Renewable energy champion and former TVA chairman, S. David Freeman has passed away

S. David Freeman passed away at 94 on May 13, 2020. He was a giant in the clean energy field with a stellar career over 50 years. I spoke with Dave routinely every few months. I began working with him in the mid-1970’s when I worked in the US Senate.

Freeman was on the vanguard of renewable energy, a fighter, advocate — and definitely thought ‘outside the box’. As a Jewish engineer and lawyer from Tennessee he rose to the highest ranks of government service and electric utility leadership.  He was a chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) from 1977-1984, and left his mark by emphasizing renewable energy and retiring TVA’s nuclear power plants.

Freeman had a hand in creating auto efficiency (CAFÉ) standards when he was on the Senate Commerce Committee. He was a confidante to President Carter’s staff in setting up the US Department of Energy and establishing the energy efficiency and renewable energy RD&D programs.

He served as President of three public utilities including the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power from 1997 to 2001, and the New York Power Authority and established early utility energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

He had a colorful life well lived, and most recently helped negotiate the closure of PG&E’s Palos Verde nuclear power plant”Dave was in his 90s but unstoppable.  He wore his signature cowboy hat and cowboy boots, and was an avid public speaker, networker, and thought leader.  A seminal giant in the start of the clean energy movement, who we all owe respect to his leadership.

Scott Sklar, Energy Director, The George Washington Environment & Energy Management Institute, President of The Stella Group, Ltd, Washington, DC  solarsklar@aol.com

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Scott, founder and president of The Stella Group, Ltd., in Washington, DC, is the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition and serves on the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and The Solar Foundation. The Stella Group, Ltd., a strategic marketing and policy firm for clean distributed energy users and companies using renewable energy, energy efficiency and storage. Sklar is an Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University teaching two unique interdisciplinary courses on sustainable energy, and is an Affiliated Professor of CATIE, the graduate university based in Costa Rica. . On June 19, 2014, Scott Sklar was awarded the prestigious The Charles Greely Abbot Award by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and on April 26, 2014 was awarded the Green Patriot Award by George Mason University in Virginia.

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