2016 Conference

April 15th, 2016 | The University Club, Chicago


Please join us for Chicago Booth’s Energy Forward 2016 conference as we examine the trends and opportunities that are defining the energy markets this year and beyond.

You’ll gain insights from industry leaders, network with investors and practitioners, and plant yourself firmly in the center of Chicago’s energy community.  Topics and questions addressed will include: the outlook for US oil markets and upstream activity, outlook for the US power sector, venture capital and private equity activity in energy, energy policy development and the effect on markets, and innovative new energy business models.

Thank you to our generous sponsors, including ChevronNextEra Energy, Marathon CapitalStrategy&, FMC TechnologiesDenham Capital, CME Group, InvenergyExelon, and the Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago.  If you are interested in becoming a corporate sponsor, please contact the organizers for more information.

Platinum Sponsors:

CVX Gold

Gold Sponsors:

marathon cap logo

Silver Sponsors:

FMC Logo               


Bronze Sponsors:

   Exelon Corp.

Academic Partner:

EPIC logo


Friday, April 15th, 2016


We are excited to have the following keynote speakers:

  • Michael O’Sullivan (MBA ’87), Senior Vice President of Development, NextEra Energy Resources

Michael O’Sullivan is senior vice president of development at NextEra Energy Resources, the nation’s leader in producing electricity from clean and renewable fuels and also the world leader in producing electricity from the wind and sun. Mike received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago.

NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (together with its affiliated entities, “NextEra Energy Resources”), is a clean energy leader and is one of the largest wholesale generators of electric power in the U.S., with approximately 20,000 MW of generating capacity outside of FL in 25 states and 4 provinces of Canada. By year-end 2016, NextEra will, together with it’s affiliated entities, have over 15,000 MW of owned capacity in the US and Canada in our wind and solar fleet. The business also operates clean, emissions-free nuclear power generation facilities in New Hampshire, Iowa and Wisconsin as part of the NextEra Energy nuclear fleet, which is one of the largest in the United States. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit www.NextEraEnergyResources.com.

Stuart Porter is the Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of Denham Capital. Stuart brings more than 25 years of senior investment experience to Denham and currently serves on the Executive Committee, Investment Committee and Valuation Committee.

Prior to founding Denham Capital, Stuart was a founding partner of Sowood Capital Management LP. Previously, he served as a Vice President and Portfolio Manager at Harvard Management Company, Inc., where he focused on public and private transactions in the energy and commodities sectors. Stuart also worked for Bacon Investments and J. Aron, a division of Goldman Sachs. While at J. Aron, he worked on the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index desk. Before joining J. Aron, Stuart was a self-employed trader at the Chicago Board of Trade and was employed by Cargill Incorporated in Minnetonka, Minnesota in the Financial Markets Division. Stuart volunteers his time by serving on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and also serves as a Trustee of St. Sebastian’s School in Needham, Massachusetts.

Stuart received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago.

  • Amy Francetic, Senior Vice President of New Ventures and Corporate Affairs, Invenergy

With over 20 years of experience spanning startups, private equity, research and operations, Amy Francetic oversees Invenergy’s sourcing and integration of technology innovation and strategic investments that leverage its operating portfolio. She also leads Invenergy’s external corporate affairs, focusing on enhancing brand visibility and strategic partnerships. Prior to Invenergy, Francetic served as CEO of technology accelerator Clean Energy Trust. She also held roles at private equity firm MVC Capital and Stanford Research Institute. Previously, she was co-founder and CEO of a tech company that she sold to Lego Systems. Francetic serves on Advisory Boards for the WISER Institute at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Northwestern University and the Museum of Science and Industry. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Political Science from Stanford.


We are pleased to host the following panels:

Power & Utilities: Utility Growth Against Prevailing Headwinds (10:15 am to 11:15 am)

Utilities are currently faced with the challenging prospects of the sustained fall in natural gas and electricity prices, along with the possibility of continued shrinking demand resulting from customer-owned distributed generation, slow economic growth, and increased energy efficiency. Given these headwinds, the panel will explore the different paths utilities have taken in order to achieve growth and returns for their stakeholders. The past year has brought with it multi-billion dollar acquisitions of natural gas distribution companies by regulated electric utilities, expansions of product and service offerings for many customers, and new financial policies to boost total shareholder returns. Panelists will review these developments in the utility sector and discuss expectations for the future of the industry.

Upstream: Successful Operating Strategy During a Cyclical Downturn (10:15 am to 11:15 am)

Over the past several years, many energy companies invested in upstream exploration and production projects assuming a floor of $70 to $80/barrel. However, the recent fall in crude oil prices has introduced uncertainty in the industry, as well as the global economy. Companies are beginning to grapple with a new reality. Where will oil prices go from here? How will companies and private equity firms invest in this new climate? Will the oil & gas industry see a wave of consolidation? How will the oil field services sector adapt? This panel will address these questions and other issues affecting E&P companies.

Energy Storage: Trends, Barriers, and Successes (1:15 pm to 2:15 pm)

As battery costs decline and investment in energy storage technologies grow, US storage capacity is expected to boom over the next several years, from 340 MW in 2012 to 6 GW by 2017 and over 40 GW by 2022. In 2015 alone, an estimated 220 MW were deployed, two times the capacity installed in 2013 and 2014 combined. Battery applications for renewable energy storage, electric power supply reliability, and peak demand shaving will continue to expand, while experts predict battery storage could supplant natural gas power generation to meet peak demand by the end of the decade. As the industry matures, other applications will become economical. This panel will explore how storage is being utilized today, and what the possibilities are for the future.

Energy Policy: Regulatory Implications of a Changing Energy Landscape (1:15 pm to 2:15 pm)

The current low price scenario and the increased efforts to mitigate the environmental footprint of oil and gas activities highlight the need for a flexible regulatory framework capable of adjusting to a dynamic business landscape. In this context, how feasible is the implementation of stricter fuel efficiency and renewable fuel standards? What could be the impact and extent of potentially tighter regulations on methane leakage and flaring? How much more likely and feasible is a carbon pricing mechanism following the COP-21 Paris Accord and the call from several major oil and gas companies to introduce such a system? The regulatory dimension of these issues should be part of a cost-effective solution.

Renewable Generation: The Role of Policy in Influencing Strategic Decisions (2:30 pm to 3:30 pm)

Renewable generation continues to be a hot topic in the energy industry, as wind, solar, and other clean energy sources are projected to be a fast growing and crucial portion of the global power supply. The IEA predicts that, in the next five years, renewable generation will account for nearly two thirds of net power capacity additions worldwide, with wind and solar representing a large share of this growth. Energy policy has had, and will continue to have, a huge impact on the sector: the signing of the Paris Climate Deal and the extensions of the ITC and PTC in the U.S. both promise to bolster the current growth trajectory, yet net metering policy remains an important unanswered question that has strategic implications for the future of the sector. How do businesses plan around this kind of frequent policy change, and the uncertainty that comes with it? This panel will examine the intersection between regulatory policy and strategic decisions by renewable industry players.