On August 16, 2022, the world changed. On that date, the President of the United States signed the most historic climate legislation ever enacted by a major country, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
The IRA established the country’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions across all sectors of the economy while helping transition communities that have historically relied on the fossil fuel industry. The legislation paves the way for technologies to accelerate the transformation, focusing on fair pay, job training, and domestic manufacturing. It includes clean energy credits beyond wind and solar, benefiting clean hydrogen, clean fuels, and carbon capture.
Our challenges are not behind us as we enter this period of energy transformation, the like of which we have not seen since the Industrial Revolution. The Ukraine war is a humanitarian and energy crisis that brings urgency to finding ways to work together across borders. There is a need to replace the use of dirty Russian natural gas in Europe with cleaner U.S. natural gas and aggressively build out renewable sources of energy in the U.S. and Europe to create a more secure world with lower global carbon emissions.
There has not been enough attention on the widespread support the IRA received. The public and diverse sectors of the economy – including utilities, oil and gas companies, renewable energy companies, organized labor, the financial community, and many more – supported the IRA. We must continue this inclusive approach to the energy transition. The IRA and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) can bring stakeholders together to accomplish what we have not achieved to date.
An inclusive approach means using industry growth to create widespread economic benefits by investing in diverse communities and workers, building a robust domestic supply chain, and even expanding critical mining operations in a socially responsible way. We must engage Indigenous communities, agricultural communities, energy-transitioning communities, and underserved communities. We need to invest in training and development programs. If we don’t diversify and support our workforce, we will not meet the challenges and opportunities before us.
Pattern has begun our work on these issues. We have created sustainability goals that drive diversity, equity, and inclusion in our workforce, value chain, and industry. Our strategies include aggressive recruiting, development opportunities for our staff, a supplier diversity program, and coordinating with our sector in the Energy Transition for All initiative.
As we grow our workforce, we’re evolving our culture and work environment to promote from within, encourage internal movement between teams, and support professional development. I am profoundly proud of our culture and our employees. We have strong employee engagement and satisfaction scores, reflected by Pattern being one of The San Francisco Chronicle’s Top Workplaces in the Bay Area and being awarded the highest rank for a renewable energy company.
Our Pattern culture gives us a competitive advantage. We have an entrepreneurial company feel where employees are involved in multi-faceted roles. We empower individual thinking and encourage open dialogue and diverse ideas. We’re fast-paced, passionate, and dynamic. Our engaged workforce is pioneering new ground in our industry and working on transformational projects.
In 2021, we completed Western Spirit Wind, the largest single-phase wind installation in the Americas, on time and on budget. Over a thousand workers installed 377 wind turbines spanning three counties, totaling 1,050 MWs of capacity, and its accompanying 155-mile transmission line. The facility will contribute tens of millions of dollars to the local economy during its operations and supply clean power for nearly a million people in the West. This work in New Mexico provides a platform we are building on as we develop SunZia Wind – an installation three times the size.
We are advancing renewable energy development in multiple markets by identifying where we can cost-effectively decarbonize the grid. Our strategy includes connecting areas of the country with different weather patterns to give customers differentiated renewable energy that meets the time and shape of their needs.
Our portfolio generated nearly 14,000 GWh of clean energy in 2021 – equal to the electricity use of approximately 3.3 million people – and contributed roughly $75 million to local economies through property taxes, land leases, and community donations.
Pattern had many milestones that you can read about in our report. From completing our first wind repower and U.S. solar project to starting construction activities on our first offshore wind and storage project in Japan and wind project in Alberta. We diversified our business strategy by acquiring Solect Energy and expanding into the Commercial and Industrial (C&I) solar market. In 2022, we furthered this growth by purchasing Dynamic Energy.
We also grew our core competencies by building a Fundamentals and New Markets group, enhancing our Energy Management team’s capabilities, and forming a Business Improvement Committee. We expanded our management approach to stakeholder engagement, instituted a fleetwide Land Agent Code of Conduct, and completed a 3-year climate research project on the impact of global weather disruptions.
Notably, we continued emphasizing our efforts on diversity, equity, and inclusion by conducting a DEI-focused employee survey, hosting employee focus groups, and requiring all people managers to undertake unconscious bias training. I’m pleased that we maintain pay equity, continue to lower employee turnover, and increase the percentage of women holding management and senior management roles. I am proud of where we have come in recent years, but there is still much to do as a company and an industry.
The historic IRA and IIJA legislation provide unprecedented opportunities for the energy industry to drive the transformation to a low-carbon economy in a more equitable way. It is now up to Pattern and the industry to use these opportunities wisely.
Co-Founder and Former CEO, Pattern Energy