Extreme Weather: Strategic Opportunity for Renewable Energy

Flooded homes in Tuckerton, N.J., on Oct. 30 after Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the southern New Jersey coastline on Oct. 29. (US Coast Guard via AFP/Getty Images)

We know that by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by displacing fossil fuels, renewable energy can slow the pace of climate change. It’s now clear that renewable energy can also make vulnerable communities more resilient, and save lives and money during and after extreme weather events.

Recently, by a slim margin of two votes, the U.S. Congress passed a $50 billion dollar aid package for recovery in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. With an additional $10 billion dollars approved for federal flood insurance, that’s somewhat less than the price tag for Katrina, which was over $100 billion. The Sandy appropriation will be used to rebuild about 400,000 buildings, repair New York and New Jersey’s devastated transit systems, and prepare for the future.

ASES has convened a cross-disciplinary group of state and local officials, utility, business and finance representatives, researchers and renewable energy companies, to strategize about the role of renewable energy in reducing risk from extreme weather events. Additional speakers are yet to be confirmed. View the detailed program with dates and times here

Highlights now include:

Planning: Creating the Framework for Resiliency

  • Moderator: Laurie Reilly, Sustainable CUNY, City University of New York
  • State Role:  Overview of State Energy Emergency Plans,  David Terry, Executive  Director, National Association of State Energy Officials
  • Local Role:  Casey Johnston, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
  • Utility Role:  Margarett Jolly, ConEdison

Mitigation: Technologies and Strategies to Reduce Risk

  • Moderator:  Christine Donovan, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
  • Challenges and Opportunities, Technology Perspective:  John Thornton, President, Thornton Solar Consulting
  • Shaun Chapman, Deputy Director/Government Affairs – East Coast, SolarCity
  • Solar Energy Industries Association

Recovery: Strategies after the Storm has Passed

  • Moderator: Christine Donovan, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
  • What We’ve Learned from Hurricane Disasters: Kevin Lynn, DOE
  • Rebuilding for Sustainability: Case Studies in the Making:  Lynn Billman, NREL

Paying for Resilience: Creative Financing Options

  • Moderator: Tom Kimbis, Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Emerging Financial Tools:  Clay Butler, The Butler Firm, Austin TX
  • Commercial Warehouse Roofs:  Urban Fields for PV and Potential Extreme Weather Resiliency:  Drew Torbin, VP-Renewable Energy, ProLogis
  • Solar Industry Models:  Tom Leyden, Solar Grid Storage
  • John Conely, VP/Structured Finance, SolarCity
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