This blog series highlights the inaugural group of companies that joined the REBA community through its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion membership.
What prompted your organization to join the REBA community?
When I first heard about REBA, I thought it was too good to be true. We were discussing ways of putting our High Road Energy Marketing (HREM) concept for delivering up to 700 MW of utility-scale solar in front of large-scale renewable buyers and one of my partners mentioned this organization named the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, that focused on bringing together organizations with an interest in a greener future. After some research and a discussion with Kevin Haley, Senior Director, Membership & Philanthropy, I came to find that REBA was everything it was touted to be and MORE, much more. The first evidence of REBA’s commitment to sustainability and a greener future was their DEI initiative. Through the DEI membership, focus groups, the REBA Institute Beyond the Megawatt Together Tuesday lecture series, HREM has become an active participant in all things REBA, and that is only in the last 6 months.
Beyond our internal REBA participation, REBA has informed our discussions with potential buyers. For a small energy provider, the REBA tools and resources are well prepared and easy to use. As a result of the REBA knowledge tools, we have been successful in bilateral conversations with household name corporations. Something that would not have occurred in such a short time frame without the lift we get from our REBA membership.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to renewable energy procurement?
Of course, most business is based on relationships. During a pandemic and social lock down, relationships are difficult to develop. However, REBA through its forums, webcasts, and virtual conferences has provided a platform to keep people connected and help build connections throughout the industry. These relationships have led to several bilateral conversations between High Road Energy Marketing and some Fortune 500 companies. This would have been unimaginable without the programs and support offered by REBA.
What does the future of renewables look like for your organization?
As renewable energy purchases continue to increase (13.6 GW in 2018, 20.1 GW in 2019 and 23.7 GW in 2020) and corporations set increasingly aggressive net-zero carbon emissions targets, reductions in Scope 2 emissions through corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) will continue to be a vital part of the solution. With this growth and opportunity comes the responsibility for diversity, equity and inclusion from corporations, providers, service providers and organizations. HREM has built a reputation that will center it at the intersection of the demand for renewable energy projects and concern for diversity, equity and inclusion. By offering turn-key renewable energy solutions to large scale buyers, High Road Energy Marketing, a Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBE), will assist companies with meeting their environmental, social justice and governance goals.
What is the most interesting renewables project you’ve worked on during your time with the organization?
The most interesting aspect of our work involves developing a community engagement strategy. In addition to engaging a diverse network of Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC), and other minority suppliers, HREM believes it is important to make a direct investment in underserved communities.
We have reached out to Prairie View A&M University and the National Black Farmers Association to explore establishing a program to introduce Black farmers to the promise of renewable energy as a means to preserve and protect their land and heritage. The removal of Black farmers from their land is well documented. The proportion of Black farmers in the U.S. has shrunk, from 14% in 1920, to just under 2% in 2017 and Black farmers in the South have lost 90% of their land in the last century. In partnership with Black farmers, the renewable energy industry can provide a possible lifeline. HREM will be in the forefront of that initiative.
Envision a future where every organization has a path to renewable energy – what is the next step towards a zero-carbon energy future?
As I mentioned earlier, HREM has been an Energy Supplier member of REBA for almost six (6) months and has realized enormous value from the membership and discussions with passionate and committed industry leaders. We can’t wait to see what the future holds!
Learn more about REBA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Membership here.