Michael Skelly is a renewable energy entrepreneur and pioneer in the US wind industry. Skelly is currently a Senior Advisor at Lazard where he advises companies and investors on renewable energy, sustainability and the energy transition. Michael was the founder and president of Clean Line Energy, a company that successfully permitted some of the longest transmission lines in the U.S. in the last 50 years.
Prior to Clean Line, Skelly led the growth of Horizon Wind Energy, now part of EDPR, one of the largest renewable energy companies in the US. Skelly’s other entrepreneurial ventures include founding partner and general manager of the Rain Forest Aerial Tram in the early ’90’s, where Skelly led the development, construction and operations of the first large scale canopy tourism project in the Americas.
Skelly applies his expertise in developing infrastructure projects to enhance transportation options and increase access to parks in his adopted hometown of Houston, Texas. In 2012, he led the “Parks By You” campaign, which resulted in the passage of a $150 million bond measure to fund 100 plus miles of trails along the city’s bayous, an effort in which Skelly remains deeply involved.
Skelly sits on the boards of the Houston Bike Share, the Houston Parks Board, LINK Houston, Greentown Labs in Houston, TXRX Labs and Form Energy. He is an active angel investor in the sustainability field, supporting innovating ventures in lithium production, shared mobility, and energy storage. Skelly’s public service includes working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Central America and a run for the US Congress in 2008, where he was the Democratic nominee for the 7th Congressional District of Texas. Skelly writes occasionally about energy and urban issues for the Houston Chronicle. He is deeply involved in local politics.
Skelly is the principal protagonist in Superpower, a book by Wall Street Journal reporter and Pulitzer Prize finalist Russell Gold. The book chronicles the growth and development of renewable energy in the 21st century.
Skelly’s family immigrated to the United States from Ireland when he was a small child. He holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Skelly speaks fluent Spanish. Skelly and his wife Anne Whitlock have three children in their twenties. They live in Firehouse No. 2, a 110 year old fire station which they restored in the East End of Houston. The firehouse is well known to other civically active Houstonians as Skelly and his wife host dozens of nonprofit and political events every year.