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Women in STEM: Meet the woman responsible for managing our wholesale energy agreements to ensure we meet our customers energy needs

August 01, 2023 Molly Babcock, EWEB Communications

For over a hundred years, the energy industry remained static. Equipped with heavy assets, energy leaders assumed generation would remain steady, and prices would remain low.

All that changed around the time that Megan Capper got her first job out of college at the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).

During the Western Energy Crisis, generation could not meet demand. By the year 2000, Western energy suppliers were 4,000 megawatts short of demand on average. The crisis led to implementation of price-caps and new generation development.

“This period of change was very exciting.  We were pushing the limits of the status quo, and I loved seeing decisions made on the fly,” Capper said.

Capper is EWEB’s energy resources manager. She works with a team to manage wholesale energy agreements and ensure adequate supply for tomorrow, and for the next 20 years. As a manager, Capper plays an integral role in supplying Eugene’s electricity.

“EWEB staff are full of passion and pride, but it takes all of us working together to keep Eugene’s lights on. I love that I am part of this team,” she said.

Capper didn’t know what direction her career would take until her freshman year of college at Willamette University. “I took an economics class, and I just fell in love,” she said. Her good grades did not come easy, but her professors were the reason she pushed through.

Her Tourette Syndrome sometimes made it difficult to focus during class and while taking exams. In one class, she moved her desk away from others to help her performance. The professor supported her and would stay in his office after class, patiently answering all of Capper’s questions to help her succeed. She felt supported, which helped her believe in herself.

After graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Economics in 1988, Capper earned her first job as an economist at BPA. She worked in energy efficiency, power and transmission contracts, product development, and product marketing. She found new mentors and learned new skills, before heading to Seattle for her Master of Business Administration at the University of Washington.

When Capper started working with other utility managers and executives, she realized she was often the only woman in the room. Thirteen years later, she has noticed some improvement. However, she believes public power has significant progress to make toward diversifying its workforce.

Capper is using those lessons from her mentors to support further progress. She is committed to uplifting the women around her.

“I work hard to recognize others,” she said. “Build your coworkers up, especially when they are struggling with self-doubt.”

Capper would advise that women entering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math, including economics) seek out good mentors.

“The support of my mentors made all the difference in my journey,” Capper said. “When you’re struggling, know that everyone experiences doubt. It’s part of the growing process. Just push through and you’ll be okay.”

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Integrated Resource Planning Process

EWEB’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) will analyze possible energy resource portfolios with a goal of creating useful insights for long-term (20-year) electricity supply planning decisions.