Alumnus Ben Abram Didn’t Set Out to Make a Difference in Clean Energy

Ben Abram portrait

Think of fueling the energy demand of Brazil’s leading supermarkets and drugstores with new solar installations, massive industrial-scale solar farms in Texas, and electric vehicle charging stations for national beverage distribution in the U.S. 

“We’re not a search firm, we’re not a venture capital firm, we’re not a bank, we’re not a growth equity investor,” says Abram, “We’re an energy company that can play any of those roles as needed to further the energy transition.”

To make a meaningful impact on climate change, more capital must be invested into the renewable energy industry each year, Abram says. Modern Energy’s goal is to do its part by reducing the barriers to scaling profitable businesses and “bringing more and more investable clean energy assets to market” so that collectively, the world’s carbon footprint becomes smaller. “We look for incredibly talented entrepreneurs who have identified a niche where clean energy should exist but doesn’t, and partner with them so that they can operate like a three-year-old after only three months of working with us.  We provide Capital, certain back-end Capabilities and our values-forward Culture to make that happen.”

Prior to co-founding Modern Energy, Abram, a Chapel Hill native, built out American Efficient, a company that partners with retailers, developers, electric utilities, grid operators and more to develop renewable energy portfolios. He incubated American Efficient in 2013, and today, the company is one of Modern Energy’s subsidiaries. 

Making a big impact on climate change will take time, but Modern Energy says its net carbon zero goal by 2050 isn’t unrealistic as more and more energy businesses are scaled for the good of the Earth. 

“This sector is filled with innovative and forward-thinking individuals who are all working together towards a common goal of a sustainable future—and I believe we can do it,” Abram says.

Series: Campus as a Research Lab
A Climate Commitment Series

This series aligns with the Duke Climate Commitment, which unites the university’s education, research, operations and public service missions to address the climate crisis.