This Year-in-Review highlights Leaders in Energy’s activities in 2022.
Climate, Green Economy, and Energy Leadership
LE representatives took part in attending and speaking at a number of conferences throughout the year on climate, green economy, and energy leadership ranging on numerous topics as follows below:
- LE Executive Director, Janine Finnell was an invited speaker at a Davos Economic Forum event (virtually) in January on a panel addressing climate and energy leadership. Highlights were reported in LE newsletter issue titled: What if we could invent the future we want for a sustainable planet? + DOE Hiring 1,000 Staff! (February 9, 2022)
- She also presented in March at a follow-up session (virtual) on energy leadership chaired by Helena Saren, Head of the Zero Carbon Mission at Business Finland on the role of global action networks in contributing to building momentum in moving to a green economy.
- Executive Director, Janine Finnell, moderated a panel on energy policy issues for young women at the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN), a public policy leadership organization for young women
- LE Vice President, Bill Brandon Attended Resilient Harvesting Conference on Controlled Environment Agriculture. On November 1st and 2nd, 2022, Leaders in Energy (LE) Vice President (VP), William (Bill) Brandon attended the “Resilient Harvest Conference” in Long Beach, California along with about 400 other attendees, speakers and vendors which had a focus on controlled environment agriculture (CEA). The conference was organized by the Resource Innovation Institute (RII) a not-for-profit energy & water benchmarking organization which brings together stakeholders to assess resource use in cultivation operations, set industry standards, convene best practices events and advocate for effective policies and incentives that drive conservation. More details on the conference are provided in this year-in-review report Addendum.
LE conducted “The Place-Based Circular Economy: The Story of North Friesland,” with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC) in June together with speakers from the Dulles Chamber of Commerce/ Fairfax Regional Development Authority and George Mason University Business School, and Circular Friesland. Circular Friesland’s goal is to be the first regional circular economy in Europe by 2025.
Brandon Licata, LE intern, authored a thoughtful recap article on the event which was published on our blog along with the recording. The article, entitled “Can Dutch Circularity Lessons Be Applied to Northern Virginia?” can be viewed at this link — https://leadersinenergy.org/can-dutch-circularity-lessons-be-applied-to-northern-virginia/
Circular Economy Working Group Meetings
Primary emphasis on developing the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia (DMV) Roadmap to assess what circular economy activities are taking place in the region via plans from municipal governments. (DMV refers to the region comprising the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Northern Virginia region). The group has been holding CEWG monthly sessions and working on developing data to help in providing an assessment of what circular economy activities are taking place in the region. This involves reporting on the status of climate action, energy, and solid waste plans for these areas to report into a data template.
Dr. Tina Calvin is leading the effort which began in August 2022.
In October and November, LE partnered with EcoAction Arlington, Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions (FACS), Sierra Club, and Alliance for Regional Cooperation on a series of three events on zero waste and circular economy (third one to be held on 1/17/23)
9th Annual Green Jobs Forum
On September 22nd, LE conducted its 9th Annual Green Jobs Forum with 3 panels and social networking session. A recording was provided to attendees. Three recap articles on each of the panels were posted on the blog on each panel.
- Green Job Opportunities — DOE Clean Energy Corps & More — Highlighted at 2022 Green Jobs Forum by Peter Ayola
- Key Takeaways on Educational Pathways to Green Careers by Jane Eben-Spiff
- Key Takeaways on “Landing a Green Job” by Mason Hammer
A presentation by Darrell Beschen (U.S. Department of Energy) from Panel 1 on Green Job Opportunities about the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Energy Corps (CEC) — is downloadable here — which provides a helpful primer on the CEC along with the links to the application portals for that program and to the USAJOBS website. His presentation also includes pertinent information on new Federal legislation paired to climate action and good jobs via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.
Ambassador Program Meetings
Several meetings were conducted throughout May-Sept to meet with the LE Ambassadors as well as throughout the year to meet with individuals who have expressed their interest in the program. Discussion topics have included:
- What is the status of our goal as Ambassadors to create a global action network by bringing people together within our regions to join us via our Ambassador program who are like-minded in moving forward clean energy and sustainability solutions.
- How are our Ambassadors currently participating and how would you like to participate moving forward?
- We want to learn more from our Ambassadors regarding what is going on in their respective areas in terms of initiatives or developments that they are knowledgeable about.
- What are some examples of projects within your region with which LE could get involved?
- How can we best share information including current events taking place or success stories within our global action network?
- What specific challenges are our Ambassadors facing in terms of building regional networks?
- How can LE help facilitate these actions?
- Are there tools that our Ambassadors need and/or that we can help to provide?
- How do we build this toolbox?
Continued Partnership with Other Organizations on Affiliated Missions
- On September 30th, LE partnered the National Capital Area Chapter of the United States Association for Energy Economics (NCAC-USAEE) to host a Happy Hour held in person at the Continental Pool Lounge in Rosslyn, VA
- Montgomery County Green Bank – The Executive Director attended Montgomery County Green Bank celebration event in the fall where Leaders in Energy was acknowledged as a helpful partner in the bank’s progress.
- Arlington Chamber of Commerce – The Executive Director participated in the Arlington Chamber of Commerce Sustainability Committee and attended an event at George Mason University in September on a new campus additional being developed which will be LEED platinum.
- Association of Energy Engineers National Capital Chapter – The Executive Director also occasionally attends the AEE-NCC Chapter activities to stay current on energy issues and toured the new building at Tysons Corner in August which as the largest green roof (around 5 acres in the area and which is included in the Fairfax Park system).
- Iceland Charge Energy Branding conference –
The Executive Director continues to serve as a judge for its Charge World Greenest Brand awards.
- LE helped to cross-promote events and activities from other organizations in our newsletter such as Our Energy Policy, Clean Energy Business Network, and others.
- Resilient Virginia (RV) – LE representatives attended the RV annual meeting in Charlottesville as well as webinars in the RV Resilient Academy series. Leaders in Energy is a partner with RV and has collaborated with the organization on numerous past events including the 2021 Green Jobs Forum.
- Alliance for Regional Cooperation (ARC)–
The Executive Director has joined the ARC Board to further important synergies with LE pertaining to regional/circular economy/economic development. The ARC Executive Director, Jim Schulman, has been an active participant and supporter of many LE programs including the Circular Economy Working Group.
- Conducted two meetings earlier in the year with Program Leads in addition to meeting with the LE Brain Trust group comprised of Linda Mansdorf, Francois Giraud, Carol McCaffrey, and advisor, Dr. Miriam Aczel.
- An annual meeting was held with the LE Board in December.
Carol McCaffrey serves as our Director of Communications and collaborated with the Executive Director in developing newsletters and e-blasts. These are located on our website under News and are also listed below as follows:
LE has currently posted 480+ blog articles and will be reaching 500 in the near future. A number of blog articles were highlighted in the LE newsletters. Many thanks to Dr. Miriam Aczel for her work throughout the years in building the LE Blog Archive.
LE appreciates the contribution of Brandon Licata, LE intern, during his tenure over the summer who assisted on numerous activities including Ambassador & Global Action Network, Circular Economy Working Group (CWEG), DMV Circular Economy Roadmap, Annual Green Jobs Forum, and Communications.
Brandon Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) conference report continued: RII has also collaborated with The American Council for an Energy- Efficient Economy (ACEEE) to help establish their recommendations for ‘Energy Efficiency in Indoor and CEA Farms”. An ACEEE technical brief on this topic can be viewed here. In partnership with US Dept. of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and ACEEE, RII has embarked on a three-year project titled Data-Driven Market Transformation for Efficient, Sustainable Controlled Environment Agriculture. RII is collaborating with leading greenhouse and vertical producers, and their supply chain partners, to benchmark cultivation facilities using industry-standard KPIs on energy, emissions, water and waste. More information on this project is available here.
The conference sub-heading was “Policies, Programs and Practices to Advance Efficient Greenhouse and Vertical Farming.” The conference had 22 separate sessions, some held simultaneously. Eleven of these were directed specifically at cannabis growers and 8 of these 11 were strictly on policies and programs associated with energy management. These sessions were directed at electric grid problems arising from the growth of the cannabis industry and their high electrical energy usage; especially in California and Colorado as these were early states that legalized recreational cannabis.
The CEA industry overall owes a great deal to the cannabis industry for kick-starting this emerging technology. Their initial investments in equipment allowed equipment suppliers to expand and focus on the more specific needs of this nascent indoor horticultural industry. However, cannabis grower systems and expanding requirements are diverging from those of CEA growers interested in food crops.
The conference also examined CEA food industry. While “high value crops” might include microgreens, saffron, and other specialty crops, the focus for CEA food producers is to produce affordable crops that everyone uses. Here the need to reduce real energy costs is essential for profitability and realization of CEA as an adaptive measure against climate change. High energy costs are not as much of a concern for cannabis growers.
Three sessions were addresses by members of Congress which provided more on a overview of the industry. One keynote address was by a well-known academic, whose vision was general in nature. The remaining 8 sessions were generally applicable to all CEA growers. These sessions covered water and nutrient recapture, lighting, advances in greenhouse design, automation, workforce strategies, two on visions for future indoor farming and one on HVAC practices.
The conference was valuable in learning about the state-of-the-art of new equipment development. Another takeaway was the increasing division between cannabis growers and CEA food production growers, with other attendees sharing similar observations in personal conversations. With the Farm Bill up for reauthorization, the LE VP concluded that it will be important to get CEA for food production on the agenda.