Smart Energy Voices- Episode 17
Lynda Clemmons on Navigating Transition in the Energy Industry
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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. As the leader of the Sales, Sustainability, and Project Management teams, she manages three jobs ranging from Fortune 500 customer interface to actual steel-in-the-ground implementation. She is working to create a cleaner energy future through technology, renewables, and efficiency, both within the organization and with clients. She has been at NRG since 2012.
Lynda’s career journey has been characterized by a series of challenging opportunities, giving her a wealth of knowledge and experience to share on the topic of rapid change within the energy industry. Lynda started her career as an analyst in an investment bank. She then spent eight years at Enron where she started the weather derivatives business as well as the SO2 and NOx emissions trading desk. In 2000, Lynda co-founded and was COO of XL Weather and Energy (a division of XL Capital Ltd), a trading and insurance company based in Connecticut. She also co-founded and was the former President of the Weather Risk Management Association.
You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...
- Lynda’s many career roles and experiences. [2:04]
- The ways Lynda has seen companies face challenges and transitions. [16:20]
- Role models who have inspired Lynda over the years. [23:20]
- Hot energy topics of 2021. [29:37]
- Concept of electrification and what it can do in our personal lives. [32:11]
- What the industry will look like in the next 3-5 years. [36:15]
- Her advice on people just getting started in the industry. [40:32]
Corporate behaviors toward rapid changes
Lynda said she has noticed many similarities in the way companies behave when tackling challenges and transitions. One of the biggest similarities is the way they work to overcome the initial inertia of seeing things in an old way — how the companies adjust their business model and workforces to manage the changes. She said this process of refinement is continuous and is seen in every generation. The biggest change or difference now is that the rapidity with which people are adjusting to change seems to be increasing — not just the amount of change, but the rate of change. She has noticed how quickly people are willing to change their mindset about technology and be able to adapt. That personalization and that rate of change is one of the things that has been a big difference.
Electrification and Evolve Houston
Lynda believes one of the hot topics of 2021 and a central theme for the industry will be electrification. She said the push for electrification is happening for many reasons and that climate change, health, and economics are becoming intertwined. The opportunities are blatantly obvious in how the energy transition is happening, as well as the availability for the clean energy transition to reach down to the individual and continue the momentum. It is providing the ability for the individual to be their own electricity producer instead of just a consumer.
The City of Houston — where NRG Energy has its headquarters — has long called itself “the energy capital of the world” but it has always been primarily in the area of fossil fuels. Now, the city has not only put out a Climate Action Plan but is committed to becoming carbon neutral. The city's leadership is also looking at fleet electrification with a public/private partnership called Evolve Houston. Evolve Houston’s stated goal is that 30% of new cars being sold by 2030 will be electric vehicles. In just the last twelve to fifteen months the initiative has planned for a total of forty new electric cars coming out in the next two years. The structure that Evolve Houston has adopted would be a good model for other cities to emulate.
Looking toward the future
Lynda predicts an integration of the environment, finance, and energy over the next three to five years. Richard Sandor — one of Lynda’s mentors — was the first to vocalize this concept of aligning the incentives that allow competitive markets to work. That is where the market is heading and certainly what companies like NRG are fighting for.
As the industry continues to give individuals opportunities to participate in the marketplace, personalization will become a natural outcome. Americans just expect the light to come on when they flip the switch. They don't think about all that has gone into powering that light. Now with personal solar, personal batteries, and the ability to participate in community programs, people will have a much better idea of how their consumption is impacting their overall environment and what it means for them from a financial perspective. Individuals will better understand how they can contribute to their overall environment and what that means to them, both environmentally and economically. The alignment that comes with such personalization is going to become something that becomes very natural for us.
Resources & People Mentioned
Connect with Lynda Clemmons
Lynda Clemmons, Vice President, Sustainable Solutions at NRG Energy
Lynda Clemmons is a Vice President in NRG Energy’s Business Solutions group. As the leader of the Sales, Sustainability, and Project Management teams, she manages three jobs ranging from Fortune 500 customer interface to actual steel-in-the-ground implementation. She is working to create a cleaner energy future through technology, renewables, and efficiency, both within the organization and with clients. She has been at NRG since 2012.
Lynda started her career as an analyst in an investment bank. She then spent eight years at Enron where she started the weather derivatives business as well as the SO2 and NOx emissions trading desk. In 2000, Lynda co-founded and was COO of XL Weather and Energy (a division of XL Capital Ltd), a trading and insurance company based in Connecticut. She also co-founded and was the former President of the Weather Risk Management Association.
Lynda holds BA degrees in History and French from Southern Methodist University and a Master of Finance from Tulane University.
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