The U.S. Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) program is an effort to advance the careers and leadership of professional women in the field of clean energy. It is led by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in strong partnership with the MIT Energy Initiative. This program delivers on the U.S. commitment to C3E, which was launched by nine governments at the first Clean Energy Ministerial in July 2010 in recognition of the fact that the ideas and talents of all members of society are essential to meeting the clean energy challenges of the future. Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States each committed to undertake meaningful activities to advance women in clean energy and close the gender gap in their own national contexts and link their efforts whenever possible.
The U.S. C3E program was launched at the third Clean Energy Ministerial in April 2012 in London. It has three pillars:
- AMBASSADORS: The C3E Ambassadors are a group of about 30 distinguished senior professionals who share an interest in broadening the recruitment, retention and advancement of highly qualified women in the field and are committed to championing the initiative’s success as spokeswomen and mentors. Ambassadors serve as mentors and also as a nomination review panel for the recognition program outlined below.
- AWARDS: The C3E Awards recognize mid-career women who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and accomplishments in clean energy. Awards are given by MIT in six categories at the annual Symposium, along with cash awards of $10,000 each. The six categories are currently innovation and technology development, entrepreneurship and innovative business models, corporate implementation, policy and advocacy, advancements for the developing world, and education and mentorship.
- SYMPOSIUM: The C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium is an annual event, hosted by MIT in collaboration with DOE, as part of their shared commitment to C3E as a Clean Energy Ministerial initiative. C3E Ambassadors and Awardees came together with women working in the sector as well as students and representatives from partner governments for a professional conference intended to build a strong and interconnected network of women in clean energy. The Symposium features high-level keynote speakers, substantive discussion session that track the six award categories, awards presentations, and informal small-group gatherings anchored by Ambassadors.
An online community forum, www.C3Enet.org, was launched at the fourth Clean Energy Ministerial in Delhi in April 2013 to enable women from around the world to connect to share information, insight, and inspiration.