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Please stay tuned for a list of speakers for the 2024 Columbia University Energy Symposium

2023 Columbia University Energy Symposium
The Energy Trilemma: Building Security, Affordability, and Sustainability

Below are some of the speakers from 2023's Energy Symposium.

Michael Gerrard

Founder and Faculty Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law @ Columbia Law School

The founder and faculty director of the groundbreaking Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and one of the foremost environmental lawyers in the nation, Michael Gerrard is an advocate, litigator, teacher, and scholar who has pioneered cutting-edge legal tools and strategies for addressing climate change. He writes and teaches courses on environmental law, climate change law, and energy regulation. He was the chair of the faculty of Columbia University’s renowned Earth Institute from 2015 to 2018. 

For three decades, before joining the Columbia Law School faculty in 2009, Gerrard practiced law in New York, most recently as the partner in charge of the New York office of Arnold & Porter, where he remains senior counsel.


He has written or edited 13 books, including Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, the first and leading work in its field (co-edited with Jody Freeman). His most recent book is Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (co-edited with John Dernbach). His 12-volume Environmental Law Practice Guide and four-volume Brownfields Law and Practice each received the Association of American Publishers’ Best Law Book of the Year award.

Michael Gerrard received his JD from New York University School of Law in 1978 and is a Root-Tilden Scholar. He received his BA from Columbia University in 1972.

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Richard Kauffman

Chair Of The Board Of Directors @ Generate Capital 
Chairman of the Board @ NYSERDA

Richard Kauffman is Chair of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Beginning in January 2013, Kauffman served as New York State Chairman of Energy and Finance. In this position he oversaw the Department of Public Service, the New York Power Authority, the Long Island Power Authority, and NYSERDA. As Chair of NYSERDA, Kauffman helps lead the implementation of New York’s nation-leading climate change and carbon emission reduction goals as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act).


In addition to his current role at NYSERDA, Kauffman also serves as Chair of Generate Capital, a leading financier of clean energy projects. In his private sector career, he was CEO and President of Good Energies, Inc., a leading investor in clean energy technologies; a partner at Goldman Sachs where he chaired the Global Financing Group and served on the Partnership and Commitments Committees; and Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley’s Institutional Securities business and co-head of its Banking Department. In London, he served as Vice Chair of Morgan Stanley International.


Kauffman also previously served as Senior Advisor to Secretary Steven Chu at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) where he oversaw the restructuring of DOE’s Loan Program after the Solyndra bankruptcy and advanced debt and equity capital market development policies, including proposed uses of REITs and MLPs for renewable energy.

Richard Kauffman received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, a master’s degree in international relations from Yale University, and a master’s in public and private management from the Yale School of Management. 

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Vikas Anand 

Co-Founder and CDO @ GoGreen Investments Corporation

Vikas Anand is Co Founder, Sponsor, and Investor at GoGreen Investments Corporation, a SPAC that provides management expertise and
capital to energy-transition sector. GoGreen announced in December 2022 a ~$1B combination with Lifezone Metals, a company with one of world’s largest and highest-grade nickel resource and a mineral processing technology capable of producing low-cost, low-carbon battery material for electrification of the automotive industry. He also serves as a Board-member at Keystone Tower Systems and Pearce Services. 

As Chief Executive Officer of GE Renewable Energy – Onshore Wind Americas from 2018 to 2021, Anand grew the business to $7.5B revenue, nearly doubling its market share to 53% and restoring GE to No. 1 position in the highly competitive U.S. market. Anand was a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of American Clean Power Association (former AWEA) and represented the industry’s interests before members of the U.S. Congress.

Vikas Anand earned an MBA at Columbia Business School and Chartered Accountancy certification in India. Vikas was executive sponsor of the GE Renewable Energy Junior Officer Leadership, a hiring and development program focused on U.S. military veterans, and was a founding member of AWEA’s Diversity & Inclusion Industry Task Force.

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Diego Mesa Puyo

Senior Climate Economist @ International Monetary Fund 

Diego Mesa Puyo is a global energy, sustainability, and extractive industries leader with over 15 years of experience in senior management and advisory roles in government, multilaterals, and the private sector.


As former Colombian Minister of Energy and Mines, he led the design and implementation of the country’s energy transition and mining diversification policies between 2018 and 2022. These policies promoted significant growth in variable renewable energy capacity in the country, increasing its share in the power matrix from less than 1% in 2018 to 12% 2022.


Before joining the Colombian government, he worked for several years at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where he led technical assistance missions to advise Asian, African, European, Latin American, and Middle Eastern countries on fiscal matters relating to their energy and extractive industries.


Prior to the IMF, Mesa worked as a Manager in the Consulting and Deals Practice of PriceWaterhouseCooper (PwC) in Canada focusing on energy and extractive industries.


Diego Mesa holds an M.A. in Economics from McGill University and he is a CFA® charter holder since 2012.

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Paul Simons

Senior Fellow@ Jackson School of Global Affairs, Yale University

Paul Simons  has served as a Senior Fellow at Yale’s Jackson Institute since 2020, teaching and mentoring students in the clean energy transition, while participating actively in the COP 26 process, and leading international teams to investigate the energy transition policies of Japan and Colombia.


From 2015 to 2020, he served as Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the leading global authority for energy and climate change analysis and policy development.  At the IEA, he led outreach activities with major emerging economies, including developing and implementing the Association process that drew countries including China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, Thailand, Morocco, and Singapore into the IEA family.  For five years, Simons coordinated IEA participation in the G 20 process, the leading global forum for multilateral cooperation, and edited all major IEA publications including the benchmark World Energy Outlook. He launched in-depth energy policy reviews of key IEA countries, and led IEA participation in the annual UN COP climate change process.


Previously, during a 30-year diplomatic career, he served as U.S. Ambassador to Chile, where he led efforts to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency investments, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy and Sanctions, where he coordinated U.S. energy diplomacy initiatives worldwide and chaired the IEA’s principal policy committee. Prior to his diplomatic service, he worked in international corporate banking.


Paul Simons holds a B.A. from Yale and an M.B.A. in Finance from New York University.

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Kanika Chawla

Chief of Staff @ Sustainable Energy for All

Kanika Chawla serves as the Chief of Staff, working closely with the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), and co-Chair of UN-Energy, to advance the twin objectives of energy access and energy transition at scale, especially in the context of the SDG Decade of Action. She engages with a wide range of government and private sector decision-makers and partners to identify levers that advance a just and inclusive energy transition.


Chawla has twelve years of experience in clean energy and energy transition policy and markets. She previously led the UN-Energy programme at SEforALL, and has also worked at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) in New Delhi, where she ran the Renewable Energy programme and founded the CEEW Centre for Energy Finance.


Kanika has also worked at the REN21 Secretariat in Paris and was one of the authors of the REN21Global Status Report on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. Her expertise lies at the intersection of energy and finance, and she has worked extensively on the creation of well-functioning clean energy markets in emerging economies. Her research has been used widely by governments, electricity regulators, international agencies and strategic philanthropies. She serves as a member of the Bureau of REN21 and continues to be a Non-resident Fellow at CEEW.


Kanika Chawla holds an MSc in Economics and Development Economics from the University of Nottingham and an undergraduate honors degree in Economics from Miranda House, University of Delhi. She is fluent in English and Hindi and speaks basic French.

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Amy Henry

CEO and Co-Founder @ EUNIKE Ventures, Inc.

Amy Henry is the CEO and Co-Founder of Eunike Ventures, TiE Houston board member, principal of Angels of Texas (TiE ATX LLC), and Senior Advisor for Fisher CPA Firm in the Woodlands, TX. 


Henry was named by the Houston Chronicle in 2019, “Women Who Take the Lead in Building Houston’s Tech Ecosystem” (related to the launch of Eunike Ventures).  Eunike was listed in 2022 as the ‘Top 6 Accelerators/Incubators Investing in Houston’ and the ‘Top 11 Best and Most Active Accelerator in Houston’.  


Eunike Ventures, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas USA is a first of its kind global energy venture builder /hybrid energy technology accelerator that works with innovative, technology companies through commercialization, across the entire Energy value chain.  Eunike serves a unique gap in the global innovation system by bringing together energy companies, expert talent, and best of breed startups. This new open innovation model of ‘Realizing the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ focuses on entrepreneurs, energy companies, paid pilots, and smart capital, which has included backing from large industry players such as Equinor, Hess, TechnipFMC, and Anadarko.


Henry has worked globally in the energy industry with/for organizations such as Petronas, Royal Dutch Shell (Gas & Power; Shell Upstream International, Shell E&P Technology & Research, Shell Technology Ventures, Shell Services International), Ernst & Young LLP and Arthur Andersen. 


Henry is a frequent speaker on energy issues as it relates to technology & innovation, investment and the changing landscape, technology adoption/acceleration, and realizing the entrepreneurial spirit.  She was awarded TiE Global’s “Best TiE University Mentor” in 2021/2022.

Amy Henry received her B.B.A. in Accounting at the University of Houston in 1993 and her J.D. in Corporate/Tax Law from Albany Law School New York in 2000. She received her Texas CPA License in 1995 and a PGDip in Financial Strategy from Oxford University in 2008.

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Enrique Glotzer

Principal @ Charles River Associates

Enrique Glotzer is a Principal in Charles River Associates’ (CRA) Energy practice based in London and has nearly 20 years of management consulting and executive leadership experience across North America, Europe, and Latin America in a variety of sectors including utilities and power generation, eMobility, renewables, and natural resources. He has led a variety of projects and advised executives on a broad range of issues including corporate and business unit strategy, M&A and due diligence, business development, market and competitive evaluation, investment decision and project finance support, and  valuation.


Prior to joining CRA, Glotzer was head of strategy for Anglo American Iron Ore Brazil and CEO and co-founder of a solar project finance firm.


Enrique Glotzer holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Wharton School and an MBA from Columbia University.

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Abraham Wapner

Associate @ Rabobank

Abraham Wapner is an associate at Rabobank where he supports the Project Finance, North America team to develop renewable energy assets. Wapner joined the team in October 2022 in an origination capacity where he helps to source, vet and close prospective deals. To date, he has worked on deals supporting renewable energy technologies including solar, wind, storage and transmission.


Prior to joining Rabobank, Wapner spent four years at a nonprofit advisory firm developing financial strategies for renewable energy.


Abe graduated from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in 2018 with an MPA concentrating on Energy and Environment.

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Diana Hernandez

Assistant Professor @ Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health

Diana Hernandez is a tenured Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Hernandez conducts research at the intersection of energy, equity, housing and health. A sociologist by training, her work focuses on the social and environmental determinants of health and examines the impacts of policy and place-based interventions on the health and well-being of socioeconomically disadvantaged populations.

An innovator in the field, Hernandez has operationalized and conducted foundational research on the concept of 'energy insecurity' which reflects the inability to adequately meet household energy needs. Her pathbreaking work on energy insecurity has explored the multiple dimensions of this phenomenon identifying sociodemographic disparities, adverse consequences and promising interventions toward energy justice. Hernandez is also a mayoral appointee to New York City's first-ever Environmental Justice Advisory Board.

Diana Hernandez completed her doctoral training in Sociology at Cornell University in 2010) and received her undergraduate degree at Hunter College- City University of New York in 2002, and is a product of the New York City public school system.

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Xixi Chen

Clean Energy Manager @ World Resources Institute

Xixi Chen is a Clean Energy Manager at the World Resources Institute (WRI), focusing on financial pathways to scale solar investment and mitigate risks in developing countries and emerging markets.


Before joining WRI, Xixi worked with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to engage with corporate partners on energy management and renewable energy policy.


She has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and a master’s degree in urban planning.   

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Tatsatom Gonçalves

Research Analyst II, Energy Program @ World Resource Institute

Tatsatom Gonçalves is a Research Analyst II at WRI’s Energy Program. As part of the City Renewables Accelerator, Gonçalves trains and develops resources for U.S. local governments on subjects such as residential solar and aggregated procurement. Additionally, Gonçalves conducts research on East and Southeast Asia for initiatives such as the Clean Energy Investment Accelerator and the Climate Solutions Partnership, aimed at expanding the use of renewables in the private sector.


Prior to joining WRI, Tatsatom worked at The Nature Conservancy in New York City, where he focused on coastal climate resilience and water quality. He also spent half a year in Kunming, China researching the country’s renewable energy policies.


Tatsatom Gonçalves holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Geography from Middlebury College and is currently based in New York. 

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Matt Lipton

Co-Head of Infrastructure Investment Research @ Partners Group

Matthew Lipton is part of the Private Infrastructure team and is Co-Head of Infrastructure Investment Research, based in New York. He has 18 years of industry experience. Prior to joining Partners Group, he worked at Neuberger Berman, Macquarie Capital (USA), UBS Securities, and Deloitte.


Matthew Lipton holds an MBA and a bachelor's in finance and accounting from the New York University's Stern School of Business.

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Jon Fouts

Managing Director @ Morgan Stanley

Jon Fouts is a Managing Director and Co-Head of Global Power and Utility Group within the Investment Banking Division. Jon covers a wide range of regulated, hybrid, renewable / cleanTech and private equity clients in the power and utilities sector.

Since joining Morgan Stanley in 1995, Jon has held numerous positions in the Firm and covered several the Firm’s important corporate and financial clients.

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Donnel Baird

Founder @ BlocPower

Donnel Baird is the founder of BlocPower, a climate tech company based in Brooklyn, NY, that analyzes, finances, and installs clean energy and decarbonization upgrades in buildings in underserved communities. BlocPower creates jobs for qualified local low-income workers, energy savings for building owners, reduces carbon emissions and asthma rates, and provides financial returns to investors. In 2021, the company announced a historic partnership with Ithaca, New York to decarbonize 100% of the city’s buildings—the first such project in the United States.


BlocPower is backed by Kapor Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, and Volo Earth Ventures.


Baird is a graduate of Duke University and Columbia Business School. He spent four years as a political and community organizer, and two years managing a national initiative to leverage American Reinvestment and Recovery Act energy efficiency investments in underserved communities. He is a member of the board of directors of several organizations including the New York Federal Reserve Bank Second District Board, the Climate Reality Project, and the Coalition For Green Capital. Additionally, he serves on the Advisory Committee of the US SEC Small Business Capital Formation.


An award recipient of the Columbia Business School Entrepreneur of the Year in 2021, the National Venture Capital Associations Startup Innovator of the Year in 2022, and TIME Magazine’s inaugural 'Dreamer of the Year' in 2022. In 2022, Fast Company named BlocPower the #4 Most Innovative Company in the World, TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential Companies, and the 42nd Most Disruptive Startup in the world by CNBC.

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Mark Lewis

Managing Director @ Lime Rock New Energy

Mark Lewis is a Managing Director with responsibility for investment sourcing, execution, and overall fund management. He currently serves on the boards of directors of Electric Power Engineers, and, and is a board observer at Aperia Technologies. Mark joined Lime Rock New Energy in 2018 and brings a career in clean and renewable energy portfolio company management and operations, energy transition investing, and strategic energy technology acquisitions.


Prior to joining LRNE Mark served as President of TAE Technologies, Inc., a leading fusion energy technology development company. Previously Mark served as CEO of ONEnergy, Inc., a diversified energy services company involved in energy retailing, commercial and industrial energy efficiency and distributed solar development.  Prior to ONEnergy, Mark was an investor and a Managing Director and Co-Chair of the Investment Committee at MissionPoint Capital Partners, an environmentally driven investment firm focused on financing the transition to a lower carbon economy. Earlier in his career, Mark served with General Electric in Europe and the US, including three years as the head of Global Business Development at GE Power (now GE Vernova). He was involved in over $15 billion of transactions during his career at GE.


Mark started his career in energy investment banking at Credit Suisse in New York and London. He previously served on the boards of directors of Qmerit, Smart Wires, Trilliant Networks, UpWind Solutions, ONEnergy, and OZZ Clean Energy. Mark is a graduate of Western University (B.A.) and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (M.B.A.).

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McKean Tompkins

Vice President @ Ares Management

Ms. Tompkins is a Vice President in Ares Infrastructure Opportunities. Prior to joining Ares in 2019, Ms. Tompkins was a Senior Analyst at Cypress Creek Renewables, where she focused on asset management, project finance, debt and tax equity, and sales of utility scale and distributed generation solar assets across the US. Ms. Tompkins holds a B.S. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Physics and Economics and is a CFA charterholder as of June 2020.

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Sean Diskin

Managing Director @ Barclays

Sean Diskin is a Managing Director and Head of Power & Utilities M&A at Barclays.  Sean joined Barclays in 2009 and is based in New York.  Since joining Barclays, Sean has worked on a variety of strategic advisory and capital markets transactions throughout his career.  ​

Sean received his MBA from Columbia Business School and BA in Economics from Harvard University.

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