TRACK F: Renewable Energy


F1: Mission Compatible: How Developers, the Military, and Other Stakeholders Work to Insure Wind Projects Don't Jeopardize Military Readiness

April 17, 10:30am - 12:00pm

Learn about the many siting tools that are used to ensure wind turbines don't unduly impact military preparedness. Topics will focus on the DoD Siting Clearinghouse process and the various inputs, how developers evaluate potential sites and work with the military before even beginning construction, and other land use planning initiatives that help to identify where wind is best suited. You will walk away from this panel with a full appreciation of the extraordinary amount of time and effort that goes into addressing potential impacts..

Moderator: Katharine Kollins, President, Southeastern Wind Coalition

Katharine has been with the Southeastern Wind Coalition as its President since October 2015. She manages SEWC's programming and operations across 11 states working with a wide variety of stakeholders to promote land-based and offshore wind, wind imports, and the regions' supply chain assets. Katharine's experience in the wind industry includes working in finance for Boston-based developer First Wind, consulting with Vestas R&D to formulate a federal grant funding strategy, and a role as business development manager for The Wind Alliance. Katharine has also worked in other renewable energy capacities as an analyst at the Nicholas Institute and authoring an NREL paper on third-Party PPA financing of solar systems. Prior to the Southeastern Wind Coalition, Katharine worked for RTI International where she was the finance lead for two $30M+ divisions. In her role at RTI Katharine led the creation and start-up of a new business segment that allowed RTI to win over $30M in new work during its first year. Katharine is a 2009 graduate of Duke's Fuqua School of Business and Nicholas School of the Environment, where she earned her MBA and Master of Environmental Management with a concentration in Energy. She holds a BS in Finance from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Panelist: Dave Blalock, Regional Counsel for the U.S. Army's Regional Environmental & Energy Office-Southern, U.S Army

Dave Blalock is the Regional Counsel for the U.S. Army's Regional Environmental & Energy Office-Southern, located in Atlanta, Georgia. Working under the direction of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and the Environment, his office is responsible for monitoring and responding to State environmental and energy-related legislation or regulatory developments that impact DoD activities in the Southeast. In this role, Dave also provides legal support for the Army's Office of Energy Initiatives (OEI). The OEI was stood up to serve as the Army's central management office to implement cost-effective, large-scale renewable energy projects on Army installations; leveraging private sector financing. Dave has been with the Army since 1989, when he enlisted as a German Linguist. He has served on active duty in the Army's Judge Advocate General's Corp, and continues to serve as a Judge Advocate in the Army Reserves. Dave earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Dakota in 1998 and received his J.D. from the Washburn School of Law, in Topeka Kansas, in 2001.

Panelist: Will Best, JLUS Project Manager, N.C Department of Commerce

Will Best joined the North Carolina Department of Commerce in 2003. Since joining the Department of Commerce, Best has worked in the areas of geographic information systems (GIS), regional and community planning, military land use studies and government policy. Best, who is from Carteret County, is the project manager for the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) effort in the Department of Commerce. This Department of Defense funded study directly involves North Carolina counties that are impacted by Special Use Airspace (SUA), Military Training Routes (MTRs) and Military Operations Areas (MOAs). Best has completed over 1,800 work hours with Seymour Johnson AFB personnel, the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Economic Adjustment and JLUS study stakeholders. Best has also been involved with other joint land use study efforts at the policy level including Fort Bragg and Camp Butner. Best currently represents the Department of Commerce on many initiatives such as the Defense Industry Adjustment grant (NCDIDI), the Rural Land Use Advisory Commission (RLUAC), the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (ADFP) and the North Carolina Shellfish Mariculture Advisory Committee.

Panelist: Dave Belote, Managing Partner and CEO, DARE Strategies LLC

Dave is the Managing Partner and CEO of DARE Strategies LLC, helping clients successfully navigate issues at the nexus of renewable energy and national defense. Before founding DARE, Dave advocated for Federal- and state-level energy and defense policy as Senior Vice President of Cassidy and Associates, and earlier served as Vice President for Federal Business at Apex Clean Energy. Dave proudly helped Apex win a contract to supply wind and solar power at Fort Hood, Texas„a power purchase agreement worth $497 million over 28 years. Earlier, Dave was the first Executive Director of the Department of Defense Siting Clearinghouse at the Pentagon, where he built a ñone-stop shopî for industry to work with federal, state, and local government agencies to ensure that utility-scale renewable energy and transmission projects were compatible with military operations and installations. Dave developed the process and published the Federal Rule allowing local officials, industry, and military leaders to assess mission compatibility of a wide range of projects. He concluded the first-ever Memorandum of Understanding between DoD and a wind developer, protecting flight paths and radar approaches for flight trainees while simultaneously promoting large-scale economic development; since joining Cassidy and subsequently founding DARE Strategies, he has successfully negotiated four similar memoranda for developers, facilitating the permitting of nearly 1 gigawatt of wind power while protecting critical military capabilities. For these accomplishments across the public and private sectors, Dave was recognized by the Obama Administration as a White House Champion of Change: Veterans Advancing Clean Energy and Climate Security. Dave is a retired Air Force colonel and F-16 pilot who earned two Bronze Stars during Operation Iraqi Freedom and served as commander of Nellis Air Force Base, by many measures the largest fighter base in the country. In 2015, he continued his commitment to public service, running to represent his hometown in the Virginia State Senate. He is a founding mid-Atlantic chapter director of Environmental Entrepreneurs, a nonpartisan national community of business leaders who promote sound environmental policy to build economic prosperity, and sits on the boards of Chanco on the James (an Episcopal summer camp and conference center) and Eggleston, Inc. (a non-profit employer of special-needs adults). He is also a five-time Jeopardy! champion.


F2: Responsible Land Use Recommendations for Utility Scale Solar Development

April 17, 1:30pm - 3:00pm

A developer’s first priority is seeing a solar project through to the finish line. More community education and outreach from developers can both facilitate that goal and bring other intangible benefits, building broader grassroots support for solar that helps pave the way for the next project in that county or a neighboring community. This session will discuss local outreach tactics that inform every stage of solar development.

Moderator: Maggie Clark, Senior Manager, State Affairs, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

Maggie Clark joined SEIA in 2016 as the Southeast State Affairs Manager, overseeing regulatory and legislative engagement in the region. Prior to SEIA, Maggie worked in Government Affairs at the NC Sustainable Energy Association. Maggie received her B.A. in Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Maggie lives in Raleigh, NC.

panelist: Jackson Naftel, Director of Development, Strata Solar

Jackson Naftel is Director of Development for Strata Solar. In this role Jackson is responsible for siting and developing a pipeline of projects throughout the Southeast. Currently, the Strata pipeline in the Southeast includes about 2.5 gigawatts of solar spread across approximately 80 projects. Prior to joining Strata, he was in management consulting focusing on energy and utility companies. Jackson holds an MBA from UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School and an MEM from Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.

panelist: Harry Johnson, Economic Development Manager, Cypress Creek Renewables

Harry Johnson is Economic Development Manager for Cypress Creek Renewables and focuses his work on economic development incentives for utility-scale solar projects across the country. He's a recovering lawyer, Tar Heel, and political junkie.

panelist: Daniel Brookshire, Regulatory and Policy Analyst, NC Sustainable Energy Association

As NCSEA's Regulatory and Policy Analyst, Daniel monitors, researches and develops informed and credible responses to clean energy related issues at the North Carolina Utilities Commission, General Assembly, and local governments. Daniel draws upon his background in multiple sectors of clean energy to advocate on behalf of the clean energy industry in ways that improve the economy and environment of his home state. Daniel received his undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University and his master's from UNC Chapel Hill.

panelist: Cathy Scott, Executive Director, Halifax County Economic Development Commission

Cathy Scott's entire career has been focused in improving economic opportunities in rural areas. Her expertise lies in matching the needs of businesses with financial and other resources needed to support their location and/or expansion with a special emphasis on creating sustainable economic development. Scott currently serves as Executive Director of the Halifax County Economic Development Commission, where her focus is attracting companies, jobs and investment and expanding Halifax County's physical infrastructure. Since 2009, Scott has spearheaded the award of over $30 million in state, federal and other funds to support community and economic development projects in Halifax County. She also serves a dual role as administrator for Halifax Horizons, a non-profit organization, which raised over $700,000 in private contributions in the past five years to support economic and community development activities. Previously Scott served as Lead Consultant for North Carolina's Northeast Commission, a sixteen-county regional economic development organization. Her work at the Northeast Commission focused on client facilitation and financial resource development to support new job creation an investment in this rural region. Notable projects included Nucor Steel in Hertford County, Syfan Manufacturing in Martin County, PCB Piezotronics in Halifax County, and the Lowe's Mid-Atlantic Distribution Center in Northampton County. Scott serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce; Turning Point Workforce Development Board, Halifax County Convention & Visitors Bureau; and the Roanoke Rapids Graded Schools Education Foundation. She is a member of the North Carolina Economic Developers Association; International Economic Development Council; TRADE NC, Inc; and the Peanut Belt RPO.


F3: The "Other" Renewables in North Carolina

April 17, 3:30pm - 5:00pm

Are there other renewables in North Carolina other than wind and solar? Absolutely. Come learn the latest about existing markets, technologies, and emerging applications for woody biomass, hydro-electric, and ocean energy renewable energies.

Moderator: Elizabeth Nichols, Ph.D., Professor, Environmental Technology and Management, College of Natural Resources, NC State University

Elizabeth Guthrie Nichols is a Professor in the Environmental Technology and Management Program, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University. She is also associate faculty with the NCSU Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology. She has a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests are focused on contaminant cycling and bioavailability in forest systems. Her key interests are the protection of surface waters and groundwater quality point and non-point sources. Key to this research is the use isotopic tracers and non-targeted and suspect screening analyses to understand water resource use by trees, fate of contaminants in vegetated systems, and the use of trees to monitor and track subsurface contamination. She also manages a research program to integrate biomass/bioenergy production with other environmental services on marginal lands. Current research focuses on integrated forest systems to support the food, energy, and water nexus, short-rotation forest systems for bioenergy, wastewater management, and the ecosystem services of forest water reuse systems. As an educator, she teaches undergraduate courses in Environmental Monitoring and Analysis and the Practice of Environmental Technologies, a capstone senior undergraduate course. She teaches a graduate online, distance education course in Environmental Monitoring for NC State's online Masters of Environmental Assessment. She directs NC States online undergraduate certificate and minor in Renewable Energy Assessment.

Panelist: Mike Muglia, UNC Coastal Studies Institute, NC Ocean Energy Program

Mike Muglia helped found the UNC Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) and leads CSI's Gulf Stream resource assessment for the NC Ocean Energy Program. His scientific interests include understanding variability in position and transport of western boundary currents and the complex confluence of different shelf water masses, and meridional overturning circulation linkages between western boundary currents and deep western boundary currents. Mike holds a B.S. degree in Biology, Marine Science and a B.S and M.S. in Physics. He will receive his Ph.D in Oceanography from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2018.

Panelist: Sam Brake, NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

After 27 years helping develop and manage the Open Grounds Farm in Carteret County, Sam has devoted his enthusiasm to renewable fuels and bioenergy crop production. His involvement in the North Carolina Soybean Producers Association triggered his interest in biodiesel. That interest has broadened to cellulosic ethanol and other forms of bioenergy. Sam now works with the NCDA&CS Research Stations Division administering the grant program under the Bioenergy Research Initiative. He also enjoys growing crops of this nature to better understand the needs for and results of bioenergy research projects.

Panelist: Neal Simmons, Cube Hydro

Prior to joining Cube Hydro, Neal spent over 10 years as a professor of mechanical engineering at Duke University. He played a key role in the formation of Duke's Energy Engineering program. Neal remains committed to the importance of energy education and continues to teach courses on renewable energy technologies, modern power systems, hydroelectric generation, and engineering innovation at Duke. Neal brings to Cube Hydro expertise in mechanical systems, automation, control, and operation of hydroelectric facilities. He has overseen the rehabilitation, automation and management of several damaged and underperforming hydroelectric projects. Neal has started two successful engineering companies and has been granted over 20 U.S. patents, which are licensed worldwide. He has over 75 peer reviewed publications and conference proceedings. Neal graduated from Bucknell University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and from Duke University with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science.


F4: House Bill #589 Impacts on Residential and Commercial Solar in North Carolina

April 18, 10:30am - 12:00pm

In July 2017, Governor Cooper signed House Bill 589 into law, bringing significant changes to North Carolina's clean energy economy. The law is a result of nearly one year of stakeholder discussions and includes new opportunities as well as potential challenges for the future development of residential and commercial solar photovoltaic facilities. Learn more about how these changes, including a new solar rebate program, the authorization of solar leasing and net metering rate revisions, will impact North Carolina's small-scale solar market.

Moderator: Daniel Brookshire, Regulatory and Policy Analyst, NC Sustainable Energy Association

As NCSEA's Regulatory and Policy Analyst, Daniel monitors, researches and develops informed and credible responses to clean energy related issues at the North Carolina Utilities Commission, General Assembly, and local governments. Daniel draws upon his background in multiple sectors of clean energy to advocate on behalf of the clean energy industry in ways that improve the economy and environment of his home state.

Panelist: Kenneth Jennings, Renewable Strategy & Policy Director, Duke Energy

Ken Jennings is the Renewable Strategy & Policy Director for Duke Energy Carolinas and works out of the Raleigh Office. Ken is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University where he studied Manufacturing Engineering. He later finished his Master's degree in Business Administration after starting his career at Cinergy Corporation, which was ultimately acquired by Duke Energy in 2006.

Panelist: Maggie Clark, State Affairs Senior Manager, Southeast, Solar Energy Industries Association

Maggie Clark joined SEIA in 2016 as the Southeast State Affairs Manager, overseeing regulatory and legislative engagement in the region. Prior to SEIA, Maggie worked in Government Affairs at the NC Sustainable Energy Association. Maggie received her B.A. in Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Maggie lives in Raleigh, NC.

Panelist: Stew Miller, Co-Founder and President, Yes Solar Solutions

Stew Miller is Co-Founder and President of Yes Solar Solutions. Yes Solar is a woman-owned, nationally accredited, customer-owned solar EPC started in 2009. Yes Solar has a portfolio of over 800 residential, C&I and government projects. Stew's role in the company includes business development, finance and doing what CEO Kathy Miller tells him to do. Stew carries a General Contractors license in North and South Carolina and is on the board of the Conservatives for Clean Energy. Stew worked for NCR Corporation for over 20 years and he and Kathy Miller started and owned the Primrose Schools of Cary for 12 years before selling the company in 2005. Yes Solar is a member of the NCSEA and NCCEBA.


F5: North Carolina Biogas Rising

April 18, 1:30pm - 3:00pm

There’s been considerable movement in the past year with respect to agricultural biogas and it appears that it’s going to be flowing soon in North Carolina in significant volumes. This panel will discuss the story behind biogas’ rise, including market forces, technology advancements, and greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments. It will also discuss what biogas production and transport means for the places and communities from which it will be sourced, what it means for North Carolina, and how our biogas resources fit into a broader national context. Panelists will also discuss what needs to happen now to make sure that the state’s biogas resources are not only developed to their full potential but done in a responsible way that provides multiple benefits to all stakeholders.

Moderator: Sharon Paynter, Ph.D., Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement and Research, East Carolina University

Sharon Paynter serves as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement at East Carolina University and Associate Professor of Political Science. Her research has focused on social policy, food insecurity, and partnerships between universities and community organizations. She joined East Carolina University in 2009 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in Public Policy at Brown University. She earned a Ph.D. In Public Administration from North Carolina State University, Master of Legal Administration from the University of Denver, Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From 1997 to 2001 she served as Executive Director of a nonprofit human services agency. Sharon is a member of the Executive Committees for the Engagement Scholarship Consortium and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Council on Engagement and Outreach. She lives in Greenville, North Carolina.

Panelist: Tanja Vujic, J.D., Director of Biogas Strategy, Duke University

Tatjana (Tanja) Vujic is the Director of Biogas Strategy for Duke University. In that role, Tanja reports to Duke's Executive Vice President to create a supply of biogas to fuel its campus steam plants and meet its zero greenhouse gas emissions goal. Tanja has been involved for nearly two decades in various aspects of biogas development, particularly as it relates to animal waste management. In 2010, as the director of the Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative, she leveraged state and federal funding to develop the Loyd Ray Farms swine waste-to-energy system with Duke Energy and Google. Using lessons from the project, Tanja then led a comprehensive analysis of a Directed Biogas approach to power generation from swine waste. In addition to her work for Duke University, Tanja has served as Environmental Defense Fund's Southeast Clean Energy director and worked with former Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers to design the Energy Access Project at Duke University. She also teaches on topics related to climate change mitigation, clean energy access and energy equity from time to time.

Panelist: Burrell Montz, Ph.D, Professor, East Carolina University, Department of Geography, Planning, and Environment

Burrell Montz, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Planning at East Carolina University. She received her BA from Mary Washington College, her MS from Oklahoma State University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Prior to coming to East Carolina, Dr. Montz was on the faculty at Binghamton University in New York where, among other positions, she directed the Environmental Studies Program. Throughout her career, she has been involved in teaching and research on resource management, natural hazards environmental impact analysis. She has also undertaken research on the geospatial, environmental, and societal impacts of hydraulic fracturing.

Panelist: Gus Simmons, Project Developer, Cavanaugh & Associates

Gus Simmons, P.E. is a Vice President and Director of Bioenergy with Cavanaugh & Associates, a consulting firm dedicated to cultivating the stewardship of our earthly resources through innovation. Gus is a passionate advocate for the development of our planet’s bioenergy resources through the repurposing of organic wastes. His efforts in harvesting energy and valuable co-products from organic wastes span globally in the agricultural, food processing, industrial, and municipal sectors. Gus has a B.S. in Biological & Agricultural Engineering from North Carolina State University with a concentration in biological waste treatment.

Panelist: David Nestor, Piedmont Natural Gas

David joined Piedmont Natural Gas in 2007 and currently manages the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) group. The CNG team is responsible for the design, construction and safe operations of Piedmont’s public CNG stations throughout its NC/SC/TN territories and for increasing the usage of CNG through strategic business development opportunities. David is also involved with the evaluation and feasibility of requests from biomethane developers to potentially inject into Piedmont’s pipeline infrastructure system. In his previous role at Piedmont, he was the Manager of Gas Technology and Energy Services, where he managed programs involving energy efficiency, gas technology, sustainability initiatives, UESC projects, and strategic energy policies. David serves as part of a natural gas utility consortium that supports R&D work being done at the Gas Technology Institute in Chicago. David is a LEED Accredited Professional. Prior to joining Piedmont Natural Gas, David worked as an Engineer with the Trane Company and also the CMS Schools Facilities group. He earned his Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of South Carolina.