18 episodes

Beyond the Meter addresses timely topics of interest to executives responsible for renewable energy procurement and distributed energy resources at Fortune 1000 companies, higher education and cities. Each episode delivers insights and information that listeners can use to make smarter energy decisions beyond the meter.

Beyond The Meter Smart Energy Decisions

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Beyond the Meter addresses timely topics of interest to executives responsible for renewable energy procurement and distributed energy resources at Fortune 1000 companies, higher education and cities. Each episode delivers insights and information that listeners can use to make smarter energy decisions beyond the meter.

    Collaborating to Drive Diversity in Clean Energy with Darrell Booker, Cheryl Comer, and Tracey Woods

    Collaborating to Drive Diversity in Clean Energy with Darrell Booker, Cheryl Comer, and Tracey Woods

    This episode is made in partnership with Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions.
    In this season of Beyond the Meter, we’re taking a closer look at the meaningful impact renewable energy projects have on the world around us. In this episode, host John Failla is joined by Darrell Booker, Corporate Affairs Specialist leading the Nonprofit Tech Acceleration Program for Black and African American Communities (NTA) at Microsoft Philanthropies, Cheryl Comer, Senior Strategic Account Manager - Duke Energy, and Tracy Woods, VP, Operations - American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE), to talk about their collaborative efforts on the recently created Diversity In Clean Energy (DiCE) initiative. DiCE, a program to advance equity in clean energy, is an initiative sponsored by Duke Energy’s Strategic Account Management Program. Listen in to learn more about the progress being made to promote diversity in the energy industry.
    You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in... AABE’s current activities and work [07:37] Microsoft’s Nonprofit Tech Acceleration Program [16:26] Duke Energy’s Diversity in Clean Energy (DiCE) Program and NTA for Black and African American Communities at Microsoft Philanthropies [20:39] The benefit of effective collaboration [25:26] The roles of the organizations in DiCE [36:46] The potential of the new DiCE | AABE platform [44:17] Making America stronger through diversity [51:54] The American Association of Blacks in Energy For nearly 45 years, the American Association of Blacks in Energy (ABBE) has focused on energy policy and the impact of those policies on communities of color. They work on policies and professional development to ensure that their members can be cultural ambassadors in the communities where they live and work. AABE receives many calls from employers seeking diverse talent. To serve this need, they provide scholarships and programs for high school and middle school students interested in careers in the energy field, job postings through their newly revamped Career Center, and numerous programs like Black Energy Awareness Month.
    The Diversity in Clean Energy (DiCE) Initiative  DiCE is a program sponsored by Duke Energy to drive visibility and open doors of opportunity for diverse suppliers in the clean energy field. At Duke Energy, DE&I (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is a business imperative inspiring how they work with employees, customers and their communities. They’re taking intentional action for the good of both the community and business.
    The idea for DiCE was sparked by a request from T-Mobile via their Energy and Sustainability Program Manager, Amy Bond, who asked Cheryl what Duke Energy was doing to identify, train, track and utilize diverse suppliers. This question inspired Cheryl to open the conversation to her other strategic accounts, as she knew they would all benefit from this conversation around diversity, equity, inclusion, and how that relates to clean energy. Through these discussions, she realized that there was ample opportunity, interest and need for the resources supported by the DiCE initiative.
    Collaboration in the energy industry The energy industry is in the midst of a massive transformation. As one of the largest utilities in the United States, Duke Energy has an obligation to provide reliable, affordable, and increasingly cleaner energy to customers and communities. One of the most efficient ways to initiate change is by cross-industry leaders coming together, pooling resources, and solving complex problems. 
    While many corporations realize that they want to work with diverse suppliers, they don’t know where to start. The ultimate goal of the DiCE | AABE platform is to facilitate the inclusion of diverse suppliers into mainstream corporate supply chains and to eliminate systemic barriers. Everyone in this collaboration has something different to bring to the table: Duke Energy has the means, AABE has the connections, and Micr

    • 56 min
    The State of Community Solar with Terri Dalmer and Owen Grant

    The State of Community Solar with Terri Dalmer and Owen Grant

    In this episode of Beyond the Meter, host John Failla is joined by Terri Dalmer, Vice President of Solar Business Development at CleanChoice Energy, and Owen Grant, Business Development Manager at Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions. They discuss the broad impact community solar can have on businesses and diverse communities nationwide. You won’t want to miss the insights and reflections they have to share from their over 30 years of experience.
    This episode is made in partnership with Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions.
    You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in... Growth of community solar [03:52] Massachusetts’ Rowtier project [08:27] Duke Energy and CleanChoice [11:28] Requirements unique to Massachusetts [13:29] What involved Duke Energy in solar? [15:35] The benefits of community solar projects [19:25] The future of community solar [24:23] What is community solar? Community solar consists of facilities that produce less than five megawatts of electrical capacity. It allows residents, small businesses, and other organizations, such as municipalities, to receive credit on their electricity bills for the power produced by these solar arrays. It differs from residential solar in that it is an off-site project with no financial investment from a consumer and serves multiple levels of subscriber offtake. 
    The impressive growth of solar is due to the diligent policy work at the state level, where legislation is being supported to expand the renewable market. The dynamics of state programs are a significant influence on solar’s success. Currently, about 19 states and DC have a wide variety of programs. Some of the newest markets coming on board currently are Virginia, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania. Solar is a dynamic and growing market that offers a lot of opportunities.
    Community solar projects in Massachusetts Massachusetts provides an excellent opportunity to work on ground-mount, front-of-meter projects. A nice feature of the Massachusetts program is that these projects can be operated either as community solar or by directly selling electricity to utility companies. Duke Energy found this quite an attractive project, deciding that the community solar route made more sense financially. That’s how Duke came to work with CleanChoice as a subscription management company to bring in small customers.
    Duke Energy and CleanChoice Duke Energy is a best-in- class company, so they needed a best-in-class collaborator to help with their community solar pilot project. They’ve been pleased with the relationship with CleanChoice and their ability to help Duke Energy navigate the ins and outs of the community solar program’s SMART (Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target) element as well as the utility coordination. Together they’ve created a model project that other companies should consider.
    One of the values of Duke Energy is serving its communities. With community solar, the benefits are kept local. It’s an opportunity for both the small and large customers in a community to participate in the project. Having a large anchor tenant allows the project to open up to customers that might not otherwise be qualified to participate in a solar project. The local element of these projects provides a kind of equity of access to renewables as part of the energy transition.
    Resources & People Mentioned Solar Energy Industries Association: SEIA Alternative On-Bill Credit FAQ April 2019 Connect With Our Guests Terri Dalmer - Vice President of Solar Business Development at CleanChoice Energy
    Terri Dalmer is Vice President of Solar Business Development at CleanChoice Energy, responsible for overseeing a community solar management services portfolio as well evaluating market expansion opportunities and partnerships with solar as it relates to both management services and project development. Ms. Dalmer has over 20 years of experience in the energy and commodities fields with sales roles at Morgan Stanley and Con

    • 27 min
    Innovation through Electrification, with Diana Kotler

    Innovation through Electrification, with Diana Kotler

    This episode is made in partnership with Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions. 
    In this season of Beyond the Meter, we’re taking a closer look at the meaningful impact renewable energy projects have on the world around us. Industry guests discuss how their cleaner energy transitions are driving change, both within their organization and the larger community. Our guest for this episode is Diana Kotler, Executive Director at Anaheim Transportation Network. Host John Failla and Diana discuss one of the hottest topics in the industry: fleet electrification. Diana has extraordinary insights and experience on the topic that we’re excited to share. Listen in to learn more.
    You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in... The drivers for Anaheim Transportation Network [04:00] The community and social benefits of electrification [10:01] Anaheim’s transportation fleet [13:57] Community reactions to electric transportation [15:50] The infrastructure needed for electrification [18:06] The benefit of microgrids [25:52] Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions’s role in Anaheim [28:45] Obstacles in expansion [31:12] The finances of electrification [39:01] Early motivation for electrification Diana is from Southern California, which is known to have the worst air quality in the nation. To ensure that the air remains liveable and breathable, the City of Anaheim had to find alternatives to fossil fuels. They looked to electrification in order to improve air quality and ensure that their developments would allow the city to continue to depend on tourism and convention business. This combined approach created the opportunity to generate local revenues and taxes, which, in turn, provide services to the community.
    Interestingly, while the electrification effort in Anaheim started with a focus on air quality and health benefits, most organizations today are getting involved because of the need to decarbonize operations. While they did discuss fossil fuels and reduced carbon footprint, those were just peripheral discussions at the time. Diane says it doesn’t matter so much where the emphasis is placed, as long as the work provides a better environment for future generations. 
    Community impact Anaheim is on its way to becoming the largest operator of electric buses in Southern California. The city is also beginning to integrate some twelve-passenger electric vans into the fleet for on-demand services that don’t require as much capacity as a bus. They also have 10 slow-speed smaller vehicles that operate in neighborhoods connecting schools, libraries, and eateries downtown. Altogether the city serves about 10 million passengers annually.
    The service for the smaller vehicles is called FRAN: Free Rides Around the Neighborhood. It is based in the Colony district of the city, which is rooted in tradition and history. When FRAN was introduced in the neighborhood, it was an immediate success. As FRAN began to go deeper into the neighborhoods, people started asking when it could serve this park or that area. People were fighting to have FRAN serve their community. While capacity declined due to the pandemic, service is slowly but surely being reinstated.
    Overcoming challenges in electrification The technical expertise and guidance of Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions has been immeasurably valuable to the City of Anaheim. DESS had the in-depth experience connecting a public sector participant with private capital that the city didn’t have the reach to achieve. Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions supports operations and ensures that the infrastructure is robust. The partnership of Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions and the City of Anaheim means that the Anaheim Transportation Network operates not only today but also twenty years into the future.
    As more vehicles are added to Anaheim’s fleet, infrastructure needs to adapt. For example, if the city were to switch to another bus manufacturer, the charging technology and chargers wou

    • 45 min
    The Power of Resiliency with Ann Kloose, Michael Kilpatrick, and Whit Remer

    The Power of Resiliency with Ann Kloose, Michael Kilpatrick, and Whit Remer

    This episode is made in partnership with Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions. 
    Municipalities across the U.S. experience any number of challenges when building infrastructure projects and energy solutions, but one of the biggest is building with future needs in mind. The issues of resilience and sustainability are front and center in this undertaking, and the guests on this episode are on the front lines of the fight.
    Join John Failla of Smart Energy Decisions as he hosts a conversation about resilience and sustainability, with his guests Ann Kloose, City of Fresno Manager of Sustainability; Whit Remer, City of Tampa Sustainability and Resilience Officer; and Michael Kilpatrick, Key Segment Manager for State and Local Governments at Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions.
    You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in... Ann’s past experience and role in the City of Fresno [1:54] Whit’s past experience and role with the City of Tampa [3:23] Michael’s past experience and role with Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions [5:16] How does resiliency play into an overall sustainability plan? [6:19] What is happening in municipalities across the U.S. [9:51] How infrastructure can be designed in adaptable and user-friendly ways [16:55] The biggest challenges in building future-ready projects [26:54] Unifying stakeholders around common goals [31:21] Specific projects happening in Fresno and Tampa [33:56] Trends being seen across the United States [40:49] How social equity figures into resiliency [43:33] How do Resiliency and Sustainability work together? In Whit Remer’s view, resiliency is the top-line of any sustainability plan. It requires looking at the shocks and stressors that affect the community being served. He says the acronym, E.S.G. — the Environmental, Social, and Governance measurement of energy solutions — is a helpful way to remember what resiliency is all about. Sustainability comes into the picture when the Environmental area is considered. How can we take care of the water, land, and air in a community? A good resiliency plan should include sustainability initiatives to ensure that the provision of energy for the community is not damaging the area, and in fact, is helping to improve the community.
    There’s a “Resiliency Movement” happening in municipalities across the U.S. Michael Kilpatrick has the opportunity to see and hear what a variety of communities across the U.S. are doing to increase both the resiliency and sustainability of their energy solutions. He says that in the past, the two were often not tied together. But things are changing now, due to the impacts of COVID and a growing realization that sustainability and resilience support each other. This new approach is benefiting communities across the nation.
    Community-wide, resiliency is simply defined as improving the quality of life across the entire population. As an example, the design of streets has an amazing impact on a community. Do they include protected bike lanes? Are they complete and well maintained? Are they aesthetically pleasing? Do they include walking trails or sidewalks as part of their design? These factors and many others create vibrant, connected neighborhoods that provide access to businesses, community features, and public services conveniently and easily.
    The biggest challenges when building future-ready projects It’s impossible to predict the future, but municipalities have been attempting to wisely forecast future needs when planning infrastructure and improvements. But working to meet future needs doesn’t happen without challenges. Communities around the nation are finding common roadblocks such as…
    Communicating effectively about budgetary and timeline needs for large scale projects such as solar arrays Many governments still operate in “siloed” ways, with each department competing with the others for budget, resources, etc., when the real need is for cooperation and coordination between

    • 52 min
    ESG Investing & Innovative Financing Models Including Green Bonds

    ESG Investing & Innovative Financing Models Including Green Bonds

    Environmental, Social, and Governance factors (ESG's) refer to a set of standards that socially conscious investors use to screen potential investments. ESG's are increasing in importance and many companies are looking to ESGs to guide sustainability decisions and to prove their sustainability commitment to customers and stakeholders.
     Join us for this episode as Cari Boyce, Katherine Neebe, and Doug Esamann join host John Failla to discuss the steps Duke Energy has taken in the adoption and implementation of ESGs in moving toward its sustainability goals.
    You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in... Introducing this episode’s guests and their experience with renewable energy [2:01] Why Katherine chose to move from Walmart to join Duke Energy [5:30] What is ESG investing and why is it of such importance these days? [10:01] Duke’s 20-year history in sustainability planning and its current goals [18:20] To what degree are ESG goals a business imperative for energy companies? [29:39] The role energy storage and emerging tech will play in Duke’s ESG picture [42:16] Collaboration is key in the energy transition [50:01] The role of investment in moving forward in a greener, cleaner way [53:13] A closer look at the role of ESG in corporate responsibility ESG refers to how a company performs in these three key areas:
    Environmental criteria: how does the company perform in terms of its ecological and environmental responsibility to the community?
    Social criteria: how does the company manage relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where it operates?
    Governance: how does a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights operate?
    Companies that navigate trends in the ESG space tend to outperform companies that ignore those trends. For that reason, ESG's should be a core consideration to a company’s strategy and fundamental to the way the company does business.
    Sustainability has been a core value at Duke Energy for 20 years Duke Energy, being a major electricity provider, sees itself as a major contributor to the well-being and fulfillment of the people who live in the communities it serves. As a result, the team at Duke has learned to listen to stakeholders, customers, and investors to know what’s important to everyone. The company also pays close attention to the environmental needs and impact of any projects it is involved with.
    When it comes to ESG goals, Duke’s emphasis tends to be more on environmental aspects since it is a company that impacts the environment directly by virtue of what it supplies. But the social and governance aspects are just as important. The challenges are many; among them are the pressures to “green” their energy supply while doing it in ways that are affordable for customers. The Duke team is committed to continuing the search for the right balance and proper perspective to make it possible to do both.
    It’s imperative for companies like Duke to focus on ESG goals As the demand for ESG consideration increases from investors and customers alike, Duke Energy is proving themselves to be a leader in the field. Emerging energy technologies like solar and wind are options customers want to have as energy options, and Duke is providing them.
    As proof of its commitment in these areas, to-date, Duke has retired more coal-based power plants than any other industry player and by 2030 Duke will no longer be producing energy via coal within the Carolinas. In Indiana (which is considered “coal country”) it will only be 10 to 15 years before coal-based energy production is no more for Duke. As a result of these commitments, the carbon intensity Duke is serving to its customers is some of the lowest in the country.
    Though many who are driving the renewable energy transition want Duke and other energy suppliers to make this transition more quickly, it’s an issue where goals have to be pursued

    • 58 min
    Electrification of Transportation with Catherine Kummer and Michael Luhrs

    Electrification of Transportation with Catherine Kummer and Michael Luhrs

    We’ve all heard of the new electric vehicles that Tesla and other manufacturers are producing, but when you look at electric vehicles from a broader fleet perspective, the possibilities for reducing carbon emissions long-term are exciting! The Smart Energy Decisions team believes this issue of fleet and public transportation conversion to be a key component in moving the energy transition forward, so this conversation was especially interesting to us.
     
    Our guests on this episode are Catherine Kummer, Climate Advisor for the American Cities Climate Challenge to the City of Charlotte, NC, and Michael Luhrs, Vice President of Market Strategy and Solutions for Duke Energy. Speaking from their unique positions, each of them provides a wonderful perspective on the issues driving the move toward fleet and public transportation electrification, how it’s being accomplished on the ground, how the issue impacts corporations, and what role utilities like Duke are playing in making the transition possible. It’s exciting to hear what’s happening and what is projected to happen in the years to come. Don’t miss this enlightening and encouraging conversation.
     
    You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...  
    Catherine Kummer’s background in renewable energy and transportation [1:44] Michael Luhrs’ work with clean energy and energy efficiency at Duke Energy [2:39] What is driving interest in electric vehicle pilot programs in cities? [3:42] The key drivers of corporate initiatives to create electrified fleets [11:06] Why utilities are embracing the move toward electrification of vehicles [13:47] Reasons cities and businesses believe electrification of vehicles is essential [17:57] Why the total cost of ownership makes the Electric Vehicle (EV) transition a total win [22:28] The role utilities need to play in the EV transition [33:21] Barriers to making the EV switch and how to overcome them [43:55] Looking 3 to 5 years into the future when it comes to vehicle electrification [49:50]  
    Charlotte, NC is leading the charge in electrifying its fleets  
    When asked what is fueling the drive behind the electrification of municipality fleets and public transportation, Catherine says that, quite honestly, it’s the cities themselves. As the Climate Advisor for the City of Charlotte, NC she has a front-row seat to the initiatives that the City Hall and City Council are taking in this important step toward the smart energy transition. 
     
    The city of Charlotte has implemented an aggressive public education campaign surrounding its clean energy goals, which include community outreach and engagement via many platforms. The city has also put into place two new policies that support electrification goals. These come directly from their Strategic Energy Action plan and aim to entirely electrify the city's fleet by 2030. Currently, as part of that plan, they are working toward the addition of 27 electric vehicles to their light-duty fleet, at an investment of over $740,000, which would make 42 total electric vehicles for the city. The city is also ensuring that the charging infrastructure required is part of that expansion. It’s cities like Charlotte that are leading the way nationwide.
     
    Corporate & utility drivers toward electrification of vehicles  
    When it comes to why corporations are moving toward the electrification of their vehicles, Michael puts it best when he says it's about sustainability and efficiency — or being clean and cost-effective. Duke Energy has recognized that its constituents are taking on the mantle of the renewable energy transition. With that, corporations are adapting to provide the value to their customers that they want and need. A significant benefit can also be derived from the cost savings involved when implementing electric vehicles. Maintenance, fuel expenditures, noise and emissions pollution, and more go into these savings. 
     
    Utilities see the fundamental shi

    • 57 min

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