IREC Vision Summit: the need for movement is urgent

The collective power of experience and passion assembled in one room was by any measure extraordinary. This set the stage for the vitally important outcomes we set out to deliver from the first IREC Vision Summit, focused on how to make bold clean energy goals a reality, for all.

IREC Vision Summit

It was a day of robust exploration of the challenges, opportunities and details, and the not so distant milestones necessary to get us there – ultimately to 100 percent clean energy. The words “urgency” and “collaboration” and “equitable” could not have been louder.

Gathered was a diverse group of more than 120 of the nation’s top energy influencers – from energy storage, solar and energy efficiency industries, and industries whose workers touch clean energy technologies, to representatives for state regulators and elected officials. Included were the labor and transportation sectors, along with national advocates for equitable access to clean energy and its economic benefits, and so many others.

Panels focused on tough questions about priorities, issues, transparency, inclusion and accountability, and the actions that have to accelerate on a state and community level – because that’s where the energy transformation is happening. That’s where clean energy policies, practices and intentional decision-making will change lives.

Our actions must be deliberate, intentional and collaborative, including bringing to the table underserved and underrepresented populations that are not currently part of the larger conversation. Click To Tweet

Now comes the real work.

We’re busy using the questions, answers and themes of the day to develop foundational principles to guide the U.S. path to a 100 percent clean energy future. We’ll work with our prestigious Summit National Advisory Committee to draft and publish this in the next few months, Energy Transformation for All: National Principles to 100% Clean Energy. Then, we’ll encourage other organizations to sign on and endorse.

A few of the Summit themes we’ll address:

  • With a collective voice we’ll be more informative, more impactful. Advocacy for the needs of large and small-scale distributed energy resources, energy efficiency, storage, electric vehicles, and demand response must come together to be addressed in an integrated fashion for our larger success.
  • The pace of clean energy growth, including these technologies, will need to increase significantly to accommodate dramatic increases expected in electricity usage, as applications now fueled by fossil fuels (vehicles, space and water heating and industrial applications) convert to electricity.
  • There is a lack of appreciation for the value of energy efficiency – a huge catalyst to expansion of deployment of renewables. Technologies and strategies already in use to reduce energy consumption in the built environment and transportation will need to be more widely deployed.
  • Smart, comprehensive planning is needed: for short-term and long-term needs for a modern grid; to include all Americans; for a workforce to support clean energy growth; and for the technical support and resources state decision makers will need during this transformation.

Finally, and most important, the need for movement is urgent. Our actions must be deliberate, intentional and collaborative, including bringing to the table underserved and underrepresented populations that are not currently part of the larger conversation.

Panel 4 IREC Vision Summit

Preparing a Clean Energy Economy and Workforce panel on training and educational pathways needed to ensure a quality, inclusive workforce. L-R: Laure-Jeanne Davignon, facilitator, IREC.; Polly Shaw, Stem, Inc.; Lenese Vergara, New York City Housing Authority; Adam Romano, Association for Energy Affordability, Inc.; Erika Symmonds, GRID Alternatives; Robert Hattier, IBEW Local 134.

We have a long way to go to reach our 2050 clean energy goals and 2030 milestones, those we specifically set out in our vision for the IREC Summit. We also recognize that getting to the last 50 percent will be most challenging. We’ll have to change the trajectory we’re on today to get to the future we envision – the future we need to change for the health of our children and our planet.

Thanks to all who will continue to work with us as we continue to pave the path to clean energy for all Americans. Thanks to the generosity of our Summit Sponsors, the promotional help from our Organizational Partners, to the valued members of our Summit National Advisory Committee, and to all who participated as panelists and attendees.

Watch for a date for our 2nd IREC Vision Summit in 2020!

Photo credits: EPNAC.com

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