C-PREE Bradford Seminar: "Public Policy Considerations in the Transition to Renewable Energy: Lessons from Puerto Rico"
Mr. Bhatia is an attorney, advocate and expert on fiscal matters and public policy with over 25 years of experience championing government / democracy reforms and public and private coalitions to achieve fiscally responsible policy targets, economic development, quality education and renewable energy goals. He is currently the John L. Weinberg/Goldman Sachs & Co. Visiting Professor and visiting lecturer in public and international affairs at Princeton University and a Board Member of the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund. Mr. Bhatia grew up in Puerto Rico with his mother -a Puerto Rican political science professor- and his father – an Indian economist and partition war survivor- who instilled in him core values of honest public service, opportunity for all, diversity, and civil rights. As a public servant, Bhatia served as President of the Senate of Puerto Rico (2013-2017). In this capacity, he worked directly with former US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Moody’s Investors Service, S&P, and Fitch Group, bondholders, and labor groups to design solutions in anticipation of a $72 billion default, the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history. He reformed and secured an open market for the island’s energy sector to end the fully oil-dependent, inefficient state-owned monopoly of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, and co-authored sweeping bipartisan legislation mandating an orderly transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050. He is also a leader in the efforts to reform the broken public education system of Puerto Rico. Previously as the Director of Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (2005-08), he was primarily responsible for articulating the local government’s policy positions to the US Congress, The White House, federal agencies, state offices and national organizations.