The efforts of Kate Bowman ’10 to make solar energy more accessible in Utah have produced tangible results. In her role with Utah Clean Energy, she helped increase residential solar usage by a factor of five in Summit County. Bowman was one of ten people recognized on April 17 as a “Champion of Change” by President Barack Obama at the White House Solar Summit.
Bowman told the Deseret News, “By making solar more affordable and simple for everyday Utahans, we are empowering our communities to make smart, sustainable energy choices.”
Bowman double-majored in government and anthropology and was a member of the Dartmouth Mountaineering Club.
1) What sparked your passion for environmental sustainability?
The importance of environmental sustainability began to resonate in a personal way when I started learning to backcountry ski, to rock climb, and to kayak. For fans of outdoor recreation of all types, small battles over limited resources crop up all the time, when land-use designations prevent access to a favorite climbing area, or beloved stretches of a whitewater river are dammed. Incredible and irreplaceable treasures can be lost in an instant unless we manage the resources we have thoughtfully and with an eye to the future.
2) What Dartmouth experiences helped prepare you for this career?
I was very involved with the Dartmouth Outing Club, where I was able to learn skills that I will value for the rest of my life. The breadth of activities offered through the DOC and the student-run nature of the club create opportunities that elevate students into tremendous leaders. At the time, I didn’t realize how unique the dynamic of the DOC is. You’re inspired to take on challenges you might previously have thought impossible. It gave me opportunities to serve as a leader, collaborate with others, work toward a common vision, and, sometimes, to fail and learn. These opportunities foster a desire to give back where you are able, and to serve as a good steward of what has been entrusted to you.
As a government major, an environmental policy course convinced me to change my focus from international relations. The U.S. has a unique outlook on the importance of public land and the preservation of wild spaces, and it was fascinating to learn about the policy frameworks that protect our environment.
3) What does Utah Clean Energy do?
Utah Clean Energy takes the politics out of the clean energy debate by collaborating with diverse interests to find solutions. For more than a decade, Utah Clean Energy has pioneered policy changes and removed market barriers for renewable energy in Utah, and, in doing so, helped to protect our health, our environment, and our climate.
As the solar project coordinator, I head community solar initiatives that demystify the solar installation process. Misconceptions about solar energy can make it seem daunting, but by giving citizens access to a volume discount, a streamlined solar installation process, and information about clean energy, community solar projects have dramatically accelerated solar adoption.
Sutton Lowry ’16 is the Alumni Relations Whitney Campbell Class of 1925 intern. Lowry is a psychology and brain sciences major from Seattle, WA.
Three Questions profiles alumni in pursuit of their passions.