It’s the most wonderful time of the year. While darkness falls outside, we gather in the warmth and light of the indoors. It’s a time for loved ones, a time for celebrating traditions, and it’s a time when the spirit of giving is at its best. It’s a time when America’s competitive power suppliers, while continuing their year-round work to develop the grid of the future and working to keep our lights bright and our heat running, also celebrate the holiday season by giving back to the communities they serve. We’ll explore some of the ways they embrace the spirit of giving while providing reliable, cost-effective, and sustainable power to Americans nationwide.
Giving back to their communities
How are America’s competitive power suppliers giving back to their communities? We feature Tenaska, NRG Energy, Vistra Corp., Shell Energy, and ECP and their community outreach this holiday season.
From warm clothes to hot meals, toys, and more, Tenaska and its employees supported the local communities where its power-generating facilities and offices are located throughout the holiday season.
The company’s Westmoreland plant in Pennsylvania continued its annual holiday-giving tradition, partnering with the Westmoreland Community Action Team to purchase items needed for children and the elderly.
Tenaska’s plant in Smithton, Virginia donated turkeys and their time to the local food bank to provide Thanksgiving meals. Employees continued their giving efforts by collecting Christmas gifts for underprivileged children and seniors in Fluvanna County.
Tenaska Alabama Generating Station continued its tradition of supporting the local charity Autauga Christmas Team. The company coordinates annually with the charity to “adopt” individuals and families in need. Employees purchase gifts, clothing, and food from a wish list, then wrap and deliver the gifts as a team.
“We’re proud of our employees who personally donate their time, energy and money to great causes like these throughout the year.”– Leighton Eusebio, Senior Manager, Communications and Public Relations, Tenaska
Bags of gifts purchased by Tenaska sit on a table in Tenaska’s Westmoreland plant waiting to be distributed by the Westmoreland Community Action Team to Pennsylvania children and elderly in need. Credit: Tenaska
NRG kicked off its holiday season by partnering in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s “Light Up the Lawn, Light Up a Life” event on November 14, 2023, which involved the lighting of dozens of butterfly-themed lights each time someone made an online donation of $10 or more. NRG was the lead partner in the butterfly effort, matching the first $25,000 in donations.
NRG also sponsored a week-long event with WWMR’s Preston and Steve’s Camp Out for Hunger on November 16. It made a $10,000 donation on air, as well as helping lower the event’s carbon footprint by purchasing carbon offsets.
NRG Energy Subsidiaries Reliant and Direct Energy
NRG and its retail brands are involved in a variety of drives, donation campaigns, and efforts to support the underserved. Reliant is embarking on its 10th year supporting the KHOU 11 Secret Santa Toy Drive, donating and volunteering its time. It will also donate an additional $5,000 towards matching for the KHOU virtual telethon. Reliant is also involved in the 10th annual Dallas Gingerbread Contest, where teams compete to earn money that will go to a charity of their choice. Reliant this year donated $25,000 towards Dallas Fort Worth nonprofits. Reliant is also sponsoring the Dallas Zoo Lights, where visitors will walk through a “wild winter wonderland” surrounded by illuminated zoo animal models.
Reliant is also hosting the Houston Botanical Garden’s Radiant Nature event, where similar to the Zoo Lights, visitors can see brightly illuminated animal and flower models in the already lovely gardens.
NRG Energy’s Direct Energy worked with KISS-FM late November on Stuff-a-Bus, a week-long campaign to support Toys for Tots, and added a $5,000 donation on top of the time their teams put into the effort.
NRG WA Parish is holding its 17th annual charity golf tournament to raise funds for nonprofit Fort Bend Rainbow Room, which supports children in Fort Bend Children’s Protective Services—and has generated over $700,000 for many programs including the Children’s Christmas Project. The NRG WA Parish team is also gifting new bikes and helmets to recipients of Child Advocates of Fort Bend.
Vistra Corp. is holding its Winter Warmth Initiative and visiting 16 cities across Texas to deliver turkeys, blankets, and Christmas trees to those in need. Vistra has also worked with the National Texas Food Bank to distribute over 150 boxes of food, lap blankets, socks, and grocery gift cards to enable families to celebrate the holidays while staying warm. Collaborating with nonprofit Baker Ripley, Vistra helped to distribute warm blankets for local Houston seniors, with special thanks from Rep. Armando Walle (D-TX) on X.
Shell Energy launched its Season of Caring with Operation Stocking Stuffer, the annual toy drive with the Houston Fire Department and the Houston Food Bank that distributes 1.5 million gifts and food to 25,000 children and their families. Along with donating, sorting, packaging and distributing gifts, Shell volunteers also helped parents at Ronald McDonald House Houston shop for gifts for their children receiving critical care in the TX Medical Center.
Energy Capital Partners embraced the holiday spirit of giving through partnering with Turning Point Community Services, a New Jersey women’s shelter. Founded in 2022, TPCS provides emergency short-term shelter, support, and services to help women in the community break free from situations of abuse and homelessness. As well as volunteering time, ECP sponsored 15 families with a goal of getting each family a warm coat, 1-2 outfits, and an item from their holiday wish lists. ECP matched its team’s individual contributions as well as sponsoring $10,000 towards TPCS staff and development training. ECP team members put their time, energy, and skills towards making a difference in many families’ lives, including building a child’s bike, refurbishing a company laptop for a mom to have, and organizing and wrapping gifts and packages.
The TPCS team and gift recipients stand with the gifts donated by ECP.
Keeping the Lights On, Costs Down, and Innovation Up
While taking the opportunity the season offers to engage in efforts to give back, our members continue working towards a more reliable, cost-effective, and cleaner power system through developing renewable, efficient energy solutions to add to the energy expansion through rising demand and a changing grid. Here are some recent highlights from bp, Competitive Power Ventures, and LS Power:
BP Gets Green Light for Wind Project, Invests in Agrovoltaics
bp and Equinor’s Empire Wind project off the New York coast received federal approval. The Empire Wind project will have two facilities with 816 megawatts and 1,260 megawatts of installed capacity respectively.
Sheep graze among solar panels in the mutually beneficial practice known as agrivoltaics, where both farmers and renewable power providers are able to share land. Credit: iStock/Ziba Photo Media
In a “new, modern approach to agriculture,” Amanda Stoffels, full-time sheep farmer near Dallas, TX, is leasing farmland to Lightsource bp, where Lightsource operates a total of 615 MW of solar power projects while sheep graze in the same area. This practice, called agrivoltaics, brings together agriculture-related activity such as sheep grazing, beekeeping, and crop growing with solar energy production. “This land management strategy could help alleviate the tension between farmers and solar developers, groups that often have competing land-use interests,” reports CNBC.
Competitive Power Ventures Joins Amazon for Reclaimed Coal Mine Solar Project
Competitive Power Ventures is working with Amazon to develop a 170 MW solar project at a former coal mine, which operated for 120 years before being reclaimed for a solar project that will power an Amazon Web Services (AWS) data center. This Garrett County facility will be the first renewable project at a brownfield site and will also be the state’s largest renewable energy project.
“CPV is pleased to partner with a leading company like Amazon to help it reach its renewable energy goals,” Sean Finnerty, executive VP of renewable energy for CPV told POWER Magazine. “This project is a prime example of the opportunity we have to decarbonize our economy while repurposing brownfield sites and providing economic benefits and clean energy to our host communities.”
LS Power Partners With Monarch Energy in Green Hydrogen Projects
LS Power announced a partnership with California-based green hydrogen project developer Monarch Energy to advance a series of green hydrogen projects across the nation. LS Power will join the Monarch Energy Board of Directors.
“LS Power consistently operates at the vanguard of new technologies and exemplifies a brand known for building complex projects at industry-leading scale. Together, we unlock the potential to achieve great outcomes in hydrogen and eFuels for our customers,” said Monarch Energy CEO Ben Alingh in a press release.