away from the grid?
  • What are the other drivers – including the need for “impact” and integrated reporting?
  • What is the outlook for early stage investment capital over that next 12 months?
  • Finally, what are five things an entrepreneur should know before pitching investors – and does this vary by type of investor?



LocationGrand Ballroom

Evening Reception

September 16, 2014
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Ralston Room, The Palace Hotel




Networking Breakfast

September 17, 2014
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
Gold Ballroom, The Palace Hotel

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, while 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

  • Christopher Radtke, Director, Energy Group, IBD, Credit Suisse

  • Brian A. Matthay, Senior Vice President, Environmental Finance Group, Wells Fargo

  • Andrew T. Redinger, Managing Director, Group Head Utilities, Power & Renewable Energy, KeyBanc Capital Markets
LocationGrand Ballroom
Time10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
 LocationRegency Foyer
Time11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Session 7: The Increasing Role of IT in Driving Renewables
Information technology is changing life, business, and governance at an unprecedented rate and scale. It is creating powerful new opportunities to accelerate the financing, development, and distribution of renewable energy. So called “Cleanweb” solutions – such as new venture-backed solar customer acquisition start-ups, internet-of-things products and platforms that connect distributed power to the net, big data analytics of renewable power performance, and online gaming solutions that drive renewable uptake – are already becoming a major force in the evolution of renewable energy markets.
  • 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 IT do to help the growth of renewables?


LocationGrand Ballroom

Networking Lunch

September 17, 2014
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Regency Foyer, The Palace Hotel

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 $10 – $100 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, LLC MODERATOR

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

  • Rob Scheuermann, Chief Financial Officer,Socore Energy

  • Laura Stern, President, Nautilus Solar

  • John Pimentel, President, Foundation Windpower

  • Dick Rai, Manager, PNC Energy Capital

  • Mac Irvin, Senior Vice President, Head of San Francisco office, Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure

  • Robert Sternthal, President, Reznick Capital Markets Securities, LLC
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 organizations, such as O PIC, EXIM, IAC, and 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?


  • Dino Barajas, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP MODERATOR

  • Brian O’Hanlon, Director of Political and Sovereign Risk Insurance, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)

  • Jon Kornik, Principal, Energy Access & Investments, Google, Inc.

  • Chris Hornor, Founder and CEO, Powerhive, Inc.

  • Brian Tarmey, Vice President, Delphos International
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. Panelists 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 A B32 G HG 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 CLFS 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?

Introductory Discussion

Session Discussion: Financing the Future of Renewable Transportation Technologies

  • Ira Ehrenpreis, General Partner, Technology Partners MODERATOR

  • Cliff Fietzek, Manager of Connected E-Mobility, BMW of North America

  • Jesse Simons, Chief of Staff, Sierra Club

  • Roland Hwang, Director, Energy and Transportation Program, Natural Resources Defense Council

  • Anthony Eggert, Executive Director, Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy, University of California Davis
LocationGrand Ballroom
Time5:30 p.m.

Close of Conference Sessions


Closing Reception

September 17, 2014
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Regency Foyer, The Palace Hotel

2015 Sponsors

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  • Leidos
  • marathon capital
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  • wells fargo
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Supporting Organizations

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Media Partners

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