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By choosing renewable energy, you and your customers protect the environment and secure the benefits of energy independence while reducing long-term energy costs. The WSU Energy Program has leadership roles in each of the renewable areas described below.

Current Projects

Alternative Fuels and Vehicles

We provide technical assistance and support about alternative fuels and vehicles to a wide variety of local and state agencies. Our staff members have been long-time members of the steering committee of the Western Washington Clean Cities Coalition, a U.S. DOE program that is part of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

For the NW Clean Air Agency, we investigate ways to expand alternative fuel and vehicle use in NW Washington to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

For the Washington Department of Commerce (Commerce), we provide technical support to develop and adopt administrative rules about legislated mandates for alternative fuel use affecting state agencies and local governments, including transit agencies, ports, utilities, and school districts.

WSU staff helped create and continue to serve on the state’s Alt Fuel and Vehicle Technical Assistance Group (AFV-TAG).

Electric Vehicles

We provided early technical support to the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) on steps to create an EV infrastructure bank to expand the West Coast Electric Highway.

We developed the EV guidebook, entitled “Welcome to the EVolution,” for Western Washington Clean Cities.

From 2011-2012, our alt fuels specialist served on Governor Chris Gregoire’s Clean Car Committee for state government, staffed the combined Commerce-WSDOT EV Taskforce under Governor Gregoire, and drafted the Task Force final report. We also provided technical and administrative support about electric vehicle deployment to Commerce, creating the structure and content for the original website.

Biomethane – Renewable Natural Gas

Our team researched opportunities for using biomethane as a transportation fuel and prepared the two-part webinar, "Costs and Benefits for Transportation" and "Transportation Experience and Opportunities in Washington State," for the Western Washington Clean Cities Coalition. We also completed business outreach on renewable natural gas (RNG) for the coalition, which prompted Pierce Transit to use RNG for some of their buses.

Our team is supporting a feasibility study to create a large-scale biomethane production project on dairy farms in the Yakima Valley. We are also evaluating the feasibility of an anaerobic digester along Thurston County’s Bountiful Byway to produce RNG and other marketable products from agricultural waste.

Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel

For more than a decade, the WSU Energy Program has been a major partner with other state agencies in developing a strong biodiesel production and distribution system in Washington. We cooperate with scientists in the crop and soils science areas as they improve the viability of oil seed crops as a marketable commodity in the state. We also work with the state departments of Agriculture and Commerce on the distribution and use of biodiesel by state agencies and private fleets.

Renewable diesel is a variant of clean diesel. WSU staff contributed to an early white paper on the opportunity for renewable diesel production and use in Washington.

Other Alternative Fuels

Washington is rich with opportunities to develop and use other alternative fuels, such as propane, hydrogen, and ammonia. The WSU Energy Program is committed to staying up to date on all these developments. As host of the Washington State Energy Library, we have the most extensive collection of technical resources and data about these innovative fuels and the engines and vehicles that use them.

Climate and Rural Energy Development

The Washington State Legislature authorized the Climate and Rural Energy Development Center at the WSU Energy Program to provide technical expertise to the state Department of Revenue in certifying solar photovoltaic (PV), small wind, and anaerobic digestion energy-generating systems that qualify for incentives. Our technical experts:

  • Provide guidance to Washington manufacturers of energy system components, electric utilities, and energy system installers.
  • Support workforce needs.
  • Encourage growth of these renewable energy sources.

Program results from 2005 through 2013.

See also "Renewable Energy Cost Recovery Incentive Payment Program - Electrical Energy Production Using Solar, Methane, & Wind Power" for details about this cost-recovery program, including forms to submit to the Department of Revenue.


Our bioenergy team recently evaluated densified biomass (wood pellets) as a renewable fuel. We also lead the six-state Pacific Region Bioenergy Partnership that encourages the development and use of bioenergy technologies that are technically feasible and cost effective.

Past Projects

Washington Solar Stakeholder Process

Under the “Clean Technology” section of Executive Order 14-04 addressing Washington Carbon Pollution Reduction and Clean Energy Action, the WSU Energy Program was asked by Governor Jay Inslee to work with appropriate agencies and stakeholders to recommend an approach to significantly expand the use of solar energy in our state while ensuring consumer protection and grid reliability.

We convened a stakeholders' group that represents state agencies, utilities, environmental interests, solar manufacturers, and installers. All stakeholders were invited to provide insights about promoting solar energy in Washington and inform the process moving forward. The result of this interactive process is a set of recommendations that the WSU Energy Program delivered to the Governor in December 2014.

The public is invited to learn more about the WA Solar Stakeholder Process.


We helped develop the state-level geothermal action plans and regulatory guides. Washington-focused geothermal technology reports and case studies are available on our Renewable Energy publications page.


The HEATMAP software tool performs a comprehensive simulation of existing and proposed district heating and cooling systems, including cogeneration and geothermal applications.

Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

With broad expertise in hydrogen and fuel cell research, our staff produced an overview of hydrogen and fuel cells in Washington and answered questions about related policy, production, delivery, storage, safety, standards, and systems analysis for the U.S. DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Information Center.


We had a leadership role in the Washington Wind Working Group (a coordinated effort to plan for large wind systems in the state) and supported development of detailed wind maps for the region.

Publications and Resources

View our Renewable Energy Publications.

Our Staff

Todd Currier

Todd Currier assumed the role of Interim Director of the WSU Energy Program on January 1, 2019.

Currier served as Assistant Director of the WSU Energy Program since 2002, and he has considerable experience with project and program leadership, strategic planning, and business development. The WSU Energy Program will benefit from his leadership skills and his regional and national reputation as he provides oversight, leadership and management of all functions of the organization.

Currier has over 30 years of supervisory and management experience in energy efficiency program development, implementation, and evaluation. Currier has represented the WSU Energy Program in a variety of forums at the state, regional, national, and international levels. He has provided leadership to staff members engaged in building science research, building code development and implementation, indoor air quality improvement, workforce development issues and trends, resource conservation programs, industrial energy efficiency, renewable energy programs, and energy efficiency upgrades for homes and businesses. He currently serves as co-chair of the Industrial and Combined Heat and Power Work Group of the State Energy Efficiency Action Network, and is a member of the Pacific Northwest’s Regional Emerging Technologies Advisory Committee. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Puget Sound School of Law.

Sheila Riggs

Sheila Riggs is Assistant Director of the WSU Energy Program. She has served in this role since 2002. She has considerable communication, legislative, administrative, strategic planning, project management, and team development experience.

Riggs serves as the liaison for the WSU Energy Program to the Washington State Legislature, University leadership, and in various other forums. She has provided leadership to staff members engaged in client software and web development, information systems, bioenergy programs, alternative fuels and electric vehicle programs, farm energy, communications, library services, internal operations and administration, facilities management, and human resources.

Prior to her time with the organization, Riggs worked for the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems as the member communications and seminars manager and as the School Employees’ Retirement System communications manager. She was also a public information officer for the Washington State Department of Information Services. Prior to her state service, Riggs was a press secretary for a U.S. congressman and deputy press secretary for a U.S. senator in Washington, D.C. She also worked for the U.S. Department of State. Riggs holds two M.A. degrees – one from Washington State University in communications and the other from The George Washington University in international affairs.

Tanya Beavers

Tanya Beavers works with the Community Energy Efficiency Program and coordinates the annual Energy/Facilities Connections Conference hosted by the Plant Operations Support Consortium. She also provides executive support for other areas of the organization. Her professional background includes experience in marketing, financial services, and professional writing. She holds a B.A. in public relations with minors in business communication and Japanese from Central Washington University.

James L. Colombo

Jim Colombo has served as the Information Systems Department Manager and IT specialist for the WSU Energy Program and the Washington State Energy Office since 1987. Colombo has over 30 years of experience providing technical service, support, and training to citizens, management, and employees at state agencies and universities. Prior to his time with the WSU Energy Program, he worked for South Puget Sound Community College and the King County Library System.

Donna Cowsert

Donna Cowsert serves as our management analyst/fiscal officer. With 30 years of experience in the accounting field, she provides financial/grants management services, and reviews and submits proposals. Cowsert assists with subcontract setup, submitting match documentation, and resolving grant issues with the sponsor, principal investigator, and university. Her prior experience includes serving as accounts receivable manager, responsible for building and coaching a team to effectively implement grants, contracts, and interagency agreements.

Alan J. Hardcastle

Alan Hardcastle is a Senior Research Associate at the WSU Energy Program. He has 30 years of experience providing leadership for quantitative and qualitative research and consulting projects with public/private-sector clients and stakeholders in industry, education, workforce and economic development. Hardcastle holds a Ph.D. in higher education and organizational change from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is an adjunct faculty member at The Evergreen State College, where he teaches a graduate course on clean energy.

Karen Janowitz

Karen Janowitz is a program coordinator at the WSU Energy Program. She has over 20 years of experience in project leadership and management; implementing, marketing, and managing energy efficiency and environmental programs; group facilitation; environmental education; communications; and administration. Janowitz holds a B.A. in geology from the University of Colorado and a Master of Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College.

Jim Jensen

Jim Jensen is our senior bioenergy and alternative fuels specialist. He conducts research and provides up-to-date information and technical assistance about bioenergy and alternative fuels and vehicles. Jensen supports federal and state agencies, local governments, and private clients. His current research activities include biogas/biomethane, biodiesel, electric vehicles, and green fleets. He serves on the state’s multi-agency bioenergy team, the anaerobic digestion task force, the Alt Fuel/Vehicle Technical Assistance Group, and the Western Washington Clean Cities Steering Committee. During 20+ years of work in the private and nonprofit sectors, Jensen has provided technical assistance to businesses in dozens of industries, assisted corporate social responsibility programs, and supported new green technologies and products. His technical knowledge and experience encompass research, development, and implementation of projects in the voluntary carbon market, renewable energy, recycling, waste prevention, anaerobic digestion, and composting. Jensen holds a B.A. from Grinnell College, Iowa.

Gary Kaufman

Gary Kaufman is a technical support specialist for the WSU Energy Program. With 40 years of cross-functional experience in business strategy, operations, and product and project management in the private and public sectors, Kaufman currently works as the project manager and administrator for WSU’s Home Energy Rating Program, as well as providing technical support for our role as the U.S. Department of Energy’s Northwest Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership lead, and other collaborative energy efficiency improvement efforts in the WSU Energy Program portfolio. He holds a B.A. from The Evergreen State College.

Phil Lou

Phil Lou is our solar energy specialist. He has over 20 years of experience in the building industry, culminating in designing and installing modern photovoltaic systems. Lou holds a B.S. from the University of Oregon and certifications in photovoltaic design and application, solar thermal design and application, and energy audit and weatherization. He developed curricula for and taught courses in the clean energy technologies program at a local community college.

Gilbert McCoy, P.E.

Gil McCoy, a registered Professional Engineer, is a senior energy systems engineer with the WSU Energy Program. He provides technical assistance and energy auditing services to industrial and public sector clients. McCoy’s areas of expertise include optimization of industrial systems (motor/drive, compressed air, steam, combined heat and power, and pumping). He served as lead engineer for development of software products including MotorMaster+ (motor energy management), International Motor Selection and Savings Analysis, AirMaster+ (compressed air system assessment), and BallastMaster (lighting system/ballast selection) software. McCoy is a U.S. DOE Qualified AIRMaster+ Specialist and a Qualified Steam Tools and Process Heating Specialist. He holds a B.S. in metallurgical engineering from the University of Washington and a M.S. in engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Michael Pierson

Michael Pierson is an information technology support specialist. He is the primary contact for technical support for all outside client networks contracted by the WSU Energy Program. Pierson also supports the Energy Program’s day-to-day operations and works with the network administrator to upgrade network architecture and servers.

Gerry Rasmussen

Gerry Rasmussen has served as the graphic designer for the WSU Energy Program since 2004, where he has been instrumental in keeping the program’s publications and presentations looking consistent and professional. He holds a B.A. in fine arts/graphic design from Washington State University. Rasmussen worked for 33 years as a graphic designer in Washington state government, ending his tenure as the manager of the graphics unit at the Washington State Department of Transportation. Rasmussen continues to freelance – now for over 50 years – lending his graphic design expertise to clients in both government and private industry.

Carolyn Roos, Ph.D.

Dr. Carolyn Roos is a mechanical engineer with over 25 years of experience improving energy efficiency in industrial and building systems, specializing in developing Excel-based applications for engineers and contractors. She provides technical assistance on commercial and industrial energy system efficiency and renewable energy projects. She also provides technical support to the U.S. DOE Northwest Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership, focusing on CHP, biopower, and waste heat to power applications. Roos previously worked as an energy management engineer at Puget Sound Energy, where she performed energy efficiency analyses for commercial and industrial customers, and at the Army Corps of Engineers Hydroelectric Design Center. For her doctorate in systems science and mechanical engineering, she developed software to simulate simultaneous heat and moisture transfer in building environments. For her M.S. in mechanical engineering, Roos developed software to aid in the design of high-temperature solar concentrating furnaces.

Vince Schueler

Vince Schueler is a program and system analyst with over 30 years of experience providing customer research, performance management, process improvement program evaluation, policy analysis, and strategic planning in state government and the private sector. He has a practical, result-oriented focus on energy efficiency and resource conservation. Schueler holds an M.B.A. in quantitative methods from the University of Washington and a B.A. in urban studies from the University of Maryland. He also earned a Lean Six Sigma Certificate of Achievement from Villanova University in 2008 and completed training at the Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute.

Melinda Thiessen Spencer

Melinda Spencer is the technical education and outreach specialist for the Washington State Energy Code project, Green Transportation Program, and Renewable Energy System Incentive Program. Emphasizing plain language and user-centered design, Spencer has worked since 1984 as a technical writer and editor, stakeholder involvement specialist, instructional designer, web content developer, and health risk communication specialist at Superfund sites. She holds a B.S. in biology/pre-med from the University of California, Davis; a Master of Technical and Scientific Communication from Miami University, Ohio; and a Master of Philosophy in international peace studies from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

Mike Steele

Mike Steele is an information technology specialist responsible for maintaining day-to-day operations of the computer network, assisting staff with technical issues, offering training on new technologies and tools, and serving as a primary network support for several of the WSU Energy Program’s outside clients. Steele has a B.S. in computer engineering technology from DeVry University.

Lisa Terefenko

Lisa Terefenko is a senior software engineer and has worked for the WSU Energy Program since 2003. Terefenko has a solid background in software development, data analysis, management, and customer service and plays a key role in developing and maintaining major websites and applications. As a private consultant, she worked with clients such as Microsoft, Chevron, and the University of Washington. Terefenko attended Pennsylvania State University and earned a B.S. in computer science from The Evergreen State College.

David Van Holde, P.E.

David Van Holde, a registered Professional Engineer and Certified Energy Manager, is Director of the U.S. DOE’s Northwest Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership and a Senior Energy Systems Engineer with the WSU Energy Program. David leverages more than 27 years’ experience working with utilities, government agencies, and consulting firms to implement innovative supply and demand-side energy solutions, and lead organizational change in support of advancing sustainable energy systems. His areas of expertise include combined heat and power and other distributed energy systems; government/utility energy policy, energy efficiency technology development, and utility program design. Before joining WSU, he served in leadership positions with Seattle City Light, King County Dept. of Natural Resources and Parks, E Source, EMI Consulting ,and SBW Consulting. In an earlier career, David was a mechanical CAD systems researcher for Tektronix and taught mechanical engineering courses at Oregon State University and Portland State University. David holds an M.S. in mechanical engineering from Oregon State University and a Bachelor of Engineering from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., both with concentration in Energy Systems.

Anne L. Whitney

Anne Whitney is a librarian with over 30 years of experience in the library field, including positions as cataloger, indexer, library information specialist, head of a cataloging service, cataloging instructor, and art college librarian. Currently, Anne researches and writes materials for the Solar Plus program, produces the weekly Solar Newsbriefs publication, and applies her eye for detail to support the renewable energy incentive program. Whitney holds an M.A. in art history and an M.S. in information and library science from Case Western Reserve University.

Laurie Wingate

Laurie Wingate has been the information systems coordinator for the WSU Energy Program since 1997. She purchases and inventories computer hardware, software, and supplies for the organization, and provides technical support for office printers.