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From one building at a time to making an impact on the entire grid

The challenges facing the industry change with time, and what I like to focus on is bringing DNV’s knowledge and expertise to proactively address the challenges.

One of my passions is finding ways to use my technical background to make impactful contributions that help the environment and work toward mitigating climate change. At the beginning of my career it was buildings, doing electrical design as part of the LEED® certification process. Buildings are one of the largest users of energy, and contributing to the design of energy efficient buildings was impactful, but when the Canadian government started its first incentivized program to support renewable energy something clicked. Instead of addressing climate change building by building I realized the larger impact would be through the grid.

In the beginning, the industry approached renewables with purely a capacity generation perspective, deploying renewables in markets that offered clear economics. When I joined, I mostly worked on commercial and industrial projects, which, in some ways, was still one building at a time. I then moved on to utility-scale solar, and then energy storage to understand the technology and how storage complements renewable assets like wind and solar. As I’ve progressed in my career, I’ve shifted from a generation perspective, focusing on the added capacity renewables provide, to understanding how renewables can help with the grid’s need for both resiliency and reliability, much like the industry itself has done.

My work has always been a conversation with developers or project owners, but that conversation has evolved and broadened. There is now more collaboration amongst developers, utilities, grid operators, and technology providers, unifying the industry’s understanding of how to deploy renewables while maintaining a reliable and resilient grid. I have found that including technology providers in the conversation has truly closed the circle. Collaboration is necessary throughout the industry, and our role as consultants is to surface these conversations, challenges, and lessons learned and share them with the industry as well as the community.

The work I’ve found to be most fulfilling were projects that really broadened the conversation between industry players or the community. My journey has reflected the journey of renewables over the past years, and I’ve been able to leverage the experiences gained from working on a wide range of projects and markets—from solar on school board roofs, to providing energy access to remote and indigenous communities via microgrid, to large utility-scale renewable assets coupled with energy storage. The challenges facing the industry change with time, and what I like to focus on is bringing DNV’s knowledge and expertise to proactively address the challenges, de-risking the projects through early engagements to ensure projects performance metrics are met for the life of the assets. This facilitates smoother financing diligence down the road to move us more quickly on the path of the energy transition.

I recently worked on a project that combined solar, wind, and storage—the triple play of renewable energy. Solar and storage is a natural pair, and most solar projects under development in the U.S. have a storage component to them. But adding storage to wind generation is more difficult due to a greater level of variability, and combining the three is even more challenging. However, this is getting more traction with the reduction of costs and improved technology. The more renewable generation we add to the grid the better, proving that combining wind, solar, and storage in a way that complements each technology’s strengths, mitigates their weaknesses, and would meet the customer’s needs was challenging and rewarding.

Knowing that that I’ve made an impactful contribution to bring a project to fruition by having conversations and educating everyone involved—the developers, the municipalities, and the grid operators —is what drives me. As the Director of the Owners Engineering team, my current focus is owner’s engineering for all types of renewables projects from feasibility to the end of life. I lead a team who I like to believe is truly a trusted partner for all stakeholders in the energy industry. Ultimately, if we want to achieve a cleaner, more sustainable, and equitable future, the industry needs to continue and broaden the conversation, and I’m excited to be one of the people facilitating that.

3/28/2024 2:00:00 PM

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Reem Bashatly

Reem Bashatly

Director, Owner’s Engineering

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Energy in Transition