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An opening address by Prof. Hanchen Huang. 

Donald W. Smith Professor and Chair, Mechanical andIndustrial Engineering at Northeastern University

A keynote speech by Mr. George P. Sakellaris.

President & CEO

Ameresco, Inc.

A key note speech by Mr. Pete McCabe.

President & CEO 

Onshore Wind, 

GE Renewable Energy

Innovations in Storage Technology

With the renewable energy sector having grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade or so, a new obstacle has emerged. Solar energy production which peaks at mid-day and wanes off gradually as the sun sets, forces energy managers to drastically curtail and then ramp up output from coal/nuclear power plants as the day progresses. The need for effective storage solutions is more than ever.

This panel reviews how storage ties into solar, the environmental impact of batteries and how innovations in battery technology will script the future of storage.

The road to decarbonization. 

The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says, “The global surface temperature increase by the end of the 21st century is likely to exceed 1.5 °C relative to the 1850 to 1900 period for most scenarios, and is likely to exceed 2.0 °C for many scenarios.”

The question then becomes why isn’t there still a sense of urgency? Is it time to look beyond solar and wind? Should we not invest in de-carbonizing methods like CCS, nuclear energy or electrification of surface transport to hasten the decrease in atmospheric CO2 levels? 

Future of the Built Environment: Communities, Resilience and Adaptation

Buildings till now have been places which meet residents’ basic needs for shelter and where citizens spend about 90 percent of their lives. Efficiency was thus something that was often overlooked. Buildings still rely on multiple systems for lighting, heating and other necessities which undermines their cost-effectiveness.

This panel ventures into how building design promotes energy efficiency, reduces environmental impacts, and improves occupant comfort and well-being. The panelists will put forth contemporary ideas for complex designs and systems for achieving a high-performing and sustainable built environment.

AI and Big Data in Smart Grids. 

AI capabilities have evolved rapidly in the last decade, penetrating the Energy Industry among many others. Techniques like fault diagnostics, fault-tolerant control, and deep learning algorithms to balance supply and demand in a modern smart grid (SG) and renewable energy systems (RESs) might offer huge potential rewards but remain underutilized.

This panel delves into what role can AI and Big Data can play to overcome technological hurdles in the wide-scale rollout of smart grid infrastructure?

Corporate Sustainability

Corporate sustainability has become a buzzword in companies big and small. From Google to Walmart, many corporate giants have named sustainability as a key priority moving forward. This, of course, begs the question of what exactly this means and how do they plan to implement it? What are their models to achieve corporate sustainability? Is it a genuine effort or a PR gimmick? How do companies afford to do this? Does this focus on going green hamper job creation?

We also track the progress made and future plans.  

Energy Finance : Roadblocks and solutions. 

Transitioning to a low-carbon energy system could provide numerous opportunities for investors, businesses, and consumers alike. Conversely, not doing so can cost us billions in the long run.

But because public funding is scarce, an engaged private sector will be needed to make significant investments in renewable energy technologies (RETs). With an appropriate enabling framework, those investments should be forthcoming, unfortunately, however, current business and regulatory models are ill-suited to take advantage of these new opportunities. \

This panel discussed the barriers and risks that presently hold back investment and subsequently the commercial deployment of renewable energy technology. 

Is Boston ready for climate change?

Changes in the climate can have subtle as well as devastating effects on humans, human infrastructure, and natural systems. Being a coastal state, Massachusetts is affected by sea level rise and if left unchecked we are looking at millions of dollars’ worth of damage. Sun Tzu once said, “Those who are victorious plan effectively and change decisively.” Taking cue, this panel discusses the various measures being taken and the potential for additional ones to combat the after-effects of climate change on as many fronts as possible vis a vis policy, resilient infrastructure, resilient agriculture, decreasing dependency on the grid, and other emergency responses.

Changes in the climate can have subtle as well as devastating effects on humans, human infrastructure, and natural systems. Being a coastal state, Massachusetts is affected by sea level rise and if left unchecked we are looking at millions of dollars’ worth of damage. Sun Tzu once said, “Those who are victorious plan effectively and change decisively.” Taking cue, this panel discusses the various measures being taken and the potential for additional ones to combat the after-effects of climate change on as many fronts as possible vis a vis policy, resilient infrastructure, resilient agriculture, decreasing dependency on the grid, and other emergency responses.

Paris Agreement Aftermath: How much does policy really matter?