Oakland, Katherine Hamilton, Catherine Hi discussed on The Energy Gang

The Energy Gang


After thirty years of our indian commercial proof. Hundreds of billions and institutional dollars are pouring into now conventional tech like wind solar and batteries. But there's a whole new class of technologies that are ready to scale off. Where will the next commercial break deuce come in with the money get to them fast enough katherine hamilton is my co host. She's the co founder and chair of thirty eight north solutions. Hi catherine hi. I'm so excited for this week's episode especially with someone who just got married and that person who just got married is our guest co host. Neko's boulay a senior vice president at a line climate capital. She is with us from. Where are you san francisco. I am in oakland california oakland. You're in oakland and you just got married. How was the wedding i. It was amazing when people say it's the best day of your life. I totally understand. I wish i could relive them over and over again. So neck is the former director of energy innovation at elemental accelerator which is a nonprofit climate tech investor. She's also worked at. Pg next era on the corporate side and energy trading resource planning and customer experience and neka is also the founder of green tech noir community for black professionals who are looking to create change and grow their careers across a wide range of clean technology. And your nickname is a pedia. Where'd you get that name I have been known for Giving a lot of background facts. But i think it's mostly because my college sport was academic quiz bowl so i was at hampton university. We went to nationals three years in a row. And i'm a proud nerd. I don't know academic quiz bowl. How does that work exactly so you are competing with teams in a jeopardy style competition. An it's one university against the other across all things Common knowledge deeper knowledge whether that's politics sports art science math And if you buzz in and give the right answer your team gets a point If you buzz in and give the wrong number of insert wrong answered. No one on your team can answer properly and it goes to the other team. So it's a mixture of knowing understanding the knowledge that you know but also understanding the knowledge that your teammates. No and being able to buzz and fast. Enough to get a a winning points catherine. What do you think should be started quiz bowl show with necker. Oh my gosh. Just for comparison. My college sport was sorority ice hockey. That's what i was doing at the same time. That neka was being smart ice hockey sons very fun. there's a lot of balance still team and coordination. It is indeed. It allowed me to do things that i don't do you any more just like hurt people. Well we brought neka on to talk about where money is going in the next round of breakthroughs because there are now trillions of dollars institutional capital prime for climate related investments. And just this week. The firm of our former co host jigger shah generate capital closed a two billion dollar fund to support everything from h upgrades to bio gas geothermal to community solar. And that's also what a line. Climate capital is focused on as well negawatts sectors. Are you all focused on. We are really open. Our firm was founded to invest in the technologies that are going to either accelerate towards a green economy or help stop climate change so for us that means everything from renewable energy clean transportation resilient an efficient infrastructure to sustainable land use and all of those holds a multitudes absolutely and we can dig into some of those nigga has also seen capital deployment from a few different angles inside corporations helping startups at elemental accelerator and now working with institutional investors and as heard on previous show there is also a record seventeen billion dollars in venture capital going into climate tech twenty twenty so with all this money dropping into the space. Where can it have. The highest impact. What are the areas where we have commercial viability. But we still need to see significant breakthroughs and a lot of those breakthroughs will come because of that institutional capital so nigga are there broad sectors where you think that applies right now. Yeah absolutely i think. There's i believe that. There's a lot of money that needs to go into the pre commercial space. There's a lot of capital intensive tack that needs support on the early end whether that's space technology or battery chemistries. But once we find that companies have a commercial product. There's a lot of interest in them. But they don't always have the support to do wide scale deployment or understand the complexities of who their partners are and what it takes to serve them so some of the areas that i'm really excited about our heavy duty. Trucking or even the ways that people are thinking about mass transportation of people which is very different from mike grimm ability and what makes these areas really hard to scale are just the sheer amount of stakeholders who are involved. So we know about the high speed rail project in california and all the pieces that went towards it and it still didn't get off the ground right so now imagine a private company trying to think about trains or mass transportation on the other side when we look at the way that the united states was designed and westward expansion. It's the world of the car and we talk about route. Sixty six and there are a number of small towns that were built up around gas stations and restaurants. But if we're changing the way that trucking is happening waiting to make sure that some of those petrol stations are being changed to ev charging stations and understanding. How do fleet electrification at scale. So it's really cool to watch some of these companies get funding seeing some of these fleet electrification companies. Get a lot of attention but the end of the day where we need a lot of support is. How do we connect all of those. What's the sauce that brings people together. And who is the underlying layer. That makes this transition. More seamless yes. So i talked to marissa's sweeney who is with generate capital. And as you said they just two billion and it was from pension funds in australia sweden and the uk and it's and she's a huge fan of mecca by the way And what they see themselves as not completely different from from what naked just described with climate capital is. There's this bridge to bankability that you need and you need someone to do kind of the hard work you have the technology and you have the customers in the market but you still need that bridge before the big banks will really invest and so trying to figure out. What are those technologies and she said you have to look forwards and backwards and you have to look backwards. You gotta like look and see what's coming down the hill at you like what what's going to be happening. That's coming your way and then you also have to be able to look forward to say all right as it's coming your way and you're trying to figure out how to invest what can go sideways and what can go right. And how do you kind of guide that and so see neck what you do. And what folks generate do as really the hard work of you getting projects to scale and and that can be in a lot of as you say a lot of different sectors some of them in sectors disaggregated as buildings or heat pumps and then some that are sort of the bigger Sectors where you're trying to figure out. How do you saw her kind of those big problems. Yes so let's walk through a few of them. You mentioned trucking right off the bat neka. Do you think the breakthroughs need to come in the actual build out of the drive train in the models of trucks or is it the infrastructure surrounding Heavy duty trucking electrified. Heavy duty trucking. That needs to happen. Obviously it's a combination of both but when it comes to considering where the dollars should be spent. Do you have any thoughts on where the highest impact would be sure. I met person who's driven towards action. Strong bias towards action. And i think that the drive train can always get better. The technology can always get better but climate has changed We're seeing these massive wildfires terrible flood all these things that are happening and we honestly don't have the.

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