The Charging Station - Issue No. 20
Keeping it brief: 3 min. 10 seconds; 808 words
|KEVIN STEVENS||Feb 23|
We’re catching up with family this weekend after our travel last week so the newsletter is coming in late.
A special thanks to all of you that took the time to connect with us in California - it’s extremely exciting to see so many talented people working on an industry we deeply care about.
$58.47- Shell and EDP Renewables’ 804MW Mayflower Wind project will generate electricity for $58.47/MWh over its 20-year lifetime, marking a new benchmark for US offshore wind. (Windpower Monthly)
1% - Today electricity represents just a little more than 1% of Americans’ total outlay on goods and services, down from twice that much in the early 1980s. (Bloomberg)
Our Latest Posts
How We Define ‘Climatetech’ - As a result of the scope of sustainability and the sudden increase in interested parties, clarity around “what is energy tech” or “what is climate tech” is harder to come by.
There’s no right answer, but the one thing we can all agree on is that the opportunity for technology in and around the energy ecosystem is generationally huge.
The Energy Transition in 3 Acts - We’re in the very early innings of what will be a multi-decade transformation of a multi-trillion dollar sector. When we look back on how our infrastructure and consumption habits shifted in the first half of this century, I believe we’ll see 3-4 phases all marked by their distinct characteristics.
🔦 Deep Dives
👉 Regulation and subsidies play a massive role in the energy industry. So much so that people have suggested Jeff Bezos’ new climate initiative focus on policy more than anything else. These battles are fought in local elections and have wide-ranging implications for nuclear, EV’s and renewables.
The Oil Industry Is Quietly Winning Local Climate Fights- Some of the most important fights over climate change aren’t being waged in Washington. They’re happening state by state, in a melee of utilities, fossil-fuel companies, state legislators, and persuaded voters.
“In many of its campaigns, the API has designed its approach around the social-license model, which has meant seeking legitimation from a surprising range of allies. In Pennsylvania and Ohio, it worked with the AARP and the United Pastors Network. While lobbying for new fossil-fuel infrastructure, it has allied with the Building Trades Unions and the Farm Bureau. And in its war against importing Canadian hydropower, it has even allied with local chapters of the Sierra Club.” (The Atlantic)
👉 With a new wave of optimism coming into the cleantech space, this article serves as a cautionary tale on two fronts. 1) The sector requires patience. The sales cycles are long and the hard science companies can require timelines similar to healthcare. 2) Value creation still matters. Solutions must be economical.
How Bloom Energy Blew Through Billions Promising Cheap, Green Tech That Falls Short - A decade ago, Sridhar envisioned that by now his fuel cell technology would be in every home, costing $3,000 a pop. In reality, not a single home in America has its own Bloom box, not even Sridhar’s $7.6 million house in Woodside, California. Instead, his boxes are used mostly for industrial and commercial customers, costing approximately $1.2 million each.
“This might appeal to customers paying more per kwh in some high-price states. But the national average for retail power is 10 cents and falling, says Ed Hirs, a fellow at the University of Houston and energy advisor to tax consultancy BDO. “This technology is a non-starter in most of the country, where Bloom is competing against real renewables like solar and wind that have come down the cost curve far faster,” Hirs says.” (Forbes)
This week’s non-energy related read.
Is free speech imperiled on American college campuses? - Last spring, three professors at the University of North Carolina surveyed undergraduates to get a sense of the campus climate. Rather than focus on discrete controversies, such as the time in 2015 when UNC student protesters seized control of a room where a journalist was speaking, or the time in 2019 when a UNC student assaulted a sign-carrying anti-abortion activist, they sought to understand day-to-day undergraduate experiences.
The results of the survey, distilled from more than 1,000 responses to email questionnaires, can’t be applied to every college in America, but the findings do illuminate what’s happening at a highly selective public institution in a swing state, where more than 20,000 undergraduates are enrolled. (The Atlantic)
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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