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2024 Energy Law Conference

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April 19 All day

Mark your calendars! The Environmental Law Section’s 2024 Energy Law Conference is April 19, 2024

Save the date!

On April 19, 2024, the Environmental Law Section of the California Lawyers Association will present its fifth Energy Law Conference. The conference will be held in-person in downtown Oakland at the main auditorium of the Elihu M. Harris State Office Building (1515 Clay St., Oakland, CA 94612).

The theme of this year’s conference is Overcoming Barriers to Building Clean Energy Projects in California, and this year’s 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.

We are seeking sponsorship pledges from organizations who work in the energy law, policy, and consulting fields and wish to help support the conference and our capacity to host panelists, law students, and attendees who would not otherwise be able to afford participating. 

Please email if you are interested in Energy Law Conference sponsorship opportunities. Additional details on the conference schedule, registration options, and MCLE credit will be emailed in the coming weeks! 

Up to 6.00 Hour(s) total, including .5 hours of Elimination of Bias credit. Stay afterward for a post-event mixer!


Opening Remarks and Introduction of Keynote Time | 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 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
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’s 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
  • Darryl Gruen, Attorney, Legal Division, California Public Utilities Commission
  • Malinda Dickenson, Legal & Executive Director, Protect Our Communities Foundation

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

The CEC Goes Green: Best Practices for “Opt-In Projects” Before the California Energy Commission | 11:00 AM to 12:00 AM

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
A Conversation with the Architects of California’s Clean Hydrogen Hub | 1:00 to 2:00 PM

California’s investment in hydrogen as a clean energy source to support the State’s 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—key 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 panelists will discuss California’s vision for the Hydrogen Hub project, hydrogen varieties and economics, the challenges the project and the technology face, strategies for success, milestones achieved, and what CA can expect from hydrogen in the coming decades.

Speakers: Angelina Galiteva, Chief Executive Officer, ARCHES Darcie Houck, Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission

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

Energy Law Legislative Update | 2:05 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 McRaeSenior Vice President, Sustainable Growth, Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Moderator: Gary Lucks, Partner, Bay Law Group Panel

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 and the Midwest 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 Time: 4:45 to 5:00 PM

Terawatt Sponsors

Allen Matkins
Birch Citadel
Perkins Coie LLP
Shute, Mihaly Weinberger

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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