NEWS: NextUp Recap – California’s Energy Roadmap

Posted March 21st, 2019

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Mar. 21, 2019) – Energy experts and business leaders gathered at  OUE Skyspace for a BizFed Institute NextUp Forum to explore ideas for making progress on California’s energy goals while ensuring a strong economy.

Rob Lapsely, President of California Business Roundtable, kicked off the forum with reflections on why the energy conversation matters to California’s economy. Mike Peevey, Past President of the California Public Utilities Commission, followed Lapsley by providing insight on the history of energy policy and regulations in California.

After these introductory remarks, BFI Board Chair Steve PonTell moderated a follow-up conversation with Rob Lapsley and Mike Peevey to set the stage for panel discussions with energy experts focusing on California’s energy infrastructure and transportation.

The BFI NextUp Forum culminated with a robust discussion among business leaders on what matters to the business community for future energy policy.

Panel – Implications of the Energy Policies & Goals for the Energy Infrastructure and Energy Portfolio 

  • Moderator
    • Dan Mazmanian, USC Professor of Public Policy
  • Panelists
    • Jim Boyd, Former Commissioner for the California Energy Commission
    • Dian Grueneich, Precourt Energy Scholar, Stanford University
    • Julien Gattaciecca, Energy Researcher at UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation

Panel – Implications of the Energy Policies & Goals for Transportation and the Transportation Industry 

  • Moderator
    • Don Paul, Executive Director of the USC Energy Institute
  • Panelists
    • Kome Ajise, Director of Planning, SCAG
    • Jennifer Hernandez, Partner at Holland & Knight
    • Erik Neandross, CEO at Gladstein, Neandross, & Associates

Panel – What Matters to Business for Future Energy Policy

  • Moderator
    • Tracy Hernandez, BizFed Founding CEO
  • Panelists
    • Fran Inman, Senior Vice President at Majestic Realty
    • Thomas Jelenic, Vice President of Pacific Merchant Shipping Association
    • Xiomara Pena, Deputy Director for California at Small Business Majority

Topline Takeaways

  • Energy reliability and energy cost are the top concerns for the business community in California’s energy roadmap.  Whether it is the threat of wildfires on the energy infrastructure or the lack of technological solutions at this time to sufficiently address the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources, concerns were expressed about the future reliability of energy. Since businesses are dependent on reliable and affordable energy for the continuity of their operations, these concerns ranked #1 and #2 respectively in a poll with business leaders at the BFI NextUp Forum.


  • Market competition should be promoted to accelerate the pace of innovation and strengthen competitive pricing.  In response to the concern about the future cost of energy, there was an extensive dialogue about a balanced energy portfolio approach that will allow for market competition to drive progress toward climate goals.


  • It is important to understand the nexus between the lack of affordable housing and reaching California’s climate goals.  The lack of affordable housing in California, especially in urban areas, requires workers to commute further distances to work in order to have an affordable place to live. This contributes to the transportation challenges in California and is an issue for meeting the climate goals. Removing barriers to increase housing development in California is an important piece of the energy puzzle.


  • In the pursuit of California’s climate goals, we need to watch out for unintended consequences.  It is important to evaluate California’s energy roadmap through the lens of impact and equity as energy affordability impacts all California families and businesses, including those in disadvantaged and lower income communities.


  • As elected officials navigate California’s energy roadmap, it is critical to include the business community in the conversation.   To make progress on California’s climate goals while ensuring a strong economy, the voice of the business must be included in the conversation on an ongoing basis. Along these lines, business leaders highlighted the importance of prioritizing opportunities within California’s energy roadmap that also strengthen business and job growth within California.


Watch Full Video of BFI NextUp Forum at 





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