A Career Shift as Energy Shifts
From energy and transportation policy in the government sector to utility innovation at a major electric company — CBEY’s Financing and Deploying Clean Energy certificate program helped Giselle de Grandis prepare for a significant career shift. She is now developing innovation strategy at “a key inflection point for utilities” — decarbonizing operations, building a resilient grid, and helping customers electrify transportation, buildings, and industry. The ultimate goal, she says, is to adopt new technologies and processes faster and scale them for maximum impact.
former senior policy advisor for the Ontario Ministry of Energy and Transportation, Giselle De Grandis recently made the leap to strategic innovation manager at Hydro One, Ontario’s largest electric utility. She credits the CBEY Financing and Deploying Clean Energy online certificate program with enabling her to make the career shift “at a key inflection point for utilities.”
“Decarbonization, decentralization, digitalization, and democratization are disrupting the traditional business model and creating an innovation imperative,” says De Grandis. “Utilities enable electrification, distributed energy resource adoption and two-way power flows while maintaining grid reliability at affordable prices, so to ‘electrify everything’ means innovative utilities lead the way.”
De Grandis is currently developing an innovation strategy that engages Hydro One’s different business units and will be launching an innovation council and center of excellence to better support internal and external innovation, including through venture capital investments. The goal, she says, is adopting new technologies and processes faster and scaling them for maximum impact.
As her role progresses, De Grandis says she will also lean on the individuals from her CBEY cohort who work in the utility innovation space. “The small cohort size meant students were able to develop a sense of community as we learned together. I’ve stayed in touch with a number of them, and they’ve become wonderful resources for me.”