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[Episode #77] – Perspectives of an Energy Transition Veteran

Energy transition has been under way for the better part of two decades now, and it’s easy to forget how much the world has changed over the time. We now have a host of energy technologies and consumer tools that didn’t even exist 15 years ago. Utility business models have been turned upside-down and we’re still not sure what they’ll look like in the future. Equally, there has been a transformation in education as it tries to catch up with a rapidly-changing world and an ever-more-urgent call to action on climate change. Viewed up close, the transition now underway can look pretty slow sometimes, but if you back up and review what has transpired over the past 15 years, it has actually been incredibly rapid, at least compared to the historical pace of change.

Few people have been as involved in energy transition over the past 15 years, and have seen it as up close and personal as our guest in this episode. Robyn Beavers has had a remarkable career working in energy transition that included stints at Google, NRG, the Department of Energy, and Vestas, and she did it all starting as a young woman in an industry dominated by men. In this interview she shares some of her insights on how it all has unfolded, and how she has managed to be incredibly successful with navigating the gender disparity. She also explains how her new venture is working to turn the built environment into dynamic energy assets. If you’re a young person interested in breaking into the world of energy, you don’t want to miss this episode!

Geek rating: 7

Guest: Robyn Beavers is the CEO and co-founder of Blueprint Power, a project she incubated while being the VP of Investments and Technology at Lennar, a real estate company. Prior to that, she founded the Station A skunkworks project for NRG in San Francisco, which focused on distributed energy systems. Previously, she was the Director of Commercialization, Water and Power at DEKA, where she worked to commercialize power generation products invented by founder Dean Kamen, who invented the Segway. Before that, she launched WindMade, an NGO sponsored by Vestas, Lego and Bloomberg which worked to help large companies invest in wind generation. Prior to that, she was a Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy, where she helped to launch the Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE program, which provided seed funding for state energy offices to help homeowners finance solar systems. She began her career in 2004 at Google, first as an Executive Assistant to the founders at Google, where she helped implement green building practices at the company’s flagship headquarters, and then as the founder of the Green Business and Operations Strategy group, where she proposed, sold, and managed the installation of a 1.7 MW photovoltaic solar array at Google headquarters in 2007, making it one of the largest corporate solar installations in the world at the time.

On Twitter: @robynbeavers

On the Web:

Blueprint Power

Robyn’s profile at Makers

Recording date: August 11, 2018

Air date: September 5, 2018