Dave Anderson, Policy and Communications Manager
Dave Anderson is the policy and communications manager for the Energy and Policy Institute.
Dave has been working at the nexus of clean energy and public policy since 2008. Prior to joining the Energy and Policy Institute, he was an outreach coordinator for the climate and energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He is also an alumnus of the Sierra Club and the Alliance for Climate Protection (now the Climate Reality Project).
Dave’s research has helped to spur investigations into political attacks on clean energy and climate science by powerful special interests, such as ExxonMobil and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). His work has been cited by major media outlets, such as CBS News and the Wall Street Journal, and he has served as a speaker on panels at national solar industry conferences.
Dave holds a MA in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire, where he also received a BA in Humanities.
Matt Kasper, Research Director
Matt Kasper is the research director at the Energy and Policy Institute. He focuses on defending policies that further the development of clean energy sources and that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Before joining the Energy and Policy Institute, Matt was a research assistant for the Energy and Environment Policy Team at the Center for American Progress where he worked on state and local policy issues. Matt was also a fellow for Organizing for America in Indiana, and he spent time working in Hartford, Connecticut for the state legislature. His work has appeared in Climate Progress, The Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other outlets.
A native of Illinois, Matt graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science from Butler University in Indianapolis.
David Pomerantz, Executive Director
David Pomerantz is the executive director of the Energy and Policy Institute.
Prior to joining EPI, David spent eight years working with Greenpeace to move the electric sector away from fossil fuel and towards renewable energy. As a senior climate and energy campaigner, David worked to push major internet technology companies, including Apple and Amazon, to power their data centers with 100% renewable energy. The campaign catalyzed hundreds of megawatts of new renewable energy development and helped to defend and expand renewable energy policies and investment in the United States and abroad.
In addition, David designed and implemented the communications strategy for Greenpeace’s work on electricity, leading to media coverage in Bloomberg Businessweek, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Wired Magazine. He also organized in communities in Ohio and New England for federal climate change and toxic chemical legislation. He previously worked as a reporter for newspapers in Boston and New York City.
Kelly Roache, Research and Communications Specialist
Kelly Roache is a research and communications specialist at the Energy and Policy Institute. She has previously worked as an organizer and advocate for energy democracy and social justice in the US and internationally.
As Director of Inclusion at Solstice, a community solar-focused social enterprise, Kelly led the development and implementation of alternative qualification and financing mechanisms to increase low-income and environmental justice communities’ access to shared solar energy in New York and California. She also served on the Steering Committee and chaired the Policy and Intersectionality Working Group and of the New York Energy Democracy Alliance, where she advanced a just and participatory transition to a renewable, equitable, accountable, and local energy system. Kelly is active as a Board member of the Institute for Social Ecology, and co-founded Symbiosis, a confederation of North American grassroots institutions building a directly democratic, ecological society.
Formerly with the US Department of State, Kelly helped achieve a humanitarian evacuation in Syria, advanced the US-India bilateral relationship, and led an Ambassador-level review of the goals and objectives of the US Embassy to the UAE. As a graduate student, she spearheaded a campaign to divest Princeton University’s endowment from corporations complicit in human rights violations in the Middle East, which won majority support among the student body. She earned her Masters in Public Affairs and BA cum laude, both from Princeton. She is originally from and has returned to reside near Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Alissa Jean Schafer, Research and Communications Specialist
Alissa Jean Schafer is a research and communications specialist at the Energy and Policy Institute. She has been working in the policy and advocacy space since 2014, following several years of work in the building materials and solar industry. Most recently, Alissa was the solar and communications manager at Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, managing many aspects of the statewide 2016 solar campaigns in Florida and working to advance good solar policy throughout the Southeast United States.
Alissa has a successful track record of working to effect change in the quest for climate change mitigation and adaptation. She is a recipient of the Solutions Project ONE100 award, serves on the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District, and is a board member for the Broward County Ruth’s List and Floridians for Lowered Energy Costs. Alissa is also a clean energy educator for Catalyst Miami, a consultant to many elected officials and candidates, and a former Sunshot Initiative coach for the Department of Energy.
Alissa holds a MS in Communication Science from Grand Valley State University in her home state of Michigan, along with her BS in Communications from Aquinas College. South Florida has been home since 2012.
Joe Smyth, Research and Communications Manager
Joe Smyth is a Research and Communications Manager for the Energy and Policy Institute. He is a member-owner of an electric cooperative in Colorado and has investigated a variety of energy issues in the West, including the federal coal program, restrictions on distributed renewable energy development, and electric cooperatives.
Daniel Tait, Research and Communications Manager
Daniel Tait is a Research and Communication Manager for the Energy and Policy Institute. Prior to joining EPI, he was CEO of Energy Alabama, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization accelerating Alabama’s transition to sustainable energy through education, advocacy, and technical assistance.
Daniel has worked in sustainable energy since 2011 when a tornado outbreak in North Alabama motivated him to get involved with local efforts to build a more resilient and sustainable energy infrastructure. Since 2011, Daniel has upgraded more than 7 million square feet of residential building space to make it more energy efficient, saving $1.5 million in energy costs. He is also responsible for more than 20 million square feet of commercial building space committing to save 20% of their energy consumption and more than 1 megawatt of solar development in North Alabama.
Daniel was named the 2015 International Young Energy Professional of the Year by the Association of Energy Engineers and acts as Treasurer of the Association of Energy Engineers, Huntsville Chapter.
Daniel is a graduate of Leadership Huntsville/Madison County’s Connect Program, Class 15 and the Alabama Leadership Initiative, class of 2016. He graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a degree in International Trade and Foreign Language and resides in Huntsville, Alabama with his wife and two children.
Itai Vardi, Research and Communications Specialist
Itai Vardi is a research and communications specialist at the Energy and Policy Institute. Prior to joining the Energy and Policy Institute, he was an investigative journalist focusing on the fossil fuel industry and utilities, climate change denial and industry front groups, money in politics, and regulatory capture. His work appeared in such outlets as The Guardian, Huffington Post, DeSmog, and Mother Jones.
Itai also has a background in academia, where he conducted research and taught courses on the sociology of technology, social problems, and race & power. He has a MA in sociology from Tel Aviv University and a PhD in sociology from Boston University.
Nancy LaPlaca, J.D., Senior Fellow on Regulatory Issues
Nancy LaPlaca, J.D., served as Policy Advisory to Arizona Corporation Commissioner Paul Newman from 2009 to 2013. During that time, Nancy and Commissioner Newman helped to pass one of the most aggressive Energy Efficiency Standards in the U.S. and championed the expansion of progressive policies such as aggregated and virtual net metering, community solar, energy imbalance markets, and including so-called ‘externalized’ costs of coal-fired power. Nancy spent 3 years at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission as a clean energy advocate, pushing against utility plans to build “clean” coal power plant in Colorado and Arizona. She also authored a 2007 fact sheet on Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC, or “clean” coal) used by hundreds of activists around the U.S., and helped advocates understand why “clean” coal is uneconomic and cannot compete with solar, wind, biodigesters, efficiency and other technologies. Nancy served as co-chair of the Energy Resources and the Environment Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners for two years, working with Commissioners around the U.S. Nancy’s current work includes serving as an expert witness in avoided cost, net metering, renewable portfolio standards, and energy efficiency dockets–and helping clients navigate the complex world of energy efficiency programs.
Gabe Elsner, Founder and Senior Fellow
Gabe Elsner is the founder and former Executive Director of the Energy & Policy Institute.
Prior to founding the Institute, Elsner was the California Student Sustainability Coalition’s first statewide campaign director, helping to defeat Prop 23, an attempt to overturn California’s climate law. He also coordinated the advocacy activities of 12 organizations during the climate debate in the U.S. Congress and was on the leadership team for the largest trainings on climate change organizing: Power Shift 2007 and Power Shift 2009.