2017 C3E Symposium: Research Award (Inês Azevedo) and Law & Finance Award (Sarah Valdovinos)

2017 C3E Symposium: Research Award (Inês Azevedo) and Law & Finance Award (Sarah Valdovinos)


The next award will be for research. I’m introducing another C3E
ambassador, Christine Ervin.Christine the principal for the Christine Ervin
Company. She’s led innovative collaborations to accelerate green
markets for more than 25 years. She was the first president and chief executive
officer for the U.S. green building council. She led it from its
evolution as a startup organization to a highly influential coalition of
industry leaders that are transforming the way buildings are designed, built, and
operated in the U.S. and abroad. She was also the first female assistant
secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, where I worked for a
time she was there during the Clinton administration in the Department of
Energy. Previously, Christine directed the Oregon department of energy and
conducted research at the conservation foundation. Over to you Christine.
Thank you, Carol. Thank you and for all that you do.
Good morning, everyone. What a fabulous day and a half of inspiration and
education and networking. Thanks to all of you for making this such a treat
and now the icing on the cake for me is to present the C3E 2017 award for
research to Inês Azevedo, a professor in the department of engineering and
public policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Professor Azevedo’s
nomination stood out for many reasons. Starting with her prolific research and
publication record to be sure. Fifty-seven peer-reviewed articles and
counting, by the day. Many in prestigious journals and already
attracting nearly 1,500 citations. Her leadership role in
several venues, including Carnegie Mellon center for climate and energy
decision-making. And her success in securing substantial
financial resources to support that effort. I should say we’re so
pleased to have her enthusiastic lead supporter for this nomination with us,
Dr Ed Rubin right back here. Among the many things that he says, and his
colleagues say about her, her role as a mentor for other women, who in your word
says has very few peers. Whether it be advising numerous PhD students or
her regular classes or launching summer programs on climate change for 9th
graders and STEM teachers, all of which helps explain why she has so rapidly
progressed in about five years from assistant professor to
associate professor to full professor this year. Beyond all this, there’s
another aspect of her nomination that really meant a lot to me and to many
other ambassadors. Her passion and commitment to
cross-disciplinary research. For the last day and a half, many of us have
alluded to the fact that many of our challenges and opportunities are
accelerating. They’re scaling and they’re becoming increasingly interrelated.
To be relevant and most effective, our strategies and policies need to be
designed for speed and scale and integrated approaches. This is
precisely where Professor Azevedo excels, combining her deep expertise in
engineering with technology, economic analysis, human behavior, and decision
making on really timely and pragmatic policy issues, like where do investments
of renewable resources have the most impact, how can we better understand
income distributional effects so that we can design policies accordingly.
As Dr Rubin summed up, she has the remarkable and rare ability to recognize
and analyze the complex interactions among factors that determine the success
of technologies and policies designed to advance these
goals. Finally, there’s a really important extracurricular milestone I
need to point out today, and that is the fact that Professor Azevedo is a proud
new mother of a baby boy, Louise, as of just last week, which is why she is
not here. We can still enjoy the video that she has taped for us.
I hope you’re listening, so congratulations from all of us. Hi, everyone. I am sorry for not being
able to be there with you in person. Today I’m absolutely delighted to
receive the research award in clean energy. I’d like to start by thanking
the C3E organizers of the women in clean energy symposium. This is an absolutely
tremendous initiative and I would look forward to hearing from many of you
about the different sessions and discussions that are going on. I’d also
like to thank the nominating team that put together my nomination, as well as
the senior faculty and mentors that I have, both at Carnegie Mellon University
and elsewhere, which have been able to help me and guide me through these years
of research. Also very big thank you to my graduate students and colleagues
that I have co-authored with, which make my job enormously fun every
single day, and a very interesting job to have indeed. I’m fortunate to have
been at Carnegie Mellon University for the last several years. CMU is indeed
known for pursuing interdisciplinary research with a very strong focus on
energy and climate change related issues. The department that I’m housed at,
the department of engineering and public policy, indeed has been promoting for
more than 30 years this sort of interdisciplinary approach that brings
together engineering, social sciences, and
policy analysis, and that’s very much at the core of the type of research that
I’ve learned that I’m passionate about doing, which is to identify
technical problems. Where just doing the engineering simulation or optimization
part of the problem really doesn’t get that the whole issue. Where one often
needs to complement that understanding with economics and social sciences as
well as the realistic implications of policy design. Between that, my
research focuses really on energy systems and transitions. I care about
immediate transitions not transitions over the course of 100 or 200 years,
but what can we do now and what are the consequences of the
decisions that we do today in terms of the electricity infrastructure, the
vehicle infrastructure, buildings, and so on. That, of course, includes also
understanding how people behave and make choices. More often than not, the type
of work that I do uses an engineering systems approach, rather than looking at
problems just at the device and component level, and finding through that
lens new and often counterintuitive insights. With the award that is
generously being provided by C3E, I’m very looking forward to putting together
a three day workshop that is going to bring together about 20 women PhD
students from different nations to work about and think about an issue that I’m
starting to work on and very passionate about, which is to quantify the
distributional and equity related issues associated with energy decisions and
once again looking at those specifically. What are the consequences from the
adoption of PV or electric vehicles or building codes for high-income and
low-income households? What’s that distribution? I’m very looking forward to
putting together that workshop and I’ll reach out to several of you in the room
to serve as mentors for that workshop. With
that, a big thank you to the C3E organizers. Goodbye.
Moving quickly on. The next award is for law and finance. Mary Ann Sullivan is going
to introduce. Mary Ann is a partner for the energy regulatory practice at
the law firm of Hogan Lovells. She’s got more than 25 years experience as an
energy lawyer. Her current practice primarily focuses on electricity
regulatory matters and matters involving climate change, nuclear, renewable energy,
and advanced energy technologies. Mary Ann also served as general counsel at
the Department of Energy from 1998 to 2001 and deputy general counsel for the
environment nuclear programs. During that time, a few interesting things
happened to allow her to apply her energy and legal expertise, like
electricity restructuring, the California electricity crisis, the Northeast heating
oil shortage, and privatization of uranium enrichment activities. Mary
Ann also oversaw the legal support for opening of the world’s first deep
geologic disposal facility for radioactive wastes. I will turn it
over to Mary Ann to give the next award. Thanks very much. I just want to take a
minute to call attention to some words on your agenda. You’ve probably all
looked at it at some point over the last day and a half, but I just
want to pick out a few words and ask you to think about them. Co-founder, general
manager, professor of engineering at MIT, global director, president and CEO,
commissioner, senator, vice president for research at MIT. These are the labels
that those of you who are early in your career must aspire to. I think we all
owe a great thanks to the people to whom those labels attach. That you took your
time to be with us today and yesterday and a great thanks to the organizers who
got those folks to come and join us. That was a lot of work and they did a great
job. Now let me turn to my wonderful assignment which is to present the C3E
award in finance for 2017. Sarah Valdovinos is a woman of many
accomplishments in the field of finance, which, let’s face it, is a place where
women are far too scarce. Faced a very tough environment and where the rubber
meets the road, or maybe more accurately where great ideas can meet the market,
she began her career at Southern California Edison which as it happens
has been a wonderful friend for C3E for several years. She then went on to earn
her MBA at UCLA and then she decided to come east to Wall Street and investment
banking. First she was at Goldman Sachs. There she worked on exotic derivative
transactions. Sarah, I want you to explain to me what exotic derivative transactions are. Sounds very interesting. Then she went on
to Barclays, where she became a managing director. For those who aren’t familiar
with the investment banking business, managing director for a woman, that is
pretty big deal. At Barclays, she managed her own team, developed new lines of
business, and executed more than $40 billion, that’s with a B, in oil hedges.
But she also got introduced to carbon trading and became interested in
renewable energy. She left her managing director position.
We heard this morning about bravery in your career. That’s bravery. Before
long she co-founded Walden Green Energy and became a venture investor in
clean tech. I work with a lot of clean tech companies. I love venture investors.
One of her interests is one of my favorite technologies, the EV
enabling technologies. In her spare time, and I put that in quotes, she works with
the Robin Hood Foundation and she promotes STEM education. Sarah has
already achieved much but I’m confident the best is yet to come.
I’m hoping that she’s going to tell us now what’s next for her in clean tech,
where she sees investment dollars going, and what we can all do to help ensure
that clean tech continues to move from being a premium product available to a
few to something that’s widely available in all kinds of communities. Sarah, I’m
delighted to present you with the award in finance. Please come up. Keep up the
good work. Mary Ann, thank you so much for that
introduction and for all the work that you’ve done in your extensive career and
energy law. I’m going to disappoint you though. I’m not going to be talking about
exotic commodity derivatives today. I can tell by everyone’s faces that
you’re the only one that’s going to be disappointed. Thank you. Thank you so
much. Being up here on stage really does change your perspective.
To look out to see this room filled with people who are all in the
same mission, to further the progress towards the transition to clean
energy, to the clean energy economy, is really very encouraging.
Also I think to see just so much talent, so much female talent, both
present here physically in the room and I know many people who are listening in
through the webinar, it is really inspiring. Thank you all for being here.
As the other recipients have expressed, I’m honored and humbled to receive this
award. When I transitioned from my career in sales and trading to start this new
one in the clean energy space, I did so partially because I saw a need for even
more investment into it, to really make a strong business case for deploying
capital to fuel innovation and really to implement the solutions that we need for
managing the impacts of climate change. I thought that my market experience
could serve me well in making this in this case, but part
of the reason that I was so excited about the transition and jumping in with both feet into the deep end of the clean
energy space. My partners and I started by deploying our own
capital and developing wind energy projects here in the U.S. and and then
climbing mountains around the world looking for small rivers to find
opportunities and run a river hydro and looking at solar.
It’s been a lot of fun and very exciting but I have to say that one of the other
drivers and motivators was really my experience of growing up with
one foot firmly in the U.S. and the other in Mexico. As a result of that, I was able
to see how energy and innovation can play such a critical and
transformational role and quality of life for people. I remember when I
was five, going with my grandmother to our hometown in Mexico. We
were driving into the town in a very stinky bus. I remember asking, why?
Why was it that people were burning trash on
the side of the road and why back home we didn’t do that. As I look back I think, that seed was planted and
really continued to inspire me to be focused on energy. As Mary Ann explained, to follow up a passion, which is
furthering clean energy space. Yesterday, Dr Amy Glasmeier noted that we are
already beyond the turning point of transitioning to the low-carbon economy.
I really do agree with that. I think that the critical question now is how
quickly can we get there and how can we ensure that people across the economic
spectrum are able to reap the benefits of that transition. For me
this award represents a challenge. It”s a challenge to think about what
else I can do to embody the principles that originally motivated many of you
who are here and others to launch the clean energy education and empowerment
women’s Initiative. The belief that the ideas and talents of all members of
society are essential to accelerating progress towards a clean energy future
and that the increased participation of women in the sector will contribute to a
more robust industry. I’m taking that challenge on and I thank you for the
challenge that the award brings with it. This isn’t an only an issue of
fairness and justice. This really goes beyond politics and dated arguments
of causality. It goes to the heart of creating a robust economy. That in
turn is critical to a more peaceful society. In my view, one of the most
important investments and linchpins to the strategy for achieving those goals
is ensuring access to education. If we’re going to deliver the benefits of this
clean energy economy, we need to prepare our kids to be able to pursue a broad
range of careers and that means that they should be ready and able to pursue
a PhD in physics or a trade in the clean energy space. I’m taking the financial
component of the award and investing it in an initiative that I’m sponsoring
with the University of California San Diego and the Scripps Institution of
Oceanography to incorporate clean energy science into the curriculum of middle
and high school girls and children from low-income and other underserved
communities. We’re starting in southern California
but I do think that this effort and others like it across the
country are really critical if we are to build a very solid and robust
pipeline of talent that’s going to help drive the low-carbon economy of the
future. We’re going to be expanding a program that already exists, that’s a
more general STEM focused program, and really leverage the work.
It’s called CREATE, which is the Center for Research on Education
Equity Assessment and Teaching Excellence. It’s a mouthful so I’ll stick
with CREATE. CREATE already has an existing program that
focuses on STEM and connects scientists to local science teachers. What
we’re doing with this initiative is now twofold. One is putting a track where
we’re focused on everything to do with sustainability and clean energy, and two
I’m hoping, and I’ll reach out to many of you here, I’m hoping to
bring companies and corporate partners into the mix so we can really create an
even more robust experience for the teachers. If you think about the
wonderful thing about working with teachers, it is such an amazing
multiplier effect. It really leverages that investment because for every five
teachers we have in a pod, you’re touching thousands of kids in a
school year. As an investor, I’m personally so excited
about so many interesting opportunities. I’ve worked a lot in
investments and we have some wind farms but there’s so much more to do in energy
storage, electrification of transportation, looking at how blockchain can create a real symbiotic relationship between
our existing utilities and the the new micro grids that are evolving globally. Mary Ann asks, can you tell us about
where you’re where you think the Nest investment themes are. I think if we
do our job right, just referring back to our investment in education and driving
more investment into the sector, I’m hoping that I actually can’t think of
any of the ideas that’ll be the ones that will be exciting in
very short order. Because those are going to be springing from the all of
the innovation that is born out of this investment in education and
kids coming up with new solutions and collaborating. Just a couple more thoughts. I think I stand between you and lunch.
I think that for us, here, building on this community, to be able to
collaborate and find solutions to these problems, is also such an exciting and
very important part of the equation, but I would be remiss if I left you today
without thanking a few people who I hope I will make proud for having had
a hand in getting me this award. First, certainly, thank you to all of
the C3E ambassadors, MIT, Stanford, all of the sponsors who are very wisely
invested in this initiative. Thanks to Carter Wall for nominating me.
Thank you so much. If any of you don’t know her, I really encourage
you to go and introduce yourself and talk to her. Talk about someone who
really empowers stewardship and mentorship. I really have an incredible
amount of respect for you. Thank you for this. I also want to thank my business
partners, who are not here today because they’re actually doing all the work,
including my part of the work so that I could be here with with you today. I
intentionally left my “thank you”s to the end because I wanted to leave you with a
message of gratitude. Gratitude has been an opportunity, has been a critical fuel for my
ambition and drive. I didn’t plan for this. I’m sorry.
Beyond that, I think, that just gratitude is a really critical component to make
us better professionals. I also think that, as I’ve talked to many of you,
the work that we’re doing in climate, oftentimes it feels like you’re an ant
standing at the bottom of Mount Everest. Thinking and being grateful for this
community and all the work that everyone’s doing, I think helps to really
alleviate that burden and make it a little more achievable. Lastly, I
when I count my blessings, it’s impossible not
to forget the responsibility I have because of those blessings to be a
better steward of the planet and to make this a better place for
everyone, not just my friends and my family. I would encourage all of you,
and all of us, to stop and count our blessings and really take every
opportunity, every opportunity to pass that on to everyone we encounter because
we really are so blessed. Thank you so much and thanks for indulging my tears. Another hard act for me to
follow but it’s time for us to take a break. We will be having lunch but
please, again, you have some time now, the most time you’re going to have between
now and the end of the conference, to vote on the posters.
The deadline for voting will be 2:45 because we’ll have one last break.
Please go out enjoy the posters and then we will have food ready fairly soon
and gather back in here by 12:45. There’s a buffet out there and everybody come
back in by 12:45. We will hear from Dr Laura Nelson, who is an energy
adviser to the governor of Utah. Thanks.

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