“Amazing.” “Wonderful.” “Not your average webinar.” “The Talent was off the charts” “The energy created in that room was amazing!” “Great selection of speakers and the content and substance was excellent.” These are just some of the powerful responses from participants at this year’s Energy 2.0 2022, the “UNconference” put on by ALLY Energy.
In a packed event at Greentown Labs Houston, with online participants joining in from around the world, the event provided practical takeaways for people from across the energy sector and beyond.
As ALLY founder and CEO Katie Mehnert explained in her opening remarks, the event provided a crucial opportunity to speak about “the other side of crisis.” The world has been through geopolitical, energy and social crises over the last few years, creating tremendous upheaval. “But what I know of the energy industry: We are built for crisis,” she said. “We are built to drive the new future forward.”
Energy 2.0 is about bringing together leaders and change makers from across the sector to address “the new future” and discuss how to build “a sustainable path forward” - in which everyone understands their roles in the energy transition, Mehnert said.
In addition to hearing from impressive speakers on the key themes of people and culture, partnership and collaboration, innovation and technology and measurement and accountability, participants engaged in lively discussions at their roundtables. Sharing where they saw the biggest challenges for the energy transition and also getting chance to hear from others on progress and where recognition is due. They then shared key insights with the event at large. Now, attendees are sharing details of what they learned.
Solutions within reach
“Many of us are asking: How can we meet the urgency of the #ClimateChange challenge by 2030?” That's how Em Wilson, head of communications and content marketing for Hundred Brands, began a LinkedIn post about her experience at Energy 2.0.
“Taking a global energy system view, what came out of yesterday's session for me was there are key places where solutions are already within reach to help with the challenges we see today,” she added. “Now we have to think about how these are interlinked, to make our actions more strategic and focused.”
These include making emissions visible with improved transparency, accountability and actionability to drive faster emission reductions; improving energy productivity; speeding up the adoption of high impact clean energy technologies, and more. (For more, see her full post.)
By building a stronger community across the sector, by focusing on matching talent to careers, delivering leadership experiences that facilitate connection and developing the key capabilities we need to accelerate the energy transition, ALLY is committed to helping everyone link these efforts together.
The ‘pivotal precursors’
Rakhi Oli, global strategy leader for the low carbon business segment at Flowserve Corporation, shared that she was struck by a new use for the Star Wars term JEDI: as an acronym for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. (ALLY members offer lots of guidance and ideas on how to advance all of these across the energy industry here.)
Also, Oli explained, through discussions, participants came up with “the 10 pivotal precursors for responsible energy transition.” They include cohesive industry collaboration; a phased approach; developing strategic industry partnerships; supporting environmental justice, and more. (See the full list.)
Telling the industry’s story
Film producer Kevin Kempf said he was struck by the disconnect between members of the energy community and the way their industry is often portrayed. “There’s a lot of small tech, big tech, small oil, big oil and more doing things to try to innovate, become more sustainable and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “A lot of people are trying to do these things, but not coordinating to tell the story from the inside out.”
Students from the Energy High School of Houston visited the event for lunch to share their own honest thoughts and impressions of the industry, and ideas on what it would take to help attract future generations to support the energy transition. Their passion was clear, and their ask was smart and straight forward: engage us more, come visit, show us how we can get involved, inspire us, educate us on the energy industry. Mehnert shared her own thoughts on “her favorite part of the day” here on what she heard from them.
The community -- particularly oil and gas -- is too often seen as simply “the bad guy,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to be done for sure. But I believe in the people on the inside more now. I have a little more faith in the people helping lead the change.”
All these issues fit together. As Mehnert has written, a true commitment to justice, diversity, equity and inclusion makes businesses stronger and advances the transition to renewable energy. But that story is too often untold in the energy sector. “The industry is terrible at telling its story because it’s been deathly afraid of the outside world,” she told Glassdoor in an interview. “So, it gets vilified. Meanwhile, you don’t hear about the women and minorities who are changing the old storyline, so it doesn’t inspire others to come join.”
If you attended Energy 2.0, either in person or online, share your takeaways here, or at LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Big thanks to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, presenting sponsor for Energy 2.0 this year, alongside Baker Hughes, NOV, WSP Global and CU Denver Business School.