Applying a Regeneration Framework to Clean Energy - Smart Energy Decisions

Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  July 27, 2022 - By DiCE (Diversity in Clean Energy)

Applying a Regeneration Framework to Clean Energy

Global Warming isn’t happening to us. It’s happening for us. It’s a gift. Every system without feedback dies. This is feedback. It’s an offering to re-imagine who we are and what we can create with our minds, our hearts, and our brilliance.”    - Paul Hawken

This column from DiCE (Diversity in Clean Energy) highlights two diverse owned corporations in the clean energy sector who have been instrumental in shaping the DiCE initiative, offering a unique perspective, guidance, and support.

 Van Vincent - Van is an African American male veteran who engages with and has a burden for the “least of these.”  His work to bring resilience to low-income communities has total and long-lasting effects.  For example, it is well documented that LMI communities normally are the first to lose power during times of inclement weather and the last in restoration efforts.   All the people employed with VLV Development are representatives of full spectrum diversity i.e., members of underrepresented communities, veterans, LGBTQIA+, women, and people with non-violent offenses.  The people that Van’s projects benefit are affordable housing recipients in Chicago, the people of Puerto Rico and other disadvantaged communities.   Projects the diverse-owned businesses are engaged in support communities which have disproportionate impacts from climate change.  For example, the country’s first neighborhood microgrid is coming online in the southside of Chicago and is a network of solar panels, generators, and batteries.  This project will boost resilience for Bronzeville, a historic Black neighborhood.  VLV Development collaborated with Commonwealth Edison on this project, and it will serve as a model for utilities and communities across the country.  Further information on Bronzeville can be found here.

Faustina Vincent – The ultimate goal of VGI Energy Solutions is social impact – providing climate leadership, community resilience, reducing GHG emissions and increasing environmental justice and equity. As President and Co-founder of VGI Energy Solutions, Faustina works with Van on all social impact projects and focuses on strategy and policy in clean energy.  She collaborates with policy makers, equipment manufacturers, utility companies, environmental groups, investors, and others in support of clean energy solutions for climate security and resilience, in underserved communities.  Her recent work to complete a 1.1 MW PV Solar component for the Bronzeville Community Microgrid on Chicago’s Southside (pictured above) has positively impacted and touched the lives of 1000 low-income residents. It also created 50 job training cohorts for a diverse population interested in being part of this clean energy transformation. And this is just the beginning.  Currently, Faustina is working to replicate the Bronzeville Community Microgrid project in Puerto Rico to ensure “the least of these” are safe harbored before, during and after devastating hurricanes and other natural disasters. She has created a social impact fund to provide citizens, corporations, NGOs and government an opportunity to come together and provide grants and donations to fund free solar on 1000 homes in Puerto Rico, where her family is from.

Englewood Microgrid Campus - architectural rendering

In addition to the Bronzeville project, Van and Faustina Vincent are developing the Englewood Microgrid Campus. (EMC) project. This project will transform a 3.5-acre former Chicago Public Schools site in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood into a state-of-the-art, all-electric, net-zero microgrid campus that is home to the Climate Leadership & Innovation Center, 40-units of affordable housing, and 24 electric vehicle charging stations. VLV Development has purchased the site and assembled a team of national leaders in the development of microgrids and resilient facilities, including Elevate Energy, the Clean Energy Group, and American Microgrid Solutions. This development includes the adaptive reuse of a 60,000-square-foot former school into the Climate Leadership & Innovation Center, providing critical clean energy job training and contractor incubator programs, nonprofit incubator space, and resources for climate education and community services.

Van and Faustina’s values reinforce the principle that the heating planet is a commonality across the world.  It holds us all. To address and reverse warming requires connection and reciprocity.  It calls for moving out of our comfort zones to find a depth of courage we may have never known. It calls for action that is bold and fearless.  Regeneration - a concept inspired by Paul Hawkins - will take gazing and thinking through a lens with a different paradigm than ever before, as well as cross collaboration with deep and authentic community engagement.  Here are the six basic frameworks for action to solve the climate crisis which are inherent in all the work that Van and Faustina do:

  1. Equity – helping to create better lives for people
  2. Reduce -Emissions via implementation of solar, wind, energy storage and microgrids are critical. Includes electric vehicles, carbon positive buildings, and electrified buildings.
  3. Protect- synonymous with preserving, safeguarding, and defending
  4. Sequester- protecting existing ecosystems – net-zero emissions is not the goal, It is the threshold where the world begins to reduce atmospheric carbon levels back to pre-industrial levels.
  5. Influence- Each of us has but one voice. When one voice becomes “we,” change happens.
  6. Support- Era of Unlimited Connections

We are grateful for the support the DiCE Coalition has provided as an additional source for furthering of our Network of Contributors, committed to providing their heart & soul – building the future together – with others, generating and creating teams, businesses of collaboration, ambition and high performance.

For more information about VLV Development please visit https://vlvdevelopment.com/

 

Diversity in Clean Energy (“DiCE”), is an action-based coalition convened by Duke Energy working collaboratively with T-Mobile, Kroger, Microsoft, and three diverse-owned businesses operating within the clean energy ecosystem.  Our visionary outcome is to advocate, utilize, and open doors of opportunity for diverse-owned businesses that operate within the clean energy value chain through our collaborative efforts and collective influence.  The goal of DiCE is to drive inclusive and equitable practices in the sourcing and supplier selections across the clean energy value chain. For more information, contact [email protected]

 

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