Jackalyne Pfannenstiel Steps Down from Navy's Top Energy Post

Earlier this summer, Jackalyne Pfannenstiel stepped down from her post as the Navy's top environment and energy official, the most recent stop on a long and fruitful career that strengthened energy efficiency across a variety of industries and organizations.

"Jackie worked tirelessly and creatively to deploy energy efficiency as a 'first fuel' for the Navy and, in doing so, helped Secretary Mabus realize his goal of 'greening' the fleet and all other naval facilities. The legacy Jackie leaves has put the Navy, and therefore our nation, on a more secure and prosperous path," Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan said. Callahan added that she has long been inspired by Pfannenstiel's leadership as a woman in many male-dominated fields.

Pfannenstiel Champions Energy Efficiency at the Navy

After assuming her post as the Navy's assistant secretary for energy, installations and environment in March 2010, Pfannenstiel set to work developing the department’s energy strategy. Through innovative policies, the strategy set high yet achievable goals, which include:

  • Reducing petroleum use in the Navy's commercial vehicle fleet by 50% by 2015,
  • Producing 50% of shore-based energy from alternative sources by 2020, and
  • Achieving net-zero energy use in 50% of Navy installations by 2020.

As assistant secretary, Pfannenstiel also managed over 75,000 buildings and related facilities supporting Navy and Marine operations around the world. Her sharp focus on energy efficiency had far-reaching impacts both within and beyond the military.

In addition, Pfannenstiel was a critical liaison to the government and citizens of Guam, working to implement the U.S.–Japanese agreement that set to relocate 8,000 Marines and their families from Okinawa.

Pfannenstiel's Earlier Career

Prior to serving the Navy, Pfannenstiel worked for Pacific Gas and Electric Company and its parent, PG&E Corporation. She became PG&E's first female corporate officer in 1987, when she was promoted to vice president of corporate planning. One of Pfannenstiel's many accomplishments at PG&E was leading the company to participate in a proceeding that produced many of California’s energy efficiency policies. She also directed the development of PG&E’s strategies for responding to electric industry restructuring, as well as led the company's support of revenue decoupling, which separates its profit from the amount of energy it sells.

In 2004 – after 20 years with PG&E and a stint as an independent energy consultant – Pfannenstiel was appointed to the California Energy Commission. She became the Energy Commission's chair in 2006. During her term, she focused on the areas of energy efficiency, demand response, and climate change, leading the Energy Commission to adopt aggressive energy efficiency measures for state building codes, among other measures.

Pfannenstiel and the Alliance

Pfannenstiel is a longtime friend of the Alliance to Save Energy. Prior to her presidential appointment to the Navy, Pfannenstiel served as a member of the Alliance's Board of Directors, providing guidance based on her extensive understanding of energy efficiency issues.

For her decades-long championship of energy efficiency, Pfannenstiel received the Chairman’s Award at the annual Evening with the Stars of Energy Efficiency awards dinner on Oct. 4, 2011, in Washington, D.C. Upon bestowing the award, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said that Pfannenstiel "has been a leader in recognizing that energy independence is crucial to our national security.”

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Alliance Marketing Intern Lizzie Horne contributed to this article.