Contact: David Rhoades
North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders has named Jennifer Mundt, an experienced legislative analyst and policy executive, as the department’s Assistant Secretary of Clean Energy Economic Development, an important new role at the state’s lead agency for economic development.
Ms. Mundt will guide North Carolina’s efforts to secure economic development and workforce opportunities in the increasingly important clean energy industry sector, including development of the state’s resources for offshore wind energy (OSW).
“North Carolina has always embraced and supported the industries of the future, and clean energy offers great opportunities in the years ahead,” said Secretary Sanders. “I welcome Jennifer to the Commerce team and look forward to working with her as we advance Governor Roy Cooper’s commitment to address climate change and transition to a clean energy economy.”
The creation of a new state-level role at the Department of Commerce focused squarely on developing economic opportunities in the clean energy sector is the latest demonstration of North Carolina’s commitment to this growing industry of the future. In 2018, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 80, outlining North Carolina’s commitment to address climate change and transition to a clean energy economy. Since then, the state has developed a Clean Energy Plan, published workforce and supply chain opportunity assessments, and passed legislation requiring the state’s Utilities Commission to take steps to reduce carbon emissions by 70% by the year 2030. Last year in June, the Governor issued Executive Order 218, committing the state to offshore wind power, and directing actions for economic development, including the creation of Ms. Mundt’s role at the Commerce Department.
Assistant Secretary Mundt’s initial focus will be to prioritize and operationalize key recommendations made in the Department’s 2021 report, Building NC’s Offshore Wind Supply Chain, including actively supporting the state’s existing companies as they explore potential entry into the OSW supply chain, through tailored coaching and training and by consistent outreach to business leaders and regional economic development organizations. Assistant Secretary Mundt will also serve as the state’s key liaison to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management as the federal agency this spring prepares to lease an area more than 17 miles off the state’s southern coastline for wind energy development. Promoting equitable access to the economic benefits from the clean energy transition will also be a priority for Ms. Mundt’s work, with a particular focus on creating opportunities for underserved communities and historically underutilized businesses.
“As innovations in clean energy technologies rapidly become commercialized, our state is well positioned to enjoy the benefits this industry will bring us, both in terms of a stronger economy and a healthier environment,” said Ms. Mundt. “I look forward to collaborating with the many people and organizations across the state and around the world that will open the door to North Carolina’s clean energy future.”
A former senior legislative analyst for the North Carolina General Assembly, Mundt brings more than 15 years of state service to her new role at Commerce. Most recently, Mundt served as Senior Policy Advisor in the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, where her expertise in energy policy has supported several key initiatives. Governor Cooper tapped Mundt to lead the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s North Carolina Renewable Energy Task Forces, and she also represents the State of North Carolina on the Regional Energy Resources Council to the Tennessee Valley Authority, where she currently serves as chair of the multi-state group.
Ms. Mundt earned bachelor’s degrees in both environmental science and political science from Virginia Tech before working as an environmental consultant in the private sector. She earned her master’s degree in Public Health from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Her appointment at Commerce became effective January 10, 2022.