Ralph Cavanagh is co-director of NRDC's Energy Program, which he joined in 1979. In addition, Cavanagh served from 1993-2003 on the U.S. Secretary of Energy's Advisory Board, and he chairs the Portland-based Bonneville Environmental Foundation. He is vice chair of the California Clean Energy Fund and of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (CEERT), which unites representatives of the environmental, energy efficiency, and renewable energy communities. He has held appointments as visiting professor of law at Stanford and the University of California (Berkeley), and as lecturer on law at the Harvard Law School. Cavanagh is also a founding board member of the Northwest Energy Coalition, the Renewable Northwest Project, and E-Source, a Colorado-based energy services company. His awards include the Heinz Award for Public Policy and the Bonneville Power Administration's Award for Exceptional Public Service.
He received his bachelor’s and law degrees from Yale University.