By Nicole Capozziello
Published February 1, 2021
Dennis Elsenbeck, an expert in the energy field, has been included on City & State’s Energy & Environment Power 100 list.
The list names 100 key players – from politicians to energy industry CEOs to activists – who are driving the policies shaping New York’s progressive response to climate change.
Elsenbeck, who obtained an ME in mechanical engineering from the University at Buffalo in 1996, is president of Viridi Parente, a battery storage company in the e-mobility and stationary storage industry. He also serves as an energy consultant and is the head of Energy and Sustainability at Phillips Lytle, a Buffalo law firm. Prior to these roles, he spent 30 years in the utility industry, primarily at National Grid.
He is one of 22 members of the New York State’s Climate Action Council, which is tasked with implementing the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Passed in 2020, the law sets ambitious targets for eliminating fossil fuel power and reducing greenhouse gases, setting a model for states across the nation. Elsenbeck was appointed to the Council by the state Senate Democrats and told Politico that he hopes the state prioritizes “the manufacturing community so that they’re not spectators but participants.”
In addition to his commitment to energy improvement at the local and state level, Elsenbeck has dedicated himself to strengthening STEM education and inclusion. While at National Grid, he championed a partnership program between UB's School of Engineering and Applied Science, National Grid and Westminster Community Charter School. Throughout the school year, the program brings UB students into Westminster classrooms to guide students through STEM lessons and activities, and brings them to UB’s Davis Hall once a year for hands-on science experiments. Elsenbeck also led National Grid’s participation in an annual summer camp for under-represented high school students, managed by UB.
His many recognitions include Leadership Buffalo’s Annual Service Award, UB’s Annual Community Leadership Medal, UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Alumni Association’s Engineer of the Year Award, and the National Federation for Just Communities’ Community Leader Award. He has served on the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Dean’s Advisory Council since 2003.
Elsenbeck often points to how his experiences at the University at Buffalo have shaped his perspective. “The crisis of climate change goes beyond setting aggressive goals,” he says. “When forming solutions and opportunities that bring balance to economic and environmental sustainability, understanding the root cause is vital.”
City & State is a nonpartisan multimedia news organization dedicated to covering local and state politics in New York.