Gov. Bill Ritter to Head New Colorado State University Energy Policy Center

Ritter will head a new national policy center focused on building the new energy economy.

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter will join Colorado State University starting this spring to head a new national policy center focused on building the new energy economy, according to university President Tony Frank.

When his term as governor ends this month, Ritter will become the director of the Center for the New Energy Economy and Senior Scholar within CSU’s school of global environmental sustainability, SoGES. His official start date at CSU will be Feb. 1.

The Center for the New Energy Economy will be completely funded by private support, initially from the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation and the Fort Collins-based Bohemian Foundation. CSU is also in conversations with a number of other organizations interested in funding the center long-term, Frank said.

“Land-grant universities such as CSU have always been strongly linked to the economic vitality of their states,” Frank said. “Clean and renewable energy is a new economic frontier, and it’s important for Colorado and our country that we continue to position ourselves as leaders in this emerging economy. This policy center, under Gov. Ritter’s leadership, will help build essential partnerships around research-based clean energy solutions, workforce development and advancement of technologies that will fuel long-term, sustainable economic growth.”

Ritter leaves office Jan. 1. Colorado is now home to the fourth-highest concentration of clean-energy workers in the country, the second-highest renewable energy standard in the nation, and the first law in the country that will convert old and inefficient coal plants to cleaner natural gas.

“The New Energy Economy is now synonymous with Colorado,” Ritter said, “and the Center for the New Energy Economy will serve as a national leader as we move toward a future in which our children will produce and consume energy far differently than we do today. This new center will help address three key challenges for America: economic security, energy security and environmental security.

Scott Moore, chairman of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, hailed the announcement as a great move for Colorado.

"Gov. Ritter's proven leadership in supporting passage of the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act demonstrates how constructive public policies can advance the benefits of our abundant natural gas resources in providing energy we need, creating high paying jobs and protecting our environment,” Moore said. “We look forward to working with him in his new role to promote energy policies that provide innovative and pragmatic direction for Colorado and our nation."

In addition to developing the center as a credible source of unbiased, science-based information, data and research, Ritter will also convene national and statewide discussions among policymakers, scientists, business, environmental organizations and others; facilitate collaboration among faculty members around critical research needs; represent the university in state, national and international discussions related to energy policy; and interact with students as a teacher and mentor.

Ritter, who was elected Colorado’s 41st governor in 2006, earned his bachelor’s degree at Colorado State and his doctorate at the University of Colorado.