Renewable Energy Forum Wrap-Up - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Distributed Generation, Finance, Industrial, Solar, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  June 14, 2021

Renewable Energy Forum/Summer Edition Wrap-Up

Smart Energy Decision’s Virtual Renewable Energy Sourcing Forum/Summer Edition proved to be its most successful virtual event yet, bringing together buyers and suppliers to explore “Collaborating for a Net Zero Future.” The event, June 7-10, featured educational sessions, buyer-only peer-to-peer and Town Hall gatherings, and exclusive one-to-one meetings between buyers and suppliers.   

“Our virtual events have been a triumph in advancing meaningful connections for the mutual success of our community,” said John Failla, Founder and Editorial Director. “This is all about collaboration, as buyers, suppliers, and utilities work together to adopt renewables and create roadmaps for their net zero plans."

Preconference events included “The State of Fleet Electrification,” sponsored by NRG, which featured an exclusive first look at the results of research conducted by Smart Energy Decisions, which will be released in July. “Maximizing the Value of Renewables and Energy Storage,” sponsored by Photosol, featured a discussion of extrinsic and intrinsic value streams of renewable energy and storage to secure the highest value for sustainability investment.

Following are brief highlights from the Virtual Renewable Energy Forum. More extensive coverage will follow in our Renewable Energy Forum Insights report, which will be available later this year:

 "Building a Global Renewable Energy Portfolio"

In the opening keynote, Zephyr Taylor, Global Director of Renewable Energy, Mars, explained that building your renewables portfolio, "requires a unique approach for each individual market to do the market assessment and understand the stakeholder and regulatory landscape, the market risks and design, and the sourcing solutions when building out your overall go-to-market commercial strategy in order to get the best deal structure for your company. It is such a hyper-localized process, even subnational in many cases." "He added, "That's one of the most challenging and in many ways, the most exciting part of building a global portfolio of renewable energy deals. You have this unique start-from-scratch process in many ways for every new market."

"Capitalizing on Opportunities in Community Solar"

Community solar is continuously evolving and growing exponentially, said Miro Sutton, Managing Director, NRG Energy. “These are small to medium-sized solar projects that sit decentralized all over the grid but not on individual sites of the customer. The interaction with the customer is solely through a piece of paper – almost like Groupon - that guarantees them savings on their electric spend.” There are multiple benefits to these projects. “They increase the solar on the grid through local projects that are not done through one giant B-to-B deal, and they’re able to democratize the access to solar across multiple types of residential, commercial customers, who otherwise wouldn’t have access to any of the benefits and savings that renewables have brought to other customers.”

 "A Guide to Addressing Your Scope 3 Value Chain Emissions"

Defining Scope 3 as indirect emissions from the value chain (including both upstream and downstream activities, Katherine Canoy, Director, Energy and Climate Practice at 3Degrees, explained that for the dramatic decline in emissions outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement to occur, “it is necessary not just for national, state and municipal governments but also for companies to make aggressive Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions targets. If companies are held accountable for the emissions of other companies in their value chain, they'll influence each other to act swiftly and aggressively. Therefore, public disclosures like CDP and corporate goal frameworks must include Scope 3 emissions.”

"Bucknell's Renewable Energy Journey"

Victor Udo, Director of Sustainability, Bucknell University, described the working group approach —including faculty, staff, students, and volunteer — being used to tackle the university’s sustainability plan. For their carbon neutrality strategy, “We formed three sub-groups. One asks, how do we power the campus? That's where renewable energy and our solar projects come in. Another asks, How are we going to decarbonize the campus by making sure our transportation systems move away from fossil energy? A third group looks at carbon pricing. If we accomplish reductions with solar and are not able to get carbon neutrality, what kind of offsets will make sense? What are we going to do about Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 emissions? These working groups are looking at all options.

"Inspiring Diversity in Energy"

Dana Clare Redden, CEO, Solar Stewards (right), explained the purpose of Solar Stewards: “We leverage the private sector’s aggressive goals to climate change and help to apply those resources and investment to BIPOC communities and communities of color, those on the front lines of climate change that haven’t had the opportunity to participate in this clean energy revolution."

On the policy front, said Ajulo Othow, Founder and CEO, EnerWealth Solutions LLC (left), “There is now a much more nuanced conversation around our transition to clean energy that is, I think, really important to have because while we can reduce carbon, strategies might lead to reinforcing inequities that leave behind coal communities and those who are heavily reliant on fossil fuel industries in general.” She applauds the Biden administration, which has called for 40% of benefits from clean energy to be allocated to disadvantaged communities. “It’s a much broader focus and that’s exciting.”

"Creating Your Roadmap to Net Zero"

Decarbonization and net zero is a massive transformation, similar to the scale of a major IT transformation but often significantly less funded,” said Tripp Borstel, Head of Transformation, ENGIE Impact. “I work with two components of transformation. One is the technical transformation –mobility and energy efficiency solutions and renewable energy needed to hit our goals. The second is about human and organizational systems, thinking about designing programs that engage the entire organization and create alignment and ownership across the different parties. The scale of the challenge requires all the different disciplines in order to be involved so you need senior leaders who are championing it and providing inspiration, but most importantly, perhaps, is marshaling the resources and the focus of the organization to make it a priority."


Smart Energy Decisions' 2021 Distributed Energy Forum is set for September 13-15, 2021. Buyer registration is limited; for more information, click here. Suppliers may click here for information on sponsorship opportunities.


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