President, Lighthouse Consulting Group, LLC
Former President, Natural Resources Defense Council
Jan (Blittersdorf) Blomstrann
President & Chief Executive Officer, NRG Systems, Inc.
Roberta B. Bowman
Senior Advisor, Duke Energy
Marilyn A. Brown
Professor, School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology
Distinguished Visiting Scientist, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
President, Alliance to Save Energy
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Vice President, DNV GL
Christine Eibs Singer
Chief Executive Officer, CES Global
Dian M. Grueneich
Founder and Principal, Dian Grueneich Consulting, LLC
Suedeen Gibbons Kelly
Co-Chair of the Energy Regulatory Practice, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Director for Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, US Department of Energy
Executive Vice President for Corporate Business Activities, BP
U.S. Director, U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, U.S. Department of Energy
Principal, Fairhaven Institute
Kathleen A. McGinty
Candidate for Governor, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Managing Principal, McKinney-James & Associates and Energy Works
President and Chief Executive Officer, ClimateWorks Foundation
Nancy E. Pfund
Managing Partner, DBL Investors
Executive Director, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University
Faculty Member, Stanford Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration
Vice-President, National Academy of Engineering
Vice President, Walmart Energy
Mary Anne Sullivan
Partner and Practice Area Leader in the Energy Regulatory Practice, Hogan Lovells US LLP
Susan F. Tierney
Managing Principal, Analysis Group
Dymphna van der Lans
Chief Executive Officer, Clinton Climate Initiative
Richenda Van Leeuwen
Executive Director, Energy Access, United Nations Foundation
Principal, Carter Wall Consulting
Chief Executive Officer and President, Principle Power, Inc.
Seth R. Weissman
Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, SolarCity Corporation
President, Lighthouse Consulting Group, LLC
My firm, Lighthouse Consulting Group, was founded to assist companies and organization that aim to advance ambitious agendas in the energy sector. Over the past 16 years, we have worked with U.S. and international clients across a wide spectrum of technologies. Whether they work in traditional or renewable fuels, our clients’ goals are to drive new (and thus cleaner) technologies in their respective areas. My clients range from domestic and international corporations to coalitions, include nonprofit organizations and trade groups, and they run the gamut of fuel sources.
For several years (2007–2010), Lighthouse was chosen to manage the political outreach strategy for the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of 25 major corporations and six environmental nongovernmental organizations that collectively worked to pass comprehensive climate legislation. This experience provided us with an in-depth exposure to many of the players in the clean energy arena. We passed a climate bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, a proposal that unfortunately stalled in the U.S. Senate.
Notwithstanding current dynamics in Washington, as the country counts down to the November elections, we anticipate there will be abundant opportunities to educate and advocate for energy technology issues with the many new players working in the nation’s capital.Back to Top…
Former President, Natural Resources Defense Council
In the last decade, clean energy and climate change have become an increasingly central part of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC’s) agenda and thus mine as well. I did not start as an energy expert, but now that I am NRDC’s president, advancing a clean energy future and curbing climate change are absolutely central to what I do every day.
This effort takes me from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley, and Beijing to Hyderabad. Here in the United States, I work with NRDC’s superb team of energy experts to advocate for renewable energy standards, energy efficiency standards, low- carbon fuel standards, military procurement guidelines, and other policies that expand the market for clean technologies.
NRDC has been a leader in efficiency since we helped draft the first standards for refrigerators nearly four decades ago, and these standards remain the cleanest, fastest, and cheapest way to achieve carbon emission reductions. The efficiency opportunities both here and abroad are enormous and exciting. In China, we worked with local partners to create efficiency measures at the provincial level that inspired a national efficiency program. On a recent trip to India, I spoke with government ministers about how green building and fulfilling the nation’s solar mission can help make India’s rapid growth smart from the start.
In addition to promoting sustainable resources, we are also fighting to clean up fossil fuel pollution. As a member of the President’s Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, I pushed for stronger safety and environmental standards for the oil and gas industry. As part of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, I partnered with Fortune 500 chief executive officers to advocate for national climate legislation. Now, I am focused on ensuring that wherever fracking takes place, we obtain the strongest state and federal safeguards.
I feel very fortunate to be able to do this work. I believe most of the challenges facing the Earth can be solved with the right combination of passion, policy, and technology. This job allows me to champion the clean energy breakthroughs that will ensure a sustainable future for all of us.
Jan (Blittersdorf) Blomstrann
President and Chief Executive Officer, NRG Systems, Inc.
Over the past 20 years, I have helped shape the wind industry as it moved from a fringe sector to a mainstream source of power. I serve as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NRG Systems, a manufacturer of measurement equipment and turbine optimization systems for the wind and solar energy industries. I joined the company in 1987, when the wind industry was in its infancy, and I helped build a global organization that now serves 150 countries around the world.
My path to becoming the CEO of NRG Systems was somewhat unique. When my two children were small, I decided to leave nursing and join my husband, the founder of NRG Systems, in running his business. Through continuing education classes, I taught myself cost accounting and business management and took over the bookkeeping for the company. As the company grew, I assumed responsibility for company administration, finance, and human resources. I had become a businessperson, passionate about the promise of wind energy and a renewable energy future. In 2004, I became CEO of the company, and in 2010 I became the sole owner. My company is one of only a few independent, woman-owned companies in wind energy, which is something I’m quite proud of. Most recently, NRG Systems broadened its focus to serve the solar energy industry and expand our offerings for the wind operations and maintenance segment.
Environmental stewardship is core to my business and mission. NRG Systems operates according to the principles of lean manufacturing to reduce waste and improve quality throughout the value stream. Beyond our doors, we work to further the development of renewable energy through philanthropic initiatives and community partnerships.
I’m also passionate about supporting the growth of women in leadership positions, and in 2006 I was named the inaugural Wind Woman of the Year by the Women of Wind Energy.
Serving this industry and watching it grow, evolve, and mature has been a highlight of my life. I remember being on the margins of energy conversations, but now I help represent our energy future. I know there’s much more to do and that headwinds are pushing against our progress, but I relish the challenge of bringing renewable energy into the fore as a mainstay source of power.
I have been in the energy industry for nearly 35 years—a career that spans the evolution of clean energy technologies. While I have served in several different roles over my career, all of my positions share a common thread of building bridges with stakeholders through listening, collaboration, and finding common ground.
I served as the first Chief Sustainability Officer at Duke Energy, one of the largest utilities in the United States. Duke Energy is a leader in innovative public policies supporting energy efficiency, as well as clean energy technologies including nuclear energy, hydroelectricity, wind, solar, and integrated gasification combined cycle. As Chief Sustainability Officer, I developed and executed the company’s integrated strategy to lead the energy industry’s transition to a low-carbon future. Duke Energy’s efforts to operate in a way that balances economic, social, and environmental interest earned the company recognition on the elite Dow Jones World Index and the annual ratings of the 100 Most Responsible Corporations. Following my retirement from Duke Energy in 2012, I continue to serve the company as Senior Advisor to the Chairman. I view energy as a “master resource” essential to the strength and stability of our global economy and for improving the quality of life worldwide. I am increasingly interested in the energy-water nexus. The dual vectors of increasing population and limited natural resources makes the mandate for innovation in clean energy technology and increased energy efficiency one of the greatest challenges of our time.
I have had a lifelong interest in supporting the advancement of women, and I see the important tie between reliable, affordable, and clean energy and opportunities for women.
I am particularly passionate about encouraging women to pursue careers in clean energy, particularly with large-cap companies. With the size and scale of large-cap companies, the opportunity to make a real difference is huge. Even a small change at a large company can significantly reduce carbon emissions and other environmental impacts and speed the development and deployment of new technologies.
In August 2006, I joined the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) as a Professor in the School of Public Policy following a career at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where I held various leadership positions focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the electric grid. At ORNL, I co-led the report, Scenarios for a Clean Energy Future, which remains a cornerstone of engineering-economic analysis of low-carbon energy options for the United States and established my role as a national leader in the analysis and interpretation of energy futures in the United States.
I coauthored the textbook Climate Change and Global Energy Security: Technology and Policy Options; edited the book Energy and American Society: Thirteen Myths; and authored more than 250 other publications. My work has had significant visibility in the policy arena as evidenced by my briefings and testimonies before state legislative bodies and committees in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. In 2010, following my nomination by President Barack Obama, I was sworn into the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation’s largest public power provider, with annual sales of approximately $12 billion.
At Georgia Tech, I created and lead the Climate and Energy Policy Laboratory (CEPL), while also instructing students in the Environment and Energy Policy curriculum. CEPL focuses on global energy security, clean energy employment, policies to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy policies and trends in the Southern United States, smart grid policies, and demand response. We are involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and our policy interests span the triad of mitigation, adaptation, and geo-engineering. CEPL examines climate change and energy policies using analytical tools including the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS), MARKAL models, hybrid NEMS input/output approaches, and Monte Carlo methods to characterize uncertainties.
I serve as the president of the Alliance to Save Energy, a non- government organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. that has worked for 35 years to advance energy efficiency worldwide to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment, and greater energy security. Over the course of our storied history, we have helped the U.S. to offset the need for 50 quads of energy every year, an amount equal to roughly 1⁄2 of our current, annual energy consumption.
Serving as president of the Alliance since January 2004, I lead a staff of more than 80; oversee a budget of approximately $17 million annually; and serve on the Alliance Board of Directors, which includes members of Congress, state and local officials, and top corporate and non-governmental organization executives. I help the Board and our staff to design and execute initiatives in policy, communications, research, education, and market transformation in the United States and several other countries. The Alliance also conducts international conferences, summits, and other education and outreach forums to further its mission.
I serve as the principal spokesperson for the Alliance, appearing before Congress and the media and addressing conferences and gatherings around the world. I seek to provide credible information on energy efficiency and its role in tackling the environmental, economic, and national security challenges associated with the use of energy.
In June 2009, I was among the 23 inaugural inductees to the new Energy Efficiency Hall of Fame established by Johnson Controls Inc. and the United States Energy Association (USEA).
I’ve been working in the wind industry for more than 25 years. My interest in the renewable energy business began at an early age. In the fourth grade, I attended an energy fair in my hometown in New Jersey and was captivated by the solar and wind energy displays. From that time forward, I pursued my interest in renewables first through science projects in grade school, then by choosing my degree program and university. I even wrote my college application essays on the benefits of recycling and renewable energy—unusual topics for the early 1980s.
After focusing on solar, wind, and clean power generation in my master’s program, I was fortunate to find a job at a consulting company in 1987 that focused on wind and solar. In 1994, I started Global Energy Concepts (GEC), a wind-focused consulting company. During the 1990s, most of my firm’s work was in emerging markets overseas, and I travelled extensively in Asia, Central and South America, and the Middle East.
In 1995, I was nominated by a client for a position on the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Board of Directors. I continue to serve on the AWEA Board today and currently hold the longest tenure of any board member. This long-standing engagement in the wind industry includes serving as President of the Board; a member of the Executive Committee; Chair of the Windpower conference; and my current position as Chairman of an umbrella committee, Foundation for Growth, which provides oversight for committees.
In 2002, AWEA recognized GEC with an award for building one of the world’s leading wind consultancies. The company’s success was based on providing a broad range of services; focusing on quality, value, and integrity; and promoting environmentally friendly practices long before they were fashionable.
In June 2008, GEC was acquired by Det Norse Veritas (DNV), a global risk management firm with a long history in the wind industry. DNV’s values and commitment to clients was a good match for GEC, and DNV allowed us to broaden our competence and expand our global reach. Following the acquisition, I took the position of Global Wind Energy Segment Director with the responsibility of coordinating DNV’s global wind units in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. I moved with my family to the United Kingdom to gain a better understanding of our European clients and services.
Following my return to the United States in late 2011, I was promoted to Vice President. At the same time, DNV acquired KEMA, a Dutch-headquartered testing and consulting organization.
I currently live in Seattle with my husband and two daughters.
I have been at the cutting edge of new energy access business models in the developing world since 1992. At that time, the issues of energy access, climate change, and small enterprises were rarely connected and generally absent from development and finance papers and conference agendas. You can imagine how lonely it was to be involved in establishing an innovative nonprofit that would deliberately link these sectors through implementation. I was at the center of creating a business model (E+Co) that would blend public and private capital to create local, small enterprises that would deliver clean energy access to billions of people and produce positive environmental benefits along the way.
As a co-founder of E+Co in 1994, I experienced firsthand the disconnect between philanthropy and the private sector from the development of energy enterprises in developing countries. For nearly the first decade of E+Co’s work, energy development was not embraced by the international community, and the private sector viewed small and growing energy enterprises as too risky and not scalable, despite an early portfolio of operating enterprises. I still had an amazing time, for I was able to directly engage with the first generation of innovative energy access business models and their pioneering entrepreneurs, including SELCO India, Toyola, LaEsperanza, RAPS, M-38, and Soluz Dominicana. My work enabled these entrepreneurs (and many others) to implement approaches to providing electricity and clean cooking that would prove influential to the global energy access agenda of today.
I have sat with government, corporate, industry, and philanthropic leaders and grappled with how to address universal energy access. It is clear that ground-level, local, enterprise-based experiences are a necessary part of the solution. These business models, lessons learned, project development challenges, and trial-and-error methods to find the right blend of investors are now an accepted part of the development and finance dialogue.
There is still much to do, but I am excited about the possibilities. I have met many graduate students and young entrepreneurs who are deeply passionate about addressing the inequities caused by a lack of energy access. As I look at the next chapters of energy access, I see the replication of these businesses as the path to scale. My goal is to contribute my nearly 30 years of experience to the blending of people, techniques, technology, and finance so that it happens in our lifetime.
After school, I returned to California and worked at the newly formed California Energy Commission during the first administration of Governor Jerry Brown. It was tremendously exciting because Governor Brown and his administration were taking the first major steps toward clean energy—in particular, on energy efficiency, renewables, and energy planning. I helped draft the state’s first building and appliance standards and the first statewide integrated energy policy plan. I also presented the first-ever proposal for energy efficiency decoupling.
In 1985, I started my own energy law and consulting firm, Grueneich Resource Advocates. I focused on strategic planning, developing long-term energy plans for the County of Los Angeles and the California State University. I also designed a national regulatory intervention program for the National Association of Energy Service Companies to promote increased use of energy efficiency, and initiated the California Conservation Collaborative.
In 2005, I was appointed to the California Public Utilities Commission for a six-year term. I was the lead commissioner on energy efficiency. I oversaw development of the groundbreaking California Long-Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, as well as a 40% expansion of California’s energy efficiency funding, resulting in a three-year, $3.8 billion program (the largest efficiency program in the United States). I also led California’s adoption of “decoupling plus” and net- zero-energy building goals, provided leadership on California’s demand response programs, and was a key participant in establishing the U.S. Department of Energy-U.S. Environmental Protection Agency State Energy Efficiency Action Network. I was active in western and national transmission and energy infrastructure efforts, where I streamlined California’s transmission siting process and oversaw the successful permitting of three major transmission lines to bring renewable energy to California’s load centers.
My professional recognitions include the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s 30th Anniversary Award for outstanding contributions in the field of energy efficiency, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Clean Energy Award, the Energy Efficiency Global Forum’s first Visionary Award for energy leadership, and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s National Champion of Energy Efficiency Award
I have been extraordinarily lucky over the past 30 years to have held multiple positions that affected our nation’s transition to a clean energy economy. When I was Commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), I spearheaded regulatory policy changes that helped facilitate the integration of renewable energy resources into the nation’s electric grid. I also led FERC’s efforts to oversee standards development and the deployment of smart grid technologies, and created a Smart Grid Collaborative between FERC and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). I implemented internal strategic planning efforts to enable market reforms to adapt to new congressional proposals regarding carbon emissions, demand response and efficiency, smart grid and hydrokinetic, and offshore wind turbine and photovoltaic technologies. Prior to my time at FERC, I served on the Research Advisory Council to the National Regulatory Research Institute, the independent research arm of NARUC, where I advised NARUC on regulatory reforms associated with renewable energy and carbon emissions.
At Patton Boggs LLP, I provide legal, regulatory, and policy advice to a wide array of companies in the electric and natural gas industries, including renewable generation developers, independent transmission companies, and smart grid and microgrid technology and service providers. This has allowed me to further develop my trade in the energy world.
I am grateful for having a prosperous career in this field and the opportunity to make an impact in the environment and global climate change. My work in building more attention to green and renewable energy is one of progress towards a better environmental future. I hope that my work in the clean energy business will create further empowerment and education for young women everywhere. Why clean energy? It’s renewable and ongoing as our economic changes towards it should be.
My work is motivated by three challenges: climate change, the geopolitics of increased energy demand (particularly in the developing world), and the inadequacy of the current federal structure for transforming energy systems.
I have long been an advocate of two scalable options for mitigating climate change: energy efficiency and natural gas as a bridge fuel for a low-carbon energy future. My support of these two options is underscored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Future of Natural Gas Study released last year. The study says that fuel-switching is the only near- term option for large-scale CO2 emissions reductions from the U.S. power sector. Technologies exist to meet this objective, but we need more robust efficiency standards and stringent regulations to address the environmental issues associated with natural gas production.
I strongly believe that synergistic solutions to our energy challenges—simultaneously addressing climate change, security, and supply—cannot wait. This opinion has been cultivated after many years of working in the executive and legislative branches, including serving several key posts at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and my tenure as the chief of staff and legislative director for New Mexico Congressman Bill Richardson. It has also been solidified by my work in the private sector at the Gas Technology Institute where I was involved in major initiatives to increase domestic natural gas supply through research and development and enhance energy efficiency through full fuel cycle analysis.
I am convinced that the current organization of both the executive and legislative branches present major obstacles to achieving a synergistic solution to our energy challenges. The fuel-centric organizational structure of DOE’s energy technology programs (renewables, fossil fuels, and nuclear) has been overtaken by technology advances, inhibiting our ability to transform our energy systems. Structuring programs embedded around key energy uses, such as transportation, power, heat, electricity, and industrial processes, as opposed to fuels, would foster an updated, more comprehensive portfolio approach to energy research and development and related policy development. It would also prevent the current competition between fuels and likely force a much more meaningful focus on standards regardless of fuel choice.
I head a portfolio of some of BP’s fastest-growing businesses. BP Alternative Energy (AE) was launched in 2005 and is focused on the development of biofuels, wind energy, and investments in emerging ventures devoted to clean energy and sustainable energy solutions. I oversee strategic development, performance, delivery, and resource allocation and ensure that operational performance is delivered in a safe, compliant, and robust manner.
I worked in the hydrocarbon side of the business—exploration, production, and oil trading—for 17 years, and I had the good fortune to run growing businesses and to work in the United Kingdom, Asia, and the United States. Five years ago, I began a stealth campaign to move into our AE division, and I was appointed Chief Operating Officer of BP AE in January 2008. I was thrilled because it allowed me to bring my experience in growing businesses in emerging markets, my business leadership skills, and my trading experiences in the oil markets to a portfolio of businesses seeking to help the world solve complex issues.
For the following 18 months, I led the operational aspects of a very broad and interesting portfolio of businesses that enabled BP to gain an understanding of the alternative and renewable energy sector and to find opportunities for us to grow material businesses. The portfolio included wind energy in the United States, Asia, and Europe; solar around the globe; fledgling biofuel businesses; carbon capture and sequestration; cooking stoves for small villages in India and Africa; and venturing in clean technology start-ups and small companies.
In the summer of 2009, I became the Chief Executive Officer of the division. It has been a very exciting and fulfilling four and a half years, as we’ve found great business opportunities in onshore wind in the United States, three material biofuel businesses, and our venturing activities. We’ve invested more than $7 billion to date, and we are very excited about the investment opportunities we have for the future. We have a great team of bright and hardworking people in AE who are truly committed to making alternative and renewable energy sources viable and sustainable sources of energy for the world.
I’m very happy I moved into AE and am glad I waged a worthwhile campaign to get involved in the business. I firmly believe that we can make these technologies work as real, flourishing, and viable businesses.
I have always been drawn to big challenges and creative people. The field of clean energy has inspired me for nearly four decades on both counts.
In the 1970s, after a stint with the U.S. Navy, I was looking for a career with promise and longevity. At that time the country was gripped by an energy crisis, and the economy plunged into recession. It seemed to me that energy would be an enduring challenge that would attract creative people. I dove in.
During my early activities, I worked with experts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and land grant colleges to find ways to reduce energy use in agricultural production. I worked with U.S. manufacturers of electric motors to encourage high- efficiency models and protocols for standard measurements and labeling. I set up the first nationwide state energy conservation program, which helped establish the state energy offices and enabled the right turn on red after stop policy. As energy production and use expanded, environmental impacts became more evident. I worked on the amendments to the Clean Air Act; helped to develop a national energy strategy; advanced policies to improve energy efficiency, reduce oil vulnerabilities, and diversify supplies; enacted the 1992 Energy Policy Act that deregulated utilities; and modernized government programs to spur innovation and accelerate clean energy technology research, development, and deployment.
Today, global warming is an inexorable force that will gradually transform our energy future. Under the multiagency U.S. Climate Change Technology Program, I was privileged to work with dozens of creative people on the technology innovation element of government’s strategy in this area.
Now, as the U.S. Director of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, I am optimistic that solutions will be forthcoming. With fresh talent joining the quest in the United States, China, and elsewhere, I am hopeful the solutions will arrive in time. If you, too, like big challenges and creative people, dive in.
In third grade, while working on a science fair project, I learned about climate change and was told that our planet was doomed and it was too late to do anything about it. From that moment on, I have been focused on the environment and energy.
One month after college, I started working for the Chairman of the California Energy Commission where we stopped using nuclear power and planned for an electrical system based on efficiency, renewable energy, distributed generation, and efficient fossil generation. It was a time when we considered the options and hoped we were making the right decisions. Out of the blue, I was asked by Skadden Arps to come to Washington, DC, to advise on power plant siting and regulatory issues for their energy finance practice and learn firsthand what is needed to bring new technologies on-line.
During the Clinton Administration, I served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation where I worked on energy, ecosystems, and tribal issues. We changed the air quality rules for siting new power plants to be based on performance, rather than cost, to encourage cleaner fuels. Through the Grand Canyon Visibility Transport Commission, we laid the foundation for clean air and renewable energy development in the Western States.
Returning to California to serve as Executive Director of the California Solar Industries Association and Americans for Solar Power, I developed an industry-backed plan that became the $3.2 billion California Solar Initiative. We fought hard for performance-based solar incentives to encourage cost reductions and innovation, which ensured the program’s success. Now at NRG Energy, I have an opportunity to advance distributed generation including solar, combined heat and power, and other innovative technologies.
After 35 years of working on energy and the environmental issues, I now know we have cost-effective technologies to address climate change. I have been lucky to have a few fingerprints in addressing this issue, which has never been boring. I have found the key to a successful career is following your passion.
Energy is the key to our economic and national security, and it is also central to environmental challenges and opportunities. Because the stakes are so high, energy is an issue that can inspire and call us forward to be involved, to create and innovate, to be entrepreneurial, and to reach beyond short- term concerns. Whether in government service or in business, my career has been about energy. How lucky I am!
Today, I lead the green development business at Weston Solutions, an employee-owned environmental company that has focused for decades on cleaning up pollution. We are now taking those skills further to revitalize previously contaminated properties with green buildings, green energy sources, and innovative water solutions.
Public service and policy is also a passion of mine. In my home state of Pennsylvania, I had the great pleasure of serving as the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection and as the Chair of the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority. I helped drive a strong energy agenda, attracting market-leading clean tech and renewable energy companies to headquarter and manufacture in Pennsylvania, bringing more than $1 billion in new investments and some 3,000 new jobs.
Early in my career, I had the privilege of serving in the federal government. I worked with Al Gore when he was a Senator, and later when he was named by President Bill Clinton as Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, to shape policies that reconciled difficult energy and environmental imperatives.
Recently, I served on the Shale Gas Best Practices Task Force called for by President Obama and chartered by Energy Secretary Steven Chu. I also serve on the advisory committee on shale gas to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and I chaired the electricity subcommittee of the U.S. Department of Energy Advisory Committee on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
It is an exciting time to be in energy, and I’m energized by the opportunities and challenges ahead!
As a newly minted commissioner with the Nevada Public Service Commission in the early 1990s, an interesting docket caught my attention. It discussed the potential siting and authorization of a large-scale solar facility just outside of Las Vegas, and the topic left me intrigued, frustrated, and motivated. At the time, we lacked the comprehensive policy and regulatory framework to support this or any significant clean energy project. One of the highlights of my career as a new commissioner was the opportunity to call Amory Lovins to provide testimony on the value of energy efficiency and renewable resources in a docket devoted to externalities.
I began to explore the policies in place in other states. In 1995, when U.S. Senator Harry Reid and then U.S. Senator Richard Bryan asked me to be the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for Solar Technology and Renewable Resources, I found myself serving as a primary spokesperson and a leading advocate dedicated to addressing these issues directly with legislative and regulatory policy makers. In 1997, with the help of a small crew of consultants and the State Consumer Advocate, I led the effort to draft and pass the legislation that created the first renewable portfolio standard for Nevada. For the past two decades, I have continued to be involved in every piece of clean energy legislation processed by the Nevada legislature.
I have a personal passion and professional commitment to advancing clean energy. Working collaboratively with others who share that passion has allowed me to actively engage in the significant outreach, education, and implementation efforts necessary to promote and sustain clean energy development in Nevada. The decision to start my own small business was driven by my desire to focus my professional attention to the topic. I have the privilege of representing a diverse range of clients with interests in clean energy. Working closely with the business community has provided me a unique platform to initiate important public-private partnerships and expand outreach efforts. While my friends and colleagues insist that I have made a difference in the clean energy space, I believe it has been clean energy advocacy that has made a difference in me.
I graduated from Stanford knowing I wanted to work to improve the quality of people’s lives and the environment. I went to work at a consulting company, Acurex Environmental, where I analyzed advanced vehicle technologies, developed new emissions inventory models for marine vessels and nonroad equipment, and designed innovative public programs to reduce vehicle pollution. I had the privilege of playing a central role in developing California’s Carl Moyer Program, which has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in cost- effective programs that reduce air pollution from engines and equipment statewide. While our focus at Acurex was on air pollution, we also specialized in analyzing and road testing cars and trucks that used alternative energy sources such as natural gas, methanol, ethanol, and electricity.
I’m now with The Energy Foundation, a public charity founded on the vision of a sustainable energy future. We seek to alleviate the environmental, economic, and social problems that accompany modern energy use, with a particular focus on climate change. Primarily a grant-making organization, we promote public policies that advance energy efficiency and renewable energy in the United States and China. I started with the Foundation as Transportation Program Director, and I was asked in 2006 to lead all U.S. programs. Since 2008, The Energy Foundation has been part of the ClimateWorks Network, an international network of organizations working globally to tackle the challenge of climate change.
I’m proud of everything The Energy Foundation has done, together with hundreds of grantees and partners, to improve vehicle fuel economy; promote a shift away from coal power and toward renewables such as wind and solar; and improve the energy efficiency of appliances, homes, and businesses. Of course, there is much more work to be done to reach a sustainable and prosperous energy future. I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.
The day I graduated from college, I flew to Washington, DC, to intern for The Sierra Club on issues related to genetic engineering, Clean Water Act amendments, and The Alaska Wilderness Protection Act. This began a lifelong interest in environmental stewardship and the role of nongovernmental organizations in shaping policy.
I grew up in an entrepreneurial household and have always been fascinated by the power of innovation to disrupt the status quo. Working in venture capital was a natural fit for me, although it took me awhile to discover it and land a job.
In the 1990s the firm I was with for more than 20 years, Hambrecht & Quist, made its first investments in the environmental sector. While we made money, it was a difficult time to build clean technology businesses, and one of the strongest investments we made was in Odwalla, a company whose environmental connection many didn’t even understand! As clean technology became more viable in the mid-2000s, I returned to environmental investing and enjoyed enough success to start a firm, DBL Investors, in January 2008. My firm pursues exclusively double bottom-line investing that optimizes both financial return and social impact, and clean technology is a major part of our practice. We view it as part of our responsibility to help educate people about the power of clean technology and engage in policy that shapes its future. Our best advocates, of course, are our entrepreneurs, who fight the battles every day and inspire us with their perseverance and leadership.
I am a coauthor of What Would Jefferson Do? The Historical Role of Federal Subsidies in Shaping America’s Energy Subsidies, a widely cited report on the history of U.S. energy subsidies, as well as numerous other articles on clean technology finance and policy.
If you had asked me 10 years ago if I thought I would have started my own firm, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. Sometimes life takes jagged turns, and you end up doing the unexpected. While every job has its ups and downs, I can’t think of a better place to be right now. Building new companies, creating jobs, and making an impact—this is not just a career, it is a privilege.
Executive Director, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University
Faculty Member, Stanford Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
I have more than 25 years of experience in energy and environmental policy, finance, and technology and have worked for three Presidents, including serving in the Clinton administration as an assistant secretary of energy, a member of President Obama’s Transition Team, and a staff member of President Carter’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island. But I got my start when I led my junior high school’s celebration of the first Earth Day.
I am currently the Executive Director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, a joint center of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Stanford Law School, where I also hold faculty positions. I came to Stanford in 2011 from Google, where I served as the Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives. I also serve as Senior Advisor to the Atlantic Wind Connection, a project backed by Google and other investors to build an underwater transmission line for offshore wind power along the East Coast.
Following my service in the Clinton Administration, on Capitol Hill, and with a think tank, I moved with my family to Vermont where I became Executive Vice President of Northern Power Systems and was Co-Founder and President of New Energy Capital Corp., a private equity firm.
In 2012, I received an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and was also named one of the five most influential figures in U.S. clean energy by Oilprice.com.
As the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, I provide management and oversight of the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) military installations worldwide, which cover some 28 million acres, with 539,000 buildings and structures valued at more than $800 billion. In this position, I manage the installations’ energy programs and set their energy policies. I also serve as DOD’s designated Senior Real Property Officer and representative to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
Before my appointment to the DOD, I was a principal with The Brattle Group, an economic consulting firm that specializes in competition and antitrust, energy, and the environment. I focused principally on the economic analysis of public policy issues related to the aviation and telecommunications sectors, including such issues as proposed changes in the governance and financing of the U.S. air traffic control system, antitrust issues affecting international airline alliances, and mechanisms for the Federal Communications Commission allocation of the vacant radio spectrum.
From 1993 to 2001, I served as the Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and as a senior staff member of the White House National Economic Council. There, I managed interagency coordination on high-priority issues in aviation and transportation, aerospace and defense, science and technology, and competition policy. I also oversaw the development and implementation of the Clinton Administration’s Defense Reinvestment and Transition Initiative, which encompassed adjustment programs for workers and communities hurt by defense downsizing; a comprehensive strategy to accelerate the reuse of closing military bases; and efforts such as housing privatization, defense acquisition reform, and dual-use research and development that were designed to allow for greater DOD reliance on commercial markets.
I am the co-author of Toward an Evolutionary Regime for Spectrum Governance: Licensing or Unrestricted Entry? and the author of Braking the Special Interests: Trucking Deregulation and the Politics of Policy Reform. I also wrote the 1995 White House report, Second to None: Preserving America’s Military Advantage through Dual-Use Technology, and co-authored the 1988 Office of Technology Assessment report Commercializing High-Temperature Superconductivity.
For 50 years, I have had a challenging, exciting, and rewarding career in government and industry. After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, doing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California-Berkeley, and some teaching in New York, I moved to the Washington, DC, area and spent five years learning about and developing a new area: fuel cells. I helped to establish an internal research laboratory at Fort Belvoir for electrochemistry and cultivated my preference for managing and helping guide research and development, rather than performing it. I then joined the National Science Foundation in the Research Applied to National Needs program, where I worked with an economist to develop a research program for the use of energy.
In 1973, during the oil embargo, the nation turned its focus to energy efficiency. During this time, policy papers on energy savings recommendations for buildings, industry, and transportation were eagerly received by the public, and the federal government was responding with newly formed agencies to address these issues. I was fortunate to help initiate and implement several of these RD&D energy efficiency programs as deputy assistant secretary for conservation at the Department of Energy. As a result of working with the government, national laboratories, universities, and the private sector, I oversaw the development of new technologies, such as electronic ballasts, low-emittance windows, and compact fluorescent lamps, which are still in the marketplace today.
In 1985, I joined the private sector, working for AlliedSignal (now Honeywell), where I had the opportunity to form and lead a division that took silicon nitride materials from the laboratory to manufactured products that are now on most commercial airplanes. After retiring as the general manager for technology partnerships at Honeywell, I have been able to stay active in science and technology policy as a member of various science advisory boards and committees. Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of mentoring young women in the energy field in both the public and private sector.
I joined Walmart in 1994 and am currently the Vice President of Energy. In my position, I help ensure three things: (1) that Walmart has power for refrigeration and lighting with comfortable temperatures for our customers and associates; (2) that we purchase utilities at the lowest possible price and pass those savings on to our customers; and (3) my favorite, that we are doing what we can to benefit the planet.
I really believe that our work is making a valuable contribution to our world. Not only are we reducing our environmental impact through renewable energy projects, but we are inspiring others to do the same through our excitement, eagerness to try new things, and willingness to fail. It’s an attitude that has enabled us to say that, as of this year, Walmart’s renewable energy projects generate 1.1 billion kilowatt-hours annually, enough to power 78,000 American homes, and that we have now expanded our solar projects to 13 states, Puerto Rico, and several of our international markets. Also this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership program ranked Walmart as the second-largest on-site green power generator in the United States.
Walmart’s optimistic approach to renewable energy is the same one I took when entering the field in 2006. After several years with Walmart real estate, I found myself in a transition period as I finished my master’s degree. My supervisors asked what I’d like to do next, and when I answered, “something that makes a difference in the world,” they suggested energy. While I had my real estate experience to draw from and had worked on sustainability projects, such as recycling and Walmart’s experimental environmental stores, energy was completely new to me. I didn’t always know how things were going to play out, but I believed in the great things the energy team was doing.
Looking back, I believe my desire to make an impact and to follow my heart carried me through the change. The field of energy is rich with opportunities to impact the entire world, and I think it can be especially valuable for women.
When I asked for a career that made a difference, I definitely got it. I didn’t know that I’d be making that difference through energy, but that’s the best part: discovering and embracing new possibilities.
I am an energy lawyer who spends my time on the issues my clients bring to me. I began in the field representing oil companies that were subject to complex price controls in an environment of escalating world oil prices. That experience impressed upon me the limits of what federal policy can accomplish in highly dynamic energy markets.
My first serious involvement with clean energy issues was at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) during the Clinton administration, when I negotiated voluntary utility agreements to limit greenhouse gas emissions. During that period, DOE also adopted some significant appliance efficiency standards, teaching me just how controversial refrigerators and air conditioners can be.
When I returned to private law practice, my goal was to focus on low-carbon energy technologies and climate change. During the Bush administration, that involved carbon trading in voluntary and international markets and helping clients participate in and adapt to regular changes in state renewable portfolio standards. I also helped several advanced biofuels clients in seeking federal assistance to bring their technologies to commercial readiness.
More recently, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the DOE loan guarantee program have offered some of my clean energy clients a boost, but the “shovel ready” requirement was ill-suited for the needs of many of my clients. The Act paid for many smart meters and lots of weatherization, but not a lot of breakthrough technologies.
From a career at the intersection of energy policy and law, I have found that a short policy attention span undermines many otherwise worthy initiatives; that energy policies are most effective when they work with markets, not against them; and that the government must help fund early-stage energy technologies. I think that there are no perfect solutions, and that the high geographic intensity of many clean energy technologies is one reason why high energy intensity, low geographic intensity, and near-zero carbon-emitting nuclear power deserves equal status with other clean energy resources. I believe that natural gas exports will help lower carbon emissions worldwide, and that any modest price impact that may result in the United States will only help other clean energy choices compete in our markets. I also believe that only a price on carbon, in whatever form it takes, will allow advanced clean energy technologies to emerge, improve, and flourish.
Growing up in Redlands, CA, I observed firsthand the relationship between energy use (in vehicles, buildings, and industry) and environmental impacts (smoggy air and congestion on the roads). Ever since then, I’ve been interested in understanding the systems that lead to problems like pollution, while also leading to incredible innovation.
I’m interested in the intersection of natural resources, markets for energy products, energy infrastructure and systems, and governmental policies and regulation, as well as non- governmental organizations (NGOs) influence on these issues.
I’m inspired by the quality of life improvements associated with the introduction of clean energy technology in both the United States and in developing countries. I’m intrigued by solutions to overcome the many barriers that stand in the way of adopting these technologies, including changes in policy, economics, system inertia, and other factors.
I am also increasingly concerned about the sources and implications of climate change, and I am particularly involved in public policy and civil-society action related to climate change, energy markets, greenhouse gas emissions, and the energy sector’s ability to adapt. More than anything else, this is where I feel I can make a difference for my kids.
Outside of government for almost of two decades, I’ve been a consultant to diverse organizations involved in electric, natural gas, and oil markets and have consulted to businesses, government entities, grid operators, and NGOs (a number of which are focused on clean energy). I am currently the co-lead author of the “Energy Production and Use” chapter of the National Climate Assessment.
When I was a young girl, about seven years old, I became interested in China by reading about the country in an encyclopedia. I was intrigued by how different it was, and how other children were living in a part of the world I knew so little about. Deciding on my major at my university was not very difficult: I studied Chinese, with a focus on economics and law. My final thesis was on environmental protection laws and how they influence foreign direct investments in the energy sector in China. While I was finishing my degree with a year at Beijing University as a research student, I was constantly exposed to the detrimental environmental and health impacts of coal-burning power plants. This experience has guided my work on sustainable energy ever since. I am passionate about low-carbon energy solutions, but always in the context of scale. Small, incremental interventions are not going to address the pressing issue adequately.
As an energy executive, I tried to develop and implement scalable business models, strived to be innovative when determining how to run a low-carbon business, and focused on creating considerable returns by executing at scale, even if the technology used is at a micro level. I used the same approach and focus while designing investment funds for energy efficiency, looking for ways to make energy efficiency investments attractive for institutional investors. As the Senior Director at a major international think tank, I continue this focus with more of a systems approach: bringing together leaders from across the energy sector for a sustained dialogue on energy transition.
My early career focused on humanitarian issues mostly related to refugees. Energy provision was not at the forefront of priorities for refugee communities in those days. Having personally experienced issues while living in countries with frequent load shedding, I first directly engaged with energy access by working on post-conflict reconstruction in villages in Kosovo in 1999, where transmission had to be rebuilt for the existing conventionally powered grid. I continued to focus on it peripherally through my international development work leading a nonprofit organization that supported very low income entrepreneurs building microenterprises in developing countries, most of whom lacked any type of modern energy access. The challenge was figuring out how to help them build businesses that were profitable but also didn’t exacerbate environmental problems. I learned that sustainable development is really not possible in the absence of access to energy for both households and communities, and how energy access relates to health, education, and income generation opportunities at all levels of society. I also learned that energy access is a problem that specifically affects women, and that women have been historically underrepresented in the energy sector.
Clean energy then became a full-time focus in 2006 when I joined Good Energies, a private equity firm focusing on investment in renewable energy, to lead its emerging markets investment work. I also served as a founding board member of the Good Energies Foundation, which focused on impact investing in a range of clean energy projects and social enterprises delivering modern energy services to poor communities. At that time I also joined the Board of SELCO, a leading social enterprise that focuses on the delivery of renewable energy solutions for poor communities in southern India.
I joined the United Nations (UN) Foundation in 2010 to continue to work at the nexus of business and social engagement on renewable energy, and specifically to lead the UN Foundation’s work on achieving energy access for the 1.3 billion people still living without access to electricity. This has involved a range of renewable energy technologies, designing and building a network of some 600 energy entrepreneurs delivering primarily clean energy solutions through the micro- grid, and off-grid applications across a range of developing countries.
I also lead the UN Foundation’s international work on the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, which focuses on achieving universal energy access, doubling the rate of improvement of energy efficiency, doubling the percentage of renewable energy in the global energy mix, and the 2012 International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.
Twenty years ago, I was fortunate to have a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School who told me to go work in the energy industry. The United States was in the middle of deregulating natural gas and electricity generation at the time, and he said that this was going to set in motion a lot of changes and that energy would be “where the action was” for the rest of my career. I’m so glad he did that! I am very fortunate to have been involved in many aspects of the industry, from jobs in investment banking and energy supply and generation to market structure and public policy.
Like many of my colleagues from the conventional energy world, I’ve made the switch to renewable energy because it’s one of the most exciting things going on in energy today. I came to work for one of the largest solar developers in Massachusetts, Broadway Renewable Strategies, to start up a solar services division. After we build all of this solar generation in the United States, someone is going to have to keep it up and running!
My other major focus is on increasing the access women and people of color have to careers in the industry. With a Latino colleague, I am starting a new program, called The Future Face of American Energy, to develop summer jobs in the energy industry for college-age women and people of color. I was fortunate to have a professor point me in the direction of a wonderful field and a wonderful career, and I want to try to do the same for someone else.
I bring more than 35 years of industry experience building global engineering projects for multinational companies. My first encounter with clean energy was in college. Being an electrical engineering major, I was required to take an energy conversion class. I did not like the class, which focused on photovoltaics. Yet 25 years later I found myself in the clean technology arena, creating a new offshore renewables industry in the United States and Europe.
At the end of 2000, a family that had developed a wave energy converter, but was unable to sell it to utilities, approached me and asked if I could help them to sell the product. I said I would think about it, as at that time I had no knowledge about the power industry, wave energy, or renewables for that matter. After doing research for about three months and reading about blackouts and brownouts in California, a light bulb came on. I understood why selling wave energy converters was a losing proposition: there was no ocean energy industry. Utilities buy and sell electrons, but not a component of a value chain. I agreed to move forward with the wave energy converters as long as we created a company that would sell electricity to utilities. This seemed like a venture that would be good for the world, it was international, and it had never been done. I needed a challenge! AquaEnergy Group, my first start-up, was established in February 2001.
After spending more than 20 years working for Honeywell in the aviation field, I was ready to change my focus to renewables. As a cofounder of AquaEnergy Group, I served as its Chief Executive Officer and President until 2006, when AquaEnergy Group was acquired by Finavera Renewables Inc., a TSXV-listed renewable energy company, where I served as the General Manager and a Director. Along the way in 2006, I founded the European Ocean Energy Association and served as its first President through 2010. In 2007, after exiting from Finavera, I cofounded Principle Power, Inc., a technology company that provides deep-water offshore wind solutions with its patented floating support structure, the WindFloat.
The reason I stayed in the field of ocean renewables is because the ocean offers us the most resources, yet the United States still does not have any ocean energy in the grid. Today, the first floating semisubmersible WindFloat system with a 2-megawatt Vestas turbine is producing clean energy from offshore Atlantic wind and feeding Portugal’s national grid.
I was both an employment litigator and a corporate associate at Wilson Sonsini until 1994, when I left to become the Vice President of Human Resources and the general counsel for a venture-backed start-up in the digital marketing field. After 4.5 years, I wanted a new career and started looking into opportunities where I could both grow as a professional and make a difference in the world. SolarCity provided me with both of those opportunities.
At SolarCity I am responsible for the company’s legal and risk management functions, including corporate development opportunities, corporate governance and compliance, tax equity, the drafting and negotiation of all outbound and inbound licenses and arrangements, strategic alliances, and all lines of risk transfer and management.