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2024 Energy Law Conference

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April 19 All day

Up to 6 Hours MCLE!


Post-Program Mixer Info

5:30 p.m. Mixer
Bocanova Oakland
1111 Broadway, Oakland, CA

Program Location

Elihu M. Harris State Office Building
1515 Clay St.
Oakland, CA 94612
(parking map and transit info PDF)

The theme of this year‚Äôs conference is Overcoming Barriers to Building Clean Energy Projects in California, and this year‚Äôs programming will focus on the legal, regulatory, financial, social, and other types of barriers affecting the broad range of clean energy projects of all sizes that are being planned and built in California. Each panel will focus on different types of clean energy projects ranging in size from distributed solar to large-scale energy and transmission projects, and the panels will spotlight how attorneys and energy professionals are navigating California’s rapidly changing landscape. This year’s conference will also feature an optional Energy Law and Policy 101 workshop, which will be held virtually several days prior to the conference.


Check-in, Coffee, and Pastries | 8:00 AM to 8:50 AM
Opening Remarks and Introduction of Keynote | 8:50 AM to 9:00 AM
Keynote Speaker: Christine Hironaka, Senior Energy Advisor, Governor Gavin Newsom | 9:00 AM to 9:30 AM
Christine Hironaka

Christine Hironaka will present on the Newsom Administration’s clean energy goals and accomplishments, as well as the work she has done as the Governor’s lead energy advisor and at other points in her career to advance legislation and policies to help the state deploy new clean energy infrastructure in a rapid enough pace to meet its ambitious climate targets.

  • Speaker: Christine Hironaka, Senior Energy Advisor, Governor Gavin Newsom

Christine Hironaka is Senior Energy Advisor for Governor Gavin Newsom. Prior to this role, Hironaka served as Deputy Cabinet Secretary to Governor Newsom and Deputy Secretary for Legislative Affairs at the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA). Prior to joining CalEPA, Christine served as Assistant Director for Policy Development at the California Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), where she previously served as Deputy Director for Legislative Affairs. She also served as a legislative assistant in the Office of State Senator Mark Leno, and as a capital fellow in the Office of State Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny.

Siting Electric Transmission Infrastructure in California: Ideas to Inform and Enhance Permitting to Achieve Climate and Clean Energy Goals | 9:35 AM to 10:50 AM

California is facing an unprecedented need for renewable energy resources to power the state‚Äôs electric grid over the next 10 to 20 years and beyond. Existing law generally requires electric utilities to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) prior to constructing or expanding transmission facilities. To meet California’s needs for increased electric capacity and achieve the state’s clean energy goals, Senate Bill 529 directed the California Public Utilities Commission to update and clarify General Order (GO) 131-D to exempt an extension, expansion, upgrade, or other modification of an existing transmission line or substation from the CPCN requirement and allow for a more streamlined permit-to-construct process. In this panel, guests will learn about the Order Instituting Rulemaking (OIR) considering various modifications to GO 131-D, and hear perspectives from utilities, ratepayer advocates, and NGOs on permitting challenges and proposals to better address the state’s needs and provide a clearer, more efficient, and consistent process.


  • Erica Martin, Director of Environmental Services, San Diego Gas & Electric
  • Malinda Dickenson, Legal & Executive Director, Protect Our Communities Foundation

Moderator: Leuwam Tesfai, Deputy Executive Director for Energy and Climate Policy, California Public Utilities Commission

The CEC Goes Green: Best Practices for ‚ÄúOpt-In Projects‚ÄĚ Before the California Energy Commission | 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

In 2021, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill No. 205, which temporarily (through June 2029) allows the California Energy Commission (CEC) to license solar and wind projects (above 50 megawatts) and energy storage projects (above 200 megawatthours). In this panel, you will hear directly from high-level CEC experts on this specialized licensing process. While the panelists will not address pending opt-in projects under consideration, the panelists will provide insider perspectives on how to best participate in the process, whether you are a member of the public, an advocacy group, or a renewable energy company’s attorney or consultant.


  • Jared Babula, Senior Staff Counsel, Office of Chief Counsel, California Energy Commission
  • Dian Vorters, Deputy Director, Siting Transmission and Environmental Protection Division, California Energy Commission

Moderator: Dana Palmer, Partner, Allen Matkins

Lunch | 12:00 to 1:00 PM
The Architecture of ARCHES: Clean Hydrogen’s Emergence in California | 1:00 to 2:15 PM

California‚Äôs investment in hydrogen as a clean energy source to support the State‚Äôs carbon neutrality goals received a significant boost in 2023. Through the Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES), the state will receive up to $1.2 billion to build a hydrogen hub that will power public transportation, heavy-duty trucks, and port operations‚ÄĒkey emissions drivers in CA and sources of air pollution that are among the hardest to decarbonize. ARCHES, a public-private partnership, was one of 7 successful candidates for US Department of Energy funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $9.5 Billion Clean Hydrogen Initiatives. Our panel will convene some of the architects of California’s successful proposal with hydrogen industry experts who will discuss the vision for the Hydrogen Hub project, hydrogen varieties and economics, challenges facing the hydrogen market in California, strategies for success, milestones achieved, and what CA can expect from hydrogen in the coming decades.

Moderator: Ethan Elkind, Director, Climate Program, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment, Berkeley Law


  • Angelina Galiteva, Chief Executive Officer, ARCHES 
  • Darcie Houck, Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission
  • Buck Endemann, Partner, Perkins Coie
Energy Law Legislative Update | 2:20 to 3:20 PM

California energy policy continues to evolve at a rapid pace. This panel will discuss the impacts and implications of recent and pending legislation that is transforming the generation and consumption of energy in California. Particular emphasis will be placed on recent legislation intended to accelerate the pace of clean energy infrastructure deployment.

Speakers: Tim McRae, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Growth, Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Moderator: Gary Lucks, Partner, Bay Law Group

Centering Equity and Prioritizing Consumers in Clean Energy Program Design | 3:30 to 4:45 PM

Through its utilities, state and local agencies and regional energy networks, and private program management companies, California has taken a multi-pronged approach to prioritizing underserved communities with innovative clean energy, energy efficiency, and building decarbonization programs. With forthcoming arrival of massive federal investments under the Inflation Reduction Act and other federal funding bills, the lessons from programs like Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH), Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH), and the San Joaquin Valley Pilot Program will be tested as services grow at an exponential pace. This panel convenes experts who have designed and implemented low-income energy programs in California with national consumer protection experts to discuss what it means to center equity and consumer safeguards in energy program design and ensure that meaningful and enduring benefits flow to program participants. Panelists will also discuss how to avoid and redress harms to participants that have resulted from earlier clean energy programs, such as residential PACE, and how to appropriately navigate cultural and socioeconomic considerations when working with underserved communities.


  • Arthur Bart-Williams, Executive Director, Bay Area, GRID Alternatives
  • Claudia Polsky, Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Environmental Law Clinic, Berkeley Law
  • Alvaro Sanchez, Vice President of Policy, Greenlining Institute

Moderator: Alison La Bonte, Founder & Principal, A La Bonte Advisors

Closing Remarks/Directions to Post-Conference Mixer | 4:45 to 5:00 PM


  • $80 for Environmental Law Section Members
  • $160 for Non-section Members, All Others
  • $30 for Government, Nonprofit Attorneys
  • $30 for New Lawyers Section Members
  • Free for Current Law Students

More Info

Parking and transit info: Please refer to this map for more info.

Pre-Registration Deadline: The deadline to pre-register is April 12, 2024.

Cancellations/Refunds: Requests must be received in writing by April 12, 2024. A 10% processing fee will be charged for requests received after April 12, 2024. For more information, call (916) 516-1757.

On-Site Registration: On-site registration is subject to availability. Call to confirm space availability.

Special Assistance: For special assistance, please call (916) 516-1757.

Questions: For registration information, call (916) 516-1757. Telephone registrations will not be accepted. For program content and/or Section information call (916) 561-1732.


Terawatt Sponsors

Allen Matkins
Birch Citadel
Perkins Coie LLP
Shute, Mihaly Weinberger

Megawatt Sponsors

Breveridge & Diamond

This event may be recorded. By attending this event, you consent to be photographed, filmed, and/or otherwise recorded, and to any use, by the CLA, of your likeness, voice, and name in any and all media including social media. If you do not want your name or photo to be used, please let us know in advance. We cannot, however, honor requests to opt out of the use of your image or voice if you choose to ask a question during one of the event sessions.

We are committed to accessibility! Virtual events are equipped with closed captioning. To request an in-person accommodation, send us a note at or contact us at 916-516-1760 for assistance.


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CLA Membership is $99 and includes one section. Additional sections are $99 each.