Richard L. Kauffman

Chairman
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

 

Richard KauffmanRichard Kauffman is Chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Beginning in January 2013, 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. He stepped down from that role in January 2019 while continuing as Chairman of NYSERDA and, as such, he remains an energy advisor to Governor Cuomo and his Administration.

As Chairman of NYSERDA, Mr. Kauffman helps lead the implementation of New York’s nation-leading climate change and carbon emission reduction goals as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). Signed into law in 2019 by Governor Cuomo, the CLCPA is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation that places the state on a path to economy wide carbon neutrality. The CLCPA mandates an 85 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, a 100 percent clean electricity sector by 2040, as well as targets for solar, offshore wind, energy storage and energy savings goals. It builds on New York's unprecedented acceleration of clean energy including a $3.9 billion investment in 67 large-scale renewable projects across the state since 2018, the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector, a commitment to develop over 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 20354, and an 1,800 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. Mr. Kauffman is helping to realize a just and equitable transition to clean energy for all residents of New York that creates green jobs, stimulates the economy and ensures at least 35 of the benefits of clean energy investments benefit disadvantaged communities.

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.

In addition to his current role at NYSERDA, Mr. Kauffman is an Adjunct Senior Scholar at Columbia University’s Center for Global Energy Policy and also serves as Chair of Generate Capital, a leading financier of clean energy projects. 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 currently serves on a study group on 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.