Janice Lin: Leading the Charge Against Climate Change

Our Women and the Green Economy campaign recognizes women who are leading the charge in mitigating climate change. Such women are found in business, government, the non-profit world and academia - while some even work across all those realms.

Janice Lin is an entrepreneur using her scientific knowledge and influence in business to urge government to carve a role for renewable energy storage in the massive electric power industry.

She is founder of the CaliforniaEnergy Storage Alliance which is creating a market for energy storage where none has existed.

By helping to prove that renewable energy sources of wind and solar can be stored through new technologies and then called upon at times when electricity is in peak demand, Lin is unleashing the potential for big increases in the use of renewable energy in electricity generation.

“We have an electric power system that now operates at less than 50 percent of capacity because our system is designed to match supply and demand,” with real time generating capacity, she said in an interview.

That means that even when renewable energy sources are used, utilities maintain massive generating capacity from fossil fuels in case demand at any moment exceeds the renewable source’s generating capability. “It is very inefficient,” Lin said.

Utility regulation doesn’t reward companies for building storage capacity into their operations.  Lin and the Alliance – made up of start-up renewable energy storage companies – have successfully introduced changes to regulation in California to provide utilities with incentives for storing electricity. After California, they intend to introduce changes on the national level.

“What gets me out of bed every day is I want to change the electric power system to one that enables more domestic renewables. Our ability to find the energy we need locally from renewable sources will solve much of the greenhouse gas emissions problem,” she said.

New storage technologies such as flywheels and massive utility scale batteries have received more venture capital in recent years than other clean tech sectors, which means there are now lots of ways utilities can employ storage. The Alliance she created worked with law makers in California to pass legislation, AB 2514, that provides incentives for utilities to use storage.

Lin says that as a woman operating in the male dominated electric utility electricity storage industries, she brings an ability to build collaboration and to multi-task.

At Earth Day Network, we understand that bringing women’s innate skills to the challenges of climate change is a key part of the solution.  Learn more about the Women and the Green Economy campaign at http://www.earthday.org/campaign/women-and-green-economy-wage.