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The following plenary sessions are planned 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 by Hans-Josef Fell

The road to 100% renewable energy - Monday plenary

Dr. Hosni Ghedira

Dr. Hosni Ghedira received his MSc degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Sherbrooke (Canada) and his PhD in Water Sciences from the University of Quebec (Canada) in 1997 and 2001, respectively.  He joined Masdar Institute in 2010 and is its Chemical and Environmental Department head, director of its Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment (ReCREMA) and an associate professor in the Water and Environmental Engineering Program.  Before moving to the UAE, Dr. Ghedira spent six years at the City University of New York as assistant professor and research associate professor. He also acted as director of the Environmental Remote Sensing and Image Processing Laboratory at the NOAA Cooperative Remote Sensing Science & Technology Center (NOAA-CREST) in New York from 2003 to 2008.  In his capacity as director of the Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment (ReCREMA) at Masdar Institute, Dr. Ghedira has lead the effort to develop regional knowledge and leadership in renewable energy assessment and mapping for the Arabian Peninsula and countries with similar climate through partnership with regional and international partners. ReCREMA is now recognized as international leader in solar resource assessment in arid and dusty environments. Dr. Ghedira is an active member in several regional and international working groups in the field of clean energy policies and renewable energy strategies. He has authored and co-authored more than 120 publications in peer-reviewed journals and referred conference proceedings. He has also supervised more than twenty PhD and MSc theses in the USA and the UAE.

Mr. Cédric Philibert

Cédric 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. 

Regional progress and programs in renewable energy - Tuesday plenary

Prof. Ali Sayigh (moderator)

UK 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.

Mr. Adam Kohler

Adam Koehler is Head of Pre-development and Tendering of the Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) at the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources (MEIM) in Saudi Arabia. Reporting to the Head of REPDO, Adam is responsible for all of REPDO’s pre-development and tendering activities to deliver 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 REPDO, Adam was a Renewable Energy Business Developer at Saudi Aramco for more than 3 years. Before joining Saudi Aramco, he assumed various management roles within the Solar business unit of the specialized-glass manufacturer SCHOTT. There, in 2005 he began his career as process engineer, after graduating from the University of Applied Science Berlin, Germany as Dipl.Ing. (FH) in the field of Renewable Energy Engineering.

Adam brings to REPDO over 12 years of experience in business development and renewables. He has strong expertise in project development and project management, strategic and operational planning, organizational development, renewable energy strategy and policy, manufacturing, process technology and supply chain localization.

Mr. Robin Welling

Mr. Welling made his first steps into the solar industry, in 1994, as area manager for Alumax Extrusions B.V. Austria, Bavaria, Switzerland and Northern Italy. Alumax Extrusions B.V. was a leader in the production of aluminium profiles for the solar sector, as it identified very early on the potential of this niche market. In 1996, Mr. Welling also had responsibility in Sonnenkraft Austria, Sonnenkraft Germany, and GREENoneTec Austria. Since October 2006, Robin M. Welling holds the positions of shareholder of TSW Holding GmbH (AT), TSW Holding Corp (USA) and several other solar thermal companies around the world, Managing Director of TiSUN GmbH, TiSOL Power & Heat GmbH and many other groups related companies. In 2007 and in 2008, Robin Welling was a member of the board of directors of European Solar Thermal Industries Federation (ESTIF), which became Solar Heat Europe. On the 3rd December 2010, Robin M. Welling was elected President of ESTIF for the first time. He remains in the same position after being re-elected in December 2016.

Dr. Alexander Ritschel

Dr. Alexander Ritschel is Head of Applications Development at Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company. He oversees research and demonstration activities on an array of water and clean energy issues, such as energy-efficient seawater desalination technologies, photovoltaic module and systems testing, solar thermal applications and innovative mobility concepts.   Dr. Ritschel became involved in energy and water research in 2001, working with the California Energy Commission in the Public Interest Energy Research program. Since then he has worked at the University of California, Merced, conducting research on concentrating photovoltaic and solar thermal systems.  He further worked as consulting engineer at Lahmeyer International where he was responsible for the design and engineering of utility-scale photovoltaic power plants. Alexander Ritschel received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from Vienna University of Technology and an M.A. from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Dr. Ritschel is author of several scientific papers, journal articles, and conference papers on clean energy issues.

Ms. Helvi Ileka

Ms 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

Mr. 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).

Ms. Jodie Roussell

Ms. 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.

Mr. Werner Weiss

Werner 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.

Mr. Cornelius Matthes

Cornelius 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

Mr. Rainer Hinrichs-Rahlwes (moderator)

Rainer Hinrichs-Rahlwes is an experienced renewable energy expert.  After having served as the President of the European Renewable Energies Federation (EREF) from 2010 to 2014, he is one of the association’s Vice-Presidents now. He is representing EREF as a Steering Committee Member of REN21.  Rainer is also a Board Member of the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE). He is the Chairman of BEE’s European and international affairs Committee.  Rainer is a Member of the Advisory Council and the Head of the Policy Committee of the World Renewable Energy Network (WREN). And he is a lifetime member of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES). Before joining the renewable energy sector, from 1998 to 2005, he was a Director General in the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

Dr. Henning Wuester

Henning 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

Rodrigo 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

Harish 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

Professor 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

Mr. Hans-Josef Fell

Hans-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

Dr. Lawrence L. Kazmerski

Lawrence 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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