Colorado’s 41st Governor
Bill Ritter, Jr.
Bill Ritter, Jr. is the founder and director of the Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) at Colorado State University which launched on February 1, 2011. The Center employs an assistant director, four senior policy advisors and analysts, a research manager, a research associate, and a team of student researchers.
The Center works directly with governors, legislators, regulators, planners, policymakers, and other decision makers. It provides technical assistance to help officials create the policies and practices that will facilitate America’s transition to a clean-energy economy. Ritter authored a book that was published in 2016 entitled, Powering Forward – What Everyone Should Know About America’s Energy Revolution.
Ritter was elected as Colorado’s 41st governor in 2006, and built consensus to tackle some of the state’s biggest challenges. During his four-year term, Ritter established Colorado as a national and international leader in clean energy, by building a new energy economy. He signed 57 new energy bills into law, including a 30% Renewable Portfolio Standard and a Clean Air Clean Jobs Act that replaced nearly a gigawatt of coal-fired generation with natural gas. In total, the Colorado new energy economy created thousands of new jobs.
Ritter is the chair of the Board of Directors of the Energy Foundation and a senior fellow and member of the board of directors of the Advanced Energy Economy Institute. Ritter earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado State University (1978) and his law degree from the University of Colorado (1981). With his wife Jeannie, he operated a food distribution and nutrition center in Zambia. He then served as Denver’s district attorney from 1993 to January 2005.
The Ritters have four children: August, Abe, Sam, and Tally.
Suzanne Tegen is the Assistant Director of the Center for the New Energy Economy with expertise in energy economics and policy, and a Ph.D. in Energy Policy from the University of Colorado. At the Center, she works on clean energy policy education, research, and solutions for decision-makers including state legislators, governors’ energy offices, and others. Her current work also includes research on the equitable transition from coal power in rural America. Suzanne came to CNEE from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) where she spent 14 years as an energy analyst, researcher, and manager of the Technology, Engineering, and Deployment group for wind and water power.
She has authored or co-authored over 50 reports focused on domestic renewable energy jobs, stakeholder engagement, and the levelized cost of wind energy. She co-wrote a report on clean energy policies for the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Clean Energy Solutions Center and received the Ministerial’s C3E Mid-career award in 2016. She represents the United States in the International Energy Agency’s wind energy social acceptance task and has made countless presentations on responsible renewable energy development across the country. Before graduate school, Tegen worked for the U.S. Antarctic Program at the South Pole and McMurdo stations and for the Center for Resource Solutions in San Francisco.
Beyond her job requirements, she is passionate about mentoring and energy education, diversity, and inclusivity. She is a founding member of Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy and served on their Executive Committee for 9 years.
Tom Plant served as director of the Governor’s Energy Office in the Ritter administration, with principal responsibility for developing and implementing the Governor’s policies for a new energy economy. He was Colorado House District 13 representative from 1998 through 2006, including two years as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and one year as Chairman of the Joint Budget Committee. Among the key pieces of legislation he sponsored were the Colorado Renewable Energy Act, and energy efficiency tax-incentive legislation.
Plant was named Legislator of the Year by such organizations as the University of Colorado and the Sierra Club of Colorado. He received Green Sense Award for Environmental Leadership from Colorado Conservation Voters, and the Champion of the Family Farmer Award from the Rocky Mountain Farmers’ Union. While serving in the legislature, Plant was executive director of the nonprofit Center for ReSource Conservation in Boulder, Colorado.
After graduating from Colorado State University, Plant worked as an exploration geologist. Then he joined the Union of Concerned Scientists in its Climate Change Department. At UCS, he explored the causes of global climate change and examined transportation and energy solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Patrick Cummins is a Senior Policy Advisor at the Center for the New Energy Economy where he leads the Center’s work with Western states, utilities, and stakeholders on the transition to a low-carbon economy. Patrick has been working with Western states and stakeholders on air quality and climate programs for 30 years, including at Metro Denver’s Regional Air Quality Council, and as the Director of Air Quality and Climate Programs at the Western Governors’ Association. Prior to joining Governor Ritter’s team at Colorado State University he served as Executive Director of the Western Climate Initiative, where he helped develop and implement the world’s first economy-wide cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions which is being implemented by the State of California and the Province of Quebec. Patrick has a Chemistry Degree from Fort Lewis College and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Policy from Indiana University.
Dennis Arfmann is a Senior Policy Advisor at the Center for the New Energy Economy. Dennis brings his unique skill set to the Center. As a partner in the Colorado office of Hogan Lovells L.L.C. (a large international law firm based in London and Washington, D.C with 46 global offices) he was the Co-Chair of the firm’s Climate Change & Clean Energy Group before he retired from the firm. Dennis worked with a number of utilities and clean energy companies located West of the Mississippi River. He focused his efforts on air quality, climate change and clean energy matters. He placed particular emphasis on resolving complex policy, regulatory, and legislative policy issues, with a focus on climate change issues.
Mr. Arfmann is a published author and a frequent lecturer on climate change, clean energy & environmental topics. He was appointed to the Western Regional Air Partnership Market Trading Forum, the American Solar Energy Society Board of Trustees, and the Colorado Climate Change Advisory Council. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Earth Day Network in Washington, D.C. and the Board of Directors for the Bridge House in Boulder, CO.
He received an LL.M., with highest honors, in Environmental Law from The George Washington University, and a J.D. from the University of Nebraska.
Wendy started her career as a legal secretary working in the Office of the City Attorney for the City of Fort Collins, Colorado in 1988. She went on to support the offices of Neighborhood Services and Human Rights for the City of Fort Collins until 2006 when she left the City to work for a private family foundation. She returned to the public sector in 2008 when she came to Colorado State University to support the Director of the CSU Engines and Energy Conversion Lab. In 2012, Wendy left CSU to support the CEO and Co-Founder of New Belgium Brewing Co., returning in 2014 to support Gov. Ritter and his team at the Center for the New Energy Economy. She is a CSU graduate, receiving her BA in Liberal Arts, Social Sciences with a minor in Spanish. Wendy has a terrific husband, two funny children, two messy cats and one adorable granddaughter.
After interning with CNEE as a Research Associate since 2013, Katherine joined the CNEE team full-time as Research Manager in April of 2017. Katherine oversees our research team, leading the development and maintenance of the Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker, the State Policy Opportunity Tracker for Clean Energy, The Clean Energy Policy Guide for State Legislatures, and contributes to a number of other CNEE projects.
Katherine received her Ph.D in Political Science from Colorado State University. Her Dissertation examined policy diffusion and policy change through the lens of Renewable Portfolio Standards. Katherine also received her M.A. in Political Science from Colorado State University, and has published research in Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Policy Sciences, and other venues.
A Colorado Native, Katherine is proud to hail from Red Cliff, where she grew up exploring the White River National Forest and the Holy Cross Wilderness.
Joining the CNEE team in 2017, Alison is the project lead for the annual Clean Energy Legislative Academy as well as marketing and communication efforts. She provides research and analysis support to the team. Alison is also a LEED Green Associate with the US Green Building Council. Prior to this position, Alison worked as a researcher and project coordinator at the Powerhouse Energy Campus in Fort Collins. She was a member of the Smart Village Minigrid team where CSU researchers and energy experts work to bring sustainable electricity solutions into underdeveloped rural communities and measure their impact.
Alison has a Master’s Degree in Sociology from Colorado State University. She studied networks of policy actors to better understand how collaboration occurs when solving complex environmental problems. She uses Social Network Analysis (SNA) as an innovative approach to identifying and implementing policy solutions. With this degree and bachelor’s degrees in both Environmental Sociology and Political Science, her passion lies in harmoniously bringing people, policy, and the environment together. While not a native, she has lived in Colorado for over 10 years and calls the mountains home.
Seth joined CNEE as a graduate intern in June of 2017. Most of his work at the Center involves research for the State Policy Opportunity Tracker for Clean Energy and the Advanced Energy Legislation tracker. Seth is also a PhD student in the Political Science Department at Colorado State University, where he studies American politics and environmental policy, focusing on issues such as ecological conservation and energy/mineral extraction on public lands. Seth lived in Atlanta prior to beginning his program at CSU, where he is originally from. He received a Master of Natural Resources degree from the University of Georgia’s School of Forestry in 2015. Currently, Seth’s dissertation research is examining environmental regulation of the electricity sector and implementation of state energy policy.
David Oonk joined the CNEE team in the summer of 2019. David is a Ph.D. student in the ATLAS Institute at University of Colorado Boulder. His research focuses on oil and gas development and policy in Colorado. He researches the dynamics and practices of horizontal drilling and ‘fracking’ technologies, the governance problems they create, and the role of science in assessing their risk and influence policy-making. He has experience designing programs and conducting research in environmental science communication and education using visual media and art. He is advised by Max Boykoff faculty in Department of Environmental Studies and Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR).