Gene Rodrigues to Address Energy Reliability, Resilience and Climate Change at Annual Subregional Symposium  

TORRANCE, CALIF., March 21, 2023 – America needs a 21st century grid to meet the challenges facing it today and to maintain its energy, economic and environmental leadership on the world stage, according to Gene Rodrigues, who was recently appointed as assistant secretary for electricity within the United States Department of Energy by President Joe Biden. Rodrigues, a South Bay resident, will serve as keynote speaker at the South Bay Cities Council of Government’s (SBCCOG) March 23, 2023 General Assembly.  

The free event is an opportunity for thought leaders to gather, share ideas and discuss important issues that impact the South Bay subregion of Los Angeles County. The theme for this year’s event is “The South Bay: Leading the Way in Resilience and Adaptability.” Its program will explore how the South Bay is adapting to conflicting growth goals and the potential impacts of increasing climate events to create a more resilient future. The General Assembly is designed with elected officials, city staff, city commissioners, residents and local businesses in mind. The program will begin at 10 a.m. (registration and exhibit hall opens at 8:30 a.m.) at the Juanita Millender-McDonald Community Center at 801 E. Carson Street, Carson, Calif. 90745. Registration is required to attend and is available at  

“Every session and conversation should end with ‘So, what are we going to do about it?’” Rodrigues said as a prelude to his upcoming keynote. “Issue Identification is interesting, but it’s the creation of solution pathways that will make this conference truly important.”   

On the topic of why local dialogue is essential to steering the future of the nation’s power supply, he continued, “We—citizens, local governments, utilities, and other stakeholders, including the U.S. Department of Energy—must become more adept at communicating and collaborating early and often in the grid resource and management planning process. Our first step together must be a commitment to collective understanding and planning.”  

Over two decades Rodrigues rose from practicing regulatory law to overseeing one of the nation’s largest portfolios of demand-side management (DSM) programs, which implement and monitor activities of electric utilities to encourage consumers to modify their electricity use. Prior to his new post, Rodrigues served eight years as vice president in the Energy, Environment and Infrastructure practice of ICF, a global advisory and digital services provider.  

The session will commence with a panel titled “Preparing for the Parched Future,” which will evaluate the impacts of climate change on water resources and supplies, including the state’s seemingly conflicting goal of more growth, including housing, and highlight efforts by regional agencies and cities to mitigate those impacts, including lessened reliance on imported water. Panelists include Liz Crosson, sustainability, resiliency and innovation officer, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; Gregory Reed, P.E., General Manager, West Basin Municipal Water District; Ryan Smoot, city manager, City of Lomita; Chuck Schaich, policy and resource specialist, City of Torrance Public Works Department; and Tiffany Tran, associate resource specialist, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. 

Following Rodrigues’ keynote address, afternoon sessions will include a “Powering the South Bay” panel. The discussion will highlight innovative and new technologies cities are using, or could adopt, to ensure a resilient and environmentally sustainable power supply. The talk will be led by independent energy policy expert Lorenzo Kristov, Ph.D., who will introduce the concept of “community energy systems.” He will explain how climate-driven needs and the emergence of “distributed energy resources” are challenging currently used utility system paradigms. Kristov serves on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Gridwise Architecture Council. He served 18 years as a principal in market design and infrastructure policy at the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).  

Additional “Powering the South Bay” panelists include Alex Turek, director of strategic development, GRID Alternatives, whose organization is developing microgrids; Anthony Michaels, managing director, Proteus Environmental Technologies, who leads efforts to at Port of LA-based public-private ocean institute AltaSea to build relationships in support of creating a 21st Century Blue Economy; and Janice Lin, founder and president, Green Hydrogen Coalition.   

 The event will conclude with a “Youth Voices” panel of local next-gen environmental thought leaders, who will reflect on the information that they heard throughout the day and share their own thoughts on what cities should be doing to prepare for a more sustainable future. Panelists include moderator Carolyn Yvellez, projects and strategy lead, Farallon Strategies, a partner to communities and organizations aiming to take bold actions to address climate change; Kina Desai, Gabriella Fish, and Veronica Fish—students active in the environmental movement at Mira Costa High School; Alden Lundy, renewable energy associate, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which has announced and executed the first offshore wind leases in the Pacific Ocean located off the Coast of California; and Bailey Wong, a student of environmental design at Cal Poly Pomona.  

 General Assembly Benefactors (sponsors at the $5,000 level) include Chevron Products Company; Continental Development / Mar Ventures, Inc.; Holly J. Mitchell, Los Angeles County Supervisor, 2nd District; Southern California News Group (The Daily Breeze, The Beach Reporter and Palos Verdes Peninsula News); South Bay Association of REALTORS®; and The Port of Los Angeles. Sponsors (at the $2,500 level) include California State University, Dominguez Hills, Clean Power Alliance; GeoSearch, Inc.; Janice Hahn, Los Angeles County Supervisor, 4th District; Kosmont Companies; Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD); SoCalGas, South Bay Galleria; Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG); Southern California Edison; Studio One Eleven; The Energy Coalition; Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD); Watson Land Company; and West Basin Municipal Water District.  

For a complete list of event speakers and their bios, visit 


The South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG) is a joint powers government agency of 16 cities and the County of Los Angeles which share the goal of maximizing the quality of life and productivity of the subregion. Within this structure, cities and Los Angeles County maintain the qualities and characteristics that make them unique and independent, while also coming together collectively to address issues of common interest for a greater good of the communities through partnership, persuasion, performance and advocacy. For more information about the SBCCOG visit