Lorraine White (Moderator):
Water-Energy Program Manager, GEI Consultants - Lorraine White is an environmental scientist, resource management specialist and program manager with more than 20 years of experience in the energy and water resources fields. Prior to joining GEI Consultants, Ms. White served 20 years with the California Energy Commission (CEC) where she was the expert on the relationship between the water and energy sectors, and represented the CEC as a member of DWR’s 2009 State Water Plan Update Steering Committee, and the Water-Energy Subgroup to the Governor’s Climate Action Team. Among her many achievements isthe development of the CEC's Integrated Energy Policy Report which is the state’s primary energy policy document. Ms. White also held positions as a water resource analyst and project manager in the CEC's power plant siting regulatory program, energy policy advisor to former Chairman Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, and a legislative analyst for California Assemblywoman Marguerite Archie-Hudson and Assemblyman Phil Isenberg. Ms. White holds a BS in Biochemistry from University of California at Davis and was a California Assembly Fellow.
Julia Levin (Panelist):
Deputy Secretary for Climate and Energy, California Natural Resources Agency - Julia is the Deputy Secretary for Climate Change and Energy at the California Resources Agency. In that position, she is responsible for coordinating clean energy and climate change programs between state agencies, with the Legislature and the public. In particular, Julia leads the state’s climate adaptation work and is the Chair of California’s Bioenergy Action Team. Previously, Julia served as a Special Assistant Attorney General in the California Attorney General’s Office, where she helped to defend California’s PACE programs, feed-in tariffs and renewable energy development. Julia has also served as a Commissioner on the California Energy Commission, where she was the presiding Commissioner on renewable energy and the associate Commissioner on energy efficiency. She presided over the adoption of California’s first energy efficiency standards for televisions, power plant permitting cases and other energy issues while at the Commission. Julia has also served as the Global Warming Director for the National Audubon Society, California Policy Coordinator for the Union of Concerned Scientists, staff attorney at the Natural Heritage Institute and Trustees for Alaska, and consultant to the US Agency for International Development, World Bank and Russian Forest Ministry. She received her B.A. from Brown University and her law degree from Hastings College of the Law.
Meredith Younghein (Panelist):
Special Assistant to the Secretary, CAL/EPA - Meredith Younghein serves as a Special Assistant to the Secretary for Environmental Protection for the State of California. In this role, she helps to coordinate environmental policy implementation and development across state agencies. She is actively engaged in the state’s Dairy Digester Task Force, Bioenergy Action Team, and the Water-Energy Climate Action Team. Meredith holds a J.D. and a Certificate in Environmental Law from Lewis & Clark Law School and a Bachelors in Environmental Policy from Tulane University. Meredith’s prior public service includes, among others, the General Counsel’s Office at the Bonneville Power Administration and the ENERGY STAR for Industry program at U.S. EPA.
Dr. Ruihong Zhang (Panelist):
Professor and Director of the UC Davis BioEnergy Project - Professor Zhang's research in bioenvironmental engineering focuses on organic waste management and air quality control. The organic wastes include food scraps, agricultural and food processing by-products, animal manure, municipal organic residuals, etc. The goal is twofold: first, to prevent environmental pollution that may be caused by disposal of wastes, and second, to convert these materials into valuable products, such as biofuels and biochemicals. In Professor Zhang's laboratory, effective biological and chemical technologies are applied to engineering systems. Current research areas include the following: 1) developing efficient biological conversion systems to recover energy and producing value-added products from organic wastes, 2) investigating effective, integrated wastewater treatment systems for pollution control, and 3) developing computer models for predicting air emissions from waste sources.