Our Team

Hal is the CEO of Energy Innovation. He was founder and CEO of Energy Foundation, served as Environment Program Director at the Hewlett Foundation, and helped establish Energy Foundation China; the European Climate Foundation; and the Indian Sustainable Energy Foundation. He was appointed to panels by Presidents Bush (41) and Clinton, and is currently President and Chairman of the Board for several financial, science, and philanthropic groups. He is a Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment at the Paulson Institute, received the Heinz Award for the Environment in 2016, the UN Clean Air and Climate Change Award in 2018, and the State of California’s Haagen-Smit Clean Air Award in 2019. Hal has B.S. and M.S. degrees from Stanford University.

Al Armendariz

Industrial Initiative Director

Al is Industrial Initiative Director for Energy Innovation’s Climate Imperative project, leading strategic development to decarbonize heavy industry. He has over 25 years of experience in industrial environmental engineering, federal and state energy policy, and electricity sector campaigning. Al previously served as a presidential appointee and Regional Administrator with EPA chief Lisa P. Jackson. He joined Energy Innovation after nearly nine years in the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign where he led teams working to decarbonize the electricity sector. Al began his career as an engineering consultant with Radian Corporation for major industrial clients, and he was formerly on the engineering faculty at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Al has an S.B. in chemical engineering from MIT and graduate degrees in environmental engineering from the University of Florida and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Olivia Ashmoore

Policy Analyst

Olivia is a Policy Analyst at Energy Innovation, focused on the firm’s Energy Policy Solutions program. She provides research and analysis to support EI’s climate policy modeling. Prior to joining Energy Innovation, Olivia worked as a graduate student fellow at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Olivia holds a B.A. from Oberlin College in Environmental Studies and a M.A. in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.

Sara Baldwin

Director Of Electrification Policy

Sara is Energy Innovation’s Director of Electrification Policy, where she leads the firm’s electrification policy practice area in tandem with the Power Sector Transformation program to develop a roadmap for economy-wide electrification. Sara provides guidance to federal and state policymakers across the U.S. along with other stakeholders on policy pathways to electrify and decarbonize buildings, transportation, and industry. She previously served as Vice President of Regulatory for the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and as a Senior Policy Associate for Utah Clean Energy. Sara is a member of GridLab’s advisory board and hosts Energy Innovation’s Electrify This! podcast. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Studies and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Utah, graduating with honors.

Chris Busch

Director of Research

Chris is Energy Innovation’s Research Director and leads the firm’s California Climate Policy program. He led development of EI’s California Energy Policy Simulator model, offering insights into the best combination of policies for achieving the state’s deep decarbonization commitments. Chris is an expert in energy economics and carbon pricing policy, and his research accurately predicted the buildup in excess tradeable permits in California’s cap-and-trade program that will keep its carbon price at or near the program’s price floor until program design adjusts for early oversupply. Chris previously worked for the BlueGreen Alliance, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He holds a Ph.D. in environmental economics from University of California, Berkeley.

 

 

Minshu Deng

Policy Analyst

Minshu Deng is a Policy Analyst for Climate Imperative, an Energy Innovation project to secure just and ambitious climate wins at the scale and pace needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. She previously worked as an analyst and environmental scientist at Eastern Research Group, Inc. consulting on projects for federal and state agencies including EPA, OSHA, NOAA, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Minshu also conducted research at an energy policy nonprofit focused on the effects of early nuclear power plant shutdowns. She received her Master of Environmental Management with a specialization in energy systems from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy from Duke University.

Jenny Edwards

Director of Global Policy Analysis

Jenny Edwards is the Director of Global Policy Analysis with Climate Imperative, where she evaluates new and existing opportunities with rigorous, science-based research to maximize carbon savings and ensure robust evaluation of project progress. Jenny has twenty years of experience in the energy and climate field, spanning research, planning, policy design and implementation, and facilitation. Prior to joining Energy Innovation, she worked at the Center for Energy and Environment, a clean energy nonprofit serving the Upper Midwest. Her most recent role was CEE’s Director of Planning and Engagement, where she launched and directed the organization’s local government programs. Jenny holds a B.A. in physics from the University of California Berkeley and a Master’s in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dan Esposito

Senior Policy Analyst

Dan is a Senior Policy Analyst at Energy Innovation, primarily supporting the firm’s Power Sector Transformation program in developing policy solutions that unlock an accelerated transition to a clean, reliable, equitable, and affordable U.S. electricity system. Prior to joining Energy Innovation, Dan held various roles in clean energy policy at PA Consulting, the Indiana Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor, Energy Systems Network, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the Center for Resource Solutions. Dan holds master’s degrees in public affairs and environmental science from Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of Dayton.

Todd Fincannon

Full Stack Developer

Todd Fincannon is Energy Innovation’s Full Stack Developer, where he works with the firm’s policy programs to visualize smart energy policy through interactive web applications. Prior to joining Energy Innovation, Todd was technical co-founder of three startup companies focused on electronic mail, network management, and financial services. He pivoted to climate work after the 2007 IPCC report revealed the urgency of the climate crisis. His work brings climate and energy models to life for audiences worldwide, including policymakers and the public. Todd holds a B.S. degree in mathematics from the University of Houston. He lives in Berkeley, California. (He/Him/His)

Christina Fernandes

Chief Financial Officer

Christina is the Chief Financial Officer 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.

Dongquan He

China Director

Dr. He is Energy Innovation’s China Director, and conducts the firm’s programs in China with a specific focus on urban sustainability. His project work includes new city and non-motorized system planning and design, city retrofits, public transit optimization, and conducting studies to support national policies and standards development. Dr. He previously worked with Energy Foundation (EF) China and Argonne National Laboratory, and holds Ph.D. and bachelor degrees from Tsinghua University, with a major in environmental science and engineering.

Eric Gimon

Senior Fellow

Eric consults as a technical expert, research scholar, and policy adviser with Energy Innovation, where he works with the Power Sector Transformation team to develop innovative thinking on policy solutions for clean, reliable, and affordable electric power in the U.S. Eric holds a B.S. and M.S. from Stanford University in mathematics and physics, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has a 15-year active career researching quantum gravity and high energy physics. Eric’s work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, and an AAAS fellowship with the Department of Energy inspired his transition to climate and energy policy.

Mary Anne Hitt

Senior Director of Climate Imperative

Mary Anne Hitt is Senior Director of Climate Imperative, an Energy Innovation project that aims to cut emissions at the speed and scale needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Mary Anne has over 25 years of experience building and leading effective campaigns and organizations. She was previously with the Sierra Club for 12 years, where she was the National Director of Campaigns and served for a decade as director of the Beyond Coal Campaign. She has also been the executive director of grassroots organizations including Appalachian Voices. Mary Anne was listed in 2015 as one of the POLITICO 50, POLITICO’s list of the top thinkers, doers, and visionaries transforming American politics. She has made numerous media appearances and was featured in the National Geographic film From the Ashes and the Emmy-winning climate series Years of Living Dangerously. She also co-hosts the climate storytelling podcast No Place Like Home. She is a contributor to All We Can Save, a Penguin Random House anthology of women climate leaders, and she is a Public Voices fellow of the OpEd Project and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. She received her B.A. from the University of Tennessee and her M.S. from the University of Montana.

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.

Clarissa Lopez

Finance Associate

Clarissa is Energy Innovation’s Finance Associate, where she directly supports the Chief Financial Officer across all of the company’s overall business activities. Prior to joining Energy Innovation, Clarissa worked as an administrative assistant at a full-service immigration law firm based in San Francisco. Clarissa holds a B.S degree in Health Science from CSU East Bay.

Megan Mahajan

Manager of Energy Policy Design

Megan Mahajan is Manager of Energy Policy Design at Energy Innovation, focused on the firm’s Energy Policy Solutions program. She helps lead development of the Energy Policy Simulator (EPS), Energy Innovation’s in-house model that evaluates how policies can most effectively meet climate and energy goals. Megan’s work focuses on building and maintaining versions of the EPS across various regions and using these tools for policy analysis. She has worked extensively on models for the United States, India, and various state-level adaptations, among others. Megan also works regularly with federal and state policymakers to deliver modeling insights. Prior to joining Energy Innovation, Megan worked as a Research Analyst at Nathan Associates Inc., where she assisted in preparing expert witness reports for environmental litigation. Megan earned an M.S. in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Stanford University and a B.S. in Environmental Geosciences from the University of Notre Dame.

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.

Bruce Nilles

Executive Director

Bruce Nilles is Executive Director of Climate Imperative, an Energy Innovation project to cut carbon emissions at the speed and scale needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. For the two years prior to joining Climate Imperative, Bruce was Managing Director at Rocky Mountain Institute focused on accelerating building electrification. Before that he spent 15 years building and leading the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, a nationwide effort to replace coal plants with clean energy. He holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and spent the first four years of his career at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. He is the 2018 recipient of the Packard Foundation Climate Breakthrough Award and was recognized by Politico in 2015 as “one of the thinkers, doers, and visionaries transforming American politics.” Bruce holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Robbie Orvis

Director of Energy Policy Design

Robbie is the Director of Energy Policy Design at Energy Innovation, where he leads the Energy Policy Solutions program. For this program, Robbie manages EI’s research analyzing which policies can best meet climate and energy goals using EI’s in-house model, the Energy Policy Simulator, as well as other energy and climate policy models. He has helped develop and deploy EPS models in more than a dozen countries, where it has helped advise governments, research institutes, and advocacy organizations on which climate policies are most effective. Robbie is also a co-author of Designing Climate Solutions: A Policy Guide for Low-Carbon Energy. He holds a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University and a B.S. from UC Berkeley.

Mike O’Boyle

Director of Electricity Policy

Mike is Energy Innovation’s Director of Electricity Policy. He directs the firm’s Power Sector Transformation program to uncover policy solutions for a clean, reliable, and affordable U.S. electricity system. He has worked with stakeholders from a variety of states—including California, New York, Oregon, Hawaii, and Minnesota—to help improve the link between public policy goals and the motivations of electric utilities. Mike graduated cum laude from ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, focusing on energy and international law, and has a B.A from Vanderbilt University in Philosophy and Asian Studies, with a minor in Economics.

Prodipto Roy

Program Officer

Prodipto is a Program Officer at Energy Innovation, where he works with the firm’s clients to achieve their climate and energy philanthropy goals. Prior to joining EI, he worked on decarbonization policy at ClimateWorks Foundation, and on sustainability and climate resilience in the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office. Prodipto has a B.S. from the UC Los Angeles and an MBA from UC Berkeley.

Jeffrey Rissman

Industry Program Director & Head of Modeling

Jeffrey is Energy Innovation’s Industry Program Director and Head of Modeling, and leads the company’s work on technologies and policies to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions from the industry sector. He is also the originator and developer 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 clean tech 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.

Rekha Rao

U.S. Federal Initiative Director

Rekha Rao is the U.S. Federal Initiative Director for Climate Imperative, an Energy Innovation project, where she leads efforts with allied organizations supporting federal policymakers to ensure the U.S. plays a leadership role in tackling the climate crisis at home. Rekha is a clean energy policy expert with over 15 years of experience in state and federal regulatory and legislative policy. Most recently at PG&E, she led a policy team responsible for developing and coordinating state and federal renewable and climate policy and strategy across the organization and collaborating with key stakeholders, such as other investor-owned utilities, environmental organizations, and labor unions. Rekha has her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles in Political Science and Spanish, and graduated with a law degree from American University, Washington College of Law in Washington D.C.

Joe Ryan

Executive Director, Crux

Joe Ryan is Energy Innovation’s Executive Director of Crux, marshaling and managing support for organizations dedicated to adopting sectoral climate policies worldwide. Before joining EI, he was Executive Vice President at Securing America’s Future Energy, where he led operations and oversaw all organizational initiatives. Prior to that, Joe served as Vice President for Latin America and Oil Campaign Director at the ClimateWorks Foundation where he led a consortium of international foundations to reduce transport emissions in the U.S., Europe, China, India, Mexico and Brazil. Prior to ClimateWorks, Joe served as a program officer at the Hewlett Foundation for 11 years. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese and received his Ph.D. in economic history from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Marcus Schneider

Deputy Director

Marcus Schneider is Deputy Director for Climate Imperative, an Energy Innovation project to cut carbon emissions at the speed and scale needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, where he manages Climate Imperative’s operations and grantmaking. Prior to joining Climate Imperative, Marcus ran a consulting practice supporting climate change policy funders and strategists. He previously directed one of the leading U.S. climate change grantmaking programs at the Energy Foundation for almost two decades. In various roles there, Marcus created funding portfolios that were foundational to many of the biggest developments in state and federal climate policy, including California’s world-leading climate programs, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, initial implementation of the Clean Power Plan, and many others. He holds an M.S. in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley and an undergraduate degree from Oberlin College.

Sarah Spengeman

Deputy Director of Communications

Sarah Spengeman is Energy Innovation’s Deputy Director of Communications, where she designs campaigns to help program staff effectively communicate their original policy analysis, research, and modeling to policymakers and the media. Prior to joining EI, Sarah was the associate director for communications and advocacy at Health Care Without Harm, where she led the organization’s work to leverage the economic, political, and moral influence of the healthcare sector for climate policy solutions at all levels of government. Sarah is a board member of Interfaith Power and Light, and is co-author of a chapter on health professional climate advocacy in the forthcoming book Global Climate Change and Human Health: From Science to Practice. She earned her B.A. in political science from Westmont College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Notre Dame.

Shana Silver

Philanthropy Associate

Shana Silver is a Philanthropy Associate for Global Initiatives at Energy Innovation, where she helps manage global partnerships and grantmaking efforts focused on the adoption of sectoral climate policies in key countries around the world. Prior to joining EI, she worked as a Program Assistant at the Meyer Foundation, a racial justice and systems change organization in Washington, D.C. Shana holds a M.S. in International Development from the University of Edinburgh and B.A. in Sociology and Leadership Development from Penn State University.

Jennifer Taylor

People and Operations Coordinator

Jennifer Taylor is Energy Innovation’s People and Operations Coordinator, where she directly supports the Chief Financial Officer and Director of Operations across the company’s overall business activities. Jennifer is responsible for all of the firm’s recruiting needs, as well as ensuring that its staff has a stellar employee experience. Prior to joining Energy Innovation, she was Executive Legal Assistant and Office Manager in a California-based defense law firm specializing on workers’ compensation and employment law. Jennifer is majoring in Communications with a focus on Business at Southern New Hampshire 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. In addition to her administrative support, Giselle has previously served for many years in the non-profit world, mainly through leadership positions in fundraising and development. 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.

Lana Vali

Philanthropy Senior Associate

Lana Vali is a Philanthropy Senior Associate at Energy Innovation, where she helps create and implement strategies to achieve the climate and energy philanthropy goals of the firm’s clients. Prior to joining Energy Innovation, she worked as a Program Coordinator at Malama Kaua’i, a nonprofit dedicated to sustainability in Kaua’i, Hawai’i. Lana holds a B.A. degree in Mathematics from Amherst College.

Shelley Wenzel

Energy Data Analyst

Shelley is an Energy Data Analyst at Energy Innovation, focused on the firm’s Energy Policy Solutions program. She provides research and data analysis to support EI’s climate policy modeling and expansion of the Energy Policy Simulator. Shelley holds a B.E. with an Environmental and Sustainable Design concentration and a B.A. in Engineering Sciences with a minor in Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College.