Managing Principal, Energy Futures Initiative
Melanie Kenderdine joined former Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz and fellow Principal Joseph S. Hezir in founding the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to driving innovation in energy technology, policy, and business models.
Kenderdine worked in the Obama administration at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) from May 2013 to January 2017. She served concurrently as energy counselor to the secretary and as the director of DOE’s Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis. Her 100-person office was responsible for analysis and policy development in areas, including DOE’s role in the annual review of the Renewable Fuel Standard Program requirements, energy innovation, and climate change. Her office produced two installments of the Quadrennial Energy Review and helped conceive and develop the Energy Security Principles adopted by Group of Seven (G-7) leaders in 2014. As energy counselor to the secretary, Kenderdine helped create Mission Innovation, now a 24-country/European Union initiative that supports transformational clean energy research, development, and demonstration; North American grid integration and security; and the modernization of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Prior to her service at DOE, Kenderdine helped establish the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and served there as executive director. During her six-year tenure at MITEI, she managed large research and administrative staff, was a key contributor to MIT’s Future of Natural Gas study, the MITEI Symposium Report on Alternative Fuels and Vehicles, and edited the MIT Future of the Electric Grid study. Kenderdine also started the C3E Symposium series, a joint MIT-DOE program to support women’s careers in clean energy with cash prizes; she still serves as a DOE C3E Ambassador.
Before joining MITEI, she was vice president of Washington operations for the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) from 2001 to 2007. While at GTI, Kenderdine established a separate not-for-profit company, the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA). As RPSEA’s first CEO, she transformed it from an MOU between GTI and one university to an industry/academic unconventional natural gas research consortium of 26 universities and 30 industry partners. Concurrently, she was a key architect of the Royalty Trust Fund, the only federal trust fund dedicated to energy research and development.
From 1993 to 2001, Kenderdine was an appointee in President Bill Clinton’s administration, where she served in several key posts at DOE, including senior policy advisor to the secretary, Bill Richardson, director of the Office of Policy, and deputy assistant secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs.
She was a primary architect of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve oil exchange of 2000, the creation of the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, and the return of the Naval Oil Shale Reserve No. 2 to the Ute tribe in Utah, the largest land transfer back to Native Americans in the lower 48 in over 100 years. Prior to joining DOE, Kenderdine was chief of staff and legislative director for then-New Mexico Congressman Richardson.
She is a graduate of the University of New Mexico, has homes in New Mexico and Hawaii, and is an avid global traveler and enthusiast of fly fishing.