Richard L. Kauffman is Chairman of the New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). He is also Chair of Generate Capital, a leading financier of clean energy projects. Prior to these roles, Mr. Kauffman served in the Executive Chamber of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo as New York State’s first “Energy Czar,” or Chairman of Energy and Finance. As “Czar,” he oversaw the State’s energy agencies, including the Department of Public Service, the New York Power Authority, the Long Island Power Authority, and NYSERDA.
Mr. Kauffman established and led New York State’s comprehensive energy policy, known as Reforming the Energy Vision (REV). Through change in utility financial incentives and reforms of the State’s clean energy support mechanisms, REV is a market-based approach to build clean, affordable and resilient electric system. In addition to utility regulatory reform, REV includes a ten-year commitment to support renewable energy and efficiency markets through the $5 billon Clean Energy Fund, the $1 billion NY-Sun solar program, and $1 billion NY Green Bank. Through REV, New York State is advancing a Clean Energy Standard with a proposed mandate to achieve 70 percent of statewide electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
As the State’s most senior energy official, Mr. Kauffman was New York’s lead delegate in Paris at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP21. In 2017 and 2018, he represented the U.S. at the invitation of the State Department on energy issues in Brazil, Nepal, and Norway. Mr. Kauffman was named by Fortune Magazine as one of the World’s Top 25 Eco-Innovators. He has received the Solar Champion Award from the Solar Energy Industries Association and Smart Electric Power Alliance, the U.S. Green Building Council’s Galvin Award for environmental leadership, and the Intersolar 2017 Champion of Change Award.
Prior to joining the Cuomo administration, Mr. Kauffman served as Senior Advisor to Secretary Steven Chu at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) where he oversaw the restructuring of DOE’s Loan Program after the Solyndra bankruptcy and advanced debt and equity capital market development policies, including proposed uses of REITs and MLPs for renewable energy.
In his private-sector career, he was CEO and President of Good Energies, Inc., a leading investor in clean energy technologies; a partner of Goldman Sachs where he chaired the Global Financing Group and served on the Partnership and Commitments Committees; and Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley’s Institutional Securities business and co-head of its Banking Department. In London, he served as Vice-Chair of Morgan Stanley International.
As a corporate board member, Mr. Kauffman served as Chairman of the Board of Levi Strauss & Co.; as board member of Q-Cells, a German manufacturer of solar cells; and Cofra, a Swiss holding company for the Brenninkmeijer family business. He currently serves on the board of Altaba, the successor company of Yahoo.
As a non-profit board member, he currently serves on the board of the Wallace Foundation and on the advisory board of the Precourt Energy Institute at Stanford. He previously served on the boards of the Brookings Institution, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the New York Philharmonic and Alvin Ailey. He was a co-chair of the advisory board of the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale and a member of the Yale School of Management advisory board. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and recently serves on a study group on innovation in energy.
Mr. Kauffman received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, a master’s degree in international relations from Yale University, and a master’s in public and private management from the Yale School of Management.
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating extraordinary financial challenges for state governments.