Recapping NECEC’s Annual Meeting 2019

Last week, NECEC held its Annual Meeting 2019 at Mintz in Boston. Despite some snow, an enthusiastic crowd turned out to discuss the state of the industry, priorities for NECEC in the new decade, and how to make the clean energy industry workforce more diverse and inclusive. The event concluded with a reception sponsored by NECEC sponsor Natixis.

NECEC President Peter Rothstein started things off with an overview of the Northeast clean energy industry. Since last year’s Annual Meeting, the region installed over 1,000 MW of solar and wind alone. Contracted offshore wind also now totals more than 4,000 MW, signaling rapid growth in this burgeoning industry. And across the region, clean energy jobs continue to grow. Vermont, for example, which saw a decrease in clean energy jobs in 2017, is adding new jobs once again (totaling 6% of the state’s workforce).  Yet, despite these gains, the need to accelerate the clean energy transition is growing more acute, making NECEC’s work all the more critical.

With this urgency to scale-up solutions in mind, NECEC Vice President, Innovation & Partnerships Alistair Pim moderated the event’s first panel discussion, “NECEC in a New Era of Climate Urgency.” The panel featured Power Options President & CEO Cindy Arcate, ENGIE North America Director, Government & Regulatory Affairs Sarah Bresolin Silver, BlueWave Solar President Eric Graber-Lopez, and Greentown Labs CEO Emily Reichert. Together, they explored what needs to be done differently in the industry and the new roles NECEC should play. Many ideas were shared, but three in particular stood out. First, NECEC should become more involved in regional fora like ISO New England and NEPOOL on behalf of its members. Second, NECEC can leverage its regional position by bringing the Northeast states together to harmonize their policies and regulations. And third, NECEC should continue promoting the clean energy innovation agenda through its programs, events, and market development activities,

Following the first panel, NECEC Vice President, Policy & Government Affairs Jeremy McDiarmid welcomed Msaada Partners Managing Partner Kerry Bowie, MassCEC Director of Workforce Development Tamika Jacques, and FirstLight Power Government Affairs and Community Relations Manager Carter Wall for “Diversity and Inclusion - Conversations and Input.” As the title suggests, the panelists discussed ways to diversify and make more inclusive the clean energy industry. Overwhelmingly, the panelists agreed that outreach to future clean energy workers must begin before college graduates enter the job market. MassCEC, for example, is doing so through its nation-leading internship program and community college partnerships. Attendees then broke out into groups to further explore hiring best practices, ensuring workplaces are truly inclusives, and resource NECEC can provide its member companies. The insights and feedback provided by the panelists and attendees will inform NECEC’s recently announced Diversity & Inclusion initiative that will take shape in 2020

Thank you again to our host, Mintz, and reception sponsor, Natixis. And thank you to the many members that turned out in less-than-ideal weather to help prepare NECEC for a brand new decade.

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Sean Davenport

Sean is NECEC's Communications Manager.