Leaving the Year of the Rabbit and Welcoming the Year of the (Wood) Dragon!

This Year of the Dragon promises lots of activity for AE2C with our growing presence across the United States, allowing us to continue to support our mission by providing opportunities to exchange ideas and foster long-term relationships in the energy, environment, and commerce sectors in the United States and abroad.

The Year of the Dragon was preceded by the Year of the Rabbit – a year of hope, longevity, and prosperity. It was quite a year for AE2C, especially with our newest chapter in Massachusetts. They were ‘hopping’ in 2023 with a webinar in April on the International Energy Transition by providing a global perspective with an emphasis for Asian countries and an in-person event in November opening a dialogue on the important issues of the Federal government's Justice40 Initiative and Massachusetts climate activities with leaders of Pan-Asian communities in Massachusetts. Check out the article by Puja Vohra below for more details. The webinar and in-person events were moderated by two of our founding members, Melita Elmore and Jeanette Pablo, respectively, who were also featured in our Women’s History Month post. You can read about them and the other featured AE2C Women "who tell their stories" below.

Our Spring 2023 Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration event, sponsored and hosted by Edison Electric Institute, was not only livestreamed, but was our first in-person event in Washington, DC in 2023. This was also the first time an AE2C event was designated as a “Widely Attended Gathering” (WAG) under 5 CFR § 2635.204(g), allowing Federal Government employee participation without any ethics conflicts. The Career Advancement and Expanding Opportunities panel discussion veered away from a traditional career advancement discussion by exchanging views on family influences early-on, overcoming cultural differences, challenges and lessons learned by being different during the upward journey, and providing advice on achieving success in Corporate America. A special thanks goes out to our speakers Dr. Huiyi Jackson, Afroze Mohammad, Jeanette Pablo, Jimmy Rhee, and Benjamin Wu. A networking reception followed allowing for more in-depth one-on-one discussions.

In Houston, our chapter in 2023 supported the application of the Center for Houston’s Future before the US Department of Energy (DOE) to be awarded a grant as a Regional Hydrogen “Hub” authorized under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. AE2C would serve as a community outreach partner for the HyVelocity H2 Hub to develop and execute the Community Benefits Plan to ensure that the benefits of the hydrogen energy project would extend to the Asian American community both in Houston and throughout Texas. In October, DOE announced that the HyVelocity H2 Hub (now called the “Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub”) would become one of seven national hydrogen hubs, and thus be eligible for $1.2 Billion in grant money. AE2C looks forward to playing a critical role in the energy transition through its service to the Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub to ensure that members of our community can benefit from this federal program.

So, you see, the Year of the Rabbit set the stage for the growth, strength, and creativity in the Year of the Wood Dragon. In addition to the Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub activities throughout the year, we will host the annual May AAPI Heritage Month event, currently scheduled to be in-person and livestreamed. And we are in the process of launching an AE2C chapter in California starting with a kickoff dinner in February and other activities in May. Stay tuned for more information on all the 2024 upcoming events. Happy New Year!

Massachusetts Chapter -- We were 'Hopping" in 2023!

by Puja Vohra, MA Chapter Director

After launching the Massachusetts Chapter in November 2022, our first order of business was to establish a steering committee and start planning for 2023. Our Steering Committee members include Emily Chang, National Grid; Digaunto Chatterjee and Aiden Nyugen, Eversource and Puja Vohra, Slipstream. We appreciate all the hard work and dedication from the Steering Committee and look forward to seeing old friends and some new faces at our events in this Year of the Dragon!

Massachusetts has been a leader in energy and environmental policies for several years with comprehensive programs and policies that will support its ongoing carbon reduction goals. Governor Maura Healey committed to making environmental issues top priority, calling for the state to “lead the world” in its response to climate change. In keeping up with these priorities, the AE2C MA Chapter’s 2023 theme focused on ‘equitable energy transition’ and hearing the voices of environmental justice communities.
Our first activity of 2023 was a webinar on the equity and energy transition with an international perspective. This session was moderated by Melita Elmore, a principal consultant in sustainability and an ISO lead auditor in energy, environment, health, and safety as well as labor and human rights compliance. Preety Bhandari, Senior Advisor in the Global Climate Program and the Finance Center at the World Resources Institute focused on the energy transition from the standpoint of COP27. She highlighted some key energy transition initiatives that are in progress or are being developed that may be replicated and/or scaled up in many developing countries in Asia. Anand Subbiah, AE2C Board member and Executive Director at McLean Development Group talked about addressing a just energy transition from coal plants to renewables in Asian countries. Transitioning countries away from coal is crucial to ensuring a clean energy future and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Dr Andy Sun, an Associate Professor (with tenure) at MIT focused on decarbonization and optimization of the current and future grid and some key paths forward to balance renewable energy integration with optimizing the power grid.
For our in-person event in November, we invited leaders from Pan Asian communities in Massachusetts to participate in a panel discussion on what a clean energy transition means to their communities. We heard directly from these leaders about their communities’ needs and issues and the solutions they are seeking to increase their resiliency to withstand the impacts of a changing climate and ensure that they benefit from the workforce investments and environmental protection they deserve in a just energy transition in MA. This event was moderated by Jeanette Pablo, AE2C Vice President and Director of the Climate Equity Initiative at Clean Air Task Force, with three community experts from the local Pan-Asian communities: Fangxue Zheng, the Community Initiatives Lead at Quincy Asian Resources, Inc. (QARI), Minwah Leung of the Chinatown Land Trust & Chinatown Power and Anna Venderspek of Green Energy Consumers Alliance.  The panelists shared the challenges of educating Asian communities about energy savings, especially renters. They emphasized that any outreach effort takes time because it’s all about gaining trust and dispelling the fallacies/urban myths, especially because most information is disseminated by word of mouth, and digital ‘word of mouth’ modes and can be misinterpreted or misstated. They also face challenges in permitting and logistics, to gathering the appropriate funding.  Although some of these hurdles seem daunting, they are making progress and look to continue this rewarding work for years to come.

Massachusetts Chapter November Meeting Highlights




The DOE Clean Energy Corps Initiative 

AE2C was honored to sponsor an event for select guests from diverse communities entitled “Special Briefing for Executive Champions” organized at the behest of the U.S. Department of Energy on its Clean Energy Corps hiring campaign in August of last year. This briefing educated participants on DOE’s campaign to recruit the hundreds of government staff needed to implement the then, newly enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Today we are still working with DOE and other entities to spread the news of the Inflation Reduction Act, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Justice40 initiatives.