CHAPEL HILL – UNC Chapel Hill is hosting its sixth annual Clean Tech Summit this week, providing a forum for students and industry leaders to share insights on the ever-advancing clean energy sector in North Carolina.
The agenda includes two days of sessions and content tracks focusing on renewable energy, entrepreneurship and investment, sustainable farming, energy storage and efficiency, coastal resiliency, grid modernization and smart communities.
Workshops will cover cleantech investments and women in STEM careers. Panelists will discuss a mix of relevant topics such as agtech, bioenergy, corporate social responsibility, alternative proteins, energy innovations in the military, environmental financial risk, wind energy, food waste and trends in clean energy media.
Keynote speakers include:
- Julie Borlaug, VP of communications and public relations at Inari
- Sharon Allan, chief innovation officer at Smart Electric Power Alliance
- Michael S. Regan, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
- Alfred Griffin, president of New York Green Bank
- Lloyd Yates, EVP of customer and delivery operations and president of Duke Energy’s Carolina Region
- Russ Gyurek, director of IoT at Cisco
- Philip Mezey, CEO of Itron
- DeAndrea Salvador, founder and CEO of Renewable Energy Transition Initiative
In addition to several keynotes, panels and workshops, the Clean Tech Summit also includes a mentorship program and career fair for students who are interested in pursuing jobs in the sector.
The summit mentorship program helps attendees connect with volunteer industry professionals who can advise on their career paths.
On Thursday afternoon, UNC’s Environmental Resource Program will provide hands-on resume feedback for students as they prepare for the career fair on Friday.
This is the first year a career fair track has been included in the program. Greg Gangi, associate director of UNC’s Clean Tech and Innovation Program, says the goal is to “excite college students with the career possibilities that exist and help industry and talent connect with each other.”
Students can meet with employers including Duke Energy, Itron, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Strata Solar, Accenture, the Center for Energy Education, Cypress Creek Renewables, PowerSecure and more.
Organizers of the summit are expecting a turnout of around 1,000 attendees—half of them students, half government and industry representatives.
Gangi says a key takeaway of the event is understanding the region’s role in tackling global problems and how government, industry and academia can work together to advance clean energy initiatives.
“We will be continuing the conversation throughout the year and building on the themes of the Summit to provide long-term opportunities for engagement among students, industry, academia and government,” Gangi adds.
Attendees of the summit can follow along with track sessions using a dedicated mobile app, available for Apple and Android.