The confirmation hearing of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to be the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), started yesterday.

Pruitt's LinkedIn page describes him as "a national leader in the cause to restore the proper balance of power between the states and federal government. [...] Scott filed the first lawsuit challenging the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, is a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda, and is leading a multistate lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Dodd-Frank financial law."

Pruitt joins Ben Carson at HUD, Rick Perry at the Department of Energy, and Betsy DeVos at the Department of Education in having rather unorthodox views regarding the direction of the government agencies they could potentially lead.

The American Farm Bureau and Jeb Bush endorse Pruitt. The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, "an evangelical organization with a tangled web of corporate sponsors, including by foundations reportedly funded by the U.S. oil-billionaire Koch brothers," is also an endorser, according to reports in Quartz.

The science director at The Heartland Institute, a vehemently free-market conservative think tank, writes: “I worked very hard from 1968 to 1971 to convince President Nixon to establish an environmental protection agency because of the past damage to our environment. However, the time is long past to take down an agency that has become a wholly owned subsidiary of anti-capitalist environmental zealots."

Michael Brune, the Sierra Club's executive director, sees things differently, according to this release: “[Pruitt is] unfit and unprepared to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and can’t justify his career full of attacks on the clean air and water protections he’s supposed to uphold. He even forgot to immediately say ‘to protect the environment’ when asked to explain what the EPA administrator’s role is."

"Republicans only need 50 votes to confirm [Pruitt], and there have been no signs of GOP defections," according to political news website The Hill.

Green Charge Networks named Fawad Khan as VP of marketing. Previously, he was VP of marketing at an undisclosed "stealth" firm. Sean Kiernan, formerly of SunEdison, joined Green Charge as VP and general manager of solar-plus-storage. Part of immense independent power producer Engie, Green Charge claims to be "the largest provider of commercial energy storage in the U.S. with more than 55 megawatt-hours of commercial energy storage projects in operation or under construction."  

JLM Energy, a renewable energy technology firm, added Ardes Johnson as VP of strategic initiatives. Johnson recently served as director of sales at Tesla Energy, and before that, as VP of sales for SolarWorld. Johnson will focus on projects including utility-scale solar-plus-storage. As we've reported, JLM Energy offers a portfolio of advanced energy solutions including both battery systems and control systems for demand management.

John Stanton, SolarCity’s executive VP and regulatory counsel for seven years, is now CEO of the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. Stanton previously served with the Solar Energy Industries Association, the National Environmental Trust, and the U.S. EPA. The ISI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded by the American Public Works Association, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the American Council of Engineering Companies to promote sustainable infrastructure.

Amir Bayati, previously at First Solar and Intermolecular, is now CTO at Heliotrope Technologies, a maker of electrochromic glass. GTM's Stephen Lacey writes: "Heliotrope's technology differs from the electrochromics being developed by Sage and View. While 'conventional' electrochromics can't filter out light and heat at the same time, Heliotrope is using a material made of indium tin oxide crystals that can do both."

The California Clean Energy Fund named Kenneth Alston as investment manager. Alston worked in the Obama administration at the White House and as special adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Energy.

Hyperloop One promoted Brent Callinicos to COO and CFO of the startup. Previously, Callinicos was CFO at Uber Technologies. GTM's Julia Pyper recently reported, "Forget about high-speed trains -- 700-mile-per-hour tube travel could become a reality within the coming months. Hyperloop One announced today it has raised $50 million in new financing as the Los Angeles-based startup prepares to conduct a full-scale demonstration of its ultra-fast, tube-based transportation system in the first quarter of 2017. The latest funding round brings Hyperloop One’s total amount raised to $160 million since its founding in 2014."

Calif. Governor Jerry Brown Jr. announced that Ashutosh Bhagwat, a Democrat, has been reappointed to the California Independent System Operator Board of Governors, where he has served since 2011. Bhagwat has been a professor of law at the University of California, Davis School of Law since 2011. Angelina Galiteva, a Democrat, has also been reappointed to the board. Galiteva was executive director of strategic planning at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Both positions require Senate confirmation and come with compensation of $20,000.


Enertech Search Partners, an executive search firm with a dedicated cleantech practice, is the sponsor of the GTM jobs column.

Among its many active searches, Enertech is looking for a Demand Response Operations Manager

The client is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies looking to expand the team for an internal startup. The parent company is expecting to invest about $1 billion into this early-stage business focused on distributed energy for large energy users. By combining traditional and renewable power, energy efficiency, demand response, generation, advisory services and big data and other digital assets, they help their customers capitalize on the new and more flexible energy landscape and move from consumers to prosumers and even grid service providers.

This client is currently seeking a Demand Response Operations Manager who will reside on the Customer Success Team. They are looking for an individual who will lead the North American team responsible for demand response retail operations in utilities and all ISOs, including PJM, NYISO, ISO-NE, MISO and ERCOT.  This will include oversight of all post-sale customer interactions and operational steps and is responsible for the ongoing customer experience.


Executive VP David K. Owens of the Edison Electric Institute, the association of U.S. investor-owned electric utilities, is retiring on June 30, following 36 years of service. Owens began his career at EEI as director of rates and regulation. He "was the first African-American to hold an officer title at EEI" and "had significant responsibility over issues that affect the future structure of the electric industry and new rules in evolving competitive markets."

ZAF Energy Systems named Randy Moore, previously the president of EaglePicher Technologies, as the battery company’s new CEO. The company claims that its rechargeable nickel-zinc battery is "a competitive replacement for lead-acid and nickel-cadmium batteries" with "better performance, safety, cost, and reliability."         

From the previous jobs column:

When First Solar acquired Enki Technology for its anti-reflection coatings late last year, Enki's CEO, Kevin Kopczynski, joined First Solar as a senior director. Previously, Kopczynski was a partner at RockPort Capital Partners. Enki received a seed round from investors including Applied Materials, a Series A led by RockPort, as well as SunShot funding from the DOE. According to this document (PDF), SunEdison was also an investor in Enki. First Solar has made a number of acquisitions over the years, including the purchases of RayTracker and TetraSun, as well as its investment in Clean Energy Collective and apparent investment in a tellurium mine. First Solar acquired developers NextLight and OptiSolar in the aughts.

Solar Energy Industries Association has selected Abigail Ross Hopper as its new CEO. Hopper was previously head of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Before that, she was director of the Maryland Energy Administration and an adviser to former Gov. Martin O’Malley.