We seek to avoid the noise surrounding energy policy by offering a data-driven approach to new generation technologies. Our team has over 160 years of direct regulatory and utility experience.



Board of Directors

Brent Alderfer
Brent Alderfer is an energy entrepreneur who cofounded Community Energy, Inc., and led the company as CEO from start-up. Alderfer was an early champion of clean energy and climate response as an engine for economic growth and job creation. He has led on regional modeling and market design of decarbonized utility grids and is active in energy policy nationally. Brent previously served as a Colorado Public Utility Commissioner and holds an electrical engineering degree from Northeastern University and a law degree from Georgetown University.

Ron Binz
Ron Binz served as the Chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission from January 2007 until April 2011, where he led the Colorado PUC in implementing the many policy changes championed by the Governor and Legislature to bring forward Colorado’s “New Energy Economy.” Both before and after his PUC appointment, Ron specialized in policy, regulatory, and competitive issues in the telecommunications and energy industries from both consulting and non-profit perspectives. From 1984 to 1995, Ron directed the Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel, the state’s utility consumer advocate, representing residential, small business and agricultural utility consumers before the Colorado PUC, federal agencies, and the courts. While Consumer Counsel, Ron served as President of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA). Ron received a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Louis University in 1971 and an M.A. in Mathematics from the University of Colorado in 1977.

Jennifer Chen
Jennifer Chen consults with clients to shape electricity, transmission and governance policies with an eye toward modernizing grid infrastructure and scaling up clean energy. She has testified on these issues before the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Prior to consulting, Jennifer led federal energy policy work at the Nicholas Institute at Duke University. She was an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, leading a coalition of stakeholders to advocate for an efficient and flexible power system. Jennifer holds a J.D. from New York University and a Physics Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She is a member of the California Bar and the District of Columbia Bar and is admitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She is a Senior Fellow in electricity policy at R Street, Senior Policy Counsel to CO2Efficient, and a member of the U.S. Department of Energy Electricity Advisory Committee.

Paula Connelly
Paula Connelly is retired from Xcel Energy, where for 19 years she was Xcel Energy’s Colorado lead regulatory counsel, representing Xcel Energy before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and the Colorado General Assembly. Prior to joining Xcel Energy, Paula was a partner with the Denver law firm of Gorsuch Kirgis LLC, where she practiced public utility law, representing independent power producers, municipal electric utilities, rural electric cooperatives and large consumers of gas and electricity. Before Gorsuch Kirgis, she was in private practice representing utilities and independent power producers before the New York Public Service Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Paula is a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Law.

Ron Lehr, Board Chair
Ron Lehr currently practices law and consults for clients about energy regulation and business matters. His work focuses on clean energy, market structure reform, new electric utility business models and various other regulatory policies to promote an environmentally-sustainable energy system. He has represented private firms, non-profit advocacy groups, national energy laboratories, trade groups, and foundations on renewable energy policies and commercialization strategies. He served for seven years from 1984 to 1991 as Commissioner and Chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and later as President of the Denver Board of Water Commissioners, the water utility for the metro Denver area. Ron is a graduate cum laude of Dartmouth College and the University of Colorado School of Law.

Steve Levitas                                                                                                                              Steve Levitas is Senior VP for Regulatory and Government Affairs at Pine Gate Renewables and a nationally respected authority on energy policy. Steve devotes much of his time to expanding the offtake opportunities for independently owned solar generation resources through competitive procurement program design, voluntary customer programs, PURPA implementation, and market reform. He worked extensively on the development and passage of landmark clean energy legislation in North Carolina in both 2017 and 2021, as well as in the initial proceeding before the North Carolina Utilities Commission in 2022 leading to the adoption of a plan to reduce Duke Energy’s carbon emissions by 70%. He has also been heavily involved in matters relating to transmission and interconnection policies and procedures. From 1993 through 1996, Steve served as Deputy Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources. In 1998 he opened the North Carolina office of the Environmental Defense Fund, serving as Director and Senior Attorney. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Harvard Law School.

Mike O’Boyle
Mike O’Boyle, Director of Electricity Policy at Energy Innovation, directs the firm’s Power Sector Transformation program, working with policymakers, advocates, and others on policy and technology solutions for a clean, reliable, and affordable U.S. electricity system. Mike has co-authored foundational reports including Coal Cost Crossover 2.0, 2030 Report: Powering America’s Clean Economy, and A National Clean Electricity Standard to Benefit All Americans. Mike graduated cum laude from Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, where he focused on energy and international law. He also has a B.A from Vanderbilt University.

Sonny Popowsky
Sonny Popowsky served as the consumer advocate of Pennsylvania for twenty-two years from 1990 to 2012, starting his career as an assistant consumer advocate in 1979. He served as the President of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA) from 1996 to 1998, and also served on the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) from 1997 to 2001, as Vice Chair of the United States Department of Energy Electricity Advisory Council from 2012 to 2016, and on the Advisory Council of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) from 2014 to 2019. He currently serves as Chair of the City of Philadelphia Water, Sewer and Storm Water Rate Board and as a member of the Advisory Board of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, and on the Boards of Directors of the Energy Coordinating Agency, the Sustainable Energy Fund, and Regional Housing Legal Services. Mr. Popowsky graduated Cum Laude from Yale University and received his J.D. Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania.

D.R. Richardson, Board Treasurer
D.R. Richardson is a clean energy entrepreneur, having spent over a decade building, investing in, analyzing, and advising cutting-edge companies regarding sustainable assets. D.R. is the founder of Elephant Energy, a clean energy retailer with a mission to deliver low-cost, low-carbon energy to consumers. D.R. was previously a Partner at Vision Ridge Partners, a Boulder-based private equity firm with over $2B in assets, investing in sustainable real assets and asset-backed companies. Before that, he was a consultant at Altman Vilandrie, a boutique tech and telecom strategy consulting firm in Boston, MA.  D.R. holds a BA from Brown University.

Our Experts

The NEE team has deep regulatory, utility, project development, customer and capital market experience and a cutting-edge understanding of current market economics. We partner with local stakeholders to apply geographic-specific and targeted analysis because each jurisdiction is unique. NEE is technology- and developer-neutral and will always support and advocate for competitive bidding processes to avoid promoting any one technology or company.

Ivan Urlaub

Energy and Infrastructure Policy

Ivan Urlaub

Energy and Infrastructure Policy

Ivan Urlaub is an impact entrepreneur and founder of Urlaub Strategies, a North Carolina-based consulting firm providing clients nationwide with strategies to realize their vision in the transition to energy and climate resilience. Ivan’s work with New Energy Economics is focused on developing and advancing market-based clean energy policy and regulatory strategies that improve affordability, equity, and economic competitiveness. Select relevant accomplishments include:

  • Primary architect and advocate for much of North Carolina’s suite of renewable energy, distributed energy, and energy efficiency policies

  • Successfully grew NC Sustainable Energy Association from a $65,000 annual budget to $3.2M, developing results-driven teams around new core competencies in public policy, market intelligence, and equity, diversity & inclusion

  • Advised hundreds of clean energy firms, digital and transmission infrastructure firms, government agencies, and large energy consumers to successfully solve policy-related energy challenges

  • Co-developed North Carolina’s first clean energy consumer adopter surveys, bill impact analysis and reporting, and the nation’s first state-level survey of clean energy jobs and investment

  • Collaboratively built and supported coalitions that have secured the adoption of dozens of laws and beneficial regulatory outcomes

  • Helped design and iteratively improve successful utility-inclusive financing and health & safety programs

Urlaub Strategies is providing energy policy analysis and strategy consulting support to advance the New Energy Economics.

Dan Bruer

Executive Director

Dan Bruer

Executive Director

Dan Bruer leads New Energy Economics’ organizational development and operations, external strategic partnerships, and advocacy in support of state initiatives and policy objectives. He has more than 25 years of experience serving people, communities, and causes through philanthropy, public policy initiatives, and political campaigns.  

With professional and nonprofit board experience in the areas of conservation and clean energy, his career highlights include strategies and programs in support of:

  • Fundraising in support of pro-conservation candidates in US congressional elections across six states.
  • Corporate philanthropy and conservation-related initiatives with companies such as Walmart, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Mcdonald’s, and State Farm.
  • Billion-dollar research university campaigns with the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
  • $5.5 million Our Water Our Land campaign, the largest land trust campaign of its kind in North Carolina.
  • National disaster relief efforts in excess of $50 million with the American Red Cross.


Anna Sommer

Economic Modeling Expert

Anna Sommer

Economic Modeling Expert

Anna Sommer, with Energy Futures Group (EFG), has more than 15 years’ experience working on a wide variety of energy planning related issues, with a primary focus on integrated resource planning (IRP). Along with Chelsea Hotaling at EFG and the transmission and grid reliability experts at Telos Energy, she is providing capacity expansion and system dispatch modeling consulting support to New Energy Economics. More information about Anna and her team is available at https://energyfuturesgroup.com/team/anna-sommer/.

Advancing Energy Policy Through Economic Analysis

New Energy Economics is a 501(c)(3) organization offering non-partisan data analysis in state regulatory arenas. We are philanthropically funded by foundations and individuals, including The Francis M. Green Fund, that want to move beyond the adversarial and tribal nature of the debate over energy policy and believe thoroughly evaluating all energy options will result in a win-win-win path forward that lowers utility costs and rates, maintains reliability, and fosters sustainable economic development for local communities and states. We are interested in collaboration and consensus-building.

NEE receives philanthropic funding from The Francis M. Green Fund.