d’Arbeloff Departs New England Clean Energy Council for EnerNOC, Rothstein Replaces Him

[Updated 2:00 p.m. 4/28/10] There’s an unexpected transition underway at Boston-based energy management company EnerNOC (NASDAQ:ENOC) and the Cambridge, MA-based New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC). In a pair of announcements today, the organizations said that Nick d’Arbeloff, founding president of NECEC, has joined EnerNOC as vice president of enterprise energy management. Peter Rothstein, former senior vice president of the three-year old council and director of its Clean Energy Fellowship program, has been appointed as the council’s new president.

d’Arbeloff’s role at EnerNOC will be to help customers with multiple sites, such as state governments, understand how to make the most of EnerNOC’s energy management systems. (Just this month, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced the state will put $10 million over three years into a project using EnerNOC’s software to monitor 17 million square feet of state-owned facilities, and the company has similar contracts with Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont.)

In a statement, d’Arbeloff called EnerNOC “a leading player in the clean energy sector” and said “I very much look forward to bringing the power of these applications to state governments, which are constantly under pressure to derive greater efficiencies and savings from their operations.” [Update: Xconomy reached d’Arbeloff by phone after this story was published; our interview is transcribed on the next page.]

In the same release, EnerNOC chairman and CEO Tim Healy said the company had come to know d’Arbeloff well through his work on the Clean Energy Council. “His relentless dedication to building New England into a cornerstone of our country’s clean energy economy, coupled with his broad awareness of the energy management opportunity within a range of organizations, make him uniquely suited to this new role,” Healy said. “Nick is a great addition to our team, whose accomplishments and knowledge of the sector-combined with his passion for bringing clean energy solutions to market-will help EnerNOC continue to grow its market-leading position.”

d’Arbeloff, who will remain as co-chair of NECEC’s board, is no stranger to the private sector. Before founding NECEC, which was originally known as the Massachusetts Clean Energy Council, he was CEO and founder of sales productivity software startup Conjoin, which was acquired by Intranets in 2005. He was also vice president of marketing for Wildfire Communications, which was founded by Avid Technology founder Bill Warner and Android founder Rich Miner and acquired by Orange in 2000.

Meanwhile, Rothstein tells Xconomy that he is looking forward to leading “the next stage of growth” for NECEC. “I think Nick has done a phenomenal job as the founding president of the council,” growing its membership from an original 20 organizations to over 175 today, Rothstein says.

d’Arbeloff’s switch from a non-profit clean energy policy and advocacy group into the private sphere is not a terribly surprising one, Rothstein argues, because “We are all entrepreneurs here. I would say Nick and almost everyone who is part of the council community driven by the economic opportunities and the environmental challenges, and by the excitement of being able to bring clean energy technologies and solutions to market.”

Rothstein himself joined NECEC in 2009 from Flagship Ventures, where he was an entrepreneur in residence. He was previously the founder of Allegro Strategy, a cleantech venture development firm.

Rothstein says the next big challenges for NECEC will include reaching out to more organizations across New England with its programs for fostering clean energy innovation and workforce training. “We have been Massachusetts-centric in some ways, because we had to start at the core, but it’s been part of our plan for a while to expand and do a better job of involving all of New England in building a clean energy economy,” Rothstein says.

Xconomy spoke with d’Arbeloff early this afternoon; here’s a transcript.

Xconomy: You’re leaving the Clean Energy Council after three years as its founding director and later president. Do you feel like you accomplished what you set out to do?

Nick d’Arbeloff: I do feel as if I accomplished what I set out to do. The Council was every inch a startup, and as a startup the first job was to establish itself, and in the case of this nonprofit, begin adding value to the cleantech communty. I think the Council team did that and did that well, and developed a reputation for launching innovative programs which collectively have truly helped to grow the clean energy cluster in the region. That said, I also think there is lots of good work to be done by the Council in the future, and I think that Peter Rothstein will hit the ball out of the park.

X: What’s it like for you to switch from the nonprofit, policy sector back into the commercial world? How will your experience at the Council help you at EnerNOC?

Nd’A: I think in my heart I love starting things. Previous software startups are one example and the Council is another. The opportunity to start a new business unit [for EnerNOC] was one I found incredibly compelling. To be able to join a high quality team in a company that is growing aggressively and with a great reputation in the marketplace hit all my hot buttons. I think the Council Experience and the exposire to policy will all come in very handy at EnerNOC. Energy is a regulated industry. Policy matters for any clean energy company. And to the extent that I’ve learned anything about those subjects at the Council, I will derive giod beneft to apply at EnerNOC.

X: I thought that your new title, vice president of enterprise energy management, was a new one at EnerNOC, but I didn’t realize that you’ll be leading an entirely new business unit.

Nd’A: It does represent a new business for the company. EnerNOC has not to date offered a polished enterprise energy management systems solution. And my role will be to develop that offering and acquire customers for that solution and make EnerNOC a force to be reckoned with in the enterprise energy management space.  The target customers will include both state energy offices as well as any large organization with a sizeable portfoloio of facilities.

X: You’re moving from an organization that was concerned with the whole spectrum of clean energy options, on the generation side and the efficiency side, to one where the whole emphasis is on efficiency and managing demand. Doesn’t that restrict what you can accomplish, in some ways?

Nd’A: Clearly the Council spends a fair amount of time on energy efficiency-related issues. But let me  put it htis way. Ultimately what the clean energy economy means is, we are applying technology and intelligence to allow individuals and businesses across the country [to be] smarter and more efficent around energy management, and EnerNOC is right in the sweet spot of that definition. People often think of cleantech as somehow related to solar and wind, which are the two most popular areas, but officially, it’s defined as anything that lessens man’s resource footprint, whether it’s water related, waste related, mitigation of carbon at the stack in an industrial enterprises, or demand response or reducing load, or enabling organizations to have infinitely more insight into their energy usage. It’s all part of how we become smarter about the resources we have. To talk directly to the product and business unit I’ll be driving: You can’t manage what you can’t measure. There are all lkinds of clean energy projects which will make much more sense when you can look at the data around their energy usage.

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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