The evening of June 23, 250 professionals from all walks of clean energy gathered downtown for Connecting Clean Energy – Chicago’s Premier event for Education & Networking. (At least those that managed to find it despite all the construction.) The Chicago Clean Energy Alliance (CCEA) and Mayer Brown sponsored the event.
The evening began with a panel discussion on Transmission Development–One of Renewable Energy’s Biggest Hurdles. In simple terms–how to bring clean energy produced outside the city into the city. The panel answered questions such as: What are the cost allocation issues between developers, utilities and governments? How can we create a supportive policy environment to encourage privatized transmission development?
Panelist John Flynn, VP, Strategic Planning & Business Development, American Transmission, summarizes the presentation: “We all agree whether we are wind developers or utilities that we’ve got to address energy policy in a more strategic and holistic way and we clearly need help at the federal level to do that. But that for the sake of our energy future as a country, we need to move beyond debate and actually develop policy that is consistent and provides clear rules for everybody so they know how to play and what the rules of the game are.”
The diversity of the attendees was astounding and inspiring. There were representatives and CEOs of major energy companies, VCs, lawyers, educators, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between. Darrin Stern of the Clean Energy Alliance and one of the masterminds behind the event describes the community as a “dysfunctional family.” It is a testament to how important the issue of clean energy is and the spectrum of interests in that issue.
With that diversity comes disagreement. I heard a range of political opinions and economic interests– even the panelists themselves did not agree. That said, business cards were exchanged with rapid fire because everyone is working towards the same goal of creating a clean economy.
Want more info, looking to get involved, or have feedback for CCEA? Contact [email protected]. Stay tuned for the next event happening in September!