State of Green Business

Silicon Valley conference leads way for California to reach SB32 targets

Attendees gather at the VERGE microgrid in 2015. This year's microgrid will use energy from solar, wind, biomass, biodesiel and storage to power the entire Interconnect Expo.

The following is a GreenBiz press release.

A Silicon Valley event will offer a wide range of solutions that will help California achieve the goals established in SB32, the ambitious climate-change legislation signed Sept. 8 by Gov. Jerry Brown. The new law commits the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.  

VERGE conference and expo, taking place Sept. 19 to 22 in Santa Clara, California, will convene the ecosystem of leaders, innovators and technology providers that must work together in order to fulfill this new law.

VERGE brings together a global audience of more than 1,500 professionals from progressive cities, municipalities and other government agencies, the world’s largest multinational corporations, utilities and innovative solutions providers to explore the latest technologies, tools and trends accelerating the clean economy.

"Getting the right people in the room is key to the kinds of partnerships and solutions that will lead to the climate solutions California needs," said Joel Makower, chairman and executive editor of GreenBiz Group, producer of VERGE. "With the ecosystem in the room — from large utilities to Internet of Things startups, policy makers to industry groups — we expect a focus on the robust business opportunities, policy innovations and technology breakthroughs that are a hallmark of the Golden State." 

In addition to the conference’s impactful program — featuring more than 200 speakers and nearly 100 sessions through six program tracks — special programs and features include the 100 percent renewable energy microgrid, which powers the entire Interconnect Expo, and the Summit Series and Startup Showcase, which bring innovators to the VERGE audience. Together, they create a unique, interactive and engaging event format that showcases opportunities to accelerate the clean economy.

Since 2013, VERGE conferences have built renewably powered microgrids on-site to demonstrate the potential of technologies available today to provide clean, reliable energy. This year’s VERGE microgrid will power the entire Interconnect Expo with energy generated from a solar array, four wind turbines, a biomass gasifier, a battery storage truck and a biodiesel generator.

"The VERGE microgrid demonstrates the true power of converging technologies," said Eric Faurot, CEO of Oakland-based GreenBiz Group, which produces VERGE. "It shows clearly that today’s off-the-shelf technologies are capable of powering our world, and doing so reliably, affordably and cleanly."

More VERGE conference and expo details:

  • Dates: Sept. 19-22
  • Location: Santa Clara Convention Center
  • Projected number of attendees: 1,500
  • Featured Speakers include:
    • Rainer Baake, state secretary, German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
    • Maryrose Sylvester, president and CEO, Current powered by GE
    • Anthony Levandowski, co-founder, Otto (recently acquired by Uber)
    • David Friedman, assisstant secretary, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), U.S. Department of Energy
    • Kate Brandt, lead for Sustainability, Google
    • Cyrus Wadia, vice president, sustainable business and innovation, Nike
    • Amory Lovins, chairman and chief scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute
    • Rob Threlkeld, global manager of renewable energy, General Motors
    • Mark Glick, Hawaii State Energy Office Administrator, State of Hawaii
    • Eng. Muammar Al Katheeri, EVP of Engineering Management and Smart City, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority
    • Mark Vanderhelm, VP of energy, Walmart Stores, Inc.
    • Marty Sedler, director of Global Utilities and Infrastructure, Intel Corporation
    • Dennis McGinn, Assistant Secretary of Navy, Energy, Installations and Environment Department, U.S. Navy
    • David Hochschild, commissioner, California Energy Commission

To learn more about VERGE, visit  Use code V16EXPO for a complimentary Expo pass when registering here.