Energy Summit Program

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2015 Summit Speakers & Videos

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The Accidental Super Power

Keynote: Kern County’s Leading Role in Securing America’s Energy Independence

Peter Zeihan, President & Founder, Zeihan on Geopolitics
Mr. Zeihan, geopolitical strategist, specializes in international affairs and customized executive briefings where he utilizes over twelve years of intelligence experience and a geopolitical perspective.
Zeihan began his career working for the State Department in Australia, later moving to Washington DC to join the Center for Political and Strategic Studies under Susan Eisenhower. In both capacities, he regularly analyzed developments in Asia, Europe and the former Soviet Union while producing briefs and publications.

In his highly acclaimed book, “The Accidental Superpower,” Zeihan skillfully deploys his knowledge of demography and geography to show why America’s growing energy independence will nurture its global dominance for the next quarter century.

At the Summit, Zeihan drew from his publication to discuss current and future trends related to the energy industry and pin-point four major trends that we all need to know about over the next five years:

  • The American Worker Drought
  • The Chinese Bubble
  • Wither the Eurozone
  • Shale New World and how this will impact Kern County Energy Companies.

Click here for presentation: Peter Zeihan


Premier Sponsor Welcome

Ryan Creamer, CEO, sPower
Mr. Creamer co-founded sPower with other EnergySolutions senior executives after he retired from EnergySolutions in 2011 as Executive Vice President. Mr. Creamer was a co-founder of EnergySolutions as well, where during his tenure, he was directly responsible for greater than two-thirds of the company’s operating income. Over the course of his career, Mr. Creamer has worked as a project manager and project engineer on various infrastructure projects in the environmental and industrial industries.

Click here for sPower slide: sPower

Solar: Powering the Next Century of Oil Production

John O’Donnell, VP of Business Development, GlassPoint Solar
O’Donnell works with leading oil companies around the world to develop and expand new markets for emissions-free solar steam used for industrial applications, such as thermal Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). He brings tremendous depth of experience in the solar thermal arena to GlassPoint as former founder and president of Ausra, Inc. (now AREVA), one of the early leaders in the solar industry.

Kern County has been a center of energy production and energy technology innovation for the past century. Our new century brings new challenges – increasingly tight environmental regulations, including the just-enacted Low Carbon Fuel Standard, as well as dwindling primary production at fields that have long been in operation. GlassPoint has now proven that solar energy can be a reliable, low-cost source of steam to power enhanced oil recovery (EOR) — revitalizing older oilfields and enabling production for decades to come.

Click here for presentation: John O’Donnell_GlassPoint


EIR Update

Lorelei Oviatt, Director of Community and Planning Development, Kern County Planning Department
Oviatt, AICP, is Director for the Kern County Planning and Community Development  Department in California and has worked in both the public and private sector of land development. Her years of professional planning experience in the public and private sectors focuses on project management of large scale, multi-agency planning and moving extremely complex projects through the system under accelerated timeframes.

Kern County is setting new standards for streamlining the oil and gas permitting process. Oviatt will provide an update on the County’s work with the local oil and gas industry to develop streamlined permitting and environmental protection for the valley portion of the county. Kern Energy – where will we be in 25 years?

No PowerPoint presentation was used.

Oil & Gas Industry and Regulatory Trends

This panel provided discussion on regulatory trends occurring in California and how they affect the oil & gas industry in Kern County. What role the media and non-governmental organization have had on regulatory trends, what is industry doing to address these regulatory trends and what the community can do.

No PowerPoint presentation was used.

Joe Ashley, Director of Special Projects, California Resources Corporation
Originally from North Carolina, Joe received a B.S. in Biology from Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, NC and a M.S. in Biology from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, TX. Joe started working as a contract biologist in CA in 1995 and moved to Bakersfield in 1999.  Joe has spent the past 11 years working for Occidental Petroleum and now California Resources Corporation with roles of increasing responsibility.


Jonathan Lilien, Health Environment & Safety Technical Services Manager, Chevron
Mr. Lilien is responsible for Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company’s team of 30 environmental professionals managing air, greenhouse gas, land, water, waste, and regulatory compliance issues for the San Joaquin Valley Business Unit. He has been with Chevron for 13 years in a series of technical/supervisory roles, including water team leader, environmental engineer, and community engagement advisor.


Suzanne Noble, VP of Production Regions and Sacramento Affairs, Western States Petroleum Association
Ms. Noble has worked for WSPA for 18-years. Prior to coming to WSPA, Suzanne was a minerals policy advisor in Washington, D.C. for the Department of the Interior. WSPA is a nonprofit trade Association that represents oil & gas companies that engage in exploration & production, refining, transportation and marketing of petroleum in the western United States.

Tom Jones

Utilities Sector: Harnessing the Power of Nuclear Energy

Tom Jones, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Tom Jones is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Diablo Canyon Power Plant, a role he assumed in August 2015.  In his new role, Jones oversees the company’s efforts on the upcoming relicensing of Diablo Canyon Power Plant, the company’s evaluation of supplying desalination water to our local communities and various other strategic projects related to energy supply for PG&E.

Nuclear power is a safe, clean, reliable and vital energy resource for California. PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Power Plant provides low-cost, carbon-free electricity for more than three million people and ensures that PG&E delivers some of the cleanest energy in the nation to its customers. Mr. Jones will share how Diablo Canyon is playing a key role in helping California reach its ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate change.

Click here for presentation: Tom Jones_Diablo Canyon

Renewables: The Other Abundant Resource in Kern County

This panel discussed the long and short-term role of renewable energy in Kern County. They will examine the unique climate and regulatory challenges that exist in California and explain how renewable energy can achieve 50% RPS by 2030, help improve air quality, grow local economies, create jobs and support STEM education.

Moderator: Linda Parker, Consultant, Wind and Solar Land Use, Permitting and Public Affairs
In 1995, Linda Parker became the Executive Director of the Kern Wind Energy Association (KWEA) and in 2005 started consulting in her area of expertise as a wind and solar energy land use, permitting and public affairs consultant.   In the past 20 years, Linda has assisted in permitting over 4000 MW’s of wind and solar energy in Kern and San Bernardino Counties.

Jack Pigott
Jack Pigott, Director of Development, First Solar
Mr. Pigott manages development of utility-scale photovoltaic projects primarily in Kern County and the Antelope Valley. He joined First Solar when it acquired NextLight Renewable Power, where he directed development of the 240 megawatt AV Solar Ranch One project near Lancaster, California. Mr. Pigott has over 25 years of experience in the renewable energy field.

Click here for presentation: Jack Pigott_First Solar

Oliver Macpherson
Oliver Macpherson, Asset Manager, Macpherson Energy Corporation
Oliver R. Macpherson is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the partnership activities between DTE Energy Services and Macpherson Energy Corporation’s (MEC) Mt. Poso Cogeneration Plant—a 50 megawatt biomass-fueled clean power plant located north of Bakersfield, CA. The plant is the only biomass operation in California that uses produced water from oil recovery for plant operations—an innovation that has further resulted in a more renewable process for the facility.

Click here for presentation: Oliver Macpherson

Don Vawter
Don Vawter, Director of Development & Origination, Terra-Gen
Mr. Vawter has been in the power generation business since 1989 when he started his career as an electrician at the Rio Bravo generation facilities north of Bakersfield. From 2004 to 2007, Vawter was President of AES Central Valley which included the 50 MW Delano biomass plant. Terra-Gen, LLC has developed and constructed in excess of 1550 MWs of new wind generation capacity in Kern County over the last five years. Terra-Gen also owns and operates geothermal and solar generation in California, as well as other geothermal and wind assets in the Western United States.

Click here for presentation: Don Vawter_Terra-Gen