Did your role exist ten years ago?
That’s what Laura Taylor, founder and president of Silverline Communications, asked a group of clean energy professionals at a breakfast panel hosted by Silverline during Solar Power International 2019 in Salt Lake City. For many in the room, the answer was no. Their roles reflect recent and evolving opportunities in the energy landscape.
Together with Nico Johnson of Suncast, we captured this conversation in a new podcast that we hope you’ll enjoy as you think about your own role and how it will change in 2020.
Everyone has a unique story about how they ended up working in clean energy. Ten years ago, Laura saw that clean energy innovators had poor access to the storytelling and stakeholder engagement services so critical to fostering acceptance and adoption of societal-level innovation. She rushed into the void.
Since then, clean energy PR, marketing and public affairs have changed greatly. Our esteemed panelists had insightful, inspirational and funny things to say about how this field changed over 10 years, and the potential it holds for the future. Some of our favorite moments:
“Yes, we can reach 100%, we can have a flexible grid where we can have resiliency and we can ramp up and ramp down faster than traditional resources. This is coming, and we’re ready to create the next set of proof points so that we can show that we are mainstream and this isn’t going away, this is just going to take off even further.” – Laura Abram, Director Project Execution West and Public Affairs at First Solar
“The milestones for clean energy technologies: they typically get a small wave based on those early incentives, but when they really start to take off is when the economics become compelling. When people figure out they can make more money doing it than not doing it, is when the wave becomes unstoppable.” – Greg Merritt, director of marketing and communications at Smart Electric Power Alliance
“Solar and storage is like peanut butter and jelly, it’s an awesome combination. But storage is also there for wind, it’s there for the grid itself as a transmission resource and a distribution resource, and it shouldn’t be limited in its being able to take advantage of the ITC just because it has to be compared with one particular resource. It’s not efficient.” – Kelly Speakes-Backman, chief executive officer at U.S. Energy Storage Association
“Many of us were starting out and it’s great that we all kept in the industry, I think that’s the biggest tell-tale sign of renewables achieving its potential, we kept really good people.” – Tom Weirich, director of marketing at Rubicon Capital Advisors
“Narrative is powerful, and that’s our job as communicators and marketers so be glad that we’re cost competitive and we’re competing. It’s going to continue to be a fight because legacy industries don’t change easily, and change is hard.” – Gil Jenkins, director of corporate communications at Hannon Armstrong
To listen to the full recording of the panel, check out Episode 191: [SPI ‘19] Clean Energy 10 Yrs After ARRA, Panel Hosted by Silverline Communications on the SunCast website or SunCast on iTunes.
Thank you to Nico, our panelists and all of you for your support over the past 10 years. We look forward to continuing our efforts to create a clean energy future. As you’ll hear Kelly Speakes-Backman say, “I feel like I’m in a Macklemore song where this is my moment, this is awesome!” This is truly the moment for all of us to be proud to work in the clean energy industry.