Educating government decision makers: Ameresco’s Michael Bakas appointed to Massachusetts AG transition team

Jan. 2, 2023
Bakas will be part of the Energy and Environment Bureau Team for Attorney General-elect Andrea Campbell, who ran on a climate and energy equity platform.

Ask microgrid companies what’s holding up their progress, and they inevitably place government policy and regulatory guidance high on the list.

Much of today’s electric power regulation was put in place before microgrids were even conceived. So there are few government guideposts that consider microgrids. Imagine trying to drive cars before the rules of the road were established.

Microgrid advocates say that too often government decision makers lack knowledge about microgrids. Many don’t even know what they are.

The good news? That’s beginning to change, and Congress offers an example. California Congressman Jimmy Panetta worked hard to educate his colleagues about microgrids and that led to a microgrid controller tax incentive being included in this year’s Inflation Reduction Act.

On the state level, organizations like Think Microgrid and the Microgrid Resources Coalition are also making inroads.

And, out of Massachusetts this week, comes word that Michael Bakas, executive vice president at Ameresco – a significant player in the microgrid industry – has been appointed to the transition committee of Attorney General-elect Andrea Campbell. (Bakas also serves on the Microgrid Knowledge conference advisory committee.)

Bakas will be part of Campbell’s Energy and Environment Bureau Team, which also includes Lisa Goodheart, a partner at Sugarman Rogers and Paul Dacier, general counsel at Indigo (co-chairs); Atyia Martin, CEO at All Aces and former chief resilience officer for the city of Boston; Ben Downing, former state senator, Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden District; Elizabeth Turnbull Henry, president of the Environmental League of Massachusetts; Emiley Lockhart, deputy general counsel, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute; Jeff Porter, chair, Environmental Law Practice at Mintz; Marcy Reed, former president of National Grid; Maria Belen, associate executive director at GreenRoots; and Todd Cronan, senior partner at Goodwin Procter.

Campbell takes office as attorney general on Jan. 18, 2023.

Mass top tier on microgrids but...

Massachusetts scored as a top tier state for advancing microgrids in an assessment released earlier this year by Think Microgrid. The state earned top marks for microgrid deployment and prioritizing resilience. But it came up short (2 out of 3 points) on prioritizing microgrid policy, grid services related to microgrids, and energy equity.

The state has strong microgrid potential – it’s in a hurricane zone, faces severe winters and high energy costs and promotes climate solution policies. And Campbell ran for office on a climate and environmental justice platform, as did Maura Healey, the state’s newly elected governor. So Massachusetts will be a state to watch for progress on microgrids.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

Twitter: @ElisaWood

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