Unlocking the Value of NYC's Food Waste

Urban centers around the world are recognizing that inedible organic wastes — primarily food waste — represent a major climate liability if they continue to be landfilled. That's because as these materials break down, they emit methane-rich biogases that are up to 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide in its global warming potential.

The good news is that if captured, biogas is a renewable resource that can be used to generate power, heat homes or — if refined and compressed — fuel vehicles.  Moreover, if separately collected and processed at anaerobic digestion facilities, the remaining "biosolids" can be used as nutrient-rich compost and soil amendments. 

This Clean Energy Connections event will introduce the topic of organic waste collection/recycling in NYC. It will also address options that exist to extract maximum energy and nutrient value from this abundant resource, and the opportunities and obstacles the emerging industry faces.


In NYC, great strides have been made since 2013 toward ambitious landfill diversion targets, but immense challenges (and opportunities) lie ahead. At this special reception, guests will hear from key New York players in the emerging organics recycling industry about: 

  • How our organic wastes can be turned into "biogas" fuel
  • How existing infrastructure can be utilized to produce and utilize this low-carbon energy source
  • Where composting fits into the picture
  • The importance of logistics and policy leadership

Emerging Trends in Clean Energy Jobs

Originally aired on Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The solar industry doubled its workforce from 2010 to 2015 to now well over 200,000 people. Meanwhile, an aging workforce in utilities is posing a sincere challenge for the industry both in its existing capabilities but also as it attempts to innovate. According to a recent NYSERDA report, approximately 20 percent of the building operations and maintenance workforce is slated to retire over the next five years. And in NYC alone, nearly 300,000 jobs exist in the emerging tech ecosystem that is reinventing traditional industries here.

All of the above represent a genuine opportunity for jobs in clean energy. But where are they? Who is hiring and what are they looking for in new and transitioning employees? This panel seeks to answer some of those questions and paint a picture for the job seekers out there, both entry level and job switchers, who are seeking a successful career in an impactful industry.

Moderator:
Carolyn Kissane, Academic Director, NYU School of Professional Studies Center for Global Affairs

Panel:
Mara Cerezo, Program Director, Green City Force
Rachel Seraspe, Program Manager, Wildan Energy Solutions
Jeffrey Perlman, President & Founder, Bright Power

The Energy Gang Live: A Candid Take on the Clean Energy Transition

This event originally aired on May 4, 2016

Overview:

The Energy Gang is a weekly podcast produced by Greentech Media that gives listeners deep analysis on the latest energy and cleantech news. Each week, Stephen Lacey, Katherine Hamilton and Jigar Shah dissect and debate what’s happening across the industry — covering national and local politics, technology trends, and business strategies.

In this live episode, the gang will be joined by two prominent energy journalists — Yuliya Chernova of the Wall Street Journal and Chris Martin of Bloomberg — who will talk about the hottest stories in energy.

Come listen to a lively conversation and debate with some of the top thinkers and writers in clean energy.

Panelists:

THE ENERGY GANG

Katherine Hamilton – Principal, 38 North Solutions

Katherine is principal and co-founder of 38 North Solutions, a public policy firm specializing in clean energy and innovation. Katherine ran the GridWise Alliance, focused on smart grid and served as policy advisor for Good Energies, a private investment company with a clean energy portfolio. She led American Bioenergy Association, developing renewable portfolio standards in states, including Maryland and New Jersey. At the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Katherine worked in buildings research and government relations. Katherine spent a decade at an investor-owned utility, designing electrical systems for commercial and residential developments. Katherine holds degrees from Cornell University and the Sorbonne. She was named an Ambassador to the Secretary of Energy’s C3E Program under the Clean Energy Ministerial, is a co-host of The Energy Gang podcast through Greentech Media, serves as President of the Board of GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic, and is Vice-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Future of Electricity.

Stephen Lacey – Senior Editor, Greentech Media

Stephen Lacey is Greentech Media’s managing editor and host/producer of the Energy Gang podcast. He covers a wide range of topics, including solar, storage, efficiency and grid modernization. He was previously deputy editor of Climate Progress, and an editor at Renewable Energy World.

Jigar Shah – CEO, Jigar Shah Consulting, @JigarShahDC

Jigar Shah is the President and Co-Founder of Generate Capital. Jigar was the founder and CEO of SunEdison, where he popularized “no money down solar” and unlocked a multi-billion-dollar solar market, creating the largest solar services company worldwide. He is the author of Creating Climate Wealth: Unlocking the Impact Economy. After SunEdison, Jigar served as the founding CEO of the Carbon War Room, a global non-profit founded by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Unite to help entrepreneurs address climate change.

Generate Capital, the Carbon War Room and SunEdison all follow from Jigar’s vision that business model innovation will unlock the largest wealth creation opportunity – resource efficiency. Jigar is committed to helping entrepreneurs and large companies alike implement resource efficiency solutions using “pay as you save” project finance models.

Jigar holds an MBA from The University of Maryland and BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He sits on the boards of sPower and the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Jigar lives in New York City and is trying to find the perfect cocktail.

SPECIAL GUESTS

Yuliya Chernova – Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

Yuliya Chernova is a reporter at The Wall Street Journal where she covers venture capital and startups. Yuliya chronicled the rise and fall of venture capital involvement in the clean technology sector, breaking numerous stories on the unraveling of huge investments in private companies, including Solyndra, Fisker Automotive, Miasole, and Nanosolar. Yuliya lives in Brooklyn. She is a graduate of Brown University.

Chris Martin – Reporter, Bloomberg News

Chris Martin is a reporter at Bloomberg News in New York. He currently focuses on renewable energy and clean technologies, and has covered natural gas markets, coal miners, utility deregulation, and energy policy for more than two decades. His work has been picked up by dozens of newspapers as well as Business Week and Bloomberg Markets magazines, and he regularly appears on Bloomberg Television and Bloomberg Radio.

The Next Opportunity at the Grid Edge: A Focus on Large Energy Consumers

Large commercial and industrial power consumers are exposed to an ever-increasing array of new opportunities and technologies at the grid edge – many of which can have a material impact on the how they manage their energy use, interact with grid services and, more broadly, conduct day-to-day business operations. The options available to customers are growing rapidly and becoming more complex. This panel will bring together experts from large energy consumers to highlight:

  • Energy management and optimization
  • Building, facility or campus operations
  • Corporate sustainability efforts
  • Renewable or alternative energy sources

Moderator:

Steve Propper – Director, Grid Edge, GTM Research at Greentech Media

Panelists:

Vishnu Barran – Senior Business Development Manager at ENER-G Group Inc.

Phil Skalaski – Vice President of Engineering and Energy Services at The Durst Organization

Kirby Brendsel – Associate Director of Sustainability at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Kylie Sale – Resource Management Specialist, Green Mission at 

This event originally aired on March 1, 2016.

The Ultimate Resiliency Plan: Microgrids and the Continued Segmentation of Electric Grid Assets

This event originally aired on November 16, 2015.

Spurred by favorable state-reliability initiatives, the U.S. microgrid market has reached a notable tipping point between technology development and wider-scale commercial deployment. Though substantial regulatory overhauls will be necessary for this market to truly flourish, policymakers and regulators are increasingly funding and considering legislation to further promote the development of microgrids for a variety of applications, most notably resiliency and renewables integration. Simultaneously, factors such as increasing customer demands, technological maturity and the decreasing price of DG are driving project economics forward, creating more viable business cases for end-use customers looking to attain energy surety, as well as vendor opportunities to expand the addressable market to new customer classes.

This panel will dive into the major drivers, stakeholder challenges and ongoing regulatory and implementation efforts shaping today’s microgrid market.

Moderator:

Omar Saadeh – Senior Analyst, GTM Research at Greentech Media

Omar Saadeh is a Senior Grid Analyst at GTM Research. Before joining GTM Research, Omar completed a Master of Engineering degree in power engineering at McGill University, where he was awarded a Graduate Excellence Fellowship and contributed as a staff writer to The McGill Daily. Prior to graduate school, Omar worked as a bilingual building efficiency sales associate at Johnson Controls in Montreal.  He also holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from McGill University with a minor in economics. Omar has published research for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Conseil International des Grands Réseaux Électriques, focusing on the advantages of plug-in electric vehicles and the economic dispatch of distributed resources in microgrids, respectively.

Panelists:

Brent Hollenbeck – Founder and CEO at TimberRock Energy Solutions

Brent Hollenbeck is a leading expert in the design, deployment and operation of advanced distributed energy resources (DERs) that create value for the host site while also improving grid efficiency and reliability. He has 24 years of combined executive leadership in the military and private sector. His military career culminated at Camp David during the George H. W. Bush administration where he was awarded the Presidential Service Badge. Upon leaving the Marine Corps, Hollenbeck earned his MBA from Mt. St. Mary’s College and has subsequently held senior roles in marketing, business development and general management within Philips N.A., Airpax Corporation, Sensata Technologies and the Potomac Energy Fund. He is the founder and CEO of TimberRock Energy Solutions and the co-founder and CEO of TimberRock Energy Finance.

Hollenbeck’s focus on distributed energy began in 2004 after acquiring and then running an early-stage microgrid firm. During the subsequent eleven years, he has been responsible for the deployment of numerous first-of-their-kind, award-winning projects that integrate renewables, energy storage and electric vehicles into dispatch-capable power plants. To support these deployments, Hollenbeck led a team that architected a sophisticated DER management platform – called DE-MAP – that combines IoT hardware and cloud-computing to maximize the value of distributed energy resources both behind and in front of the meter. DE-MAP has been deployed on over 2,000 distributed energy projects and for customers like General Motors and the Federal government.

Bradley Kranz – Vice President, Business Development at NRG Energy Inc.

Bradley Kranz is Vice President, Business Development within the East Region at NRG and has been with NRG since 2007.  He is responsible for working with business-to-business customers, utilities, municipalities and other clients to understand their energy related economic, sustainability, and resiliency goals and to develop tailored solutions to achieve those goals.  This includes accessing NRG’s diverse capabilities in distributed and renewable energy generation, microgrids, demand response and retail energy products and services to meet each customer’s needs.  Prior to this, Mr. Kranz oversaw NRG’s wholesale regulatory and market policy activities in the New York, New England and PJM market regions.  Before joining NRG, Mr. Kranz worked for the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) where he held various positions in Operations, Engineering and Market Services.  Before the NYISO, he was employed by Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation in upstate New York as an engineer at the Nine Mile Point Nuclear station.  Mr. Kranz holds an MBA from Union College and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Paul Belnick – Vice President, Integrated Grid at New York Power Authority

Paul was recently named Vice President of Integrated Grid at the New York Power Authority and his role is to align NYPA and its programs with the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative and to expedite the implementation of REV projects across New York State.

Prior to this Paul held the position of Vice President Energy Efficiency at NYPA and for over twenty years implemented energy efficiency, cogeneration, and clean energy projects across NYS.  During this time Paul completed over 950 projects representing an investment of over $1.5B, plus developed an ongoing pipeline of over 300 projects.

Paul is a graduate of the University of Buffalo with a degree in Industrial Engineering and obtained an MSBA from Indiana University. 

John Bradley – Associate Vice President for Sustainability, Energy, and Technical Services at New York University

John’s responsibilities include sustainability, recycling, demand side management, energy procurement, technical services, building services and the operation of the campus cogeneration facility. Prior to joining NYU, he held leadership positions with the U.S. Navy, Union Carbide, PSEG Nuclear and PSEG Energy Technologies. John holds degrees in Nuclear Engineering, Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Global Affairs – Energy and Environment concentration.