WRI’s Letha Tawney named first-ever Polsky Chair for Renewable Energy

WASHINGTON (SEPTEMBER 9, 2015)-- Michael Polsky, founder, president and CEO of Invenergy, announced today a $1 million contribution to World Resources Institute to fund projects that increase access to clean, affordable and reliable power. Letha Tawney, director of utility innovation at WRI, has been named the inaugural Polsky Chair for Renewable Energy. In this role, Tawney will lead the Institute’s work to spur new business models, market practices and policies that expand clean energy at least cost and create the electricity sector of the future.

“Michael Polsky is a pioneer in clean energy solutions, inspiring and driving change in the energy landscape,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO, WRI. “This generous gift will galvanize WRI’s work to accelerate the transition to low-carbon, sustainable electricity systems. As Letha brings a strong track record of innovative thinking and an ability to affect change in electricity markets, she is wonderfully qualified to lead this effort.”

The gift will grow WRI’s innovative research and engagement on clean energy through its Charge Initiative. Charge aims to mobilize 100 million megawatt hours of demand for clean energy by 2020, enough energy to power 9 million American households. Polsky’s gift will support research on the costs and benefits of renewable energy and development of new models to buy, plan for, and regulate electricity.

“There’s never been more demand to scale up renewable energy,” said Polsky. “As the electricity markets of the future take shape, I hope that this gift will help WRI deliver access to clean energy for everyone.”

In 2001, Polsky founded Invenergy, which develops, owns and operates clean power generation and advanced energy storage facilities. Invenergy is North America’s largest independent, privately-held wind power producer. With nearly 30 years of experience in the energy industry, Polsky is widely recognized as a pioneer and leader in North America’s cogeneration and independent power industry. Polsky is a member of WRI's Board of Directors. He served from 2005 to 2014 and was re-elected in March of 2015.

“This important gift is an investment in WRI’s cutting-edge work with utilities, regulators and customers to create opportunities that reduce carbon pollution and deliver an affordable and reliable electricity supply,” said Tawney. “I am grateful to Michael for his great generosity in creating this opportunity that will expand clean energy access to millions of people.”

Charge works in the United States and internationally with utilities, entrepreneurs, and customers — large and small — to expand access to clean, affordable power. In the United States, Tawney has led path-breaking collaborations between utilities and their largest customers to green the grid. In partnership with World Wildlife Fund US, Charge has empowered the largest electricity buyers through the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles.

For more information on WRI’s renewable energy work visit www.wri.org/our-work/project/charge.