John A. (Jack) Riggs is a Senior Fellow at the Aspen Institute. He studied history at Swarthmore College but took a 50-year detour into public policy before writing High Tension. As a senior official of the Department of Energy, the House of Representatives, and the Aspen Institute, he observed the recent transformation of the electricity industry and helped develop the policies that govern it.
Riggs received a master's degree at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and served five years in Vietnam with the Agency for International Development during the war. As Staff Director of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee, he participated in all the major energy legislation from 1981 to 1993. From 1993 to 1995 he was Deputy Assistant Secretary and then Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy.
As Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program and as Senior Fellow, Riggs led the renowned Aspen Energy Policy Forum for nineteen years and edited or co-edited several Aspen Institute books.
He and his wife, Judy, live in Washington, DC, near Little Falls on the Potomac River. He learned while researching High Tension that this stretch of the river, where they enjoyed kayaking, is nearly pristine only because the local utility thwarted construction of a federal hydroelectric dam there in the 1920s.