Trailblazers in Clean Energy – City & State New York

City & State presents the 2024 Trailblazers in Energy.

Cindy Schultz, ACE NY; New York Power Authority; energyRE

In the race for a clean energy future, New York has emerged as a front-runner. The state passed the landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019, creating a roadmap for the transition away from fossil fuels. One recent milestone was the completion of the nation’s first utility-scale offshore wind project, with more in the works. And in New York City, a groundbreaking law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings went into effect at the start of the year.

These ambitious clean energy endeavors – and countless others – require a concerted effort across a broad range of sectors. City & State’s inaugural Trailblazers in Clean Energy puts a spotlight on a cross-section of leaders at the forefront of the clean energy transition, operating in such fields as engineering, finance, labor and real estate. The list features utility executives revamping their business models, academics developing real-world solutions to the threat of climate change, innovators in the realm of energy efficiency – and many more. City & State is pleased to present the 2024 Trailblazers in Clean Energy.

One of the most talked about climate programs in New York City is the New York Climate Exchange, the new Stony Brook University-sponsored collaborative center for climate change solutions, to be based on Governors Island. Stephen Hammer, a top international climate policy expert, is the founding chief executive officer. He was previously at the World Bank as a senior policy adviser on urban climate solutions, global climate policy and finance. In this role, he played a key role in the development of World Bank urban climate programs and partnerships with other international organizations.

A onetime Long Island vegetable farmer and agriculture economy and farmland specialist, August Ruckdeschel is now leading efforts to cultivate clean energy resources on Long Island. He is working to establish the Long Island Clean Energy Hub, with a particular focus on disadvantaged communities. The state-funded program will provide education and outreach to Long Island residents and businesses on energy use and energy bill reduction and working on the transition to clean energy use.

Per Stromhaug is not just leading Binghamton University’s effort to transform the economy of the Triple Cities, he is also making it a driver of clean energy. Stromhaug leads the New Energy New York initiative, a program funded by $113.7 million in state and federal funds aimed at building a robust battery manufacturing ecosystem. He is also partnering with the New Energy New York Tech Hub and the Upstate New York Energy Storage Engine, which is being funded by a $160 million, 10-year grant from the National Science Foundation.

Ibi Yolas grew up around construction sites, and now has carved out a niche transforming the physical plans and implementing new green technologies at institutions of higher education. At Pace University, longtime environmental law leader Yolas has been developing projects to green the university via the electrification of its 64 buildings. Yolas, who was previously in a similar role at St. John’s University, is transforming Pace’s flagship, One Pace Plaza, into an innovative electrified building. The transformation includes plans to integrate a heat pump plant, a project that has received state funding.

Kingsborough Community College is becoming a leader in offshore wind workforce development. Christine Zagari-LoPorto helped secure funding to position the college as a certified offshore wind basic safety training in New York City. She is working in collaboration with other City University of New York campuses in the CUNY Offshore Wind Advisory Network, which is teaming up with stakeholders to develop and fund offshore wind training programs. Zagari-LoPorto also developed a program to expose city youth to sea-based programs in STEAM fields.

Sarah Blas’ impact on New York City’s environment can be felt from Staten Island to public housing all across the city. She has worked with the Fund for Public Housing in the recruitment for the NYCHA Clean Energy Academy, which creates workforce development opportunities for NYCHA residents. As executive director of Staten Island Therapeutic Gardens, she also focuses on food sovereignty and environmental justice. Blas has also worked on programs to reduce child asthma rates and to increase engagement with Black, Indigenous, people of color and people with disabilities in clean energy.

Shravanthi Kanekal has dedicated her career to researching and developing ways to address the worst impact of climate change, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable communities. An urban planner and architect, Kanekal has brought that approach to the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, a leading environmental group where she has been striving to reduce the impact of climate change. Among her areas of interest are collaborative civic engagement, the intersection of design and policy and social equity effects in communities.

Deb Peck Kelleher’s background as a key state legislative staffer on environmental issues gives her a depth of experience for her role at the Alliance for Clean Energy New York. She spent 10 years as director of the state Senate Environmental Conservation Committee and the Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee, crafting a number of key environment and energy laws, including creation of the state brownfields program, the state’s net-metering law, electric vehicle policy and the reorganization of the Long Island Power Authority.

Jenille Scott brings deep experience and passion for environmental justice to her work at ALIGN, where she focuses on climate initiatives across New York City and state. Shortly after joining the labor-backed coalition of community-based groups, she launched Green, Healthy Schools, a campaign to upgrade New York City ventilation to bring about safe learning environments. Scott has worked on implementation of commercial waste zones in New York City, the state’s transformational building decarbonization law and the development of state legislation to support climate transformation.

Julie Tighe has positioned the New York League of Conservation Voters as a driving force behind consequential climate and environmental policies in New York. The former Department of Environmental Conservation official – and a candidate to be the department’s next commissioner – played a role in developing the state’s ambitious climate law and in congestion pricing for New York City. This year, Tighe is advocating for passage of the NY HEAT Act, which would push gas companies to comply with the state’s new energy plans, and for legislation boosting the use of e-bikes, along with e-bike safety.

Fred Zalcman brings over three decades in the energy sector to his successful advocacy efforts to create a new offshore wind energy market in New York. Zalcman’s extensive experience prior to heading up the alliance includes leading U.S. government affairs for Ørsted, a role in which he focused on state and federal energy policy and stakeholder engagement in the growth of offshore wind. He has also served as the executive director of the highly regarded Pace Law School Energy and Climate Center and headed Eastern U.S. external affairs for SunEdison.

An expert in clean energy, regional planning, community development and economic growth, Yuri Chang is working on programs to help the clean energy transformation of New York. Chang has supported strategic planning and participatory action research efforts in a partnership with the New York City Housing Authority and has also focused on ports, resiliency and downtown revitalization programs across the tristate region. Her firm Karp Strategies has been at the forefront of workforce development and clean energy work.

One of the key issues facing the Bronx has been reopening the waterfront in Hunts Point and addressing air quality issues from last-mile truck traffic from distribution centers and the Cross Bronx Expressway. Amina Hassen has been endeavoring to address those issues as the key architect behind the Bronx is Breathing initiative, which aims to reduce diesel truck traffic and promote electrification of the fleet. The project won a $10 million state award in the New York State Clean Transportation Prize.

Rich Kassel has made clean transportation his mission, becoming a key leader in New York, nationally and internationally. As part of the U.S. delegation to the International Maritime Organization, he helped secure landmark international agreements to reduce ship emissions. In New York, he co-chaired a Metropolitan Transportation Authority task force that developed a plan to reduce bus emissions and helped write key building decarbonization laws. Kassel also led an Environmental Protection Agency panel that shaped the Biden administration’s clean transportation agenda.

An award-winning leader in climate and sustainability, Pallavi Mantha heads up East Climate and Sustainability Services at Arup, a sustainable development consultancy. Mantha’s experience includes strategic and operational decarbonization as well as energy resilience, which combined with her deep background in such areas as master planning, financial analysis, and renewable and building energy modeling allow her to develop and implement comprehensive plans for her clients. She has worked on projects that range from a single building to citywide and statewide projects.

Rachel Roseneck advises clean energy clients at Avoq – formerly Kivvit – a portfolio she took on with her recent promotion to vice president. Her efforts have included supporting a number of clean energy projects in the New York metropolitan region – such as working with Leading Light Wind, a development project awarded in New Jersey that is one of the largest wind projects in the region. Prior to Avoq, Roseneck was a communications consultant with a variety of clients and worked in the press office for the New York state attorney general.

A dedicated advocate for addressing economic and environmental injustices to communities of color, Daphany Rose Sanchez is aiming to establish an equitable energy future as part of New York’s clean energy transformation. She has played a key role in various energy initiatives, including PowerUp NYC, and has led her team in collaboration with the NYC Accelerator and Con Edison’s Local Law 97 limited offering pilot program. Sanchez has had a key role in securing funding for decarbonization projects in affordable housing development.

Bob Berninger has risen up the ranks of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s energy operations unit to take on a role of overseeing all of the energy needs for the acclaimed cancer center. Berninger has reduced the cancer center’s emissions by 58%, along with a 23% reduction in heating energy use and a 20% reduction in chilled water use. He has initiated a combined heat-power system that has reduced carbon emissions while also addressing a growth in hospital resiliency. Berninger has also established himself as an expert within the hospital energy sphere nationally.

The clean energy transition is a particular focus for Michael Case as he leads WSP’s energy business. He has supported clients during the net zero transition and crafted clean energy solutions for communities in New York. Case has overseen an integrated team at WSP that supports programs related to sustainable power generation and delivery, while playing a role in the development of the state’s offshore wind master plan. Case has established himself as a key clean energy innovator, appearing on panel discussions on the subject.

John Evers is a leading advocate for New York’s clean energy transition, pushing an agenda for the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York that focuses on a number of issues. Key advocacy priorities for the group in New York City include adoption of best practices in building codes from around the country that address emerging energy technologies, the development of sustainable design practices in building construction that prioritize science and engineering, and modernizing zoning rules to grow housing stock. Evers is a former commissioner of general services for Albany County.

Ehsan Kamel is at the forefront of cutting-edge research in the clean energy sector. The New York Institute of Technology associate professor of energy management also directs the school’s Energy and Green Technologies Laboratory. Kamel’s research agenda focuses on large-scale building energy modeling and the application of building information modeling in building energy modeling. He is also delving into the application of energy modeling in energy-smart homes and the retrofitting of buildings for energy efficiency.

Jill Lerner is at the forefront of New York’s clean energy transition, playing a critical role in the implementation of Local Law 97, New York City’s groundbreaking building sustainability law. Lerner served on the city’s Local Law 97 advisory board, helping to craft a series of recommendations for the Department of Buildings and the mayor’s office for implementation of the law and the future of sustainable buildings. A veteran architect with a background in clean energy and sustainable buildings, Lerner is a former president of the American Institute of Architects’ New York chapter and a former member of Cornell University’s board of trustees.

Sammy Chu has been a key leader in clean energy efforts on Long Island. A former Suffolk County commissioner of labor, licensing and consumer affairs and current Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member, he has developed notable clean energy workforce development programs, including with the Wyandanch Rising project. At Edgewise Energy, he has developed and implemented Community Power Long Island, one of the largest community distributed energy generation projects in the country. This project will save Long Island residents on electric bills and help achieve the state’s climate goals.

Mike Izzo is at the front lines of climate change, developing and implementing the strategy to have Hines assess and reduce its climate emissions formulated by science-based targets. The global real estate firm is aiming for a 42% reduction of carbon emissions by 2030 and has implemented an assessment tool for carbon impact that is part of measuring progress for the net zero carbon goal. Izzo has also overseen the creation of an operational carbon guide, which provides best practices for Hines staff in energy efficiency, green energy and electrification.

Coca-Cola is not just a soft drink anymore, but a leader in sustainability in the New York City metropolitan area. Liberty Coca-Cola, the local bottling company for the Georgia-based soda giant, has launched its first-in-the-nation quadgeneration plant, which will generate its own heating, cooling and carbon dioxide recovery for beverage use. The plant will recover carbon dioxide generated from the plant and then clean it to use in the bottling of beverages. Mayra Linares-Garcia has been at the forefront of the company’s clean energy work. She is also a member of the CUNY board of trustees and was formerly director of Latino affairs for then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Susan Morth brings over 20 years of experience in capital markets, including in the development of new financial projects, to her role as the chief executive at Energy Improvement Corp. Prior to her current role, she was a partner at Empirical Research Partners and at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. At EIC, she has implemented Open C-Pace, an innovative public-private partnership that develops and provides innovative financing for commercial property owners to adopt energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades.

Cory Scofield has placed Central Hudson at the forefront of the state’s clean energy transformation. He has aligned the company’s work with the state’s energy plan, including achieving over 590,000 MMBtu of energy savings, which exceeded the company’s 2020-25 target by over 230%. The company has been recognized by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy for its energy efficiency work. Scofield is also overseeing the installation of over 17,000 heat pumps in the Clean Heat program, a key part of the company’s sustainable energy program.

Thomas Byrne brings a wealth of experience in the clean energy finance market to his role leading CleanCapital, a firm focused on financing the growth of solar energy. He has led financing plans for a number of clean energy projects including in the solar and wind sectors. CleanCapital is one of the Top 10 owners of distributed generation projects in the country, with a focus on commercial and industrial solar, community solar and energy storage. The firm has invested in 234 projects across 28 states, including 12 in New York.

A veteran of the clean energy finance sector, Nicolas de Alejo launched Climate CapX Advisors less than a year ago. CCA works with companies, developers and sponsors to provide financial services consulting in support of corporate climate goals. Among the services provided include corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, sustainable finance, capital raising, rating strategy advice and government services consulting. De Alejo has worked at BlackRock on initial ESG and sustainability risk implementation efforts for fixed income and also launched the sustainability banking practice at EF Hutton.

As global vice chair of Latham & Watkins’ energy and infrastructure industry group, Eli Katz deploys his two decades of expertise in the energy sector to help his clients close on major projects in the clean energy sector. This includes working with the financing consortium for Vineyard Wind, the nation’s first offshore wind farm; the sale of Sempra Energy’s solar and wind energy portfolio to Con Edison; and investments into a number of solar and wind projects nationwide. Latham & Watkins’ energy practice group has generated a number of honors as one of the top energy law practices in the country.

A veteran banker with a background in energy and environment finance, Andrew Kessler became president of NY Green Bank in 2021 following a two-year stint heading investment and portfolio management for the bank. Kessler led the bank – a government-sponsored investment fund under the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority – in celebrating a full decade of impact as the nation’s fully self-sustaining green bank. He also led the banking in reaching $2 billion in total commitments, along with expanded investment activity into green projects, including in underserved communities.

Since 2015, Sadie McKeown has led the Community Preservation Corp. in financing the development of 12,000 units of sustainable affordable and workforce housing. She is leading CPC’s administration of the state’s Climate Friendly Homes Fund, an initiative to electrify 10,000 units of multifamily housing. Another McKeown project is leading CPC’s role in Climate United, a coalition running a federal grant focused on the green economy transformation. She serves on the boards of the New York State Housing Finance Agency and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

The first chief climate officer in the New York City Comptroller’s Office, Louise Yeung is using her perch to drive meaningful change in city government. She created Public Solar NYC, an initiative that will provide solar energy and energy cost savings to 5,000 city residents. She launched an investigation into the city’s preparedness for severe rainfall and published analyses into bike share performance and infrastructure spending. Yeung also created the city’s first climate dashboard that is tracking the implementation of city government climate goals.

Sana Barakat is the point person for clean energy management and carbon reduction within New York City’s government. Barakat, who works within the city agency that manages public buildings and its vehicle fleet, is aiming to reduce the city’s emissions reduction and to address energy consumption within city agencies. Barakat comes to the job with a background in both the public and private sectors, including prior work in the New York City Office of Management and Budget and in the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

Mobeen Bhatti leads negotiations on behalf of the state Senate Democrats on all energy issues. In this role, he was a key part of the deal last year to impose statewide mandates for all-electric new building construction, publicly owned renewable energy projects and the carbon emissions cap and invest program. A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College and Columbia University, Bhatti also oversees transportation, technology and consumer protection issues for the powerful conference, which enjoys a supermajority in Albany.

The New York City Department of Buildings is playing a pivotal role in the implementation of the city’s clean energy transformation, and Gina Bocra is in a key position as a leader of the department’s environmental work. Bocra leads a team that enforces the city’s sustainability laws in building regulation, including enforcement of New York City’s landmark carbon emissions law. She brings 28 years of experience in architecture and the sustainability sector to the agency, including work with the U.S. Green Buildings Council and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers.

The first director of sustainability and resilience in the city’s budget writing office, Lia Cairone has built the office’s Environmental Sustainability and Resiliency Task Force, which is formulating, managing and tracking environmental policies and investments in the city. Cairone’s portfolio includes developing the office’s plans for the investments needed on local climate risks, achieving the city’s Paris Agreement climate goals and ensuring climate issues are a key part of budget drafting. She is in the process of completing the city’s first climate budgeting report, which will be part of this year’s executive budget.

As New York City’s chief taxi and ride-hailing regulator, David Do is transforming the city’s ride-hailing fleet to be more climate friendly. Last August, Do joined Mayor Eric Adams to announce a new regulatory rule for the Green Rides initiative. This rule requires the transition of the city’s ride-hailing fleet vehicles to be either zero-emissions or wheelchair accessible by 2030, a key Adams administration priority. Do says that the initiative will remove 600,000 metric tons of carbon emissions from the city’s air.

Nse Esema is no stranger to helping build municipal green economic initiatives or collaborating with local governments on climate issues, as she’s already done it around the globe. A veteran of working with cities in Africa and North America on resiliency strategies, Esema is now focused on developing the growth of the green economy in New York City. Key priorities include boosting this economic sector in a way that is inclusive and equitable and positioning the city as a hub for offshore wind.

Doreen Harris is a key front-line general in the state’s clean energy army. Harris, who leads the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and co-chairs the state’s Climate Action Council, is advancing the state’s clean energy infrastructure, overseeing innovative energy programs and increasing the use of renewable energy. Harris has overseen the installation of 2 gigawatts of solar energy, led growth in the amount of electric vehicles on state roads, committed $180 million for workforce development in the clean energy transformation and recently marked the completion of the state’s first utility-scale offshore wind project.

A veteran of New York’s clean energy sector, Peter McCartt has been Westchester County’s director of energy conservation and sustainability since 2018. He has led county government’s transition to an all-electric vehicle fleet, including advocating for county laws requiring all new vehicle purchases to be electric vehicles and expanding electric vehicle charging stations in county garages. McCartt has also created a program in which 50% of the costs for municipal electric charging stations are covered by the county government.

Transforming New York City’s bus fleet to zero-emissions by 2040 is not an easy task, but Sunil Nair has never let that stop him. A veteran of innovative bus transit transformation projects for the MTA, Nair has developed a forward thinking procurement strategy for the purchase of 500 battery-electric buses. He has also developed a proactive implementation plan for upgrading charging infrastructure citywide for the new bus fleet. Nair’s past accomplishments include the implementation of the lauded MTA Bus Time program.

A veteran of the United Nations World Food Programme, the Department of Defense and the environmental justice sector, New York City Council Member Sandy Nurse is using her legislative post to address climate change and the environment. Nurse, who now chairs the Criminal Justice Committee, used her two-year tenure as chair of the Council Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Committee to champion climate change and resiliency issues and recently introduced legislation regarding solar and energy storage goals for public buildings.

Addressing issues for home energy sustainability is a key part of the state’s climate goals, and Samantha Pearce is the point person for the state’s housing agency on these efforts. Pearce, a veteran of the housing and energy industries, oversees key state programs, including weatherization assistance, clean energy and climate friendly homes. She is also involved in initiatives to align the housing agency’s standards for sustainability with the state’s ambitious climate goals.

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso has quickly made his mark since succeeding New York City Mayor Eric Adams at Borough Hall two years ago. Reynoso has carved out a path as his own in city government as a clean energy advocate. He has been at the forefront of pushing Adams to implement Local Law 97, the city’s clean energy law. He has also launched a large-scale solarization initiative in Brooklyn, with an aim to build out the borough’s renewable energy infrastructure and to reduce local utility bills.

Putting equity at the center of New York City’s clean energy transition is the goal of Summer Sandoval’s work in the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice. In her role as a policy adviser, Sandoval works closely with stakeholders in the public, private and community sectors on equity, particularly in regard to solar and energy storage policies. Sandoval’s background includes working on climate and energy justice issues, including the development of community-owned solar projects and creating clean energy investment models that benefit historically marginalized communities.

The state’s public renewables law passed last year created the job that Vennela Yadhati started in October 2023. Yadhati is the New York Power Authority’s first vice president for renewable project development. In this role, Yadhati is tasked with developing NYPA’s new strategic plan for the development of new renewable energy projects as part of the state’s ambitious clean energy transformation. Yadhati has worked on renewable energy project development both within NYPA and in the private sector.

An experienced government relations professional with deep experience in energy and environment work, Alicia Artessa represents clients in this sector in her work at the highly ranked lobbying firm Ostroff Associates. Prior to joining Ostroff, Artessa was an assistant counsel in the state Senate, where she worked on environmental, energy, telecommunications and budget issues. She holds a law degree and a master’s degree in environmental policy from Vermont Law School and is a thought leader in the environmental law arena.

No one knows Albany quite like Tonio Burgos, who served under then-Gov. Mario Cuomo during Cuomo’s two decades as secretary of state, lieutenant governor and governor. Burgos’ lobbying shop has a formidable clean energy practice, guiding renewable energy clients in developing and securing approval for projects in the solar and offshore wind sectors. Burgos has also played a key role in New Jersey government, serving on boards overseeing economic development, school construction and Camden’s economic recovery. He recently stepped down from his seat on the Democratic National Committee.

Michael Cinquanti is not just a lobbyist for the clean energy industry – he is working across multiple sectors advocating for clean energy from an economic, labor, construction and environmental perspective. In his work with the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council, he assisted workers adapting to the clean energy transition. He has also worked on developing projects in representing RWE Clean Energy and RWE Offshore Wind. As part of the team for Community Offshore Wind, he helped the project win an award to develop 1.3 gigawatts of wind energy.

Anthony Constantinople has positioned himself as a leading authority in energy and land use in New York City and further established his powerhouse lobbying firm on the issue. Among the firm’s clients in the energy and environment space are Jupiter Power, Hanwha Energy USA Holding Corp., Lower East Side Ecology Center and the Bayonne Energy Center. The firm was launched by former New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. and Tony Constantinople.

A veteran clean energy policy leader, Joseph DeRosa manages the energy practice at the top-tier lobbying firm Bolton-St. Johns. While at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, DeRosa led residential financing programs for transformative energy efficiency and renewable energy. His most recent accomplishments include shaping the All-Electric Buildings Act, securing funding to transform the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal into the nation’s largest offshore wind port, winning funding for hydrogen fueling stations, helping clients win offshore wind development contracts and standardizing tax assessment methodology for clean energy.

A former assistant counsel to then-Gov. George Pataki, Jonathan Federman knows clean energy and the environment. Now a lawyer at the top lobbying firm Brown & Weinraub, Federman works directly with clients in the clean energy sector, advising on a number of projects that will play a role in New York achieving its ambitious clean energy transformation. Outside of his work at Brown & Weinraub, he serves on the Capital Region board for the New York League of Conservation Voters and on the Gloversville planning board.

As the leader of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Matthew Aracich heads an organization representing 65,000 workers belonging to 37 member organizations. Aracich has positioned the labor group to be a key environmental leader on Long Island. He has advocated for green hydrogen, saying it will be a key part of the state’s electric vehicle transition. Aracich celebrated the recent completion of South Fork Wind, an offshore wind project near the Long Island coast, noting the role building trades workers played in its construction.

Across the New York City metropolitan area, members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 15 have played critical roles in a number of infrastructure and construction projects, including on utility projects for Con Edison. Thomas Callahan leads the union in its work in transforming New York. Members of Callahan’s union are part of the construction of the Champlain Hudson Power Express, a 339-mile transmission line to bring clean electricity from the Canadian border, through the North Country, to New York City. Callahan has championed the job growth initiated by the state’s clean energy transition.

As the head of policy and public affairs for the New York State Laborers Organizing Fund, John Hutchings has been playing a key role in making sure that union labor is part of New York’s clean energy transition. This has included securing project labor agreements as part of the offshore wind supply chain projects the state has allocated $500 million for, as well as prevailing wage requirements put into place for the construction of electric vehicle charging and hydrogen fuel cell charging infrastructure.

Long before the United Auto Workers’ successful strike against the Big 3 car manufacturers last year, Brandon Mancilla got his start as a leader in the labor movement as the president of UAW Local 5118, the graduate students union at Harvard University, where he organized a 2019 strike. As he has moved through the labor movement, he has worked as an organizer and effective labor leader, building out commitments for workers, notably within the clean energy sector. Last year, he backed a state bill that would mandate zero-emission buses by 2029.

John Murphy is an important player in championing the thermal energy industry as part of New York’s clean energy transition. Murphy said thermal energy will not only help the state achieve its clean energy goals, it would provide a key economic growth aspect for the state’s pipefitters, noting the same skill sets needed for regular gas energy are needed for thermal. A leader in the Clean Energy Jobs Coalition, Murphy said incorporating thermal energy as part of a large-scale renewable strategy would be “sensible” and allow for jobs to be preserved.

Adam Conway is developing the “A-Team” of energy attorneys in an expanding renewable energy practice group at Couch White. Over the past five years, the law firm’s energy team has assisted clients developing more than 100 community solar projects creating over 300 megawatts of energy. Conway’s team has also advised clients with regulatory proceedings before the state Public Service Commission on a number of projects, including battery storage and electric vehicles, and worked with major corporations on renewable energy purchases.

David Flynn sits at the intersection of clean energy, the environment and emerging technologies in his role as a partner at Phillips Lytle. Flynn leads the firm’s Environmental Law Practice team and co-leads its Energy and Renewables Team, as well as the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Team. Flynn has worked on the re-permitting of a captive power plant that services a large data center, the purchase of hydroelectric assets and a detailed regulatory compliance analysis for a hydrogen project in the state.

William Flynn brings an in-depth knowledge of New York’s regulatory and policy process related to energy, telecommunications and the environment to his role leading the energy industry practice at Harris Beach. Flynn was a Pataki-era chair of the state Public Service Commission and president of the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority. Flynn and his team are representing a developer who has filed the state’s first solar-only Article 10 project application at the Public Service Commission, as well as developers of offshore wind.

Steven Russo brings deep experience in environmental law to his work at Greenberg Traurig. A former chief legal officer for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Russo focuses on a variety of environmental litigation, including brownfields, clean energy projects, environmental permitting and the environmental aspects of land use and zoning. While in state government, Russo initiated a review of state environmental regulations, addressed new power plant siting regulations from an environmental justice perspective and revised the state environmental audit policy.

The question is, does Justin Wood hate garbage trucks or polluting power plants more? The longtime policy director for New York Lawyers for the Public Interest has driven efforts to ease garbage truck traffic in environmental justice communities in New York City and to reduce the city’s pollution-causing peaker plants. Wood helped pass the Waste Equity Law of 2018 and the Commercial Waste Zones Law of 2019 to reduce garbage truck traffic, and he is at the forefront of plans to reduce the city’s peaker plant capacity and replace it with renewable energy.

An Obama-era U.S. Energy Department veteran, Damian Bednarz now leads public affairs and institutional relations for Attentive Energy in New York and New Jersey. In the past two years, Bednarz has led the team that brought Attentive Energy two competitive offshore wind contracts that will deliver almost 3 gigawatts of clean energy. The contracts are also projected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in various economic investments in New York and New Jersey.

Boone Davis is playing a pivotal role in positioning Staten Island as a key hub for the offshore wind industry in New York. Davis’ Atlantic Offshore Terminals is spearheading the transformation of Arthur Kill Terminal into a 32-acre offshore wind assembly and staging facility. It expects to generate thousands of jobs on Staten Island along with other economic benefits in the borough. Prior to founding the company, Davis was part of the team that developed Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island.

With over a decade of experience in the energy sector, John Dempsey now leads the development of a 1.7-gigawatt wind project to be constructed off the coasts of New York and New Jersey. The Bluepoint Wind endeavor is projected to deliver electricity to 900,000 homes and play a critical role in allowing both New York and New Jersey to reach their clean energy goals, which are slated to be completed by 2030 in both states. Dempsey brings extensive experience in transmission, storage and electricity generation to his role at Bluepoint.

Rise Light & Power’s Renewable Ravenswood project in Long Island City, Queens, is one of the buzziest endeavors in New York City. Wil Fisher is behind that buzz, while building key relationships with the environmental justice community and partners at the local, state and federal levels. He helped welcome U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to Queens to tour Renewable Ravenswood, along with four members of Congress. Fisher was chief architect of the economic development plan for Attentive Energy One, a project that will replace the first of Ravenswood’s steam turbines.

Janice Fuller brings invaluable experience at the epicenter of federal energy policy, having served as chief of staff to Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the state’s top Democrat and former chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, before she joined Anbaric Development Partners. At Anbaric, Fuller leads efforts in the mid-Atlantic region for offshore wind development and transmission infrastructure. A key Anbaric project is the development of New York-New Jersey Ocean Grid, which will build out transmission infrastructure to bring offshore wind energy to the electrical grid.

At the helm of development strategy in the New York market for Danish offshore wind giant Ørsted, Jennifer Garvey sits in a key position to help shape the development of the offshore wind industry in the state. Ørsted is developing the South Fork Wind Farm off the coast of Long Island, which is one of the most talked about offshore wind projects in the state, which started sending power to land in recent months. Garvey is optimistic about the future of the growing industry in New York and elsewhere in the U.S.

A leader in clean energy economic and workforce development, Jeff Lee Romero is focused on boosting the economic impact of Invenergy’s offshore wind projects. He has created the economic development strategy for Leading Light Wind and brings experience in New York City economic development policy to the table in his clean energy work. While at the New York City Economic Development Corp., Lee Romero launched the New Markets Tax Credit program in order to spur new community development projects.

From Albany to Washington, D.C., Amanda Lefton brings a wealth of experience in the offshore wind industry to her role heading up East Coast offshore wind development for RWE. Lefton recently served in the Biden administration as director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management at the U.S. Department of the Interior, where she led development and implementation of the administration’s ambitious offshore wind agenda. Previously, she served as the top energy and environment adviser to then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Lefton has also worked in the labor movement, the advocacy sector and for state lawmakers.

A veteran energy industry executive, Molly Smith Morris has been with Equinor since 2008 and now leads the company’s work in the renewable sector. During her tenure at Equinor, she has held multiple positions working in trading, oil and gas. Equinor is working on the Empire Wind offshore wind project off the coast of Long Island, which is expected to produce 2.1 gigawatts of electricity and to transform the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal into an offshore wind assembly hub.

A key leader in New York’s clean energy transition, Doug Perkins leads Community Offshore Wind, a joint project from RWE and National Grid to develop offshore wind projects in the Northeast U.S. Perkins said Community Offshore Wind’s project in the New York Bight will reduce the state’s electricity emissions by 5%. Perkins has emphasized the economic benefits in addition to the environmental benefits of offshore wind, saying that Community Offshore Wind will create 800 jobs and generate $15 billion in economic benefits.

Haugland Group is a key player in the growth of the offshore wind industry, working on both land-based and offshore construction components, most notably for the recently opened South Fork Wind Farm off the Long Island coast. Mathew Raymond’s focus at Haugland is the underground transmission and delivery and emerging markets in the clean energy industry. Raymond’s experience in offshore wind has included South Fork, Block Island Wind Farm and Vineyard Wind. He brings a growth mindset to his work, which includes port infrastructure development and transmission cable routing and installation.

KC Sahl brings deep experience in renewable energy to his role as national director of offshore wind for VHB, which provides regulatory, permitting and technical consultant services in the growing sector. Prior to joining VHB in 2021, Sahl helped Deepwater Wind and Bluewater Wind, and he spent over a decade with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, giving him firsthand knowledge of both the public and private sectors. Sahl also has served as co-chair of the city’s Offshore Wind Advisory Council.

In his role leading offshore wind development for energyRe, Nash Tahmaz has helped develop the largest competitively awarded offshore wind project in the country, Leading Light Wind. In January, the project was awarded a 2,400-megawatt contract by New Jersey to develop offshore wind in the New York Bight. This project will supply power for over 1 million homes and reduce carbon emissions by 4.1 million tons a year. Previously, Tahmaz was involved in the development of Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating offshore wind farm.

Michael Daschle is behind Brookfield Properties’ initiative to transition its office portfolio in the United States to zero-emissions by 2026, with the goal for its 30 million square feet in New York being the end of 2024. In New York, Daschle has been working to transition the office space to electricity from upstate hydroelectric power plants. This has included entering contracts to obtain 600,000 megawatt hours of electricity, which will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 260,000 metric tons annually. Brookfield Properties expects to reduce direct carbon emissions by 80%.

Jared Della Valle is aiming to transform Brooklyn into an example of New York’s clean energy transformation. Della Valle’s firm, Alloy, is a partner on the Alloy Block on Flatbush Avenue. Adjacent to the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Atlantic Terminal, this five-building development will feature an innovative, all-electric building with a goal of the development being sustainable and carbon-neutral in the long term. The Alloy Block will provide housing, commercial space, education facilities and cultural space.

A leader in New York’s clean energy community, Lisa Dix has been a part of many of the key elements of the state’s energy transformation. She worked on the passage of the Utility Thermal Energy Network and Jobs Act, a first-in-the-nation law to require state utilities to develop thermal energy projects using a union workforce. She has worked on the launch of UpgradeNY, a collaborative program to advocate for thermal energy networks to decarbonize state owned buildings. She was also involved in the groundbreaking All-Electric Buildings Act.

Lindsay Greene is leading the evolution of the Brooklyn Navy Yard from a former hub for the construction of warships into the center of New York City’s green economy transformation. Over 30 of its tenants are green technology companies – and the complex includes its own power station and aims to support battery storage companies. Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a new initiative to place a Climate Innovation Hub at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a project that will increase Greene’s prominence as a leader within New York’s clean energy transformation.

New Yorkers best know Mike Richter as a goaltender for the New York Rangers who helped bring a Stanley Cup to the Big Apple. Now Richter wants to deliver another win for the city, in the form of a clean energy future. Richter’s Brightcore Energy is working with clients to develop energy efficiency and renewable energy plans and to team up in the transportation sector on electric vehicle charging stations. Richter has tied his current goals to his past, partnering with the National Hockey League to bring energy efficient lighting to community ice rinks.

An expert on electrical systems and energy, Philip Skalaski leads the development and management of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems in the buildings that are part of The Durst Organization’s portfolio. Prior to joining Durst, Skalaski worked on electrical systems for a number of high-profile projects, including IBM’s headquarters in Westchester County, One Bryant Park and 7 World Trade Center. He serves as co-president of the New York Energy Consumers Council and on the Electrical Code Revision and Interpretation Committee for the New York City Department of Buildings.

With a deep background in clean energy, Emilie Flanagan founded Carson Power three years ago to bolster the growing solar and solar storage industry. The firm is named after Rachel Carson, the pioneering environmental author. Carson Power specializes in the development of community solar projects along with the development of solar energy storage projects. Flanagan serves on the board of the New York Solar Energy Industry Association as vice president for commercial and industrial solar.

After more than a decade serving in the New York City Council, Stephen Levin has transitioned into a clean energy workforce development and solar energy leader. At Solar One, Levin is overseeing innovative workforce development programs in the green economy for adults while also increasing educational resources about renewable energy in New York City public schools. He is bringing solar energy and other renewable energy sources to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods and leading construction of a new Environmental Education Center in Manhattan.

T.R. Ludwig is passionate about solar energy and wants to advance policies related to solar in New York City and across the state. Ludwig’s renewable energy businesses, Brooklyn SolarWorks and Brooklyn Canopy Co., are focused on expanding the urban solar market in New York City. Outside of his businesses, Ludwig has taken a leadership role in the statewide solar energy community. He is the treasurer of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association, and he’s a member of the New York City Solar Policy Committee and the Amicus Solar Cooperative.

An Iraq War veteran and former congressional candidate, Jon Powers now leads CleanCapital, a firm that is aiming to connect institutional capital funds to the middle market solar industry to expand renewable energy. The Manhattan-based firm has acquired over 200 projects, including financing Alaska’s largest solar farm and acquiring Guam’s largest solar farm. Powers served in the Obama administration as an energy policy official at the Department of the Army and as federal chief sustainability officer in the White House.

Edward Sondey brings a deep background in financial services and energy investing to his role as chief executive of REV Renewables, one of the nation’s largest independent energy storage and renewable energy companies. Among the solar projects that REV Renewables is developing is the SL Babylon project on Long Island, which is bringing 10.6 megawatts of electricity to the state’s electrical grid. REV has projects generating a total of 2.6 gigawatts of renewable electricity nationwide.

Jon Baldwin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in technology and leading complex businesses to his work at Verra Mobility. At Verra, he works directly with state and local governments on transportation technology, including within clean energy. Prior to Verra, Baldwin was president of Fortive’s Gems Sensors and Controls, led Texas Instruments’ precision sensor path business and held leadership roles at a number of technology companies, including National Semiconductor and Raytheon.

An academic turned clean transportation entrepreneur, Moshe Cohen aims to transform the way New Yorkers drive. Cohen is the founder of Gravity, a New York City company that is pioneering new and innovative fast-charging electric vehicle infrastructure. Cohen previously was a finance and economics professor at Columbia Business School, where he focused on teaching capital markets, investments and empirical corporate finance. His academic research expertise focused on empirical industrial organization, including network optimization, corporate strategy and regulatory structures.

Tiya Gordon is in the process of expanding access to electric vehicle charging stations in the country, particularly in disadvantaged Justice40 communities. Gordon and the team at It’s Electric team up with property owners to install curbside electric vehicle charging stations at their properties, expanding access to charging stations for electric vehicle owners who do not have their own driveways. It’s Electric launched a Brooklyn-based pilot program in New York City last year.

An expert on autonomous transportation, Henry L. Greenidge brings a high-level government background as a former policy adviser to the U.S. transportation secretary and in the state Department of Transportation to his work at Cruise. The autonomous vehicle company has been building a driverless ride-hailing program. Greenidge, who was previously at Tusk Strategies and at the NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, has been raising awareness and developing a market in New York for Cruise, a General Motors-owned company.

Students across New York are along for the ride with the state’s clean energy transformation, thanks in part to Corey Muirhead. He pioneered New York City’s first electric school bus, is an innovator in the school transportation and clean energy fields, frequently offering commentary on the issue and authoring articles on electric school bus ownership. He served on the state Board of Regents’ task force on school reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic and serves on a state electric school bus panel.

Reducing the impact transportation has on energy and the environment is a key part of Renae Reynolds’ mission at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. She has pushed for state investment in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, for the transition of the state’s transit and school bus fleets to zero-emission vehicles and for passage of the Clean Deliveries Act. The congestion pricing proponent is also aiming to reduce truck traffic, increase the sale of electric vehicles and boost public transit and multimodal transportation, including an increase in walkable and bikeable communities.

Paul Suhey is making it easier for people to own electric vehicles by adding more electric charging stations. Revel has been expanding its New York City’s superhub capabilities with charging for the company’s electric vehicles and for the general public. Revel has put charging stations in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx, and in 2022, the Brooklyn-based company won a $7 million grand prize as part of the New York Clean Transportation Prizes for the Red Hook charging station. Revel has moved away from its signature shared mopeds in favor of a move toward electric vehicle ride-hailing.

Pedro Azagra has been leading Avangrid in a number of key renewable energy projects across New York. This includes investing in the Reliable Energy New York plan and launching a project with LineVision to address grid congestion issues and improve reliability and increase renewable energy access. He has worked with two of Avangrid’s subsidiaries, the New York State Electric and Gas and Rochester Gas and Electric to deliver their best reliability results in the past five years and plan out $350 million in infrastructure investments statewide, along with a state grid decarbonization project.

Chris Raup has been a key leader in developing the clean energy agenda at Con Edison. A member of the board of Solar One, Raup has been supporting the environmental education and solar-based company, including Solar One’s development of an environmental education center in Manhattan. At Con Edison, Raup leads all state and local regulatory policy and engagement, including in the development of renewable energy, electric vehicles, battery storage and metering infrastructure.

At the helm of Transmission Developers for over a year, Justin Sauber brings almost 30 years of experience in engineering and construction to his work in building out the clean energy sector. He has worked on projects in nine states and 13 countries and was previously a principal vice president at Bechtel. Transmission Developers is involved in two key projects – the Champlain Hudson Power Express, connecting from the Canadian border to New York City, and the New England Clean Power Link in Vermont to serve all of New England.

A veteran of Rep. Paul Tonko’s congressional office, Sean Shortell is now working to build out New York’s clean energy infrastructure. Shortell has worked on NextEra Energy Transmission New York’s efforts to build out renewable energy transmission solutions across the Northeast. This included being a key part of the team that developed and implemented the Empire State Line Project, a new 20-mile, 345-kilovolt transmission line in Western New York. The new line has brought 3,700 megawatts of clean energy online for the state’s electric grid.

A veteran government affairs professional, Brittany West has made the clean energy sector the key focus of her work. She leads a team at AES covering the East Coast, with a focus on New York, where she is a board member of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York. She worked on the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s award to AES for 1.2 gigawatts of solar and onshore wind projects in New York. Now, West is focused on addressing the barriers to execution for clean energy projects.

Rudolph Wynter is one of the key leaders in New York’s clean energy transition. With 10,400 employees around the state, National Grid is investing $15 billion in energy systems over the next decade as part of the clean energy transition. Wynter recently announced the $4 billion Upstate Upgrade program, in which National Grid will implement a series of clean energy projects across the region to improve the electric grid. In addition to being a part of the clean energy transformation, National Grid said the program will create thousands of jobs upstate and generate $1.9 billion in economic growth.