Speaker 2013

07Nov 2017

Emily Kirsch is the Founder and CEO of Powerhouse, the world’s first and only incubator and accelerator dedicated to intelligent energy. Powerhouse backs seed-stage founders that are building solutions enabled by software for distributed energy, storage, and grid modernization. Since inception in 2013, Powerhouse has housed over 50 intelligent energy startups and organizations in its co-working space in the San Francisco Bay Area, has invested in 17 startups, and has celebrated 4 acquisitions. Powerhouse startups have collectively generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue, raised hundreds of millions in capital, and have created hundreds of jobs. Before founding Powerhouse, she worked with Van Jones, a former advisor to President Obama turned CNN political commentator, to launch the Green Jobs Corps, Oakland’s first renewables-focused job training program. She is the founding convener of the Oakland Climate Action Coalition, which drafted and secured passage of what was the most ambitious energy and climate action plan of any city in the country. In addition, she worked with the solar company Mosaic to secure its first customers and launch its pilot platform. She is a 2012 New Leaders Council Alumni, was featured in the ‘15 for 2015 Women Leaders in Cleantech,’ was a 2015 winner of the ‘East Bay Innovation Award for Cleantech,’ and was included in ‘Grist 50: The 50 People You’ll Be Talking About in 2016.’ Emily serves on the board of PV Complete and is on the advisory board of the University of San Francisco’s Masters of Science in Energy Systems Management program. She has guest lectured at University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University.

08Dec 2015

Ms. Monali Ranade works with the Carbon Finance Unit of the World Bank as a Specialist focusing on methodologies for quantifying Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission reductions from energy efficiency initiatives; and on programmatic approaches for GHG mitigation activities. Prior to joining the World Bank, Ms. Ranade worked on climate change and energy issues with United Nations Development Program (UNDP-India) and as a consultant to the Ministry of Environment & Forest, Government of India. Ms. Ranade started her career with a NGO coalition and a social marketing company, after which she moved completely into energy efficiency, working for several years with the International Institute for Energy Conservation (IIEC) in India. Ms. Ranade’s educational background is in Environmental Economics and Mathematics.

08Dec 2015

Ms. Jyoti Arora is an eminent energy professional in India, and is presently working as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Power, looking after policies in clean energy including energy efficiency and renewable integration. She has been closely associated with the Clean Energy Ministerial Programme specifically in context of the 21st Century Power Partnership and C3E Initiative.

In her over 26 years of experience in the Indian Administrative Service, she has been closely associated at the grass root level with the issues of energy access, its delivery and appropriate technology options. For more than a decade she was Managing Director of electricity utilities dealing in distribution, transmission and generation. During her tenure as Chief of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in India, she was closely involved in setting up technical standards for the PAT Scheme and the Super Efficient Equipment Programme. Has represented the country in UNFCC Climate Change negotiations.

She is a postgraduate in Economics and was selected for the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship in the year 2003.

08Dec 2015

Ms. Kristen M. Nicole is a senior project engineer in the power delivery and utilization research sector at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Based in Washington DC, she conducts research and provides strategic analysis to address power systems integration and variability challenges associated with solar energy, with a focus on improved solar forecasting.

Prior to joining EPRI, Ms. Nicole was a solar energy analyst researching grid integration for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Program (DOE). She managed the solar resource assessment and characterization research portfolio, worked on solutions to high penetration solar grid integration in the distribution system and solar variability mitigation in transmission system operations. Prior to this post she was with the global training division of the Institute for Public-Private Partnerships, Inc. (IP3) where she was responsible for international client management, business development and strategic marketing initiatives. Ms. Kristen Nicole was responsible for capacity building in public-private partnerships, industrial regulation and utility management in energy, water, telecommunications and transportation sectors in a host of countries. She also has previous experiences with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Peace Corps in Bangladesh. 



Ms. Kristen Nicole holds an MBA in Accounting and Strategic Management from George Washington University and a BA in International Relations, focused in International Economics and Business in East Asia-China from Boston University. 

Ms. Kristen Nicole is affiliated with IEEE Power and Energy Society, UVIG, WCEE, ISES and Women in Solar. Ms. Nicole represents alumni and friends of the International School of Beijing, China (ISB) in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

08Dec 2015

Ms. Janet Rehberg is a native of Fort Smith, Arkansas and is a graduate from The University of Tulsa where she received her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. She is also a graduate from Capital University with a Master’s in Business Administration and is both a Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Certified Energy Manager (CEM).

She has worked for American Electric Power for 10 years in various departments including engineering, planning and customer services. She is currently a Consumer Program Coordinator for energy efficiency and smart grid programs which includes Weatherization, Behavioral, SMART Appliances, Electric Vehicles and Home Area Networks.

Outside of school and work, she is involved in Toastmasters and was the VP of Public Relations for her chapter. She is also involved with Big Brother Big Sisters where she’s currently a mentor for a 10th grade girl. In 2011, she and her match won the “Match of the Year” Award. She was recently asked to be on The University of Tulsa Industrial Advisory Board to help restructure the Electrical Engineering Department’s strategy and objectives.

Janet joined the Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals (WiNUP) in 2005 where she helped charter the Oklahoma Chapter. In 2006, she moved to Ohio and joined the Ohio Chapter. She served as the Ohio Chapter Chair in 2009 and 2010 as well as the 2012 Conference Chair. She is currently the International Vice President and will be the International President in 2014.

Janet and her husband Eric, along with their two dogs Brutus and Apollo, reside in Westerville, OH.

07Dec 2015

Dr. Karen Wayland is the Deputy Director for state and local cooperation at DOE’s Energy Policy and Systems Analysis. Her team will coordinate and evaluate strategies for DOE’s work with states, tribes, local authorities and other stakeholders on energy policies and programs. Dr. Wayland is a recognized expert in national energy and environmental policy and comes to DOE after two years of providing strategic consulting to business and nonprofit clients. She served as a senior advisor to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and was named by Roll Call magazine as one of Capitol Hill’s top ten energy staffers to know. In that role, she worked on comprehensive climate legislation, response to the BP oil spill, and a host of other energy and environmental legislation.

She was the Legislative Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council for five years, where she oversaw the 400-person organization’s federal environmental initiatives. During that time she chaired the national environmental community’s climate and energy coalition. Before that she worked in the office of Senator Harry Reid, where she covered energy, nuclear waste, water, and Native American issues as a Congressional Science Fellow. She also directed the Earth and Marine Sciences Program at Earthwatch, a nonprofit organization that funds scientific research by recruiting paying volunteers. Wayland has appeared as a commentator on major TV and radio programs, including CNN, MSNBC, and the Diane Rhem Show.

Wayland holds a Master’s of Science from the University of Connecticut and a Dual PhD in the fields of geochemistry and resource development from Michigan State University. Dr. Wayland’s research has focused on environmental geochemistry, watershed management, and hydrologic modeling. She is an environmental scholar at Georgetown University’s Science in the Public Interest, where for six years she taught a seminar on national science policy.

07Dec 2015

Alice Madden started her career in the high tech industry in Colorado followed by an almost ten-year commercial litigation practice specializing in employment law. In 2000, Alice was elected to the Colorado House of Representative where she served as the House Majority Leader from 2004 – 2008. One of Alice’s legislative focuses was building the foundation for what is now referred to nationally as the New Energy Economy. A few key accomplishments included taking Colorado to a 30% renewable energy standard by 2020, and implementing net metering, solar gardens, and a series of clean energy and efficiency financial incentives.

Alice continued to apply her experience in economic and energy sustainability issues as Climate Change Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. Among many milestones, she oversaw the implementation of the groundbreaking Clean Air Clean Jobs Act, which will lead to the early retirement of over 900MWs of coal power, to be replaced with cleaner burning fuels such as natural gas, wind and solar. Alice also served as a Senior Fellow on Climate Change issues at the Center for American Progress.

Most recently, Alice served as the Timothy E. Wirth Chair in Sustainable Development at the University of Colorado focusing on strategic collaborations among governments, businesses, academic institutions and non-profit groups to form sustainable practices and policies that carefully balance economic, environmental and social welfare concerns. Alice worked with varied constituencies on successful ways to communicate climate science to specific audiences, thereby increasing successful implementation of their sustainability goals. Alice worked to advance environmental literacy curriculums in K-12 education, increase the interest of minority college students in STEM and sustainability fields, and increase the number of women in developing countries studying and working in sustainability fields through mentorships and expanded support systems.

07Dec 2015

Ms. Van Sickle had a twenty-year career working at the federal level to promote energy-efficient technologies. She held positions with successive program and policy experience and responsibilities at the Economic Regulatory Administration, Department of Energy, US Congress, and House Science Committee.

Her major policy initiatives included authorizing the establishment of energy efficiency and renewable energy research and the development of programs under the Energy Policy Act of 1992, PL 102-486.

Van Sickle received an MA, in Science and Technology Policy, from George Washington University.

07Dec 2015

Ms. Jennifer Layke is Executive Director of Johnson Controls’ Institute for Building Efficiency, a global initiative to provide information and analyses on the technologies, policies, and practices that can deliver high-performance buildings around the world. Jennifer leads the Institute’s research and collaborations with global experts. In addition, she supports strategic planning on corporate energy and sustainability goals.

Jennifer’s experience includes 12 years at the World Resources Institute where she was deputy director, Climate and Energy Program. She founded The Green Power Market Development Group which developed innovative energy procurement paths for corporate use of clean energy in the United States and Europe. Jennifer also launched corporate partnerships focused on strategies to reduce GHG emissions.

Jennifer’s international experience includes consulting for the World Bank and the US EPA on Montreal Protocol technology transfer. She has an AB in Asian Studies/Political Studies from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA, and a MS and MBA from the University of Michigan. In 1990, she was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Foundation fellowship for a year of sociology research in Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan.

07Dec 2015

Dr. Danielle Merfeld is the Technology Director for the Electrical Technologies & Systems organization in GE Global Research, reporting to the Senior Vice President of GE Global Research. In this role, she leads a global team of over 500 scientists and engineers, responsible for advanced technology development in the areas of semiconductor devices and packaging, electronics, electrical power conversion, controls and signal processing, in support of GE’s Energy Management, Power and Water, Oil and Gas, Aviation, Transportation, Home and Business Solutions and Healthcare businesses. The ET&S team is organized into six Technology Organizations, which are distributed across GE’s four Global Research facilities.

Prior to her current role, Merfeld was General Manager of Solar Technologies at GE Energy. She initially joined GE Global Research in 1999 and led the Semiconductor Technology Laboratory, later serving as the Director of the Solar Technology Platform before transferring to her role at GE Energy.

Danielle received her BS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University. She has authored or co-authored over 70 papers in refereed technical journals and has given presentations at conferences and symposiums around the world. She is a member of several technical associations (MRS, APS, ECS, IEEE and SWE), and is on the editorial board of Future PV journal.