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Energy & Sustainability Conference: Powering the Future


The Challenge Festival is presented by 1776 & Philips

Many thanks to Edison Electric Institute, Presenting Sponsor, and to Inter-American Development Bank, a Festival-wide Silver Sponsor and Energy Day Gold Sponsor during the Challenge Festival.

Join 1776 and innovators from around the world to discuss how the energy industry is being disrupted worldwide. With governments attempting to become less reliant on oil and increasing concern about global warming, startups everywhere are playing a major role in creating solutions to one of society’s biggest challenges.

Our energy and sustainability conference features:

9:00 – 9:15 Opening Remarks

9:15 – 9:45 Morning Keynote: Tony Earley, Chairman and CEO, Pacific Gas & Electric 

Industry-leader Tony Earley will discuss the Grid of Things and the transformational moment the energy industry is in. Learn how power-players like PG&E are partnering with non-traditional actors to stay ahead of the game.

9:45 – 11:00 How do we save the grid? Do we need to? 

Our power grid is one of the largest, most complicated machines on Earth, and now it’s broken. Should we repair this old system or move to something entirely new altogether?

Speakers include:

Brian Fitzsimons, CEO, Qado Energy

Tammy McLeod, Vice President, Energy Resource Management, Arizona Public Service

Scott Hennessey, Deputy Director for Policy and Electricity Markets, SolarCity

11:00 – 12:15 Is Energy a Winnable Game for Startups? 

Around the world, passionate entrepreneurs are trying to solve major challenges of sustainability and the future of energy, but can they do it on their own? Large energy companies tend to have venture arms, doubling as R&D units. Further, there are plenty of “intrapreneurs” within these firms creating competing products. Who’s the better bet?

Speakers include:

Michael Lightman, Program Manager at NYC ACRE, NYU-Poly

Jordan Collins, Director of Government Relations, Mintz Levin

Chris Shelton, VP New Energy Solutions, AES

Vikram Aggarwal, Founder and CEO, EnergySage

Jennifer Garson, Tech-to-Market Analyst, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy

12:15 – 1:15 Lunch

1:15 – 2:30 Building Energy Efficiency: Low-Hanging Fruit and Why Nobody Picks It 

Today, there are dozens of technologies to make meaningful impact on the sustainability of our buildings, from homes to high-rises. Corporate players are understandably hesitant to make major up-front investment in new technology…but their private counterparts are slow to adopt energy efficiency as well. What will it take to move forward on improving our dated buildings, and who’ll be the first mover?

Speakers include:

Logan Soya, Founder and CEO, Aquicore

Marc Laitin, Vice President of Product Management, Opower

Adam Cooper, Director, Research and Strategic Alliances

Wendolyn Holland, Holland Consulting

Andrew Restuccia, POLITICO Energy Reporter

Patrick Tyrrell, Chief Operating Officer, Vornado/Charles E. Smith

2:30 – 3:00 Afternoon Keynote: Hans Schulz, Vice President for the Private Sector and Non-Sovereign Guaranteed Operations, The Inter American Development Bank


Register now or buy your Challenge Festival-wide badge to attend more than just this thought provoking event.

Dress code: Startup friendly

Location: Lansburgh Theatre – 450 7th Street NW, Washington, DC, 20005
Cross Streets: E Street NW & 7th Street NW

Parking: Garage Entrance on 8th Street between D and E Streets NW, Cost: $12/day
Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown (Red Line) at 7th and G Streets, 2 blocks from the Theatre.

There will be bus transportation from the Lansburgh Theater to the Energy & Sustainability Gala. Buses will run back and forth between Lansburgh and the gala location; the final bus to Lansburgh will leave the gala location at 10:15 p.m.

On Tuesday, May 12, Challenge Festival’s Energy & Sustainability day will also feature the Challenge Cup Energy & Sustainability Semifinals followed by the Energy & Sustainability Gala.


    Hans Schulz ,Vice President for the Private Sector and Non-Sovereign Guaranteed Operations, a.i. ,Inter-American Development Bank

    Hans Schulz is Vice President for the Private Sector and Non-Sovereign Guaranteed Operations, a.i., of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). As Vice President, Mr. Schulz is responsible for overseeing the Structured and Corporate Finance Department (SCF) and Opportunities for the…

    Tony Earley ,Chairman, CEO, & President ,Pacific Gas and Electric

    Anthony F. Earley, Jr., is Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and President of PG&E Corporation. Earley joined PG&E in September 2011 after 17 years at DTE Energy, where he served as executive chairman, chairman, and chief executive officer. Since joining PG&E,…

    Tammy McLeod ,Vice President, Energy Resource Management ,Arizona Public Service

    Tammy McLeod is vice president of resource management for Arizona Public Service Company (APS). Based in Phoenix, APS is Arizona’s largest electric company and serves nearly 1.2 million customers across the state. McLeod is responsible for APS’s marketing and trading…

    Scott Hennessey ,Director, Policy & Electricity Markets ,SolarCity

    Scott Hennessey is the Director of Policy & Electricity Markets and Regulatory Counsel for SolarCity, where he focuses on federal legislative and regulatory policy.  Before joining SolarCity, Scott spent over five years  with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), most…

    Michael Lightman ,Program Manager ,NYC ACRE and Clean Start

    Mike Lightman is the program manager at NYC ACRE, New York’s clean tech incubator. ACRE is one of three incubators owned and operated by NYU and the Polytechnic School of Engineering. They work with hardware and software startups that range…

    Vikram Aggarwal ,Founder & CEO ,EnergySage

    Vikram Aggarwal is the chief executive and founder of EnergySage.  Often referred to as the “Kayak of Solar,"  EnergySage helps homeowners, businesses and non-profits to easily and quickly request, review and compare competitive quotes for solar PV systems and financing options online. …

    Jennifer Garson ,Tech-to-Market Analyst, Commercialization Program ,U.S. Department of Energy

    Logan Soya ,Founder & CEO ,Aquicore

    Logan Soya founded Aquicore in 2013 to bring his expertise in data collection and analysis into the commercial building industry. Aquicore now works with leading commercial real estate companies such as Lerner Enterprises, MRP Realty, and Brookfield. Recognized by BisNow…

    Wendolyn Holland ,Director ,Holland Consulting, LLC

    Wendolyn Holland is Director of Holland Consulting, LLC, which assists firms in the sustainability and clean energy industry achieve their business goals and interface with federal and state agencies. Holland served as Senior Advisor for Commercialization in the Office of…

    Marc Laitin ,Vice President, Product Management ,Opower

    Teacher turned techie, Marc Laitin is the Vice President of Product Management at Opower in Arlington, VA, responsible for international product development. Previously at Opower he held the position of Senior Director of Consumer Marketing where he led aggressive market…