Blueprint Power CEO Robyn Beavers – now a key part of BP’s plans after the start-up's acquisition by the supermajor – can already claim a role in energy transition history after helping switch on the billionaire founders of Google to the virtues of green power in the tech behemoth’s early days.
Beavers, who co-founded commercial buildings-focused distributed energy technology start-up Blueprint in 2017, spent the four years to 2008 working at Google, including as an executive assistant reporting to Larry Page and Sergey Brin at a time when the company was expanding exponentially and “they were becoming billionaires”.
With an interest in building decarbonisation that “predated chief sustainability officers or any of those things”, Beavers began exerting her influence on Google’s fast-growing operational base by “sneaking in green building features and energy efficiency aspects. I knew them well enough to know they would like it. They loved it, and wanted more,” she told Recharge, describing the freedom she was given to pursue her enthusiasm as “very Google”.
With a pioneering 2007 corporate solar installation she managed at Google’s HQ, and the tech titan’s continuing status as one of the world’s largest backers of clean energy as a legacy, Beavers’ career continued at wind group Vestas, where she launched the WindMade scheme, and NRG Energy, where she led its ‘Station A’ operation to explore market-disrupting opportunities for the US utility giant.
Beavers’ spell at NRG in 2014 earned the then 33-year-old Beavers a place on Recharge’s 4040 list of young new energy pioneers.
Building 'grid interactive entities'
As Blueprint takes its place in BP’s Launchpad portfolio of start-ups, and a key role in the oil & gas supermajor’s energy transition plans, the civil engineering graduate with an MBA from Stanford aims to show on a US-wide and global scale what she claims the start-up has already proved in New York – how giant commercial buildings can collectively be a significant force in the urban energy transition.
The company’s advanced algorithms and services aim to unlock the individual and collective potential of the fast-growing number of commercial buildings adopting on-site generation – notably via solar PV and battery storage technologies – as part of a push to decarbonise a real estate sector it cites as responsible for 28% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
“We help transform buildings into grid-interactive entities, that can generate, store and sell power,” Beavers said, predicting that such capabilities will become “ubiquitous” in new-build commercial property alongside a “healthy retrofit market” for existing stock.
“Aggregated it becomes significant. That aggregated flexible capacity is very valuable when thinking about how it pairs with large-scale wind supply or other [energy trading] strategies.”