January 24, 2019

Gov. Brown, Sen. Heitkamp, Congressman Blumenauer at Energy Transition Forum Feb 9

Energy experts gather at “Tomorrow’s Energy System,”  a one-day forum to address the hurdles preventing a quick transition to a zero-carbon energy future.

Elected officials, including a congressman, a former senator and a state governor, will join regulators and business executives at Lewis & Clark Law School on Saturday, February 9 for a full-day clean energy conference hosted by the Green Energy Institute (GEI). “Tomorrow’s Energy System” will discuss the hurdles preventing a quick transition to a zero-carbon energy future and ways to overcome them.

Speakers will include:

  • Oregon Governor Kate Brown
  • U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer
  • Former U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp
  • Former FERC Commissioner Suedeen Kelly
  • California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Picker
  • Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) Administrator Elliot Mainzer
  • SunPower Vice President of Market Strategy and Policy Tom Starrs
  • Multnomah County Commission Chair Deborah Kafoury
  • Portland City Councilor Jo Ann Hardesty

The conference will illuminate how innovative changes in renewable energy technology and the costs, as well as legal and policy changes, may transform the way we generate, transmit, and use energy. Panels will explore topics including legislative agendas after the midterm elections, ways to realize greenhouse gas reduction goals at the local level, and transmission access and regional management.

“It is imperative that we come together to share, explore, and create ambitious strategies for a swift and equitable transition to a zero-carbon economy,” said GEI Director and Professor Melissa Powers. “The West is poised to play a global leadership role, but we need to see more ambition and strategic planning.”

Many cities and some states have made commitments to reach 100% renewable energy either in their electricity system or economy-wide by 2050 or sooner. However, when local or regional jurisdictions want to take ambitious steps toward reducing greenhouse gases, they must navigate a complex legal regime of state and federal laws that support our current energy systems.

Without bold action, the United States and the West will continue to lose lives, money, and natural resources at an unprecedented level. The most recent IPCC report urges that “limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” Despite the urgent call to action, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2018.

Here are links for more information and registration information, or contact Licia Sahagun, GEI Deputy Director at (503) 768-6785; lsahagun@lclark.edu.