The 2nd NRS Chili Cookoff, Axe Throwing, and Productivity, too!
On an average Wednesday morning in early November, the NRS kitchen was filled with chili aroma as eight NRS employees plugged in their respective crockpots for the 2nd NRS Chili Cookoff. The fun atmosphere was welcoming to the new faces on the NRS team as the full staff gathered for the 3-day, quarterly “all hands” meeting at NRS Headquarters in Minneapolis, MN.
At the lunchtime break, staff tried and scored the various chilis, including white chicken and 2 vegetarian chilis. Scoring was based on the name, taste, smell, texture, and overall goodness of the chili. While they were all delicious (and yes, most tried all eight chilis), it came down to mere decimal points to determine the winner: The Ragin’ Cajun, made by our CDO, Jesse Hopkins-Hoel. Some had argued his wasn’t an actual chili as it was made with shrimp and had more of a stew consistency than chili, but the points don’t lie! Honorable mention was 2nd place Texas Turmoil, a spicy Texan chili (no beans) from Senior Project Developer, Conner Wilkinson. Many thanks to all of the chili cookers! It was, hands down, the best lunch we’ve had at these gatherings.
In the evenings after our productive meeting days, we were able to get out and enjoy some Top Golf and axe throwing, which was really fun to see the unique hidden talents of our team. That Friday, we wished Tyler, our Senior Interconnection Analyst, a happy (early) birthday, pictured above (top right).
It was an eventful and successful week, and we are extremely grateful for this amazing NRS crew!
The NRS Business Development Team had a productive and busy October. They participated in the Rocky Mountain Electrical League (RMEL) and the North American Energy Markets Association (NAEMA), and The Western Systems Power Pool (WSPP) Fall Conferences. Along with major sponsorships, the team participated in numerous activities in the Denver area for RMEL, Atlanta for NAEMA, and Palm Springs for WSPP.
At RMEL the team had informative discussions with battery storage suppliers and EPC providers for upcoming projects. While in Atlanta and Palm Springs, offtake leadership had several conversations with major utilities and industrial leadership for power offtake opportunities for our current portfolio of wind, solar, storage.
We look forward to growing and maturing these connections in the upcoming events at the Mountain West Clean Energy Procurement Summit in Salt Lake City in early November, and at the Colorado Solar & Storage Association (COSSA) the last week in February 2023.
Presque Isle 1 & 2 Solar – Groundbreaking Ceremonies
In true NRS fashion, our Director of Solar Development, Brad Wilson, was joined with leaders from the community to break ground on two of our Maine solar projects, aptly named Presque Isle 1 and Presque Isle 2.
These projects, which are slated to begin operations early next year, are a reflection of our ongoing commitment with our Project landowners and the communities they are a part of. Stay tuned to our upcoming newsletters for updates on the construction progress and other project news.
We are excited to announce that Alex Ingulsrud and Conner Wilkinson have each been promoted to the role of Senior Project Developer at NRS!
Alex and Conner have shown exemplary dedication to our New Mexico and Colorado projects, demonstrated the ability to learn new skills and concepts quickly, and have built long-lasting relationships in each of our local communities.
Both Alex and Conner are already great leaders and valued members of our team who are looked-up to by their peers and respected in our communities and within the industry. We look forward to the leadership they will continue to provide for the benefit of our projects and within the development team.
Please join us in congratulating Alex and Conner to their new roles – we look forward to seeing your continued growth at NRS!
Quarterly All Hands Gathering (and the First NRS Table Tennis Tournament)
NRS Headquarters was buzzing last week with the arrival of its remote staff for the quarterly company-wide “all hands” meeting. The team had a great two and a half days of productive working meetings, break-outs, and planning & strategy sessions. For our team-building event, the team enjoyed some excellent entertainment (and skill) by spectating and participating in the First NRS Table Tennis Tournament.
In a 3-round, single-elimination tournament starting Wednesday, each team member went head-to-head to see who would advance to the next round. Even though they were short games to 11pts, all the matches were fought hard! The culmination of the 3-day tournament ended Friday morning in the championship match between Alex and Conner – Developer v. Developer. *queue the music: Chariots of Fire*
It was an evenly matched game with excellent volleys and a few stingers from both opponents (Conner with that spin and Alex with that corner shot!), but in the end, Conner prevailed over Alex. Congrats Conner!
Thanks to the whole NRS crew for a fun and productive week!
The NRS Development team has had a lot of fun exploring the old jail in Sterling on their recent visits to Colorado. The building has been transformed into The Annex, a coworking community created in collaboration with Logan County Economic Development and other local groups. They have small conference rooms, shared workspaces/event rooms, and Flex Spaces – small private rooms, all available by reservation.
They are continuing the expansion into the 2nd floor of the old jail as “Phase 2” of the project. They will be adding more meeting spaces and offices, which will be available for rent.
We look forward to the finished product and the growth it will bring to this vibrant town!
NRS Attends ACORE 20th Anniversary Gala & Policy Forum in D.C.
Members of the NRS Executive team attended the ACORE(American Council on Renewable Energy) Gala celebrating their 20th anniversary on March 23rd, followed by the annual Policy Forum the next day in Washington DC. It was the first time the organization held an in-person event since the start of the pandemic, and while there were plenty of jokes about remembering how to socialize and tie a necktie, it was wonderful to see and feel the excitement for the topic of the events as well. The keynote speakers and panelists included several senior industry professionals, FERC Commissioner, Willie Phillips; The Honorable Ron Wyden, Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Finance; the current EPA Administrator, Michael Regan; as well as two former EPA administrators, Carol Browner and Gina McCarthy.
The recurring themes at these events were centered on issues of supply chain (which at the time, we were still awaiting word from the US Commerce department regarding its investigation on solar panels from Southeast Asia), energy equity, the need for high voltage transmission builds, and the hope for congress to pass a suite of renewable tax incentives yet this spring as a part of a budget reconciliation bill. It’s clear that the sense of urgency to pass these incentives is heightened by the clear need for the west to gain energy independence from countries like Russia, which has been the main reason energy prices have spiked more recently.
The folks at ACORE are certainly doing their part to urge congress to act – and you should too!
Join us and show your support for the Budget Reconciliation Bill
We encourage you to write an email to your representative(s) asking them to support the passage of long-term, clean energy tax incentives that include new credits for storage and transmission, now, as a part of the budget reconciliation tax package. Together, we make our voices louder.
Will Pattison (left), one of our New Mexico landowners, was featured on the cover of issue 99 of the Meng AIR Modeller Magazine, a globally renowned aircraft modelling publication. His “War-Weary Warhawk” (plane) was highlighted for his creative approach with heavy weathering. Pattison, who survived a devastating spinal cord injury suffered in 2009, built scale models as a boy and got back into it as part of his physical therapy program. He now sells work to collectors and has been featured in a number of magazines and books.
“These fighters were truly filthy and as soon as I started collecting Banshee photos, I knew where this project was going.” – Pattison commenting on the approach he found himself taking once he started the project.
Pattison’s weathering detail is so well done, it’s truly hard to tell this aircraft is 1/32 of the normal size. Detail like this could only come from a true artist like Pattison, who is also a gifted photographer. Well done, Will!
*Photos by Will Pattison Visit Will’s YouTube Channel HERE
NRS solar developers Roger “Hal” Halbakken and Brad Wilson visited NRS project development sites in Colorado in early February, including a stop at the site of our “Honors Energy” utility-scale solar project.
While onsite, Hal and Brad checked in on the NRG Systems solar met station that was installed in 2021 and has been operating for several months. Similar to a wind met tower in some ways (but much shorter), the solar met station collects onsite meteorological data important for accurately modeling the solar energy that can be generated at the site. This station collects data points including irradiance, albedo, soiling, temperature, humidity, precipitation, and wind speed/direction. This data is transmitted to our home office in Minnetonka, MN via cellular modem on a regular schedule. Unlike wind met towers, however, onsite solar met stations are not typically installed by default at utility-scale solar development sites, although it is starting to become more common.
The NRS development team knows that having more and better data can only improve the quality of its projects, so the team is pleased to be on the cutting edge of onsite solar data collection. Installation of these systems is planned for multiple other NRS utility-scale solar development sites in 2022.
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In mid 2021, NRS was acquired by BlackRock Real Assets – Climate Infrastructure Group* (“BlackRock”) with the intention of accelerating the development of its pipeline of projects toward financing, construction, and operations. With NRS’ on-the-ground development and origination expertise and BlackRock’s capital markets support and global reach, we have positioned ourselves as a major player in the U.S. renewable energy market.
* BLACKROCK REAL ASSETS OPERATES ONE OF THE LARGEST CLIMATE INFRASTRUCTURE EQUITY INVESTMENT PLATFORMS IN THE WORLD WITH OVER $9.7 BILLION IN TOTAL COMMITMENTS AND INVESTMENTS IN 450 RENEWABLE POWER AND OTHER CLIMATE RELATED PROJECTS ACROSS 17 COUNTRIES AND 5 CONTINENTS.