Richard Cowart directs European programmes, leading RAP’s international team in Brussels. He has deep experience on state and national energy and environmental issues in the U.S., across the EU, in China, and several other nations, with a particular focus on climate policy for the past decade. In addition to his duties as programme director, Mr. Cowart serves on RAP’s Board of Directors, sits on the Executive Committee of the International Energy Agency’s demand-side management program, and served three terms as chair of the Electricity Advisory Committee of the United States Department of Energy, stepping down from the committee in June 2016.
His recent work focuses on power markets, climate policy, and energy efficiency programs throughout Europe. A highly-experienced regulator, Mr. Cowart served as commissioner and chair of the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) for 13 years (1986-1999). He was elected president of the New England Conference of Public Utility Commissioners and chair of the U.S. Regulators’ Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment. He also served for four years as chair of the National Council on Competition and the Electric Industry, the association of the state and federal officials and legislators responsible for power sector reform in the United States.
Mr. Cowart has worked closely with industry as a member of the Board of the Electric Power Research Institute, serves on the Environmental Advisory Committee of the New York Independent System Operator.
Before his appointment to the PSB, Mr. Cowart was assistant professor and director of the Program in Planning and Law at the University of California (UC), Berkeley (1980-85), and executive officer and general counsel of the Vermont Environmental Board (1978-80). He received his bachelor’s degree from the Honors College at Davidson College and his juris doctor and master of city planning degrees from the UC Berkeley, where he was editor-in-chief of the Ecology Law Quarterly, a leading journal of environmental law and policy.