DU Alumni / Magazine Feature / People

Alumni take home energy award

Lee Boughey and Barbara Walz

DU alumni Lee Boughey and Barbara Walz were recognized by the nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute with its 2010 Technology Transfer Award.

Barbara Walz (MS ’94) and Lee Boughey (MS ’04) have a fair amount in common: they both work at Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a nonprofit wholesale electricity supplier in Westminster; they’re both enamored by the energy industry; and they both hold master’s degrees in environmental policy and management from the University of Denver.

They say the degree has played a large and helpful role in their careers, which are garnering national attention. The pair now have one more item in common: a prestigious award from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a nonprofit in Palo Alto, Calif., that researches the delivery and use of electricity. Earlier this year, EPRI gave Walz and Boughey its 2010 Technology Transfer Award. 

Walz and Boughey led a Tri-State team to create a plan to communicate the association’s efforts to address what some scientists say is one of the world’s most serious problems: greenhouse gas emissions. Walz, a vice president at Tri-State, says the plan outlines details in research and development, carbon capture and storage, renewable energy technology and efficiency programs.

“Technology is central to managing emissions, and we were recognized for analyzing and communicating how innovation can address this energy, environmental and economic challenge,” said Boughey, who is the senior manager for communications and public affairs at Tri-State.

Boughey adds that Colorado is growing its reputation, both nationally and internationally, in energy innovation with partnerships among federal laboratories, research universities, utilities investing in technology deployment and several energy-related companies that are creating jobs and attracting investment.

“Colorado is working hard to do its part as the energy sector faces challenges and looks for long term answers,” Walz says.

As it turns out, Boughey is now in a position to help Colorado continue its leadership role in the energy sector; in July, Boughey was named co-chair of the Colorado Energy Coalition, a wing of Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. charged with supporting and promoting the energy industry in Colorado. 

Boughey says the state needs to preserve and promote Colorado as the national leader in a “balanced energy economy.”

“Colorado has a robust energy development sector that’s critical to our rural economies, utilities investing in new technology and a growing renewable energy sector,” he says.  

He adds that during his tenure he’d like to address the development of new electric transmission infrastructure. 

“These superhighways support reliable and affordable power and facilitate needed new generation facilities, renewable and conventional,” he says. “The state’s utilities and transmission providers have coordinated long-term plans but securing required permits remains a challenge.”

Walz and Boughey say they’re glad to see today’s students taking a more active interest in the environment, renewable energy and sustainability.

“Students are understandably interested, but I recommend developing a strong understanding and awareness of the broad energy field,” Boughey says. “There’s a convergence between the renewable and conventional energy industries, and all parts of the energy sector are focused on sustainability.”

Walz adds that she believes DU environmental policy program gives students “an opportunity for advanced education with great technical and policy options.” 

She adds that she believes she wouldn’t have landed the job at Tri-State without her DU degree.

“I don’t think I would’ve been considered. Tri-State was looking for an educated and experienced person to assist in development of environmental policies and programs when I joined them in 1997. The degree [gave me] a broad range of classes that let me expand my skills.”


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