2018 Green Business Initiative Symposium

Charging Forward: The Future of Energy in Oregon

The  2018 Green Business Initiative Symposium

Charging Forward: The Future of Energy in Oregon

April 13, 2018
University of Oregon - Portland
70 NW Couch St.


On Friday, April 13th the Green Business Initiative Student Association (GBI) and the Environmental and Natural Resources (ENR) Law Center held a symposium entitled “Charging Forward: the Future of Energy in Oregon.” This one-day symposium was held at the University of Oregon White Stag Building in Portland, OR. The focus of the event was on the future of energy in Oregon. The three main areas of discussion were emerging technologies and businesses, state carbon policy, and the Public Utility Commission process. The event was well attended, with more than 80 attendees, including individuals from the Public Utilities Commission, the Bonneville Power Association, law firms, State Senator Michael Dembrow, and a staffer from U.S. Represenatative Blumenhauer's office. 

The day consisted of panel discussions and presentations, followed by a networking reception. The symposium was free and open to the public.  Complimentary meals and refreshments were provided throughout the day by Artemis Foods. CLE credits are pending.


Janine Benner, Director, Oregon Department of Energy

Janine Benner provides leadership and policy direction to the Oregon Department of Energy's 85 employees and oversees a $40 million operating budget. She had previously served as Associate Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the largest government funder of clean energy research and development. She had also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the department's Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs. Benner spent 12 years working for Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), first as an energy and environmental policy advisor and then as deputy chief of staff. A Portland native, she holds a degree in history from Princeton University.

Lisa Hardie, Chair, Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC)

Lisa Hardie has served as Chair of the Oregon PUC since 2016. She has nearly twenty years of experience as an energy attorney and previously served as an Administrative Law Judge for the Oregon PUC, where she presided over contested case hearings, rulemakings, and regulatory dockets. Prior to her work as an Administrative Law Judge, Hardie worked with the California parties seeking recovery of refunds to ratepayers due to the California energy crisis. She is an active member of the Oregon State Bar including its Energy, Telecom, and Utility Section. Hardie graduated with honors from the University of Texas Law School and has a BA in the Liberal Arts Honor Program, also from the University of Texas.

Kristen Sheeran, Carbon Policy Advisor, Office of Gov. Kate Brown

Kristen Sheeran advises Gov. Brown on carbon policy. She has served as Oregon Director of the nonprofit organization, Climate Solutions and as the Vice President of Knowledge Systems at Ecotrust, leading a 15 member team including economists, policy specialists, data analysts, software developers, and GIS analysts. Sheeran is founder and executive director of the Economics for Equity and Environment Network. Sheeran holds a Ph.D. in economics and had been a professor of economics at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Chad Marriott: Partner, Stoel Rives LLP
Chad Marriott graduated from Oregon Law in 2009 and was a program fellow with the ENR Center. He serves as counsel to sponsors, owners, and investors, as well as commercial and industrial customers, in the development, sale, acquisition, and financing of renewable and thermal energy projects throughout the United States. His broad experience in finance, M&A, and state and federal utility regulation has proven valuable to clients at various stages of project development and operation. Chad has negotiated the tax equity financing for two solar PV portfolios totaling 140 MWac, including both traditional utility offtake and community solar arrangements, and acted as primary federal energy regulatory counsel for the tax equity and back-leverage debt financing of more than 350 MWac in the Southwest, Southeast, and Northeast regions. In addition, Chad has served as sponsor’s counsel for the negotiation of approximately $2 billion in tax equity financing for more than 1.8 GW of wind projects from North Dakota to Texas, and separate equity investments in more than 900 MW. Recently, Chad has also led transactions for the cross-border acquisition of energy storage assets in Canada, the acquisition of two operational wind projects in Minnesota, and the acquisition of wind assets in Tehachapi, Ca. for repowering.
Nate Sandvig: Director, US Strategic Growth
Mr. Sandvig is a seasoned renewable energy developer currently leading large-scale renewables and utility-scale energy storage business development for National Grid in the western US. He was previously at MWH Global and several renewable energy companies including EDF Renewable Energy, EDP Renewables and Noble Environmental Power. Mr. Sandvig graduated from the United States Military Academy, is a combat veteran, and has a Masters in Project Management from George Washington University.
Jeanette Shaw, Forth
Jeanette leads Forth’s state and federal advocacy work. She holds an MBA from Stanford University, a Bachelor degree from University of California, Santa Barbra in Political Science and Public Service, and has served in leadership roles for Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits.
Mike Wietecki, General Counsel and Vice President of Business Operations at Powin Energy Corporation
Powin is a leading supplier of lithium-ion based utility scale battery energy storage systems. Prior to Powin, Mike had several roles at multi-billion dollar hedge funds as, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, Chief Operations Officer and started in finance as an analyst sitting on the trading floor. Mike is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas School of Law, has a master of science degree in Natural Resource Economics from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas in Business Management.
Professor Mohsen Manesh, Oregon Law
Professor Manesh earned his undergraduate degree in industrial engineering summa cum laude from the University of Arkansas and his law degree magna cum laude from Georgetown University, where he was named Order of the Coif. Prior to joining Oregon Law, Professor Manesh was an associate attorney in the Seattle office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. At Oregon Law, Professor Manesh has received the Orlando J. Hollis Faculty Teaching Award, the law school’s highest teaching honor. He is also the faculty director of the law school’s Portland Program.
Nancy Hamilton, Co-Director, Oregon Business Alliance for Climate
A skilled negotiator and effective communicator, Nancy brings deep relationships across a diverse cross-section of stakeholders in the Portland Metro area and across Oregon, developed over almost two decades while moving from her work as Chief of Staff to Mayor Tom Potter, to her focus on workforce and economic development for Governor Kulongoski and then as Market Director for McKinstry Oregon. Now in her sixth year as a certified Emerging Small Business (ESB) & Woman- Business Enterprise (WBE) in Oregon, Nancy’s consulting practice has focused on public process efforts, government affairs, media relations, communications, and economic development programs, with a particular interest in education, government, and economic development as it relates to carbon reduction and energy efficiency.
Dylan Kruse, Policy Director, Sustainable Northwest
Dylan is responsible for state and federal legislative activity and agency engagement and represents the Sustainable Northwest’s broad market and public policy priorities. He is also coordinator of the Western Juniper Alliance, a 50 member partnership to accomplish rangeland restoration, produce sustainable wood products, and create jobs in juniper supply and market chains along the West Coast. In addition, he is the organization’s bioenergy lead, and works on wood biomass utilization and energy projects across the Northwest. Dylan is co-chair of the Oregon Forest Biomass Working Group, is on the board of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, serves on the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition Leadership Team, and holds a seat on the steering committee of the National Rural Assembly.
Meredith Connolly, Oregon State Director, Climate Solutions
As a Northwest-based nonprofit, Climate Solutions advances local, regional, and national action on climate and clean energy through championing transformational policies and market-based innovations and catalyzing powerful partnerships. As Oregon Director, Meredith develops, advocates for and implements clean energy and climate change policies and programs to accelerate Oregon’s transition to a clean energy, low-carbon economy. She previously worked as a Climate and Energy Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council where she advanced policies for deploying renewable energy, creating clean energy jobs and increasing energy efficiency in the U.S. and internationally. Meredith holds a JD from Boston College Law School and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Santa Clara University.
Professor Greg Dotson, Oregon Law
Professor Dotson, vice president for energy policy at the Center for American Progress, joined the faculty of the University of Oregon School of Law in 2016. Dotson will remain connected to American Progress, continuing on as a senior fellow. A twenty-year veteran of energy policy-making in Washington, D.C., Dotson’s work focuses on finding solutions to the nation’s energy and environmental challenges. Dotson was also engaged in congressional oversight and investigations, including inquiries into the politicization of climate science, the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, hydraulic fracturing, and the energy market abuses of Enron. At American Progress, Dotson has produced a number of white papers, authored opinion editorials, hosted panel discussions of experts and government officials, and testified on energy and environmental policy before the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Dotson graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1995 with a concentration in environmental and natural resources law. He earned his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech.
Michael Goetz, Staff Attorney, Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board (CUB)
Mike Goetz joined the Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board as a Staff Attorney in February 2016. Established in 1984, CUB is the ratepayer advocate for the residential customers of Oregon’s electric and natural gas investor-owned utilities. In his practice, Mike focuses on regulatory matters before the Public Utility Commission of Oregon (PUC). CUB routinely intervenes in a wide variety of utility cases, including general rate cases, annual power cost filings, integrated resource plans, resource procurement dockets, utility mergers and acquisitions, rulemaking proceedings, and various policy investigations. Mike has worked extensively on implementing two recent landmark pieces of Oregon legislation–SB 1547, the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan, and SB 978, an ongoing public process to investigate how developing industry trends, technologies, and policy drivers may impact the existing electricity regulatory system. Mike holds a BS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a JD from the University of Oregon School of Law with a Statement of Completion in Environmental and Natural Resources Law. When not at CUB, Mike enjoys backcountry skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, and exploring the Pacific Northwest.
Franco Albi, Manager, Strategy Integration & Planning, PGE
Franco Albi is the Manager of Integrated Resource Planning at Portland General Electric. His team is responsible for strategy and focuses on working with customers and stakeholders to provide the best resource portfolio for delivering clean energy safely, reliably, and affordably. Mr. Albi has been working in the energy industry for over 15 years leading development of sustainable resources. He earned his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Portland State University, and MBA from Marylhurst University.
Wendy Gerlitz, NW Energy Coalition
Wendy Gerlitz is Policy Director at the NW Energy Coalition, where she leads the organization’s policy efforts to promote clean and affordable energy at the state and regional level. Prior to joining the Coalition, Wendy worked as a policy analyst for Sustainable Northwest focusing on federal land management and rural economic development issues. She also worked for Portland General Electric in the areas of greenhouse gas reporting and corporate footprint monitoring. Her work with the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission provided her with a deep appreciation for the importance of water, salmon and clean energy in our region. Wendy holds a B.A. in Political Science and Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry.
Adam Schultz, Senior Policy Analyst, Oregon Department of Energy
Adam Schultz is a senior policy analyst at the Oregon Department of Energy focused on grid integration and resiliency issues. Prior to joining the Department, Adam managed the UC Davis Energy Institute, worked on the RPS procurement team at the California Public Utilities Commission, and was the Wayne Morse Legal Fellow for U.S. Senator Ron Wyden. He has a BA from Tufts University and a JD from the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.


Carpool Information

Green Business Initiative Website

More Event Information