The U.S. Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) program is an effort to advance the careers and leadership of professional women in the field of clean energy. It is led by the DOE in partnership with the MIT Energy Initiative. This program delivers on the U.S. commitment to C3E, which was launched by eight governments at the first Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) in July 2010 in recognition of the fact that the ideas and talents of all members of society are essential to meeting the clean energy challenges of the future.
Current signatories include China, Japan, Norway, Mexico, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. All the signatories have committed to undertaking meaningful activities to advance women in clean energy, close the gender gap in their own national contexts, and link their efforts whenever possible.
The U.S.C3E program has four pillars:
I. Ambassadors: The C3E Ambassadors are a group of about 35 distinguished senior professionals who share an interest in strengthening the recruitment, retention, and advancement of highly qualified women in the clean energy field. Serving rotating terms, they are role models for the next generation who champion the initiative’s success and raise its visibility. Ambassadors serve as a nomination review panel for the C3E Awards. The U.S. Ambassadors are part of the International C3E Ambassador Corps launched at the fifth Ministerial in Korea in May 2014.
II. Symposium: The C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium is an annual event, hosted by MIT in collaboration with DOE as part of their shared commitment to C3E as a CEM initiative. C3E Ambassadors and Awardees come together with women working in the sector around the country for a professional conference intended to build a strong and interconnected network of women in clean energy. A graduate student poster competition is also held in which winners are selected for both technology and policy subcategories.
III. Awards: The C3E Awards recognize mid-career women who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in clean energy and who are emerging leaders in the field. Awards are given by MIT in multiple categories at the annual Symposium, along with cash awards of $8,000. Nominations are accepted in the spring at www.C3Eawards.org for categories that include leadership in clean energy research, entrepreneurship, law and finance, business, government, non-profits, international work, and education. Since 2012 twenty mid-career women have been recognized, and eight awardees will be honored at the fourth annual symposium. One C3E Lifetime Achievement Awardee is recognized at each annual symposium as well.
IV. C3Enet: The www.C3Enet.org online community forum enables women working in the clean energy sector around the world to connect and share information, insight, and inspiration. Almost six hundred women have joined as members to date. Social media efforts are also undertaken on LinkedIn, with almost 5,000 connections, and Twitter, with almost 2,000 followers.
The management of this innovative and well-respected program requires close collaboration and communication with our DOE client and C3E partner, MIT, as well as continual improvement efforts to broaden the network, enhance the activities of the program, and serve the needs of the C3E community.