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Utility 'Death Spiral' Worries to be Focus at Major Investment Conference

Utility 'Death Spiral' Worries to be Focus at Major Investment Conference

In November 2014, the SRI Conference welcomes two energy experts to talk about interconnections of clean energy, the environment, economic growth and community development, in addition to featuring a new panel on financing infrastructure upgrades and modernization of public utilities.

The SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing will be held Nov. 9-11, 2014, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Conference organizers announced today that Amory B. Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute and Bloomberg New Energy Finance Founder Michael Liebreich have both signed on to be keynote speakers.

Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board and founder, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, created one of the world’s leading providers of information on clean energy to investors, energy companies and governments. Liebreich founded New Energy Finance in 2004, selling it to Bloomberg in 2009 after growing it to 150 people. He serves on the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All and on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for the New Energy Architecture, and is a Visiting Professor at Imperial College London.

Amory B. Lovins is an American consultant experimental physicist and 1993 MacArthur Fellow. After two years at Harvard, Lovins transferred to Oxford, and two years later became a don at 21, receiving in consequence an Oxford ma by Special Resolution (1971) and, later, 12 honorary doctorates of various U.S. and U.K. universities. He is widely considered among the world’s leading authorities on energy—especially its efficient use and sustainable supply—and a fertile innovator in integrative design and in superefficient buildings, factories, and vehicles. In 1982, Lovins co-founded the Rocky Mountain Institute, an independent, entrepreneurial, nonprofit think-and-do tank.

First Affirmative President Steve Schueth, producer of The SRI Conference, said: “Our focus on clean energy, fossil fuel divestment, and impact investing in the clean energy space has been a recurring theme for several years.  The SRI Conference conducted two annual surveys that show a majority of SRI practitioners want to get their clients involved.  The SRI Conference attracts investment advisors, asset managers, institutional investors, and representatives of investment companies, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), social research/proxy voting organizations and others.  I am confident that all of our attendees are interested in learning more about clean energy finance to inform their investment strategies.”

Utility Death Spiral?  The Future of Public Power

In a separate panel, “Utility Death Spiral?  The Future of Public Power,” experts examine public utilities that are facing an increasingly complex set of pressures, including distributed generation (e.g. solar roof systems), new regulations, and a broad landscape of competition from new entrants into the power services business. The panel will explore these dynamics and discuss the range of responses that traditional "utilities" are exploring and the implications for investors.

Participants in “Utility Death Spiral? The Future of Public Power” will include: Ron Binz, ex-CO PUC Chair, Obama nominee for FERC chair; Hervé Touati, managing director, Rocky Mountain Institute; Ryan Preclaw, director, Credit Strategies, Barclay’s; and panel moderator Doug Arent, executive director, Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis, NREL.

The full conference agenda is available online at:


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