For Immediate Release: January 30, 2024

SACRAMENTO — The California State Senate has voted to confirm Commissioner Noemí Otilia Osuna Gallardo’s appointment to the California Energy Commission (CEC) by Governor Gavin Newsom. Gallardo is the first Latina appointed as a CEC commissioner. 

The Governor appoints, with Senate confirmation, five commissioners to staggered five-year terms. The commissioners must come from and represent specific areas of expertise: law, environment, economics, science and engineering, and the public at large.

Photo of Commissioner Noemi Gallardo

The Senate voted on Monday to confirm Gallardo’s first term as the CEC member with legal expertise. Gallardo serves as the lead commissioner for the siting of power plants through environmental certification processes and clean energy projects through the new opt-in certification process. She is also the lead commissioner for equity and environmental justice, advancing these principles through programs like the Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group and the Justice, Access, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiative.

“As a California native, I am honored to serve my state in this role to contribute to helping ensure Californians can live with dignity, have improved health outcomes, and have opportunities to prosper,” she said. “I am also thrilled to partner with my fellow commissioners, staff, peer agency colleagues, and especially tribes and communities to advance the CEC’s mission to achieve a 100 percent clean energy future for all.”

Gallardo joined the CEC as its public advisor in 2019, later becoming the chief of staff for CEC Chair David Hochschild before being appointed to her current position last year.

Photo of Commissioner Noemi Gallardo during confirmation hearings.

Gallardo brings a unique personal experience, having lived in a mixed-immigration status household and having grown up in a low-income family. As the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, she was an English language learner and a first-generation college graduate. All have shaped her pragmatic outlook. Her focus will be on how CEC programs and policies can continue to be improved to benefit all Californians, especially those who have been most affected by climate challenges.

“I will seek the voice and expertise of tribes and communities when I address the work, and will continuously identify ways to engage early, often, and meaningfully with the public,” Gallardo said.

A major policy priority for her will be overseeing the development and implementation of the Lithium Valley Vision, which is an opportunity to create a sustainable lithium economy that improves outcomes for residents of the Salton Sea region. Another priority is helping to implement the CEC’s new opt-in certification process to hasten the reliability of the grid with 100 percent clean energy resources, while expanding benefits to local communities.

Before joining the CEC, Gallardo was the senior manager of public policy at Sunrun. She has prior legal and policy experience as a consultant at Gallardo Law and Policy Consulting and as a principal investigator at the Public Law Research Institute at the University of California College of the Law, San Francisco (UC Law SF, formerly known as UC Hastings). Gallardo was also a program fellow at the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund and an energy and telecommunications legal fellow at the Greenlining Institute.

In addition to her legal and policy experience, Gallardo is a state-certified Spanish language interpreter. She established and ran a translation and interpretation services business in her native Ventura County.

She holds a Juris Doctor degree from UC Law SF, a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pepperdine University.

“I am a mother of two who seeks to be a good role model for my children, young women and youth of color, showing them the importance of leadership, service and taking care of our natural resources,” Gallardo said. “I am committed to improving our environment to ensure they, and the generations after them, can thrive.”   

Her Jan. 10 confirmation hearing with the California Senate Rules Committee can be found on the California State Senate web page.

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About the California Energy Commission
The California Energy Commission is leading the state to a 100 percent clean energy future. It has seven core responsibilities: developing renewable energy, transforming transportation, increasing energy efficiency, investing in energy innovation, advancing state energy policy, certifying thermal power plants, and preparing for energy emergencies.