Plenary Speakers

The following plenary sessions are in the planning for the joint conference:

  • Monday: Welcome Ceremony
  • Monday: The Road to 100% Renewable Energy
  • Tuesday: Regional Progress and Programs in Renewable Energy
  • Wednesday: Global Focus and Innovation in Renewable Energy
  • Thursday: Increasing Quality of Life through Renewable Energy
  • Thursday: Closing Speech

Additional plenary speakers will be announced here in the coming weeks. Please re-visit this page soon.

The road to 100% renewable energy - Monday plenary

Christine Lins

Christine LinsChristine Lins was appointed as Executive Secretary of REN21, the Renewable Energy Policy Network of the 21st Century, in July 2011. REN21 is a global public-private multi-stakeholder network on renewable energy, headquartered at UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme in Paris/France. Between 2001 and 2011, Ms. Lins served as Secretary General of the European Renewable Energy Council, the united voice of Europe’s renewable energy industry in Brussels. Previously, she worked in a regional energy agency in Austria promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. She has a Masters degree in international economics and holds more than 20 years of working experience in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Regional progress and programs in renewable energy - Tuesday plenary

Cédric Philibert

Cedric PhilibertCédric Philibert is a senior analyst in the Renewable Energy Division of the International Energy Agency (IEA). He leads the division’s policy analysis on technologies, and currently works on renewable energy for industries. He authored the IEA renewable energy Technology Roadmaps on Concentrated Solar Power (2010), Hydropower (2012), Wind (2013), Solar Thermal Electricity (2014) and Solar Photovoltaics (2014). Mr. Philibert also wrote the 2011 IEA report Solar Energy Perspectives. With a background in climate change, Mr. Philibert co-authored the IEA publications Beyond Kyoto (2002), and Act Locally Trade Globally (2005).  A journalist by training, Mr. Philibert served as an advisor to the French Environment Minister from 1988-1990. In 1990 he published two books on climate change and on renewable energy. From 1992 to 1998 he served as advisor to the CEO of the French Agency for the Environment and Energy Efficiency, before joining UNEP in 1998. With qualifications in political sciences and economics, Mr. Philibert has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed and other journals. 

Turki Al Shehri

Turki Al ShehriTurki Al Shehri is Head of the Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) at the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources (MEIM) in Saudi Arabia. Reporting to the Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, Al Shehri is responsible for the delivery of Saudi Arabia’s National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The program targets 9.5GW of renewable energy by 2023. Prior to joining MEIM, Al Shehri was Head of Power Investment at Saudi Aramco, a role he assumed after nearly a decade working as an advisor to Saudi Aramco on power, water systems and strategy. He began his career with Saudi Aramco in 2002 as an electrical engineer, after graduating from the University of South Florida with a B.Sc. in electrical engineering. Al Shehri brings to REPDO over 15 years of experience in power systems and renewables. He has strong expertise in energy strategy and policy, integrated resource supply planning, market regulations, cogeneration, efficiency enhancements, and power system analysis for renewable energy forms.

Prof. Ali Sayigh

Ali SayighUK Citizen, Graduated from London University, & Imperial College, BSC.AWP, DIC, PhD, in 1966. He is Fellow of the Institute of Energy, and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering & Technology, Chartered Engineer, Chairman of Iraq Energy Institute.

He is the Editor-in-chief of Comprehensive Renewable Energy coordinating 154 top scientists, Engineers and researchers’ contribution in eight volumes published in 2012 by Elsevier which won 2013 PROSE award in USA. He is the founder of Med Green Forum and in 2016 he established peer review international open access journal called “Renewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability” which published in English on line by EDP publisher in Paris. He was one of the organizers of UN World Energy Forum in Dubai in charge of Renewable Energy section in 2012. He Run Symposium in Trieste Centre for theoretical Physics from 1977-1999 including UNESCO Forum in Energy in 1997. He is Chairman of Iraq Energy Institute since 2010.

Ms. Helvi Ileka

Helvi IlekaMs Helvi Ileka is a Centre Head at the Centre for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency (CREEE) of the Namibia Energy Institute, Namibia University of Science and Technology. She initiates  and  conducts  research  in Renewable  Energy  and  Energy Efficiency, develops  fundraising strategies, advises   government on clean energy policy, generates  income  from  other  sources  than  government,  creates  local  and  international research networks & partnerships. Helvi has a strong foundation in the hands-on technical and practical side of Solar Energy Systems since 1994. She coordinates and   manages the following projects at CREEE: Off-grid Energisation Master Plan;  Regulations for procurement of grid connected PV plants through bidding from Independent Power Producers,  Concentrated Solar Power full feasibility study for the establishment of 50-100 MW by 2018, Namibia Energy Efficiency Programme in Buildings – Energy Audits, Revision of building codes, Green Building Council of Namibia (GBCNA); Namibia Wind Resource Assessment Project;  Regional SOLTRAIN - Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative; National Integrated Resource Plan; Regulatory Framework for Namibia.  She  managed  the  preparation  of  the  submission  of  the  SADC  Centre  for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREE) bid to the SADC Secretariat, of which Namibia was selected as host, on 24 July 2015. She holds MSc Master of Energy and Environmental Management degree from the University of Twente (The Netherlands), a High Certificate in Photovoltaic Engineering (InWEnt, Germany) and a Diploma in Electronics (Namibia).

Global focus and innovation in renewable energy - Wednesday plenary

Doug McClenahan (moderator)

Doug McClenahan (moderator)In 2014, Doug was appointed Manager of the Renewable Heat and Power R&D Group for Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetENERGY Research Centre in Ottawa, the lead energy S&T delivery organization of the Government of Canada. Previous to this, Doug managed CanmetENERGY’s Solar Thermal R&D Program. He is a Past Chair of the International Energy’s Solar Heating and Cooling Program. Prior to joining CanmetENERGY, Doug was a Research Associate in Solar Energy at the University of Toronto. Throughout his career he has been actively involved in the development and commercialization of low temperature solar heating systems including low flow solar water heaters, transpired solar air collectors, and more recently he led the development of the award winning Drake Landing Solar Community, the first solar seasonal storage community space heating demonstration in North America. Doug was honored in 2011 as the first Canadian recipient of the Energy Globe World Award in recognition of the world record solar performance at Drake Landing. Doug holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo. He is also a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO).

Jodie Roussell

Jodie RoussellMs. Roussell serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Global Solar Council. Previously she served as Head of Public Affairs for Europe, Africa & Latin American for Trina Solar, as  well as Vice-President of the Board, Solar Power Europe, on the  E15 Experts Group on Clean Energy Trade Policy, and the International Energy Agency’s Energy Business Council. Previously she was Head of Energy Utilities & Technology at the World Economic Forum, where she was a Global Leadership Fellow. She co-founded and served as Chief Operating Officer of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), a Washington, DC based non-profit association. where she won the organizational honour of the Skoll Foundation Award for Social Entrepreneurs. She began her career in solar strategy consulting, providing research & strategic advisory services to leading global solar corporations. Ms Roussell holds a B.S. in Chinese Studies from Georgetown University, an MBA from IMD, and executive education with INSEAD, Wharton, and London Business School.  She speaks English, German, Mandarin Chinese, French and Spanish.

Werner Weiss

Werner WeissWerner WEISS is founding member and director of the Austrian research institute AEE – Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE INTEC) in Gleisdorf and is working in national and international solar thermal and energy efficiency projects since the beginning of the 1980ies. He headed numerous national and international projects – especially in the framework of EU, IEA and UNIDO programs. Since 2009 he is board member of the European Technology and Innovation Platform on Renewable Heating and Cooling and since 2010 the Austrian representative in the Executive Committee of the Solar Heating and Cooling Programme of the International Energy Agency (IEA). From 2010 to 2014 he acted as chairman of this IEA programme. He is member of the Scientific Council of EURAC Research in Italy and member of the Peer Review College of the Danish Council of Strategic Research.

Since 2007 he is lecturer at Vienna University of Technology and the University of Applied Sciences - Technikum Wien.

Michael Eckart

Michael EckartMichael T. Eckhart is a Managing Director and Global Head of Environmental Finance and Sustainability at Citigroup in New York City. In this role he supports Citi's goal to be the leading financial services firm in renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean water and related areas, serving clients with corporate banking, investment banking, equity and debt capital markets, global transaction services, trade finance and private banking. Mr. Eckhart serves on the governing bureau of the REN 21 global policy network in renewable energy, on the Renewable Industry Advisory Board of the IEA, and as an Observer to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

From 2001 to 2011, Mr. Eckhart was founding President of the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE). Previously, he developed financing for solar energy under the SolarBank Initiative in South Africa and India; was Chairman & CEO of the power generation development firm United Power Systems, Inc.; Vice President of the venture capital firm Areté Ventures, Inc. Mr. Eckhart has received several awards in the area of social entrepreneurship, including the ISES Global Leadership Award in Advancing Solar Energy Policy - in honour of Hermann Scheer. 

Cornelius Matthes

Cornelius MatthesCornelius is a well-respected leader and investor in the renewable energy industry and built several successful clean energy businesses and start-ups within Middle East and Africa. He has extensive board level experience from 10 years in Deutsche Bank (among others, youngest board member in Deutsche Bank Italy Group) and several renewable energy associations via pro bono work. By building the international shareholder and partner network of Dii (Desertec Industrial Initiative), he was at the forefront of the renewable energy revolution in North Africa and the Middle East. A keen entrepreneur and investor in emerging markets with recognitions such as “Solar Pioneer 2015” for the Middle East, he is lecturing at several universities including St. Gallen and is a regular speaker at international conferences. He holds an MBA (Dipl. Kaufmann) from University of Passau, and speaks German, English, Italian, French and Russian. “I am glad to be able to work in renewable energy which is also my passion – we can genuinely make an impact with many different things and help people, to make our planet a better place. Having new challenges every day is fantastic and many more mountains need to be climbed!”

Increasing Quality of Life through Renewable Energy - Thursday Plenary

Rainer Hinrichs-Rahlwes (moderator)

Rainer Hinrichs-Rahlwes (moderator)Rainer is an experienced Renewable Energy expert. Since May 2014, he has been serving as a Vice-President of EREF (European Renewable Energies Federation), the voice of independent producers of energy from renewable sources. From 2010 to 2014 he was EREF’s President. Furthermore, he was the President of the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), the umbrella organization of Renewables in Europe, until it had to be dissolved in March 2014.

Rainer is also a Board Member of the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), a mandate which he has been holding since 2006. He is BEE’s Spokesperson for European and international affairs, and he is the Chairman of BEE’s related working group. He is a Member of the WREN-Council, the advisory structure of the World Renewable Energy Network and he is the Chairman of WREN’s Policy Committee. Rainer is closely cooperating with various international organizations in the area of Renewables, such as IRENA, die IEA, the Global 100%Renewables-Campaign and others. From November 1998 to December 2005, he was a Director General in the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), in charge of – among other things – renewable energy and climate protection. As a representative of BMU he was one of the two chairmen of the International Steering Committee preparing the renewables2004-conference in Bonn. After the conference, he served as BMU’s representative and a founding co-chair and later a member of the Bureau of the Global Policy Network, now known as REN21.

Dr. Henning Wuester

Dr. Henning WuesterHenning Wuester oversees the Agency’s work on knowledge, policy and finance, which includes IRENA’s data and knowledge tools; analysis on best practice in renewable energy policies and finance and related advice and support to countries. Prior to joining IRENA, Dr. Wuester worked for the Green Climate Fund as Senior Manager at the Interim Secretariat. Previously, he was Special Adviser to the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and worked at the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in several roles in the secretariat of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution. Henning Wuester started his career as Assistant Professor in the economics faculty of the University of Munich and holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Munich.

Dr. Rodrigo Palma

Dr. Rodrigo PalmaRodrigo Palma-Behnke (M'94, SM'04) He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. on Electrical Engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and a Dr.-Ing. from the University of Dortmund, Germany. He is associate professor at the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Chile. His research field is the planning and operation of electrical systems in competitive power markets, renewable energy, solar energy solutions, smartgrids, power system education, and the development of microgrids solutions. He is with the Energy Center, FCFM, University of Chile (, and Director of the Solar Energy Research Center SERC-Chile ( He was the research coordinator of the MAPS Chile project (

Dr. Harish Hande

Dr. Harish HandeHarish Hande is an engineer and renewable energy entrepreneur with over 22 years of grassroots experience in meeting requirements of underserved communities. He is the co-founder of SELCO India, and under his leadership SELCO reached 4,50,000+ households across 6 Indian states, while focusing on Innovation and Ecosystem building, for which he was awarded the Magsaysay Award in 2011. Harish, a graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and a Masters and PhD from University of Massachusetts, US, returned to India to start SELCO in 1994-95 after experiencing benefits of solar energy in rural areas of Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka. Having installed the first 1000 home lighting systems on his own and over 4,50,000 households now through his company SELCO India, Harish is recognized as a pioneer of rural energy service across the globe. He and his company have received many national and international awards including the Ashden award (2005 and 2007), The tech museum award (2005), Khemka Social entrepreneur of the year 2007 and the Financial Times –Arcelor Mittal Boldness in Business award 2009. Harish was one of the 21 CEOs invited to meet US President Barrack Obama during his visit to Mumbai in 2014.

Prof. Liu Yanfeng

Liu YanfengProfessor Liu Yanfeng is the committee member of Chinese Renewable Energy Society (CRES). The Institute is committed to provide a communication platform for government decision-making, laws and regulations formulation, engineering application, product development and technology promotion; combine the buildings with solar thermal, photovoltaic, wind energy, biomass energy and photochemistry. Liu is in the first group of experts in Green Campus Committee, China Green Building Council and Energy Management Specialized Committee of China Association for Campus Management. Liu has been engaged in the study of renewable energy utilization since 2004. His study has effectively improved the life quality of the residents and protected the fragile environment in the west China. Liu was selected as the leader of science and technology innovation among young and middle-aged talents in the Ministry of science and technology, and the Academic leader of key scientific and technological innovation team in Shaanxi Province (The comprehensive utilization of solar thermal technology in rural areas of Northwest China). Liu is currently the vice president of Graduate School of Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology, and the deputy director of the State Key Laboratory of green building.

Closing Speech

Hans-Josef Fell

Hans Josef FellHans-Josef Fell, member of the German Parliament from 1998 – 2013 and spokesperson for energy policy of the Alliance 90/The Greens (2005-2013), is an internationally known political advocate for 100% Renewable Energy. Hans-Josef Fell is the father of the German Renewable Energy legislation (EEG) which has been a model policy for almost 100 countries worldwide. He is President of the Energy Watch Group (EWG), Ambassador for 100% Renewable Energy and Senior Advisor at DWR eco GmbH.

Awards banquet

Lawrence L. Kazmerski

Lawrence L. KazmerskiLawrence L. Kazmerski is Emeritus Research Staff Member of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, having last served as Executive Director, Science and Technology Partnerships at NREL 2009-2013. He is currently Research Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, with the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI). Previously, Kazmerski served as the founding Director of the National Center for Photovoltaics for the period 1999-2008. He received his B.S.E.E. (1967), M.S.E.E. (1968), and his Ph.D. degree (1970) in electrical engineering—all from the University of Notre Dame. He served in a postdoctoral position with the Atomic Energy Commission at the Notre Dame Radiation Research Laboratory, January through August 1971. He was on the electrical engineering faculty of the University of Maine before coming to SERI (NREL) in 1977. His research at Maine included NSF- and ERDA-funded work in thin-film photovoltaics and the report of the first thin-film copper-indium-diselenide (CIS) solar cell. He was SERI’s (NREL’s) first staff member in photovoltaics, hired specifically to establish efforts in the characterization of photovoltaic materials and devices; he led NREL efforts in measurements and characterization for more than 20 years.  Kazmerski has more than 320 publications and some 200 invited talks. He has been recognized with several national and international awards, including the World PV Prize, the IEEE William R. Cherry Award, the AVS Peter Mark Memorial Award, and the ASES Charles Greeley Abbot Award. In 2013, Kazmerski was presented the ISES Christopher A. Weeks Award for contributions in accelerating PV research, development, and deployment around the world. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the APS, a Fellow of the AVS, and a Fellow of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES).  In 2017, Kazmerski became a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE EDS. Kazmerski is a member (elected 2005) of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.


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Important Dates

Due date TCA forms: August 15, 2017
Author registration deadline: August 15, 2017
Early bird deadline: September 5, 2017
Late registration fee: after October 27

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