Solar Panels Field in the Desert

A Clean Energy Community Advisory Commission provides input to the City Council. It’s composed of community members with technical, business, and other areas of expertise who advise and make recommendations to the City Council about SJCE. They help identify both proven and innovative methods for reducing carbon emissions, increasing energy efficiency and developing new, local energy programs and facilities. Most of all, they are your liaison to SJCE.

The Advisory Commission meets monthly. Please email commissions@sanjoseca.gov to be notified about Commission meetings and agendas. You can find past and upcoming agendas and the meeting Zoom link on the Advisory Commission page.

Commission members include:

Daniel Zazueta – Chair

Term Expires: 12/31/2023

Daniel Zazueta is currently Deputy City Attorney for the City of Redwood City. He earned his undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley and spent four years as a high school teacher before attending law school at Santa Clara University. Following law school, Daniel joined the Obama Administration as a political appointee in the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Energy. He later converted to a federal position as a trial attorney for DOE and served a brief stint in the Office of the White House Counsel as Deputy Ethics Counsel under President Barack Obama. In 2017, Daniel returned home with his wife to San José where he grew up as the youngest of three children to a Mexican immigrant father and American mother. Daniel’s return to San José has allowed him to become involved with local government, be close to family, and start a family of his own. In addition to serving as the Chair for CECAC, he also serves as the Treasurer and Judiciary Chair for La Raza Lawyers Association of Santa Clara County.

Glen Garfunkel

Term Expires: 12/31/2021

Glen Garfunkel has a background in solid-state physics and spent 31 years working in the magnetic storage industry in Silicon Valley. He has experience in device physics and design, magnetic and thin-film processing and testing, product design, and characterization and failure analysis. Since the 1980’s he has been deeply concerned about global warming and its impact on the delicate balance of ecological systems and life on earth. After learning of encouraging progress in the early days of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) in 2013, he cofounded San José Community Energy Advocates to help advocate for a CCA formation for San Jose. He has lived in San José for 23 years and is encouraged by the real impact local groups and local governments can have accelerating the shift to clean energy and looks forward to continuing improvements toward our goal of a carbon-neutral San José.

Gerald Gottheil

Term Expires: 12/31/2021

Gerald Gottheil has 20 years of experience leading successful marketing programs for start-ups and Fortune 500 companies in multiple markets, including: telecommunications, office automation, graphic arts, computer and network technology, virtual reality, renewable and clean energy. He believes that energy policy and programs are critical to our local economy, health, and safety. His background in energy has included primary research into phase-change energy storage; utility marketing and program management for energy conservation, demand management, and time-of-use metering; and branding, public relations, and marketing communications for utility-scale solar energy systems. Gerald holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Delaware, an MBA from San Diego State University, and is a licensed professional engineer in the state of California. He has lived in San Jose for over 25 years.

Desiree Grahn

Term Expires: 12/31/2023

Desiree Grahn is a clean energy advocate and has called San Jose home for almost 25 years. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology from John Hopkins University and has been involved with advocacy since college. Recently, she has turned her focus on the steps needed to create a healthy and sustainable environment. Desiree joined the Sierra Club and took part in their Environmental Stewardship Program, where she learned about the most pressing issues affecting global warming. She then worked with the Bay 2030 Advocacy group to advocate for clean energy at the local level. Over the last year, as a member of the Climate Action Leadership Committee, she has focused on the Climate Action Plan of cities on the peninsula as well as San Jose’s Climate Smart Plan. Desiree is honored to be a commissioner on the SJCE Advisory Commission and is looking forward to contributing to San Jose’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions to ensure a sustainable planet.

Ruth Merino

Term Expires: 12/31/2021

Ruth Merino worked at the City of San José’s Office of the City Auditor for 24 years where she was a Senior Program Performance Auditor. She retired in 2010 to focus on her environmental/energy advocacy interests of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by using more renewable energy, electric/hybrid vehicles and electric home appliances. In 2012, Ruth attended the Climate Reality Leadership Corp Training Conference given by Al Gore on how to present an updated slideshow similar to that shown in the documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” In 2013, she completed an online course, Climate Literacy: Navigating Climate Change Conversations. She is the Board Secretary for the Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters and Chair of San Jose Community Energy Advocates, a community group, which together with partner organizations successfully advocated for the San José City Council to approve the San José Clean Energy program in May 2017. Ruth joined the San José Clean Energy Advisory Commission because she wants to give input and help ensure a successful implementation of the program. Ruth received her B.A. from UC Berkeley and has been a member of the Sierra Club since 1992. Ruth has been a resident of San José for over 35 years and drives a 2017 Volt!

Victor Niemeyer

Term Expires: 12/31/2021

Victor Niemeyer is committed to working with the Commission and City staff to help SJCE make real progress in curbing CO2 emissions, dial back residential and commercial electric rates that are among the highest in California, and avoid the financial risk of a Texas-style market meltdown. He knows this will not be easy. Vic retired in 2016 from the Electric Power Research Institute, where he led research on power planning, rate design, power market valuation, risk management, and climate policy. He has since worked part-time modeling Mexico’s power market and the economics of hybrid power (solar plus storage). He serves on the New York Independent System Operator’s Environmental Advisory Committee. Vic has an AB from UC Berkeley and a PhD degree from UT Austin, both in economics. He has lived in San Jose for over 40 years, where he has helped raise four children and six grandchildren.

Tony Strawa

Term Expires: 12/31/2021

Dr. Anthony Strawa is recently retired from NASA – Ames Research Center where he was an Atmospheric Scientist, studying climate change for 20 years. He is deeply dedicated to mitigating the effects of climate change through sustainable energy use and development. He has been involved in many climate related organizations and spoken at a variety of venues on the need, policies, and technology needed to address the ecological crisis. He is one of 20 Catholic Climate Ambassadors nationwide who speak about the Church’s position on climate change. He joined the commission so that he could use his expertise as a scientist and engineer to promote San José Clean Energy and further the City’s climate action plan. Dr. Strawa has lived in San José since 1991.

Richard R. Zahner

Term Expires: 12/31/2023

Richard Zahner has over 40 years of experience related to planning, design, permitting, construction, operations, and development of electric power systems. His major interest and contribution has been integration of new technologies into commercial buildings and power generation. He held senior positions at Bechtel, where he founded and organized the Operation Group and was an independent power consultant for Calpine. Richard’s experience includes gas-fired combined-cycle cogeneration systems, utility scale solar projects, biomass and waste coal fluid bed combustors, and new technology evaluation and demonstration. Richard has worked on a variety of projects including Gilroy Energy Company 120 MW, the Capco Biomass to Energy plants 12MW, Diamond Energy’s Doswell Project 680 MW, a 2 MW Fuel Cell power plant, the 20MW Rough & Ready Solar project, and conceptual design of an LNG production facility. Before co-founding Next Energy Concepts, he was responsible for Western Region Business Development at Calpine Corporation where he managed the acquisition of the 870 MW PG&E Geysers Complex. Richard most recently served as Vice President of Operations where he coordinated the company’s 90 plus plant fleet and managed the company’s vertical integration strategy in capital parts manufacturing.

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