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Ian Bowles      

Environmentalist & Energy Expert; Co-Founder of WindSail Capital Group

Ian Bowles is an environmentalist, businessman and former political aide. He is the co-founder and Managing Director of WindSail Group. He served as the Senior Director of Global Environmental Affairs at the National Security Council and as Associate Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality from 1999 to 2001. He also served as Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs from 2007 to 2011.

Bowles served as principal international environment and natural resources advisor on the White House staff for President Bill Clinton. Holding the posts of Senior Director of Global Environmental Affairs at the National Security Council and Associate Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, he played key roles in the Kyoto Protocol process, trade and environmental negotiations, and clean energy development, and accompanied the President on foreign travel to India, New Zealand, and the G-8 Summit in Okinawa.

In early 2011, Bowles stepped down after four years as Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs for Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts. In that position, he created the first state cabinet agency encompassing both energy regulation and environmental protection overseeing six line agencies. He oversaw environmental review of all major real estate development and business expansion projects in the Commonwealth, spearheaded reform of environmental and energy permitting, and led the largest land conservation initiative in the state's history.

Championing clean energy as an economic opportunity, Bowles overhauled utility regulation to make Massachusetts the national leader in energy efficiency investment and the third largest market for solar power installation in the United States. By approving the environmental review and permitting for Cape Wind, Bowles made Massachusetts host for what is likely to be the first offshore wind power project in the United States. Bowles also set the highest standards in the nation on greenhouse gas emissions and building codes and, as Chairman of the Board, made the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority a national leader on integration of clean energy technology into daily operation of its $8 billion in capital assets.

An energy and environment innovator with experience in foreign policy, state regulation, and clean energy entrepreneurship, Ian Bowles is also Managing Director of Rhumb Line Energy LLC, a clean energy advisory and project development firm in Boston; Senior Director at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a Washington-based international strategy firm; and an advisor to several clean energy technology companies.

He co-founded WindSail Capital Group, and serves as the Managing Director. The company provides growth financing to companies advancing energy innovation and sustainability across a wide range of industries. WindSail’s investments typically range from $2 million to $10 million and are in the form of a secured loan. WindSail prides itself on thinking outside the box and structuring transactions that specifically address a company’s capital needs. WindSail currently invests in 17 companies.

Bowles also held leadership positions at Conservation International, an international nonprofit NGO, where he led land and habitat conservation initiatives in more than 20 developing countries, brokering creation of protected areas such as a new four million acre national park in Suriname. As senior advisor to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, he oversaw the largest US foundation grant given for environmental protection. Ian is a board member at the New England Clean Energy Council, Longroad Energy, RGS Energy and the Museum of Science. He is an advisor to several other leading clean energy companies.

Bowles's academic career includes posts as a Senior Research Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and as adjunct member of the teaching faculty at Oxford University. He holds an honorary doctorate from Emerson College. Bowles co-edited Footprints in the Jungle (Oxford University Press) and has written broadly on energy, environment, conservation, and sustainability in both professional journals such as Science and in the popular media including The New York Times. He received his A.B. cum laude from Harvard College and a masters degree from Oxford University.

Speech Topics

Global Natural Resources: Supply, Demand & Innovation

The Clean Energy Revolution: US, China & Opportunities Ahead

Why Wilderness Matters: An International Perspective

No California Dreaming: Why the East Coast Is the Future of Clean Energy


WindSail Capital wants to fill clean energy funding gap, providing loans to growing companies

Michael Rand and Ian Bowles are talking more openly this spring about a new financing firm they formed last year — perhaps because they're out shaking the money tree: WindSail Capital Group.

Bowles' new firm WindSail Capital plans series of cleantech investments

WindSail Capital Group, a Boston firm co-managed by former state energy and environmental secretary Ian Bowles, expects to fund a dozen cleantech services companies in the next two years, Bowles said in an interview.

WindSail Capital raises $20M for 1st clean energy fund

Boston-based WindSail Capital Group, which lends to clean energy-related businesses in need of growth financing, has raised $20.4 million for its first dedicated fund.

Go Electric secures $4 million investment

Ian Bowles, WindSail Capital Group Managing Director, said the company decided to invest in Go Electric because it sees a bright future for microgrid solutions across both military and commercial applications as sites rely more on renewable energy.

Meet The Cambridge House That Wants To Save The Planet

Ian Bowles, managing director of Windsail Capital Group and former Massachusetts secretary of energy and environmental affairs, said when it comes to new construction, the zero-energy home is where the state should be heading, but it’s a matter of getting the market to catch up.

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