S-B3 Integrating Nexus Policies at the State Level

This session will examine policy approaches from several states to address potential conflicts and synergies between water and energy policies. Participants will consider a range of state approaches and take home recommendations and actions for their own states. They will address how issues such as drought, expansion of unconventional oil and gas production, or a focus on infrastructure investment can catalyze a more integrated policy approach. Discussion questions will include: common and distinct elements of state water and energy policies; extreme events; public financing for infrastructure; policy and impacts on water shortages; the energy intensity of water resources; impacts of droughts; synergies between energy and agricultural uses of water; and transferable policy lessons.

Moderator: Diana Bauer, Director, Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, U.S. Department of Energy


  • Robert Wilkinson, Adjunct Professor, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • David Gipson, Energy Division Director, Georgia Environmental Finance Authority
  • Kate Zerrenner, Manager, Energy-Water Initiatives, Environmental Defense Fund
  • Mary-Anna Holden, Commissioner, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities

Dr. Robert C. Wilkinson’s teaching, research, and consulting is on water, energy, and climate policy. Dr. Wilkinson is also a Senior Fellow with the California Council for Science and Technology. He co-chairs the U.S. Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable, advises government agencies, NGOs, and businesses in the US and abroad, and serves on a number of advisory boards. 805-448-2915 wilkinson@es.ucsb.edu

David Gipson is the Director of the Energy Resources Division at the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, where for eight years he has led a team focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy emergency management and policy for eight years. He has 19 years of experience helping the public and private sector more efficiently manage natural resources and save money. David has a MPA in Natural Resource Management and a BS in Environmental Protection. David is a certified Professional Energy Manager, Project Management Professional and Certified Hazardous Materials Manager. He serves on the board of the National Association of State Energy Officials, served two terms on the State Energy Advisory Board, advising the U.S. DOE, and serves on the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group in support of homeland security goals. (404-584-1007, dgipson@gefa.ga.gov)

Kate Zerrenner leads the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF’s) multi-year campaign to influence and enact state and national energy and water efficiency policy, including breaking down financial, regulatory, and behavioral barriers. Her expertise includes a sound understanding of technologies and policies affecting traditional energy generation, energy efficiency business models, and the energy-water nexus. She collaborates with key stakeholders and legislative sponsors on the passage of clean energy and energy-water legislation, including drafting legislative language and providing oral and written testimony. She serves on the City of Austin Integrated Water Resource Planning Community Task Force and the Advisory Board of the Smart Cities Council. (512-691 3423, kzerrenner@edf.org)

Mary-Anna Holden was appointed to the NJ Board of Public Utilities by Governor Chris Christie in January, 2012. In her role as a Commissioner, in addition to her regulatory duties, Holden’s area of concentration is the water sector. Currently, Holden serves as vice chair of the NARUC Water Committee, is a member of the NJ Clean Water Council, the NJ Urban Water Solutions Initiative and “Jersey Water Works.” Her areas of interest are water efficiencies through “grey” infrastructure monitoring and replacement; “green” infrastructure standards; water reuse; drip irrigation; and waste heat and methane capture — all as ways to address energy efficiency and carbon reduction. 609-633-9833, mary-anna.holden@bpu.state.nj.us

Diana Bauer led a 2014 DOE report on challenges and opportunities in the energy-water nexus. Since issuing a 2014 report on challenges and opportunities in the energy-water nexus, DOE has been identifying ways we can work together with partners to: [1]reduce vulnerability and improve reliability of water-dependent energy systems by increasing water efficiency, identifying substitutes, and expanding available water resources via improving water treatment; [2] reduce the energy footprint of water systems by increasing efficiency and extracting energy; and, [3] identify productive synergies between water and energy systems. Work in the energy-water nexus relates to several dimensions of DOE’s mission, including addressing climate change, energy security, and life cycle environmental responsibility.