Lisa Rephlo aims to expand Colorado Clean Energy Cluster mission from NoCo to all of state
Friday May 9, 2014
By Steve Porter
FORT COLLINS - Lisa Rephlo's background in fossil fuel-based energy and her desire to make the world a better place through a transition to clean energy should serve her well as the new executive director of the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster.
Rephlo replaces former cluster director Judy Dorsey - founder and owner of The Brendle Group -- who served in that capacity on a part-time basis. Rephlo was hired as full-time director and began her duties May 1.
A Kansas native, Rephlo moved to Fort Collins 13 years ago after working at coal and oil-fired electrical generation plants. Rephlo, who has a mechanical engineering degree from Kansas State University and an MBA in finance and business economics from the University of Chicago, had an opportunity to move to Colorado in 2001.
That move led to a series of positions with Broomfield-based MWH Global, an engineering consulting firm, including serving as VP of the company's global IT operations.
"The Clean Energy opportunity came along and it was so in line with everything I'd been doing," she said. "It was the perfect opportunity to still be entrepreneurial and work in the field I'm interested in."
Rephlo regards her power plant years as an invaluable learning experience.
"I learned everything about generating power, getting it out to users and how it fits into a (power) grid," she said.
Rephlo, whose office is in the newly opened CSU Powerhouse Campus in downtown Fort Collins, said she has high expectations for the cluster and herself.
"We're all excited about having a full-time director," she said. "I'm amazed about what they've been able to get done."
Rephlo noted the cluster's main initiatives - C3E, which involves bringing more women into clean energy, and Fort Collins' annual Smart Grid event that highlights the city's FortZED project - as major accomplishments for the eight-year-old cluster.
One of Rephlo's first missions will be to travel to Copenhagen, Denmark at the end of May to attend the International Cleantech Network Summit where Rephlo - along with Bruce Hendee, sustainability officer with the city of Fort Collins - will present a challenge project that aims to increase the use of solar charged electric vehicles in Fort Collins, Loveland and Boulder.
Called the "Three Cities EV-PV Challenge," the project will seek feedback from other conference attendees that can be brought back to Colorado to sharpen its focus.
Rephlo said the project will look for ways to get all three cities involved in their own way.
"The goal is to see how we can get more electric vehicles charged by renewable sources on the road," she said. "Each city has a goal to be more green and reduce carbon emissions.
"We don't want to make anyone to think we're trying to force Fort Collins' model on them because every city is different."
The Colorado Clean Energy Cluster has 32 members that are mostly Northern Colorado-based, including Woodward, Spirae and Colorado State University. Rephlo said a big goal for the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster is to expand its reach from NoCo to across the state.
"We've got these eager cities and companies in Colorado providing great technologies," she said. "That's one of my missions - to take (the cluster) and expand it throughout Colorado."