Chairman and President of the Foundation for Renewable Energy and Environment
John Byrne is the Chairman and President of the Foundation for Renewable Energy & Environment (FREE). The Foundation was created in 2011 with a mission of promoting a better future based on energy, water and materials conservation, renewable energy use, environmental resilience, and sustainable livelihoods.
Dr. Byrne has contributed since 1992 to Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). His work is published in IPCC assessments which led to greater global awareness of the problem and the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the Panel.
He is the architect of the Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) model and its innovative energy efficiency finance program, which received U.S. White House recognition as part of the nation’s Better Buildings Challenge. The Asian Development Bank has also recommended the model to its member countries.
From 2007 to 2012, he co-chaired the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility Oversight Board. Delaware was the first jurisdiction to create an SEU modeled on Dr. Byrne’s work. He presently leads FREE’s efforts to diffuse this model, with initiatives in Pennsylvania (the Pennsylvania Sustainable Energy Finance Program or PennSEF – a partnership with Pennsylvania Treasury, Drinker, Biddle, Becker Capital, and West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund), California (the Sonoma County Efficiency Finance Program or SCEF), South Korea (the Seoul Metropolitan Government recently signed an MOU with FREE), and others.
In addition to his role at FREE, Dr. Byrne is Distinguished Professor of Energy and Climate Policy and Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy (CEEP) at the University of Delaware. CEEP’s graduate program is ranked among the three best in the field. As well, he holds an appointment as Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Energy at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, a new university created by South Korea to lead its plan for green energy technology and policy development.
Dr. Byrne is a founding member of and serves on the board the International Solar Cities Initiative – a pioneering program to assist cities around the world in building sustainable futures. He has served on the National Council for Science and the Environment (U.S.) and advised the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice, coordinated by the U.S. EPA. He received a Fulbright Senior Lecturer/ Researcher Award to teach environmental policy at the Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Seoul National University, and to conduct research on a National Greenhouse Gas Abatement Strategy for the Korea Energy Economics Institute. Dr. Byrne has been recognized by the Chinese government for his expertise in energy and environmental policy and his name appears on China’s foreign expert registry. He is an advisor to the Chinese Academy of Sciences and also the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI in India) and the Korea Energy Economics Institute, among others.
His work has been funded by the World Bank, UNEP, the Blue Moon Fund, the Chinese Academy of Science, the Energy Research Institute of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the Korea Energy Economics Institute, the Korea Institute of Science & Technology, the Green Technology Center–Korea, The Energy Research Institute (TERI, New Delhi, India), the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the U.S. EPA, among others. He has published 17 books and over 160 research articles.