On Friday, January 26, I attended the “CCA Supplier Diversity Symposium,” held in Richmond, California. Co-hosted by the California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) and the Greenlining Institute, the event drew over 100 attendees from throughout California including Community Choice agency (CCA) leaders, CPUC Commissioners, local government leaders, businesses, and local workforce and union representatives.
The purpose of the event was to review the commitments, initiatives, and progress made by CCAs, local governments, and the business community to support public–private partnerships with women, minority, disabled veteran, and LGBT-owned businesses in the energy sector and to share best practices for diversity in the energy workforce.
Issues addressed included:
- How CCAs can contribute to the movement of promoting diversity – combining green energy initiatives, local control, transparency, and public engagement.
- Best practices and resources for CCAs and suppliers to promote the use of minority businesses.
- Challenges and successes for minority business owners and how CCAs and local governments can support them, and how non-minority-owned businesses can promote diversity.
- Exploring how and why projects like MCE’s Solar One (see more below) are important to the State, the roles that RichmondBuild, Grid Alternatives, sPower, and Cenergy Power played in the MCE commitment to ensure a 50% local hire goal, their diversity initiatives and how this project may inform future deployments.
- Presentations from individuals from the local community that were hired into the workforce for the Solar One project, discussing their personal experience, reasons for transitioning into the green workforce, current projects, and future goals.
One of the points of information that came up was the CPUC’s General Order 156, that addresses diversity in procurement in the energy sector. The program monitors supplier diversity in procurements by participating utilities and oversees a clearinghouse of women, minority, LGBT, and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises. The clearinghouse verifies the status of firms seeking certification as being owned by one of these categories.
The day concluded with an on-site tour of MCE’s Solar One installation, a 10.5 megawatt solar project constructed on an otherwise unusable brownfield near the Richmond waterfront. It is the largest publicly owned solar project in the Bay Area and ownership is expected to eventually transfer to MCE. For details from the day, take a look at the program.
Stay tuned to CPX E-News for interviews in the next edition with some of the local folks hired to work on the Solar One project.