Clean Energy Action Board and Staff
RJ Harrington, Executive Director
RJ joined the staff of Clean Energy Action in April of 2012. He was previously the Policy Director for the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA) and has worked in the solar industry for several years in a variety of roles.
RJ Harrington was nurtured on clean, renewable energy, although it took him almost 25 years to realize that fact. He was raised on a dairy farm in Central Pennsylvania and the sun, wind and earth were undoubtedly instrumental in the sustainable operation of the family business.
When RJ moved to the Western Slope of Colorado, he was introduced to solar as an electrical generation technology for off-grid applications. It was then that he understood the true power of the sun and how it energized every aspect of his life.
Since, RJ has worked in the financial services industry where he gained knowledge of and practiced risk management strategies. It is this experience combined with his work in the trenches of the solar industry that enables him to collaborate with colleagues, staff and volunteers to build collective impact around the need to diversify our energy portfolio in the heat, electricity, transportation and built environment sectors of our economy.
The nexus of energy, environment and the economy is increasingly obvious. Understanding and mitigating risk in all these areas of our lives will lead to the breakthroughs that empower citizens to prosper and leave a world our great grandchildren’s great grandchildren’s grandchildren will be proud to inherit. It is our duty to think of this and every generation in each decision we make today.
The Harrington family enjoys the production of a 9.75 kW array and a geothermal loop system for heating and cooling and is near net zero for electricity consumption. RJ’s wife also works in the non-profit world and his two young children are clean, renewable ambassadors, sharing their story to their classmates and friends.
Zane Selvans, Co-Research Director
Zane first became acquainted with Clean Energy Action’s work during the 2B/2C municipal utility campaign in the fall of 2011. He joined the team officially in the fall of 2012.
Zane grew up in the San Joaquin Valley of central California, at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills surrounded by orchards and vineyards. He received his BS in Engineering & Applied Science from Caltech in 1998, with a focus on computer science and machine learning. After working in Silicon Valley for several years, he returned to Caltech to work doing mapping and data analysis for NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor mission. In the fall of 2002 Zane came to Boulder to pursue a PhD in planetary geophysics at the University of Colorado, where he studied the tidally induced tectonics of icy moons in the outer solar system, (especially Europa and Enceladus) using data from NASA’s Galileo and Cassini missions. Somewhere in the middle of his graduate studies it became clear to him that there were much more pressing geophysical issues to be addressed on the homeworld.
Thus, since finishing his PhD in 2009, Zane has refocused on climate change and related issues of long-term sustainability. These include low-carbon urban design and transportation (especially bicycles), which he pursues by serving on the advocacy committee of Boulder’s non-profit Community Cycles, as well as the city’s Transportation Advisory Board and Greenways Advisory Committee. His focus at CEA has so far been on energy finance and regulatory issues, especially the ways in which risk is often not effectively priced in the resource planning process, and is instead offloaded onto ratepayers.
Zane lives in the Masala Co-op, one of several Boulder cooperatives owned by the Boulder Housing Coalition. He enjoys self-supported bike and sea kayak touring in places that allow him to practice his broken Spanish. He drinks far too much coffee, and does not own a car.
Lauren became a member of Clean Energy Action’s staff in September, 2012. She recently received a dual Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in Geography and Environmental Sciences, with an emphasis in hydrology. Prior to working with Clean Energy Action, Lauren was an intern with the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association as the Solar Research Analyst, where her knowledge and passion for renewable energy blossomed and grew. Lauren has held other internships within the environmental realm as well; she was a wildlife technician for Smith Environmental and Engineering and helped conduct environmental mitigation in the transportation industry for the Colorado Department of Transportation.
In her free time, Lauren enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and playing the violin. Her latest excursion was in Skagway, Alaska, where she lived for two months and had the opportunity to hike, enjoy wildlife, and take a helicopter ride to the top of the Mead Glacier.
Meredith joined Clean Energy Action in Fall 2012 by way of nonprofit advocacy, Veteran’s affairs litigation, and general civil litigation. Prior to practicing law, Meredith worked with local solar and renewable energy companies designing small scale home energy systems. Outside of work, Meredith is an avid rock climber and outdoor enthusiast and enjoys dragging her husband, son, and puppy to various adventures across the West.
Charles Cipriani, Assistant Development Director
Charles joined the staff of Clean Energy Action in August of 2013. He gained experience in the field of renewable energy advocacy interning as a Policy Research Analyst for the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA). His experience at COSEIA helped provide him the knowledge and dedication to expanding renewable technologies in the energy industry. Since, Charles has worked in developing his knowledge and experience in fundraising and project management services. Charles received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in Environmental Studies, with an emphasis in Climate and Energy. In addition, Charles received an energy certificate through the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI).
Before the pursuance of his passion as a renewable energy and climate change advocate, Charles Cipriani worked for the family carpentry business where he learned the importance of supporting local businesses and sustainability in an effort to compete with large construction contractors.
In his free time, Charles enjoys weight training, jiu jitsu, and kickboxing. Charles is also an avid outdoorsman who enjoys camping, tracking, hunting, and fishing.
Dane Cobble, Board President
Bio and picture coming soon.
Julie Zahniser, Secretary
A long-time Colorado resident, speech-language pathologist and educator, Julie Zahniser joined the Clean Energy Action Board of Directors in 2008 because of her growing concern about the need to respond to the Global Warming Crisis. Ms. Zahniser and her then husband built a primarily passive solar home in Boulder County in the 1980’s where they raised their children to enjoy, respect, and steward the beautiful Colorado mountain outdoors. Previously involved in her local Sugarloaf community, school outdoor education programs, and the Sierra Club, Ms. Zahniser is a fairly recent but enthusiastic member of the energy activism community. “There is no point in teaching children to talk if the planet is burning up.”
Anne Butterfield, Board Treasurer
Anne Butterfield serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Boulder Daily Camera and also writes a monthly column for the Camera, usually on local, state and national energy issues. Her column also appears in HuffPost Green and NewEnergyNews. Having two English degrees with an emphasis in writing, her foray into energy and environmental writing was compelled by her view that non-technical people ought to discuss energy, since they will have to vote on them for the sake of the climate and economic value. She also administrates a number of Facebook pages devoted to climate and energy activism.
She’s lived the volunteer life in service such as being a felony victim advocate at the local district attorney’s office and building the sandstone patio labyrinth at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder. Her life is also organized around her husband Sandy, Founder and CTO of Boulder Wind Power with 24 years of service at the National Renewable Energy Laboratories, plus her stepson Toby (also in wind farm development), two gardens, 50 houseplants, and two pets.
Alison Burchell, Board Member
Alison Burchell is is a professional geologist with a dual B.S. in Chemistry and Environmental Planning and graduate degrees in Volcanology and Isotope-Geochemistry. Following a Fellowship with the U.S. Dept. of Interior and US Geological Survey, she established a private consulting practice on issues including: crustal processes, reef and wetland preservation, land-reclamation, siting analysis for renewable energy projects and stakeholder facilitation. She also holds advanced certificates in Multispectral and Radar Remote Sensing Analysis, Database Design, GIS, Scuba and EPA hazardous materials detection and sampling.
Her current research is focused on understanding and quantifying the mechanisms and kinetics of natural biologic, geologic, chemical and physical processes by which carbon is removed from the atmosphere and stored in terrestrial sinks. This work has led her towards an integrative, bio-geo-mimicry approach to researching and understanding complex terrestrial problems. This systems-integrated research and her involvement with a variety of stakeholder groups has influenced a Collaborative Impact approach towards helping communities, businesses and boards achieve their sustainability goals. Since moving to Boulder, she has served on several state and local working-groups and non-profit boards tasked with promoting public education, developing public policy or modeling and mitigating a range of environmental problems. She is a member of the City of Boulder – Energy Future Task Force and co-founder of Clean Energy Action, Renewables Yes and Empower Our Future – a broad coalition of citizens, businesses, elected and former officials and organizations working to promote the Boulder Clean Energy Future project and moving to assist other communities asses their own clean energy options.
*Some photos, dgrinsberg, all rights reserved