Connecting to a Powerful Future

Speakers and Panelists

Keynote Speakers

Abigail Ross Hopper, CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association

Abby Hopper

Abby is the President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, the national trade organization for America's solar energy industries. She oversees all of SEIA's activities, including government affairs, research, communications, and industry leadership. She joined SEIA in 2016 and was previously director of the Maryland Energy Administration.

Abby graduated Cum Laude from the University of Maryland School of Law and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dartmouth College.

Jane Bloch, Clean Energy Communications Expert

Jane Bloch

Jane Bloch, Principal at Tusculum Consulting, comes to our summit to share best practices on how to effectively communicate about clean energy with different audiences. She has spent the last decade advancing clean energy policies through strategic communications, stakeholder engagement, and philanthropic investment. Jane grew up spending her summers in the Northwoods, near Minocqua, where she learned to love canoeing and loon calls.

Jane earned a B.A in Political Science from the University of Washington. Outside of the clean energy world, she is an advocate for children in foster care.

View from the Top: WI Utility Executives Roundtable

Mike Peters, Panelist


Mike Peters has worked with and for locally owned, not-for-profit electric utilities for the past three decades. He joined WPPI Energy in January 2011 as president and CEO, responsible for the organization’s leadership, strategic direction and day-to-day operations. WPPI Energy's 51 member utilities collectively serve more than 200,000 homes and businesses in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. Mike is trained as an attorney and has served on many Boards, Task Forces, and Associations throughout his career.

Under Mike’s leadership, WPPI Energy has recently committed to purchasing 100 megawatts of solar energy from a project in Two Rivers, Wisconsin in a partnership with NextEra Energy Resources, and 132 megawatts of wind energy from a new project in Illinois owned by Invenergy.

Jeff Keebler, Panelist


Jeff Keebler is President, CEO, and a Board Member of MGE Energy and Madison Gas and Electric Company, its subsidiary. Jeff has been with MGE for more than 20 years and has held leadership roles in many areas of the company including Energy Supply, Rates and Planning, Information Technology, Human Resources and Customer Service before becoming CEO in March 2017. He holds a B.S. in Finance and Economics from the UW-La Crosse and an MBA from UW-Whitewater. He currently serves on the Board of the United Way of Dane County.

Under his leadership, MGE has recently moved to build a 66 megawatt wind farm, created a special renewable energy product for business customers, finished a community solar array for residential customers, and is adding renewables to meet its internal 30% renewables by 2030 framework adopted in 2015.


Driving Wisconsin's Renewable Energy Markets

Eric Udelhofen, Panelist


Eric works on OneEnergy’s project development team to shepherd projects from inception through construction. Eric manages prospecting and site identification, landowner outreach, permitting and interconnection processes, and customer outreach for utility-scale solar projects in the Upper Midwest. OneEnergy is currently actively developing projects in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois and Ohio, and recently announced an innovative 12 megawatt solar project with Organic Valley and multiple municipal utilities in Wisconsin.

Eric has worked in renewable energy since 2007, first for EDP Renewables which including completing development of a 100 megawatt phase of the Meadow Lake wind project in central Indiana. In 2012, Eric joined H&H Solar where he worked on sales, project development and construction management.

Vanessa Tutos, Panelist


Vanessa Tutos is Director of Government Affairs at EDP Renewables North America (formerly Horizon Wind Energy), responsible for developing and promoting favorable legislative and regulatory policy for renewable energy at the state level. She works closely with industry, state, and NGO counterparts to help ensure that renewable energy interests are represented across the region so that wind and solar power can compete on a level playing field in the energy market. Vanessa joined EDPR in 2005 as a project developer after completing an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in New York. She also earned undergraduate degrees in Public Policy and Spanish from Rice University. EDP Renewables recently commissioned its 98 megawatt Quilt Block Wind Farm in southwest Wisconsin which will serve power to over 25,000 homes.

Joe Parisi, Panelist


Joe Parisi has called Dane County home his entire life. He was first elected as County Executive, the chief elected leader of Dane County, in 2011 after 6 years in the State Assembly and 8 years as Dane County Clerk. With a population of more than 500,000 and an annual county budget of $600 million, Dane is Wisconsin’s second largest county. Dane County has the highest private sector job and population growth in Wisconsin.

As County Executive, Joe has invested in harnessing dairy manure and other waste products to create energy and remove phosphorous to help the lakes. Now, Dane County is planning to migrate its landfill electrical generation, and potentially the area’s manure digesters, towards natural gas for transportation fuels as opposed to electricity. We’ll find out what opportunities this creates for renewable energy in Dane County, and how it can be replicated throughout Wisconsin.

Ed Zinthefer, Panelist


Ed is president of Arch Electric Inc. and Member-Owner in Amicus, a national cooperative comprised of 43 solar installers across the U.S. He is a Master Electrician & NABCEP certified solar installer with 29 years electrical construction experience with 13 of the most recent years directly associated with the solar industry.

Between 2003-2016 Arch installed over 1.8MW of cumulative small distributed solar generation. In 2017 alone, Arch installed over 1.8MW of solar, providing a snap shot of the industry’s growth in SE Wisconsin. Arch is now active in “operations & maintenance” of solar assets nationwide.

As an early leader in the field, Ed shared his knowledge developing curriculum and instructing solar courses for organizations such as Lakeshore Technical College, Waukesha Technical College & the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy Program sought Ed out as a Compliance Agent to ensure Electrical Code compliancy in systems being installed by firms emerging into the solar installation industry.

He served in the US Army Reserve between 1984 and 2008, most of his career as a Drill Instructor. He retired as a First Sergeant. Ed, his wife of 27 years and their 4 children live on a SE WI sustainable farm producing quality, clean foods for not only his family but others interested in eating real.

Register for the 2018 Summit! Become a 2018 Summit Sponsor!

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Day & Time

Thursday, January 18, 2018
Registration starts at 8 AM
Program: 9 AM - 4 PM, with reception to follow


Monona Terrace
1 John Nolen Avenue Madison, WI 53703

Register for the 2018 Summit!

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Contact Jodi Jean Amble at(608)255-4044 ext.3 or by email.