Cheryl LaFleur Earns Penn’s Respected Prize in Energy Policy
Philadelphia, PA — Today the University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy will award its fifth annual Carnot Prize to Cheryl LaFleur, former commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The Carnot Prize honors those who make distinguished contributions to energy policy. This year, Penn recognizes LaFleur for her distinguished tenure at FERC, where she successfully navigated nearly a decade of change in the nation’s energy and power supply industries—as well as change in political leadership.
“I am deeply honored to receive this award from the Kleinman Center,” said LaFleur, who now serves on the board of directors of the Independent System Operator of New England. “I have tried over the past decade to find bipartisan consensus and to reach principled, fact-driven decisions on complex energy issues. There is a lot more work to be done to adapt the nation’s energy system to the challenges of climate change.”
“Cheryl LaFleur exemplifies the grit that defines this prize,” said Kleinman Center Faculty Director Mark Alan Hughes. He noted that she has been at the forefront of great transitions, including the growth of domestic natural gas and the subsequent U.S. shift away from coal; the world’s growing emphasis on climate change, and the development of innovative clean energy technologies.
LaFleur is known for her work adapting the nation’s energy markets and infrastructure to support new technologies and respond to climate change, including championing the review of FERC’s decades-old pipeline application policies and including “climate impact” of gas pipelines in the decision-making process.
She is the only person to lead FERC twice under two different administrations, in periods of considerable turmoil. Under the Trump administration, she spoke out in defense of independent and fact-based decision-making, maintaining market independence, and building consensus. She voted against the Department of Energy’s proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear and has supported market reforms for renewable energy storage and demand-side energy programs.
“We are proud to give Penn’s highest award in energy policy to Commissioner LaFleur for her leadership in thoughtfully balancing the demands of economic growth and environmental protection—surely the most urgent work we face as a species,” said Fritz Steiner, dean and Paley Professor at the Weitzman School of Design, home of the Kleinman Center.
LaFleur joins a distinguished list of Carnot Prize recipients, including: Piyush Goyal, India’s minister of railways and coal; Gina McCarthy, former administrator of the EPA; Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency; and Daniel Yergin, author and energy expert.
About the Prize. The Carnot Prize is named in memory of French scientist Sadi Carnot, the father of thermodynamics. Carnot recognized that the power of the steam engine would “produce a great revolution” in human development. The prize honors those leading similar energy policy revolutions that bring progress and prosperity.
About the Kleinman Center. The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design creates the conditions for policy innovation that support a just and efficient transition to sustainable energy.
About the Weitzman School. The mission of the Stuart Weitzman School of Design is to prepare students to address complex sociocultural and environmental issues through thoughtful inquiry, creative expression, and innovation. As a diverse community of scholars and practitioners, we are committed to advancing the public good—locally, nationally, and globally—through art, design, planning, and preservation.
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