Like many employment sectors, the clean energy industry does not currently reflect the demographics of society at large. The vision of the clean energy future is inclusive must be inclusive of all groups, including low-income residents, people of color, and women. Because everyone uses energy and is impacted by energy generation, everyone needs to be a part of the energy conversation. In order to truly live our mission and enable the growth of a robust North Carolina clean energy community, NCSEA must take the lead in improving inclusiveness in the clean energy industry. Through NCSEA’s Inclusiveness Initiative, we aim to capture the ideas, perspectives, and voices that encompass the diverse citizenry of North Carolina. Our board and staff worked together to develop NCSEA’s Inclusiveness Principles and Commitments. These principles are core to NCSEA’s overall mission and capture our vision for our Inclusiveness Initiative.
NCSEA engaged B&C International, the oldest minority-owned business management consulting firm in the United States, to lead our board and staff in the development of an action plan that translates our vision for an inclusive clean energy industry into a tangible roadmap, with deliverables to help get us there.
The NCSEA Women in Clean Energy project is an initiative to advance, celebrate, and support the women working in North Carolina’s clean energy economy. As part of NCSEA’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusiveness program, the Women in Clean Energy project is eager to enhance North Carolina’s clean energy industry to ensure that it is both reflective of and responsive to the diversity of the North Carolina population.
NCSEA's board enacted an impressive recruitment plan with an inclusiveness strategy, which empowered the board to make strides towards being more reflective of the demographics that NCSEA serves.
Creating a More Equitable, Diverse, and Inclusive Clean Energy Community
NCSEA is committed to supporting and cultivating a diverse clean energy community. In July 2019, we enacted a policy to encourage each of us in the energy community to think critically about whose voices are heard most—and those whose are not.
In an effort to encourage diversity in the events we host and partner on, NCSEA does not sponsor or co-host events that do not include a diversity of panelists and speakers. For the purposes of this policy, we define diverse panels and speaker lists as those that are made up of individuals of varying genders, races, and ethnicities.
NCSEA does not intend for this policy to be a “quota”—we do not require a certain number of diverse persons in order to sponsor or co-host an event. Rather, we aim to encourage dialogue about race and gender among clean energy advocates, institutions, and industry to support diversity efforts with similarly minded organizers. We recognize that instances may arise where diverse speakers are not available for a particular event. NCSEA is cognizant to this challenge and eager to engage our organization, members, and partners as a support system for organizers looking to place highly qualified and diverse speakers on panels at their event.
What does this policy look like in action?
NCSEA only sponsors, hosts, or co-hosts events that have a racial, ethnic, and gender diverse speaker line-up (if appropriate for the event, such as a conference or continuing education course).
If NCSEA is asked to support an event on short notice, without having adequate time to support the development of a diverse agenda, NCSEA will make a determination about sponsorship on a case-by-case basis. And, if the speaker lineup is not diverse, the organizer must demonstrate to NCSEA that they put forth their best effort to secure diverse speakers. In each case, NCSEA will work with the organizer to create and support diverse events moving forward.
Inclusivity is embracing diversity to achieve shared quality of life, health, and economic goals.
NCSEA Celebrating Diversity
NCSEA celebrates diversity in the clean energy industry in North Carolina and beyond. In February 2021, NCSEA launched our Instagram with a Black History Month Campaign highlighting Black clean energy professionals in a variety of fields. Additionally, NCSEA’s blog frequently highlights diversity in the clean energy industry. Our 2021 Black History Month blog series highlighted four clean energy leaders advancing the clean energy landscape in research, community solar, within communities, and at the federal level. Similarly, our April 2021 blog highlights several women who have advanced the electrical grid, designed the first solar-powered home, and created programs to solve some of the most pressing energy-related issues.