Dec 1, 2023

Onyx Renewables’ CEO Mary Beth Mandanas Speaks at Reuters Energy Transition North America 2023

The panel discussed the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act and focused on the role policymakers, businesses, and digital solutions will play in de-risking the grid and supporting its resilience.

Mary Beth Mandanas, CEO of Onyx Renewables, was a panel guest at the Reuters Energy Transition North America 2023 Conference, where she spoke about the importance of decentralization and community resilience in the energy transition. The panel, titled “De-Risking the Grid: Driving Electrification Through Flexibility,” was moderated by Alex Rozenfeld, the Managing Director of Climate Impact Capital LLC. Alex brought forth questions about how businesses can work in tandem with policymakers to deliver enhanced grid reliability and the role of community engagement in the energy transition.

The conversation touched on various hot-button issues in the energy sector, such as permitting rules, centralized vs. distributed generation, and microgrid interconnections. Mary Beth was quick to clarify the role microgrids would play in the energy transition, elaborating on the work Onyx has done with housing US Military troops:

“Over the past decade, Onyx has installed solar and storage on over five military bases… This helps the Department of Defense meet some of its goals in terms of focus on renewables and reducing carbon emissions.”

She continued, “If you think about ‘How do we make this all work?’, we have to start at a smaller scale and build it out from there… My biggest concern is that ten or fifteen years from now, the world will have changed. So, just like we have our Apple phones, and everything is on a smaller basis, let’s start at that decentralized place and work outward from there.”

Turning to customer solutions, Alex asked Mary Beth for her thoughts on community solar:

“Community solar is a great customer solution. You can have access to renewable energy, and it can connect into the grid, and maybe it’s a way to accelerate hydrogen, if you think about distributed hydrogen.”

“The goal in utility is to socialize the cost across its entire service territory. Community solar helps reduce the cost… People talk a lot about affordability, it helps with affordability. That gives everyone an opportunity to participate in renewables.”

When asked about what she finds the most exciting and impactful in the energy transition, Mary Beth was optimistic about the opportunity for decentralization in front of us, and the possibility of integration of distributed generation with more centralized generation resources:

“The opportunity is much more local. I think we can come up with technology just like we have with network systems… why can’t we create that same efficiency with decentralized generation as well as centralized. Somewhere out there, there is the technology - it’s out there, it’s doable. We’ve got to embrace that change.”

Just like our CEO Mary Beth, we at Onyx believe in the future of distributed generation. By capitalizing on the technology available to us today, and looking forward to what’s to come, we can create a more resilient, equitable, and clean grid for everyone using renewable energy. We were thrilled to be a part of Reuters’ Energy Transition North America 2024, and to discuss the future of distributed generation. If you want to play a role in the renewable energy transition, contact us here.