Keynotes

Raj Apte
Raj Apte
Principal Engineer
Google X
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Raj Apte
Raj Apte
Principal Engineer
Google X
Dr. Raj B Apte is Principal Engineer for new projects, responsible for identifying and developing early stage moonshots. He initiated and led project Malta, a breakthrough pumped thermal energy storage solution that will enable greater use of wind and solar energy, a pollution- and carbon-free grid. Prior to joining X in 2015, Raj managed a research team and clean room at Xerox PARC, where he worked on polysilicon circuitry for ultrasonic and x-ray imaging, the internet of things, novel MEMs displays, electronic paper, organic and printed transistors, and amorphous-silicon x-ray cameras. Five start-up companies have licensed his inventions, and he has played a significant role in bringing five new technologies to market: thermal energy storage, ultrasonic fingerprint scanner (in the S10), printed organic electronics, digital x-ray sensors, and micromachined diffractive displays.

Raj holds MS and PhD degrees from Stanford University and BS with Distinction from UC Berkeley, all in Electrical Engineering. He has 75 publications and 61 issued patents.
Alicia Barton
Alicia Barton
President & CEO
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
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Alicia Barton
Alicia Barton
President & CEO
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
Alicia Barton is president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), a public benefit corporation that advances innovative energy solutions to improve New York State’s economy and environment.
Ms. Barton has held public and private sector leadership roles advancing clean energy projects and companies for over a decade including serving as co-chair of the Energy and Cleantech Practice at Foley Hoag, LLP, chief of operations of the Global Utility business unit at SunEdison and chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), a publicly supported agency that funds and accelerates the development of the clean energy sector. Prior to serving as CEO of MassCEC, Ms. Barton was the Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Planning for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP); Assistant Secretary for Environmental Review and Director of the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) office; and Deputy General Counsel at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA).
Prakash Chandra
Prakash Chandra
Renewable Hybrids Leader
GE Renewable Energy
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Prakash Chandra
Prakash Chandra
Renewable Hybrids Leader
GE Renewable Energy
Prakash Chandra is the Renewable Hybrids Leader for GE Renewable Energy since April 1st, 2019. In his role, Prakash Chandra drives the growth strategy for the renewable hybrid initiative that combines solar inverters, energy storage and renewable hybrids capabilities.

Since October 2017, Prakash was Chief Financial Officer for GE Renewable Energy’s Hydro business. Previously, Prakash was the global CFO for the GE Boilers business, within GE Steam Power Systems. Since 2014, Prakash held a dual role as CFO for GE Power in Asia Pacific and Regional CFO for GE in South East Asia (ASEAN).

Prakash started his career with GE in India as part of the Financial Management Program and then joined the Corporate Audit Staff. His experience on these leadership programs over 6 years included financial, compliance, M&A and risk management work across Healthcare, Energy, Media, Commercial Finance, Capital Markets, Consumer Finance and the Reinsurance businesses in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific markets. Over the following 5 years, Prakash held various roles in GE’s Financial services businesses in Asia based in Tokyo and then subsequently in Singapore where he was the CFO for GE Capital in the South East Asia region before moving to his Regional CFO role in GE ASEAN in 2011.

Prakash graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Bangalore, India. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
Ernesto Ciorra
Ernesto Ciorra
Chief Innovability Officer
Enel
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Ernesto Ciorra
Ernesto Ciorra
Chief Innovability Officer
Enel
Ernesto Ciorra was born in 1971, graduated in Business Economics at Bocconi University in Milan, magna cum laude, worked many years in consultancy, and then joined Enel on October 2014 as Chief Innnovability Officer. Founder of Ars et Inventio (2003), a consulting firm focused only on innovation and creativity, he has supported many companies at designing and launching innovative products and services that have become popular worldwide. Nokia, Telecom Italia, Vodafone, Poste Italiane, Eni, GDF, Edison, the P&G Fater and Fameccanica joint-ventures, Unilever, RCS, Sole24Ore, BNP, Unicredit and American Express are some of the firms he cooperated with. Lecturer of Innovation Management in Italian and Spanish universities and business schools (director of the “Programa Avanzado de Gestión de la Innovación” at Istituto de Empresa de Madrid, professor and member of the Scientific Committee of the “Master in Innovazione Strategica” at Cà Foscari), he has also authored three collections of verses and a theatrical play acted in several theatres in Italy (in Milan, Bologna, Taormina and Siracusa). Professors Henry Chesbrough of Berkeley and Mark Kramer of Harvard have written two business cases regarding his activity as Chief Innovability Officer at Enel. The two business cases are available on www.hrb.org and are used in several courses at Berkeley and Harvard.
Andreas Feicht
Andreas Feicht
State Secretary
German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
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Andreas Feicht
Andreas Feicht
State Secretary
German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
Andreas Feicht is State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. His portfolio covers energy policy.
Eleni Kounalakis
Eleni Kounalakis
Lieutenant Governor
State of California
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Eleni Kounalakis
Eleni Kounalakis
Lieutenant Governor
State of California
Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis was sworn in as the 50th Lieutenant Governor of California by Governor Gavin Newsom on January 7th, 2019. She is the first woman elected Lt. Governor of California. A native Californian, she visited each of the state’s 58 counties during her historic campaign.

From 2010 to 2013, Kounalakis served as President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary. Kounalakis was the first Greek-American woman – and at age 43 one of America’s youngest – to serve as U.S. Ambassador. Her highly acclaimed memoir, “Madam Ambassador, Three Years of Diplomacy, Dinner Parties and Democracy in Budapest” (The New Press, 2015), chronicles the onset of Hungary’s democratic backsliding.

Governor Jerry Brown appointed Kounalakis to chair the California Advisory Council for International Trade and Investment in 2014. Kounalakis was a Virtual Fellow at the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) between 2014 and 2017, specializing in international trade and immigration. She is currently a director of the Association of American Ambassadors and a National Democratic Institute (NDI) “Ambassadors Circle” advisor.

Prior to her public service, Kounalakis was president of one of California’s most respected housing development firms, AKT Development, where she worked for 18 years. She built master-planned communities and delivered quality housing to the Sacramento region’s working families – recognizing her as one of the capital region’s most prominent businesswomen. Passionate about early childhood development, Kounalakis served as a member of California’s First 5 Commission and the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism.

Eleni Kounalakis graduated from Dartmouth College in 1989 and earned her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from U.C. Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in 1992. She holds an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the American College of Greece.
Ramya Swaminathan
Ramya Swaminathan
CEO
MALTA Inc.
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Ramya Swaminathan
Ramya Swaminathan
CEO
MALTA Inc.
Ramya Swaminathan joined Malta from Rye Development, where she was CEO and Co-founder. Under her leadership, Rye Development grew to be the leading developer of new hydropower projects in the United States and its portfolio of development projects, held at its holdco affiliate, FFP New Hydro, advanced from concept through FERC licensing and late stage development financing. She was also responsible for the expansion of Rye’s platform into energy storage, with the addition of two sizable pumped hydro storage development projects in the Pacific Northwest. At Rye Development, Ms. Swaminathan led a multi-disciplinary team, with specialists in engineering and construction, regulatory and environmental aspects, and power marketing. She also led the company through several financing rounds, both at the platform and the project levels.
Prior to her work in the hydropower space, Ms. Swaminathan was a public finance banker, most recently as a Director at UBS, where she focused on public power clients and senior managed more than $10 billion in financings. Ms. Swaminathan holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and a BA in Anthropology from Amherst College.
John Zahurancik
John Zahurancik
Chief Operating Officer
Fluence
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John Zahurancik
John Zahurancik
Chief Operating Officer
Fluence
As Chief Operating Officer, John Zahurancik directs the Fluence teams that create and deliver storage solutions and services to leading customers around the world. Working with progressive power system players, John and his teams create valuable business use cases for grid-scale storage, educate storage users in these benefits, manage the deployment of new systems, and help service these systems throughout their complete lifecycle.

John was a cofounder of AES Energy Storage in 2007, a recognized market leader, and led AES' team in pioneering nearly 500MW of utility-scale applications of battery-based energy storage projects in the U.S., Chile, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic.

Accomplishments include the deployment of the world’s largest grid connected lithium ion battery (five times), the first power purchase agreement for energy storage at the 100MW Alamitos Power Center, and the first multi-megawatt scale storage systems approved in six countries.

John is a regular industry speaker on energy storage, innovation, and leadership and is often quoted on these topics in mainstream and industry journals. Prior to energy storage, John worked at AES in retail power and fiber telecommunications, and as a consultant and market analyst to the telecommunications industry.

John holds a master's degree in public policy from the University of Michigan and a bachelor's in economics and social science from Florida State University.