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The Bridge to Sustainability

The Bridge to Sustainability

Published 08-31-23

Submitted by NRG Energy

Photo of Lynda Clemmons; NRG Energy.

Originally published on NRG Energy Insights

By Lynda Clemmons

From our operations to our customers, sustainability is at the core of NRG Business. We have worked together, across functionalities, to develop a comprehensive sustainability framework, placing equal importance on decarbonizing our business and helping our customers — big and small — bridge the gap between traditional and renewable.

As Vice President of Sustainable Products and Innovation, I lead a team whose work is helping customers meet their goals and reduce their environmental impact. Expert, adaptable, and innovative, together we are leading the transition to a more sustainable future. I am proud to introduce the members of my team who seem to make anything possible.

Get to know me 

Personally, I got my start right out of school as an analyst at an investment bank. My willingness and ability to learn new things helped me land my first role and has continued to be a core competency I have relied on throughout my career. Following this position, I had the opportunity to work at Enron for eight years and started a weather derivatives business, which works like an insurance policy against weather performance that could negatively impact business. I also started a sulfur dioxide + nitrogen oxides (SO2 + NOx) emissions trading desk, a market-based approach to controlling SO2 + NOx emissions. This kept me busy and stoked my passion for developing and implementing sustainable solutions.

In 2000, I left to co-found and serve as COO of XL Weather and Energy (a division of XL Capital Ltd.), a trading and insurance company based in Connecticut, before finally joining the team at NRG. Since 2012, I have led NRG’s sustainable products, renewables, innovation, and project management teams. I help run an incubator for growing businesses and early-stage opportunities within NRG Business, and my team is always working on new projects with the goal of enhancing our sustainability and renewables approach for customers.

Beyond the work, one of the reasons I have remained here for some time is the amazing team I get to work with every day. Together, we embody a culture that is collaborative and focused on education and sharing information. We try extremely hard to make sure that even the newest member of our team can understand, rather than using our own jargon. We also take the time to hear everyone’s perspective because oftentimes, it’s the newest teammate who brings the best idea to the table.

Work-life balance is something I have spent my life trying to perfect—especially as a mother of two daughters—and I encourage my team members to do the same. When I’m not in the office, I try to take time for myself by enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking, snowboarding, and gardening, and when it’s inevitably 100+ degrees in Houston, I’m probably inside on my Peloton or reading a good book.

My dream team 

Our Sustainable Products and Innovation team is made up of four branches which come together to provide our customers with premier and innovative approaches to sustainability. Each group, within the larger team, is focused on their field of expertise, and when brought together they create a formative and multi-faceted foundation for sustainability at NRG Business.

Let me introduce you to each of the branches of our tree and highlight what they do.

  • Our Sustainability Advisory group, led by Greg Kandankulam, Director of Sustainability Advisory, educates customers on how to reach their sustainability goals by providing insight into their carbon footprint, helping them to decide the appropriate way for their company to buy/access renewable energy as well as the tools available for benchmarking and reporting. This team helps customers establish a solid strategy and make it easier to navigate the evolving clean energy landscape and improve business performance.
  • Our Renewable Brokerage team, led by Miro Sutton, Head of Renewable Advisory, focuses on assisting Fortune 500 companies with virtual power purchase agreements, community solar portfolio origination and management, transferable tax credit financing solutions, distributed generation solutions, and long-term renewable energy credit purchases. This team supports our customers with the industry’s top talent and most innovative solutions. With over 2GW in recent transactions, the team continues to assist clients in an ongoing effort to maximize both ESG and financial benefits.
  • Our Renewable Products team, led by Alan Cherkas, Senior Originator, focuses on Voluntary Market Carbon Offsets, Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), Producer Certified Natural Gas, Renewable Electricity (in Canadian Markets), and Hydrogen. Bernie Kinsella, Director of Origination – Environmental Products, heads up constructing and staffing our voluntary market carbon trading desk and supporting the Sales organization to market carbon offsets to NRG customers. This team is tasked with working with all necessary internal functions to commercialize the environmental products under development and to help train and support the Sales organization to educate our customers and prescribe the right products to meet their needs.
  • Our New Product Innovation (Quantum) team, led by Lucas Spangler, Senior Manager of Commercialization and Schneider Otohwo, Manager of Product Strategy & Commercialization, is a cross-functional team working with Business Operations that focuses on bringing commercialized new products such as Renewable Energy Credits, Carbon Offsets, Renewable Natural Gas and Producer Certified Gas to market. They identify customer needs and market opportunities and collaborate with internal and external partners to design, develop, and launch innovative solutions that address sustainability challenges. This team also supports the scaling and adoption of these products across different regions and sectors, ensuring that they deliver value to our customers and stakeholders.

Our commitment to change

Our industry is at an inflection point and we have an opportunity to rethink what power can be. For NRG, customers are the driving factor pushing us forward with their sustainability goals. The ambition of our customers motivates the team to develop new and innovative sustainable solutions.

Paving a new path for the energy sector requires dedication to our customers, communities, and the environment we all share. I am proud of what my team’s work achieves and our shared commitment to propelling all of us toward a more sustainable future. I’ll let them share the reasons why they are passionate about the work we do.

“I am passionate about my work because I believe I am in a role at a company and industry in which I can truly make a difference. It is only through a clean, resilient, affordable grid that we will have the energy foundations that can support a more equitable future.” -Schneider Otohwo

“When I started my career, I found myself gravitating towards clean power - even before it was popular. To date, I have been part of nearly 6GW of projects, many of which would not have happened without my involvement. This gives me immense satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment in being able to make a positive impact in the world.” -Miro Sutton 

“As an originator, It’s extremely rewarding to be able to help our suppliers advance projects that benefit the environment, while helping our customers achieve their own environmental objectives. It’s not always easy, but important work and every success is a stepping stone along the path to a more sustainable future.” -Alan Cherkas

“I want to help create a more sustainable and empowering energy ecosystem for our customers. With NRG's position in the industry, we have the opportunity to lead by example for a cleaner and affordable energy future.” -Greg Kandankulam

“Small changes have big impacts. The size and scope of our customers can create significant effects by introducing one program or product. These products directly impact the planet and people. To me, that is making a difference.” -Lucas Spangler

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NRG Energy

NRG Energy

At NRG, we’re bringing the power of energy to people and organizations by putting customers at the center of everything we do. We generate electricity and provide energy solutions and natural gas to millions of customers through our diverse portfolio of retail brands. A Fortune 500 company, operating in the United States and Canada, NRG delivers innovative solutions while advocating for competitive energy markets and customer choice, working towards a sustainable energy future.

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