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Former senior executive (now a consultant and lawyer) with 45 years’ experience in the electric power sector and environmental regulation, and 21 years of experience on climate policy and related projects. Recognized for renewable energy, carbon capture, and other energy and climate work, including in U.S., China, the U.K., and Europe. Top leadership role in developing renewable energy, carbon capture, and other climate-friendly power plants and managing multi-billion-dollar projects as CEO of a respected power project development company.
Served for decades as a key adviser and primary outside counsel to Boards and CEOs of electric utilities (investor-owned, municipal, and cooperative), independent power producers, pipeline companies, and industries in environmental and economic regulation, rate cases, power supply and sales matters, contract negotiation, litigation at all levels of the Federal courts including the Supreme Court, administrative law, legislation, and other policymaking at Congressional, regional, and state levels.
Member of multi-racial family. Strong record of supporting, recruiting, and promoting women and minorities. Active in NGO sector in civic affairs, climate and environmental matters, fish conservation, and land preservation. Author of The Dance of Legislation (NY 1973, Seattle 2001) and Bones of Hilo (NY 2021), among other writings listed here.
THUNDERBOLT CLEAN ENERGY, LLC (consulting company for climate, clean energy startups, technology companies, and others on climate and electric power matters)
CEO and Co-Founder – 2007 to present
UNIV. OF CALIF., SAN DIEGO, SCHOOL OF GLOBAL POLICY & STRATEGY
Senior Policy Fellow, Deep Decarbonization Initiative (“D2I”) & Instructor in graduate student course “Real World Projects in Energy & Environment” – 2017 to present
CASCADIA LAW GROUP & CASCADIA POLICY SOLUTIONS (lawyers & consultants)
Senior Policy Advisor for Energy & Climate – 2018 to present
GLOBAL CARBON CAPTURE & STORAGE INSTITUTE (world’s leading entity providing advocacy and technical support for CCS worldwide)
Member of board of directors – 2017 to present
DAVIS WRIGHT TREMAINE, LLP (law firm)
Senior Policy Advisor, Energy & Climate – (2016-2018)
SUMMIT POWER GROUP LLC (Seattle-based developer of climate-friendly power plants)
Co-Chairman 2014-2017; CEO & President 2012-14; President 2007-12 President & Founder, Summit Carbon Capture LLC (subsidiary of Summit) 2008-14
- Transformed five-person natural gas power plant development company into respected developer of wind, solar, state-of-the-art natural gas plants (including to support renewables), and carbon-capture power plants; managing billions of dollars of projects; successfully recruited and promoted the company’s first women and minority executives; led corporate and project finance teams; implemented succession plan by recruiting 39-year old General Electric executive with extensive experience in China as the company’s new CEO (in October 2014)
- 1000 MW of wind projects successfully developed during these years ($2.5B total cost) for publicly-owned utilities and co-ops in Washington state, plus Fire Island Wind Project in Alaska
- Accomplishments include Summit devising the public-private White Creek financing model, resulting in lower delivered power costs per MWh to consumer-owned utilities than the adjacent tax-exempt bond-financed wind project using same wind turbines
- Formed utility-scale solar power joint venture, NorthLight Solar, with the world’s then-largest manufacturer of polysilicon for solar panels, Renewable Energy Company of Norway (REC)
- Accomplishments include initiating development of the then-second largest photovoltaic (PV) solar project in California and smaller PV solar projects in CA
- During my years at Summit and as its lead outside counsel, Summit has developed some 7,000 MW of state-of-the-art, high-efficiency combined-cycle natural gas-fired power plants (as alternatives to coal-burning plants) and simple-cycle natural gas-fired peaking units – roughly $7B in original installed cost; now developing “flexibility” gas projects to support renewables
- Summit’s accomplishments include pioneering “build-own-transfer” (BOT) model of power plant development for electric utilities, in successful competition with independent power roducers (IPPs) such as Calpine
- Founded Summit’s carbon capture business unit (Summit Carbon Capture, LLC) and helped make Summit a global leader in this emerging climate-driven sector of power industry
- Initiated and until 2014 personally led Summit’s development efforts for:
- The Texas Clean Energy Project (TCEP), proposed as the “lighthouse” carbon capture roject of the Obama Administration, a $3 billion, 400 MW gasification power project with 0+ percent CO2 capture from coal feedstock (no coal will be burned); gaining $450 million rant from USDOE and $813 million in investment tax credits; retaining Chinese design engineers; arranging $2+ billion loan from Export-Import Bank of China; selling the ultra-low carbon power to San Antonio’s municipal utility on 25-year contract; gaining US-China collaboration on TCEP as implementation measure of Climate Change Working Group of the US-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue (project unfortunately did not get built).
- The Caledonia Clean Energy Project (CCEP), a £3 billion TCEP “sister” project proposed under the UK’s Carbon Capture & Storage power plant program, with 94% CO2 capture from coal feedstock (again, no coal will be burned). CCEP’s early stage development has won grant funding from the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change and Scottish Government. The project has been re-designed as a natural gas-fired power plant with carbon capture to serve as the “anchor tenant” of an industrial CCS “cluster” in Scotland with UK & Scottish Government funding.
- These projects are massive, with Summit managing large teams from Siemens, Linde, China Huanqiu Contracting & Engineering Company Ltd, SNC Lavalin, Fluor, CH2M/Hill, Technip, Haldor Topsoe, and other engineers and technology providers, plus the Export-Import Bank of China.
- Through 2015 I spent roughly 150 nights/year in China for five (5) years, and about 50 nights/year in the UK and Europe. During this time I also dealt extensively with governmental authorities in China, the UK, Scotland, and top agencies and officers of the U.S. government.
- Initiated Summit’s technology development ties with companies pursuing compressed air energy storage (CAES) to help make renewable power firm and dispatchable, and companies pursuing direct air capture (DAC) of CO 2 , including Carbon Engineering.
HELLER EHRMAN (international law firm based in U.S.): Partner 1983 through 2007 (25 years) Co-Chair of Energy Practice Group and Clean Energy Technologies Practice Group Opened Seattle, Portland, Anchorage, and Washington, D.C. offices
PRESTON GATES (Seattle-based law firm; now named K&L Gates): Partner 1979-82; Associate 1975-78; Summer Associate 1973
- At both firms, represented electric utilities (municipals, co-ops, and investor-owned), industrial customers, and power plant developers, usually as advisor to Boards and CEOs and as lead outside counsel in clients’ most important (often “bet the company”) rate case, power supply, power sales, regulatory, legislative, environmental, contract, and policy matters
- Key negotiator, drafter, Congressional witness, and lobbyist for the Northwest Power Act, including provisions on fish & wildlife, conservation, BPA power sales to California, among others; successfully led BPA customers in subsequent FERC rate case on such sales (then the largest Federal Power Marketing Agency rate case in FERC history); named a Northwest Power Act Leader in 2005 by BPA and Northwest Power Planning & Conservation Council
- Utility clients (in alpha order): Alaska Electric Light & Power (Juneau IOU); Avista (Spokane IOU); Cap Rock Electric (Texas co-op); Chugach Electric Ass’n (co-op that is the largest utility in Alaska); Connexus Energy (largest co-op in Minnesota); Consumers Utilities (Connecticut-based IOU); Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative (Minnesota co-op); Lewis County People’s Utility District (Washington State PUD); Pacific Gas & Electric (California IOU); San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (California municipal); Trinity Public Utility District (California municipal); City of Unalaska (serving Dutch Harbor); City of Wrangell (Alaska)
- Clients included Direct Service Industrial customers of BPA; I had lead counsel role for rates & conditions of DSIs’ 4000 MW power supply for 20 years; more than $1B/year in power costs
- Negotiated and gained Alaska regulatory approval of Chugach Electric’s purchase from four sellers of 25-year natural gas supply; largest-ever gas purchase by an electric utility (525 BCF)
- Diversity of other energy clients, ranging from (1) BPA and Energy Northwest as consultant on WNP.2 nuclear power plant management, to (2) Trans Alaska Pipeline System and Alyeska Pipeline Service Company on multi-billion dollar environmental, PUC regulatory, and litigation matters, and the Prudhoe Bay producers on environmental matters
- Successful in litigating electric power cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, other Federal courts, numerous Federal agencies, and various state courts and agencies
- Repeatedly chosen for Best Lawyers in America for Energy
LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT AND CAMPAIGN AIDE TO U.S. SENATOR WARREN G. MAGNUSON (D-WA), 1968-74 (intervals)
- Assigned to defense, health care, Native American, and environmental/energy issues, including efforts to limit oil supertanker traffic in Puget Sound; principal Magnuson aide for National Health Service Corps legislation (the subject of my book)
- Only Magnuson aide with top secret security clearance; supported Magnuson as Chairman of Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in challenging need for specific new weapons systems; Magnuson’s liaison with other anti-war Congressional staffs on efforts to end Vietnam war
- Deputy Campaign Director (1974) and Campaign Research Aide (1968); included responsibility for Magnuson’s campaign polling and content of political advertising
CURRENT BOARD & ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERSHIPS
- Global Carbon Capture & Storage Institute (GCCSI): Member of Board of Directors for world’s primary CCS advocacy and technical support entity, an Australia-based NGO
- EarthTalk: Board member of startup providing climate, sustainability, and conservation content to online and traditional local newspapers, regional publications, and local TV and radio stations
- Cadenza Innovation, LLC: Advisory Board member of developer of novel patented modules and assemblies of lithium-ion batteries to increase power density, reduce cost, and prevent fires and cascading battery failures, for primary application in the electric vehicle and power grid sectors.
- Wormser Energy Solutions, Inc.: Advisor, technology development company for hydrocarbon- based power generation and chemical production with carbon capture.
- Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS): Advisory Board member for leading UK research, technical, and policy partnership of universities, government, and industry to assist commercial deployment of CCS.
- Ceres: Member of President’s Council, 2016- present
- Harvard College, A.B. 1970 magna cum laude in Government; Harvard National Scholar
- Oxford University (Rhodes Scholar), B.A. 1972 with 1st Class Honours in Politics, Philosophy & Economics (PPE); M.A. 1980
- Harvard Law School, J.D. 1975 magna cum laude; Harvard Graduate National Scholar