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Nels Johnson

Senior Advisor for Renewable Energy

Bozeman, Montana

Headshot of Nels Johnson.

Nels Johnson Senior Advisor for Renewable Energy © Courtesy Nels Johnson


Energy Development, Conservation Planning, Climate Change, Forest Management




Nels Johnson is Senior Advisor for Renewable Energy with The Nature Conservancy’s North America Climate Mitigation Program. He co-leads the Renewable Energy Deployment Strategy and works with TNC's teams across North America to integrate “smart-siting” into energy development. The goal of the strategy is to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies to achieve economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050 while minimizing impacts to nature and local communities.

During his 35-year career, Nels has worked on forest management, carbon sequestration, protected areas design, energy planning, mitigation, climate adaptation, and incentives to sustain ecosystem services in Asia, Latin America and North America. He has published over two dozen articles, reports and books on these topics.

As Deputy State Director in Pennsylvania, Nels worked with chapter staff to build innovative programs to maintain ecological water flows, conserve private forests, restore public land habitats, and reduce impacts from shale and wind energy development.

He has volunteered for assignments with TNC programs in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and at the Worldwide Office. Johnson has served on several boards and advisory committees including the Shale Roundtable, and the Pinchot Institute for Conservation where he served as board chair.

Before joining TNC, Nels was a senior associate and program director at the World Resources Institute. He has a B.A. from Reed College and an M.S. in forest ecology from the Yale University. When time permits, Nels is likely to be making a mess in the kitchen, bailing out his kayak, or getting lost in the woods on his skis.

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