Last week, we had the chance to sit down with Russ Bates, Founder at NXTGEN Clean Energy Solutions, a company that focuses on solar, EV charging, and battery storage projects. Read on to learn how Russ is revolutionizing clean energy solutions for today, and paving the way for future generations!
Tell us a little bit about you, your background, and your current role:
I was born in the ‘coal country’ of Southern Indiana, growing up in a small house built on an abandoned coal mine. I have family members and friends that made their living working in the mines. In the early 90s, I worked my first job as an IBEW electrician at a coal fired power plant. This fossil fuel power generation industry was incredibly strong in the Southern Indiana region, and my career continued at various coal fired and combined cycle (gas) power generation facilities. During this time, I grew increasingly interested in renewable energy technology and was inspired by its continued advancement.
In more recent years, I have been directly involved with solar, battery storage and wind power generation projects as well as electric vehicle charging stations. The idea for NXTGEN Clean Energy Solutions was born of my passion for renewable energy and the ability of new technologies to help in the climate change crisis that the entire world faces. I recognized that, at times, there’s a missing link between these technologies and general public awareness of their benefits and the realities of how they work. I also identified the issue of accessibility to various aspects of the technology even when the awareness is there. I founded NXTGEN as a one stop shop for customized consulting, project development and execution of solar power, battery storage, and electric vehicle charging stations for businesses, homeowners, municipalities, health care facilities, schools, and so on. NXTGEN works with clients from concept to completion.
What is a fun fact about you?
I have a miniature pinscher named Maverick who’s been by my side for almost 9 years now. He’s traveled all over the country with me. I’m a bigger guy and get a lot of looks walking through airports holding this little dog in my arm with people saying ‘Big guy/little dog’.
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
If you asked me this question 15 or even 10 years ago, it would have been a much different answer. Today my view is that the evidence and reality of climate change is overwhelming in the almost daily weather occurrences. We may not be able to reverse climate change, but we can certainly slow and eventually stop it, but only if we act now. Clean energy is a key component of this equation, and economics support the use of renewable energy technologies. Time is of the essence.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
I envision the clean energy sector continuing to advance, with growth accelerated both by environmental demands, public awareness and governmental action. We already see the rolling blackouts in California and the rationing of electricity in China. The industry has made incredible progress in the last decade and with continued education and implementation of solar, battery storage, wind power, and so on, we can help not only the environment but also the economy. Rarely do you encounter true win/win scenarios but with clean energy it’s a win for so many people in many ways.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
There are several ways the average person can make a difference but I would start with education. The amount of misinformation about clean energy, climate change, etc. is overwhelming. I was not well educated on the topics at one time, too. Once you take just a little time to do your own research it becomes obvious that clean energy is the only viable energy for the future. How does this translate into the average person making a difference? Share this knowledge with family, friends, and coworkers. I speak with people every single day about clean energy and how it can help folks save money, protect businesses and homes from grid power outages which are becoming more prevalent, and of course help the environment. People will be glad you didn’t keep this information to yourself.
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