Energy & Environment Power 100: 51 - 100
Energy & Environment Power 100: 51 - 100
51. Alex Beauchamp
Northeast Region Director, Food & Water Watch
The ascension of progressive Democrats in New York has paved the way for transformative changes in energy policy, from the state’s landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act to New York City’s stricter building emission limits. But perhaps the biggest breakthrough was the campaign led by activists like Alex Beauchamp that pushed the Cuomo administration to ban hydraulic fracturing. Beauchamp hasn’t let up, demanding more funding to combat climate change and opposing new gas pipelines.
52. Miles Goodrich
Fundraising Director, Sunrise Movement
The Sunrise Movement is a youth-driven campaign tackling climate change by pressuring candidates for public office to reject funding from fossil fuel companies while pushing for a national Green New Deal. While it’s notable for its decentralized structure, one particularly active figure in the movement in New York is Miles Goodrich, the group’s former political director in New York who is now its national fundraising director.
53. Tonio Burgos
Founder and CEO, TBA
Tonio Burgos has long been a top lobbyist in New York City and in Albany, but he has also become a big-time player in New Jersey and Washington, D.C., while retaining his roots in the Empire State. And while his firm represents a wide range of companies, it has significant experience and expertise in the energy sector, particularly in representing a number of wind energy industry clients.
54. Rocco Lacertosa
CEO, New York State Energy Coalition
In recent years New York has taken steps to increase the use of biodiesel, a renewable alternative to petroleum, to help tackle dirty building emissions. That has helped Rocco Lacertosa make the heating oil industry cleaner and greener. The industry veteran recently oversaw the merger of the New York Oil Heating Association and the Oil Heat Institute of Long Island into the New York State Energy Coalition, which he now leads.
55. Janice Fuller
President, Mid-Atlantic, Anbaric
With two offshore wind developments moving forward in New York and Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushing for more, the electric transmission and storage company Anbaric is positioning itself to get involved in the state’s renewable energy expansion. Anbaric recently promoted Janice Fuller to oversee the company’s entire mid-Atlantic portfolio, making her the point person in New Jersey and New York, where the company is pitching an “ocean grid,” which would link up with other offshore power facilities.
56. Craig Hart
Executive Director, Pace Energy and Climate Center
Over the past three decades, the Pace Energy and Climate Center has become an invaluable resource in assessing New York’s energy and environmental policies. Craig Hart, an energy adviser and an academic specializing in climate change mitigation, was brought on to run the center in 2019. Hart has big shoes to fill after replacing Karl Rábago, a well-respected industry expert who led the Pace institute for five years.
57. Bill McCarthy & Patrick McHugh
Partners, Bolton-St. Johns
Given the seismic changes to New York’s energy policy, there’s plenty of demand for lobbyists with industry expertise. At Bolton-St. Johns, which represents such heavy hitters as the offshore wind developer Equinor, veteran lobbyist Bill McCarthy is an expert at navigating the state Public Service Commission’s approval process. A more recent addition to the team with energy expertise is Patrick McHugh, the founder of The Elk Street Group, who was brought on last year. Also on the firm's energy team is Joseph DeRosa, who used to work at NYSERDA.
58. Jainey Bavishi
Director, New York City Mayor’s Office of Resiliency
Since she was appointed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to lead the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency in 2017, Jainey Bavishi hasn’t been waiting around for the Trump administration to help bolster the city’s infrastructure in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. But with the Biden administration taking office soon, she’s hoping Washington – which she knows well as an Obama White House veteran – will resume its efforts to protect New York Harbor.
59. Rob DiFrancesco & Arthur “Jerry” Kremer
Executive Director; Chair, New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance
The New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance is a trade group whose goals include developing renewable energy, but it has been most vocal over the years for its failed bid to keep the Indian Point nuclear power plant open. The organization, which is run by Rob DiFrancesco and chaired by former Assembly Member Arthur “Jerry” Kremer, enjoyed more success in pushing for an improved power plant siting process.
60. Sachin Shah
Vice Chair, Brookfield Renewable
The progressive left has taken aim at big real estate in recent years, but Brookfield has shown a demonstrated commitment to renewable energy, including its ownership of a significant upstate hydropower portfolio. Sachin Shah, who has spearheaded the company’s renewable energy efforts, was recently promoted to be the chief investment officer for Brookfield Asset Management, but he’ll still oversee renewables for its private funds.
61. John Catsimatidis
Chair and CEO, United Metro Energy
In New York political circles, billionaire John Catsimatidis is known for his once – and future? – bid to become mayor of New York City, as well as his grocery stores and real estate endeavors. But the Republican businessman is also the chief executive of United Metro Energy, a heating oil company with terminals in Brooklyn and on Long Island.
62. Bill Acker
Executive Director, New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium
While battery storage hasn’t garnered as much buzz as electric cars and offshore wind, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has emphasized the evolving technology as “vital to our resiliency work” while touting “the country’s largest energy storage target.” That level of support has been a boon to Bill Acker, the executive director of the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium, in his efforts to expand society’s reliance on batteries to maximize the benefits of renewable energy.
63. Richard Berkley
Executive Director, Public Utility Law Project
Among the stakeholders in New York’s energy industry are power producers, transmission developers and environmental advocates – and everyday New Yorkers. That’s where the Public Utility Law Project comes in. Since stepping aside as a top energy aide for the state Senate Democrats in 2015, Richard Berkley has continued the Public Utility Law Project’s advocacy on behalf of customers who struggle to keep the lights on – an increasingly critical task during the coronavirus pandemic.
64. Bill Reid
President and CEO, Danskammer Energy
With state law mandating 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040, power producers seeking to install newer and relatively clean natural gas units are facing criticisms that those plants are not clean enough and counterproductive to reaching the new target. One such producer is Bill Reid’s Danskammer Energy, which says repowering its plant in the Hudson Valley would fill the gaps during the transition to renewables – and might even be fueled by hydrogen from renewables one day.
65. Shyam Mehta & Dave Gahl
Executive Director, New York Solar Energy Industries Association, Senior Director of State Affairs, Northeast, Solar Energy Industries Association
New York’s state-mandated transition to cleaner energy is giving a boost to the solar power industry, which is good news for trade groups like the Solar Energy Industries Association. Industry expert Shyam Mehta has led the organization’s growing New York branch for two years. Dave Gahl, who has had a long career in environmental advocacy in New York, oversees the group’s state legislative and regulatory efforts in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
66. Michael J. Myers & Lemuel Srolovic
Senior Counsel for Air Pollution and Climate Change Litigation; Bureau Chief, Environmental Protection Bureau, State Attorney General Letitia James’ Office
New York Attorney General Letitia James lost her case against Exxon Mobil last year, but it was just one of her office’s actions dealing with the environment. Two top aides, Environmental Protection Bureau Chief Lemuel Srolovic and Senior Counsel for Air Pollution and Climate Change Litigation Michael J. Myers, have taken on the Trump administration on national energy efficiency standards, lax enforcement of smog pollution regulations and changes to federal clean water rules.
67. Adrienne Esposito
Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment
Longtime Long Island environmentalist Adrienne Esposito heads up Citizens Campaign for the Environment, a 120,000-member organization with offices in Farmingdale, Albany, Syracuse, Buffalo and Connecticut. While Esposito fell short in her 2014 bid for a state Senate seat, despite public backing from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, she has continued to advocate for clean drinking water, protecting wetlands, investing in renewable energy and safer consumer products.
68. Gary Lambert
Co-Founder and CEO, Competitive Power Ventures
Gary Lambert runs Competitive Power Ventures, the Maryland-based power producer and asset manager he co-founded over two decades ago. The company’s 680-megawatt CPV Valley Energy Center in Wawayanda came under scrutiny for its role in the bribery scandal that felled top gubernatorial aide Joe Percoco and an ex-CPV executive. This fall, the Israeli company OPC Energy agreed to acquire CPV but plans to keep its management team in place.
69. Cortney Koenig Worrall
President and CEO, Waterfront Alliance
Since becoming an independent organization in 2007, the Waterfront Alliance has drawn attention to the need to protect and preserve New York City’s many miles of coastline. Cortney Koenig Worrall, who took the helm this summer, will lead the organization through its next chapter. The National Parks Conservation Association veteran and former Waterfront Alliance chief operating officer is already advocating for further action to make the city’s waterfront more resilient.
70. John Douglas & Zohrab Mawani
CEO; President, OneGrid
OneGrid bills itself as a transmission company that builds “capacity for renewable energy generation with transmission projects that target congestion and strengthen grid reliability.” In New York, where there’s a need to deliver more renewable energy downstate, the Toronto-based company’s executives John Douglas and Zohrab Mawani are behind the proposed Empire State Connector, a 1,000-megawatt transmission line that would run between Utica and New York City.
71. Michael Gerrard & Alex Halliday
Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law; Director, Earth Institute, Columbia University
One of the leading academics monitoring environmental policy in New York and nationwide is Michael Gerrard, a Columbia University law professor who founded the school’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. Gerrard also has served as chair of Columbia’s Earth Institute, which has been run since 2018 by Alex Halliday. Halliday, who was knighted last year, is also leading Columbia’s effort to establish a climate school.
72. Jeff Vockrodt
Executive Director, Climate Jobs New York
The labor movement isn’t united behind the Green New Deal, but in New York a number of influential unions – including the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, 32BJ SEIU, District Council 37, the Transport Workers Union and the New York State Nurses Association – have joined the Climate Jobs New York coalition. Led by Obama administration veteran Jeff Vockrodt, the coalition is calling for well-paying green energy jobs.
73. Elizabeth Stein
Lead Counsel, Energy Transition Strategy, Environmental Defense Fund
A decade ago, Elizabeth Stein left her job as a real estate lawyer to join the Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group that relies on legal and scientific expertise to shape public policy. Stein, who’s based in New York City, is now the organization’s lead counsel on energy transition, seeking to reduce the transportation and building sectors' reliance on oil and gas and calling for improved resiliency of the electrical grid and investments in electric vehicles.
74. Peggy Shepard
Co-Founder and Executive Director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice
WE ACT for Environmental Justice launched in 1988 to advocate for people of color and low-income residents in Northern Manhattan, winning a $1.1 million settlement with the city over a local sewage treatment plant. Co-founder Peggy Shepard has kept its focus on Northern Manhattan while taking the fight to Albany and Washington. The group suffered a recent tragedy when Cecil Corbin-Mark, the group’s first permanent staffer and its widely respected deputy director, died of a stroke.
75. Rich Kassel
Group Leader, Clean Energy and Sustainability Group, Capalino
Rich Kassel brings invaluable experience to his work at Capalino, having spent more than two decades at the National Resources Defense Council, where he drove the “Dump Dirty Diesel” campaign and worked with the Bloomberg administration on its groundbreaking PlaNYC sustainability strategy. In four years at Capalino, he has led the top lobbying firm’s Clean Energy and Sustainability Group while working with clients that make real progress in addressing climate change.
76. Andrew McKeon
Executive Director, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
As New York policymakers mull a market-based scheme to reduce carbon emissions, the multistate Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative could be a starting point. The coalition of 10 East Coast states – including New York – relies on a cap-and-trade system to reduce power plant carbon dioxide emissions. The group, which is run by Andrew McKeon, was recently praised by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for setting “the standard for climate leadership during the last decade.”
77. Robert Howarth
Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology, Cornell University
Ecologist Robert Howarth produced pivotal research on the negative effects of hydraulic fracturing, which helped lead to New York’s ban on the drilling procedure in 2015. Now, he’s an Assembly appointee to the state’s Climate Action Council, which will develop strategies for reducing greenhouse gases by 85% by 2050. “That’s great, but how this is done is not really clear to anyone yet,” Howarth said. “The council’s job is to lay out precisely how to do that.”
78. Margaret Gorman
Senior Director, Northeast Region, American Chemistry Council
As New York’s transition to a greener economy gains momentum, the plastics industry has also become a target, with measures banning plastic bags and barring polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam, which is used in containers at many restaurants. The American Chemistry Council, the plastics industry’s top lobbying group and one of the top lobbying spenders in Washington, is trying to push back in New York, with local point person Margaret Gorman warning of manufacturing job losses.
79. Anthony Constantinople
Partner, Constantinople & Vallone Consulting
As a perennial Top 5 lobbying firm in New York City, Constantinople & Vallone Consulting represents clients in a wide range of sectors and industries, including education, nonprofits, small businesses and real estate. One other notable area of expertise is energy and environmental policy, with partner Anthony Constantinople taking the lead in representing such players as NRG, Bayonne Energy Center, Waste Management, and other companies specializing in solar power, electric vehicle infrastructure and energy storage.
80. Thomas Spang
CEO, Advanced Power
With Indian Point Energy Center set to shut down its last nuclear reactor next year, New York is looking to fill the power supply gap in part with Advanced Power’s 1,100-megawatt Cricket Valley Energy Center, which is already under construction. However, Thomas Spang’s natural gas-fired power plant faces outcry from environmentalists who argue it doesn’t make sense to create a new fossil fuel facility as the state commits to transitioning to renewable energy.
81. Maritza Silva-Farrell
Executive Director, ALIGN
ALIGN, a progressive coalition of labor and community groups focused on economic, environmental and equity issues, played a role in reforming New York City’s commercial waste industry, reducing emissions in New York City’s large buildings, and, as a leading member of the New York Renews coalition, embracing renewable energy in New York through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Maritza Silva-Farrell has led the organization since 2016.
82. Jeffrey Perlman
Founder, CEO and President, Bright Power
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation last month expanding the 2019 “Green New Deal” targeting emissions from buildings, the city’s biggest contributors of greenhouse gases. That’s good news for Jeffrey Perlman, whose growing company, Bright Power, provides energy and water management services for owners of new and old buildings, as well as assessing the energy efficiency of buildings. Perlman also is a member of the state Public Service Commission’s advisory group on building energy efficiency.
83. Thomas McMahon
Founder and President, TLM Associates
Over the past decade and a half, Thomas McMahon’s TLM Associates has established itself as a go-to lobbying firm for environmental and energy issues. Among its recent clients are the American Petroleum Institute, Spectra Energy, Waterfront Alliance and the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative. McMahon, who previously held key positions in the New York City Council, also deals with sustainable building standards as part of his firm’s work on affordable housing.
84. Kyle Bragg
President, 32BJ SEIU
Kyle Bragg’s influential property service workers union 32BJ SEIU has been an early supporter of renewable energy policies, making headlines as the first big union to back a national Green New Deal.A year ago, 32BJ SEIU’s political director, Candis Tolliver, was appointed to New York City’s Climate Advisory Board, which is part of the landmark buildings emissions measure Local Law 97, and his union is on the steering committee of the New York Renews coalition.
85. Alicia Glen
Chair, The Trust for Governors Island
For some reason, islands are places where environmentalism thrives, whether it’s the bipartisan support for conservation measures on Long Island, the push to transform New York City’s infamous jail complex into a “renewable Rikers Island,” or efforts underway to remake Governors Island as a sustainability hub with a center for climate solutions. The latter effort is being spearheaded by Alicia Glen, a former top deputy to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
86. Joel Towers
Director, The Tishman Environment and Design Center, The New School’s Parsons School of Design
Joel Towers was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio this summer as a co-chair of the fourth New York City Panel on Climate Change, a 20-member group that will review the latest scientific data and make recommendations on how to improve the city’s resiliency and adapt to climate change risks. Towers, an architecture professor, also directs The Tishman Environment and Design Center and previously was executive dean of the Parsons School of Design.
87. Bill Ferris & Joe Stelling
New York State Representative; Associate State Director for Advocacy, AARP New York
A significant portion of AARP’s advocacy on behalf of older New Yorkers centers on energy policy, from pushing state lawmakers to create an official utility watchdog to calling for keeping rate hikes in check for senior citizens on a fixed income. And while AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel is the public face of these campaigns, she relies on colleagues Bill Ferris and Joe Stelling to help craft and sell the organization’s proposals.
88. Rahwa Ghirmatzion
Executive Director, People United for Sustainable Housing Buffalo
A leading climate justice champion in Western New York is People United for Sustainable Housing Buffalo, or PUSH Buffalo, which is run by Rahwa Ghirmatzion. Ghirmatzion, who fled a civil war in Eritrea and came to the U.S. with her family as a refugee, has led PUSH Buffalo since 2018, advocating against steep energy rake hikes, assisting with solar installation and promoting energy efficiency. PUSH Buffalo is also on the steering committee of New York Renews.
89. John Mandyck
CEO, Urban Green Council
With efforts to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from buildings underway in New York City, John Mandyck is leading the Urban Green Council in a time of transition. Named its first CEO in 2018, Mandyck is advancing the council’s stated mission to “transform buildings for a sustainable future in New York City and around the world.” And with establishment backers, including Con Edison, SL Green, Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust, Mandyck’s voice carries weight.
90. Dennis Elsenbeck
Head of Energy and Sustainability, Energy Consulting Services, Phillips Lytle
Dennis Elsenbeck is a former utility executive and a leading Buffalo-based energy consultant at Phillips Lytle – and he’s one of 22 members of the state’s Climate Action Council, which is tasked with implementing the state’s sweeping climate change law. Elsenbeck, who was appointed by the state Senate Democrats, told Politico that he hopes the state prioritizes “the manufacturing community so that they’re not spectators but participants.”
91. Bill Nowak
Executive Director, New York Geothermal Energy Organization
Geothermal energy doesn’t get as much attention as solar or offshore wind in New York, but it has gained traction in Albany and could play a role in the state’s transition to a renewable portfolio. A top New York advocate for the industry – which taps into solar heat absorbed by the Earth to heat buildings with extraordinary efficiency – is Bill Nowak, a former state legislative staffer with deep ties in Western New York.
92. Liz Moran
Environmental Policy Director, New York Public Interest Research Group
Whether it’s banning waste from hydraulic fracturing, protecting drinking water from toxic chemicals or implementing the plastic bag ban, NYPIRG’s Liz Moran is out front advocating for the interests of everyday New Yorkers. Moran, who returned to NYPIRG to take on this new role at the start of 2019, already had plenty of Albany experience as the water and natural resources director for Environmental Advocates of New York.
93. Ramsay Adams
Founder and Executive Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper
One of New York’s natural treasures are the Catskills, and Ramsay Adams has devoted more than a decade to keeping the mountain range in pristine condition. As the longtime head of Catskill Mountainkeeper, Adams has waged battles against allowing fracking in New York and the siting of fossil fuel infrastructure, advocating instead for tourism and sustainable agriculture to buoy the region.
94. William Janeway
Executive Director, Adirondack Council
William Janeway has led the Adirondack Council, which seeks to preserve New York’s Adirondack Park, for seven years. In recent months, his Elizabethtown-based environmental group has pushed for a hiking permit system to control foot traffic in wilderness areas and applauded the governor for signing a local road salt reduction measure. Like several other New York environmentalists, Janeway previously worked at the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
95. Kathy Hannun
Co-Founder and President, Dandelion Energy
Dandelion Energy, the largest home geothermal company in the U.S., has gone through several transitions. It was spun off from Alphabet X, a sister company of Google, in 2017, and this year Kathy Hannun handed off chief executive duties to Michael Sachse while staying on as president. Hannun, who is targeting Northeast homeowners who use propane and heating oil, was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy for her work installing residential heat pumps.
96. Gustavo Gordillo
Activist, Democratic Socialists of America
The Democratic Socialists America have broken through in the state Legislature, where their candidates won a number of seats this year, and the progressive organization’s New York City chapter hopes to replicate its performance in the 2021 City Council races. A less obvious area where the DSA is shaking things up is in energy policy, with activists like Gustavo Gordillo organizing against rate hikes and fossil fuel infrastructure, and advocating for publicly owned utilities.
97. Betta Broad
Director, New Yorkers for Clean Power
New Yorkers for Clean Power is one of a number of environmental organizations advocating in Albany and New York. Its statewide campaign is pushing for more solar and wind power, investment in energy efficiency and other strategies to bring about a truly clean energy economy. Its leader, Betta Broad, has organized for social justice and sustainable policies for years, with stints at Catskill Mountainkeeper and the New York Energy Democracy Alliance.
98. Dan Hendrick
Head of External Affairs, East Region, Clearway Energy
Clearway Energy is a San Francisco-based clean energy producer with a presence across the country. In New York, Clearway’s community solar subsidiary has gained traction thanks to the state’s emphasis on renewable energy. Dan Hendrick, who previously worked for the New York League of Conservation Voters and NRG, is Clearway’s head of external affairs in New York, and he also serves as board president of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association.
99. Sadie McKeown
Executive Vice President and Head of Construction Lending and Initiatives, Community Preservation Corporation
New York City is tackling greenhouse gas emissions from the towers that make up its impressive skyline, but fixing up less iconic buildings in the city – including those with affordable housing units – is a critical task in addressing climate change. At the nonprofit affordable housing and community development financial institution Community Preservation Corporation, Sadie McKeown is spearheading innovative ways to make affordable housing more carbon neutral.
100. Dominique Thomas
Training Manager, Climate Advocacy Lab
A rising star in the New York environmental activist movement, Dominique Thomas focuses on building and cultivating grassroots movements that bring in people of color to advocate for policies to address climate change. The Harlem-based activist recently joined Climate Advocacy Lab, which has grown into a team of 3,000 advocates, organizers and academics since 2015. She previously worked with 350.org, where she was part of an effort to boost voter turnout.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly described the kind of geothermal energy that is the focus of the New York Geothermal Energy Organization.