Denver Metro Clean Cities (DMCC) is privileged to have the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) as one of our stakeholders. CEO works hard to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and consumer energy costs by accelerating the adoption of clean energy technologies across Colorado. Maria Eisemann, Senior Policy Analyst in Transportation Fuels & Technology for CEO and board member for DMCC, took the time to talk with us about CEO and their work in the clean energy space. Keep reading to learn about Maria’s history with Clean Cities, her work with CEO, and advice she has for other stakeholders.
Organization: Colorado Energy Office (CEO)
Location: Denver, CO
*Note: The following answers are summarized from an interview with Maria Eisemann from CEO
Tell us about your history with Clean Cities and your favorite thing about the organization?
Around 2011 I started doing some contracting on my own and was working closely with CSU. About a year later, someone I worked with at the university who was on Northern Colorado Clean Cities (NCCC) board told me they had lost their co-coordinator and suggested I fill the role. Thus began my involvement with Clean Cities. In my first year with NCCC, I started out helping with general coalition activities, and the following year I became co-coordinator and program director of the organization. In this role I was much more involved in outreach, and we hosted some of the first EV education events to expose people to electric vehicles. I worked at NCCC until 2016 and have since transitioned to be the Senior Policy Analyst in Transportation Fuels & Technology for CEO. My involvement with Clean Cities didn’t end though, and I am now serving as a board member for DMCC. My favorite thing about Clean Cities is the education-focused approach, both for larger entities like fleets and municipalities, and for individual consumers. The organization has so many resources that span a broad spectrum of end users (fleets, municipalities, private citizens, vehicle manufacturers, etc.) and is a great neutral source of science-based information.
Not only do you support DMCC’s work, but you are also a member of the DMCC board. How has this involvement helped you reach your goals?
CEO is working on accomplishing some aggressive goals around transportation electrification, and lot of what DMCC does aligns with this. The coalition supports a lot of the programing and policy work we do and is working with us on several initiatives, including the ReCharge Colorado program (in the Denver Metro and South Central regions) and our Colorado Electric Vehicle Coalition. Your involvement with stakeholders and the innovative ways you reach and educate them (ride & drives, working with communities and more) are essential to the clean transportation space, and the information you bring back and share with us really informs the work we do. CEO and DMCC are doing very similar things, the only difference is that you guys are more of the “boots on the ground” operation.
Are there any current projects you would like to share where Clean Cities staff and stakeholders can support your efforts? Do you have a favorite?
Something that DMCC is already supporting and collaborating with us on are the groups we oversee – the organization is involved with the Colorado EV Coalition and Bonnie is co-chairing our Electric School Bus group. This engagement is important because you bring information to the table that is always incredibly relevant to what we are doing. Additionally, you have a lot of resources you can use to share this information outwardly, which is a great way for us to get info to the people it is intended for. DMCC has contributed to and provided input on all the EV planning CEO has done, and it’s especially valuable to us when you announce grant openings and different programs to spread awareness. Another place where support from DMCC is helpful is in our interactions with stakeholders. For us, it’s important to get input from stakeholders on study findings and products we’re developing, and we ask the coalition to reach out to stakeholders for further feedback so we can make improvements. Right now, many of the projects I am working on are studies – the Low Carbon Fuel Study, our 100% EV Roadmap, the Medium and Heavy-Duty Electrification Roadmap, and our EV Equity Study. These are insightful inquiries to help us determine how to incorporate different market segments, fuels, and approaches into our clean transportation goals. The EV Equity Study in particular is going to have a lot of stakeholder involvement and I know DMCC also working in the equity space right now so I look forward to any help and input you can provide.
I can’t say that I have a favorite, I like all the projects I’m working on, but one that is getting a lot of attention right now is the EV Equity Study. The study looks at how we can make sure the benefits of EVs and clean transportation are realized in an equitable way across Colorado. It requires thinking about people that might not have equitable access to those benefits – where are they, who are they, how can we reach them? Working alongside DMCC will help us answer a lot of these questions.
What is the biggest accomplishment you’ve had for alternative fuel vehicles and technologies and why?
There hasn’t been any particular “biggest” accomplishment, I think it’s been a progression. We started out with a smaller portfolio of what alternative fuel vehicles meant and what their future looks like and have been building from there. Some of the really great things I have been able to work on have been the 2018 and 2020 electric vehicle plans, which laid out actions and goals for the state that gave people working in the EV space something to plan around for the future, and the Colorado EV Coalition, which is a great forum for people in the market to share their information and collaborate with one another. There have been a lot of successes and important information coming out of those two projects that have added to our positive progress. Most of my work now involves the studies I mentioned earlier that will help us inform the state and our stakeholders on how to move forward in these sectors and I am sure many successes will come from those as well.
What advice do you have for Clean Cities stakeholders?
Clean Cities is a great organization that has been around for over 30 years. DMCC has built strong connections with communities, has top-notch, neutral information and resources based in science, and supports solid research with the help of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and others. The Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) and other tools from Clean Cities are incredibly useful, and the advice I have for others is to take advantage of the resources the coalition has. There isn’t another organization in the country that provides such a wide range of alternative fuel vehicle, infrastructure, and technology information. Even the data from your annual reports on things like fuel prices and the fleets in your community are essential – that information is not something people are going to find anywhere else. The networking piece is incredible as well, don’t underestimate the connections that DMCC can provide. You get out into your communities and areas to build relationships with fleets, consumers, dealerships, infrastructure, and infrastructure providers – those connections are unique and invaluable.