The Charging Station - Issue No. 15

Keeping it brief: 2 minutes 54 seconds, 728 words

Hi friends,

A big thank you and welcome to all the new subscribers we’ve picked up over the last few weeks! Seeing those numbers rise provides a tremendous sense of encouragement and we hope we’re delivering value in return.

Let’s dive in.


$7 Billion - With little fanfare, Texas is just weeks away from wrapping up a nearly $7 billion effort to add vast amounts of wind power to its energy grid. (Texas Tribune)

$7 Trillion - BlackRock puts climate at the center of $7 trillion in assets. (Bloomberg)

5 - For the first time ever, a single issue took the top 5 spots in the World Economic Forum’s threats and risks survey ahead of its annual meeting in Davos. Climate. (WSJ)

Our Latest Post

From the archives: Energy’s Innovation Capital Gap

With the news that renowned venture capital firm Union Square Ventures is jumping into climate, it felt appropriate to revisit this article from last year.

I’m thrilled to see new capital entering the sector, but I remain worried that traditional venture capital firms will find it difficult to fully understand the mix of regulations, customer dynamics, and entrenched interests that require patience and understanding to navigate. If they fail again, it’s possible they never return which would be a disaster.

The energy industry has a long, successful history and approaching the sector with a “savior” mentality won’t work. Traditionally, venture-backed companies have won with some naivete of how things work. I’m not sure that applies to energy, expertise feels like a requirement.

Venture capital left energy for dead after 2010 and the total capital invested shrank 6-fold. The potential for VC style returns in climate and energy has returned, and that means really smart and successful capital is returning too. That is a positive, but it is hardly the thought-leadership it’s professed to be by many.

Deep Dives

Climate change means the US must start building big things again - The US has become terrible at building big things, and negligent in even maintaining our existing infrastructure. That all bodes terribly for our ability to grapple with the coming dangers of climate change because it is fundamentally an infrastructure problem. (MIT Technology Review)

Transmission Emerging as Major Stumbling Block for State Renewable Targets - Demand for renewables is almost certain to outpace utilities’ ability to supply it from within their own borders. But the time needed to build transmission lines to move the power around is running out. (Greentech Media)

Connecticut is taking 'a serious look' at exiting regional power market -The state’s commissioner of energy and environmental protection has said that Connecticut is being forced to invest in natural gas plants it doesn’t want or need. (CT Mirror)

TCS: This piece wasn’t a deep dive, but it builds on an issue we highlighted last week, state’s rights when it comes to supplying their citizens with electricity. There have been several studies that highlight the need for a more connected national US power grid to lower costs and increase renewable capacity. However, under the current structure, we’re at risk of going in the complete opposite direction to grids that are constructed on a state-by-state basis or aligned politically instead of economically.

Switched Off

This week’s non-energy related read. 

Albert Haynesworth Doesn’t Need Your Love. Just Your Kidney - Haynesworth’s is not some neat and tidy narrative. This isn’t simply: Man becomes villain/villain nearly dies/mortality leads man to change/public embraces changed man. (Sports Illustrated)

TCS: As a Cowboys fan, I hated Albert Haynesworth. He stepped on a Cowboys’ player’s throat and played for the Washington Redskins which provided plenty of fuel to that hatred. But consider this lede and read on:

The first time Albert Haynesworth almost died, on Halloween 2014, he woke up in the middle of the night, his head jackhammering, and slammed an entire pack of extra-strength pain-relief powder.

This newsletter is our side-hustle. We hope it equips you with data and insights on the energy sector to inform your decision-making process in the best way possible. If you have feedback, let us know!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

The Charging Station

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