Berkeley Exec Ed Offers In-Depth Look at Cleantech

Delving into the intricacies of the cleantech market, a new Berkeley executive education program will provide entrepreneurs, policy makers, and investors with knowledge to further catalyze the rapidly changing industry.

The Cleantech Institute, scheduled for Feb. 22-23, will examine how innovation can meet the technology needs of the energy industry within the context of the political and regulatory environment. Developed by the UC Berkeley Center for Executive Education, the institute also will explore financing and commercialization, including partnerships and exit strategies.

“What makes the Cleantech Institute distinctive is that it’s very multi-faceted,” says Whitney Hischier, assistant dean at the Center for Executive Education (CEE). "The perspective is not just business. It also pulls in faculty from our policy school, economists, energy experts, and scientists, as well as experts from the local eco-system here — from Silicon Valley, government agencies, cleantech, and professional service firms."

Speakers will include John Gage, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers; Casey Porto, senior vice president of commercialization and deployment at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and Alex Laskey, president and founder of OPOWER.

The institute also will be forward-looking, which is crucial in this rapidly changing field. "Because of the campus’s connection with the Obama administration, we’re able to lay out anticipated policy changes,” says Hischier, referring to the many UC Berkeley advisers serving in Washington, DC. “We want to make this open to people to come back each quarter for quarterly updates."

This is the second Cleantech Institute offered to executives by Berkeley. The first program was held in October, and three more will be held next year on Feb. 22-23, June 10-11, and Oct. 12-13. Each Cleantech Institute program is designed with different content, topics, and speakers, and all of them are designed to provide essential information for those in the field or those who want to get more involved in clean tech.

Peter Evans, MBA 90, president and founder of New Power Technologies, said he found the first Cleantech Institute in October different from other cleantech conferences that he has attended. “Berkeley dealt with things on a much more substantive level," says Evans. "I came away feeling like I learned something that I didn’t know, and I’ve been in the consulting business for a very long time. “

Jonathan Livingston, president of Livingston Energy Innovations, another October participant, echoed that sentiment. “I’ve been in this business for a quarter of a century, but there was a lot of new material and a way of connecting the dots that I hadn’t seen before,” he says. He also found it a great networking opportunity to meet people in the public utilities commission and the university with whom he wouldn’t have connected otherwise.

The content of each Cleantech Institute is guided by an advisory board from a wide range of firms and public agencies, including Google, the Environmental Protection Agency, PG&E, and Khosla Ventures.

The advisory board and past speaker list is also composed of several well-respected Haas School and UC Berkeley faculty members, including Haas Associate Professor Catherine Wolfram, co-director of the Energy Institute at Haas; Daniel Kammen, a professor in the Berkeley Energy and Resources Group and director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory; and Chris Somerville, director of the Energy Biosciences Institute, a partnership between UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, British Petroleum, and the University of Illinois.

For more information on the Cleantech Institute, visit UC Berkeley Executive Education.