Our Team

Hal is the CEO of Energy Innovation, an energy and environmental policy firm. He was the founder of ClimateWorks Foundation (2008) and Energy Foundation (1991), and served as Environment Program Director at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. He served on energy panels appointed by Presidents Bush (41) and Clinton, and currently serves as President and Chairman of the Board for several financial, science, and philanthropic groups. He is also a Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment at the Paulson Institute. Hal has B.S. and M.S. degrees from Stanford University in Engineering, specializing in Energy Planning.

Sonia Aggarwal

Vice President

Sonia is Energy Innovation’s Vice President, leading the firm’s Power Sector Transformation and Energy Policy Solutions programs. Sonia directs America's Power Plan, an effort to uncover and spread policy solutions for clean, reliable, and affordable power. She also leads Energy Policy Solutions, determining which policies make the biggest difference for the climate. Previously, Sonia managed an international climate and energy research program and advised clean energy companies. She has a B.S. from Haverford College in astronomy and physics, and an M.S. from Stanford University in engineering, focused on energy.

Chris Busch

Director of Research

Chris is Energy Innovation’s Research Director and leads the firm’s California climate policy program.  His recent efforts have focused on developing a California version of EI’s Energy Policy Simulator, offering insights into the best combination of policies for delivering on the state’s ambitious 2030 emission reductions goal.  Chris is an expert in carbon pricing policy, and his research has shed light on the oversupply of tradable permits in the Western Climate Initiative.  He previously worked for the BlueGreen Alliance, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and holds a PhD in environmental economics from UC Berkeley.

Hunter Connell is an Associate at Energy Innovation, helping clients meet their clean energy philanthropy needs. She is also an Associate at Ajax Strategies, and supports the Principal focusing on regulatory, financial, and legal due diligence on clean technology companies. Hunter earned her B.S. degree in Environmental Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to joining EI, Hunter worked for Environmental Science Associates where she focused on conservation and clean energy development. She also helped prepare the Tampa Bay Blue Carbon Assessment for Restore America’s Estuaries, which assessed climate mitigation potential of Tampa coastal habitats.

Christina Fernandes

Chief Financial Officer & Director of Operations

Christina is the Chief Financial Officer & Director of Operations at Energy Innovation, where she manages the firm’s human resource operations, as well as its internal financial and accounting systems. She is also responsible for structuring the firm’s policies and procedures, and overseeing its fiscal and legal compliance. Prior to Energy Innovation, Christina oversaw business operations in a higher education setting. She earned a MBA degree from CSU East Bay with a concentration in global innovation. Christina also received a B.A. cum laude in Sociology with a focus on Race and Ethnicity from the University of San Francisco.

Eric Gimon

Senior Fellow

Eric consults as a senior fellow with Energy Innovation. He is a main contributor to the firm’s America’s Power Plan project and is an adviser for non-profits and foundations interested in energy (namely electricity) and climate issues. Eric holds a B.S. and M.S. from Stanford University in mathematics and physics, and a Ph.D. in physics from UC Santa Barbara. He has a 15-year active career researching quantum gravity and high energy physics. Eric’s work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UC Berkeley, and an AAAS fellowship with the Department of Energy inspired his transition to climate and energy policy.

Mikala Hughes

Executive Assistant

Mikala is Energy Innovation’s Executive Assistant. Prior to joining Energy Innovation, she worked at a San Francisco-based higher education institution, working closely with its VP and Director of Admissions to implement effective training strategies. As Art Director and Assistant Studio Manager for a leading Bay Area photography studio, Mikala aided in the research for, and creation of, a successful workshop series that is now taught annually at Wedding and Portrait Photographers International. She is slated to graduate summa cum laude with her A.A. in Anthropology, and will begin her B.A. degree in Anthropology in fall 2018.

Virginia Lacy

Director of Philanthropic Services

Virginia is Energy Innovation’s Director of Philanthropic Services, where she leads work with the firm’s clients to create effective strategies to achieve their climate and energy philanthropy goals. She has almost 20 years of experience working in clean energy, the electricity sector, socially responsible investing, and environmental policy. Most recently, Virginia was a Principal at the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) where she helped lead RMI’s Electricity Program. Virginia has a B.A. in government from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Environmental Management from Yale University.

Silvio Marcacci

Communications Director

Silvio is Energy Innovation’s Communications Director, leading media relations and strategy. He has over 15 years’ experience, and has been a bylined columnist at top media outlets. Silvio previously founded independent public relations company Marcacci Communications, promoting clean energy and climate change policy. Additional experience includes serving as director of public relations for Bloomberg TV series energyNOW! and as vice president at public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard, where he managed campaigns for energy industry clients. Silvio started his career in New Jersey government and politics, and has a dual B.S. with honors in history and political science from Rutgers University.

Veery is Energy Innovation’s Director, where she helps clients achieve their goals in climate and energy philanthropy. She is also a Principal at Ajax Strategies, focusing on regulatory, financial, and legal due diligence on cleantech companies. Veery is a member of the California Bar, earning her J.D. degree with honors from UC Hastings School of the Law, focusing on environmental issues. Veery earned her B.A. degree magna cum laude from Georgetown University, majoring in finance and international business. Previously, Veery worked for The Nature Conservancy, ClimateWorks Foundation, and Union Pacific.

Mike O’Boyle

Director of Electricity Policy

Michael is Energy Innovation’s Director of Electricity Policy. He works for the firm’s Power Sector Transformation program to uncover solutions for a clean, reliable, and affordable U.S. electricity system. Michael is also a leading expert for America’s Power Plan, a platform for innovative thinkers working to reform the utility regulatory model and identify opportunities for grid optimization. Michael graduated cum laude from ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, focusing on energy and international law. Michael also has a B.A from Vanderbilt University in Philosophy and Asian Studies, minoring in Economics.

Robbie Orvis

Director of Energy Policy Design

Robbie is the Director of Energy Policy Design at Energy Innovation and works on the Energy Policy Solutions and Power Sector Transformation programs. For Energy Policy Solutions, he conducts analysis on which policies can best meet climate and energy goals, including co-leading a project for the Chinese government providing policy guidance for its 13th Five Year Plan and climate strategy. Robbie’s power sector work focuses on policy design for wholesale electricity markets and energy efficiency programs. Robbie holds a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University and a B.S. from UC Berkeley.

Jeffrey Rissman

Industry Program Director & Head of Modeling

Jeffrey is Energy Innovation’s Industry Program Director and Head of Modeling. He leads modeling efforts for the firm’s Energy Policy Solutions focus area to determine what policies most effectively help meet climate and energy goals. Jeff led development of the Energy Policy Simulator, a computer model quantifying cost and emissions impacts of various policy combinations. His previous work at the firm focused on cleantech R&D. Jeff holds an M.S. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from UNC Chapel Hill, and a B.A. in International Relations with honors from Stanford University.

Giselle Stern

Executive Assistant

Giselle is Energy Innovation’s Executive Assistant. Prior to joining Energy Innovation, she was an Executive Assistant to the CEO and Senior Vice President of a global food company. Giselle also previously served in leadership positions in fundraising and development for a wide array of non-profit organizations in the Bay Area. She holds a B.A. in English with an Art History minor from Hunter College (CUNY), and an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University, where she was a recipient of a Zora Neale Hurston Award. Giselle also taught English in private schools and businesses during the ten years that she lived in Mexico.