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Ben Roberts

Senior VP, Energy, Power, & Renewables

Marsh




Based in Boston, Ben leads business development and the coordination of Marsh’s specialty global resources to service offshore wind projects in the United States. Ben has served the energy industry for the last decade and has considerable experience in pre-placement risk advisory and negotiation.

Claus Hertel

Marketing Director

Rabobank




Claus Hertel joined Rabobank in 2019 and is a Managing Director in the Project Finance Americas team based in New York.
 
Claus has over 20 years of international banking experience and has been active throughout his career in the origination, structuring and transaction execution of complex structured and project financings. He spent time during his career in the project finance groups of numerous financial institutions including WestLB, Santander and Investec and has broad transactional experience in the Americas energy space.
 
His focus within the Project Finance team is to support the growth of the existing core renewables business, expanding the client coverage and also increasing the bank’s footprint in the emerging sectors of the industry such as energy storage and other clean-technologies that support the organization’s sustainability objectives.
 
Most recently prior to Rabobank, he was involved in managing and developing financing for the North American operations of a private equity backed developer, owner and operator of battery storage infrastructure. 
 
Claus holds a BA in International Relations and Economics from Boston University and has completed Executive courses at the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management.

Jeff Thaler

University Project Counsel & Professor of Practice

University of Maine School of Law




Jeff Thaler is Professor of Practice at the University of Maine School of Law, and UMaine’s Project Counsel For the past 12 years Jeff has been the attorney for all of Maine’s floating deep-water wind projects and initiatives—handling all regulatory, permitting, contracting, transactional and related issues at local, state and federal levels. Recently he completed 18 months of negotiations with Diamond Offshore Wind (a subsidiary of Mitsubishi) and RWE (from Germany, the world’s 2nd largest  developer of offshore wind projects) to invest $100 million US and be the developers of the first U.S. full-scale floating wind project. 

Damian Brady

Agatha B. Darling Associate Professor of Oceanography

University of Maine




Dr. Brady has been the environmental monitoring lead for the University of Maine’s Offshore Wind program for the last 10 years, helping to permit and monitor the first grid connected floating offshore wind platform in the Americas in 2013. Dr. Brady works at the interface of coastal ecology and public policy and is especially interested in aquaculture-fisheries and offshore wind interactions. His current projects focus on recirculating aquaculture systems, American lobster supply chain dynamics, high resolution satellite image analysis for aquaculture site selection, and offshore wind site selection.

James Bennett

Senior Advisor

BOEM




Jim Bennett is the Program Manager for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) Renewable Energy Program. With nearly 40 years of experience in the environmental and energy sectors, Jim oversees the responsible development of renewable energy resources on the Outer Continental Shelf through conscientious planning, stakeholder engagement, comprehensive environmental analysis, and sound technical review.
Offshore wind is a vital national asset and has the potential to help contribute to the nation’s energy diversity for decades to come. BOEM’s renewable energy program now manages 15 active leases of more than 1.7 million acres on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) from Massachusetts to North Carolina.
Previously, Jim led BOEM’s Division of Environmental Assessment, overseeing the Bureaus compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other environmental laws focusing on Federal OCS programs, including oil and gas, sand and gravel, and renewable energy. His experience encompasses events such as the Exxon Valdez and the Deepwater Horizon oil spills, the Cape Wind energy project, and offshore renewable energy activities particularly in the promising waters of the Atlantic.
He is a graduate of the Department’s Manager Development Program and has earned two Master’s degrees — one in Environmental Planning and the other in Computer Systems Management.

Nathan McKenzie

Technology Manager for Offshore Wind R&D

US Dept. of Energy, Wind Energy Technology Office




Nate is the Technology Manager for Offshore Wind R&D within the US Department of Energy, Wind Energy Technology Office. In this role, he is the federal lead for the offshore demonstration projects, the offshore R&D consortium, relevant awards, and lab projects related to developing and validating design tools & conceptual designs for offshore turbines and foundations. Nate has been working for 22 years in the maritime industry in ship research and development, design, and construction.  Nate is a Naval Architect & Marine Engineer from Webb Institute with a Master’s degree in Business Administration from George Washington University.

M. Wing Goodale

Senior Deputy Director

Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI)




Goodale is the Senior Deputy Director and Center for Ecology Co-Director at Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI), and adjunct research faculty at the University of Maine. Goodale has a BA in biology from Colorado College, an MPhil in human ecology from College of the Atlantic, and a Ph.D. in environmental conservation from UMass Amherst. Goodale was a National Science Foundation IGERT fellow in the UMass Offshore Wind Energy Program and is a Switzer Environmental Fellow. Goodale’s research is focused on the interaction of wildlife with offshore wind energy. Goodale has in-depth knowledge of the cumulative effects, offshore wind farm wildlife literature, and environmental assessments.
 
At BRI, Goodale takes a leadership role in developing organization-wide projects, making strategic decisions, facilitating daily operations, and managing over 40 employees. He has conducted or managed more than 80 conservation biology projects. He was the PI on Department of Energy funded project that developed a stereo-optic camera system to track birds and bats around wind turbines. Goodale has served on municipal committees, environmental nonprofit boards, professional boards, and college boards, including the governor appointed Maine Board of Environmental Protection.

Walt Musial

Principal Engineer and Offshore Wind Lead

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)




Walt Musial is a principal engineer and leads the offshore wind research platform at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) where he has worked for 32 years. In 2003 he initiated the offshore wind energy research program at NREL which focuses on a wide range of industry needs and critical technology challenges. Walt also developed and ran NREL’s full scale blade and drivetrain testing facilities for 15 years. Earlier, Walt worked as a test engineer for five years in the commercial wind energy industry in California.  He studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, specializing in energy conversion with a focus on wind energy engineering.   He has over 150 publications and two patents. 

Markus Wernli

Assistant Vice President – Technical Fellow

WSP




Markus Wernli, PhD, PE – Senior Project Manager. Markus offers clients 26 years of experience in structural and marine concept development, design, and certification of advanced structures for renewable energy applications. He has specific background in design and construction support for floating facilities constructed of durable marine-grade prestressed concrete. Markus’ experience includes concept validations of bottom-founded, as well as floating moored structures for both nearshore and offshore ap-plications. He has led extensive efforts involving third-party certification by DNV-GL and ABS of high-performance prestressed concrete structures designed for wave and other complex loading environments – from tropical oceans to the arctic offshore. Markus has managed multidisciplinary offshore facility design projects for several major energy companies.

Deborah Greaves

Head of the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

University of Plymouth




Deborah Greaves is Head of the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, Professor of Ocean Engineering and Director of the COAST Laboratory at the University of Plymouth with previous appointments at the University of Oxford, UCL and the University of Bath. Her research interests include marine and offshore renewable energy, and physical and numerical modelling of wave-structure interaction.  She has led many national and international research projects concerning offshore renewable energy (ORE) in collaboration with industrial and academic partners and is Director of the EPSRC £9 million Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub.  In the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, 2018, she was awarded an OBE for services to Marine Renewable Energy, Equalities, and Higher Education and in 2020, she was elected to be a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

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