A Message from Women for Climate Justice
to the Global Climate Action Summit Steering Committee,
Government Representatives and Participants

San Francisco, California
September 11, 2018


Dear GCAS Steering Committee and Government Representatives,

We are speaking out on behalf of a growing movement of diverse women for global climate justice.

We are speaking out in recognition of the sacred interdependence of all life on Earth, and with respect for the Rights of Nature, and with the knowledge that business-as-usual economic models predicated on fossil fuel extraction have ushered in an era of unprecedented planetary distress, in which life as we know it is dangerously threatened.

We call on elected officials to steadfastly commit to keep global warming below 1.5°Celsius, as stated in the Paris Climate Accord, via policies that simultaneously prioritize social, racial and economic justice for all.

In order to do this, we are calling for a transformation of how we relate to the natural world and to one another. We must transition from an extractivist, colonial paradigm of “exploit and extract” to a sustainable, globally-conscious one of “respect, restore and replenish.” We must rapidly halt the extraction and burning of coal, oil and gas, while simultaneously building a new economy predicated on community-led solutions and women’s rights, Indigenous rights, the rights of nature and the rights of future generations.

This starts with policies to promote energy democracy, in which women, Indigenous people, communities of color, low-income communities, municipalities and small businesses are empowered to own and manage our energy resources. We must recognize the inalienable rights and invaluable traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples, and follow their environmental justice leadership in climate solutions. Such a plan must also prioritize and advance women’s leadership, as women are disproportionately harmed by climate change while possessing unique knowledge and skills to drive innovative solutions. Finally, we must protect biodiversity, seed sovereignty, and food security, and respect the rights of nature for the forests, oceans, rivers and lands upon which all life depends.

Crucially, we must do everything we can to ensure justice is respected in the transition to 100% renewable energy. Any solution that does not safeguard the dignity and flourishing of people and the planet must be rejected. False solutions, such as dangerous nuclear power plants; increased natural gas extraction; mega-dams that cause irreversible damage to biodiversity, food sovereignty and livelihoods; geo-engineering; bioenergy; carbon trading schemes; and carbon capture and storage have no place in the Just Transition.

Finally, we call on all governments to respect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful protest, and to immediately halt the criminalization of land defenders, whose efforts are central to a climate-just world.

List of Global Demands

1. Leave Fossil Fuels in the Ground: No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure.

We must limit global warming to below 1.5° Celsius in order to ensure a livable future for humanity. Accordingly, we must develop assertive plans to leave all remaining fossil fuel reserves in the ground, including gas that could be extracted via fracking.

  • Commit to a firm and binding international-reductions plan that limits global temperature rise to below 1.5°C and transitions the global economy to 100% renewable energy by 2035.

  • In line with the Lofoten Declaration, use the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” to support developing nations with financial allocations from countries that benefited from fossil fuel exploitation.

  • Divest from fossil fuel companies, end all governmental fossil fuel subsidies, and institute a strict regime of global carbon fees immediately.

  • Implement a Financial Transaction Tax to fund the research and adoption of regenerative energy technology, and to help vulnerable communities adapt to the real-time effects of climate change.

  • Reject greenhouse gas emissions reduction schemes that come from high-risk technologies that create irreversible damage to human and planetary health including tar sands, shale gas, nuclear energy, and geo-engineering.

2. Promote Women’s Leadership and Gender Equity

Due to inequitable gender norms, women are disproportionately impacted by climate change while playing a central role in mitigating climate injustice. As women are most often responsible for providing food, water and energy for their families, climate change-related natural disasters, resource scarcity, and decreased biodiversity hit their livelihoods first and hardest. Furthermore, in many communities on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction and mining, women bear the brunt of gendered and sexual violence. At the same time, women are crucial leaders in the transition to a just, renewable future. From the halls of the United Nations and of national governments, to primary resource-dependent communities, study after study has shown that when women hold positions of leadership, entire communities benefit.

  • Require and mainstream climate policy implementation that is rooted in grassroots feminism at the international negotiation table and at national and local levels.

  • Acknowledge the unique and essential roles, responsibilities, solutions, needs, and desires of women in development and climate-change mitigation efforts.

  • Acknowledge women’s traditional knowledge as central to climate solutions.

  • Honor women’s rights to self-determination in all contexts.

  • Ensure women’s full and equal participation in all aspects of climate policy, actions, and sustainable solutions, including decision-making power over financial investments at every level, from local communities to the international arena.

  • Realize the principles embedded in the Paris Agreement ensuring that all climate actions respect and fulfill human rights, including the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Use the UNFCCC Gender Action Plan to guide activities that support gender equality.

  • Ensure that women can implement safe, sustainable and low carbon development projects at every level.

  • Recognize that women are half the world’s stakeholders, key advocates for the care of the Earth and all future generations.

  • Developed countries must urgently mobilize new, additional and ambitious climate finance of at least 100 billion dollars per year by 2020, in line with obligations of the Paris Agreement. Make this priority a litmus test for climate leadership from elected officials. Ensure there is gender equity in the distribution of funds.

3. Protect and Implement the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous Peoples make up about 5% of the world’s population, but 80% of biodiversity on Earth lies within Indigenous lands. This is not coincidental: the holistic relationship that Indigenous Peoples hold with their lands are founded on a deep understanding of fundamental interdependence between people and the natural world. Their traditional knowledge of agriculture, seeds, biodiversity, natural resource stewardship and conservation are indispensable, even as these communities are disproportionately under attack by fossil fuel development, mining and climate impacts.

  • Respect all governmental treaties with Indigenous Peoples and defend their right to continue to inhabit traditional lands, undisturbed by industrial projects and extractive industries.

  • Respect and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and in particular, Free, Prior and Informed Consent.

  • Honor and implement Indigenous knowledge and prioritize the conservation and veneration of Indigenous Peoples’ decision-making power at the national and international levels, and ensure that Indigenous Peoples have an equal seat of power at the decision-making table.

  • Empower communities to take increasing ownership and direction of their local agricultural cultivation and nutrition; support such agro-economies.

  • Honor Indigenous Peoples’ unique relationship with the most biodiverse regions of our Earth; invest in Indigenous People’s global leadership to protect and promote healthy relationships with life-sustaining ecosystems.

4. Promote Energy Democracy.

We will have lost the fight for climate justice if we further entrench inequalities in power and wealth while transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Rather, we must transform extractive, unjust, status quo economics into new, socially just and environmentally sustainable economics.

  • Transition to a regenerative energy economy based on 100% renewable sources by 2035. Decentralize and democratize ownership of this new energy economy.

  • Develop a just transition plan that protects people, whose livelihoods are affected by the economic shift, including coal communities and natural gas workers.

  • Adopt a true-cost economic model to drive industry toward sustainable activities and thus internalize the external costs of fossil fuel usage.

  • Pass laws that hold industries, corporations, and individuals responsible for any and all costs and negative externalities their economic activities impose on others.

  • Implement campaign finance reform to reduce the disproportionate power of capital-holders to direct political outcomes for their personal gain at the expense of the common good.

5. Protect the Rights of Nature.

The Rights of Nature is a groundbreaking legal framework that recognizes natural systems, such as rivers, forests, mountain ranges and water bodies, as rights-bearing entities with an inviolable claim to protection and preservation. A growing global movement for the recognition of the Rights of Nature is gaining momentum, from Ecuador, Nepal, Colombia and New Zealand to communities across the USA.

  • Recognize the Rights of Nature in law and practice. It is time to stop treating nature as property, but rather as a rights-bearing entity.

  • End the commodification, ownership, and exploitation of all ecosystems such as forests, grasslands, deltas, rivers, and wildlife preserves.

  • End market-based mechanisms that purport to protect ecosystems such as forests and jungles but in reality promote the industrial and monocultural destruction of biodiverse regions and hotspots.

  • Reduce consumption and invest in sustainable production and consumption, prioritizing safe and just circular economies and regenerative systems.

  • Promote biodiversity renewal and restore 30% of lost forests and other essential bioregions by 2030. Prevent any industrial logging of forests. Protect old-growth forests.

  • Outlaw water privatization and oceanic colonization. Recognize the human right to water and ocean access.

  • Protect a minimum of 30% of vulnerable and threatened fisheries and coral reefs in marine sanctuaries (Marine Protected Areas) by 2020.

6. Protect and Promote Biodiversity and Seed Sovereignty.

Globally, the stewardship of biodiversity and Indigenous species of seeds lies heavily in the hands of women. We must promote the health, holistic management of our food system and agriculture resources in order to mitigate localized climate impacts and promote food security. 

  • Make it illegal for international trade agreements to determine seed “ownership” and “use.” Outlaw the global patenting of seeds.

  • Support educational programs that encourage reconnecting with, and understanding, the natural world.

  • Promote localized systems of agricultural production that support decentralized, “people-run” economies; natural, non-genetically modified foods; and cyclical and sustainable agro-ecological farming practices.

  • Organize campaigns and trainings to empower communities to take increasing ownership and direction of their local agricultural cultivation and nutrition; support such agro-economies.

A Final Note 

Though this call to action lays out the framework for a global Just Transition, we recognize the unique potential of the Global Climate Action Summit to drive change in the United States, the country with the largest emissions per capita in the world and with disproportionate geopolitical power and privilege. Therefore, we urge leaders in the United States, especially Governor Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg, to rapidly advance the above agenda at the state and federal level. We are calling on our elected officials to demonstrate true climate leadership: banning all new fossil fuel leases and development, from offshore oil extraction to natural gas build-out countrywide (and in California through the Browns’ Last Chance campaign); prioritizing and respecting the rights and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples in North America, from the resistance at Standing Rock to the Bayou Bridge and Line 3 pipelines; refusing contributions from the fossil fuel industry by signing the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge; and advancing visionary climate justice policies such as Green New Deal and a Federal Jobs and Green Infrastructure Guarantee.


Requests for further information can be directed to osprey@wecaninternational.org


For the Earth and Future Generations,

Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International, USA

Honor the Earth, USA

Divest, Invest, Protect Campaign, USA

Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights, International

Idle No More SF Bay, USA

Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty, USA

Global Grassroots Justice Alliance, USA

World March of Women - US chapter, USA

Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), USA

Greenpeace, International

TierrActiva, Peru

Lead Tchad (Leadership For Environnement and Développement), Chad

Reaccion Climatica, Bolivia

Campaña Salvemos al Madidi, Bolivia

Las nietas de los Andes, Bolivia

Movement Rights, USA

Climate Mama, USA

Jena & Michael King Foundation, USA

Women In Solar Energy (WISE), USA

Climate Justice Alliance, USA

Climate Compassion, USA

Terra-1530, Republic of Moldova/Romania

Central Asia and Afghanistan Women and Water Association,Central Asia, Afghanistan

Amazon Watch, USA

Indigenous Climate Action, Canada

Adéquations, France

Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN), Uganda

Association Femmes Leadership et Développement Durable Women Leadership& Sustainability, Mali

Earth Law Center, USA

Australian Earth Laws Alliance, Australia

Indigenous Environmental Network, USA

Global Forest Coalition, Paraguay and The Netherlands

Pachamama Alliance, USA

Voice of Women, Maldives

Green Divas, USA

Traditional Women's Society Ponca, USA

Ponca Pa Tha Tah, USA

Ponca Nation of Oklahoma, USA

World Pulse, USA

Earth Guardians, USA

FRIDA, USA, Canada

The Green Education and Legal Fund, USA


Tree Sisters, USA

Sustaining All Life

Rahus Institute

Code Pink

No Limits For Women In The Arts

350 Marin

Women Eco Artists Dialogue 

INOCHI / Women For Safe Energy

Earth Activist Training


Time’s Up For Resource Abuse


Time’s Up For Resource Abuse

Women in solar energy: In the U.S. and Europe this past year, the pivotal #MeToo movement has shone a light on instances of often systemic sexual abuse and harassment, particularly in the corridors of the powerful.

Kristen Nicole, Founder and Executive Director of Women in Solar Energy (WISE) draws parallels between the attitudes that have facilitated such a climate, and our relationship to the Earth’s finite resources – with solar at the intersection.




Solar power has not only proven to be a great equalizer in terms of energy access across the globe, but it is also proving to be a rich source of employment for women in many countries.

In the past year we have witnessed a fascinating culmination of news stories and social movements that have provided a glimpse into the prevalence of deviant acts of sexual violence, gender inequality and human rights violations occurring every day in the lives of women and girls all over the globe. According to RAINN, every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. As the year went on, we learned of more and more sexual crimes and stories of violence against women; horrify-ing atrocities commitment by rapists and criminals such as Brock Turner, Harvey Weinstein and Larry Nasser to name a few. 

The subsequent movements protest-ing these crimes and the lack of judicial protection against women can be viewed, in my opinion, as something of a social reality check. Many women know crimes of this nature are sadly pervasive, yet to compound the problem, people historically have suffered their traumas in silence, solitude and shame. There is little justice to protect us. These events have brought to our conscious attention that we are reaching a tipping point where either the problem has become so common it can no longer remain hidden or perhaps victims have discovered new and safer avenues to speak the truth of daily atrocities that are suffered. I believe it is a combination of both of these items. Regardless, as we all become more conscious of this horrifying reality, we are now all responsible to ensure that justice prevails in our society to put an end to these acts.

I applaud the survivors who have bravely spoken up about their experiences, especially those inspired by the #MeToo movement. To overcome fear, societal stigma and retaliation and live as a known survivor of sexual violence is an honorable and noble endeavor. We know these crimes are perpetrated as the manifestation of deep-seated individual complexes of power dynamics and have deep ramifications of life-long afflictions of PTSD, physical ailments and irrevocable psychological damage for the victims. One of our partner organizations, Honey Org, has undertaken a valiant effort to artfully document and support these truths as they come to light, in a more empowering manner for survivors.  For perspective, I think it is important to examine these interpersonal crimes in the context of how abuses of power pervade various structures of society, and thus look at how the solar energy indus-try fits into this context.

Solar gets WISE

In my opinion, there is parallel between the prevalence of the gross abuses of power in sexual violence as a reflection of societal abuses of power that occur everyday, mostly against diverse, minority, and disenfranchised populations.  We are unfortunately seeing this definition of selfishness play out on the world stage. Through the consolidation of resources, power and influence, it is apparent that an ever-increasing few are more interested in putting their selfish needs and comforts above the needs of those they govern, perhaps even a priority over the rest of humanity. I learned the lesson long ago that only rats win rat races, and I believe that we need to rede-fine power and leadership. Perhaps to more closely resemble leadership outfits such as are represented by the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers (a nonprofit organization of indigenous female elders that focuses on issues such as the environment, human rights and globalization).

The most abhorrent and distasteful dis-play of injustice that has influenced my personal work and the work of Women in Solar Energy (WISE) this year has been witnessing on the global stage the abuses that occurred at Standing Rock in North Dakota against the Water Protectors. It is also significant to understand that Native American women are twice as likely than any other racial group to experience rape or sexual assault in their lifetimes; I would argue there is a common thread here of rape against women and rape of the natural world. I remember protesting against the Keystone XL pipeline in DC in 2009 and almost ten years later, these power and energy sector disputes, violence and injustices, only seem to be escalating and coming to a head.

To provide a global context of resource protests, on International Women’s Day there was a large march of Amazon Women Forest Defenders Against Extractivism in Puyo, Ecuador, very well reported on by our friends at the Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN). Shortly thereafter, the Indigenous Climate Action Network in Canada hosted a fascinating lecture exploring how violence against the land through the extraction and exploitation of resources and fossil fuels perpetuates violence against women. Some societies and institutions are quick to under-stand the link. In additional to numerous University divestments, this year we also saw Ireland join Costa Rica, France and Belize to become the fourth country now to ban fossil fuel exploration all together.

This particular brand of violence against women, through an environmental and resource extraction lens, places the solar energy industry squarely at the intersection of these conflicts of interest. I believe that many of us work in the solar energy industry with the hope that if we can quickly facilitate a peaceful transition to a clean and renewable energy economy, that our lives will con-tribute to combating societal resource conflicts around the world, including those contributing to proxy conflicts in the Middle East, preservation and conservation of wilderness in Africa and Indonesia, and labor, safety and chemical disputes in Asia.

I also feel that many women hold sacred a core belief that if we can end environ-mental violence against Mother Earth, that by extension, all of the parallels of power-based violence will also come to an end, including the acts of violence against women and girls that we heard so much about this year. 

- Kristen Nicole


THE FIERCEST WOMEN IN ENERGY: We spotlight dynamic leaders who are shaping the future of the American energy industry.


THE FIERCEST WOMEN IN ENERGY: We spotlight dynamic leaders who are shaping the future of the American energy industry.

The energy sector can hardly be called a haven for diversity. A survey by recruitment firm  showed that women in energy comprise just 24 percent of all C-suite positions in the sector, the highest percentage belonging to CIO roles. They found that only six percent of women are CEOs. The numbers are somewhat more encouraging for CFO and CMO slots, at 10 and 13 percent, respectively.

According to Peggy Hazard, Managing Principal and Co-head of the Advancing Women Worldwide Practice at Korn Ferry, improvement is needed in every sector.

“This is a joint responsibility of the women to seek out experiences and development that can help them lead and succeed, and for organizations to create an environment where women feel empowered to progress in their careers at all levels,” she stressed in the Korn Ferry release.

We’ve found a group of women in energy who have done precisely what Hazard recommends, and their drive and persistence is a testament of what curiosity, dedication, and motivation can accomplish in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

Wanda L. Burget

Before a piece of equipment touches the ground, mining companies in the U.S. must acquire a host of permissions. Without Wanda L. Burget, we bet there wouldn’t be a whole lot of digging going on in the rich Wyoming hills.

Prior to launching her own company, Accord Resource Solutions, LLC, Burget worked in the coal industry, most notably for the Thunder Basin Coal Company and a 29-year stint at Peabody Energy, where she led the firm’s sustainable development efforts. Together with Brenda K. Schladweiler, Burget founded Accord to support “natural resource users, managers, developers, agencies, and partners in conservation to develop and implement cooperative, practical, science-based solutions that benefit the land and its people,” according to its website.

The women-owned enterprise provides a host of critical environmental services, including reclamation planning and education, cooperative conservation, environmental permitting and compliance, regulatory services, and government relations. She is the Executive Director of the Wyoming Mining Natural Resource Foundation.

Amy L. Farrell

Whether working in the White House to advance economic and environmental policy, or handling corporate issues for ExxonMobil, Amy L. Farrell has been a champion for women in energy throughout her fascinating career.

Before becoming the Senior Vice President for Government and Public Affairs for the American Wind Energy Association, (AWEA), Farrell was a policy maker at the American Petroleum Institute (API), working to encourage the demand for natural gas in the power generation, export, industrial, and transportation sectors.

As Vice President for Market Development at America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), she oversaw its market demand mission and advocacy strategy. She began her career in the G.W. Bush administration as a policy analyst in the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Njema Frasier, Ph.D.

When it comes to firsts, it’s hard to beat the trailblazing track record of nuclear physicist Njema Frasier, Ph.D. She is the first woman and the first black scientist to run the Office of Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) at the National Nuclear Security Administration.

The ICF is, quite possibly, one of the most important offices in the Department of Energy (DOE), charged with managing the scientific and technical projects designed to ensure that the United States maintains a credible national nuclear deterrent without nuclear testing.

In addition to  co-founding the POWER (Professional Opportunities for Women at Energy Realized) Employee Resource Group at the DOE, she is a member of the National Advisory Board of the National Society of Black Engineers, the Coalition of Hispanic, African and Native Americans for the Next Generation of Engineers and Scientists (CHANGES), and Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Diversity Science, LLC, an expert-based network of scientists and engineers dedicated to broadening participation in STEM.


Denise Gray

During her tenure as director of global battery systems engineering for GM, Denise Gray was known as the “battery czar.”  She directed the founding of GM’s battery lab, leading the team that developed and launched the lithium-ion battery system used in the Chevrolet Volt, and grew the lab from a mere 25 employees to more than 200 workers in three continents.

After her exit from GM, she served as vice president of Electrification Powertrain Engineering at AVL List, GmbH. Today, she is CEO and President at LG Chem Power, Inc. (LGCPI), the North American subsidiary of lithium-ion battery maker, LG Chem (LGC), Korea. Gray is the recipient of Women of Color Magazine’s 2017 Technologist of the Year Award.

Vicki Hollub

The first female CEO of a major U.S. oil company began her career working on oil rigs in Mississippi for the Cities Service fuel company. When Occidental Petroleum acquired the company in 1982, high-climber Vicki Hollub stayed with the new management, and, among other roles, led the company’s development of the multimillion-acre Permian Basin, served as EVP of U.S. operations, oversaw the firm’s expansion initiatives in Latin America, and took over the Occidental corner office in 2016.

Hollub led the company through a hellish industry downturn in her first year as CEO, directing the firm to cut costs without reducing the Occidental employee workforce. One of only three women on the Occidental board of directors, in 2017 Hollub was one of only 28 women at the helm of S&P 500 companies.

Myrtle L. Jones, Ph.D.

Oilfield services industry giant Halliburton would be significantly less successful without the efforts of Myrtle L. Jones, Ph.D. As the firm’s Senior Vice President of Tax, she has leveraged over 30 years of experience in international and domestic tax compliance and strategic tax planning in her role managing Halliburton’s 80-country strong global tax department.

Jones began her career at ExxonMobil, departing after five years to usher Global Marine from bankruptcy to its 2013 position as an $8 billion company. In addition to serving as executive sponsor for the Halliburton African American Network Forum, she is on the board of directors of Genesys Works Houston.

Her many accolades include slots in Black Enterprise Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America, The Diversity Council’s Diversity Leader of the Year of Award, Diversity Journal’s Women Worth Watching Award and the Houston Business Journals Top 25 Women in Oil and Gas.

Chris LaFleur, D.Eng

Chris LaFleur, D.Eng is a woman on fire: feel free to take that literally. A fire protection engineer at Sandia National Laboratories, she is the program lead for Hydrogen Safety, Codes, and Standards, evaluating the fire risks for emerging technologies.

At Sandia, LaFleur’s work has changed the way maintenance facilities are structured and operated so that natural gas and hydrogen-powered vehicles can be repaired indoors.

“These analyses enable the safe implementation of cleaner transportation fuels to reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels and increase the availability of renewable energy solutions,” according to the firm.

In addition to committee roles on the National Fire Protection Agency, she serves on the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Safety Panel. LaFleur is a recipient of a 2017 Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Award from the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment initiative led by the Clean Energy Ministerial, a forum of 25 major-economy governments that strives to increase women’s participation and leadership in clean energy fields.

Kristen Nicole

Women In Solar Energy (WISE) has a singular mission: to advance women in all aspects of the solar energy industry.

Kristen Nicole founded WISE in 2011, after recognizing the lack of opportunities for women in energy despite an increasing number of women seeking to enter the field. Speaking to HeatSpring Magazine, Nicole noted that solar energy “is growing at 20 times the rate of the overall U.S. economy, so all of our programs and efforts are designed to appeal to top and diverse talent to choose a career in solar energy, it’s a fantastic field to work in.”

Currently Account Director at Dividend Finance, Nicole worked with EnterSolarGridco Systems, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Sentech/SRA International, as well as in the  U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Program initiatives Solar America and SunShot.

Debra L. Reed

Not only is she one of the two women on the Halliburton board, Debra L. Reed also reigns as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer for Sempra Energy. The San Diego-based energy infrastructure and utilities conglomerate serves 32 million electric and gas customers around the world, including  Southern California Gas Company and the San Diego Gas Company, the regulated firms that Reed led prior to her appointment as company CEO in 2010.

In 1978, Reed became the company’s first female officer; she is currently a member of the National Petroleum Council, which advises the federal government on issues related to the oil and natural gas industries. A frequent name found on Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business list, Reed is a member of the Caterpillar board of directors, as well as on the Energy and Environment and Tax and Fiscal Policy Committees of the Business Council and Business Roundtable.

Speaking of the Business Council, a roster of the organization’s past and present leaders (nested conveniently beneath the header “Chairmen”) displays the names of 34 men, and not a single woman. We can only hope that this roundup of a few of the fiercest and finest women in energy will inspire the Council—and energy companies everywhere—to open up opportunities for women to power up, drive through, and lift the industry to new heights.



Cypress Creek Renewables Announces Plan to Build New York's First Solar Farms with Pollinator-Friendly Habitats



Cypress Creek Renewables today announced its plan to build New York State’s first solar farms with pollinator habitats. The two solar energy projects, located in the Hudson Valley and the North Country, will generate clean, affordable power for local communities and benefit the environment and surrounding farms with increased wild habitats for pollinators, including honeybees.

Cypress Creek has committed to planting pollinator habitats at its Underhill solar farm in Poughkeepsie, NY and at its recently completed Jefferson solar farm in Watertown, NY. The projects are designed to support local farmers by increasing the wild habitat for pollinators, such as honeybees, needed for the success of crops.

Fast Facts about pollinators and solar farms:

  • Co-locating pollinator habitats at solar farms provides a continual source of nourishment for native bees and local wildlife, as well as managed honeybees
  • Establishing perennial flowering meadows can improve crop yields of nearby agricultural farms, due to increased abundance of beneficial insects
  • Pollinator habitats, including flowers and native vegetation, can reduce soil erosion and storm water runoff

To determine what is beneficial to pollinators in the context of these solar arrays, Cypress Creek will rely on a scorecard developed at the Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont. The Underhill and Jefferson solar farms will score 90 or more points on the pollinator-friendly solar scorecard.

What people are saying about pollinator-friendly solar farms:

Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters said, “We applaud Cypress Creek Renewables’ leadership and commitment to build the state’s first solar farms with pollinator-friendly habitats. Here in New York we’re demonstrating the power of clean, low-cost energy to promote healthier farms and generate economic development.”

Ellen Conrad, Co-President of Bedford 2020 said, “Bedford 2020 is delighted with the news that Cypress Creek’s solar array in Poughkeepsie will include a Pollinator Habitat. The idea of providing essential forage for pollinators, promoting native plants, advancing renewable energy and increasing agricultural production—all at the same time—is truly a unique opportunity that Bedford 2020 will be promoting at a regional Climate Action Summit this Saturday, February 3, 2018. We are looking forward to a collaborative effort, a Demonstration Pollinator Friendly Habitat Project, where we will be working with Cypress Creek, other solar developers, farmers, businesses, elected officials, beekeepers, birders and concerned citizens to promote many more such projects throughout the region of Hudson Valley, Westchester and Long Island.”

Emily Watson, a neighbor to the Underhill solar farm, and Co-Owner of the Plan Bee Farm Brewery said, “At Plan Bee Farm Brewery, we produce 100% NYS ingredient beers and cultivate a wild yeast from our raw honey. Our beehives are central to the flavor and terroir of our natural beers. We look forward to potentially expanding our apiary thanks to the pollinator friendly solar fields next door. Our goal of becoming 100% sustainable is aided by the community around us and we are so happy to welcome Cypress Creek Renewables to Underhill.” 

Rob Davis, Director of the Center for Pollinators in Energy said, “Many of New York State’s premier crops, such as apples, alfalfa, soybeans, pumpkins, and berries, rely heavily on pollination yet in 2016 New York State lost fifty percent of its managed pollinator colonies and populations of native pollinators and other beneficial insects continued to decline. Solar arrays—like the Underhill project by Cypress Creek Renewables—provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enable significant private-sector investment in acres and acres of clean and healthy pollen and nectar for the insects that are urgently needed in agriculture.”

John Reagan, Senior Zoning and Outreach Manager, Cypress Creek Renewables said, “Cypress Creek is committed to being a good neighbor while providing clean, low-cost power to communities throughout New York. Incorporating pollinator-friendly habitats at our solar farms provides another opportunity to benefit the environment and the local towns we serve.”


We welcome all media inquiries and interview requests. Please contact Jeff McKay for more information at mckay@ccrenew.com



NABCEP and U.S. Department of Energy Develop Three New Specialty Certifications in Photovoltaic Design, Installer, and Commissioning & Maintenance

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New Certifications Reflect Specialization in the PV Industry and will be offered via Computer-Based Testing at over 600 Test Sites within U.S. & Canada.

Clifton Park, NY, October 22, 2017 --(PR.com)-- The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), the most widely respected certification organization in the renewable energy industry, announced three new specialty certifications for the solar industry. Developed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative, the new certifications are: PV Design Specialist, PV Installer Specialist, and PV Commissioning and Maintenance Specialist. Beginning January 3rd, 2018, the new specialty certification exams, along with NABCEP’s PV Installation Professional (PVIP) Certification exam, will be offered via computer-based testing (CBT) at over 600 test sites in the U.S. and Canada.

Achieving specialty certification demonstrates that PV professionals possess the advanced training, knowledge, and competencies required for their job while conveying that they have earned an externally validated and rigorously developed certification.

“We developed our PV Installation Professional Certification in 2002 as a way to certify PV installers who do it all; they can design, install, operate, commission, and maintain PV systems,” says Shawn O’Brien, Executive Director of NABCEP. “As the PV industry has matured, we noticed that job specialization within the PV industry was becoming the new norm. We developed these certifications with the Department of Energy to reflect the changes in the industry and provide a way for professionals to earn a certification that attests to their level of knowledge and proficiency in their specialty.”

NABCEP’s three new specialty certification exams will only be available via computer-based testing at any of Castle Worldwide, Inc.’s testing centers across the United States and Canada, while the PVIP exam will be available in both CBT and paper-and-pencil format.

“We made the decision to offer these four exams via CBT, and more in the near future, to provide test-takers with more convenience, decrease their cost of travel, and reduce our paper consumption,” said Don Warfield, Chair of NABCEP’s Board of Directors. “We believe that offering more specialty certifications and increasing the availability of our certification exams will have a major impact on consumer protection within the renewable energy industry. Since many PV consumers have difficulty evaluating and verifying what they need, NABCEP’s certification programs are an invaluable tool for consumers to choose skilled and knowledgeable professionals while improving the overall welfare of the PV market.”

NABCEP’s new certifications were developed with the financial assistance of the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. With the SunShot Initiative’s support, NABCEP will implement its new certification suite and offer testing services nationally.

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is the most respected, well-established and widely recognized national certification organization for professionals in the field of renewable energy. NABCEP offers entry-level knowledge assessment, professional certification, and company accreditation programs to renewable energy professionals throughout North America. NABCEP’s mission is to develop and implement quality credentialing and certification programs for practitioners by supporting and working closely with professionals and stakeholders in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries.

About the SunShot Initiative
The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a national effort to drive down the cost of solar electricity and support solar adoption. SunShot aims to make solar energy a low cost electricity source for all Americans through research and development efforts in collaboration with public and private partners. Learn more at energy.gov/sunshot.

Media Contact:
Daniel Pickel
Program Manager



10th Anniversary GTM Solar Summit 2017

Solar Summit 2017 is celebrating its 10th anniversary! Join us with Greentech Media for three days of packed networking opportunities and a unique mix of market intelligence with engaging panel sessions among industry leaders.

Solar Summit kicks off with a full day dedicated to the growing solar software ecosystem with Folsom Labs. The following two days will dive deep into helping attendees navigate the challenges in the solar market. 

Register today with our exclusive discount code WISE15 for 15% off your conference registration. Learn more here: https://goo.gl/AzNFt7 


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Duke Energy extends paid leave to fathers, increases maternal leave benefits

John Downey , Senior Staff WriterJan 26, 2017, 11:44am EST

Duke Energy has expanded its parental leave policy, adding six more weeks of paid leave for birth mothers and giving fathers six weeks of paid leave as well.

The Charlotte-based company says the expansion is designed to help employees balance their home and work lives. And the expansion is important for Duke’s efforts to recruit and retain highly skilled workers, says Chief Human Resources Officer Melissa Anderson.

The additional paid leave for mothers and fathers applies to births, adoptions and foster-care placements. Employees can take the leave within the first 16 weeks of the birth, adoption or placement. That means new parents could extend the time that a child is cared for in the home by allowing one spouse to take leave after the other. Same-sex domestic partners also qualify for the additional benefits.

Piedmont later

The new policy will not, however, immediately extend to the 1,465 workers at Duke subsidiary Piedmont Natural Gas. The more generous benefits are not expected to be afforded to Piedmont workers until Jan. 1, 2018, says Piedmont spokeswoman Loree Elswick.

Duke (NYSE: DUK) bought Piedmont in October. Piedmont employee benefits will remain the same as they were before the acquisition until all benefits are combined into a single offering. Duke expects that to be completed early next year, Elswick says.

Paige Meltzer, director of the Women’s Center at Wake Forest University, says Duke’s benefits are among the more generous being offered by employers in the United States.

Other companies

The Family Medical Leave Act requires employers to offer new mothers and fathers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. But Meltzer says only about 20% of employers offer any amount of paid leave.

Duke says only 17% extend paid leave to fathers as well as mothers, according to a study compiled in 2015.

Last week, the coffee chain Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) announced it was offering paid leave to fathers as well as mothers. Meltzer says marquee corporate brands such as Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) also extend paid leave to fathers. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) has offered paid paternal and maternal leave since 2009 and last year extended the paid benefits from 12 weeks to 16.

Life balance

Anderson says Duke began seriously exploring the possibility of adding paid parental leave to its benefits package two years ago. She says that was in response to strong employee interest and growing competition among companies for the best workers.

“Paid parental leave will give Duke Energy employees important quality time to bond with their new children without the financial pressure of having to immediately return to work,” she says. “Coupled with our other work-family benefits, paid parental leave also will help us recruit and retain the next generation of highly skilled workers.”

Meltzer says that paid family leave also improves morale and productivity for workers — another plus for employers.

She says more companies are offering or expanding paid-leave policies for new and expecting parents. That comes despite the lack of any national policy on such paid leave.

She says work-life balance issues such as paid leave have become increasingly important for companies as they seek to recruit millennials, who expect more from employers on such issues than workers in previous generations.

Duke Energy employs about 29,000 people nationwide, including close to 8,400 in the Charlotte region.

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WISE partners with SEI to empower women through solar training


WISE partners with SEI to empower women through solar training

Women in Solar Energy (WISE) and Solar Energy International (SEI) are working to train and empower more women in the solar energy workforce. This partnership will support SEI’s historical outreach efforts to women in the industry and provides discounted training opportunities to WISE’s membership base. All eligible SEI Alumni will be granted membership to WISE at no extra cost, an incredible opportunity for Alumni to connect with an established network of women working in the solar industry.

“Solar Energy International (SEI) is thrilled to announce our expanded partnership with WISE, encouraging even more women to enter the solar industry,” said Kathy Swartz, SEI Executive Director. “Since SEI’s founding in 1991, they have empowered women to enter the renewable energy  workforce through scholarships, women’s-only trainings, and by the incredible women that teach and work for SEI. By partnering with WISE, our alumni will have access to WISE’s expansive networking opportunities for women to interact with and receive support from other women in the industry. The SEI/WISE partnership leverages what each organization does best and women, whether new to the industry or pioneers, benefit!”

“Kathy Swartz, Justine Sanchez, Marlene Brown, Rebekah Hren and others involved with SEI have supported WISE in various ways over the past few years of our development,” said Kristen Nicole, WISE Executive Director. “Through direct feedback, advice and encouragement to shape our mission and programs and keep us true to the heartbeat of the industry. I greatly appreciate their sharing in the vision of WISE as an independent non-profit that leverages technical depth and celebrates diversity and inclusion in the solar energy industry.  We are thrilled be in a position to solidify this formal and positive relationship with SEI and will continue to provide much needed career resources for our community.  We look forward to working with SEI through this MOU to ensure that our community has access to job training resources and career support and that our efforts are complementary and successful for the long haul.”

SEI was founded in 1991 as a nonprofit educational organization, and since has trained over 50,000 students around the world. Their mission is to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower people, communities, and businesses worldwide. SEI envisions a world powered by renewable energy.

Headquartered in Boston, Mass., WISE is the only 501c3 non-profit network dedicated to advocating diversity and inclusion in the solar energy industry.

News item from SEI