Energy & Climate ExpertsIdeas into Action
Karl R. Rábago
Karl R. Rábago is the Executive Director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center, at the Pace Law School in White Plains, New York. The Center’s mission is to protect the earth’s environment through solutions that transform the ways that society supplies and consumes energy, with a special focus on clean energy—renewable energy, energy efficiency, microgrids and community energy solutions, electrification of transportation, and other distributed energy resources. An attorney licensed in Texas, Karl has more than 27 years of experience in energy and climate policy development, regulation, markets, and business. In his career, Karl has been a military officer, a utility regulator, a utility executive, a renewable energy developer, a law professor, and a clean energy advocate.
Karl leads the Center’s team in engagement in regulatory and policy proceedings, in development and training of law student interns, and ensuring that the Center is engaged in the critical clean energy and regulatory issues of our day. Karl serves as a professor for a designated service with the Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law and teaches energy law. A frequent expert witness in regulatory proceedings around the country, Karl has a reputation for bringing sharp analysis, strong logical argument, and a deep well of regulatory and policy experience to all his work. Karl serves as Chair of the Board of the Center for Resource Solutions, a San Francisco-based non-governmental organization that works to advance voluntary clean energy markets through certification of green energy products and services under the “Green-e” logo. He also sits on the Board of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Karl also is co-director and principal investigator for the Northeast Solar Energy Market Coalition, a US DOE SunShot Initiative Solar Market Pathways project.
Karl’s past positions include Commissioner, Texas Public Utility Commission; Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Department of Energy; Vice President of Distributed Energy Services at Austin Energy; Director of Regulatory Affairs for the AES Corporation and AES Wind; and Managing Director & Principal of the Rocky Mountain Institute. A graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Business Management, Karl is an attorney (University of Texas Law School, J.D. with Honors) with post-doctorate degrees in environmental (LL.M., Pace University School of Law) and military law (LL.M., US Army Judge Advocate General’s School). A veteran of more than 12 years in the US Army, he served as an Armored Cavalry officer and member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and is Airborne and Ranger qualified.
Thomas G. Bourgeois
Tom Bourgeois is the Deputy Director at the Pace Energy and Climate Center, at the Pace Law School in White Plains, NY. He is Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Northeast CHP (Combined Heat and Power) Technical Assistance Partnership based at Pace University. He co-directs the Partnership with Dr. Beka Kosanovic at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s School of Mechanical Engineering. He and Dr. Kosanovic have lead this Center since 2004.
Tom has researched and written extensively on the market conditions, market potential, and regulatory, market and technical barriers to microgrids, CHP, distributed generation, demand response, and renewable energy.
He served as co-chair of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning’s Distributed Generation (DG) Working Group, from March 2012 – June 2013. He is among a group of experts assisting New York State in preparing the New York State Microgrid Study completed in December 2014. The Pace Center is working with the City of Boston and State agencies in Massachusetts to promote the development of community energy projects. The Pace Center is also listed as a resource for the Connecticut Microgrid Pilot Program. The At the request of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environment he delivered technical webinar presentations to communities interested in the Microgrid Pilot Program Phase II on April 3rd and April 4th 2014.
Tom has been principal investigator or contributing author for more than a dozen research studies performed for such organizations as New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA), U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Labs, Argonne National Labs, and National Association of State Energy Offices. In 2008, Tom was recipient of the CHP Champion Award, presented by the U.S. CHP Association, the trade association for the CHP industry. Tom has been contributing author on numerous briefs and other submissions to the Public Service Commission in New York and the Department of Public Utilities in New Jersey.
In May 2014 the Northeast CHP Initiative (NECHPI) , named Mr. Bourgeois as recipient of the NECHPI Award for achievements in promoting CHP in the Northeast.
Tom holds a Masters in Regional Planning from University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and has completed all Ph.D. coursework and qualifying examinations in Managerial Economics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI, Troy NY).
Richard L. Ottinger
Dean Emeritus and Founder
Richard L. Ottinger is Dean Emeritus of The Elizabeth Haub School of Law of Pace University and a former U.S. Congressman. He is Co-Chair of the Energy Law and Climate Change Specialist Group of the World Commission on Environmental Law of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is on the IUCN Climate Change Task Force. He is Co-Director, with Professor Nicholas Robinson, of the Haub/Pace Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies. He is Chair Emeritus and co-founder Environmental and Energy Study Institute and is on the Honorary Board of the National Counsel for Science & the Environment, both in Washington, D.C. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 to 1971 and 1975 to 1985, chairing the House Energy Conservation & Power Subcommittee. Ottinger then taught environmental law at Pace Law School from 1985 to 1994, after which he served as Dean until July 1, 1999. He founded the Pace Energy and Climate Center and co-edited and co-authored its seminal work on environmental externalities: The Environmental Costs of Electricity (Oceana Press, 1990). He has authored and edited some 100 books and articles on sustainable energy, including The Law of Energy for Sustainable Development and Compendium of Sustainable Energy Laws, both published in 2005 by Cambridge University Press.
Ottinger specializes in educating students by involving them in action on key national and international environmental and energy issues. Thus, he involved students in a joint study with Professor Wang Xi on how U.S. environmental laws are implemented, the key conclusions of which were incorporated in the 2015 China environmental law revisions; in a study for the National University of Singapore and APCEL on laws adopted worldwide for climate change adaptation; and a seminal study on the laws required for success of energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives.
Senior Policy Advisor
Sam Swanson serves as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Center. Sam’s knowledge and experience extends to a wide range of electricity market policy and regulation subjects, including renewable and demand-side resource assessment, planning, evaluation and market development, the environmental impacts of electricity production, and electricity price regulation. Mr. Swanson has been a principal contributor to major projects that:
- developed the Power Scorecard consumer education program
- analyzed the barriers local building and fire codes pose to the deployment of hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen transportation fueling facilities in New York State
- assessed opportunities to strengthen mico-grid reliability with investments in distributed generation
- provided a guidebook for siting small biomass power plants
- identified worldwide best practice regulatory policies aimed at mobilizing large scale energy provider investments in energy efficiency
- addressed evaluation and performance metric guidelines for the New York Public Service Commission led Reforming the Energy Vision program
Sam serves as Co-Chair of Vermont’s Clean Energy Development Board. In 2015 the Vermont Legislature tapped Sam to serve on the its Solar Siting Task Force, which was tasked with strengthening the contributions of local government in the State’s solar site licensing program. Sam is past President of Renewable Energy Vermont, receiving their Renewable Energy Champion Award in 2011. He also serves on the City of South Burlington Energy Advisory Committee and the Vermont Interfaith Power and Light Board of Directors.
Sam has appeared as an expert witness before regulatory commissions in Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, New York and Vermont. He previously served as a senior policy advisor and Deputy Director of the New York PSC Office of Energy Efficiency and the Environment.
He holds a BA in Economics from Stony Brook University, a MPIA in Economic and Social Development from the University of Pittsburgh, and a certificate in Regulatory Economics from the State University of New York at Albany.
Energy Policy Analyst
Pearl Gray is our Energy Policy Analyst. She graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 2005 with a degree in Marine Operations and Technology. After graduation she worked both as a navigator and an engineer on merchant ships plying the world’s oceans. In 2012 she graduated from Columbia University’s Environmental Science and Policy program with a Master in Public Administration.
She has worked in large and small research teams developing tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New York City for the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability. Worked alongside Riverkeeper staff to advance community involvement with Hudson River restoration and preservation projects by organizing service days and leading outreach events. Collaborated with legislators, organized campaigns, distributed multi-lingual fliers, and had one-on-one conversations to advise Rockland County residents of the proposed desalination plant and the impacts on the community, financial, and environmental.
Her work at the center is focused on promoting new technologies and advancing forward thinking energy policy. She is actively working on rate design in Maryland and New York providing insight into interconnection, storage, and electric vehicles. She works with the Northeast Solar Energy Market Coalition to advance the develop of solar markets and streamline permitting and solar installation policy process. She also applies this knowledge to forward the integration of Combined Heat and Power to the utility grid and as the backbone of a microgrid.
Sheryl Musgrove has joined staff, after completing her LLM and EASE Fellowship, as a Staff Attorney.
As EASE Fellow, Sheryl works to develop pathways for providing low- and moderate-income household access to sustainable energy, and for ensuring that these households and their communities are able to participate in and receive benefits from New York’s growing clean energy opportunities. The EASE Fellowship is jointly supported by the Pace Energy and Climate Center and Earthjustice.
Sheryl received her J.D. from the University of Idaho College of Law, and is a member of the Idaho State Bar. Her past positions include clerking for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the U.S. District Court for Idaho, and the U.S. District Court for Arizona. She also has worked as a public defender, a prosecutor, a borough attorney, and in private practice. While in private practice, she was awarded the Denise O’Donnell Day Pro Bono Award by the Idaho State Bar for her representation of transgender inmates.
Sheryl is also a Ph.D. Candidate in Sustainability with Arizona State University. Her dissertation research in subnational climate change policy focuses on cities in the states of Washington and Idaho. She has co-authored two articles on sustainability education, both of which received a Highly Commended Paper Award from the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. She has taught introductory sustainability courses as an adjunct professor and teaching assistant, and has presented guest lectures on sustainability and the law.
Prior to pursuing a career in law, Sheryl was a commercial fisher and has captained commercial fishing vessels in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound, and Bristol Bay.
Energy Policy Analyst
Geordi joined the Pace Energy & Climate Center in June 2017. He holds a Master’s of Science degree in Global Energy Management from Strathclyde Business School in the United Kingdom. He is assists with our Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) work, grid modernization proceedings, and the development of microgrids in New York and the Northeast. Geordi conducts the majority of his analysis in the context of financial and economic impacts on low-to-moderate-income (LMI) families.
Prior to joining the Pace Energy & Climate Center, Geordi worked as a contractor for Bloomberg New Energy Finance primarily researching nationwide changes in Net Energy Metering (NEM) policies. He published a case-study that explored the implications of the New York REV’s initiatives on net-metered customers and how they would serve as a model for similar proceedings elsewhere.
During his graduate studies, Geordi assisted with several engineering projects to model the commercial and technical feasibility of off-grid renewable energy systems in remote areas of Scotland, and led the corresponding environmental impact assessments with his classmates. The focus of his graduate thesis was designing and modeling community distributed generation projects to circumvent unfavorable net-metering policies in Alabama, partially using existing programs that serve LMI households. In March of 2016, Geordi was the co-organizer of the EMEP Smart Grids & Future Cities conference that took place in both Glasgow, United Kingdom and Paris, France over a two-week period. The conference included keynote speakers from the French and Scottish governments, Cisco’s Future Cities Centre, and a site visit to ERDF, one of France’s grid operators. The conference also included site visits and roundtable discussions at one of Schneider Electric’s showrooms and the second largest wind farm Europe. Geordi began his career in the energy and climate space as a member of the market strategy team at a biodiesel startup. The firm’s primary aim was to construct Jamaica’s first commercial-scale biodiesel production facility relying on local resources and manpower. He supported the confirmation of numerous off-take agreements with local businesses and organizations, as well as well as private commitments for development.
Energy Policy Analyst
As an Energy Policy Analyst, Joseph O’Brien-Applegate works with stakeholder groups and provides quantitative analysis to shape electricity regulations. He covers rate design modifications in New York and Maryland for the Center, helping utilities and regulators incorporate smart grid technology, time-of-use pricing structures, and alternative utility business models. In New York, Joseph works on the implementation of the Clean Energy Standard, ensuring proper targets and regulations are enacted to meet the 50% renewable by 2030 goal. He also analyzes the incentives for and impacts of distributed electric generation in the Northeast.
Joseph is currently a Master’s Candidate in Environmental Policy with Bard College. Prior to joining the Center, he worked with Bard College’s Office of Sustainability to evaluate installing microhydropower on two existing dams, and to create a state-wide resource website for interested dam owners. He worked with regulators and government officials at the federal, state, and local level, as well as leading community outreach events, and providing legal and technical assistance to contractors. He also served as a teaching assistant in economics, mathematics, and statistics for his Master’s-level classmates.
Joseph completed his undergraduate studies at the College of William & Mary, earning a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations with a minor in Physics. He has previously helped run a bicycle shop in Brooklyn, New York, and has worked as an aircraft mechanic.