Blog : Green Collar Careers: Eolian Renewable Energy Chief Executive Officer, Jack Kenworthy

By Craig | Aug 3, 2015 | in

By Ken Johnson

Wind is a vast, natural, and renewable energy. Despite being used as a power source for centuries, it wasn't until 1888 that Charles Brush first harnessed its potential to create electricity.

Eolian Renewable Energy, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, carries on Brush's work on a much larger scale. Brush's first wind turbine powered one home. Eolian's current project in Antrim, New Hampshire, will power about 12,500 average New Hampshire homes when completed.

The Antrim Wind Project is a venture that Jack Kenworthy, CEO of Eolian Renewable Energy is incredibly proud of. Not just because of the clean, renewable energy that it will create for the state of New Hampshire, but also for the many other innovative elements built into the project including vast amounts of forestland that the project will permanently conserve.

“It's a project we believe is really the best sited wind project in the state of New Hampshire,” Kenworthy said. “It has enjoyed long standing support from the town of Antrim, which is difficult to achieve, and we are very proud of our ability to have garnered and maintained that support over so many years. And we continue to have a very strong and positive relationship with both the leadership and the residents of the town.”

Not only will the Antrim project provide clean renewable energy, due to agreements with the town of Antrim, the Harris Center for Conservation Education and the individual land owners, it will also permanently preserve 908 acres of valuable open-space forest, including 100 percent of the project ridge line.

“It's a tremendous opportunity to advance New Hampshire's goals for clean and low cost energy development," Kenworthy said. "At the same time advancing both local and regional goals for clean energy, economic development and open space conservation in a way that has enjoyed very long standing, broad and deep support from the town of Antrim."

Eolian has also committed to using innovative radar activated lighting system to eliminate red FAA obstruction lights at night, has agreed to fund $5,000 per year to the Antrim Scholarship Committee in an unrestricted gift, has reached a $100,000 land conservation funding agreement with the New England Forestry Foundation for off site land conservation, and will fund $40,000 to enhance the recreational facilities at the town beach.

Ken Johnson (KJ): What do you like most about your job?
Jack Kenworthy (JK): The people. It’s a job that puts me in touch with a great diversity of people, in many different capacities, and I enjoy being able to work with people. I also love challenges and I love the challenge of working with Eolian. It's a complex job that involves many different facets and I like to be able to operate in many worlds at once and so the challenges associated with renewable energy development is something that I enjoy.

KJ: Where did you go to college? Does your college education help with your current job? What skills from college most prepared you for the work you do now?
JK: I studied environmental science at the University of Vermont. Working in the renewable field there are clearly many different aspects of environmental science that are involved, so I would say both the content of the studies that I undertook while I was at college have been helpful in terms of understanding and helping to manage impact associated with development and to approach development from a perspective that seeks to minimize those impacts while also maximizing environmental benefits. Probably most importantly is the critical thinking aspect of having been a multidisciplinary college major like environmental science. Development projects really are solving one problem after another after another and juggling many complex and interrelated issues so without a doubt being able to focus on and manage these nested challenges is a skill that has helped me in this role.

KJ: What do you look for in an employee in this field?
JK: I would say there are a number of things; certainly passion and determination are necessary and maybe even determination more than passion. These are difficult projects to get developed and built and it takes a long time and so I think there needs to be a real focus and willingness to commit the time and effort to see the end result realized. In addition to that I would say critical thinking skills and the ability to clearly articulate and communicate to a variety of stakeholders is also an essential skill. Whether you are speaking to investors, community members, regulators, vendors, technicians or other stakeholders – being knowledgeable, transparent and articulate is essential.

KJ: What made you integrate sustainability into your business/go into a green industry?
JK: I have always been passionate about the environment. That was my study in college and I have spent time educating about environmental issues and have been a wilderness expedition instructor both within and outside the US. For me, at the end of the day, we are living in a time when we're essentially redefining the way we interact with our environment; whether it's in energy or it's in buildings and structures and design; whether it's food or water or other natural resource management – these things touch all lives and all businesses and they are being reinvented. I think we are really going through an incredibly exciting time, and so from my perspective, there is no other way to approach work than to look at it with an environmental view in mind and renewable energy is a place where I have found myself able to integrate a lot of my passions into one place, and that's what has brought me there.

KJ: What are you most proud of in your business as relates to sustainability?
JK: At Eolian, we set out to be a different kind of energy company and we have taken that to heart. When we look to develop wind energy projects, or any type of clean energy project, we are seeking to bring multiple benefits from those projects into the communities where we want to site a project. For example, in the Antrim project, we have worked for many years to bring a broad set of stake holders together to develop a project with minimal impacts that has the ability to bring thousands of homes worth of clean energy to the market while also creating a vast amount of new permanently conserved open space forest land and will be a major economic engine in the region. And so I think that's probably what I am most proud of; that we have established that good competitive clean energy projects can go beyond bottom line only analysis and can accomplish multiple significant benefits that will last a very long time, and in some cases – forever.

Learn more about Eolian Renewable Energy: 155 Fleet Street, Portsmouth, or call (603) 570-4842, or visit www.eolian-energy.com.