Miranda Ballentine, the new managing director of the Rocky Mountain Institute's (RMI) Business Renewables Center (BRC), believes there's beauty in collaboration.
Four years ago, when she was leading Walmart's global renewable strategy team, Ballentine met with leaders from several nonprofits to discuss the state of corporate renewable energy procurement.
"The beauty of that is that the NGOs don't always collaborate," she said. "From the corporate perspective, we were thrilled to have this collaboration with some of our biggest NGO partners to bring us together to really talk about how large buyers of renewable energy can come together to support each other in a commercial space to accelerate the clean energy future to what we want to see."
Four years later, she returned as BRC's leader to see "an incredible blossoming" of work between NGOs and companies.
"We now have 400 people at our (Renewable Energy Buyers) meeting representing not just buyers, but also developers, utilities and policymakers," she said.
Representation from many perspectives of the energy buyers' ecosystem is essential to navigate complex legal challenges of making renewable deals in regulated and deregulated markets and measuring impact.
Luckily, Ballentine has plenty of experience to guide her: As assistant secretary of energy for the U.S. Air Force during the Obama administration, she learned how vital energy security is to the future of the nation.
"Renewable energy is not just a carbon play or an economic play," she said, "but a critical component of building a cyber-secure, resilient, diverse and agile 21st-century power grid in this country."