Friday, July 22, 2016

Mary Kipp

From Kipp takes over as EP Electric CEO by Vic Kolenc, El Paso Times
Photo by Victor Calzada

Earlier this week I met with the CEO of El Paso Electric, Mary Kipp. The time with her was not just informative but delightful. She has a very spontaneous, often perverse (in a fun way) sense of humor. I told her why I thought that EPEC was wrong regarding their policy toward rooftop solar and she shared her perspective.

The exchange was something akin to a Biology 101 student (me) speaking with a neurosurgeon (her). What I really discovered was that I was discussing solar energy with a fellow environmentalist - not a clandestine agent for the nefarious oil tycoons. (I also learned that Tom Shockley was not the evil minion of the Koch boys. Sorry, Tom.)

From PSEG El Paso Electric Solar Farm Inauguration,
El Paso Inc.
Photo from photo collection by Melody Parra

To be sure, we do have some differences of opinion. To solve the problem of carbon emissions (and, therefore, climate change), Kipp sees flaws in the rooftop solar approach. I was impressed with her sincerity and didn't see her thoughts on rooftop as being excuses to crush the competitors. Saying that she is an advocate of solar energy is an understatement.

If there was a flaw in her argument, it may have been because she was talking about solar in the context of the continuing existence of electrical utilities. (If I'm wrong, she can correct me the next time that we speak.) I still maintain that electric utilities are dinosaurian and already selected for extinction. More localized systems (perhaps as local as a single residence itself), are the future IMHO.

She did recommend that I read Bill McKibben's book, eaarth. I promised her that I would order it rightaway which I did. Thanks to Amazon Prime, it was at my doorstep this morning.

There is no doubt that EPEC's becoming coal free is the work of Shockley and the CEO whom he mentored: Mary Kipp. EPEC will even celebrate becoming coal free in a public event on Wednesday, August 3rd at 9:30 AM in the San Jacinto Plaza. It's a must attend.

Click on image to enlarge.

During our meeting Ms. Kipp was pleasantly straight forward. However, I do think that she misinformed me about one thing. She claimed that on her last birthday that she is older than she really is. I'm pretty sure that her Board would still approve of a 30ish CEO and take her knowledge, experience and expertise and not her age as the reasons to have made her CEO of EPEC.


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