Our Kids, Our Future

Empowering Change: Four Young Women Leading the Renewable Energy Revolution

For many of us, Gen-Z and millennials are our “heroes” because of their passion and drive for a better future. In this article, we profile four young women who are leading a revolution in renewable energy: A young startup founder setting up microgrids in tribal areas, a Nigerian immigrant assisting low-income Texans with solar installations, a pageant queen developing compact nuclear reactors, and an engineer applying hackathon strategies to climate challenges.

All under 30, with the youngest only 21, these women are founding companies, introducing solar solutions to communities, engineering innovative responses, and fervently advocating for equitable energy transitions both in the US and globally. Bobuchi Ken-Opurum, 29 hails the title “Affordable Energy Champion.” Grace Stanke, 21 is a Nuclear Energy Engineer. Marissa Sisk, 24 leads as a Tribal Energy Innovator and Sanjana Paul, 26 is known as the “Energy-Focused Environmental Hacker.”

These individuals are united by their youthful vigor and a pressing drive to devise solutions for climate change-related issues. Amid escalating energy costs and the tangible effects of the climate crisis—such as erratic, severe weather impacting everything from health to housing—they are dedicating their careers to innovative environmental solutions.

According to Pew Research, young adults are more receptive to the idea of completely eliminating fossil fuels compared to older generations. Among U.S. adults aged 18 to 29, 48% support an exclusive reliance on renewable energy sources, compared to 31% across all age groups. This enthusiasm for clean energy is reflected in how young professionals are increasingly prioritizing it in their career choices.

Bobuchi Ken-Opurum is currently working on pilot projects to bring clean and affordable energy to Americans living in low-income communities.”We were used to seeing smog and bad air quality — the water is bad,” she says to Cnet.com. “There’s so much pollution that was ingrained in our lives.” She recently finished a report analyzing the struggles of people in low-income communities throughout Texas regarding their ability to afford energy. She found that 30% of the respondents had to reduce their food expenses to pay for essential energy needs, such as running medical equipment or heating their homes.

Marissa Sisk found a way to reconnect with her Native American heritage through climate science and her tribe’s love for the land. She collaborates with tribal communities throughout the US to secure reliable and affordable renewable energy sources for them. Solar energy is a fitting choice for many tribal communities due to their geographic locations and the cultural significance of the sun in various tribal traditions.”If you overlay maps of different solar potential, like how much sun the US actually gets, there’s a tremendous overlap between tribes, tribal lands and solar,” she said to Cnet.com. 

The inspiration is mutual, as us “older generations” are energized by young people who are bringing new ideas and passion into the field. I, for one, am eager to see how they will revolutionize multiple industries. To read more about these young women’s inspiring stories click here.