Erica Mackie Honored for Energy Leadership

GRID Alternatives co-founder and CEO Erica Mackie was honored on Friday, September 20th with a Clean Energy and Empowerment Award at the annual C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium in Boston.

Erica was among six women to receive the award from C3E, the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment program, a partnership between U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI).

She was recognized for her leadership and accomplishments in the area of entrepreneurship and innovative business models.

“I am convinced the only solution we can find to climate change is one that must include women and must include all of our communities, because otherwise it will not be successful,” Erica said at the awards presentation. (Click here to watch her speech)

Erica, along with her colleauge Tim Sears, founded GRID Alternatives in 2001 while working as a professional engineer implementing large-scale renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for the private sector. Their vision was to make these technologies available to communities that need the savings the most, but have the least access.

“At GRID Alternatives our vision is that our power can be produced cleanly, but the only way to get there is by inclusive and equitable solutions,” Erica said. “In the U.S. low-income communities are disproportionately paying the price for power generation and disproportionately paying the price for climate change. GRID Alternatives is putting clean power, one system at a time, in neighborhoods that typically have no access. These tangible projects allow everyone, regardless of economic status, regardless of gender, regardless of race, to participate in the solution, and I am convinced that’s the only way we will have a solution.”

Before becoming an engineer, Erica worked with at-risk youth from the Chicago-area juvenile justice system, leading groups of teenagers from the South Side of Chicago on therapeutic wilderness trips in Northern Ontario. Her career and success demonstrate the power of bringing together the rigorous technical approach of an engineer with the focus of a social worker to serve individuals and communities in need.

Visit to read about the other winners of this year's award.