We have reached the end of another year (and another decade!). As we enter the year 2020, we can’t help but to reflect back on what we have learned in the past decade and what will be demanded of us in the next. When we launched ILLUME six years ago, we could not have imagined the resources building our dream would require: audacity to take the first step, grit to build from scratch, and resilience to manage the natural ups and downs of a growing business. Moreover, it took the support, collaboration, and good will of our industry to buoy us through it all.
And as we stare into the next decade, the challenges we face are far greater than those faced by a start-up. Fortunately, the skills we needed to contend with those challenges—audacity, grit, resilience, and collaboration—are exactly what it will take to move forward.
This decade ushered both progress and relapse. It was almost exactly four years to this date when 195 countries signed the landmark Paris agreement, setting into motion aggressive carbon reduction goals. And though the United States will withdraw from the agreement in 2020, American states, cities, and utilities show no signs of backpedaling. Utility presidents, one after the other, have summoned the audacity to decarbonize. Primed by scientific research and the buying power of the marketplace, our industry is ready for a new decade of electric vehicles, solar-plus-storage, and home energy platforms that will allow us to reimagine how we power our lives.
American journalist, Alexis Madrigal issued a sober reminder this year when he wrote, “Climate change is calling in the debt on America’s infrastructure.” Our current electric grid is failing us so we must shift our framework for resiliency from one that responds to emergencies, to one that prepares communities every day for the impacts of climate change. Let us learn from states that are looking at ways to help disadvantaged families prepare for the impacts of climate change through resiliency incentives.
The last decade has also ushered advances in technology that enabled us to connect with our homes in both new and unexpected ways. As our homes achieve greater connectivity and optimization, this has opened up new sources of connection and opportunity to engage others in our work to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Our mandate to act, combined with our unique ability to connect people to each other and the resources that power their lives, demand ingenuity like never before.
ILLUME has been able to thrive in the abundance and generosity of this industry and we continue paying it forward for others. The playing field is not always level so we find ways to tip the scales to help those who refuse to give up in the face of adversity. This year, we have selected three social enterprises who embody hard work, grit, and resilience: GiveGood employs and empowers young adults on the autism spectrum and we are proud to choose them as our corporate gift partner. Thistle & Bee is a residential program that employs young women who are survivors of human trafficking. My Cup of Tea creates jobs and lifelong skills for inner city women. Let us be inspired by these amazing organizations as we summon the skills necessary to take on the challenges ahead.
Thank you for another year of being on this journey with us.