Skip to main content
Michael Dworkin, Vermont Law School
U.S.-Asia Fellows

Michael Dworkin

Professor of Law Emeritus
Founding Director, Institute for Energy and the Environment
Environmental Law Center
Institute for Energy and the Environment
U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law

JD, Harvard Law School, 1978

BA, Middlebury College, 1975

Curriculum Vitae

Michael Dworkin


Professor Emeritus Michael Dworkin often says "If you care about the environment, energy use is the most important issue. And if you care about energy, environmental realities are the most important constraints." Professor Dworkin was a utility regulator, environmental litigator, and small businessman before becoming a professor. At Vermont Law School, he also directs the Institute for Energy and the Environment.

The Institute offers an advanced curriculum on energy and regulatory law, provides forums and conferences for professional education and issue development, publishes on environmental and energy issues, and serves as a center for commissioned research on these topics. Professor Dworkin earned his BA degree, summa cum laude, from Middlebury College in 1975, and his JD, cum laude, from the Harvard Law School in 1978. He began his legal career as a law clerk for Judge Catherine Kelly of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. After his clerkship, he spent five years in the EPA’s Office of General Counsel, where he focused on the development and appellate defense of standards that reduced air and water pollution, including appellate defense of the rules that removed most toxic metals from U.S. waste streams. In 1984, he joined the Vermont Public Service Board, where he represented the Board in litigation before the Federal Communications Commission and as a hearing officer. From 1988 to 1995, he was general counsel of the Vermont Public Service Board. In 1995, he became general counsel and a managing partner in Riser Management Systems, LP, an engineering and consulting firm. He returned to public service in 1999 as the chair of the Vermont Public Service Board and remained in that post until 2005 when he joined the faculty at VLS and launched the Institute for Energy and the Environment. He is a director of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation and a former director for the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and of the Electric Power Research Institute. He has been elected as the moderator of East Montpelier, Vermont, Town Meeting since 2005 and he calls that role "a truly Norman Rockwell-esque experience."


Legal Advocacy

​"The Financial Risks of Reliance on High-Fossil-Fuel Stocks: Five-year Stock Price Comparisons of High-Fossil Stock Holdings," Testimony for Vermont Legislature’s Joint House and Senate Government Operations Committees, Montpelier, VT, February 19, 2016.

Least-Cost Investments, Energy Efficiency and Management of Demand 1990 WL 666762 (Vt. P.S.B. April 16, 1990). Requiring integrated resource plans and utility-funded energy efficiency measures. Hearing Officer.​

Central Vermont Public Service Corp., 83 P.U.R. 4th 532. (Vt. PSB May 15, 1987) Protecting rate-payers from cost-overruns at Seabrook nuclear power plant. Drafted Board decision.​

National Association of Metal Finishers v. EPA, 719 F.2d 624 (3d Cir. 1983). Removal of majority of toxic metals in waste water across United States. Brief and oral argument.​


​Sovacool, Benjamin and Michael Dworkin. GLOBAL ENERGY JUSTICE: PRINCIPLES, PROBLEMS AND PRACTICES (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), October 2014.​​

​​Dworkin, Michael, contributor. Variable Renewable Energy and the Electricity Grid, Jay Apt and Paula Jaramillo. Resources for the Future Press, 2014.


​Dworkin, Michael, Roman V. Sidortsov and Benjamin K. Sovacool. "Rethinking the Scale, Structure & Scope of U.S. Energy Institutions", Daedalus, Winter 2013: The Alternative Energy Future, vol. 2.

​Comparative Analysis of Conventional Oil and Gas and Wind Project Decommissioning Regulations on Federal, State, and County Lands, Changala D, Dworkin M, et al Electricity Journal, (2012), doi:10.1016/j.tej.2011.12.004.

The Energy Trilemma in the Green Mountain State, John Sautter, James Landis, and Michael H. Dworkin Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, vol. 10, issue 3, Spring 2009

"Old-Coal" Power Plants: Imprudent Investments? Michael Dworkin, Shanna Vale, and Ellen Crivella Science 315, 1791b (2007) DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5820.1791b​

Revisiting "The Environmental Duties of Public Utility Commissions" (with David Farnsworth, Jason Salmi Klotz and Jason Rich) Vermont Journal of Environmental Law (Autumn 2006)​

The Efficiency Utility: A Model for Replication? (with Blair Hamilton and Beth Sachs) European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy Juried Proceedings of the ECEEE 2005 Published Proceedings (Mandelieu, France)​

Four Years' Experience with the Nation's First Energy Efficiency Utility: Balancing Resource Acquisition and Market Transformation Under a Performance Contract (with Blair Hamilton) ;American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy Juried Proceedings of the ACEEE 2004 Summer Study Conference on Energy Efficiency​

The Environmental Duties of Public Utility Commissions (with David Farnsworth and Jason Rich) 18 Pace Environmental Law Review 325 (2001)


​The Environmental Dimension of Energy Security, Marilyn A. Brown and Michael H. Dworkin A Chapter in: The Routledge Handbook of Energy Security Benjamin Sovacool, Editor Routledge Press, 2011

The Rebirth of American Energy Efficiency, Michael Dworkin, Kari Twaite and Dan York A chapter in: Capturing the Power of Electric Restructuring Joey Lee Miranda, Editor American Bar Association's Sections on State and Local Government Law and the Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources (2009)​

Looking 'Round the Bend: The Under-Recognized Risks of Investing in Traditional Coal-Fired Generation Foreword, by Michael Dworkin, in David Schlissel's: Don't Get Burned: The Risks of Investing in New Coal-fired Generating Facilities Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., February, 2008)​

All Hands on Deck: Recruiting Clean, Secure and Distributed Help for America's Energy Needs Foreword, by Michael Dworkin, in ​Freeing the Grid: How Effective State Net Metering Laws Can Revolutionize Energy Policy Network for New Energy Choices (November 2006)​.


Panel moderator, "National Security and Reliability of the Grid," Vermont Journal of Environmental Law Symposium, Vermont Law School, October 20, 2017.

Panel Moderator, "Utilities Of The Future – Rate Design & Regulation For Total Energy Transformation" Renewable Energy Vermont Annual Conference, Burlington, VT, October 3, 2017.

Opening Speaker, Legislative panel, "The Utility of the Future," Vermont Climate Economy Conference, Montpelier, VT, September 2017.

Closing Speaker, Legislative panel, "Technical Potentials and Expected Installation Rates," Vermont Climate Economy Conference, Montpelier, VT, September 2017.

​“Success at Scale: Judicial and Administrative Reviews of Three Key Decisions,” IUCN Academy of Environmental Law’s 14th Annual Colloquium, Oslo, Norway, June 23, 2016.

​Panelist, "The Food – Energy – Water Nexus: “Connecting Education to Practice at the Nexus,"16th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy & the Environment, Washington, D.C., January 19-21, 2016.​

"Resources for the Future: Leadership Tasks, Gathering the Information Needed for Decision-making on Climate & Energy Policy" Washington, D.C., November 18, 2015​.​

"Wholesale Electricity Markets: ‘Just and Reasonable’ Markets for Supply and Demand Across Multiple Jurisdictions", UK Energy Law and Policy Association, Oxford, UK, September 10-11, 2015.​