Bobbi, while you are new to Emera Technologies, you are not new to the energy industry. How did your previous opportunities prepare you for your current position?
I’m thankful to have had the chance to help advance the sustainability missions of several firms over the past several years working in the energy industry as Sustainability became more and more a mainstream priority. The partnerships we created as a result of smart grid initiatives and energy transition preparations have taught me some valuable best practices such as the importance of having outcome-focused solution development and negotiations at the heart of a commercial operation. The importance of developing agility into your workforce, especially as you incorporate more technology integration opens up a broader learning environment where more ideas are explored and have a greater chance of adoption. Mostly, I love to learn and encourage others. Mentoring and coaching has been a long standing passion I want to bring into this role.
What do you hope to accomplish in 2022-3 on behalf of Emera Technologies?
This first year at ETL, I’m looking most forward to growing our partnership community based on the strong foundation of first projects our team has executed. Those first-of-their-kind projects at Kirtland Airforce Base and Southshore Bay community are accommodating visits, with the Southshore Bay community microgrid being energized more and more every day. Other utilities, working on their own demand management, net zero, resiliency or front of meter investment strategies for renewable energy will have our
industry-proven, utility-grade microgrid system ready for adoption in new residential developments nationwide. It’s a truly exciting time to be in the industry but especially working for Emera Technologies to help bring this design to others embracing the energy transition.
How does microgrid and the block grid technology contribute to lowering carbon emissions and to an overall green economy?
I believe our future grid will be a system of interconnected distributed generation based microgrids designed to meet not only the lower carbon and resiliency needs of our various industries, but also designed with energy generated much closer to where it is consumed to provide energy resiliency to our aging grid. With the additional energy demand expected with electric vehicle adoption nationwide (and FL as a leading adoption state in the southeast) the BlockEnergy™ design will help provide the resiliency at homes where charging is most likely to take place. Our BlockEnergy™ microgrid design incorporates at least 70% renewable energy technology – such as solar and battery energy storage.
In addition to partnering with electric companies, is there opportunity for a developer to take advantage of these opportunities?
Absolutely. The builder community has been growing with innovation initiatives for a while. There’s active interest and a strong residential market for communities that not only incorporate more renewable energy but a means of providing energy resiliency in dealing with severe storms (and even public safety power shutoffs – as we’ve seen out West.) There’s a general desire for more future-proofing of homes expected to only continue as electric vehicle adoption ramps up, as well.
On a more personal level, what advice would you give to the 2d year college student looking for a career in energy? Please include examples of what worked to launch your career.
There are so many options to pursue in energy technology today. I would say the second year is a perfect time to start experimenting with internships as the industry is transitioning. Observing how teams are communicating with consumers (and each other) as they build the new energy economy is critical. I believe clarity in communication gets more important every year. Learning how to be agile in daily work practices is something sweeping the industry today. I’m big on ‘learning by doing’ so my first year in the workforce, I took advantage of a sales leadership program – which provided a steady rotation of exposure to all business fundamentals – supply chain, distribution channel, manufacturing, and client relations. I worked for power products, systems and automation experts to learn the public and private sector approaches to energy management and how critical partnerships were to everyone’s journey. Lastly, I got involved in the needs of my local communities and learned very quickly how essential clear communication was to bringing people together for a greater good. I’m grateful for the diversity of those very early experiences and mentors who took the time to coach in each role.