On September 20, 2019, millions of people walked out of schools, workplaces and homes to heed the call of a global climate movement: “Join young climate strikers in the streets and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels. Our house is on fire — let’s act like it. We demand climate justice for everyone.” The strike was inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who launched a climate strike outside the Swedish parliament to demand action on climate change. In Vermont, student activists from around the state and leading businesses joined the call during a week of action. We speak with businesspeople and activists on why they support the strike. (September 18, 2019 broadcast)
Jenn Swain, global senior sustainability manager, Burton Snowboards
Kristin Kelly, director of communications, Green Mountain Power
Divya Gudur, student organizer, Middlebury College
Green Mountain Power announced this month that it had established a goal of getting of getting 100% of its power from carbon-free sources by 2025 and 100% from renewable sources by 2030. The announcement by Vermont’s largest electric utility made national news. GMP president Mary Powell discusses how the utility plans to meet this ambitious goal, and how alarming news about climate change motivated her to act. (April 17, 2019 broadcast)
Mary Powell has been president and CEO of Green Mountain Power since 2008. Powell and GMP have been pioneers: the utility is the first to help its ratepayers go off the grid, the first to offer residential solar customers the Tesla Powerwall battery and the first and only utility to achieve B Corp certification. Powell is among the few women in the country to lead an energy utility.
In May 2018, the National Audubon Society awarded Mary Powell its Rachel Carson Medal, given to women who have advanced the cause of conservation. The award is named for the marine biologist and author of The Silent Spring, whose work is credited with helping create the modern environmental movement. Powell discusses how she shook up a stodgy energy utility to make it more nimble and responsive to customers, why an electric utility supports renewable power, “leading with love,” and surviving cancer and the loss of her house in a fire. (June 20, 2018 broadcast)
Mary Powell, President & CEO, Green Mountain Power
Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power since 2008, has transformed the company from traditional utility to clean energy pioneer. One of the nation’s few women to lead an electric utility, she was recently named Woman of the Year by an industry trade group. Powell recently confronted a new challenge: cancer. She discusses how undergoing genetic testing and having a double mastectomy earlier this year has changed her outlook on life and work. She also describes Vermont’s energy future beyond “twigs and twine” (electric poles and wires) toward communities powered by small micro-grids, how GMP will be the first utility to offer home batteries made by Tesla Motors, as well as her views on nuclear power, resistance to renewable energy, and her advice to young women entering the work world.
Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power and one of the few female energy company executives in the country, talks about Vermont’s renewable energy initiatives, the controversies over wind and nuclear power, and women and leadership.