June 29, 2009
Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center
The sold-out Silicon Valley Energy Summit 2009, sponsored by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, brought together nearly 500 attendees with three dozen knowledgeable and thought-provoking speakers at Stanford University to discuss energy issues ranging from new technology to foreign policy. The sessions ranged over energy distribution, public utilities, energy conservation and efficiency and government policies. Overall, the summit created a picture of what to expect in the near and far future when it comes to energy.
The summit particularly emphasized how to utilize this information to make companies more efficient and profitable in a changing business environment. It featured former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a keynote speaker, along with David Crane, a top advisor to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and energy visionary Mark Gabriel. Guests participated by asking questions of the speakers and by networking with one another throughout the day.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. was the principal corporate sponsor of the event. Other major sponsors were ClearEdge Power, Cypress Envirosystems and SAP. The daylong conference was held at the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center at Stanford University on June 29, 2009.
A major purpose of the summit, said Bob Hines, Vice President of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, was to provide Silicon Valley companies with the tools and information needed to become energy efficient. Hines hoped the Summit would expose businesses to, “what is on the horizon that they can tap into” with the goal that companies would come away with a rough business plan of how to move toward energy efficiency. Jim Sweeney, Director of the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, stressed that a core theme of the event is that Silicon Valley is “becoming ground zero of the green tech movement.”
Recognizing energy efficient companies, three Santa Clara businesses and Santa Clara University, who together saved more than 8.57 million kilowatt hours of electricity last year, were presented with Energy Innovator Awards from Silicon Valley Power, the municipal utility of the city of Santa Clara. Silicon Valley Microelectronics, Inc., Santa Clara University, Yahoo!, and Equinix Operating Co. were honored. Their combined energy savings could power nearly 1,400 homes for a year. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. presented a check for $1.2 million to Applied Materials as rebate for energy efficiency improvements that Applied Materials had made.
The conference included breakout sessions on:
Energy efficiency strategies & options for Silicon Valley companies
Tracking, optimizing & reporting your company’s carbon footprint
The Smart Grid rollout & new, energy technologies on the horizon
Modifying behavior to improve energy efficiency & curb carbon emissions
Updates on federal stimulus spending, national & state energy policies
Creating energy systems at scale
California policy issues
Energy Watch Partnership for energy-efficiency
Secretary Rice opened the summit with remarks on the effect energy has on foreign policy. The way we resolve energy and environmental issues now, she said, will greatly affect how the international system evolves over the next several years. She called upon her experience as Secretary of State to outline ways energy affects global relations. Energy and oil have had a “warping effect on foreign policy” and there is a strong, “foreign policy argument for energy diversification.” While most of the public discussion of energy and foreign policy is focused on the Middle East, Rice pointed to three other foreign policy challenges related to energy: China’s rapid growth and consequent energy needs; Russia’s heavy dependence on oil and gas revenues; and the power that oil gives to small, but troublesome, countries such as Venezuela.. Rice expressed some skepticism about cap-and-trade as a means of limiting carbon dioxide emissions, saying it is easily abused in some circumstances. She prefers a carbon tax.
Panels throughout the day informed companies on how to save energy costs and, as one official of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said, “how to make you a net winner” through the many cost-saving programs PG&E has to offer. PG&E partners with the Leadership Group on the Integrated Demand Side Management Energy Watch Program to provide Leadership Group members with ways to save money and become more energy efficient. Companies can cut costs by becoming more energy efficient, by participating in demand response programs, and by inviting PG&E to perform free energy audits that will show companies how to lower their energy costs. PG&E also provides free educational courses on energy issues in order to encourage customers to understand what they are doing and what they can do in the future as technologies start to change. Although the energy efficiency message is not new, many basic improvements have yet to be made. Even in Silicon Valley, said Harry Sim of Cypress Envirosystems, 70 percent of commercial office buildings have thermostats that must be set by hand, and provide no data on energy use in buildings.
The panel speakers of Carbon Footprinting for Your Company: What’s in Store? explained what to expect in our fast-approaching low carbon future. They stressed that sustainability and efficiency are always good for business, meaning that lowering carbon is not just about ‘doing good’, but is also about lowering costs and improving profitability. The panel stressed that the cost of not keeping up with the rest of the world in carbon reduction is greater than the current cost of becoming more sustainable, and advised companies to think in these new terms.
After lunch, David Crane, special advisor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, addressed a variety of issues facing the State of California including the need for new renewable technology and the utilization of existing technology. Particularly, he wants new renewable technology to be competitive and viable. He also addressed issues such as wholesale tax reform, and the need to price water correctly.
The “smart grid” was the theme of several sessions. Smart Grid technology will enable time-based energy rates and direct information about rate to customers in real time.
To conclude the summit, Mark Gabriel, the last keynote speaker, addressed what he calls energy “mega trends,” which he defines as trends that “can be nudged but cannot be stopped.” They include the conflict between capping carbon emissions and growing energy demand, and the inevitability that consumers will be more engaged in future power solutions, such as by being active managers of their energy demand.
Director of the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, Stanford University
Vice President, General Counsel & Energy Director, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Energy & Its Role in International Policy Condoleezza Rice
Senior Fellow with the Hoover Institution, former US Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice, 66th Secretary of State, will provide comments on the complex relationships between U.S. energy issues and international policies. Rice is also a professor, diplomat, and author. She is currently a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Creating Energy System Innovations at Scale
Panel will discuss opportunities and challenges of creating energy system innovations at scale.
Solar PV(0.9 MB) Mark Pinto, Senior Vice President, CTO/GM Energy & Environment Solutions, Applied Materials
Dan Reicher, Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives, Google.org
Dick Swanson, President & Chief Technology Officer, SunPower
Alan Gartner, Vice President Western Region, Energy Connect
Silicon Valley Power Awards
Break Out Sessions
#1 California Policy Issues
Since the passage of AB 32, energy policy has never been more important to the future of California. This panel will review our changing regulatory framework, addressing issues such as cap-and-trade, and renewable portfolio standards.
Joe Nation, Director, Graduate Public Policy Practicum, Stanford University; Former CA State Assemblymember
Winston Hickox, Partner, California Strategies & Former CA EPA Secretary
Rod Wright, California State Senator
#2 Motivating Behavioral Change
Energy consumption is driven by the behavior of individuals and organizations. Hear how behavior can be altered.
Linda Schuck, Special Advisor, University of CA Energy Institute
Jim Robbins, Partner, Business Cluster Development
Rob Shelton, Director, PRTM & co-author of "Making Innovation Work"
#3 SVLG Energy Watch Partnership
Program offers free energy audits & technical assistance and access to PG&E rebates to buy down the cost of energy efficiency projects. Learn about success stories & new opportunities for 2009-2011.
Michael Lechner, Program Manager, Quantum Energy Services & Technologies
Mark Bramfitt, Principal Program Manager, Pacific Gas & Electric Company
Don Hall, Executive Manager Service Area, Pacific Gas & Electric Company
Jim Sweeney, Director, Precourt Energy Efficiency Center
California Energy Policy & Economic Climate David Crane
Special Advisor to Governor Schwarzenegger
David Crane is special advisor to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for Jobs and Economic Growth. Before joining the Schwarzenegger administration, Crane was a partner for 25 years with Babcock & Brown, an investment/merchant bank.
Break Out Sessions
#4 Carbon Footprinting for your company: What is in Store?
Companies are under increasing pressure to report carbon emissions to customers. Soon, their carbon footprint will be an important component of purchasing decisions. Learn what policies are likely to affect your company.
Louise Bedsworth, Research Fellow, Public Policy Institute of California
Amit Chatterjee, CEO, Hara Software
Sarah Skikne, Corporate Engagement Manager, The Climate Group
Sponsored by: SAP
#5 Smart Grid: What are the Business Opportunities?
The electrical grid will soon undergo profound changes, bringing utilities and other energy providers into much closer interaction with their customers. Come hear about the tools and applications that will be needed to make the Smart Grid work.
Ellen Petrill, Program Director, Electric Power Research Institute