March is Women’s History Month! In 1987, the U.S. Congress designated March as a recurring annual event to acknowledge the contributions women have made to American history, and to the nation’s progress forward.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the many women who have advanced the renewable energy industry; creating a cleaner future for all.
On the front lines and behind the scenes, women are making a difference in renewables as engineers, educators, advocates, technicians, entrepreneurs, researchers, and business leaders. And, there are many organizations that support women in clean energy, like solar and wind energy. Collectively, these organizations promote women’s contributions and successes, and provide networking and educational opportunities. Some examples of such organizations include Women in Renewable Energy, Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy, Women in CleanTech and Sustainability, Clean Energy Education & Empowerment, and Solar Sisters.
And, now, a list of some noteworthy women in renewable energy:
Inês M.L. Azevedo, Professor, Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University: Dr. Azevedo received her doctorate in engineering and public policy, after earlier training in environmental engineering and engineering policy. Her work focuses on complex engineering problems that require interdisciplinary solutions, including addressing climate change by moving toward more sustainable energy systems, like wind and solar energy. A widely published and well-regarded researcher, she won the Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Research Award in 2017, earned the World Economic Forum’s “Young Scientists under 40” award in 2014, and has contributed to several National Research Council reports from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences on sustainable energy.
Edith Clarke, Electrical Engineer: The first professionally employed female electrical engineer in the country, Clarke invented a calculator to help engineers more easily manipulate the equations related to power lines. She was the first to embrace the concept of a “smart” electrical grid, by using analyzers to gather data about an electrical grid. In 2015, she posthumously joined the Inventors Hall of Fame.
Jessica O. Matthews, CEO and Founder of Uncharted Power: A citizen of both the United States and Nigeria, Matthews grew up in Poughkeepsie and earned her degree from Harvard Business School. Fresh out of Harvard, Matthew’s founded a company, Uncharted Power, which is exploring novel ways of generating electrical energy from kinetic energy. Uncharted Power holds more than 15 patents and recently raised $7 million for renewable energy.
Megan Smith, first female Chief Technology Officer of the United States: Smith earned her mechanical engineering degree from MIT, and has worked on projects including the first cross-continental solar car race, solar cook stoves, and a space station construction program. After leaving the White House, she launched the Tech Jobs Tour, which helps engage people from all across the country—especially underserved populations—in technology careers including renewable energy technology.
Beth Soholt, Executive Director of Wind on the Wires: Soholt earned her law degree, and then went to work in the electrical industry, where she has focused on and championed renewable energy causes. Soholt’s organization, Wind on the Wires, works across nine states including Illinois and Minnesota, to support renewable energy policy. She partners with legislators, utility companies, and local stakeholders to smooth the process of permitting and implementing clean energy solutions including wind and solar.
Laura Stachel, Co-founder and Executive Director of We Care Solar: As an OB/GYN, Stachel worked in Nigeria to help lower maternal death rates. Often finding herself conducting Cesarean sections in near-darkness, she worked with her husband to design and develop the “solar suitcase,” an innovative solution to power outages in field hospitals that harnesses the power of the sun to charge LED light bulbs, head lamps, and batteries for medical equipment. Her company, We Care Solar, has helped equip more than 2,000 health centers and saved the lives of more than 1.5 million mothers and infants around the world. She was named one of CNN’s top 10 heroes of 2013.
These are just a few of the women who have been pivotal to the development of renewable energy. These remarkable women serve as role models to their communities, and the nation, as the clean energy revolution gains traction. That’s because they helped create it!
Here at CleanChoice Energy our mission is to make clean energy accessible to everyone. As a green energy electricity supplier, we help customers switch to 100% renewable energy from wind and solar power. Learn how you can make the switch to clean energy today!
(PHOTO CREDIT: Photo of Dr. Inês M.L. Azevedo, Professor, Department of Engineering and Public Policy, via Carnegie Mellon University)