2021 BERC Summit to focus on climate change, clean energy, jobs

A student discusses research at the 2019 BERC Energy Summit Innovation Expo.

Investing in clean energy, reducing CO2 emissions, and boosting the U.S. economy through cleantech innovations will be the focus of the 15th annual BERC Energy Summit.

“Energizing the Recovery” is the theme of this year’s summit, which brings together policymakers, researchers, innovators, industry experts, and graduate and undergraduate students from across the UC Berkeley campus. The conference, organized by the student-run Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative (BERC), will be held virtually Feb. 10-12.

Nearly 500 people have registered for the summit, which kicks off Wednesday with a career fair for undergraduate students followed by an Innovation Expo, a student-research exhibition, and a Career Forum for graduate students, allowing them to network with leading energy and cleantech companies, including Chevron, Southern California Edison, and Terabase. 

Thursday and Friday will offer networking opportunities, fireside chats, and panel discussions ranging from reimagining mass transit to creating “green” jobs to proposing state and federal legislation that addresses climate change. 

Portrait: Anne Hemmelgarn
Anne Hemmelgarn, MBA 21, helped organize this year’s BERC Energy Summit.

Keynote speaker Kate Gordon, senior climate advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom and director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, joins a list of notable guest speakers including California State Senator Henry Stern, chair of the Senate Natural Resources & Water committee; Vanessa Miler-Fels, director of Energy Innovation and Impact at Microsoft; and Arthur Bart-Williams, executive director of GRID Alternatives, an organization that installs solar panels in low-income communities. 

Despite not being able to gather on campus, conference organizers are hoping to replicate the “in-person” environment through Remo, a virtual conference platform, said Anne Hemmelgarn, MBA 21, one of nine graduate students organizing the BERC summit

With Remo, attendees can “walk” into a networking room, “sit” at any of the tables that seat two to six people, and have one-on-one conversations at any time during the conference. They can also click on attendees’ icons and instantly view their LinkedIn profiles, which will pop up on the screen. 

We think our guests will really love our set-up,” Hemmelgarn said.

Conference tickets are available here. All proceeds will go to BERC’s local non-profit partners: GRID Alternatives, California Environmental Justice Alliance, and the Local Clean Energy Alliance.