Smart Energy Voices


Welcome to Smart Energy Voices: an SED Podcast

Hosted by John Failla, Smart Energy Decisions Founder.
Smart Energy Voices, an SED podcast, features conversations with leaders of the energy transition. In each episode, Smart Energy Decisions founder John Failla digs deep with industry movers and shakers to reveal insights you can learn from in their stories, personalities, and visions for the future.

Click on the Apple Podcast or Google Podcast buttons below to listen and subscribe.
You can also find this podcast on Spotify, Radio Public, Stitcher, Pandora, iHeart Radio, TuneIn Radio, Acast, Deezer, Double Twist, Learn Out Loud, Player FM, Podknife, and Spreaker.

Episode 24: Inspiring Diversity in Energy with Telisa Toliver

Date: 2/26/2021

Guests: Telisa Toliver, Chevron

The wake-up call came a few years ago when the Wall Street Journal ranked energy at 10 out of 11 fields in a survey on diversity in businesses. Since then, Smart Energy Decisions has worked to raise the profile of this issue with its series “Inspiring Diversity in Energy.” This edition features a discussion with Telisa Toliver, General Manager of Renewable Power for Chevron and Debra Chanil, SED’s Director of Research and Content. Read more...

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Episode 23: Creating Climate Wealth with Jigar Shah

Date: 2/19/2021

Guests: Jigar Shah, Generate Capital

Celebrate the fifth anniversary of Smart Energy Decisions with this conversation between Founder and Editorial Direction John Failla and clean energy industry pioneer Jigar Shah, who has changed the way businesses approach technology to both save money and improve their impact on the environment.

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Episode 22: The Future of Sustainability Strategy

Date: 2/12/2021

Guests: Greg Kandankulam, NRG Energy

2020 has definitely produced a number of challenges, but the need for societies and organizations to move toward sustainable energy solutions has not gone away. Today John speaks with Greg Kandankulam about what the NRG team is experiencing as it works with large organizations and municipalities that are moving toward renewable energy solutions.

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Episode 21: Ørsted’s Journey from Oil Giant to Most Sustainable Company in the World

Date: 2/05/2021

Guests: Melissa Peterson, Ørsted

It’s not common to see a company that’s heavily vested in a particular segment of any industry make a 180-degree turn that is designed to eliminate the need for its original area of focus. It’s even more uncommon for that company to become the leader in its new niche. That’s the story of Ørsted, a Denmark-based Oil Giant that has made the transition to renewable energy like few other companies.

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Episode 20: The Growing Importance of Renewable Energy Partnerships

Date: 1/29/2021

Guests: Nathan Nissen, Kohler Co.
Greg Rizzo, Enel Green Power

We all know that strong partnerships are essential if we are going to succeed in collaborating to accomplish a zero-carbon future. This conversation features two of the players in just such a partnership. John speaks with Nathan Nissen, Principal Engineer, Sustainability at Kohler Company, and Greg Rizzo, Director of Origination at Enel Green Power. Read more... 

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Episode 19: Driving Decarbonization With Digital Innovation

Date: 1/23/2021

Guests: Vanessa Miler-Fels, Microsoft


Decarbonization is one of the primary goals many companies are trying to achieve in their operations. Microsoft is leading the way in the realm of corporate leadership, setting its Carbon Negative Pledge as a standard to follow. One of the leading voices on the Microsoft team is Vanessa Miler-Fels, Director of Energy Innovation and Impact. Her astute insights and clear way of describing the “carbon math” the Microsoft team has done to empower their own efforts and extend their approach to their own supply chain partners come through loud and clear in this conversation. Listen to hear the generous and ambitious contributions Microsoft is poised to make to the world’s energy future. Read more... 

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Episode 18: 5 Predictions for the Corporate Renewable Energy Market in 2021

Date: 12/11/20

Guests: Rob Collier,  LevelTen Energy   


In light of recent national events, it is a great time to be focused on renewables. In this episode, Rob Collier, Vice President of Developer Relations at LevelTen Energy, provides his five predictions for the Corporate Renewable Energy Market for 2021. Read more... 

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Episode 17: Lynda Clemmons on Navigating Transition in the Energy Industry

Date: 12/4/20

Guests: Lynda Clemmons, NRG Energy


Because the energy industry is widely diverse and constantly changing, energy companies and their partners often have difficulty keeping up with the changes. Lynda Clemmons, Vice President of Sustainable Solutions at NRG Energy, joins us for this episode to speak on how best to navigate these fast transitions within the industry. Read more... 

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Episode 16: MP2 Energy's Jeff Colvin on Shell Energy's Expansion in North America

Date: 11/20/20

Guests: Jeff Colvin,  MP2 Energy


On this episode of Smart Energy Voices, Jeff Colvin, Executive VP of Sales at MP2 Energy, joins John Failla of Smart Energy Decisions to discuss his career as a leader in the energy industry and his role at MP2 and its relationship with Shell Energy North America. With the growing interest that international oil companies have in the energy transition and the role that MP2 Energy is specifically playing for Shell Energy North America, this conversation provides tremendous insights. Read more...

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Episode 15: Tackling Scope 3 Emissions at Honda North America

Date: 11/13/20

Guests: Alissa Yakali, Honda North America

Joey Lange, Edison Energy

In this episode, we'll be in conversation with Alissa Yakali, Supply Chain Sustainability Coordinator at Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc., and Joey Lange, Senior Director of Client Services at Edison Energy, for an inside look at Honda's 10 years of experience in working with their supply chain to reduce emissions and how they're currently working with Edison Energy to take their supply chain program to the next level. Read more...

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Episode 14: COVID19's Impact on Deployment of Distributed Energy Resources

Date: 11/06/20

Guest: Matthew Walters,  Siemens 


How do you quantify the value of a microgrid, which in some cases can be thought of as an insurance policy? You're ensuring that your facility doesn't go down or have an outage. How much is an outage really worth and how do you value that?

In this age of Covid19, the pressure to fulfill commitments still remains high. Investor pressure remains high. Project goals remain in place. But the financing is no longer available. What should customers be looking at and exploring in the interest of managing this dilemma? Listen to the episode to hear how Matthew Walters, Head of Distributed Energy Systems, Americas at Siemens tackles it from a holistic approach.


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Episode 13: The Future of Utility Energy Services

Date: 10/30/20

Guest: Robert Vary,  Duke Energy


Many market trends today revolve around resiliency, sustainability, and reduction in carbon emissions. These are all at the forefront of customer's minds and are driven by their own corporate ESG goals. Robert Vary, Senior Vice President Sales & Relationship Management, Duke Energy, discusses energy solutions that allow customers to conserve their own capital while providing subscription payments that allow customers to have a predictable budget on what they spend on energy efficiency.


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Episode 12: The Evolution of Retail Energy

Date: 10/23/20

Guest: Dave Grupp, Direct Energy


Guest Dave Grupp, VP and Head of Renewable Services at Direct Energy Business, talks about his career and gives us his take on the evolution of the retail energy business, including the expanding role that renewable energy is playing within it. After 15 years in the industry, Dave has had a front-row seat to the changes that have taken place and has seen the market mature and evolve in that time. There will be plenty to take away as he touches on many different areas of interest in his discussion with John. Read more...

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Episode 11: The Future of the Grid is Distributed

Date: 10/16/20

Guest: Doug Sansom, NRG 


Why is the future of the grid distributed? Customers want control over the cost of energy. They also want reliability and choice. Additionally, access to cost-efficient energy is a business necessity. These reasons combined with new lower-cost technology are the driving force behind capital spending for Distributed Energy Resources ( DERs). According to a Wood Mackenzie report, DER capacity will reach 387 gigawatts by 2025, propelled by $110 billion in investments such as battery storage, electric vehicle infrastructure, and grid-interactive appliance sales. It's shaping up to be a pretty big trend in the future, says Doug Sansom, Director of DER Sales for NRG. Read more...

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Episode 10: When It Comes To Renewables, There Are Few City Limits In Austin

Date: 10/09/20

Guests: Teresa Kanter, Duke Energy Renewables

Erika Bierschbach, Austin Energy

Peter Kelly-Detwiler sits down with Teresa Kanter, from Duke Energy Renewables (DER), and Erika Bierschbach, from Austin Energy (AE), to discuss the City of Austin's leadership in renewable energy procurement and their partnership with Duke Energy. 

You’ll hear how Duke Energy Renewables and Austin Energy are moving forward and pushing limits in Austin. Listen to this episode of Smart Energy Voices to hear specific insights from both buyer and supplier perspectives. Read more...

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Episode 9: Greening Cities: Phoenix Leads The Way with Nick Brown

Date: 10/02/20

Guest: Nick Brown, Energy Manager for the City of Phoenix


Sure, there are solar farms but have you encountered a solar city? That’s just what you will find in Phoenix. They are building parking lot carports that not only provide coveted shade for citizens but lay a foundation for a sort of inner-city solar farm. Additionally, they are utilizing many city-owned properties to harness clean energy to light up Sun Valley.  

It’s a great pleasure to have guest Nick Brown, energy manager for the City of Phoenix, on Smart Energy Voices. In this episode, you'll gain insights on the great strides made in buying clean energy and the strategies behind those purchases. Nick sat down with Smart Energy Decisions director of education programs Peter Kelly-Detweiler at the most recent Renewable Energy Sourcing Forum. You'll appreciate and relate to Nick's perspective on why his work in the energy sector is so important and meaningful. Read more...

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Episode 8: Opportunities And Risks In Long-term PPAs with Tiffany Menhorn and Brian Faist

Date: 09/25/20

Guests: Tiffany Menhorn, Enel X North America
Brain Faist, Portland General Electric

Portland General Electric (PGE) created their green energy future impact tariff for large scale commercial and industrial customers to help them source 100% renewable energy. The energy will be sourced from new wind and solar facilities dedicated from a PPA through PGE. This huge initiative —  with about 160 megawatts —  was fully subscribed within 3 minutes of its release. It's eye-opening to hear about the opportunity and unmet demand in this space. Join today’s guests Brian Faist & Tiffany Menhorn as they talk about this project, why it was so successful, and bumps along the way.  Read more...

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Episode 7: Innovative Approaches to Achieving Renewable Energy and Climate Goals with Valerie Cardwell, Beth Wytiaz, and Becky Sternberg

Date: 09/18/20

Guests: Valerie Cardwell, Executive Director, Office of Sustainability, Comcast NBCUniversal
Rebecca (Becky) Sternberg, 3Degrees
                                                       Beth Wytiaz, SVP, Global Environmental Operations Manager, Bank of America

On today's episode, listen in on a panel discussion from a recent Renewable Energy Sourcing Forum. This exciting panel features Valerie Cardwell, with Comcast NBC Universal’s Office of Sustainability and Beth Wytiaz, Global Environmental Operations Manager at Bank of America. The panel is moderated by Becky Sternberg, Vice President of Energy and Climate Practice at 3Degrees. Read more...

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Episode 6: Integrating an Offsite Renewable Purchase into Your Energy Risk Strategy with Gregory J. Kosier

Date: 09/11/20

Guest: Gregory J. Kosier, Director, Commodities Management Group, Constellation


Today two “dinosaurs in the industry” Peter Kelly Detweiler and Greg Kosier — former colleagues at Constellation with nearly 50 years in the industry between them — talk about how buyers manage their energy risk in terms of legacy buying, the way it used to be done, and today’s renewable power purchase agreements. Read more...

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Episode 5: Goldman Sachs’ Renewable Energy Journey with Cindy Quan

Date: 09/04/20

Guest: Cindy Quan, Global Chief of Staff and Head of ESG, Goldman, Sachs & Co


Renewable energy is not a new conversation at Goldman Sachs as they have found a way for the last 10 years to ensure corporate profitability alongside operational sustainability. From their new LEED Gold Certified World headquarters to Sustainable Finance, Cindy shares a comprehensive synopsis of how Goldman Sachs and it’s leadership is being “front footed” in setting an example for social equity, diversity, and inclusivity. Read more...

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Episode 4:The Purpose Driven Organization with Jeff Fromm and David Smart

Date: 08/28/20

Guests: Jeff Fromm, Partner at Barkley, President of FutureCast
David Smart, Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing, BioStar Renewables

It’s not uncommon these days to hear talk of businesses, large and small, developing a purpose statement that has to do with its societal responsibility. Consumers are coming to expect brands to take such a stance as well. Why is that and how should business leaders think about it? But a more important question is this: How does the issue of organizational purpose magnify and support what is happening in the renewable energy movement?  Read more...

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Episode 3: Multiple Approaches To Address The Climate Challenge with James Goudreau

Date: 08/21/20

Guest: James Goudreau, Head of Climate, Novartis Business Services


Multinational corporations have the opportunity to play a unique role in the energy transition. Health care company, Novartis is taking that opportunity seriously, moving the needle significantly when it comes to the company’s own carbon footprint and power usage as well as creating opportunities that smaller organizations may be able to utilize to move their power purchases toward renewable energy faster. Read more...

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Episode 2: Ten Questions About Renewable Energy With GM’s Rob Threlkeld

Date: 08/14/20

Guest: Rob Threlkeld, Global Manager - Sustainable Energy, Supply & Reliability, General Motors


Few people could be considered to be at the epicenter of the renewable energy transition in big business, but this episode’s guest, Rob Threlkeld is one of whom it could be said. With over 19 years of experience in the energy side of General Motors, Rob has led the charge in transitioning the company toward its goal of 100% sourcing of operations from renewable energy. He’s also set the pace for GM’s Global Energy Efforts in Sustainable Energy, Supply, and Reliability. Read more...

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Episode 1: Inspiring Diversity In Energy with Rose McKinney-James

Date: 08/14/20

Guest: Rose McKinney-James, Managing Principal, McKinney-James & Associates and Energy Works LLC 


On this episode, you are in for a treat! Rose McKinney-James is the former President and CEO for the Corporation for Solar Technology and Renewable Resources, and former Commissioner with the Nevada Public Service Commission. She has a unique and timely perspective from which to speak on the issue of diversity in the energy industry.

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Smart Energy Voices: A Look At The People Behind The Energy Transition

Date: 08/14/20

As the founder of Smart Energy Decisions, John Failla has worked alongside many of the movers and shakers who have committed their lives to the energy transition taking place in our world today. Over that time, he’s marveled at the commitment and passion these amazing professionals have demonstrated to make the transition to clean energy a reality.

It’s these “too good not to be heard” stories, that motivated John to begin a podcast profiling the role these individuals have played — and continue to play — and to help you set your sights higher when it comes to the part you and your organization might play in the transition to clean energy. Listen to get a taste of what is happening behind the scenes of the energy transition. Read more...

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