“Transforming the energy system represents the biggest opportunity of a generation.”

Rolf Nordstrom


Contact: [email protected] 

Twitter: @rolfnordstrom 

LinkedIn: Rolf Nordstrom

Alternate contact: Gail Nosek, Communications Director, [email protected] 

Thank you for your interest in the Great Plains Institute! 

Rolf Nordstrom is president and CEO of the Great Plains Institute, a nonpartisan nonprofit working across the US to transform the energy system to benefit the economy and environment.  

A nationally-recognized leader, Rolf has more than 30 years of experience in energy and sustainable development policy as well as practice in both governmental and nonprofit settings. He has unique strengths in brokering agreement among disparate interests on difficult public policy issues. Rolf has been featured on National Public Radio’s All Things ConsideredScientific AmericanFinance and Commerce, Utility DiveRTO InsiderMinnesota Public Radio, and the Minneapolis StarTribune among other media outlets. 

In 2016, US Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz appointed Rolf to the department’s Electricity Advisory Committee. He has written or helped craft new laws on high-performance buildings, hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, resource-efficient land use, and sustainable development. He was a contributing author to the third National Climate Assessment, a comprehensive report required by Congress on climate change impacts in the US.  

Prior to joining GPI, Rolf served for a decade with the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board and Office of Strategic and Long-Range Planning. For seven of those years he served as assistant director of then-Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson’s Sustainable Development Initiative, working to harmonize the state’s economic and environmental policies.  


Tufts University, Medford, MA
Master’s degree in International Environmental Policy 

Carleton College, Northfield, MN
Bachelor’s degree in English Literature 

Other Previous Leadership Positions 

World Wildlife Fund International (Brussels, Belgium), contract staff

Global Environment Program at New York University’s Stern School of Business, contract staff

Wilder Foundation’s James P. Shannon Leadership Institute, alumnus 

United States Congress, legislative assistant 

Advisory Boards 

Sustainable Transportation Advisory Council, Minnesota Department of Transportation appointee

Energy Systems Integration Group, advisory committee member

MN Sustainable Growth Coalition, Energy Strategy Working Group member  

2030 Climate Challenge, MacArthur Foundation-sponsored climate prize, evaluation panel

University of Minnesota’s NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise, advisory council member 

Midwest CleanTech Open, former advisory board member  

Izaak Walton League of America (Minnesota Division), former president 

Merriam Park Council in St. Paul, Minnesota, former president 

Recent Keynotes and Media

Converging on Wicked Problems in the Energy System (Video)
November 2019

What Will the Energy System Look Like in 2050? (Video)
Vopak Americas Management Meeting
June 2019

Going ‘Zero Carbon’ Is All The Rage. But Will It Slow Climate Change?
National Public Radio, All Things Considered
June 2019

Why the Climate Problem is the Mother of All Opportunities
Real Leaders with Roshini Rajkumar Podcast
April 2019

Great Plains Institute helps drive a greener, more efficient Minnesota economy
StarTribune Business Profile
September 2018

Road Map to Decarbonization: Transportation Electrification (Video)
GPI Electric Vehicle Summit
January 2019

Speaker Requests 

Rolf Nordstrom is available for keynote addresses, panel presentations, facilitation, and conferences.

Please fill out the speaker request form below or this pdf and send to Gail Nosek, communications director, at [email protected]

GPI’s staff have expertise across a variety of topics including, carbon management, communities, electricity, efficiency, and transportation and fuels. Information about the expertise of our staff is available on our team webpage. 


  • Event Request Form