Another Milestone for Women in Clean Energy

November 15, 2017 was a very glorious day for women in green. A lot of women who were advocates and direct participants of sustainable living were recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy for their achievements and leadership in clean energy.

This happened during the annual Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Women in Clean Energy Symposium, which has been going on for six years now. This year, ten successful women from across many disciplines were awarded, including U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Maria Cantwell.

C3E is an approach under the Clean Energy Ministerial, composed of 25 major-economy governments, looking to close the gender gap and increase women’s participation and leadership in clean energy fields.

Below are the eight other women who were awarded and the categories in which they were recognized:

Advocacy – Anna Bautista, vice president of construction and workforce development for GRID Alternatives, the nation’s largest non-profit solar installer, which implements rooftop and community solar projects for households in low-income communities.

Business – Leslie Marshall, the corporate energy engineering lead for General Mills. She leads the development and execution of the company’s global strategy for reducing the energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions at its food processing plants.

Education – Nicole Lautze, an associate faculty member at the University of Hawaii Manoa, where she founded the Hawaii Groundwater and Geothermal Resources Center. She leads a team of senior scientists in the development of an updated geothermal resource assessment for the state of Hawaii.

Entrepreneurship – Emily Kirsch, the founder and CEO of Powerhouse, the world’s first and only incubator and accelerator dedicated to intelligent energy. Powerhouse backs seed-stage founders that are building solutions enabled by software for distributed energy, storage, and grid modernization.

Government – Chris LaFleur, program lead for Hydrogen Safety, Codes, and Standards at Sandia National Laboratories. She is responsible for fire risk program activities. Her main research involves evaluating fire risks for emerging energy technologies, with her recent work focused on characterizing the risks from traffic incidents involving hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

International – Allison Archambault, president of EarthSpark International, has led the creation of a town-sized, solar-powered smart grid in rural Haiti and is currently laying the groundwork for an investable plan for the next 20 microgrids.

Law and Finance – Sarah Valdovinos, co-founder of Walden Green Energy, a company focused on developing utility-scale renewable energy projects.

Research – Inês M.L. Azevedo, principal investigator and co-director for the Climate and Energy Decision Making Center at Carnegie Mellon University. She researches how to transition to a sustainable, low-carbon, affordable, and equitable energy system.

“To this year’s award winners, congratulations. Your work is as impressive as your successes are inspiring. And to C3E, congratulations on the 6th anniversary of this important initiative. Regardless of whether you’re a U.S. Senator, an entrepreneur, an engineer, an instructor, or an employee of one of our amazing National Labs – your work is vital to our future and will inspire the next generation of women leaders in STEM. Thank you for doing your part, each and every day, to lead by example.”

Such was the sum of U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry’s congratulatory address to the awardees via video message.


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