Sales Director, OPower
I’m the kind of person who, if I identify a problem, I am volunteering to be a part of the solution.
When Damali Harding took on the role of executive director at The Energy Co-op, a unique green power purchasing collective in Philadelphia and surrounding counties, she was confronted with a classic MBA problem. Membership was declining, causing prices to rise and membership to decline further. Her solution is to reverse the spiral—to spin up rather than down. Increasing the nonprofit’s buying power puts downward pressure on the pricing the Co-op can offer the community, says Harding, who wants to quintuple the Co-op’s membership from 5,000 to 25,000. Ultimately it’s a way for consumers to express their values through the marketplace.
“I’m an energy person first, who is also an environmentalist,” Harding says. “All utilities now have renewables in their portfolio. That’s one of the drivers in lowering costs and we take advantage of that.” Members pay a slight premium for clean and sometimes locally produced electricity, which The Energy Co-op provides through tradable renewable energy certificates. This creates a market-based incentive for companies to invest in wind and solar generation, even with the price of natural gas at historic lows. “The price drops for renewables year-over-year have been huge and in some cases producers have been able to generate renewable energy at parity, or even below traditional brown sources,” she says.
Harding began her career in management consulting, specializing in post-merger integration at Deloitte, where she also led a team studying electric vehicle infrastructure. Her fascination with the energy business grew out of an OnSite Global Consulting project during her second year at Tuck, analyzing power-generation opportunities in the Caribbean for a global client. “Several islands were using diesel which is expensive and dirty, while Costa Rica at that point was 90-plus percent renewable,” says Harding, who recognized the dramatic impact energy can have on quality of life.
“I like to look at energy as a means of economic justice and social justice,” she says. A chance meeting in the Philadelphia public library galvanized that connection. “I was at a green event at the local library in Philadelphia and I spoke to a woman who hadn’t had heat for 20 years,” she says. “Last year, she did not have electricity. Think about what that does to a child. How can I empower that child to be the next president of the United States if she can’t even read at night? My mission is to make sure energy is available to everyone.”
Colin Butterfield on Developing Global Leaders
Colin Butterfield T’04 describes his investment process as collaborative and bottom-up, not a top-down approach that follows established trends.Read More
Phil Giudice T'85 is CEO of AMBRI, a Boston-based startup chasing the Holy Grail of renewable energy: cheap, reliable, and massively scalable electricity storage.Read More
Energy entrepreneur Mike Miskovsky T'90 is bullish on the future of electric vehicles even though he doesn’t think much of today’s electric cars.Read More
Sarah Barpoulis T'91 credits Tuck for a style that lends itself to constructive debate, consensus building, and empowering others, which she sees as the key attributes of successful board members.Read More
Robert Wallace T'84 is a Baltimore-born entrepreneur who has written six books and runs three companies focusing on information technology, executive coaching, and most recently, renewable energy.Read More
Pace Ralli T'09 came to Tuck after the 2003 blackout inspired a career change from corporate finance to energy.Read More
Lee Taylor T’12, co-founder and CEO of REsurety, is helping to redefine the way energy companies approach risk in the promising but volatile wind energy industry.Read More
Andrew Smith T'07 chose Tuck first because he was looking for a beautiful environment where he could spend time thinking about how to maximize his impact on big challenges in the world.Read More
As the president and CEO of Calpine, a Fortune 500 power generator and retailer, Thad Hill T’95 is doing exactly what he envisioned when he came to Tuck in 1993.Read More
GE Canada CEO Elyse Allan D’79, T’84 is helping advance the company’s innovation agenda one good idea at a time.Read More
The new Revers Center for Energy, made possible by Daniel Revers T'89, expands Tuck’s energy programming in the classroom and beyond.Read More
People call Eric Spiegel T'87 the most natural leader they’ve ever met. Now CEO of Siemens USA, a global electronics and engineering powerhouse, he gets to lead on the issues that matter most. To his company and the country.Read More