Updated March 30 at 6:25am

Five Questions With: Dennis McCarthy

By Lindsay Lorenz
Contributing Writer
President of RENEW Energy Initiative talks about the organization’s roots and its mission.

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Five Questions With: Dennis McCarthy


Dennis McCarthy serves as president of RENEW Energy Initiative (REI), a nonprofit based in Providence that promotes the growth of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Northeast region of the United States.

McCarthy has been the founder and managing director of MGD & Associates since 2006. Prior to founding MGD, Dennis was the managing director at the World Trade Center Rhode Island at Bryant University.

McCarthy has a bachelor of science in business management from the University of Rhode Island and is a director of the Rhode Island Chapter of the U.S. Green Business Council.

MCCARTHY: What does RENEW stand for and how did the organization get its start?

PBN: After some wrangling, the name “RENEW” stands for Regional Energy N Efficiency Work. The organization started when a group of concerned citizens began meeting for lunch and talking about the positive impact renewable energy and energy conservation measures could have on competitiveness, job creation and reducing the region’s carbon footprint. The fellowship lunches led to the creation of a nonprofit corporation with bylaws and a volunteer board of directions.

MCCARTHY: Tell us a little about how the initiative works.

PBN: REI is working to educate business leaders about the tools, technology, government policy and resources available to reduce the cost of energy. REI members can access information in three ways: 1.) Formal training programs focusing on renewable energy and energy conservation methods. 2.) Informal professional networking events featuring topical speakers and luncheons. 3.) The REI website provides a list members, sources and uses of alternative energy and presentation materials from training programs. Also, REI collaborates with like-minded organizations to influence public policy and legislative initiatives.

MCCARTHY: Why is it important to educate business leaders on renewable energy and energy efficiency to businesses?

PBN: Reducing the cost of operations can generate cash for your vacation or to invest in equipment, R&D or whatever. A thorough audit will identify areas for savings and the payback periods. Many measures come with tax credits and rebates. The bottom line; you’re at war with the competition. Managing energy prudently can help to preserve your own job, your employees’ and accelerate your growth. The cost of renewable energy has been declining rapidly, but most scenarios depend on federal and state incentives. Distributed generation of electricity, versus central plant generated, enables the power producer to take control of his/her own energy.

MCCARTHY: How do the businesses involved benefit?

PBN: We can say that access is the key to all knowing, right? Having ready access to the energy resources one needs should enable an organization to optimize its energy quotient. A high energy quotient is achieved when an organization maximizes their energy investments and savings. REI is determined to play an intermediary role between the community and the channels to people and information that help companies make thoughtful investments. A critical mass of networking and training will spawn knowledge creation and a higher energy quotient.

MCCARTHY: What would you like to see REI accomplish in the next few years?

PBN: REI is still a new organization so we’ll need to continue building our brand. We’ll continue to deliver responsive programs and develop programs in collaboration with like-minded organizations. Joint programs are planned for next year. We’d like to see the State recognize the importance of expanding renewable energy programs. Lastly, we believe the region has the potential to expand an industry cluster around alternative energy. REI would like to drive academia, industry and government funding together.

REI will present the final workshop in its four-part series, Energy Ideas for Efficient Businesses, on Thursday, June 13 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Electrical Energy Conservation Methods at KLR, 951 North Main St., Providence. Register at www.risbdc.org or call (401) 556-8955.


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