BY BEN COOK AND ROBERT MALTHOUSE
- Energy Storage Report reveals the Top 40 Women Leaders
- Ranking the result of nomination process and months of research
- Scientists, engineers, lawyers and financial professionals included
After an avalanche of nominations, an extensive research process, and much deliberation, Energy Storage Report is delighted to announce the ‘Top 40 Women Leaders in Energy Storage’.
Back in February, we invited you, the readers of Energy Storage Report, to submit your nominations for the top women leaders in the sector.
Why did we make this request? Earlier this year, an article we published on the ‘Ten Energy Storage Companies to Watch in 2022’ sparked a social media debate focussed on the shortage of women in the sector, and the possible reasons for it.
Why a shortage of women in storage is detrimental to the sector
As we highlighted in our article announcing the launch of our top women leaders in storage research, the lack of women in the industry means that the sector is:
- Less innovative than it could be
- Missing out on opportunities to pursue new pathways for technology deployment
- Missing out on fresh perspectives that could drive far-reaching change in economies and societies that could help to foster the wider adoption of energy storage
- Missing out on a richer and more diverse talent pool
So, with the aim of helping to tackle this problem, Energy Storage Report put the call out for nominations for the top women leaders in the industry.
Role models are crucial: ‘Seeing is believing’
The thinking behind the initiative is that research has shown that role models have a crucial role to play in the drive to increase the participation of women in the energy storage sector.
In our article announcing the launch of this research project, we quoted Dr Margie Warrell – appointed as the Australian Government’s Ambassador for Women in Global Business in 2016 – who said that role models have “an amplified benefit for women due to the gender biases, institutional barriers and negative stereotypes women have long had to contend with across a wide swathe of professional domains – in short, seeing is believing”.
Hence, the ‘Top 40 Women Leaders in Energy Storage’ feature.
Who made the Top 40?
Not everyone who was nominated made the Top 40. There was a range of criteria for inclusion. Longevity was crucial – some candidates, while occupying senior positions in the energy storage sector, were relatively new to the industry and had joined the sector after having occupied senior roles in unrelated areas of business. Obviously, scientists and engineers feature in our list as in-depth knowledge of storage technology was a major factor when compiling the Top 40, but weight was also given to candidates’ level of seniority in the organisations they represent.
Why business, financial and legal expertise is also crucial
However, while you may have used your extensive knowledge of the mechanics of energy storage to develop an innovative concept, you also need people to invest in your idea and take steps to commercialise it. Consequently, energy storage sector business acumen – as well as financial and legal expertise – was also given due consideration.
In addition, industry pioneers who have shown leadership by taking major steps to boost the participation of minority groups in the energy storage sector are also included in the Top 40.
Finally, reputation – what people in the industry said about the nominees – was also a key consideration.
See the Top 40 below. We’re certain that this list will spark much more debate, which we welcome. Please contact us at email@example.com with any feedback. Congratulations to all those included!
- Julia Song
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, ESS
Song has spearheaded the transition of iron flow battery technology into a commercial energy storage system, which made a big contribution to ESS going public last year. The company’s investors have predicted that ESS’ technology will become “the gold standard in the industry”.
- Ramya Swaminathan
CEO, Malta Inc
Led the spin-out of Malta from X, Alphabet’s ‘Moonshot Factory’ (formerly Google X), as well as being a member of the US Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo’s Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee.
- Andrea Wüttke
Chief Financial Ofﬁcer, Energy Vault
Led Energy Vault’s financial operations as it took the momentous step of listing on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this year – the company is now set to turboboost its international expansion.
- Rebecca Boll
SVP & Chief Product Officer, Fluence
A former electronic combat officer in the US Air Force, Boll joined Fluence in June 2020 as chief product officer. Last year, the company closed an IPO, generating proceeds of nearly $1 billion.
- Kristin Schumann
Deputy Director Energy Storage Solutions, TotalEnergies
Leader of energy storage construction and operations management at TotalEnergies, which is developing storage grid-scale projects in France, the US and South Africa, as well as in several European and Asian countries.
- Haixia (Haishah) Deng
Vice President of Cathode, Ascend Elements
Widely renowned for her research into li-ion cathode materials, Deng was senior director of battery materials development at Silicon Valley-based eJoule prior to joining Ascend Elements.
- Charlotte Beard
Vice President Finance, Form Energy
In the last 12 months, Form Energy raised £200 million in a Series D Funding Round – some market analysts predict that the Bill Gates-backed company’s iron-air battery will revolutionise the energy storage market.
- Nicole A. Bulgarino
Executive Vice-President – Federal Solutions, Ameresco
Oversees the development and implementation of US federal and government energy projects, including microgrids and energy storage systems.
- Susan Taylor
Energy Storage Analyst, European Association for Storage of Energy
A PhD in electrochemistry with a research background in advanced materials development for electrochemical energy storage technologies, Taylor is credited with elaborating “science-based energy storage targets for the 2030 and 2050 timeframes, in line with the European Union’s decarbonisation targets”.
- Sara Graziano
Partner and Investment Committee Chair, SER Capital
A partner at private equity fund SER Capital, Graziano has more than 20-years’ experience of energy storage and renewable energy investments.
- Nellie Tong
Principle Consultant, Storage and DER, DNV
In 2021 alone, Tong, who is team lead for energy storage M&A at DNV, managed technical due diligence for more than 4 GWh of storage M&A transactions – valued at more than $2 billion – in DNV’s role as the buy-side independent engineer.
- Kae Fink
Researcher, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Recognised as one of the foremost experts in direct recycling technology development for lithium-ion batteries.
- Sarah Webb
Development & Technical Director, Anesco
Webb has overseen the development and pre-construction stages of 105 solar farms and 150MW of battery storage, and is credited with playing an integral part in establishing Anesco as key player in the UK solar and battery storage markets.
- Belen Bello Rodriguez
Senior Electrochemist, Addionics
Addionics’ electrode design enables a significant increase in volumetric and gravimetric energy, which creates a higher energy density that can, for example, increase electric vehicle’s driving range.
- Samane Zeyghami
Lead Quantitative Modeler, Plus Power
A PhD in aerospace and mechanical engineering, Zeyghami’s expertise includes creating analytical solutions for dispatch optimization of micro grids, peak demand shaving, load shifting and power purchase agreement contracts.
- Judith Vidal
Building Energy Science Group Manager, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Considered a leading expert on molten salts, Vidal’s thermal storage materials research has aided the development of higher temperature materials that resist corrosion with new coatings that protect against molten salts and liquid metal alloys at high temperatures.
- Courtney Stone
Vice President, Engineering and Construction, Key Capture Energy
Leader of the engineering and construction team at Key Capture Energy, which has 254MW of standalone BESS projects in construction or already in operation, and a development pipeline of 3GW, with the goal of having 1GW online in Texas, New York and New England by 2023.
- Hannah Staab
Head of Advisory – Europe, Natural Power
Highly praised by market observers for her knowledge of the technical aspects of battery storage, Staab has been described as a “human encyclopedia” on the subject.
- Sandra Chavez
Director of Partnerships, Powerhouse
Before beginning her role at Powerhouse, which works with corporations to invest in innovative clean energy start-ups, Chavez worked as a renewable energy consultant at The World Bank, where her focus was on accelerating battery storage investments in developing countries.
- Carrie Kaplan
Energy Storage Safety Team Lead, DNV
A lithium-ion battery expert, Kaplan is praised for her technical rigour and her “natural ability to translate design risks into actionable solutions”, which observers say is helping to ensure the safe adoption of energy storage across North America.
- Annette Verschuren
Recent highlights for NRStor included Canada Infrastructure Bank’s $170 million investment in the Oneida Energy Storage project, a JV between NRStor and the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation.
- Dr Christine Ho
Co-founder and CEO, Imprint Energy
Inventor of a flexible zinc-based battery technology, Ho is widely recognised as one of the most dynamic innovators in the energy storage sector.
- Louise Dalton
Lawyer Dalton is recognised as one of the foremost authorities on energy storage regulation, in addition to advising on major transactions in the sector.
- Caroline Clapham
Partner, Eversheds Sutherland
Energy lawyer Clapham is credited with advising on more than 50 per cent of all deployed utility scale storage in the UK over a five-year period. Praised for her extensive knowledge of the sector.
- Magdalena Markiewicz
Chief Financial Officer, Eelpower
Formerly vice president debt capital markets at Rothschild & Co, Markiewicz is credited with helping to lead Eelpower through challenging times during the period 2018-20, and is highly praised for her “lateral thinking”.
- Gill Howard Larsen
Global Director, Renewables Advisory Services, UL
Lead’s UL’s global wind, solar and energy storage advisory services team.
- Janice Lin
Founder and CEO, Strategen
Head of clean energy consultancy Strategen, Lin was formerly vice president of PowerLight Corporation and co-founded the California Energy Storage Alliance.
- Monique M. Dyers
Founder, Ensight Energy Consulting
Ensight Energy Consulting’s expertise includes advising developers, investors and lenders on the viability of energy storage projects. Dyers is also president of the Denver chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy.
- Dr. Rashi Gupta
Managing Director, Vision Mechatronics
Seen as highly influential in the renewable energy sector, Gupta leads Vision Mechatronics and is credited by some industry observers as being the creator of the ‘world’s smartest lithium battery’.
- Hemangi Borole
Research And Development – Power System Engineer, ABB
Experienced research and development engineer who has acted as a mentor in programmes aimed at encouraging women to enter the storage industry.
- Rachel Goldwasser
General Counsel & Vice President Regulatory, Key Capture Energy
Goldwasser directs energy storage developer Key Capture Energy’s regulatory, policy and advocacy strategies. She also acts as leader of the Energy Storage Association’s Storage Target Working Group.
- Carol Cloughley
Head of Legal, Pivot Power
A key player in the team at Pivot Power, which is developing the world’s largest transmission-connected battery storage and electric vehicle charging network.
- Shivali Dwivedi
Senior Energy Analyst, ICF
Renewable energy engineer and experienced energy storage project consultant, Dwivedi has acted as a mentor in initiatives that seek to recruit more women for the storage industry.
- Sonia Quiterio
Head of New Business, Conrad Energy
Credited with leading the drive to introduce energy storage and net zero technologies into the portfolio of independent power producer Conrad Energy.
- Casey Keller
Founder, Virescent LLC
Formerly a director at Sumitomo Corporation of Americas and Able Grid Energy Solutions, Keller has vast experience in the development of battery energy storage projects.
- Jill Johnson
Co-founder, Neothermal Energy Storage
Established Neothermal Energy Storage, a Canadian climate-tech start-up “on a mission to electrify central heating systems and reduce the environmental footprint of home heating”.
- Judy McElroy
CEO, Fractal Energy Storage Consultants
Fractal Energy Storage Consultants’ expertise in the technical design, financial analysis and engineering of energy storage has enabled it to develop an impressive roster of clients that includes some of the biggest players in the industry.
- Clare King
Head of the energy waste & sustainability sector group at law firm Freeths, King is recognised as one of the leading legal experts in the field of energy storage. Recent matters included advising Catalyst Capital on the acquisition of a 100MW UK battery asset.
- Paloma Almodóvar
Head of R&D, Albufera Energy Storage
Almodóvar, whose expertise includes zinc-air and lithium-ion batteries, is building a reputation as a storage YouTube star with her videos explaining the science of batteries and renewable energy.
- Barbara Adamska
President, Polish Energy Storage Association
Founder of a distributed energy consultancy whose specialisms include power engineering, Adamska is a member of the Polish parliamentary energy and climate team.
Image – clockwise from top right: Rebecca Boll (Fluence); Haixia Deng (Ascend Elements); Julia Song (ESS); Andrea Wüttke (Energy Vault); Kristin Schumann (TotalEnergies); Ramya Swaminathan (Malta Inc).