Decarbonizing Vermont & Investing in Vermonters: A conversation with the Regulatory Assistance Project

Leveraging Change Speaker Series, February 21, 2019

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The Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP)® is an independent, non-partisan, non-governmental organization dedicated to accelerating the transition to a clean, reliable, and efficient energy future. RAP is made up of are former utility and environmental regulators, industry executives, system operators, and other policymakers and officials with extensive experience in the electric power sector. The team focuses on the world’s four largest power markets, responsible for half of all power generation: China, Europe, India, and the United States.

Richard Cowart has deep experience on state and national energy and environmental issues in the U.S., across Europe, in China, and several other nations, with a particular focus on climate policy for the past decade. He launched and directed RAP’s Europe program from 2009-2018 and serves on RAP’s Board of Directors. He served for a decade on the Executive Committee of the International Energy Agency’s demand-side management program, and was appointed to three terms as chair of the Electricity Advisory Committee of the United States Department of Energy. His recent work focuses on power markets, climate policy, and energy efficiency programs throughout Europe.

A highly-experienced regulator, Mr. Cowart served as commissioner and chair of the Vermont Public Service Board from 1986 to 1999. He was elected president of the New England Conference of Public Utility Commissioners and chair of the U.S. Regulators’ Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment. He also served for four years as chair of the National Council on Competition and the Electric Industry, the association of the state and federal officials and legislators responsible for power sector reform in the United States.

Mr. Cowart has worked closely with industry as a member of the Board of the Electric Power Research Institute, and now serves on the Environmental Advisory Committee of the New York Independent System Operator and is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation.

Mr. Cowart was previously assistant professor and director of the Program in Planning and Law at the University of California (UC), Berkeley (1980-85), and executive officer and general counsel of the Vermont Environmental Board (1978-80). He received his bachelor’s degree from the Honors College at Davidson College and his juris doctor and master of city planning degrees from the UC Berkeley, where he was editor-in-chief of the Ecology Law Quarterly, a leading journal of environmental law and policy.

Mr Cowart was presented to EAN as part of the Leveraging Change Speaker Series on February 21, 2019.