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We, at Donald Aitken Associates, have dedicated our lives to helping individuals and companies, communities and cities, states and nations, fulfill their missions and goals through policies and buildings that are in harmony and balance with the Earth's natural systems. We believe that we are, thus, contributing to sustainability in the truest sense, while enhancing the quality of life of our clients and the strength and stability of their cultural and economic support systems.


Sustainable Energy Policy
by Donald Aitken Associates

Why should Donald Aitken Associates be hired to develop your sustainable energy policies? What background experience could they bring to this?


Dr. Donald Aitken's interest in electric utility and energy policy planning began in 1962 when, still as a graduate student in Physics at Stanford University, he was hired by the California State Office of Planning to develop environmentally responsible guidelines for utility transmission line planning, with particular regard to the design and placement of new high-voltage transmission lines to serve the planned Stanford Linear Accelerator.

From 1979 through 1980, Dr. Aitken was the Executive Director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Western Regional Solar Energy Center, with responsibility for DOE's solar application programs for the Western 13 States. He integrated his federally supported programs with the 13 State programs, in part by placing two of his federal employees directly in each of the State Energy Offices, and by developing citizen advisory committees in each of the states.

During these two years Dr. Aitken was an integral participant in the development of DOE's solar energy applications budget, including numerous appearances on Capitol Hill, and worked closely with administrative and program personnel in all areas of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Division of DOE. Through this, he gained his experience in developing and administering government-sponsored programs. While the incoming Reagan Administration abruptly terminated the Regional Solar Energy Center Program, he continues as an advisor in these areas.

In 1991 Dr. Aitken left his academic positions permanently, in order to take on the position of Senior Staff Scientist for Renewable Energy with the Union of Concerned Scientists. He held this position through 2001. In 1991, Dr. Aitken’s first major accomplishment in this new appointment was to develop the principles of "Sustained Orderly Development" of renewable energy resources.  He subsequently published several papers on this market approach. This policy is now widely known, and, for example, was adopted as the marketing backbone of the internationally famous solar utility programs of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

From 1994 through 1997 Dr. Aitken served as the official intervener on behalf of the 18,000 California members of the Union of Concerned Scientists in the deregulation of California's Electric Utilities. (The UCS was paid by the California utilities, by order of the California Public Utilities Commission, in compensation for Dr. Aitken's expert counsel to the Proceedings.) He became expert on protecting the interests of the renewable energy industries and their customers in various electric utility deregulation mechanisms.

It was during this time that Dr. Aitken, in cooperation with the American Wind Energy Industry, helped to introduce in 1994 the now well-known public policy driver, the "Renewable Portfolio Standard". This policy was first adopted in 1995 by the California Public Utilities Commission, but was later dropped by the legislative committee that created the subsequently unstable energy market conditions in California. It has since been adopted in various forms by 32 states and the District of Columbia (2011 figures—and the number continues to grow).  It continues to serve as the basis for the renewable energy policy outreach by the Union of Concerned Scientists, and on a de facto basis by the European Union and many of its member states.

Dr. Aitken has directly contributed to the development of subsequently adopted renewable energy policies in California, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada and Hawaii. In addition, he has been an invited policy speaker in Mexico, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Cyprus, Israel, India, Zimbabwe, and three of the Republics of the former Soviet Union. He has keynoted major U.S., Mexican and European conferences, and as an invited guest of the Indian government in 1994 contributed directly to the adoption of policies in support of the now-strong wind energy industry in India.

In April of 2002 Dr. Aitken and his co-Principal, Barbara Harwood, were sent by the U.S. State Department to be the U.S.'s Earth Day speakers in six German cities.  Since then, and through 2011, the two principals of Donald Aitken Associates have given major invited talks in 32 significant forums in the U.S., Europe and Mexico.

In 2003 Dr. Aitken was commissioned by the International Solar Energy Society, with funding by the European Union, to draft a White Paper, "Transitioning to a Renewable Energy Future-a White Paper for Governments". It was distributed to all major world governments.  In 1997 Dr. Aitken was invited by the Mexican government to introduce the Spanish language version in Mexico City. This document is available in hard copy from the International Solar Energy Society -- http://www.ISES.org. The White Paper and its Executive Summary can be viewed and downloaded in many languages (including Chinese) at http://whitepaper.ises.org. Donald Aitken Associates continues to provide expert advice and outstanding presentations in all of these policy areas, both nationally and internationally.

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