12 Most Influential Women in the North American Wind Industry
Our North American Power List is the definitive guide to North American wind's most important figures. Tabitha Kennedy investigates the profiles of some of the list's most well-known women
In May 2018, we published our inaugural North American Power List, which highlighted the most influential people in the wind industry in the US and Canada. The result gave us a good insight into the market’s top 100 individuals.
Predictably, though, it was very pale and male. Of the final 100, only 23 were women. Partly this is because men still dominate CEO roles in wind, but it also shows more can be done to highlight the huge role women are playing in shaping the future of wind in North America.
This blog post will do just that.
As with our Women’s Power List for International Women’s Day, we are here to celebrate the contribution of North American wind’s top female deal-makers and power-brokers. We believe this will help inspire others to enter the sector.
Here are 12 of the top women from the 23 in the report. If you want to find out more about this report, you can download an abridged and totally free 10-page ebook version now.
Alicia Barton President & CEO, NYSERDA
Barton is president and CEO of New York State Research & Development Authority. Set up in 1975, NYSERDA’s mandate includes supporting renewables schemes, which it is doing under her leadership by providing $1.4bn funding and leading the state’s offshore wind plans.
Beth Waters MD of Project Finance in the Americas, MUFG
Managing director in MUFG’s project finance team, Waters’ role involves originating, structuring and negotiating transactions in the power sector with a focus on renewables. Her most notable deals include C2C3 Power, the 300MW Henvey Inlet and 230MW Niagara.
Jacqueline Sargent General Manager, Austin Energy
General manager since 2016, Sargent’s power generation management remit includes the development of renewables projects. Currently, around 47% of Austin Energy’s 470,000 customers are supplied with energy from renewable sources, with notable recent deals including a 200MW power purchase agreement with Avangrid Renewables in 2017.
Karen Conover VP, DNV GL
Having worked in wind for over 25 years, Conover is one of the most experienced women on the list. She is a director for the American Wind Energy Association, on the board of Women of Renewable Industries & Sustainable Energy, and vice president of DNV GL.
Kimberly Harris President & CEO, Puget Sound Energy
Harris is president and CEO at Puget Sound, the largest investor-owned utility in Washington state. Harris secured a place on this list because, under her tenure, the company has been a pioneer in offering green energy tariffs, including wind energy, to commercial and municipal customers, such as Starbucks.
Laura Beane CEO, Avangrid Renewables
Made CEO of Avangrid Renewables in 2017, Beane oversees assets worth $10bn, including wind farms totalling 6GW in 22 US states. Her recent highlights include winning the rights to build the up-to-1.5GW Kitty Hawk offshore wind farm off the US coast.
Laura Folse CEO, BP Wind Energy
Folse heads the wind operations of BP, managing 14 US wind farms totalling 2.6GW. Folse is heading BP’s plans to grow in wind after it looked to exit the sector on two occasions. This includes the potential to re-engineer its 2,000 turbines to increase capacity by 400MW.
Mit Buchanan MD of Energy Investments, JP Morgan
Buchanan is one of 20 professionals who originate, structure and execute energy deals at JP Morgan, and her profile is rising following the retirement of industry legend John Eber. The team has been responsible for around $17bn of renewable energy tax equity funding deals for more than 17GW of power from 145 wind farms.
Neha Palmer Head of Energy Strategy, Google
Palmer heads tech giant Google’s team that buys power and electric infrastructure. Under her leadership, Google exceeded its 2020 goal to buy all of its electricity from renewables, including wind. Recent notable deals include power purchase agreements totalling 536MW with Avangrid, EDF and Enel.
Pooja Goyal MD & Head of Alternative Energy Investing, Goldman Sachs
Made managing director in 2012, Goyal heads the team investing in companies and projects in the power sector, including wind farms. Goldman Sachs has a target of investing $150bn in renewables by 2025 with recent high-profile activity including a $330m tax equity deal at Enel’s 298MW Thunder Ranch.
Shalini Ramanathan VP of Origination, RES Americas
Ramanathan became vice president of RES Americas in 2014 and, during her career, has closed 1.4GW of deals worth over $2.5bn. Other highlights include negotiating off-take agreements with corporates including Google, General Motors and Microsoft, as well as utilities including Xcel Energy.
Susan Nickey MD, Hannon Armstrong
Made managing director of Hannon Armstrong in 2014, Nickey leads the firm’s investment strategy in wind. Hannon Armstrong has around $560m invested in wind and provides debt and equity financing for wind and solar developers. She is also on the board of the American Wind Energy Association.
If you would like to read more about the North American Power List, you can do so with our free North American Power List ebook. Follow the link to download it now.