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💬 "The Future of Cleantech"

The Energy Gang

Photo by Hello I'm Nik / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Ed Crooks
Guests: Tom Deitrich | CEO | Itron &
Tom Rand | Co-Founder | ArcTern Ventures
Category: 💬 Opinion | Cleantech

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[4:48] TR: “I'm frustrated on the one hand by a lack of really tangible ambition on behalf of the business community. There are leaders out there for sure, but in general, they just haven't stepped up for decades. And matter of fact, they've been recalcitrant. And on the same side is a deep suspicion in the environmental movement of markets and capitalism, which I think is both incoherent and not very helpful.”

[6:15] TR: “The notion that we're going to build a big enough political tent to reject the economic system in which we all swim, is politically unfeasible and I think incoherent. […] It's really a matter of working to build an economic system that responds to climate risk, for sure. But you do that inside economic activity, not by rejecting economic activity.”

[7:16] TR: “Success is measured now by one thing, which is reducing your GHG emissions. That's it. […] So it's an empirical question. It's a practical question. […] And whether anybody cares about it or not, that cleantech revolution […] is coming to our shores. […] This technological curve is happening. Its real costs are coming down, performance is going up. […] So the good news is we have the option now to deploy this technology at scale. The question is, will we deploy it organically at a scale that suits us? Or will we deploy it in a non-organic fashion at a scale and pace that's commensurate with climate risk?”

[20:37] TR: “It was lonely in cleantech even three or four years ago. There were maybe five funds in North America that invested in the space. It's 80 now. You got giant hedge funds, Coatue and Tiger, who, as far as I can tell, are never climate hawks, but they're at the table with a lot of capital. […] When you have non climate hawks moving aggressively to take positions […] means that they see this transition is now being inevitable.“

[26:13] TR: “The business community has enormous degrees of freedom, in terms of how we collectively decide to build a low carbon economy in a timeframe that's relevant to climate risk. The ball’s in our court and the degrees of freedom are profound. Those degrees of freedom will shrink over time as the public gets more and more scared of this thing. It's going to be much more regulation by diktat. […] And so the degrees of freedom that we have now we should take advantage of and be aggressive about it and those who are leading need to pull their laggard friends along.”

[36:13] TD: “Looking at it through the lens of a total picture of policy and business, we've made more progress in the last five years than we did in the previous 50, or maybe even the previous 100. That's great. However, we need to be much more urgent. […] Designing a grid for the top 10% of the use cases drives 40% of the cost. There's ways to address that without taking brand new technologies. Let's get on that now and cut that peak off.”

[37:31] TR: “The next great geopolitical battle is going to be about supply of clean energy technologies. There are countries positioning for that. China already has. They own the solar space. They try hard for the battery space. […] Thinking about this from an economic strategic perspective, being aggressive, allowing your politicians and encouraging them to be aggressive about supporting winners, getting winners into the market is in your own economic self interest over the long term. And it's in your own national security interests over the long term.”

Rating: ☁️☁️☁️

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 39 min | 🗓️ 07/08/2022
✅ Time saved: 37 min

Additional Links:
Book: “The Case for Climate Capitalism” (Tom Rand, 2020)