OwnEnergy founder and community wind thought leader Jacob Susman “fell into” the power sector in 1999, after relocating to Spain with his wife. As a Project Manager for the AES Corporation, he developed conventional and renewable wind energy projects for three years—including one of the largest power plants in Spain and diligence of over 1,000 MW of wind farms—before the renewable “boom” took place in the U.S.
Jacob recognized unlimited local and global potential energy in this centuries-old concept, which was returning to the forefront as a more eco-friendly alternative to conventional wind power. Unlike traditional energy resources, renewable wind power required heavy local development input—much of which was managed right in the local community.
Renewable energy remained central to his thinking while completing an MBA at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he developed the concept for OwnEnergy as part of the Business Plan Competition. After leading his team to the finals, Jacob continued to build the business out of Wharton’s incubator.
He put his entrepreneurial plans on hold to hone his knowledge of the U.S. power and finance sectors with Goldman Sachs from 2004-2007. As an investor with Goldman, Jacob gained further insight into wind energy while working with one of the best management teams in the industry as part of Goldman’s investment in Horizon Wind Energy.
In early 2007, Jacob realized that despite a strong demand, the community wind segment was underserved. He jumped at this opportunity to launch his own wind venture, investing his family’s personal savings to bring the OwnEnergy concept to life.