Outgoing Gov. Bill Ritter announced today he will become director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University.
Effective Feb. 1, Ritter also will assume the title of senior scholar at CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability.
Ritter leaves office Jan. 11 after one term as governor, during which he dedicated himself to establishing Colorado as a clean-energy leader. During his term, thousands of new energy jobs were created in Colorado. Ritter also signed 57 clean-energy bills into law. 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 in a prepared statement, “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.
“It will facilitate science-based policy, research and education to support the growth of clean energy in Colorado, the nation and the world. This is also a natural partnership that allows me to combine two of my passions – higher education and the new energy economy – and is something of a homecoming for me.” Ritter earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from CSU in 1978.
With CSU now considered a world research leader in engineering clean and alternative energy solutions, the Center for the New Energy Economy will be part of the university’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability. Funding for the Center for the New Energy Economy and Ritter’s position will come entirely from private sources: the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation and the Fort Collins-based Bohemian Foundation. Additional funding from a number of other donor organizations is anticipated to build an endowment to sustain the center long-term.
In his new role, Ritter will work closely with CSU’s rural economic development activities to advance statewide economic initiatives related to clean and renewable energy. Other responsibilities will include:
Directing and overseeing the development of the Center for the New Energy Economy, working with internal and external partners to clearly define its mission, scope, and a five-year strategic plan.
Identifying and pursuing opportunities for The Center to lead and participate in productive public policy discussions and debates related to clean-energy policy and the growth of the New Energy Economy.
Building and promoting the Center as a vital, credible source of unbiased, science-based information, data, and research on clean energy policy and its economic impacts.
Engaging other universities, the private sector and other partners in the Center’s mission and activities.
“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,” CSU President Tony Frank said in a press release. “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.”