Honoring women in wind power

28 March 2014 by Lauren Glickman Lauren Glickman

Guest blog by Lauren Glickman, Consultant with Women of Wind Energy

Each year, Women of Wind Energy (WoWE) highlights and recognizes the stories of incredible women and men that are forging the path for a strong diversified work force and a robust renewable energy economy. Honorees are recognized each year during the WoWE Luncheon at WINDPOWER. This year’s luncheon will take place in Las Vegas on May 8th.

In honor of Women’s history month, I have the privilege of again recognizing some of our past Woman of the Year and Rising Star recipients.

The Woman of the Year Award: Each year WoWE seeks out a woman who stands out for her leadership, inspiration, and significant contributions to the expansion and improvement of renewable energy completed at the highest level.


Women of Wind Energy Executive Director Kristen Graf hands Lucille Olszewski the 2013 Woman of the Year Award

Lucille Olszewski was honored with the 2013 Woman of the Year Award. She first started in the wind industry in the mid-1980s as a young meteorologist with one of the largest wind manufacturers and developers in the world. Wind prospecting requires a person who not only has a good understanding of the interaction of terrain and wind, but also a person who understands those other requirements like access, transmission lines, lack of legal and environmental restrictions, and a variety of other factors, referred to as buildability. During her 30 years in the industry Lucille has developed a keen eye on all fronts, having assessed over 9,000 MW of planned capacity and sited over 14,000 wind turbines. She has been a true inspiration and role model for women considering a career in wind energy for over a quarter of a century.

Leslie Freiman, General Counsel, Chief Regulatory Officer, and Secretary for EDP Renewables (EDPR), was honored as the 2012 Woman of the Year Award. She first started in the wind industry in 2004 as a project counsel for Zilkha Renewable Energy and since then has been influential in transitioning a 30-person development team to a 300-person wind energy operator that is EDP Renewables today. While Leslie’s professional accomplishments are numerous, additional highlights include the successful oversight of over 4 billion dollars of tax equity investments and providing advice and legal support at the development, construction and operations phases for 27 of EDPR’s operating projects. 

Rising Star Award: This award is given to a woman who is relatively new to wind energy and is already making significant professional contributions by demonstrating unusual talent, dedication and innovation in her renewable energy work.

Dr. Julie Lundquist, Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder with a joint appointment at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, was honored with the 2013 Rising Star Award. During her time at Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL), Julie’s research moved wind energy forecasting to new frontiers. She has studied the effects of atmospheric stability and turbulence on wind energy forecasting and wind turbine performance. Her work extends beyond traditional academia into how the industry can revolutionize wind resource assessment. Her exceptional vision, ingenuity, passion and leadership make her a shining example for others in the field and she will no doubt inspire future generations of talented women to continue to discover new advancements for wind power.

Jennifer Jenkins, Executive Director, Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) was honored with the 2012 Rising Star Award.   Jennifer was brought on as DWEA’s Executive Director in July 2010. In the last three years Jennifer has developed a membership program that includes over 90 members, manages multiple policy committees, implements campaigns focused on annual state policy, and leads efforts for DWEA’s conferences and education outreach.  She accomplished all of this while handling the day-to-day administration of a new association.

A note on the awards: the honorees are selected by an open nomination process and while nominations have closed for this year it is never too late to start thinking about who you'd like to nominated next year! To see a list of all past honorees, check out the awards website.

About Women of Wind Energy:

WoWE was founded in 2005 and works to promote the education, professional development, and advancement of women to achieve a strong diversified workforce and support a robust renewable energy economy.  Since that time, WoWE has grown to an organization with 35 local chapters in the US and Canada, an annual luncheon held in conjunction with the AWEA WINDPOWER 2014 Conference & Exhibition, the WoWE Leadership Forum, and a growing grassroots network of more than 2,000 women and men.