CEE hosts Minnesota Women Empowered in Energy event

Oct 17, 2023
Audrey Partridge introducing the event

This September, CEE had the honor of hosting the third Minnesota Women Empowered in Energy Event to bring women in the energy space together and celebrate and learn about the role and impact women have on the industry. The event series was started by Commissioner Katie Sieben, Chair of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, to bring women in energy together to recognize the contributions women make to the field, provide a platform to learn from their experiences, knowledge, and insights, and to highlight and grow the community of women, supporting each other in the field. I had the privilege of helping to organize and lead this tremendous event, along with two of my favorite energy policy experts, Amber Lee, an experienced regulatory attorney in the energy sector, and Aly Eilers, CEE’s manager of legislative affairs.

In attendance was a diverse group of women from all corners of the energy industry and related fields, including policy advocates, regulators, solar installers, engineers, community organizers, attorneys, energy auditors, and students considering energy careers. Minnesota Representative Patty Acomb, who serves as Chair of the Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, as well as the House Climate Action Caucus, provided an inspiring and personal keynote address. In her talk, she addressed some of the many important energy policies she championed in the MN legislature, including policies to decarbonize Minnesota’s electric system, advance building efficiency and electrification, and introduce federal funding to accelerate clean energy investments in our state.

Representative Acomb explained that everything she has learned, especially regarding the importance of energy conservation, she learned growing up in the Minnetonka-Shorewood area and the impact that the community could have, both good and bad, on the beauty and fortitude of the natural landscape. She emphasized the importance of community service and involvement in sustaining our energy and natural resources for generations to come. Representative Acomb stressed how vital it would be to introduce, include, and amplify more diverse voices in this conversation, locally and across the nation. For us to meet the demands of our current and future energy landscape, we need to identify and heed the expertise of those who have been historically excluded from the dialogue and decision-making.

The keynote was followed by two expert panels. The first panel on policy work was moderated by Lauren Bethke of the Minnesota Public Utilities and led by Dr. Roopali Phadke, a professor of Environmental Studies at Macalester College, Louise Miltich, Assistant Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources, and Kayla Christensen, the executive director of the Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum. The second featured practitioners of energy efficiency and related work and was moderated by Shonda Biddle, CEE’s Director of Program and Business Development. In the practitioner panel, we heard from Janiece Watts, Director of Culture and Partnerships, Energy Access, and Equity with Fresh Equity, Rachel Wagner from Just Housing, and Julie Voeck, the Senior Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at Nextera. The panels were an expansive discussion of research, environmental politics, renewable energy installations, innovative energy efficiency technologies, and so much more. The panel was a testament to the connections, information sharing, and novel ideas that can come from bringing together women in the energy industry.

The next event for Women Empowered in Energy will be held in early 2024 and hosted by Great River Energy. CEE will post those details on our website and social media pages when they become available. The staff at CEE is thrilled to be part of this vibrant and growing community of women energy professionals and to welcome new women to the industry. We thank Chair Katie Sieben for her vision and leadership in starting this important series of events to provide women a venue to celebrate, learn, and deepen our connections with other women in our industry.


Related Links

CEE's Policy Framework