2017 Agenda

ACORE’s 2017 National Renewable Energy Policy Forum

Continued Growth in a New Policy Landscape

Thursday, March 16, 2017

8:00 AM Registration Opens
8:45 AM – 9:00 AM Welcome
9:00 AM – 9:45 AM Keynote Presentations
9:45 AM – 10:45 AM Session 1:  Renewable Energy Outlook: A Major Driver for Power Generation, Economic Growth, and Competitiveness

Renewable energy has experienced dramatic growth over the last several years due to lower costs, increased demand, and relatively stable and supportive policies. With a policy reset and a focus on increasing domestic manufacturing, tax reform, and infrastructure, this panel will examine the prospects for continued growth of the industry.

  • As national policy is reset, what are the policy considerations and priorities to maintain the pace of investment and development?
  • How might the policy reset affect the corporate procurement of renewable energy and the financing of projects?
  • What is the size of the market opportunity for renewable power in the US and abroad?
  • How can the U.S. strengthen its global competitiveness in this growing high-tech industry?
  • What are the impacts of recently enacted price supports for nuclear power on energy markets and renewable energy deployment?


  • Greg Wetstone, President & CEO, ACORE


  • Tom Kimbis, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, SEIA
  • Jim Reilly, Senior Vice President, Federal Legislative Affairs, AWEA
  • Ethan Zindler, Head of Americas, Bloomberg New Energy Finance
11:15 AM – 11:45 AM Refreshment Break
11:45 AM – 12:45 PM Session 2:  Tax Reform and the Electric Power Sector

Tax reform is a top priority for the new Administration and Congress. While specific legislation has not been introduced, proposals include eliminating tax credits and deductions in order to lower the corporate tax rate and enacting a border tax on imports while allowing deductions for exports.  This panel will examine the tax reform proposals, their potential impact on the renewables, and the need for a truly level playing field in the energy sector.

  • What are prospects for tax reform and how might tax reform legislation impact the renewables sector?
  • What are the prospects for extension of the orphan renewable tax credits for geothermal, biomass, fuel cells, hydro and other technologies that expired at the end of 2016?
  • How can comprehensive reform be utilized to create a level playing field in the energy sector over the long term?
  • What effect would lower corporate tax rates have on the overall tax equity market?
  • Will the scheduled phase-downs of the PTC and ITC be altered as part of tax reform?
  • How would a border adjustment tax affect the renewable energy industry?
  • Can tax reform be used to address other barriers to capital formation in the renewable energy sector?


  • Kathy Weiss, Vice President of Government Affairs, First Solar
12:45 PM – 2:15 PM Lunch
2:15 PM – 3:15 PM Session 3:  Investing in Infrastructure Means Investing in Renewable Energy

Both parties agree that there is an acute need to invest in and rebuild the nation’s infrastructure to ensure future economic competitiveness. As the largest source of new power generation capacity since 2008, renewable energy is unquestionably a vital part of this nation’s infrastructure. This session will discuss the most effective approaches for driving investment in renewables and grid modernization as part of an infrastructure package.

  • How should additional investment in renewable energy be encouraged as part of an overall infrastructure investment program?
  • Analysts project there will not be enough tax equity to provide sufficient capital to finance large-scale infrastructure investment and renewable energy growth.  What would be a more effective approach to ensure capital availability to meet infrastructure investment objectives?
  • What upgrades to the power grid are essential to the continued growth of renewable energy?
  • How can state Green Banks be encouraged to increase funding to sustainable infrastructure investments?


  • Kevin Gresham, Vice President, Government Relations and External Affairs, E.ON Renewables


  • Brian Farnen, General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer, CT Green Bank
  • David Giordano, Managing Director, BlackRock
3:15 PM – 3:45 PM Refreshment Break
3:45 PM – 5:00 PM Session 4:  Market Mechanisms and Regulatory Policy for the New Energy Landscape

The growth of renewable energy and energy storage, and the movement towards a more distributed and consumer-driven power system, requires updated policies to accommodate greater amounts of on-site and utility-scale renewable deployment and new grid technologies.  As the pace of change accelerates, we need market and regulatory reforms that are designed to encourage innovation, while ensuring the reliable and affordable delivery of electricity.

  • What regulatory barriers exist and need to be addressed to advance infrastructure projects and the new energy landscape?
  • How will the anticipated withdrawal of the Clean Power Plan impact the industry and its prospects for continued growth?
  • Will Congress seek to revise PURPA and what will be the likely repercussions?  Can PURPA be updated to encourage greater deployment and integration of renewables?
  • How can energy storage and advanced ancillary services be successfully integrated into ISO/RTO market structures?
  • What policies are needed to achieve aggressive state RPS goals and satisfy growing consumer demand for renewable energy?
  • How are utility business models changing to ensure that utilities continue to deliver reliable power while achieving policy objectives?


  • Joseph Desmond, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Government Affairs, BrightSource


  • Larry Eisenstat, Partner and Chair of Energy Practice Group, Crowell & Moring
  • Katie McClain, Director of Public Affairs, Invenergy