Returning to the agency where he began his career, Robert B. Weisenmiller was appointed chairman of the California Energy Commission by Governor Jerry Brown in February 2011. He has more than 30 years experience in energy policy and has been an expert witness in more than 100 state and federal regulatory proceedings.
Weisenmiller graduated from Providence College in 1970 with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. He received his master’s degree in energy and resources from the University of California, Berkeley in 1977, and a Ph.D. in chemistry there the same year.
He went on to work for the California Energy Commission immediately after college, serving in a variety of posts during Jerry Brown’s first stint as governor. Weisenmiller held a variety of positions during his five years at the commission. He was assistant to the commissioner for development of solar energy policy, he developed conservation and alternative energy policy as manager of the special projects office, and was director of the office of policy and program evaluation, where he was responsible for reviewing all commission documents.
Weisenmiller moved to the private sector in 1982 to co-found the Independent Power Corporation, a technology consulting firm in California. His title was executive vice president and he was a technical consultant to state and federal agencies on utility resource planning, including project assessments for cogeneration, geothermal, wind and biomass facilities. He regularly appeared as an expert witness at California regulatory hearings.
He left the Independent Power Corporation in 1986 to co-found MRW & Associates, another energy consulting firm. In 2008, Weisenmiller contributed $250 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. He made another contribution that same year of $100 to Democratic California Assembly member Nancy Skinner who served on the Committee on Natural Resources and has proposed several bills to encourage clean energy use.
Weisenmiller was appointed to the board by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010. Governor Brown renewed his term in January 2011 and named him chairman a month later. He fulfills the required engineering or physical scientist position on the board.