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Catalyst with Shayle Kann

Catalyst with Shayle Kann

Author: Latitude Media

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Investor Shayle Kann is asking big questions about how to decarbonize the planet: How cheap can clean energy get? Will artificial intelligence speed up climate solutions? Where is the smart money going into climate technologies? Every week on Catalyst, Shayle explains the world of "climate tech" with prominent experts, investors, researchers, and executives. Produced by Latitude Media.

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The list of things that depend on transformers is long: new housing, EV chargers, renewable projects, and more. That’s why skyrocketing lead times and prices for grid equipment that raises or lowers voltage is a real problem. The wait for a new transformer has jumped to over two years, according to WoodMackenzie. Back in 2020 it took just a few months, according to Tim Mills, CEO at transformer manufacturer ERMCO. WoodMackenzie found that prices, meanwhile, have risen over 60% since 2020.  So what’s causing the shortage? In this episode, Shayle talks to Tim about how rising demand for transformers has pushed manufacturers to capacity – and why it’s been so hard for manufacturers to expand that capacity. They also cover topics like: The state of the shortage, including prices, lead times and types of transformers that are in especially short supply. The major drivers of demand growth, including renewables, storms, federal investment, and EV chargers. How the housing boom and bust of the 2000s left transformer manufacturers wary of bubbles in demand. Why the tight labor market makes it hard to expand manufacturing capacity. How new rules proposed by the Department of Energy are throwing uncertainty into what type of equipment manufacturers should invest in. Recommended resources: WoodMackenzie: Supply shortages and an inflexible market give rise to high power transformer lead times T&D World: No Easy Answers: Transformer Supply Crisis Deepens Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is brought to you by Atmos Financial. Atmos is revolutionizing finance by leveraging your deposits to exclusively fund decarbonization solutions, like residential solar and electrification. FDIC-insured with market-leading savings rates, cash-back checking, and zero fees. Get an account in minutes at joinatmos.com.
It's been a year and a half since the Inflation Reduction Act was passed. In that time, we've seen $110 billion in planned investments for factories that are pumping out electric cars, batteries, solar modules, and wind towers.  The upper end of 2030 forecasts show nearly twice as much zero-carbon generation getting built compared with scenarios without the law in place. Much of this activity is the result of a new shift in the US tax code that allows wind, solar, storage, hydrogen, carbon capture, and manufacturing tax incentives to be sold for cash. It’s creating a lot more deal volume as many more companies can now buy those credits to support new development. “This very rarely happens that a new market forms basically overnight. The private estimates on how big the market gets get it to something like $80 or $100 billion dollars by the back half of the decade,” said Alfred Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Crux, speaking at Latitude Media’s Frontier Forum. In January, Crux closed an $18 million Series A round led by Andreesen Horowitz – bringing the company’s total funding to $27 million to scale its sustainable finance platform. It’s been about a year since credits started trading, with activity really picking up in the last six months. Much of our understanding of how the market is performing comes from new research from Crux, which recently surveyed 150 buyers, sellers, and intermediaries – and found a mix of eagerness, hesitance, surprises, and lots and lots of questions. Stephen Lacey spoke with Alfred Johnson live during Latitude's Frontier Forum to address many of those questions – and riff on how this new market is taking shape. You can watch the full conversation, including questions from the audience, here.
There was so much to talk about in Nat Bullard’s 200-page slide deck on 2024’s biggest decarbonization trends that we broke the conversation into two parts. For the first half of our conversation with Nat, listen here.  Nat has worked as an analyst and writer in climate tech for two decades and was BloombergNEF’s chief content officer until 2022. In this second part of the conversation, Shayle and Nat cover topics like: How ESG has become the new third rail of finance, falling out of the spotlight of corporate reports and the annual Larry letter  The vexing problem of what to do with curtailed power and why we need to design around the intermittency Whether you can have too many carbon certification standards How biodiesel is eating up Europe’s biofuel supply First Solar’s underappreciated success in surviving the decline of U.S. solar manufacturing Plus: Declining hydropower, slowing coal growth, and the rising hype around AI Recommended resources: Nathaniel Bullard: Decarbonization: Stocks and flows, abundance and scarcity, net zero Washington Post: ‘Greenhushing’: Why some companies quietly hide their climate pledges World Economic Forum: Hydropower: How droughts are affecting the world's biggest renewable energy source Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is brought to you by Atmos Financial. Atmos is revolutionizing finance by leveraging your deposits to exclusively fund decarbonization solutions, like residential solar and electrification. FDIC-insured with market-leading savings rates, cash-back checking, and zero fees. Get an account in minutes at joinatmos.com.
We’re back for round two, with even more slides than last year. This year’s annual slide deck from Nat Bullard has 200 pages on the key trends shaping decarbonization in 2024. Nat has worked as an analyst and writer in climate tech for two decades and was BloombergNEF’s chief content officer until 2022. We’ve split the conversation into two parts. In this first part, Shayle and Nat cover topics like:  The state of batteries, including the rapid growth of LFP chemistries, the concentration of manufacturing capacity, and the wild ride of lithium prices. The rapid growth of transferable tax credits and how that unlocks capital for renewables. How the rising cost of capital has reshaped climate tech. Recommended resources: Nathaniel Bullard: Decarbonization: Stocks and flows, abundance and scarcity, net zero Latitude Media: Clean energy capital is getting pricier WSJ: Companies Are Snapping Up New Clean-Energy Tax Credits Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is brought to you by Atmos Financial. Atmos is revolutionizing finance by leveraging your deposits to exclusively fund decarbonization solutions, like solar and electrification. Join in under 2 minutes at joinatmos.com/catalyst.
A recent slew negative headlines about U.S. EVs makes it feel like the sky is falling on the market. Yet the data show robust growth. Combined battery electric and plug-in hybrid sales in 2023 were up 50% from 2022. Meanwhile, EV market share reached 9.5% in 2023, up from 7.5% in 2022, according to BloombergNEF.  Still, there have been real signs of changing expectations. GM and Ford have downsized their EV ambitions. Hertz sold off 20,000 Teslas. And Elon Musk tried to temper expectations in last week’s disappointing Tesla earnings call.  So why all the conflicting indicators?  In this episode, Shayle talks to BloombergNEF analyst Corey Cantor. They talk about the changing outlook on the speed of EV adoption as the focus shifts from early adopters to the mass market. They talk through the persistent challenges EVs face, like slow charger rollout and lack of affordable price points. They also cover topics like: Whether sales challenges are more of an overall market problem or a legacy automaker problem Tesla’s dominant but falling share of the market and what was behind the Hertz sell-off Momentum behind insurgent Korean automakers Kia and Hyundai Whether the Chinese EV giant BYD will enter the U.S. market Recommended Resources: Inside EVs: Hyundai's Electric Vehicle Push Is Absolutely Working Bloomberg: EV-Charging Firms to Struggle With Finances, Investment in 2024 Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is brought to you by Atmos Financial. Atmos is revolutionizing finance by leveraging your deposits to exclusively fund decarbonization solutions, like solar and electrification. Join in under 2 minutes at joinatmos.com/catalyst.
Agriculture in the U.S. produces more methane than the American oil and gas industry, and the biggest share of that agricultural methane is from enteric fermentation – essentially cow burps. Cows and other ruminant animals release methane because of the way they digest food. And as animal protein consumption rises, so will enteric emissions. It’s a problem for climate change, but also for farmers. Methane is wasted energy that could have been used for beef or dairy production – and so enteric methane production is a challenge that researchers have been trying to solve for years. Some promising solutions are starting to make it into practice. In this episode, Shayle talks to Charles Brooke, program manager for enteric methane at Spark Climate Solutions. Shayle and Charles cover topics like: Why most enteric methane comes from small-holder pasture-raised animals, instead of feed-lot-raised animals. The different solutions in the pipeline, such as better livestock management, feed additives, vaccines, and breeding. The challenges with feed additives that animals must eat everyday, like bromoform, Bovaer, and 3-NOP. How vaccines and breeding could shift global populations more permanently. The barriers to adoption, such as regulatory hurdles and public skepticism. Recommended Resources: Federation of American Scientists: Climate-Smart Cattle: US Research and Development Will Improve Animal Productivity, Address Greenhouse Gases, and Hasten Additional Market Solutions USAID: Endline Methane Assessment of KCDMS Dairy and Fodder Value Chain Activities in Kenya Food Climate Research Network: Grazed and Confused  American Society for Microbiology: The Role of microbes in Mediating Climate Change Environmental Defense Fund: Tackling Enteric Methane Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more.
Plants capture hundreds of gigatons of carbon every year in timber, crops, and other forms of biomass. Much of that carbon gets released back into the atmosphere through natural processes and human intervention. But there are a few ways that we can lock it away for good, like biochar, bio-oil, and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, or BECCS — all processes that fall under the umbrella of biomass carbon removal. The International Panel on Climate Change calls carbon removal “unavoidable” — and biomass is a leading carbon removal contender. But everyone wants a slice of the biomass pie. Airlines want it for jet fuel. Midwestern legislators want it for ethanol. Homebuilders want it for construction. Oh, and humans want it for food. By 2050 potential demand for biomass could far outstrip supply.  So what kinds of biomass should we use for carbon removal — and where should we get that biomass from? In this episode, Shayle talks with Dr. Bodie Cabiyo, senior forest scientist at climate science consultancy Carbon Direct and lead author of A Buyer’s Guide to Sustainable Biomass Sourcing for Carbon Dioxide Removal. They talk about topics like: How carbon removal is already competing with other uses for biomass. The complicated question of what counts as “waste,” which some BECCS companies are using to claim carbon reductions. Principles for sustainably sourcing biomass for carbon removal, like tracing chain of custody and avoiding market distortions. The environmental and carbon math tradeoffs involved in different sources of biomass. What Shayle would do with biomass if he were an omnipotent global leader. Recommended Resources: Carbon Direct: A Buyer’s Guide to Sustainable Biomass Sourcing for Carbon Dioxide Removal Catalyst: From biowaste to ​‘biogold’ Energy Transitions Commission: Bioresources within a Net-Zero Emissions Economy: Making a Sustainable Approach Possible Sign up for Latitude Media’s Frontier Forum on January 31, featuring Crux CEO Alfred Johnson, who will break down the budding market for clean energy tax credits. We’ll dissect current transactions and pricing, compare buyer and seller expectations, and look at where the market is headed in 2024. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is brought to you by Atmos Financial. Atmos is revolutionizing finance by leveraging your deposits to exclusively fund decarbonization solutions, like residential solar and electrification. Market-leading savings rates, cash-back checking, and zero fees. Get an account in minutes at joinatmos.com.
Venture and early-stage investment in climate tech in 2023 was down 30% from 2022, according to market intelligence firm Sightline Climate. But is that a bad thing? In this episode, Shayle unpacks the findings of Sightline’s 2023 Climate Tech Investment Trends report with Kim Zou, co-founder and CEO of the firm, which also produces the popular CTVC newsletter. (Shayle is an adviser to Sightline, and Kim was also previously a partner at Energy Impact Partners where Shayle works.) Kim argues that smaller deal sizes suggest that the climate tech space is actually maturing. The data focus on venture and early-stage capital, rather than non-equity financing, which actually expanded in 2023, another sign that climate tech finance is becoming more sophisticated. Shayle and Kim also cover topics like: Why food and land use fell out of the top three verticals (and why heavy industry took its place). Major funding rounds, acquisitions, and bankruptcies in 2023. The role of generalist investors moving into climate tech. Zou’s predictions for investment trends in 2024. Recommended Resources: Latitude: Exclusive: Non-equity funding for climate tech is taking off Latitude: Clean energy capital is getting pricier Catalyst: Financing first-of-a-kind climate assets Sign up for Latitude Media’s Frontier Forum on January 31, featuring Crux CEO Alfred Johnson, who will break down the budding market for clean energy tax credits. We’ll dissect current transactions and pricing, compare buyer and seller expectations, and look at where the market is headed in 2024. Sign up for Latitude Media’s newsletter to get updates on the tech and business frontiers of the climate tech industry. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is brought to you by Atmos Financial. Atmos is revolutionizing finance by leveraging your deposits to exclusively fund decarbonization solutions, like residential solar and electrification. Market-leading savings rates, cash-back checking, and zero fees. Get an account in minutes at joinatmos.com.
The voluntary carbon market is a mess. Oil majors, big tech, and many other industries purchase voluntary credits hoping to offset their carbon emissions. But years of reporting have revealed major problems in the industry, from worthless credits to outright fraud. Amid allegations that many of its credits might actually worsen global warming, the CEO of the largest issuer of credits, Verra, resigned last year. And so perhaps it’s no surprise that the market for traditional offsets like renewable energy credits and avoidance credits shrank in recent years. Yet the market for a newer type of credit, carbon removal, is actually growing.  So what’s behind this bifurcation in the market? And are the voluntary carbon markets fixable? In this episode, Shayle talks to Ryan Orbuch, partner at Lowercarbon Capital. He leads the firm’s carbon removal work. Ryan argues the market is fixable with major reforms, like overhauling incentives and ditching the idea that the voluntary carbon market can offset buyers’ emissions with as many cheap credits as needed.   Shayle and Ryan cover topics like: The bad incentives underlying the problems with the current market. The role of credit-rating agencies in the market. Ryan’s ideas for designing a better market from scratch, including ex-post payments, modular protocols, and a feedback loop for improving supplier methods. The potential challenges with these approaches, like financing prior to payment and uncertainty in credit delivery as protocols change. Companies that are pioneering some of these approaches, like Isometric’s new protocol for the bio-oil geological storage technique used by Charm Industrial. Recommended Resources: The New Yorker: The Great Cash-for-Carbon Hustle UC Berkeley: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Carbon Crediting CDR.fyi Isometric: Aligning incentives Sign up for Latitude Media’s Frontier Forum on January 31, featuring Crux CEO Alfred Johnson, who will break down the budding market for clean energy tax credits. We’ll dissect current transactions and pricing, compare buyer and seller expectations, and look at where the market is headed in 2024. Sign up for Latitude Media’s newsletter to get updates on the tech and business frontiers of the climatetech industry. Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more. Catalyst is brought to you by Atmos Financial. Atmos is revolutionizing finance by leveraging your deposits to exclusively fund decarbonization solutions, like residential solar and electrification. Market-leading savings rates, cash-back checking, and zero fees. Get an account in minutes at joinatmos.com.
There’s a hole in the finance world. Fighting climate change means scaling up lots of new technologies, but financing those first-of-a-kind (FOAK) projects is incredibly difficult. New technologies involving things like sustainable aviation fuel, geothermal, and direct air capture can take a decade or more to scale up. But venture capital is too expensive for FOAK projects, while infrastructure finance is too risk-averse. So what solutions could solve the FOAK financing problem?  In this episode, Shayle talks to longtime climatetech investor David Yeh. David has spent over 20 years in climatetech, including in roles at the Obama White House, Generation Investment Management, and the World Bank. They cover topics like: Different approaches to FOAK, like off-balance sheet, structured finance, catalytic capital, and government programs. Examples of companies that solved the FOAK problem Code switching between venture capitalists and infrastructure financiers. (Try using the word “innovative” with traditional bankers). David’s checklist for FOAK entrepreneurs. Recommended Resources: Bloomberg: Grant From Bill Gates-led Fund Will Make Green Jet Fuel As Cheap As Fossil Fuels CTVC: What the FOAK? If you want more news and analysis like this in your inbox, subscribe to Latitude Media's newsletter and Canary Media's newsletter. Catalyst is a co-production of Latitude Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is brought to you by BayWa r.e., a leading global renewable energy developer, service supplier, and distributor. With over 22GW in their project pipeline, BayWa r.e. is rethinking energy every day and at every level. Committed to being a solid partner for the long run, BayWa r.e. wants to work with you to help shape the future of energy. Learn more at bay.wa-re.com. Catalyst is brought to you by Sungrow. Now in more than 150 countries, Sungrow’s solutions include inverters for utility-scale, commercial, and industrial solar, plus energy storage systems. Learn more at us.sungrowpower.com.
It’s time to get specific. In the power industry “long-duration energy storage” could mean anything from 4 to 10 to 100 hours of energy. But Form Energy’s Mateo Jaramillo argues that batteries in the ballpark of 100 hours hit a sweet spot, and that sweet spot deserves its own term: multi-day storage. In the 15 minute to 12 hour range, lithium-ion batteries shine, effectively displacing natural gas peaker plants that run less than 5% of the year. But they don’t displace higher-capacity generation. Nor do they meet the needs of the grid during significant weather events, like heat domes, Nor'easters and freak Texas winter storms that can last upwards of 75 hours. And for that, Mateo says we need multi-day storage.  Form Energy’s iron-air batteries made headlines back in 2021 for promising to deliver tens of hours of storage at a low cost per kilowatt hour. (Energy Impact Partners, where Shayle is a partner, invests in Form Energy.) So what role could multi-day storage play on the grid? In this episode, Shayle talks to Mateo about real-world examples from Form’s experience with utilities like Xcel and Georgia Power. They also cover topics like: The strengths and limitations of lithium-ion batteries on the grid today, and why Mateo thinks lithium-ion is here to stay. The competitive landscape for mulit-day storage, including iron-air, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, and transmission. What role multi-day storage plays for utilities beyond balancing renewables, such as meeting load growth and resilience goals. Plus: Shayle’s idea for bitcoin mining on a barge. Recommended Resources: Canary Media: Form Energy closes its biggest deal yet for long-duration energy storage Carbon Copy: A groundbreaking long-duration battery nears industrial scale Wall Street Journal: Old West Virginia Steel Mill Becomes a Green-Energy Powerhouse If you want more news and analysis like this in your inbox, subscribe to Latitude Media's newsletter and Canary Media's newsletter. Catalyst is a co-production of Latitude Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is brought to you by BayWa r.e., a leading global renewable energy developer, service supplier, and distributor. With over 22GW in their project pipeline, BayWa r.e. is rethinking energy every day and at every level. Committed to being a solid partner for the long run, BayWa r.e. wants to work with you to help shape the future of energy. Learn more at bay.wa-re.com. Catalyst is brought to you by Sungrow. Now in more than 150 countries, Sungrow’s solutions include inverters for utility-scale, commercial, and industrial solar, plus energy storage systems. Learn more at us.sungrowpower.com.
The U.S. Treasury proposed guidance last Friday that would significantly restrict what battery parts and materials can qualify for incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act. The rules label China and several other countries as “foreign entities of concern.” These rules will prevent materials and parts sourced from those countries, starting in the next few years, from counting toward the IRA’s electric vehicle tax credits. The new rules are meant to push battery companies to develop supply chains outside the control of Chinese officials and companies, which control much of the world’s battery industry. They come following a first batch of guidance released this year by the Treasury, which the IRA tasked with developing specific rules for implementing the law. So what does the new guidance mean for battery supply chains? This episode features two conversations with Sam Jaffe, senior director of business development at Addionics. The first is a short update on last week’s proposed rules. The second is a longer conversation Shayle had with Sam in April about the first batch of rules, which focused on which battery ingredients count as “constituent materials” under the IRA. Both discussions are relevant to understanding what’s happening now. In this update they cover topics like: Defining what counts as a material controlled by a foreign entity of concern, such as percentage ownership in a joint venture Key loopholes in law, such as licensing arrangements and small percentages of low-value materials, like cathode binder and electrolyte salts  The parts of the supply chain most significantly affected by the rule, such as Chinese graphite, Indonesian nickel, and Congolese cobalt Upcoming deadlines in 2025 and 2026, and whether onshored or friend-shored facilities can begin supplying materials before then Recommended Resources: Canary: The US EV industry now faces a choice: Tax credits or Chinese batteries Heatmap: It’s Suddenly a Mystery Which EVs Will Qualify for a Tax Credit in 2024 Sign up for Latitude Media’s Frontier Forum on January 31, featuring Crux CEO Alfred Johnson, who will break down the budding market for clean energy tax credits. We’ll dissect current transactions and pricing, compare buyer and seller expectations, and look at where the market is headed in 2024. Catalyst is brought to you by BayWa r.e., a leading global renewable energy developer, service supplier, and distributor. With over 22GW in their project pipeline, BayWa r.e. is rethinking energy every day and at every level. Committed to being a solid partner for the long run, BayWa r.e. wants to work with you to help shape the future of energy. Learn more at bay.wa-re.com. Catalyst is brought to you by Sungrow. Now in more than 150 countries, Sungrow’s solutions include inverters for utility-scale, commercial, and industrial solar, plus energy storage systems. Learn more at us.sungrowpower.com.
For those of us in the U.S., Europe's strong electric vehicle market might offer a glimpse into the future of EV charging. In 2022 the electrification haven of Norway had a whopping 166 plugin-in electric vehicles per 1,000 residents. Germany had 20 per 1,000 residents and Europe’s largest fleet, based on reporting by Euronews. That’s far ahead of the U.S., which averaged 8.6 in 2022, according to Argonne National Laboratory. So, it stands to reason that these countries must have insights into how to get all these vehicles charged. And Europe does indeed have a lot to teach the U.S. — but it turns out the lessons might actually go both ways.  In this episode, Shayle talks to Nick Woolley, CEO and co-founder of charging management company ev.energy, which operates in both the U.S. and Europe. (Shayle’s firm Energy Impact Partners is also an investor in ev.energy.) They discuss topics like: EV adoption rates and charging patterns by region The fragmented European charging networks and Europe’s unique roaming programs that facilitate interoperability The difference between customers who have off-street parking and their own charging infrastructure, and those who instead have to scavenge for charging The pros and cons of Europe’s unbundled electricity markets, as compared with vertically integrated markets in the U.S.  Carrots, sticks, and compliance for managed charging, also known as V1G The challenges of implementing vehicle-to-grid charging, or V2G Recommended Resources: Catalyst: Can the V2X dream become reality? Catalyst: The journey to monetizing distributed energy resources Sign up for Latitude Media’s Frontier Forum on January 29, featuring Crux CEO Alfred Johnson, who will break down the budding market for clean energy tax credits. We’ll dissect current transactions and pricing, compare buyer and seller expectations, and look at where the market is headed in 2024. Catalyst is brought to you by BayWa r.e., a leading global renewable energy developer, service supplier, and distributor. With over 22GW in their project pipeline, BayWa r.e. is rethinking energy every day and at every level. Committed to being a solid partner for the long run, BayWa r.e. wants to work with you to help shape the future of energy. Learn more at bay.wa-re.com. Catalyst is brought to you by Sungrow. Now in more than 150 countries, Sungrow’s solutions include inverters for utility-scale, commercial, and industrial solar, plus energy storage systems. Learn more at us.sungrowpower.com.
The cost of nuclear

The cost of nuclear

2023-11-1646:122

Nuclear construction costs in the U.S. are some of the highest in the world. Recent estimates put it at more than $6,000 per kilowatt, as measured by overnight capital cost. But high costs are a problem for new small modular reactors (SMRs) too, killing what was going to be the country’s first small modular reactor before it got built. On the other hand, South Korea has some of the lowest costs in the world. Estimated overnight capital costs for reactors in South Korea are closer to $2,200 per kilowatt. And then there are countries like China, France, and the United Arab Emirates that fall between those extremes. So why the wide range in costs?  In this episode, Shayle talks to Dr. Jessica Lovering, co-founder and executive director at the Good Energy Collective, a non-profit that researches and promotes policies that support nuclear power. A former director of energy at the Breakthrough Institute, she also authored a comprehensive study of nuclear construction costs in 2016.  Shayle and Jessica talk about things like: What goes into the cost of construction and South Korea’s secret sauce for low-cost nuclear reactors Why Jessica thinks we should manufacture and regulate reactors like large aircraft Driving down costs with modularity, small reactors, passive safety features, and more construction  Why changing regulations might be necessary, but not a silver bullet  Why the pro- and anti-nuclear camps talk past each other — and why Jessica says she’s somewhere in between  Recommended Resources: Energy Policy: Historical construction costs of global nuclear power reactors National Academy of Engineering: Chasing Cheap Nuclear: Economic Trade-Offs for Small Modular Reactors Joule: Evaluating the Role of Unit Size in Learning-by-Doing of Energy Technologies Science: Granular technologies to accelerate decarbonization Canary: Future of small reactors at stake as NuScale deal flops If you want more news and analysis like this in your inbox, subscribe to Latitude Media's newsletter and Canary Media's newsletter. Catalyst is a co-production of Latitude Media and Canary Media. Catalyst is brought to you by BayWa r.e., a leading global renewable energy developer, service supplier, and distributor. With over 22GW in their project pipeline, BayWa r.e. is rethinking energy every day and at every level. Committed to being a solid partner for the long run, BayWa r.e. wants to work with you to help shape the future of energy. Learn more at bay.wa-re.com. Catalyst is brought to you by Sungrow. Now in more than 150 countries, Sungrow’s solutions include inverters for utility-scale, commercial, and industrial solar, plus energy storage systems. Learn more at us.sungrowpower.com.
It’s about that time again. You sent in great questions for Shayle, and in this episode we’re tackling them with the help of Sarah Golden, vice president of energy at GreenBiz. Together Shayle and Sarah cover topics like: Load growth and whether data-center demand is good or bad for decarbonization. The crash in photovoltaic module prices and what it means for the solar industry. The impact of interest rates on climatetech. The challenges of siting carbon dioxide pipelines. Why there’s no clear winning technology for carbon dioxide removal. European energy companies acquiring U.S. companies. Why Shayle is bullish on the macro grid, despite the slow pace of interconnection and transmission buildout. Plus: volcanoes, Frankenstein, and Shayle’s childhood with geodes. Recommended Resources: Catalyst: Navigating the electrification gauntlet Canary: The US offshore wind industry faces a moment of reckoning S&P Global: Cancellation of Navigator CO2 pipeline raises critical issues for several industries Catalyst: Growing the carbon dioxide removal market Sign up for Latitude Media’s Frontier Forum on January 29, featuring Crux CEO Alfred Johnson, who will break down the budding market for clean energy tax credits. We’ll dissect current transactions and pricing, compare buyer and seller expectations, and look at where the market is headed in 2024.
The Volts crossover episode

The Volts crossover episode

2023-11-0301:09:352

Some technologies grab the spotlight even beyond #energytwitter, and some fly under the radar. Which ones are getting more attention than they deserve, and which aren’t getting enough? This is the episode you never knew you needed: Shayle talks to Volts host David Roberts about the most underhyped and overhyped trends in climatetech right now. David has written about clean technology for the past two decades, first at Grist and then at Vox. He now writes a newsletter and hosts a podcast of the same. Together, Shayle and David cover topics like: Why this new wave of thermal storage technology is different. Small modular reactors and why David and Shayle disagree on how much hype they deserve Why rising interest rates are starting to become a big problem for climatetech. The Inflation Reduction Act and how people still don’t grasp how big of a deal it is. Plus: electric stovetops, mineral bottlenecks, and networked geothermal. We want your climatetech questions for Shayle’s Ask Me Anything episode! Email questions to us at catalyst@latitudemedia.com. You can also tag us on Twitter or LinkedIn with the hashtag #AskCatalyst. Or you can leave us a voicemail at 919-808-5832. Recommended Resources: Volts: What's the deal with district energy? Volts: Fine, we're doing gas stoves Catalyst: Solving the conundrum of industrial heat Catalyst: Strong opinions on small modular reactors Subscribe to our newsletters: Canary Media The Latitude Sign up for Latitude Media’s Frontier Forum on January 29, featuring Crux CEO Alfred Johnson, who will break down the budding market for clean energy tax credits. We’ll dissect current transactions and pricing, compare buyer and seller expectations, and look at where the market is headed in 2024. Catalyst is brought to you by BayWa r.e., a leading global renewable energy developer, service supplier, and distributor. With over 22GW in their project pipeline, BayWa r.e. is rethinking energy every day and at every level. Committed to being a solid partner for the long run, BayWa r.e. wants to work with you to help shape the future of energy. Learn more at bay.wa-re.com.
We want your climatetech questions for Shayle’s Ask Me Anything episode! Email questions to us at catalyst@latitudemedia.com. You can also tag us on Twitter or LinkedIn with the hashtag #AskCatalyst. Or you can leave us a voicemail at 919-808-5832. The electrification gauntlet is this: The more we electrify, the more we ask of the grid. New demands on the grid are coming right as it’s facing some of its biggest challenges, like interconnection delays, transmission congestion, and extreme weather. But there’s a way to take some of the strain off the grid when it doesn’t deliver what you need – Build your own! Microgrids, as they’re called, are electrical networks that can function independent of the larger grid. So how do they scale? And what counts as a microgrid, anyway? In this episode, Shayle talks to Tim Hade, co-founder and chief development officer at Scale Microgrids. (Scale was a launch sponsor of Latitude Media, which co-produces this show. This interview is independent of that sponsorship and was scheduled prior to Scale becoming a sponsor).  Tim and Shayle talk about the state of the microgrid market. They discuss topics like: Why microgrid switchgear is a major bottleneck right now Whether the Chinese supply chain for microgrid parts will bounce back, or new manufacturing will spring up in Europe and the U.S. to replace it The effort to standardize microgrids to increase adoption Recommended Resources: Canary: Puerto Rico’s first community-led microgrid is ready to launch Canary: A giant solar microgrid is coming to New York City’s JFK airport Sign up for Latitude Media’s Frontier Forum on January 29, featuring Crux CEO Alfred Johnson, who will break down the budding market for clean energy tax credits. We’ll dissect current transactions and pricing, compare buyer and seller expectations, and look at where the market is headed in 2024.
Heat pumps in 140 million U.S. homes by 2050 — that’s the goal laid out in Rewiring America’s recent report on the pace of home electrification. It’s a daunting target for a country that had heat pumps in only 17 million homes in 2020. But we’re not that far off. According to Rewiring America, the U.S. is currently on track to install about five million heat pumps by 2025, only about two and a half million short of the pace we need to reach 140 million homes by midcentury. So what can we do to close the gap? What about other major categories of home electrification like water heaters and induction stoves — are we on pace to reach net-zero targets there? In this episode, Shayle talks to Stephen Pantano, head of market transformation at Rewiring America, about the organization’s Pace of Progress report. They cover topics like: The adoption targets for water heaters, induction stoves, and other efficient home appliances The roughly $9 billion in incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act that could accelerate adoption The need for more data to get a better understanding of where and how to speed up adoption Why heat pumps are a growing share of a shrinking heating and cooling market, and how that’s impacting slumping heat pump sales Recommended Resources: Rewiring America: Pace of Progress Canary: New plan aims to quadruple heat-pump adoption in 25 states Canary: Heat pumps outperform boilers and furnaces — even in the cold Catalyst: How has US industrial policy impacted climatetech investment? Sign up for Latitude Media’s Frontier Forum on January 29, featuring Crux CEO Alfred Johnson, who will break down the budding market for clean energy tax credits. We’ll dissect current transactions and pricing, compare buyer and seller expectations, and look at where the market is headed in 2024. Catalyst is brought to you by BayWa r.e., a leading global renewable energy developer, service supplier, and distributor. With over 22GW in their project pipeline, BayWa r.e. is rethinking energy every day and at every level. Committed to being a solid partner for the long run, BayWa r.e. wants to work with you to help shape the future of energy. Learn more at bay.wa-re.com. Catalyst is brought to you by Sungrow. Now in more than 150 countries, Sungrow’s solutions include inverters for utility-scale, commercial and industrial solar, plus energy storage systems. Learn more at us.sungrowpower.com.
In climatetech circles, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was a big deal. The expectation was that, combined with other parts of U.S. industrial policy like the CHIPS and Science Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the IRA would transform the American economy and ultimately slash U.S. carbon emissions.  We can’t see the impact on carbon emissions yet, but we can measure the initial effects on the economy. So how’s it going so far? In this episode, Shayle talks to Trevor Houser, partner at the Rhodium Group, about the organization’s new Clean Investment Monitor, a database of climatetech investments developed with the MIT Center on Energy and Environmental Policy Research. Trevor highlights three different categories of policy impacts: Sectors where policy accelerated existing trends, like solar deployment and EV sales. Sectors where policy catalyzed new growth that probably would not have happened otherwise, like in manufacturing, hydrogen, carbon management, and sustainable aviation fuels. Sectors that are declining despite policy incentives, like the deployment of wind and heat pumps. They discuss the drivers behind these trends and cover topics like: The regional clustering of manufacturing investment and new geographic hubs, like the Southwest. The surprising growth in hydrogen made from steam methane reforming, also known as blue hydrogen. Recommended Resources: Rhodium Group: Clean Investment Monitor Canary: Made in the USA: Ramping up clean energy manufacturing Canary: US offshore wind pushes ahead despite industry turmoil Sign up for Latitude Media’s Frontier Forum on January 29, featuring Crux CEO Alfred Johnson, who will break down the budding market for clean energy tax credits. We’ll dissect current transactions and pricing, compare buyer and seller expectations, and look at where the market is headed in 2024. Catalyst is brought to you by Sungrow. Now in more than 150 countries, Sungrow’s solutions include inverters for utility-scale, commercial and industrial solar, plus energy storage systems. Learn more at us.sungrowpower.com.
This is a partner podcast episode, brought to you by DNV. Wes Whited and Angie Ziech-Malek work for DNV designing efficiency, electrification, and decarbonization programs for utilities. And lately, they’ve been paying attention to electric forklifts. There are 1.5 million forklifts sold in the U.S. every year. And converting that vast fleet to run on lithium-ion batteries could be a cost-effective way to boost electrification – and add a helpful resource for demand management to the grid. Speeding up adoption means getting the utility involved in the education and promotion process. The forklift example is one of many creative approaches to program design that are emerging in the wake of the Inflation Reduction Act, which expanded incentives for a wide range of clean energy technologies. In this episode, Wes and Angie talk with Stephen Lacey about how technology progress, creative thinking, and the Inflation Reduction Act are all aligning in transformative ways. After you listen to the episode, make sure to read DNV’s Energy Transition Outlook North America.
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