Photo of Ellen Morris

Ellen Morris

Professional V-University Program Leader


Ellen Morris, Ph.D., is a world-recognized expert on energy and international development, with a particular focus on policy analysis, research, strategy development, and writing on energy access, gender equality, and business models for the base of the pyramid. She is launching and directing a new program at NREL to build and strengthen partnerships with leading universities and research institutions. These partnerships leverage NREL’s scientific knowledge and state-of-the-art facilities to solve complex, multidisciplinary challenges in energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, renewable power technologies, and grid integration.


Ph.D., Geological Oceanography , University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography

B.S., Geophysical Engineering, Colorado School of Mines

Professional Experience

Director, University Partnership Program, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2018—Present)

Adjunct Professor, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (2007—Present)

President and Founder, Sustainable Energy Solutions (1998—Present)

Founding Partner, Embark Energy (2013—2015)

Associate Professor of Practice and Director of Energy Programs, Energy and Environment Concentration, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (2010—2013)

Managing Director and Co-Founder, Arc Finance (2008—2010)

Associations and Memberships

Ambassador, Department of Energy Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Initiative (C3E)

Member, Advisory Board, Colorado State University Energy Institute

Member, Advisory Board, Colorado School of Mines Advanced Energy Systems Doctoral Program

Member, Board of Advisors, Colorado School of Mines Masters Program in Natural Resources and Energy Policy

Member, Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education (CREATE) National Visiting Committee

Mentor, International Support Network for African Development

Member, Women Powering STEM networking group, Randstad Corporation

Member, Clean Energy Solutions Center Technical Expert Team, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Featured Work

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming in Renewable Energy Policies—Empowering Women in the Energy Value Chain in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports, Springer, Issue 1 (2019)

Gender and Geothermal: World Bank Guidance Note, World Bank Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (2018)

Situation Analysis of Gender and Energy in the East African Community, East African Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (2018)

Opening Doors: Mapping the Landscape for Sustainable Energy, Gender Diversity and Social Inclusion, Sustainable Energy for All (2017)

Promoting Investment for Energy Access in Least Developed Countries, UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States (2017)

Background Study on Regulating Gender Assessments in Energy Infrastructure Planning and Development within ECOWAS, ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (2016) 

Situation Analysis of Energy and Gender Issues in ECOWAS Member States, ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (2015) 

Iluméxico: A social enterprise providing solar energy to households in rural communities across Mexico, NREL Report (2015)

Bringing Small -Scale Finance to the Poor for Energy Services:  What is role of government: Experiences from Burkina Faso, Kenya, Nepal, and Tanzania, UNDP (2009)

Using microfinance to expand access to energy services: Summary of Findings, SEEP Network (2007).

The Global Village Energy Partnership Mobilizes Private and Public Sectors: Aims to Increase Access to Microfinance for Energy Services, Microfinance Matters: United Nations Capital Development Fund Newsletter, Issue 17 (2005)

Guidebook on rural energy, U.S. Agency for International Development (2002) 

APEC guidebook for financing new and renewable energy projects, APEC Publication # 98-RE-03.1 (1998)

Analysis of renewable energy retrofit options to existing diesel mini-grids, APEC Publication # 98-RE-01.6 (1998)

Financing mechanisms for renewable energy technologies: A critical assessment, 5th APEC Energy R&D Technology Transfer Seminar (1997)