This week we unveiled a new, modern look for the Clean Energy Project website and are planning to fill the site with timely news, reports and resources on clean energy for businesses, policy makers, media and advocates. We also announced that Curt Ledford, a leading energy attorney in Nevada, has joined our Board of Directors as the new Chair. These two events are not unrelated but are part of a new strategy to expand the mission of the Clean Energy Project by deepening our policy expertise, growing our business engagement, and looking beyond the borders of Nevada to influence regional and national debates on clean energy from a state policy perspective.
New Leadership for the Clean Energy Project
Incoming Board Chair Curt Ledford is a partner at the law firm McDonald Carano and is a leader in the firm’s Energy & Natural Resources Group. He focuses on utility, energy, and regulatory law, including matters related to generation facilities, renewable energy development, and Nevada’s various utilities. He previously served as General Counsel for Valley Electric Association, a Nevada cooperative utility that provides electric service to members in rural Nevada and California. Ledford is one of Nevada’s foremost energy and utility attorneys, playing a critical role in state and regional energy policy developments. Recent successes include the groundbreaking move by Valley Electric to join the California ISO, the 2016 “grandfathering” docket before the Public Utility Commission of Nevada that resulted in many of the state’s net metering customers receiving Nevada’s original initial economic terms for net metering service, and most recently, implementation of Nevada’s 2017 rooftop solar and storage legislation. Ledford also has extensive experience with the regional and national governing bodies that regulate the electricity industry.
The CEP Board of Directors also welcomed Jon Wellinghoff, former Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), as a new member in 2017. Wellinghoff brings international expertise and thought leadership to CEP, having served in significant roles in federal and state government and at a major renewables company. Wellinghoff is now CEO and founder of GridPolicy, Inc., working to remove regulatory, policy and institutional barriers to the widespread adoption of cost effective distributed energy technologies and systems, assisting companies, governments, and consumers who market and/or operate such resources. In 2006, Jon received his first of two Presidential appointments to serve as a Commissioner on FERC and was FERC’s longest serving Chairman.
In May, CEP announced that Dr. Karen Wayland, a nationally recognized energy expert with a long history in Nevada, would take on the role of CEP’s Executive Director. Wayland, who has served in leadership positions at the highest levels of federal government and with nonprofit entities, brings nearly two decades of energy experience to CEP. Most recently, she was a senior official at the U.S. Department of Energy, where she established a team for state, local and tribal energy policy for the Secretary of Energy’s policy office and served as a senior advisor to the Deputy Secretary. She previously did energy policy work for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid and was the legislative director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
As with many transitions, this one is bittersweet as CEP says farewell to outgoing Board Chair Kathleen Drakulich and Executive Director Jennifer Taylor. In June, Drakulich, who joined the CEP board in 2011 and served four years as Chair, was appointed by Governor Sandoval to the Second Judicial District Court. As the governor noted at the time, “Kathleen Drakulich has been involved in some of the most complicated and dynamic energy and natural resource issues in the past few decades… She is a seasoned, thoughtful and tough litigator with a deep understanding of the legal process.” Jennifer Taylor served as CEP’s Executive Director for two years and continued to support CEP through a graceful transition as the organization’s state policy consultant and a critical and tireless member of the National Clean Energy Summit team. The Clean Energy Project wishes Kathleen and Jennifer the best of luck in their new endeavors and thanks them for their service in support of Nevada’s clean energy economy.
An Expanded Mission for the Clean Energy Project
Our new leadership reflects CEP’s strategy to deepen our substantive engagement and expand our mission beyond the boundaries of the state of Nevada. Nevada’s clean energy economy is in part shaped by national and regional developments, such as federal tax policy and regional transmission planning. And Nevada’s adoption of innovative clean energy policies can serve as an example to other states. The Energy Choice Initiative, the ballot initiative approved with 72% support by Nevada voters, is a prime example of the need to expand CEP’s mission: if passed again in 2018, Nevada will begin the process of establishing a competitive retail electricity market and joining or creating a regional wholesale market for electricity. Clean Energy Project can bring valuable expertise to these discussions by learning from the experiences of other states through comparative policy analysis, convening businesses and other stakeholders around key policy concerns, marshalling national experts and resources, and creating coalitions to bring Nevada’s voice to regional and national discussions.
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