The renewable energy sector attracts my interest due to its natural connection between the topics of climate change and public policy. I also believe renewable energy has the potential to fundamentally revolutionize the utility industry, which currently operates on a model that hasn’t changed significantly over the past 100 years. I believe that all levels of government can and will play a significant role in expediting the future of renewable energy in the United States over the next 50 years. I want to be a part of that change in order to help craft effective renewable energy policies that can help all Americans both mitigate and adapt to future impacts of climate change.
I’ve been interested in climate change since high school when I compiled and published a 150-year research project that investigated the shrinking ice season of my hometown on the shores of Lake Superior. The awards and accolades I received for investigating the local impacts of a changing climate inspired me to pursue a research-oriented career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Several years after graduating, however, I found myself more interested in the policy decisions that could be better informed by science, rather than further pursuing my own research interests. Therefore, I decided to pursue a Master of Public Administration at a university and city that had a proven history in supporting scientifically-informed decision making.
I am currently studying Environmental Policy at the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance while simultaneously earning a Graduate Certificate in Climate Science with the Program on Climate Change at the University of Washington. I am focused on researching the potential impacts of climate change on energy infrastructure and improving communication of climate science and uncertainty. With my degree I hope to improve how we communicate climate change and uncertainty in order to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change on energy infrastructure. To better understand how these concepts impact utilities, I also currently work for the Environmental Affair division of Seattle City Light, “The Nation’s Greenest Utility.”
When not in the classroom or the office, I can be found backpacking, having a beer at a baseball game, or out with my binoculars learning the birds of the PNW. Connect with me on LinkedIn.
The world is at a critical junction in deciding how it consumes energy. I first realized this when hiking past ten-thousand-year-old glaciers in the Andes as an undergraduate. Chunks of ice cracked, whistled, and fell into adjacent lakes. Mountains once capped with snow were dusty and bare. This was my call to action.
After graduating from the University of Virginia, I started a career in sustainability and energy in the public sector. I worked at the Organization of American States managing sustainable development projects with partner countries in the Americas. Seeking to make a policy impact, I moved to the U.S. Department of State where I worked closely with entrepreneurs and non-profits to advance clean energy priorities in Latin America. I managed the development of a solar product supply chain beginning in China and ending in rural villages in Central America. As a federal contractor, I was fortunate to be able to work across sectors designing high profile projects that addressed clean energy policy priorities. Policy alone, however, will not solve the world’s energy challenges.
Seeking the practical experience needed to create and scale market-driven solutions in the renewable energy industry, I enrolled at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. The school’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise is a world-class leader in pioneering innovative, business-led solutions which address global energy and sustainability challenges.
I am particularly interested in leveraging the potential of commercial and utility-scale solar and developing projects to reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels and increase the uptake of clean energy technologies.
The OneEnergy Scholars Program provides me with an unparalleled opportunity to learn how to most effectively scale these technologies and engage with leaders across the industry. With volatile markets and long-time vested interests in conventional fuels, the clean energy industry faces myriad challenges and opportunities in the coming decade. I look forward to tackling those challenges and capitalizing on those opportunities with my peers and future leaders. Connect with me on LinkedIn.
My career in energy led to my passion within the industry: energy alternatives that will slow the impact of climate change to ensure a safe environment for future generations. I believe a focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency will be key to limiting emissions going forward.
For the past five years I worked for Fortune 500 energy company Sempra Energy. At Sempra I had the opportunity to contribute to several finance departments including Corporate Planning, Investor Relations and Corporate Strategy. I had the opportunity to analyze both local and international utility-scale renewable energy projects, and gained insights into the complex regulatory environment and future industry trends. I enjoyed watching Sempra’s Renewable segment grow and learning more about Smart Grid technologies and energy efficiency programs its CA utilities implemented.
Currently I am pursing my MBA at Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley. At Berkeley I am continuing my focus on clean energy through work with Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative (BERC), Berkeley’s network of students, faculty and professionals who seek to turn world-leading research into world-changing solutions by tackling tough and timely energy and environmental challenges. Through BERC’s Innovative Solutions (BIS), an energy and resources-focused consulting program led by students, I am consulting for a local start-up company working to understand the regulatory environment for their Electric Vehicle-focused company. I also plan to enroll in the Cleantech to Market course. Through these opportunities, I will learn more about global energy issues and collaborate with others working to solve them.
Post-MBA, I hope to continue my career path in energy with a rapidly growing renewable energy company or a tech company focused on energy efficiency to limit climate change. Connect with me on LinkedIn.
Clean energy has always been an interest of mine and I decided to go back to business school to obtain the finance skills and energy market experience needed to be successful in this field. This summer, I worked as an EDF Climate Corps Fellow at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) on an energy management strategy project. I focused on procuring an energy management software solution, which will bring visibility to the complex and extensive electricity profile of the MBTA. I also analyzed electricity interval data and uncovered an energy-saving opportunity by creating and comparing load profiles with other transit agencies.
At Boston University, I am the President of BU Energy Club, which brings together engineering, business and policy students for a multi-disciplinary approach to learning about trends in the energy industry. I also serve as the VP of Finance for the BU Net Impact and co-chaired the Net Impact Case Competition, the longest running student-led case competition at BU.
I am interested in renewable energy financing innovation as a mechanism to facilitate greater adoption of solar energy. I have been studying consumer preferences and alternative financial contracts in the residential solar energy industry for the past year. I would like to continue working at the intersection of financial innovation and clean energy and gain a better understanding of how data and financial engineering can help lower risk and improve the efficiency of clean energy markets. Connect with me on LinkedIn.
There is a clear trend throughout my professional life—the integration between renewable energy and electric vehicles. It started during my undergraduate work at Dartmouth College when I had the opportunity to intern with Envision Solar, an innovative company focused on supplying the increasing number of electric vehicles on the road with access to portable solar powered electricity. My time at Envision laid the foundation for eventually returning to the industry after gaining valuable experience in the corporate business world as a consultant with the Brunswick Group, and in a sales capacity with another innovative company, Tesla Motors. Although I was in sales, I spent much time familiarizing myself with the technology behind the cars, the company’s supercharging stations as well as the synergies with sister company, SolarCity. My experience at Tesla largely informed my choice to return to a Masters program where I could deepen my knowledge around both the renewable energy sector and the electric vehicle market. This ultimately resulted in the pursuit of a thesis project focused on developing a business model to reduce the barriers of charging electric vehicles and eventually powering them with renewably sourced electricity.
In order to more fully develop my thesis project I took the opportunity to work for the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) as a Green-e Energy® Verification Associate this past summer. This experience provided me with an in-depth look into the renewable energy sector through the lens of renewable energy credits (RECs) and carbon offsets, two valuable tools used to inform the value and financing of renewable energy projects. In addition, I gained great insight into how electric utilities throughout the country fit into the equation – from regulated and unregulated, to community choice aggregate programs and investor owned utilities.
I am currently completing my second and final year at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara where I am pursuing a Master in Environmental Science and Management and specializing in Economics and Policy.
Going forward in my career, I truly believe renewably electrifying the transportation sector to be the next great challenge, specifically in California where landmark policies are dictating actions in the public and private sphere. Connect with me on LinkedIn.
My first exposure to the field of renewables was about half a decade ago when I was allocated the energy track in my graduate school’s policy analysis group, primarily because my interests didn’t really fit in with the specialized macroeconomics, finance, and development tracks. Working with our policy analysis group sparked my interest in the energy-related research and analysis, even though my degree in quantitative economics did not include any academic component related to the sector. After graduating, I worked as a research analyst for four years focusing on economic and financial analysis of policy and regulation in the renewable energy, distribution, and oil and gas segments focusing on activities in both India and abroad. My professional experience encouraged me look at the complexities in public policy and regulation, behavior of market forces, as well as the rapid technological developments from a multi-disciplinary perspective, beyond mere quantitative calculations.
My desire to better understand the global challenges to the development of reliable, cost-effective and sustainable energy systems in the context of the environment and climate regulatory framework led me to the pursuit of a second graduate degree in International Environmental Policy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS). In the past year or so, specialized coursework in energy and environmental policy, economics, technology and finance has enabled me to build my expertise in topics such as distributed generation, energy efficiency, global energy governance, behavior change, and sustainable market design. I have also gained considerable experience outside the classroom as a summer research fellow at a prestigious law school; as part of a team invited by a major Californian investor-owned utility to devise behavioral strategies for improving energy efficiency of commercial customers; and as a member of the MIIS Sustainability Council where I have been part of the school’s efforts to devise GHG accounting, forecasting and mitigation options.My long-term ambition is to become a globally relevant researcher, policymaker, and educator in the field of improving sustainable energy usage throughout the electricity value chain through regulatory or market interventions while maintaining operational reliability and making business sense. In order to step up to the plate, I will need a significant amount of additional academic and professional experience. As an OneEnergy Scholar, I will have access to the best building blocks for constructing a step in the right direction. Connect with me on LinkedIn.
Valentis is passionate about enabling the transformational change required by industries to become more environmentally sustainable whilst improving company performance. He is currently undertaking his MBA at the Haas School of Business (Class of 2017) with a focus on entrepreneurship and venture capital. Valantis relocated to California from Sydney, Australia where he was employed as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, working across a range of different industries and functional areas including energy, travel and tourism, consumer goods and telecommunications. In addition, he has founded three start-ups in clean teach, one of which, Solar Analytics is currently the largest and fastest growing solar monitoring company in Australia that is about to expand globally. Connect with me on LinkedIn.
A second year Master’s of Environmental Science and Management (MESM) candidate at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara, Erin is specializing in Energy & Climate. Prior to graduate school, Erin spent several years in Washington, DC working in various consulting positions supporting the Department of Defense’s financial data management and e-commerce initiatives. She is originally from Tampa, Florida.Her interest in the energy industry originated in international policy while she was developing her undergraduate honors thesis at Florida State University, which examined the influence of Russia’s natural gas trade on its foreign policy in the near abroad. While at Florida State, she studied Russian in Moscow and International Affairs in London, and was an active member of the World Affairs Program.At the Bren School, Erin has refined her interest in the energy sector to pursue a career in clean energy technologies. She envisions that the scaling up of renewable energy will not only contribute to the slowing of global climate change, but also will be an opportunity for utilities and corporations to streamline operational and logistical costs and reduce geopolitical conflict over limited resources. While in school, Erin spent six months interning with Infinity Renewables, researching domestic wind projects across key development regions, and contributing to the company’s business development goals. She also is working on her Master’s thesis Eco-Entrepreneurship project, EVMatch, which is a business model that connects electric vehicle drivers who lack reliable charging options with residential charging station owners on a reservation basis.During the summer of 2015, she was an EDF Climate Corps Fellow at Northrop Grumman, a global security company, developing a robust process for evaluating on-site renewable energy opportunities. This internship gave Erin the chance to delve into the business case for renewable energy from a corporate perspective, and she intends to pursue large-scale corporate renewable procurement and energy management after completing her degree. Connect with me on LinkedIn.