Top Energy & Energy Policy Speakers

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The future of energy and climate change are continually of one of the most widely debated topics we hear about. From Solar and Wind, to Nuclear and Hydro, there’s a lot to be discussed and debated. Whether you believe it’s man-made, a product of Earth’s natural order, or don’t believe at all, we have the experts to help break it down.

ENERGETIC & EDUCATIONAL ENERGY SPEAKERS

  • Jon Wellinghoff, Chief Policy Officer of SolarCity & Former Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Ramez Naam, Former Microsoft Executive, Entrepreneur, Inventor, & Leading Voice On Disruptive Technologies
  • Peter ZeihanFormer US State Department Employee Who Launched A New Firm Representing Energy, Finance, & Defense Clients
  • Joel Makower, The Guru of Green Business Practices
  • Robert BryceOne of America’s Most Prominent Energy Journalists & Authors and Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute
  • Tony Seba, Energy Expert & Author of The Book, Clean Disruption
  • Amy Harder, National Energy and Climate Change Reporter at Axios
  • Ronald Brownstein, Editorial Director of National Journal & Senior Political Analyst for CNN
  • John SununuFormer US Senator (R-NH)
  • Heather Zichal, Former Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change
  • Alex EpsteinEnergy Theorist & Author of New York Times Best-Selling Book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels
  • Jessica O. Matthews, Innovator and CEO, Uncharted Power

Keep reading to learn more about each of these innovative and disruptive energy experts. Click the links below to view each of their individual speaker profile pages, find out more about their speaking topics and expertise, and to watch video footage from their recent keynote talks.

THE UMBRELLA

JON WELLINGHOFF  

Chief Policy Officer of SolarCity & Former Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 

One of the nation’s most influential voices on energy policy, Jon Wellinghoff is the Chief Policy Officer of Officer of Elon Musk’s SolarCity, the number one provider of distributed solar energy in the United States,  and the former Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. With a Strong track record of commitment to the clean energy revolution, John reviews the future of our grid and cyber security—plus he power of solar.

The Future of Energy. In an engaging and smart presentation full of fascinating case studies and visuals, Jon Wellinghoff offers audiences a behind-the-scenes look at what the future of energy holds for the United States, detailing where we’ve been, where we are today, and, most importantly, where we’re going. Everything we depend upon is tied to energy. When the lights go out, we can’t get food, medicine, or gas. With no energy, we can’t extract ourselves from natural or man-made disasters like Hurricane Sandy or terrorism. How are we dealing with these issues? How are we preparing for the next steps? The future of energy will capitalize on the rapidly growing amount of distributed generation (for example, energy produced by individuals via solar panels) and the connectivity of devices, utilities, and appliances to the “internet of everything.” This means that utilities must adapt their business models to the changing environment as we look to technology to facilitate this transition and improve our quality of life through increased energy efficiencies and control.

Energy Security. In an exciting—and sometimes hair-raising—presentation, Wellinghoff shares insights into the state of our nation’s energy security. From the most significant domestic terror attack on the physical energy grid to how cyber security plays a role, he offers audiences a look at where we are now and where we need to be to prevent vulnerabilities. He shares the trends audiences need to know – from how big corporations and the military are moving to micro-grids so they’re not dependent on private infrastructure to how destroying nine substations can take down the entire country’s power for months (and how shoddy security both online and onsite feeds into the issue). With great visuals and stories, Wellinghoff lays out a plan and details what businesses and individuals can do to protect themselves.

Energy Politics, Policy, & Regulation. With interesting visuals and compelling anecdotes, Wellinghoff shares insights from his time as the head of the FERC to address the politics, policy, and regulation of energy. From introducing new standards for renewables to which key players will be affected most by upcoming policy changes, he offers an insider’s look into how energy policy gets made and details what organizations need to know about coming energy standards and practices.

A Day in the Life of the Grid. Wellinghoff takes audiences on an eye-opening tour of a “Day in the life of the energy grid.” With so much riding on the steady availability and cost of energy, this presentation is not to be missed. He looks at how the grid functions from an economic standpoint and how operators run independent whole sale markets in addition to managing substations and running operations. But if you could make the power grid more efficient you’d normalize the cost and drive it down for everyone. Wellinghoff shares fascinating anecdotes and slides of energy costs across time and looks at how we could change the grid’s efficiency/cost dynamic by consumers bidding products and technology into the system.  |   Click here to learn more about Jon Wellinghoff.  

SPEAKERS ON THE FUTURE OF ENERGY

RAMEZ NAAM 

Former Microsoft Executive, Entrepreneur, Inventor, & Leading Voice On Disruptive Technologies

The Clean Energy Revolution. Of all the infrastructure available to developers, none has had a steeper price drop than solar power, which has come down 250-times in price since its arrival in the marketplace. Here, Singularity’s Energy co-chair talks about how solar and other clean energy sources will continue to change the world we live in, following the pathway of exponential technology that slowly but steadily becomes demonetized and democratized. Inspiring and powerful, Naam’s talk pulls in historical anecdotes, a look at technology evolving now, and a thoughtful review of the ways regulation needs to keep the pace of change. Highly-customizable, Naam’s talk is a can’t-miss for any group considering the impact of the clean energy revolution on their industry.   |   Click here to learn more about Ramez Naam.

PETER ZEIHAN 

Former US State Department Employee Who Launched A New Firm Representing Energy, Finance, & Defense Clients

Supersize Me: The Future of Global Energy. The global energy sector is as complicated and opaque as it is omnipresent and essential, and it has adapted to not simply the changes in the global economic system, but the global political system. Countries that were weak to nonexistent in ages past now are major players in global energy markets, both as producers and consumers. The system that has allowed this evolution now is under fire, and soon the stability that has enabled the energy sector to create its global web work will end. What will follow will be a world both more chaotic and poorer, one in which the process of finding, producing, transporting and refining energy will simply be beyond the military and financial capacity of most players. Only the largest, smartest and richest entities will be able to maintain—much less expand – their networks. Far from its final days, the era of the supermajor has not yet begun.  |   Click here to learn more about Peter Zeihan.  

ROBERT BRYCE 

One of America’s Most Prominent Energy Journalists & Authors and Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute

Scale, Shale, & The Myths of “Green” Energy. Politicians and pundits continually promote renewable energy. But the hype doesn’t match the reality. Renewable sources like solar and wind energy cannot even match the growth in global energy demand much less displace significant quantities of coal, oil, and natural gas. To be clear, Bryce is bullish on solar energy and electricity storage, both of which are growing rapidly. But through the use of simple math and basic physics, Bryce will show why hydrocarbons will continue to dominate the global energy mix for decades to come. He will discuss the ongoing boom in global coal use and explain why natural gas and nuclear (N2N) are the fuels of the future. In addition, Bryce will discuss the politics of—and outlook for—the world’s single most important commodity, oil.  |   Click here to learn more about Robert Bryce.

RENEWABLE ENERGY SPEAKERS  

TONY SEBA 

Energy Expert & Author of The Book, Clean Disruption

Tony Seba is the award-winning author of the #1 Amazon best-selling book, Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation—How Silicon Valley Will Make Oil, Nuclear, Natural Gas, Coal, Electric Utilities and Conventional Cars Obsolete by 2030, and co-author of the book, Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030, which have both changed the global conversation about the future of energy, transportation, and climate change. Seba's work focuses on technology disruption, the convergence of technologies, business model, and product innovations that are leading to the disruption of the world’s major industries including energy, transportation, agriculture, infrastructure, real estate, and finance. He is the award-winning creator of the “Seba Technology Disruption Framework" which has been used to accurately understand and anticipate disruptions in several industries. He has taught thousands of entrepreneurs and corporate leaders at Stanford University’s Continuing Studies.  |  Click here to learn more about Tony Seba.

JOEL MAKOWER 

The Guru of Green Business Practices

From Here To Sustainability. Nearly every company is assessing itself through the lens of environmental responsibility. For a handful of leading companies it involves asking the question: “How do we compete in a world in which energy, water, materials, and toxicity are constraints to growth?” Today, being green is not just about “doing less bad” or “greening the bottom line.” It’s about reducing risk supply chain, reputation, financial and more. It’s about growing the top line through innovation, new markets, increased productivity, customer loyalty, and increased ability to attract and retain talent.

In his sustainability talk, Joel Makower explains how leading companies aligning sustainability with business value and answers pressing questions for the audience, such as:

  • What’s driving environmental issues to rise to the top inside the world’s biggest companies?
  • What strategies do leading companies use to harness green thinking to create business value?
  • “How good is good enough?” when it comes to company environmental performance?
  • What are the challenges of communicating for environmental leaders?
  • How will a new breed of green innovators transform markets?

The Green Marketing Conundrum. Green marketing is a challenge, as companies try to cash in on perceived public interest in products deemed to be better for the planet. How do you sell “green” in a world with a seemingly insatiable appetite for more stuff? In a world in which Walmart, GM, and GE are waving the green flag, how can marketers be heard—and believed? Joel offers tales from the trenches, the latest trends, and insight and inspiration to help marketers survive and succeed in this confusing marketplace.

Joel is a skilled host and moderator, regularly called upon to conduct on-stage or on-camera interviews, or to host lively and intelligent discussions with executives and thought leaders—in-person, on video, and online. He also serves as emcee of events, harnessing his talents as an engaging host, a nimble thinker, and a quick wit to create experiences that rise above “conference as usual.”  |   Click here to learn more about Joel Makower.

ENERGY & POLITICS SPEAKERS

AMY HARDER 

National Energy and Climate Change Reporter at Axios

Energy Under Trump. Washington’s energy and environmental agenda has been turned on its head under President Trump. Amy Harder breaks down complex energy and climate regulations to share digestible and thought-provoking takeaways and help groups understand how, in the age of Trump, new energy and climate policy will affect their industry or organization.

The Future of Climate Change. Climate change is in the news now more than ever, with increasingly powerful storms and Capitol Hill moves—like the Trump Administration pulling out of the Paris agreement. Amy breaks down what to expect from a warming world in the coming years, touching upon extreme weather, rising sea levels, regulations, and more.

Energy Prices & You. What kind of costs can you expect to face from transportation, electricity, and heating/air conditioning? How will these costs change in the coming years? A lot of surprising factors are at play that could help drive your costs up—or down—unexpectedly, Amy Harder is able to pull back the curtain on likely outcomes now and possible outcomes in the future.  |   Click here to learn more about Amy Harder.

RONALD BROWNSTEIN 

Editorial Director of National Journal & Senior Political Analyst for CNN

Energy Policy In An Age of Polarization. Brownstein explains how the current divisions in American politics affect the debate over energy and related environmental issues. He analyzes the energy debate between and within the parties, focusing not only on the recent presidential campaign, but also Congress and developments in the states. He previews both the substantive arguments and political calculations likely to shape decisions on issues from energy independence to climate change in the months ahead.  |  Click here to learn more about Ronald Brownstein

JOHN SUNUNU 

Former US Senator (R-NH)

Engineering Tomorrow’s Energy. As an engineer and a small-businessman, former US Senator John Sununu brings a unique perspective to the debates on energy policy, technology, and the politics and economics of climate change. With a keen understanding of the inter-workings of new technologies and their global financial implications, Sununu discusses issues surrounding renewable energy, fossil fuels, nuclear power, and proposals for carbon trading and capture.  |   Click here to learn more about John Sununu

HEATHER ZICHAL

Former Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change

Energy Overview. Heather Zichal shares insights on the current state of energy, climate, and environmental policy. Looking at all sources of energy—corn, coal, natural gas, fossil fuels, and renewables—she outlines where were are in terms of energy independence and how that affects the country as a whole. With the U.S. now the largest producer of natural gas, companies are reshoring previously lost jobs. Calling that the “greatest change in a generation,” this job migration is creating both opportunities and challenges in terms of our energy policy. Zichal addresses the politics of various sources (notably, corn, coal and hydraulic fracking), the best ways to message about energy, the appropriate levels of biofuels in our nation’s energy portfolio, and whether we have the tools we need to move toward clean energy and create jobs.  |   Click here to learn more about Heather Zichal.

ON THE OTHER HAND...

ALEX EPSTEIN 

Energy Theorist & Author of New York Times Best-Selling Book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

The Moral Case For Fossil Fuels. This speech introduces audiences to a new, moral case for fossil fuels. Epstein, a philosopher and energy expert, makes the case that the guiding principle of energy and environmental decisions should be human flourishing—and that if we look at the whole picture, human flourishing requires that we use more fossil fuels not less.

Oil & Gas's Millennial Problem—& How To Solve It. The oil and gas industry has a problem. “The Great Crew Change” brought on by the looming mass retirement of baby boomers and the shortage of workers in their 30’s to 50’s means that millennials will be a key source of industry talent in the years ahead, and that they will have to take on more responsibility more quickly than workers in the past. At the same time, those millennials have experienced by far the most anti-fossil fuel educational and media system of any generation of Americans, ever. Drawing on new research and on-the-ground experience influencing hundreds of thousands of millennials, philosopher and energy expert, Alex Epstein, gives the industry a blueprint for educating millennials to becoming proud, persuasive champions of their industry.

How To Talk To Anyone About Energy. One common challenge throughout the fossil fuel industry is the challenge that employees have in talking to one’s friends, family, and communities about their work. In this speech Epstein, an innovator in “constructive conversations,” shares three key principles employees can use to effectively communicate what they do to their personal networks, both online and offline.

The Moral Case For GMOs. This speech introduces audiences to the moral case for creating and consuming genetically modified organisms (GMO). Drawing on the principle that the guiding principle for industrial and environmental decisions should be maximizing human flourishing, not minimizing human impact, Epstein illustrates how genetic modification has already added years to our lives. Using intelligent modification and the latest technology, he argues, we can continue to make human life longer, healthier, and happier.

The Moral Case For Nuclear Power. This speech introduces audience to the moral case for nuclear power. Despite being the most proven, scalable form of non-carbon energy, nuclear power is opposed furiously by most opponents of fossil fuels. Why is this? Epstein, a philosopher and energy expert, argues that it is not because of stated concerns about safety (nuclear power has been empirically demonstrated to be the safest form of power ever devised). It is because of our society’s deep technophobia and nature-worship, which regards generating power via radiation as “unnatural” and therefore bad. Arguing that the guiding principle of energy progress should be human flourishing, not preserving nature, Epstein makes the case that with proper policies nuclear power can be the safest, most abundant, most affordable energy ever created.”  |  Click here to learn more about Alex Epstein

JESSICA O. MATTHEWS

Innovator and CEO, Uncharted Power

Innovating During Times of Uncertainty: Adapting Your Business for the New Normal. COVID-19 is changing everything in the business world. Execs are forced to rethink how they operate, what they offer employees, and their greater long-term impact on society. But what about the smaller companies fighting to make it out of the pandemic “alive”? For startups and small companies that depend on investors and business continuity, the uncertainty is even higher. Uncharted Power is a venture-backed small business in the niche power infrastructure space – if you subscribe to the theory of intersectionality, the nature of their business stacks all odds against them. But CEO and founder Jessica O. Matthews is using this time to breed new vision for her company.

If you’re exploring business angles related to the pandemic, Jessica will share how Uncharted Power is adjusting to the new COVID-19 world by doubling down on their mission of redefining power access and building smarter, safer cities. She will discuss:

  • The biggest challenges she has faced as a startup leader during the pandemic and how she’s turning adversity into vision
  • The need for small companies to see beyond their own path and understand how they interconnect with other businesses / the world
  • What the pandemic has taught us about global infrastructure and how we can make updates to improve public health / lives
  • And more.

Innovating During Times of Uncertainty: Turning Adversity Into Vision. COVID-19 is unsettling for everyone, but the impact is even greater for underserved communities. Black people are dying from the virus at a higher rate - in fact, cities like Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago and New Orleans have reported more than 50% of virus deaths were black. Business and government leaders hold an important role in coming together to create solutions that enhance the lives and health of marginalized citizens, but it is particularly exciting when small businesses within these communities led by members of the marginalized group feel empowered to take action.

One company working toward closing the gap is Uncharted Power, a data and power infrastructure startup creating tech to support these very communities. Jessica O. Matthews, a black female founder and CEO, chose to build her company in Harlem to encourage diverse decision-making and uplift the surrounding community. In this talk, Jessica will discuss:

  • Challenges and gaps in access to info, education, and opportunity that she sees first-hand being immersed in this epicenter of diversity – and what her company is doing to address the problem in real-time. 
  • Why the pandemic is hurting black and brown communities worse – such as limitations on working remotely, more common pre-existing health conditions, and lower-quality healthcare
  • How Uncharted Power is turning adversity into vision – doubling down their goal of expanding tech to support underserved communities 
  • And more. | Click here to learn more about Jessica O. Matthews.

Want to see more? Click here to see our complete list of the keynote speakers that we represent who address the impact of emerging technologies on the retail industry and the future of retail.

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