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David L. O'Connor

ML Strategies - Senior Vice President for Energy & Clean Technology

[email protected]

+1.617.348.4418

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David is Senior Vice President for Energy & Clean Technology at ML Strategies. He helps energy and technology companies expand their markets and accelerate their growth. With deep knowledge of the energy industry and environmental issues, David helps these companies shape emerging public policies to their advantage.

His clients include companies that deliver energy-efficiency services; develop wind, biomass, and other renewable power plants; install transmission and smart grid technologies; and bring new low-carbon fuels and offsets to the marketplace.

David has been a leader and problem-solver in the public and private sectors for more than 30 years. Most recently, he served as the Massachusetts Commissioner of Energy Resources during the tenures of five governors, from 1995 through 2007. During this time, he developed and managed many of the state's energy policies and programs.

Under his leadership, Massachusetts began a historic movement to expand the use of clean energy. For example, he implemented the first-ever standards for renewable energy use and renewable certificate trading in New England. David oversaw the operation by electric and gas utilities of $150 million annually in energy-efficiency programs. He was a member of the Massachusetts team that negotiated the first-ever multistate agreement, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), to limit emissions of climate-changing carbon from power plants.

As a member of the state Energy Facilities Siting Board from 1995 to 2007, he voted to approve the siting of several billion dollars in new power plants across the state, including the Cape Wind power plant. For more than 10 years, he led Massachusetts’s participation in the deregulation of the region's $15 billion electricity market. He testified regularly before legislative committees, gave hundreds of media interviews, and often represented the Massachusetts Governor before state and federal regulatory agencies.

Prior to his appointment as energy commissioner, David held a number of positions in the dispute resolution field. He founded and directed the Massachusetts Office of Dispute Resolution, the first state agency in the United States created to resolve nonlabor, public disputes. Before that, he was the chief mediator of the first regional environmental mediation service in the United States.

From 1987 to 1993, David served as an adjunct lecturer at Tufts University in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, where he taught graduate courses on negotiation and conflict resolution in public-sector, multiparty disputes.

Education

  • Harvard University (MPA)
  • Middlebury College (BA)

Involvement

  • Co-chair, Renewable Energy Committee, Northeast Energy and Commerce Association
  • Member, Policy Committee, New England Clean Energy Council
  • Board member, SeaPlan
  • Board member, Summer Search, Boston

Case Studies

NECEC Emissions Report 2019 Hero Case Study
Read about ideas for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the Northeast by 80% by 2050 and related challenges discussed at a summit co-hosted by Mintz, the Northeast Clean Energy Council, and The Brattle Group.

Recent Insights

News & Press

Viewpoints

Energy & Sustainability Viewpoints Thumbnail
In Part III of our series on the Transportation and Climate Initiative, we took a deep dive into one TCI jurisdiction, Massachusetts, to see how the plan might look once implemented. However, the broad implementation of this regional initiative is anything but certain. Despite the steps that some jurisdictions have taken in progressing towards legislation and executive action to implement the plan, many states are facing legitimate challenges that may prevent this regional program from actually going into effect. 
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Energy & Sustainability Viewpoints Thumbnail
In Parts I and II of our series delving into the details of the Transportation Climate Initiative, we provided an overview and described the structure of the TCI. In Part III, we will discuss how the plan might look in one TCI jurisdiction, Massachusetts, and how the Commonwealth will prioritize investment of the proceeds from the initiative.
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Energy & Sustainability Viewpoints Thumbnail
In Part I of our series on the Transportation Climate Initiative TCI, we provided an overview of this innovative program. Here in Part II, we will delve into how the initiative will work. As a regional policy, TCI will provide a framework for each state jurisdiction to implement in its own way. The recently released Framework for a Draft Regional Policy Proposal provides important insights into the way that the TCI could be structured in each state.
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Energy & Sustainability Viewpoints Thumbnail
On December 17, 2019, thirteen jurisdictions in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic United States officially issued an ambitious plan to combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions and investing in sustainable transportation infrastructure. The plan, entitled the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), which has taken nearly a year to be drafted, is the first inter-state initiative of its kind and, if implemented, would drastically change the face of transportation along the East Coast.

In this first installment of a four-part series on the TCI, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the initiative and explain its aims. Subsequent installments will cover the initiative’s structure, the plan for Massachusetts, and potential challenges to implementation.
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Viewpoint Thumbnail

Will MA Continue to Lead on Offshore Wind Development?

February 14, 2019 | Blog | By David O'Connor, Thomas R. Burton, III

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Expansion of Clean Energy Policies Continues

August 10, 2018 | Blog | By David O'Connor

A law recently enacted by the Massachusetts legislature and signed by Governor Charlie Baker will increase the use of renewable fuels to produce electricity, allow the development of more offshore wind farms, enable more technologies to qualify for energy efficiency incentives and increase the use of technologies that store electricity.
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Managing the Energy Impacts of the Massachusetts Cannabis Industry

October 17, 2017 | Alert | By Caitlin Beresin, Julie Cox, David O'Connor

State-by-state legalization of the medical and recreational use of marijuana is creating a new industry in the U.S. that has the potential to rival our largest businesses. However, the growth of this new industry comes at a cost.
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Fall Legislative Sessions Commence; Attorney General Certifies Ballot Questions

September 14, 2017 | Advisory | By Brian Dempsey, Julie Cox, Steven Baddour, Daniel Connelly, David O'Connor, Caitlin Beresin, Maxwell Fathy

Massachusetts lawmakers have returned from summer recess and are preparing to tackle a robust legislative agenda this fall. Legislators will meet formally through the third Wednesday in November, at which point formal sessions will end until 2018.
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Massachusetts Outlook: The Remainder of 2016 and Beyond

October 4, 2016 | Alert | By Julie Cox, Steven Baddour, Daniel Connelly, David O'Connor, Maxwell Fathy, Elena Horvit, Parnia Zahedi

After closing the book on the formal sessions in July, Massachusetts lawmakers have turned their attention to the November election. The Senate and House of Representatives convene in informal sessions for the remainder of the year and no controversial legislative matters are expected to pass during this time.
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Massachusetts Legislature Passes Clean Energy Legislation

August 2, 2016 | Alert | By David O'Connor

Late Sunday night, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a compromise energy bill that will significantly increase electricity produced by offshore wind, hydropower and other renewable energy sources.
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News & Press

David O’Connor, Senior Vice President for Energy & Clean Technology at ML Strategies, was recently featured as a guest on an episode of The Lobbying Show, a podcast about the world of lobbying: how it works, who is lobbying, and how to be effective.
David O’Connor, Senior Vice President for Energy & Clean Technology at ML Strategies, is featured in this article recapping the 25th annual New England Energy Conference and Exposition.
ML Strategies’ Julie Cox, David O’Connor and Caitlin Beresin collaborated on a Law360 column discussing the impact of the cannabis industry, specifically as it pertains to the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana and the growing awareness of the environmental impacts it has.
ML Strategies' David O’Connor authored this Natural Gas and Electricity Journal article on Massachusetts’ new legislation requiring distribution utilities to purchase “carbon-free electricity under long-term contracts for up to 30 percent of the state’s electricity supply.”
David L. O’Connor of ML Strategies will receive the 2016 Vanguard Award from the Northeast Energy and Commerce Association, a regional association of energy businesses and experts. The award recognizes contributions to the competitive energy markets in the Northeast.

Events

Moderator
Moderator
Mar
6
2017
Moderator
Chair
Feb
25
2016

Third Annual Transmission in the Northeast Conference

Law Seminars International

Boston, MA