Celebrating International Women’s Day: An Interview with Zoe Cadore, Head of Federal Affairs at Calpine
Houston CCS Alliance


Posted On: March 8, 2024

Celebrating International Women’s Day: An Interview with Zoe Cadore, Head of Federal Affairs at Calpine

Every year, the Houston CCS Alliance is proud to celebrate International Women’s Day by highlighting  accomplished women in the energy industry.

This year, we have the pleasure of recognizing Zoe Cadore, Head of Federal Affairs at Calpine. Women like Ms. Cadore are not only instrumental in advancing low-carbon technologies like carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), but creating a more inclusive industry in which women play a significant role in our region.

Originally from the Houston area, Ms. Cadore grew up heavily immersed in the energy industry. Ms. Cadore went on to attend Spelman College, a historically Black all-women’s college, before returning to Houston to attend law school at the University of Houston. During her time at the UH Law Center, Ms. Cadore rediscovered her passion for the energy industry, studying in the energy and environmental space and receiving an internship in the General Counsel’s office at the American Wind Energy Association. However, it was during her first stint on Capitol Hill that Ms. Cadore fell in love with the policy and rule-making process surrounding the energy industry.

After law school, Ms. Cadore decided to return to Washington, DC, this time as the American Petroleum Institute Energy Fellow for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF). It was during her time working for Congressman Marc Veasey (TX) that Ms. Cadore was first exposed to carbon capture and storage, learning about the laws, regulations, and funding that would be coming down the pipeline in the coming years. From Congressman Veasey’s office, Ms. Cadore went on to work at the American Petroleum Institute (API) as a natural gas policy advisor. This only furthered her interest in CCS.

After her time in DC, Ms. Cadore returned to Houston to lead federal legislative and regulatory affairs for Calpine. With her experience working on federal laws, regulations and funding for low-carbon technologies, Ms. Cadore pounced on the opportunity to become deeply engrained in Calpine’s CCS efforts.

“It’s very full-circle for me,” she says. “I remember meeting people and companies interested in the [carbon capture] space, but the funding for CCS wasn’t there, and the fact that it’s there now is awesome.”

Calpine was recently awarded a $270 million grant from the US Department of Energy, one of three projects nationally, to expand carbon capture technology at their Baytown Energy Center. With these improvements, Calpine will capture up to 2 million metric tons of carbon annually while delivering reliable low-carbon energy to the Texas grid.

Ms. Cadore brings a unique perspective to the energy industry. Not only is she a Black woman, but unlike many people in the industry who are engineers or scientists, she’s an attorney. Ms. Cadore believes her time on Capitol Hill and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellowship gave her an edge. “I had the chance to develop an expertise in energy and environmental policy, meet and interact with professionals from across the industry, and work on DE&I issues geared at making the industry more accessible.”

She added: “I feel like I’ve been able to be a voice for those hidden figures in the energy industry. I’m trying to lead change for the next generation.”

Through her work in DC and Houston, she is focused on building a bright future for our region both through advancing low-carbon technologies that make our communities cleaner and more economically vibrant, while simultaneously opening doors for the next generation of young women leaders.

She greatly enjoys opportunities to serve as a role model and her advice for women in the industry or those looking to join was enthusiastic: “Self-confidence and self-validation. You’re not always going to be validated or feel seen by everyone in the industry. You must get that from within yourself.”

Investments in community engagement by leading energy companies are also bringing diverse stakeholders to the table, giving women a greater voice in aligning company priorities with the values of the communities in which they operate. “Women have superpowers,” she says; “Female input is always valuable and important. You don’t have to be the loudest in the room, but make your presence and your ideas known.”

Over the course of her career, Ms. Cadore says she’s seen women play an increasingly important role in the energy industry. “As women find their voice, they become great storytellers and advocates,” Ms. Cadore says. “As more women from the industry move into the government relations world, they’re able to not only speak about emerging technology from the policy side, but they’ve worked in the space, so they know the technical aspects, too.” As energy becomes more sustainable, the industry also becomes more inclusive, and the role that women play to create these changes has never been more important. As Ms. Cadore noted, the development of these emerging technologies “requires a diversity of voices at the table to ensure that we are creating effective and efficient initiates that provide opportunities for women and women-owned businesses and keep all communities safe.”

Although scaling carbon capture will take hard work over the coming years, Ms. Cadore remains optimistic and sure of the positive impact that women can have. “It’s ok to be first at the table. Be proud of it. I’ve experienced that countless times—being the only female in the room, and often the only person of color—but don’t let yourself be the last. It’s your responsibility to bring others to the table, too.”

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