WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the winners of the 2023 Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Awards, honoring 11 women for outstanding leadership and accomplishments in clean energy. The C3E Initiative aims to close the gender gap and increase the participation, leadership, and success of women in clean energy fields. In its 12th year, the C3E Initiative is led by DOE in collaboration with the MIT Energy Initiative, Stanford University’s Precourt Institute for Energy, and the Texas A&M Energy Institute.
“DOE is proud to recognize this year’s C3E Awardees, a group of innovators and trailblazers bringing unique perspectives and game-changing ideas to the fight for an equitable clean energy future,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Whether leading global research into groundbreaking new discoveries or championing environmental justice, these inspirational women are expanding our understanding of the clean energy transition and driving transformative breakthroughs across America’s economy.”
The 2023 C3E Awardees are changemakers having an impact across clean energy fields: furthering equitable and affordable access, expanding markets, leading groundbreaking scientific research, and training and inspiring the clean energy workforce. The C3E Lifetime Achievement Honoree has dedicated her career to advancing high-impact clean energy, climate mitigation, and public health policies at both the state and federal levels, while serving as a role model for many.
The 2023 C3E Awardees, listed by category, are:
- Advocacy — Jameka Hodnett is a passionate and dedicated advocate for climate justice. Through her work as the Chief Program Officer with Chisholm Legacy Project, she furthers climate policies that are clearing a pathway for a just energy transition. As a Local Climate Action Policy fellow with Elemental Excelerator and the African American Mayors Association, Hodnett is ensuring that benefits of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and Justice40 Initiative reach communities that have been historically underinvested in. Previously, Hodnett served in leadership roles with non-profit organizations such as Dream.org, 350.org, League of Conservation Voters, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
- Business — Raisa Lee is an engineer and solar energy developer. She serves as the Director of Project Development at Clearway Energy Group, a leading national developer, owner, and operator of renewable energy, where she leads Clearway’s solar and storage growth in the western United States. Prior to Clearway, Lee was a Project and Development Engineer at SunPower focused on the design of solar facilities, helping deploy more than three gigawatts across over 50 projects in her career to date.
- Education — Evangelina Galvan Shreeve is the Chief Diversity Officer and Director of STEM Education at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), developing and stewarding a dynamic portfolio of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility and STEM education initiatives. She guides the development of educational programs and partnerships to create pathways for historically underrepresented groups in STEM fields. She led a pilot program called STEM Ambassadors that helps scientific and professional role models engage with a range of individuals, organizations, and institutions. Her team annually engages about 1,500 students in PNNL internships that provide hands-on experience and research opportunities to help accelerate the diversity of the future DOE workforce.
- Entrepreneurship — Piper Foster Wilder is the Founder and CEO of 60Hertz Energy, which offers customers a computerized maintenance management system supporting fleets of distributed energy resources, from microgrids to solar to energy storage. Foster Wilder initially moved to Alaska to serve as Deputy Director of the Anchorage nonprofit, Renewable Energy Alaska Project, where she became acquainted with the opportunities and challenges of maintenance of remote renewable and diesel microgrids. Her prior work included service with the Colorado Energy Office and chairing the Board of Directors of the Colorado Solar and Storage Association.
- Finance — Erin Davis is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Enduring Planet, a financial technology platform focused on non-dilutive, founder-friendly capital for climate entrepreneurs. In less than two years, Enduring Planet has invested in more than 25 clean energy and climate change projects across the United States. Prior to Enduring Planet, Davis co-founded and served as the Vice President of Social Investment Managers & Advisors (SIMA Funds), establishing multiple funds worth $180 million to support off-grid energy and financial access.
- Government – Leuwam Tesfai serves as the Deputy Executive Director for Energy and Climate Policy at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), managing a staff of more than 200 analysts and engineers. With over 11 years at the CPUC, she has played a pivotal role in diverse areas including clean energy procurement, transmission development, climate adaptation, reliability, energy efficiency, transportation electrification, complex energy finance and rate recovery, and distributed energy resources. She is an active member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy and holds positions on the board of the League of Women Voters San Francisco, as well as the Executive Committee of the Environmental Law Section of the California Bar.
- International — Elizabeth (Lizzie) Biney-Amissah is the Managing Partner of TBrA X Ventures, an investment and advisory firm that is part of The Boardroom Africa (TBrA) Group. She was most recently a Partner at E3 Capital (formerly Energy Access Ventures), investing in decarbonized, decentralized, and digitalized smart energy and infrastructure technology in Sub-Saharan Africa. Throughout her career, Biney-Amissah has worked on both grid-scale and offgrid energy and infrastructure deals across Africa, namely a 350-megawatt combined cycle gas turbine in Ghana and 50-megawatt portfolio of metrogrids for an offgrid utility in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
- Law — Melinda Baglio is the Chief Investment Officer and General Counsel at CleanCapital, a recognized leader in clean energy investment. She oversees all aspects of CleanCapital’s legal affairs, as well as the structuring and execution of capital markets transactions for one of the leading commercial solar asset owners in the United States. Prior to joining CleanCapital, she was an attorney at Chadbourne & Parke and later at global law firm White & Case. Baglio’s passion for renewable energy stems from her time as an advocate for effective environmental policy at New York Public Interest Research Group.
- Social, Economic, and Policy Innovation — Jacquie Ashmore is the Executive Vice President of Engineering at New Leaf Energy, leading a 60-person engineering team developing solar, energy storage, and wind projects. Prior to this role, Ashmore co-founded Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy, securing funding to build an interdisciplinary team of senior fellows, faculty, and students. Ashmore works to bring equity, inclusion, and justice to underrepresented groups through her board service with New England Women in Energy and the Environment, All In Energy, and Browning the Green Space.
- Technology Research & Innovation — Jie Xiao leads the Battery Materials & System Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). She is a Battelle Fellow and holds a joint appointment at the University of Washington (UW) where she is a PNNL-UW Distinguished Faculty Fellow. She serves as the Deputy Director of DOE’s Innovation Center for Battery500 Consortium and the Director of the Cathode-Electrolyte Interphase Consortium. Xiao has been leading research thrusts in both fundamental research and practical applications of energy storage materials and systems to accelerate deep decarbonization, and her protocols have changed how battery research is conducted and reported in the scientific community.
- Lifetime Achievement — Gina McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common sense strategies to protect public health and the environment for more than 30 years. The first White House National Climate Advisor, former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, and current Managing Co-Chair of America Is All In, McCarthy is one of the nation’s most respected voices on climate change. McCarthy’s leadership led to the most aggressive action on climate in U.S. history, creating new jobs and unprecedented clean energy innovation and investments across the country. Her commitment to bold action across the Biden-Harris Administration, supported by the climate and clean energy provisions in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, put a new U.S. national target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030 within reach. Previously, McCarthy was President and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Professor of the Practice of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and an advisor to five Massachusetts governors.
Learn more about the C3E Initiative and awardees. The winners will be honored at the 12th Annual C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium and Awards on September 27-28, 2023. Register for the livestream of the event.