The U.S. Clean Energy Education & Empowerment awardees, representing women in clean energy
Image courtesy of the U.S. Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Initiative (U.S. C3E Initiative)
Leadership News Briefs

U.S. Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Initiative Honors Women in Clean Energy

The U.S. Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Initiative has announced the selection of nine accomplished women who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in clean energy. The U.S. C3E Initiative—celebrating its 10th year—is led by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in collaboration with Stanford University’s Precourt Institute for Energy, the Texas A&M Energy Institute and the MIT Energy Initiative. The U.S. C3E Initiative aims to close the gender gap and increase the participation, leadership and success of women in clean energy fields. The winners were honored at the Tenth Annual U.S. C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium, Justice and Equity in Clean Energy, available on c3e.org/2021.

“Generating an equitable and sustainable clean energy transition requires a diversity of talents, perspectives and ideas,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “I’m proud to honor the winners of this year’s C3E awards who are an exemplary group of innovators and trailblazers working to achieve the cleaner, greener future of our dreams. Collaborative initiatives, like C3E, that advance women’s leadership in clean energy are critical to building the workforce of tomorrow and increase our solutions to reaching net-zero by 2050.”

Honoring outstanding women in clean energy

The 2021 award winners are rising and prominent leaders who are having an impact across clean energy fields:

Business

Meghan Nutting is executive vice president of government and regulatory affairs at Sunnova Energy Corporation. Sunnova is a U.S. residential solar and storage services provider. Nutting works with industry leaders, nonprofits, state legislators, federal policymakers and regulators to craft and implement policies that provide a more stable and sustainable business environment for solar electricity generation. She has worked with stakeholders to move critical pieces of policy and legislation forward in more than 20 states.

Education and Advocacy

Marina Badoian-Kriticos is a research scientist at the Houston Advanced Research Center. She is also assistant director of the DOE Upper-West Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership (CHP TAP). There, she engages with utilities, regulators and policymakers to provide no-cost independent engineering support. This support helps to advance technical solutions using CHP.

Entrepreneurship

Steph Spiers is co-founder and CEO of Solstice. Solstice is a company focused on expanding the number of U.S. households that can take advantage of clean energy through community-shared solar programs. It has created innovative financing solutions, advocated for the creation of inclusive solar policy across multiple states and enrolled customers in more than 25 community renewable projects across Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C.

Government

Faith Corneille is a global Power Sector Program manager at the Bureau of Energy Resources at the U.S. Department of State. There, she leads technical assistance to foreign partner governments to strengthen electricity markets and power systems. She also works to advance power sector decarbonization, resiliency and clean energy investment.

International

Rhonda Jordan Antoine is a senior energy specialist at the World Bank. There, she works on energy investment and advisory projects across Sub-Saharan Africa. She also leads modeling and geospatial electrification planning efforts, using cutting-edge geographic information system analytics to inform World Bank energy engagements in 30 countries and underpin comprehensive electrification strategies and plans in 20 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Law and Finance

Johana Afenjar was most recently a senior director of capital markets at Clearway Energy Group. At Clearway, she was the transaction lead in the financing of Clearway’s 140 MW Hawaii portfolio. She helped raise over $500 million in debt, tax equity and investor capital.

Social, Economic and Policy Innovation

Kate Anderson is chief of staff for Energy Systems Integration at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). She supports activities focused on power systems, systems analysis, decision science, energy justice and energy security and resilience.

Technology Research and Innovation

Maryam Saeedifard is an associate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She conducts research into technologies that can address challenges in large-scale grid integration, storage and transmission of renewable energy.

Lifetime Achievement

Cheryl A. LaFleur was one of the longest-serving commissioners on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). She was nominated in 2010 and served until 2019. At FERC, she helped lead the evolving transformation of U.S. energy markets and infrastructure. She worked to remove barriers to clean energy technologies such as demand response, storage and renewable energy. She is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors at ISO New England and an adjunct senior research scholar at the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy, where she focuses on the adaptation of the electric and natural gas sectors to the challenges of climate change.

Despite recent challenges, the percentage of women in the U.S. energy and services sector is rising.