Nine Women Across the Academic, Business and Policy Sectors Honored for Accomplishments in Accelerating Equitable Clean Energy Transitions in U.S. and Abroad 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the selections of awardees in the U.S. Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E Initiative). These nine accomplished women have demonstrated outstanding leadership and accomplishments in clean energy. The U.S. C3E Initiative—celebrating its 10th year—is led by DOE in collaboration with Stanford University’s Precourt Institute for Energy, the Texas A&M Energy Institute, and the MIT Energy Initiative. The Initiative aims to close the gender gap and increase the participation, leadership, and success of women in clean energy fields.

“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.”

The winners of the 2021 U.S. C3E Awards will be honored at the Tenth Annual U.S. C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium on November 3–4, 2021. To attend the U.S. C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium and Awards to be held virtually on November 3–4, 2021, from 12 to 4:30 p.m. ET, register here.

The 2021 award winners are rising and established leaders who are having an impact across clean energy fields: creating breakthroughs in science and technology, forging pathways to shape demand, increasing energy access in underserved communities, building and expanding markets, and preparing the workforce for today and tomorrow.

The 2021 C3E award winners are:

Business – MEGHAN NUTTING is executive vice president of government and regulatory affairs at Sunnova Energy Corporation, a U.S. residential solar and storage services provider. She 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, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, and Puerto Rico.

Education and Advocacy – MARINA BADOIAN-KRITICOS is a research scientist at the Houston Advanced Research Center and assistant director of the DOE Upper-West Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership (CHP TAP), where she engages with utilities, regulators, and policymakers to provide no-cost independent engineering support to help advance technical solutions using CHP. She is also a senior program advisor to the Texas PACE Authority, working to build Texas into a leading market for Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) finance.

Entrepreneurship – STEPH SPEIRS is co-founder and CEO of Solstice, a company focused on expanding the number of U.S. households that can take advantage of clean energy through community-shared solar programs. Solstice has created innovative financing solutions to expand service to underserved Americans, 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, where she leads technical assistance to foreign partner governments to strengthen electricity markets and power systems, and advance power sector decarbonization, resiliency, and clean energy investment. She designs and leads implementation of engagements in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean, resulting in improved clean energy and distributed generation regulations; increased cross-border power trade; competitive tenders for renewable energy capacity; U.S. development finance in energy projects; and capacity building in foreign energy ministries, electric utilities, and regulators.

International – RHONDA JORDAN ANTOINE is a senior energy specialist at the World Bank, where 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. She has worked around the world in the areas of power sector planning, utility performance, mini-grid regulation, solar home system deployment, and renewable energy integration.

Law and Finance – JOHANA AFENJAR is an engineer and project finance professional. She was most recently a senior director of capital markets at Clearway Energy Group, where she was the transaction lead in the financing of Clearway’s 140 MW Hawaii portfolio, raising over $500 million in debt, tax equity, and investor capital. She was also instrumental in educating and bringing new capital providers to an emerging asset class: community solar, leading the team in raising nearly $1 billion in financing for more than 500 MW of community solar assets.

Social, Economic, and Policy Innovation – KATE ANDERSON is chief of staff for Energy Systems Integration at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), supporting activities focused on power systems, systems analysis, decision science, energy security and resilience, and energy justice. As a senior engineer and modeling and analysis group manager at NREL, she led activities supporting clean energy deployment through techno-economic modeling and analysis of energy efficiency, renewable energy, storage, and microgrid opportunities. She was the program lead for the development of NREL’s REopt model, widely used today to evaluate cost-optimal selection and sizing of energy assets for grid-connected and off-grid energy systems.

Technology Research and Innovation – MARYAM SAEEDIFARD is an associate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, where she conducts research into technologies that can address challenges in large-scale grid integration, storage, and transmission of renewable energy. Her research in advanced power electronic solutions is high-impact and scalable, with significant industry collaboration. Saeedifard is co-editor-in-chief of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers Transactions on Power Electronics journal.

Lifetime Achievement – CHERYL A. LAFLEUR was one of the longest-serving commissioners on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), nominated in 2010 and serving until 2019. At FERC, she helped lead the evolving transformation of U.S. energy markets and infrastructure, working to remove barriers to clean energy technologies such as demand response, storage, and renewable energy. She also played a leading role in FERC’s efforts to assure the reliability and security of the energy grid in response to emerging security threats. Prior to FERC, LaFleur was a leader in the electric and natural gas industry for more than 20 years. 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.

Learn more about the U.S. C3E Initiative and awardees.