Panel: Innovations in the Clean Energy Transition

Thursday, Jun 22, 2023 from 1-2pm

Join us for a thought-provoking panel designed to uncover possible solutions for the clean energy transition that are not commonly discussed, such as sustainable approaches to hydropower and energy storage. Gia Schneider (Natel Energy), Ramya Swaminathan (Malta), and other experts will share their insights and experience in a moderated discussion about promising technologies and potential tradeoffs.

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Panel Guests

Ramya Swaminathan

Ramya Swaminathan has developed Malta from concept to commercialization, guiding the company through multiple rounds of corporate venture funding and the recruitment of a multi-disciplinary team. She led the corporate independence of Malta from X, Alphabet’s Moonshot Factory (formerly Google X) in 2018 and has served as the company’s CEO since its founding. Ms. Swaminathan was named one of Business Insider’s “21 Rising Stars in Clean Energy” in 2020 and currently advises the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Commerce as a member of the DOE Electricity Advisory Committee, the DOC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Committee, and as a DOE Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Ambassador. Before founding Malta as an independent company, Ms. Swaminathan was the CEO of Rye Development, a hydropower development firm that she grew to be the leading developer of new hydropower and pumped hydro storage projects in the United States. She earned a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor in Anthropology from Amherst College.

Dr. Ben Kroposki

Dr. Ben Kroposki is the Director of the Power Systems Engineering Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) where he leads NREL’s strategic research in the design, planning and operations of electrical power systems. He has over 30 years of experience in the design, testing, and integration of renewable and distributed power systems and has more than 150 publications in these areas with over 9,000 citations. Dr. Kroposki received his BSEE and MSEE from Virginia Tech and Ph.D. from the Colorado School of Mines. Dr. Kroposki is the recipient of the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) Ramakumar Family Renewable Energy Excellence Award. This award has been established to recognize outstanding contributions in the field of developing, utilizing and integrating renewable energy resources in the national and global energy scenarios. As an IEEE Fellow, Dr. Kroposki was recognized for his leadership in renewable and distributed energy systems integration. Dr. Kroposki is also an Adjunct Professor at the Colorado School of Mines and University of Colorado and teaches courses on integrating renewable energy into power systems. Dr. Kroposki serves as the organizational director for the Universal interoperability for Grid-forming Inverters (UNIFI) consortium tackling the challenges with seamless integration of inverter-based resources and synchronous machines in all power systems.

Gia schneider
Gia Schneider

A passionate believer in finding ways to mitigate the climate change and biodiversity loss crises using sustainable renewables, Gia Schneider co-founded Natel Energy in 2009 with her brother, Abe Schneider. Gia currently leads and operates Natel’s portfolio of hardware and software water solutions, which include fish-safe power engineering, oversight of hydropower project developments and river restorations, and remote water sensing and forecasting through the company’s Upstream Tech brand. Schneider received Chemical Engineering and Economics degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and currently serves as a board member of the Fresh Water Trust and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) National Council. In her spare time, Schneider enjoys surfing, kiting, and cooking with family and friends. Schneider lives in California with her husband and daughter.

Jeff St John (Moderator)

Jeff St. John is director of news and special projects at Canary Media, where he covers technology, economic, regulatory and social justice issues pertaining to the global transition to low-carbon energy, with a particular focus on the electricity, transportation and building sectors. He earned his master’s degree from the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism in 2001.He is the former managing editor and senior grid edge editor of Greentech Media, and previously reported for The Fresno Bee, the Tri-City Herald and the Anchorage Daily News. His areas of expertise include renewable energy, smart grid, distributed energy resources, energy storage, demand response and electric vehicles. He lives in Oakland, Calif. with his wife Tara Donoghue and his dog Lily, and enjoys hiking, gardening, and playing guitar with his nieces and nephews.

2023 public lecture series