By Kate Bowman, solar project coordinator for Utah Clean Energy
Have you worked with someone who sets the standard for excellence in their field? I have. Her name is Sara Baldwin, and she is currently the regulatory program director for the Interstate Renewable Energy Council. When I first met Sara, she was the solar policy expert for Utah Clean Energy, a clean energy advocacy group in Salt Lake City (and the organization I currently work for). In some ways, I inherited my current job from Sara, and talk about big shoes to fill.
When Sara began work at Utah Clean Energy, mass market solar seemed like a thing of the future. Today, clean energy is a regular topic of conversation and Utah is ranked No. 6 in the nation for installed solar. We simply cannot deny Sara’s role in this transformation.
Since 2004, Sara has played a vital role in nearly every major advancement in Utah’s solar industry. From setting the stage for rooftop solar with the passage of updated net metering laws, to tackling financing barriers, to negotiating with key government and utility stakeholders, Sara has been at the table when transformative change was made in Utah.
Whether she is working from the marble halls of a capitol building or the windowless conference room of a technical regulatory hearing, Sara has a well-deserved reputation for bringing together diverse interests and collaborating to find common ground. Building the grid of the future is a massive undertaking that will require a nuanced understanding of the policy world, technical know-how, vision and foresight and limitless perseverance to get it all done. Sara’s unique combination of smarts, savvy, warmth and wit allows her to bring people together to create solutions from dissent and find pathways to a clean energy future. Now that Sara has moved on to the national stage, clean energy advocates across the country benefit from her leadership. The future has never been brighter for all of us.