Content and speakers listed are subject to change. Please check back regularly for updates.


Working Session

City Summit: Partnerships and Financing for Resilient Infrastructure

Special daylong, invite-only working session focused on how cities and companies are working together to implement innovative technologies and solutions that support resilience and sustainability, including low-carbon and smart-city infrastructure programs. The goal is to identify replicable models that allow cities to invest in clean and efficient energy, water, and transportation technologies. Learn more and request an invitation.


"The Newtonian Shift" Multi-Stakeholder Energy Transformation Game

Experience 15 years of energy transition in one day through this skillfully facilitated role-playing game. Participants take part in future energy scenarios and represent various points of view: private customer, large energy consumer, suppliers, grid operator, investors, government. Business and private clients generate their own energy, supply it to one another and offer products that compete with those from traditional utilities.

Although this day-long game is open to all all-access and Monday one-day pass holders, pre-registration is required since space is limited

Fresh Forces will lead the game, with support from Rocky Mountain Institute. For more information and details about this role-playing game at VERGE, check out this overview document from RMI.


Tutorial: Innovation and Electric Power Markets

Peter Kelly-Detwiler will deliver an updated reprise of VERGE's highest-ranked tutorial. It looks at the rationale for competitive power markets, their evolution over the past decade, the rapid growth of new technologies, and some of the key issues on the horizon. Topics include The Origin of The US Grid and Emergence of Monopolies and Utility Holding Companies; The Birth of Competitive Power; The Current Structure: Regulated and Restructured Power Markets and How They Function – A Look at Various US Markets; Resilience and Reliability: A Growing Challenge; and New Technologies, New Models, Smart Grid and Our Energy Future

Participants wijll learn the rationale and basic framework of competitive power and regulated markets, including variations between regional markets; gain insight into how power markets affect end-use customers, both now and in the future; and look at new and emerging technologies and business models affecting power market dynamics and customer relationships.


Addressing Water as a "Wicked Problem" Through Analytics and Action

This is a reprise of Will Sarni and Lindsay Bass's three-hour water tutorial from last year - and now it seems more relevant than ever.

Get an in-depth understanding of water risk as a business risk. Tools to quantify business value at risk and “managed intelligence” along with project examples from the private and public sectors will be presented. “Soft path” solutions to addressing water risks, such as “ecosystems” and “aligned action” will also be presented. A framework for water stewardship and business growth will be presented – “a license to grow strategy.” Data analytics and visualization dashboards will be used to illustrate water risks and mitigation strategies. The workshop is designed for those new to the issue of water risk and the more experienced stakeholder.


Beyond Buildings, More than LEED: Tools to Transform Communities

If you think USGBC begins with LEED and ends with Greenbuild, think again. USGBC is adding tools and technologies, partners and platforms. LEED Dynamic Plaque, EDGE, WELL, SITES, PEER and GRESB provide a new, global platform to achieve our long-standing mission of green buildings and communities for everyone within this generation. This session looks at what it takes to apply systems thinking at scale and connect it to the future we want. 


A Renewable Cloud? How Data Centers are Transforming the Web

Traditional data centers that power the cloud consume a tremendous amount of energy. Tech leaders like Hewlett Packard and organizations like BSR are making big gains in accelerating a cleaner, more efficient cloud, Join the Living Progress Exchange discussion forum as we take a deep dive into how data center buyers and sellers are transforming the way the Internet is powered.


Scaling Renewables from Both Small & Large Developers

In 2014, companies signed long-term contracts for more than 1 gigawatt of renewable energy, more than the previous five years combined, and 2015 is set to surpass 2014 by a significant margin. But the size of these transactions vary significantly, sometimes by an order of magnitude. This workshop, featuring large corporate buyers, will consider the pros and cons of buying renewable power from small and large projects. Featured speakers include execs from Yahoo!, Facebook and Wal-Mart.


Corporate Strategies for Renewables Procurement: How Complex Deals Get Done

Hear the experiences of some of the world's largest renewable energy buyers on why large offsite purchases made sense for their organization, how they chose to access the market and assess risks, the obstacles they faced and the business case they used to sell it to C-suite executives. 


How EVs are Future-Proofing the Grid

As mobile energy storage devices, electric vehicles have the advantage of operating closer to distributed energy resources such as solar and to the endpoints of power delivery. Learn how utilities and car companies are working together to maximize the potential of EVs and second life batteries as assets to balance the grid. Featured speakers include senior leaders from PG&E, BMW and EV Grid.


Off the Grid: Microgrid Owner/Operator Perspectives

The operator of the VERGE Interconnect microgrid leads a presentation on how microgrids are being deployed and operated. The session will examine actual results and benefits being realized through the operation of various types of microgrids, including the equipment required to implement a system, power systems control technology, timing and complexity of the build and benefits to both savings and resiliency. Featured speakers include owners and operators from innovative microgrid developments like Borrego Springs and Necker Island.


Global Panel: Bridging Cross-Border Divides to Scale Cleantech Solutions

Implementing sustainable technologies and business models across borders requires bridging multiple divides —social, cultural, and political. In this session, participants will share war stories from cross-border partnerships and identify how to reduce the barriers to collaboration. Featured speakers include execs from MNL Partners, Energy Innovation and Autodesk.


The Fuse is Lit: Disrupting the Traditional Utility Business Model

How are utilities coping with high high levels of renewables penetration? What are the implications, both for utilities and their customers? Panelists from both the utility and customer side will explore various scenarios and their implications for both energy buyers and sellers. Featured speakers include a California Energy Commissioner, the SVP in Innovation and disruptive thinking within RWE, and energy leaders at Nautilus Solar, Sempra, and Microsoft.


Beyond RECs: The New Renewable Energy Marketplace

For years, the only affordable option for companies to buy green power was to puchase renewable energy certificates (RECs). But the RECs market has changed significantly, as have companies' options for renewables procurement. The new landscape includes power purchase agreements, community solar and even collaborative clean energy models. How to make sense of it all? Experts share their insights.


Traversing the Valley of Death: New Models for Scaling Innovation

How can clean technologies leap across the commercialization "valley of death" in a single creative collaboration? This discussion focuses on innovation models that are working to enable commercial players to deploy a variety of financial instruments and techniques to accelerate the development and market uptake new technologies in the built environment.


Global Panel: How Will the Internet of Things Transform the Base-of-the-Pyramid?

How will the technologies and solutions showcased at VERGE address the needs of those at the base of the economic pyramid? What can we learn from community forestry projects in Kenya that use the cloud and handheld devices to make microfinance payments to off-grid smallholders? Why do Guatemalan highland households with mobile phones outnumber those with access to clean water and clean cook-stoves? This session shows how communities are leapfrogging challenges developed countries have yet to solve. 


Putting Microgrids to Work to Create Resilient Communities

The market for microgrids is evolving on a regional basis in the U.S. — the East Coast is a hotbed for regulatory reforms to enable microgrids in a deregulated policy environment, California is focused on long-term planning for a rich variety of distributed energy resources, and the heartland is aligning microgrids with utility smart grid innovation. What have been the impacts and lessons so far? 


Unlocking Assets through Optimized Solar Applications

With more than half of all new electric generating capacity in the U.S. now coming from solar, it is clear that the solar market has reached new heights. However, integrated solar solutions remain niche in areas requiring energy optimization, like the building and the greenhouse markets in particular. How will a solar technology like BIPV overcome a reputation of being too expensive and inefficient? This session explores this question and how leading companies in their respective value-chains are now able to unlock energy generating assets and provide high value, end-to-end, bankable and warrantied solutions.


Will Water Scarcity Dry Up the Digital Economy?

Much of the media attention on drought has focused on the residential and agricultural users. But industrial users such as data centers have largely been ignored. The reality is that the Internet runs on water to generate power and for cooling data centers. What are industry leaders doing to reduce water use and associated risk? How are data center operators being impacted by regional water shortages, what are the engineering or technology options to address these challenges, and what should buyers of commercial data center services understand about those options? This session focuses on the design tradeoffs or innovations that can improve water efficiency in the IT sector. 

Customer-Sited Energy Storage: Inside the New Business Models

Energy storage can come in many forms and serve many purposes. A growing area in this sector is customer-sited storage, and storage technologies are being deployed in various forms in multiple markets. This panel will look at the latest existing and commercially viable applications. It will also highlight the growing opportunities for commercial and industrial customers in the visible future. Featured speakers include execs from Tesla, Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) and others.


The Carbon re-Balancing Act: Positive Solutions for Negative Emissions

Businesses across a number of industries hold vast potential to not just reduce carbon emissions, but to "reverse climate change” by removing carbon from the atmosphere. This session will explore some of the solutions available today to sequester carbon from the air through both biological practices like regenerative agriculture and forestry and chemical approaches like direct air capture and reactive minerals. In particular, the panel will explore how industry and policy support can enable businesses to turn carbon dioxide emissions into valuable materials that lock carbon in the ground or the built environment with many co-benefits.