NRG’s David Crane “ready for a new energy landscape that is vastly different”

In the world of electric utilities, there are definitely some that are not forward thinking (to put it mildly). Fortunately, there are others that are very much thinking about what the future might hold – a transition from dirty to clean energy, for starters – and working to adapt to that reality. One of those is NRG President and CEO David Crane,  who feels “shivers up his spine” when he’s “introduced as a utility executive at conferences.”

Instead, Crane prefers NRG – a company with “about 53,000 megawatts of generation, most of which is oil, coal and natural gas” –  to be looked at as “an energy company looking toward the future, with solar, energy retailers and electric vehicle networks all under the corporate umbrella…ready for a new energy landscape that is vastly different.” Clearly, this is a utility executive who “gets it” and isn’t just resting on his digging in his heels and defending his incumbent advantage to the industry’s dying breath.

Now, Crane has written an op-ed which demonstrates the point. Here’s an excerpt.

… Look at what enlightened corporations like Virgin, GE, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Wal-Mart and Dow are doing on the sustainability/clean energy front. I think you will be impressed.

At NRG, we are trying to transform ourselves. We are running flat out to embrace the clean energy future, while at all times being mindful of our critical role in keeping the lights on in all of the markets we serve.

We’re committed to doing everything we can to drive us toward a clean energy future, but this global fist fight over climate change won’t be won by any one company or consumer. We need to cooperate and act together — another ‘coalition of the willing.’ Our hope is that through this dialogue, we will all learn, challenge, share, and act on what needs to be done today for a better tomorrow.

So get mad as hell. Get mad as hell that the status quo has remained unchallenged for so long. Get mad as hell that some energy companies aren’t giving you the freedom to know, understand and choose where and how you get your energy. And that is because they are betting on the fact that all of us will continue to be largely indifferent to who supplies our energy or how it is produced and transported.

Prove them wrong.

We’re most certainly rooting for David Crane to do just that – “prove them wrong.” Even better would be if every other utility in this country would start thinking more like Crane and less like…well, the type that’s “introduced as a utility executive at conferences.”

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Editor of Scaling Green ( Worked at the U.S. Energy Information Administration as an international energy markets expert for 17 years. Currently a consultant to dedicated cleantech PR firm Tigercomm.

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