PLEASANTON — For the first time in the East Bay, a Stanford University alumni group will host a speaker series in Pleasanton to talk about the future of renewable energy.

The three talks, which will be 15 minutes each, will be led by professionals in the field and cover the topics of batteries, carbon dividends and hydrogen. Put on by the Stanford Professionals in Energy (SPIE) club, the event will be held on April 11 at Pleasanton’s Lynnewood United Methodist Church.

Emmie Stenstedt, co-chair of the club’s Bay Area chapter, wanted to hold the event in the Pleasanton-Dublin-Livermore area because of its proximity to the places such as the Lawrence Livermore Lab, Sandia Lab and other businesses in the East Bay.

“Renewables are currently in the process of transforming the energy sector as we know it,” she said.

“California is in the process of trying to reduce our carbon footprint, our green house gases and being world leaders in addressing climate change,” Stenstedt said. “But we are currently, for the next 10 years or so, wrestling with dividing our attention between solar energy and the need for the lights to be on at night.”

Rishabh Kothari (Courtesy SPIE Club)

The transition to 100 percent renewable energy is not something that California can do overnight. Currently, 35 percent of the state’s energy consumption comes from natural gas power plants, she said.

Ryan Stoltenberg Courtesy SPIE Club

Stenstedt explained there are complex issues associated with renewable energy, such as the cost associated with turning to 100 percent renewable energy. For example, not everyone can afford to put solar panels on their roofs.

Some of the speakers will touch on such topics, and help explain what some possible solutions could be in the future. Speakers include Rishabh Kothari, a graduate training assistant at Stanford who is in the thick of battery research as a fellow; Tony Green, a STEM teacher and engineer who will focus on the carbon dividends; and then Ryan Stoltenberg, of Stone Edge Microgrid/Wooster Engineering, who will discuss the future of hydrogen.

Tony Green Courtesy SPIE Club

The presentations will be 15 minutes each, and are modeled after the well-known speakers series called TED-Talks. But, the club is calling them by their own name: “QUESTs,” or Quarterly Energy Series Talks. The short time frame will force speakers to get to their points quickly and clearly, Stenstedt said.

The SPIE Club itself is not only a networking club, but also has interest in engaging discussions in energy-related topics, including renewables, electric vehicles, biofuels, oil and gas, and utilities.

A $10 donation at the door is recommended for the event, which will be 7 to 8:30 p.m. April 11 at the Lynnewood United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, located at 4444 Black Ave. in Pleasanton. Advanced registration is requested, with a name and email address to info@elsysinc.com.


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