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Updated: May 29, 2023 From the Editor

From the Editor: A focus on energy & sustainability

Before I became WBJ editor in 2015, I worked as a reporter for WBJ’s sister publication Hartford Business Journal, where one of my primary responsibilities was writing about the energy industry.

WBJ editor Brad Kane at his desk
WBJ Editor Brad Kane

This was near the start of the President Barack Obama Administration, so plenty of words and government dollars were being put toward the goal of a future economy powered by clean energy. Green jobs was a key buzzword. Plus, Connecticut had the highest electricity rates in the continental U.S. at the time, so there was lots to write about. During my five years covering the industry, I discovered a renewed appreciation for nuclear power, learned the endless complexities of the electric grid, and saw the business opportunities behind switching to a fossil fuel-free economy. I even co-founded a special HBJ publication called Connecticut Green Guide.

Now, more than a dozen years after I began at HBJ, here we are in a decidedly warmer future, examining the same issues. Sure, progress has been made on multiple fronts, including getting more renewable energy onto the New England electric grid. The buzz around clean energy died down during the President Donald Trump Administration, but it has ramped up again with President Joe Biden and the passage of the (terribly named) Inflation Reduction Act, which seeks to make trillions in investments in climate improvement. With energy at the forefront of Central Mass. business leaders’ minds as prices have spiked in the last two years, WBJ decided to renew its focus on sustainability. First came the Mass Energy Summit on May 12 at the DCU Center, reviving an event last held in 2016. Second is the May 29 edition of the magazine, with three features on energy and a list of the region’s top clean energy companies.

Leading off the focus section is Kevin Koczwara’s “Front lines” story about how electric utilities are seeking to ramp up their workforces amid a wave of generational retirements. In the “The Devens Revolution” story, Koczwara profiles the young technology company Electric Hydrogen, which seeks to clean up industrial use of the most abundant element in the universe. Lastly, Monica Benevides’ “Collaboration is key” story sums up the best ideas from the Mass Energy Summit, where the experts extolled the virtue of working together.

Energy and sustainability have been important topics in the Central Mass. business community for decades and will be even more so in the coming decades. While progress has been slow – maybe detrimentally slow – we are pointed in the right direction.

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