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NETL’s Kari Skovira Work as Associate Counsel Strives for Energy Resilience and Clean Energy Deployment
Headshot photograph of Kari Skovira

Since joining the Lab in 2018, NETL Associate Counsel Kari Skovira has established herself as a leader in the implementation of U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) responsibilities under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Interagency Agreement under the Clean Air Act between NETL and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Her work is a vital component in the Lab’s mission to build a sustainable energy future.

Originally from Scottdale, Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh, Skovira attended Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology. She would later earn her J.D. from Duquesne Law in 2014. Skovira went to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a contract specialist and contracting officer. She joined NETL as a contract specialist in 2018 and moved to the NETL Office of Chief Counsel in 2019.

“I never wanted to work in a typical law firm. I was a paralegal and clerked in several during law school and can only say that was not for me — too cutthroat, too competitive, no real team-like atmosphere,” Skovira said. “NETL truly has some of the smartest, hardest working people I’ve ever worked with. I really do feel like I’m making a difference and helping people, which if I wasn’t, I’m not sure I’d last very long in a job.”

Among the ongoing DOE efforts on which she has worked, Skovira is most proud of her contributions to the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund (PR-ERF), launched by DOE’s Grid Deployment Office (GDO) in February 2023 to support Puerto Rico’s grid resilience efforts and achieve the goal for the commonwealth to meet 100% of its electricity needs with renewable energy by 2050. After recent natural disasters and decades of underinvestment in the electric grid, this fund is being developed in consultation with local entities and communities to increase energy resilience and reduce the energy burden on vulnerable residents.

The PR-ERF is managed by the GDO in consultation with the Federal Energy Management Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. NETL issued the first funding opportunity announcement and resulting awards under PR-ERF on behalf of the GDO to support residential rooftop solar and battery storage installations and offer consumer protection and education resources. 

In addition to this and other efforts, including DOE Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains (MESC) battery materials awards and DOE Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM)/EPA awards, Skovira also trains and mentors new attorneys at NETL.

Outside of her work, Skovira loves spending time with family and has a passion for animals and the wilderness.

“I rode horses half my life and plan to get back into that soon,” she said. “I recently moved kind of far out in the country. My ‘farmette’ is currently home to a 3-legged wonder dog and 6 chickens, but someday soon I hope to have a horse or two, and maybe even a donkey and/or a goat. These are the kinds of things that bring me joy.”

Her favorite place to travel is Montana and envisions one day retiring there and returning to the Pittsburgh area for the winters.

NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By leveraging its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.