Melanie Nakagawa serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Transformation in the Bureau of Energy Resources. Ms. Nakagawa is responsible for promoting the shift toward a low carbon economy as integral to economic development and addressing global energy and climate change challenges. By focusing on innovative financing approaches and the use of market forces to achieve greater efficiency and cleaner performance in energy systems, she guides the Bureau’s effort to engage in the critical intersection of energy with national security and foreign policy priorities. She directs the Bureau’s efforts to reform electricity and power systems and develop more efficient and reliable municipal, national, and regional electricity markets. She also leads the Department’s efforts to assist countries as they work toward implementing their energy commitments to address global climate change, focusing on sustainable energy policy, addressing institutional reforms, and supporting business opportunities as essential components to a global energy transition. To foster this transition, she will be advancing efforts to support countries’ energy goals to deploy lower carbon energy resources into key markets, expanding regional cooperation and interconnectivity, and through the United States’ participation in multilateral and international organizations and partnerships.
From June 2013-December 2015, she served on Secretary Kerry’s Policy Planning Staff, focusing on climate change, energy, environment, and development issues. In this role she served as a strategic advisor to the Secretary, supporting his efforts to elevate climate change as a foreign policy priority. Previously, she served as the Senior Energy and Environment Counsel on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee for then-Chairman John F. Kerry. She developed policy recommendations, drafted legislation, and conducted oversight on energy security, climate change and environmental issues. Prior to her government service, she was an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She received her J.D. and M.A. in International Affairs from American University’s Washington College of Law and School of International Service, and A.B. from Brown University.