Utah Business

30 Women to Watch 2024

Thania Burningham | 30 Women to Watch 2024 Emerging Leader

30 Women to Watch 2024
Thania Burningham | Photographed by Beka Price Photography

Director, Project Finance | AES

Thania Burningham started her career in investment banking in New York City. This experience exposed her to the energy markets, and she developed an interest in renewable energy and project finance. At AES, Thania oversees the raising of non-recourse financing essential to funding the construction and operation of wind, solar and battery storage projects across the U.S. The project financings and capital markets transactions she’s executed in the last few years have been some of the largest and most innovative in the industry. She believes that mentorship — especially from women leaders — is important in helping women join and move up in the renewable energy industry, and she is currently serving on the board of directors of Women of AES Clean Energy with a mission to advance and promote the development, education and engagement of women.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love that I’m helping the U.S. and the world transition to clean, renewable energy. When I joined the energy industry, I had no idea the amount of work it took for electricity to be readily available at the flip of a light switch. It is something we all take for granted. My job directly impacts the construction of clean energy projects that help make the world a more sustainable place. Aligning my expertise in finance with the sustainability impact that my company makes is one of the most rewarding things about my job.

How do you view your role as a woman in your sector or industry?

I have the privilege of showing that women can excel in finance, especially within the context of renewable energy. As an immigrant and woman of color who attended a state school, I’m thankful to have had the opportunities I had and hope to be able to encourage others, no matter the background, to follow the path they choose. 

Mekenna is the editor of Utah Business magazine and a graduate of the print journalism program at Utah State University. She has written about business, music and culture for publications like Business Insider, Time Out, SLUG Magazine, Visit Salt Lake and the Standard-Examiner. She loves hiking, thrifting, reading and going on camping trips with her partner in their 1986 Land Cruiser.