Founder and Principal, The DeGannes Consulting Group
Dr. Karen DeGannes is a trusted advisor and strategist in the energy, public utilities (water, transportation and broadband) and environmental sectors and has over 21 years of professional experience. Her work focuses on systems and local level solutions that integrate climate change, asset/infrastructure management, climate justice, clean technology and risk. In the role of Principal for a major, investor-owned energy utility, she has shaped and implemented various California mandates associated with decarbonization, air quality, climate adaptation and resilience, ESG, and climate emergency management in the context of California’s evolving environmental and social justice policy framework, which centers disadvantaged and climate vulnerable communities. Her pioneering work leading a utility-wide, cross-functional team defined the utility’s gas to electric customer conversions, cut operating costs, and provided a blueprint for its electrification strategy. For her leadership in this work, she received the utility’s prestigious Margaret Mooney Innovation Champion award in 2018. Dr. DeGannes has designed pilot programs that integrate renewable energy technologies to reduce utility bills, energy burdens and improve service for low-income and working-class communities. She has managed extensive utility infrastructure and asset optimization projects for achieving California’s climate mandates.
Dr. DeGannes has held several technical and operational roles, including as Senior Analyst - Energy Division, with the California Public Utilities Commission’s Engineering, Environmental Studies & Customer Service Branch. In that role, she led environmental review, permitting and compliance for large-scale utility infrastructure projects. She has served as Project Manager for the Interconnection of grid-scaled renewables and as Senior Gas Transmission Interconnection Manager for municipal and corporate utilities, respectively. In her role as a utility regulator, Dr. DeGannes managed the oversight and evaluation of state-wide rate support, energy efficiency and demand response programs. She has shaped national and state-level environmental, environmental justice, hazardous waste management, and economic development policies in the United States and in the Caribbean and has served as a technical expert on gender and renewable energy and energy market transitions for international organizations such as the United Nations. In her native land, Trinidad and Tobago, she founded and led an environmental consultancy. She served as senior advisor to the Minister of Public Utilities and the Environment, the executive leadership of the Environmental Management Authority, and commercial and industrial entities. From 2001-2003, Dr. DeGannes co-founded and operated an environmental justice non-profit organization that provided data judo and other capacity-building services to environmental justice (EJ) and community-based organizations. She currently offers pro-bono services to EJ organizations working in the climate justice, clean jobs, decarbonization, and clean transportation arenas. Her formal education includes Doctor of Philosophy degrees in the fields of Natural Resources and Environment and (organizational) Sociology from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.