Financing Renewable Energy Projects in Washington State (and Beyond)

SOLD OUT!  The panel addressed the financing and policy challenges and issues for renewable projects.  In particular, projects that can generate carbon financing, such as biogas projects, were discussed.  Discussion included how policy such as Washington’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (I-937) affects the development of renewable projects and how incentive structures can be hurdles to project development or create an enabling environment. There was discussion about on-the-ground project development in the state and around issues that arise from the new California Greenhouse Gas cap-and-trade program.

March 7, 2012 | at Arbor Group/UBS Financial, Fourth & Madison Building, 925 4th Ave, 18th Floor Conference Room

Ben Vitale, President, The Climate Trust: Ben is a carbon market expert and executive, with over 20 years of experience in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Before joining The Climate Trust, Ben served as Managing Director of the Conservation and Community Carbon Fund at Conservation International (CI), where he worked with the private sector to develop climate change solutions and new financial instruments that create business value and achieve measurable climate change results. He supported the development of conservation carbon projects in Biodiversity Hotspots around the world including Ecuador, China, and Brazil. He also advised governments and partners on climate change, particularly in the area of reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). Prior to joining CI, Ben was co-founder and Vice President with Vcapital, a firm that raised corporate financing for businesses through a network of venture capitalists and investment firms. Ben holds a Master of Management degree from Northwestern  and a B.S. degree in Computer and Electrical Engineering from Purdue.

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Nancy Hirsch, Policy Director, NW Energy Coalition: Nancy is policy director of the NW Energy Coalition, an alliance of more than 110 public interest organizations, clean energy businesses and electric and gas utilities from OR, WA, ID, MT, and BC.  Since 1996, Nancy has directed the Coalition’s efforts to enhance investments in energy conservation, renewable resources, and low income energy services through work with utilities, commissioners, regulators, and legislators. The Energy Coalition promotes an energy future that is reliable and affordable with the least overall cost to society and the environment.  She is currently chair of the board of the Renewable Northwest Project. Prior to joining NWEC, she spent twelve years in DC working on energy policy issues for Environmental Action Foundation and the National Wildlife Federation. She received her training in environmental policy at Michigan.

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Kevin Maas, President and Co-Founder, Farm Power: Kevin is a manure entrepreneur – he co-founded Farm Power with his brother Daryl Maas in 2007. Kevin grew up in Skagit County and enjoyed the rural heritage that comes with living in the western WA. Farm Power believes that in order to maintain Washington’s unique balance between economic growth and outdoor quality of life, farming must be both economically profitable and environmentally sustainable. Farm Power’s goal is to build manure digesters that will serve as many Puget Sound dairy farms as possible, and works closely with dairy farmers to do this. Most western WA dairy farms are too small to build their own digesters and successfully market the products so Farm Power works with groups of dairy farmers to design regional digesters that serve multiple farms. They design the project, raise the funds to make it happen, and operate the digester to make it profitable.

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Heather Mulligan, Green Power Market Manager, Puget Sound Energy:   Heather has been Market Manager for PSE’s Green Power Program for the past five years.  She has nearly 20 years of experience working on programs which support the deployment and use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.  Prior to joining PSE in 2006, Heather worked as the national and regional coordinator of U.S. Department of Energy’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative. Ms. Mulligan has a B.A. from San Diego and a Master of Public Policy from American University.

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