2023 Environmental and Equity Issues for Fusion Proponents: Perspectives from Advocates

Join us virtually on Friday, February 3rd at 10:00am PT to learn more!

The event has concluded but you can watch the pre-event fusion 101 primer here and a recording of the panel here.

Fusion energy is going to require strong community support and needs to be integrated in a way that promotes environmental conservation and energy justice. Join the CleanTech Alliance virtually for this candid conversation between fusion energy companies and environmental advocates about shared priorities, needs, challenges, concerns, and common goals.


9:30-10:00am PT | Optional Fusion 101 Overview Presentation for those Unfamiliar with the Technology

10:00-10:05am PT | Welcome Remarks

10:05-10:08am PT | Moderator and Panel Introductions

10:08-10:45am PT | Panel Discussion

10:45-11:00am PT | Audience Participation and Q&A

11:00am PT | Wrap up Remarks


Dr. Aditi Verma, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan’s Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences

Dr. Aditi Verma joined NERS in the Fall of 2021 as an Assistant Research Scientist and became an Assistant Professor in the Fall of 2022. She supports and interacts with the Fastest Path team as a Faculty Associate. Verma is a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs’s Project on Managing the Atom, and former Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at the Belfer Center where she was jointly appointed by the Project on Managing the Atom and the International Security Program. At MIT, she was a Burchard Scholar and a Kelly-Douglas Fellow.


Ross Macfarlane, Director, Sierra Club

Ross is a climate and clean energy advocate based in Seattle, Washington. He is on the National Board for the Sierra Club, where he chairs the Conservation Policy and Business Partnerships Committees, and was Vice President for Conservation from 2020-22. Ross is a founding Board member for the Clean Energy Transition Institute and the Advisory Board for Western Washington University’s Institute for Energy Studies, where he lectured on clean energy and climate. Ross was Senior Advisor at Climate Solutions, where advocated for strong climate policy, built ties with business leaders, and helped lead the successful campaign to stop coal export facilities. Before that, Ross helped manage a transit agency, practiced environmental law as a partner at a major law firm, and enforced pollution control laws at the US EPA. A passionate hiker, climber, skier, and sea-kayaker, Ross draws inspiration from wild places in his native Northwest and around the world.

Nancy Hirsh, Executive Director, NW Energy Coalition

Nancy Hirsh is Executive Director for the NW Energy Coalition. Nancy directs the Coalition’s efforts to enhance investments in energy efficiency, renewable resources, and energy services for people of lower-income through work with utilities, commissioners, regulators, and policy-makers. She serves on the board of Renewable Northwest.  From 1996 through 2014 she served as the Coalition’s policy director.  Before joining the Coalition, she spent twelve years in Washington, DC working on national energy policy issues for the Environmental Action Foundation and the National Wildlife Federation. She lives in Seattle with her husband, children and dog.  When not advocating clean energy solutions, she is an avid backpacker and hiker.

John White, Executive DirectorCenter for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technology

V. John White is the Legislative Director of the Clean Power Campaign (CPC) and co-founded the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (CEERT) in 1990.

John served as a senior policy consultant to California State Assembly committees addressing air quality and transportation issues. In 1983, he left legislative staff work to establish an independent practice as a legislative advocate and political consultant, work that he continues today with public-interest environmental groups such as the Clean Power Campaign, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Environmental Defense. He also provides strategic advice and consulting for renewable energy companies and for state and local governmental agencies.

Over his 35-year career, John has been involved in the drafting, negotiation, and passage of landmark legislation and innovative regulatory programs that have accelerated progress in air quality, renewable energy sources, and global warming mitigation. These measures include the California Clean Air Act, the Carl Moyer diesel emission reduction incentive program, the California Global Warming Solutions Act, the Renewable Portfolio Standard, and the California Solar Initiative. In the last 12 years, John’s efforts have resulted in a $10 billion investment in energy conservation and renewable energy in California, and in the appropriation of significant funding for fuel cells, alternative transportation technologies, and the retrofitting and retirement of high-polluting school buses.

Pre-Event Fusion 101 Presentation

There will be an optional information session directly beforehand from 9:30-10:00am that will give a fusion energy 101 overview for anyone who is unfamiliar with the technology behind fusion, featuring Ryan Umstattd.

Ryan UmstattdVP of ProductZap Energy

As the Vice President of Product for Zap Energy, Ryan is developing the go-to-market strategy for cost-effective fusion energy. After completing his PhD in Applied Science (Plasma Physics), Ryan served for 20 years in the Air Force as a scientist, professor, program manager, and technology acquisition officer.

Prior to transitioning to the private sector, he also served at the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy where he helped prepare breakthrough energy technologies for transition from the lab to customers within the Department of Defense. During his last year at ARPA-E, he was the Deputy Director for Commercialization, responsible for oversight of 11 tech-to-market advisors and the hands-on management provided to 300+ project teams for a $250M/yr research and development portfolio.