Nominated for C3E Women in Cleantech

Mid-Career Designation As a leading Idaho energy
advocate and investor; a philanthropist with a proven nonprofit and angel
investment background; a successful Kauffman Center for Venture Education fellow
and an accomplished businesswoman, Kiki’s energy leadership background and
potential is appreciated by those who work on clean energy issues in Idaho. She
is known as a tireless and accomplished mid-career innovator and strategic
thinker, and her dedication as an energy philanthropist and her relentless
pursuit of continuing education and career advancement have established Kiki as
one of our foremost leaders and mentors for those following in her footsteps.
Kiki is dedicated to pragmatically and creatively navigating what many of us
view as a challenging yet promising political and economic climate in Idaho. She
is highly regarded in and beyond Idaho for her ability to leverage her
considerable financial talents with her knack for identifying unmet sustainable
energy potential in potential new clean energy entrepreneurs and investors, but
also her support of Idaho’s most effective energy advocates. As a pioneer in
the arena of corporate shareholder activism, Kiki’s counsel is regularly
sought by those of us who work to affect energy and climate action at all levels
– including in corporate boardrooms.
Accomplishments Kiki was involved in
clean energy work well before 2009, when she attracted national acclaim through
her organization and financing of the nation’s first successful corporate
shareholder resolution to direct a U.S. electric utility to reduce its climate
changing power plant emissions. Underwriting a 2009 shareholder resolution in
partnership with green investment nonprofit As You Sow and also with key clean
energy allies, Kiki initiated a successful dialog between one of the
Northwest’s largest electric utilities, Idaho Power, and state and regional
clean energy advocates. Her shareholder resolution made  electric utility
history by winning actual approval of the resolution over the utility’s fierce
opposition. At the same she forced Idaho Power to write a low-carbon energy
strategy, Kiki helped unite Idaho clean energy entrepreneurs – notably
developing wind and solar power businesses – to establish themselves across
Idaho and also to overcome fierce utility opposition to meeting their federally
imposed clean energy acquisition requirements under the Public Utility
Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) of 1978. Kiki convened meetings of wind and
solar energy developers, tirelessly briefed Idaho’s governor and other
decision-makers, and galvanized clean energy advocates such as the Snake River
Alliance, the NW Energy Coalition, Climate Solutions and others in developing a
landmark sustainable energy roadmap for Idaho despite resistance from the
state’s climate change-denying political establishment. In her more than 10
years of clean energy activism, Kiki has not only helped redefine how Idaho’s
utilities view their clean energy obligations, but she also provided the
earliest frameworks for our developing clean energy advocacy work and Idaho’s
formative energy developers. Subsequent to leading the Idaho Power
“shareholder revolt,” Kiki has immersed herself into the world of angel
investing and venture capital. She continues to build on her Kauffman Fellowship
experience and in multiple clean energy “angel investment” endeavors.
Leadership Qualities As described above,
Kiki’s clean energy campaigning earned the recognition of our state’s
decision-makers, but also from state and regional clean energy advocates and
from such influential media as “High Country News,” which in 2013 featured
her longshot fight against a powerful utility and leading what Idaho Power’s
CEO labeled “a minority in the state that have taken exception to what we have
done. “ “Kiki Tidwell is one of that minority’s most vocal members,” HCN
reported. “On a sunny day last September, the petite, well-coiffed blonde sat
in her Settle condo happily discussing clean energy, producing stacks of
research and hand-written notes. ‘We are in the early stages of a massive
market with global ramifications.’ Tidwell doesn’t call herself an
environmentalist. She prefers ‘capitalist’ and is an ardent free-market
Republican. But she sees renewable energy as a tool for rural development. Idaho
could generate 18,074 megawatts of energy from wind, but has only 972 megawatts
of installed capacity. Tidwell believes that developing more wind and solar,
while increasing energy conservation through a fleet of recently installed smart
meters, could give Idaho counties tax revenues while saving consumers money.”
Kiki does not seek accolades; her leadership stems from a tenacious, strategic,
and factually sound and respected body of research. She is a conduit for
sustainable energy resources and imparts that information to those around her,
whom she supports financially and as a mentor. This is particularly important
for women in Idaho’s fledgling clean-energy field, which continues to be
populated primarily by skilled males. Outside of her energy work, Kiki has a
record of grant-making, board, and other leadership capacities with the likes of
the Idaho Community Foundation, K-12 Grants Committee Social Venture Partners,
the Governor’s Coordinating Council for Families & Children, and the
Blaine County Foster Parent Support Group.
Kiki’s education,
business and environmental life, work, and passions continue to be exemplified
and informed by her belief that mid-career women must have a greater voice in
the green energy field in which she has been a pioneer for more than a decade.
This is a field not often known for recognizing the work of women, and that’s
doubly true in the utility industry. Kiki’s work on behalf of sustainable
energy practices and her still-unfolding story is a beacon for aspiring women in
the prime of their careers. As much as any clean energy advocate in our state,
Kiki has shown many of us in our field how to effectively navigate a tough
business and one always known as gender-blind. Yet she has been at the center of
what for nearly a decade has been a tectonic shift in the world of clean energy
in Idaho. She is a nimble, tactful, and effective pioneer in Idaho’s sometimes
rough political and cultural landscape. Her accomplishments and leadership for
those of us advancing progressive climate and energy policies is valued
throughout our field. As a veteran of the “clean energy wars” in Idaho and
the West, and as a former Board Chair of the NW Energy Coalition, the
Coalition’s first Idaho Clean Energy Advocate and its Idaho Caucus Chair, and
as the Snake River Alliance’s former Clean Energy Program Director for nine
years through November 2016, I wholeheartedly support Kiki Tidwell’s
nomination for the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Award for 2017
and for recognition of her work in the field of advocacy.

Nominated by Ken Miller, Editor, Idaho Energy Report

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