Ep 59: Lara Pierpoint, Director of Technical Strategy at Exelon
Today’s guest is Lara Pierpoint, Director of Technical Strategy at Exelon.Exelon is America's leading competitive energy provider with one of the cleanest and lowest cost power generation fleets. Its utility serves millions of electric and gas customers. Lara's team is tasked with enhancing Exelon's ability to capitalize on new technology and respond to disruptive innovations. Her expertise is in systems analysis, modeling and policy. And her knowledge is deep in nuclear, gas and electric interface and energy finance as well as widely across the electricity spectrum.Prior to Exelon, Lara has had a number of different roles. She was Senior Advisor for energy policy and Systems analysis at Department of Energy. She was a AAAS fellow at the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. And she also has her PhD in Engineering Systems from MIT, as well as a Masters in Nuclear Engineering and in Technology and Policy also at MIT, and an undergrad in physics from UCLA. Suffice to say Lara's got a really interesting perspective to talk about everything energy and everything climate change.In today’s episode, we cover:Overview of Exelon and Lara’s role within the companyOverview of the utilities market, and history of deregulationLara’s career history, and what motivates her to do the work she doesDeep dive into the technical strategy team, its history within the company, the work they do, and some example projectsBroader discussion about the optimal energy mix, and the roles of nuclear, renewables, etcSome of the headwinds, and the best ways to accelerate the energy transitionHow you and I can helpLinks to topics discussed in this episode:Exelon: https://www.exeloncorp.com/AAAS fellowship program: https://www.aaas.org/programs/science-technology-policy-fellowshipsUS Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources: https://www.energy.senate.gov/public/Volta Energy Technologies: https://plusvolta.com/Constellation Technology Ventures: http://technologyventures.constellation.com/MIT energy club: https://www.mitenergyclub.org/Department of Energy (DOE): https://www.energy.gov/Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI): https://www.epri.com/#/?lang=en-USHydrogen electrolyzer: https://www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/hydrogen-production-electrolysisYou can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at firstname.lastname@example.org, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.Enjoy the show!
2 Dec 2019
Ep 68: Jonathan Foley, Executive Director at Project Drawdown
Today's guest is Dr. Jonathan Foley, Executive Director of Project Drawdown. Project Drawdown is a world-class research organization that reviews, analyzes, and identifies the most viable global climate solutions, and shares these findings with the world. Their book, Drawdown, has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and describes the hundred most substantive solutions to global warming. For each one, describes its history, its carbon impact, the relative cost and savings, path to adoption, and how it works.Dr. Foley is a world-renowned environmental scientist, sustainability expert, author, and public speaker. His work is focused on understanding our changing planet, and finding new solutions to sustain the climate, ecosystems, and natural resources we all depend on.Foley’s groundbreaking research and insights have led him to become a trusted advisor to governments, foundations, non-governmental organizations, and business leaders around the world. He and his colleagues have made major contributions to our understanding of global ecosystems, food security and the environment, climate change, and the sustainability of the world’s resources. He has published over 130 peer-reviewed scientific articles, including many highly cited works in Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2014, Thomson Reuters named him a Highly Cited Researcher in ecology and environmental science, placing him among the top 1 percent most cited global scientists.A noted science communicator, his presentations have been featured at hundreds of international venues, including the Aspen Institute, the World Bank, the National Geographic Society, the Chautauqua Institution, the Commonwealth Club, the National Science March in Washington, D.C., and TED.com. He has taught at several major universities on topics ranging from climate change, global sustainability solutions, the future of the food system, and addressing the world’s “grand challenges”. He has also written many popular pieces in publications like National Geographic, the New York Times, the Guardian, and Scientific American. He is also frequently interviewed by international media outlets, and has appeared on National Public Radio, the PBS NewsHour, the BBC, CNN, and in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post, Salon, WIRED, the HBO documentary on climate change “Too Hot Not to Handle”, and the upcoming film series “Let Science Speak”.Foley has won numerous awards and honors for his work, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, awarded by President Clinton; the J.S. McDonnell Foundation’s 21st Century Science Award; an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship; the Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America; and the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Award. In 2014, he was also named as the winner of the prestigious Heinz Award for the Environment.Before joining Project Drawdown, Foley led a number of world-leading environmental science and sustainability organizations. From 1993 to 2008, he was based at the University of Wisconsin, where he launched the Climate, People, and Environment Program (CPEP), founded the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), and served as the first Gaylord Nelson Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies. From 2008 and 2014, he was the founding director of the Institute on the Environment(IonE) at the University of Minnesota, where he was also McKnight Presidential Chair of Global Environment and Sustainability. Then, between 2014 and 2018, he served as the Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences, the greenest and more forward-thinking science museum on the planet.In today’s episode, we cover:Overview and origin story of Project DrawdownDr. Foley’s background and experience leading up to his time at DrawdownSome of the challenges that come with being a scientist focused on this areaThe nature of the climate problem, and what the scientists have gotten very rightWhat kind of leadership will be needed to solve itWhat are the biggest levers to solve itWhere Drawdown 2.0 fits in, and how it can helpHow Dr. Foley would allocate a big pot of money, to maximize its impact on decarbonizationHis advice for others looking to find their lane to helpLinks to topics discussed in this episode:Project Drawdown: https://www.drawdown.org/California Academy of Sciences: https://www.calacademy.org/Merchants of Doubt: https://www.merchantsofdoubt.org/Naomi Oreskes: https://histsci.fas.harvard.edu/people/naomi-oreskesKatharine Hayhoe: http://katharinehayhoe.com/wp2016/Michael Mann: https://www.michaelmann.net/Montreal Protocol: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_ProtocolCAFE Standards: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_average_fuel_economyTED talk by Katharine Wilkinson: https://www.ted.com/talks/katharine_wilkinson_how_empowering_women_and_girls_can_help_stop_global_warming?language=enTED talk by Chad Frischmann: https://www.ted.com/talks/chad_frischmann_100_solutions_to_climate_change?language=enClimate Take Back Program: https://www.interface.com/US/en-US/sustainability/climate-take-back-en_USCitizens United: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_(organization)Mary Robinson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_RobinsonYou can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at email@example.com, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.Enjoy the show!
2 Jan 2020
EP 41: Todd Allen, Chair and Professor, Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences at University of Michigan
Today’s guest is Todd Allen, Chair and Professor, Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences at University of Michigan. An offer to skip history class in high school to listen to a Navy ROTC recruiter sent Todd Allen on a serendipitous journey that led to him becoming one of the top U.S. experts in nuclear energy, with focus on the material science of nuclear systems. Todd began his professional career as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy where he learned the practical applications of operating a nuclear power plant as well as how to take a submarine to periscope depth. Following active duty, he built on that practical Navy experience by earning a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering with specific focus on how radiation changes the physical properties of metals. His first post-Ph.D. position was as a staff scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. While at Argonne, he joined the leadership team tasked with developing the Generation IV Roadmap, the document that framed the resurgence of the nuclear research programs early in the 21st Century. Following Argonne, he joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin. While there, he split his time between establishing a premier material science program at the university and supporting the Idaho National Laboratory. At INL, he led the transition of the Advanced Test Reactor into a national user facility, creating a unique distributed network of national research facilities working together to support novel research ideas brought by universities and private industry. He also ran a six-institution Energy Frontier Research Center focused on answering fundamental questions about heat transfer in nuclear fuel. From 2013-2016, he helped lead the Idaho National Laboratory as the Deputy Laboratory Director for Science & Technology, including being an important contributor to the development of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative announced at the White House in November 2015. He is the author of over 200 technical publications, many of which are readable. Todd has degrees in nuclear engineering and management information systems. He is a native of Michigan and tries very hard to find ways to watch baseball. His best summer ever (2016) was 64 different stadiums across the U.S. In today’s episode, we cover: Todd’s history, the history of the nuclear industry, and how those have intersected over his career Some of the opportunities of nuclear energy Some of the misconceptions about it Some of the risks and downsides The impact nuclear can have in the climate fight What else can be impactful in the climate fight Todd’s advice for others looking to find their lane in the climate fight Links to topics discussed in this episode: Enriched Uranium: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enriched_uranium International Atomic Energy Agency: https://www.iaea.org/ Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_Mountain_nuclear_waste_repository Blue Ribbon Commission: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Ribbon_Commission_on_America%27s_Nuclear_Future Three Mile Island: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Mile_Island_accident Chernobyl: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster Jesse Jenkins: http://energy.mit.edu/profile/jesse-jenkins/ You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at firstname.lastname@example.org, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests. Enjoy the show!
30 Sep 2019
Ep 49: Albert Wenger, Managing Partner at Union Square Ventures
Today’s guest is Albert Wenger, Managing Partner at Union Square Ventures, a NY-based venture capital firm.Before joining USV, Albert was the president of del.icio.us through the company’s sale to Yahoo and an angel investor (Etsy, Tumblr). He previously founded or co-founded several companies, including a management consulting firm and an early hosted data analytics company. Albert graduated from Harvard College in economics and computer science and holds a Ph.D. in Information Technology from MIT.In today’s episode, we cover:Albert’s assessment of the problem of climate change and his concern levelHis views on what it will take to get the problem under control in the short term and long termThe work they do at USV, their core expertise, and how that expertise can helpThe roles of innovation, policy, and collective actionWhat types of innovation can be most impactful, and whenThe upcoming election and stakesRoles of China and IndiaRoles of big oil and utilitiesHow Albert would allocate $100B to maximize its impact in climate fightAlbert’s advice for others looking to find their laneLinks to topics discussed in this episode:USV: https://www.usv.com/World After Capital: http://worldaftercapital.org/Greta Thunberg: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greta_ThunbergExtinction Rebellion: https://rebellion.earth/Nori: https://nori.com/John Maynard Keynes, Economics Policies for our Grandchildren: https://www.sloww.co/keynes-economic-possibilities/Faye McNeill: https://cheme.columbia.edu/faculty/v-mcneillEcosia: https://www.ecosia.org/Universal Basic Income: https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/universal-basic-income-UBIHow Much is Enough?: https://www.amazon.com/How-Much-Enough-Money-Good/dp/152267795XYou can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at email@example.com, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.Enjoy the show!
28 Oct 2019
Most Popular Podcasts
Ep 33: Jim McDermott, Managing Partner at Rusheen Capital Management, LLC
Today’s guest is Jim McDermott, Managing Director of Rusheen Capital Management, LLC. Rusheen Capital Management is a Santa Monica, CA-based private equity firm that invests in growth-stage companies in the carbon capture and utilization, low-carbon energy and water sustainability sectors. Prior to co-founding RCM, Jim has started, invested in and run numerous companies. These include: US Renewables Group (Founder & Managing Partner), Stamps.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:STMP – Founder), Spoke Software, Inc. (Founder & CEO), Archive, Inc. (Founder & CEO – sold to Cyclone Commerce), NanoH2O, Inc. (Founder & Board Member – sold to LG Chemical), SolarReserve (Founder & Board Member), Fulcrum Bioenergy, Inc. (Founder & Board Member), Common Assets (Founder & Board Member – sold to NASDAQ:SCTY), SET Technology (Board Member) and OH Energy, Inc. (Founder & Board Member). Jim holds a BA in Philosophy from Colorado College and an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA. In this episode we discuss: Jim’s transition from dot com entrepreneur (back) to energy/climate Formation and operation of US renewables group Some examples of companies Jim has backed His views on impact capital and how it returns relative to a more mercenary approach Importance and necessity of carbon removal Role of the big hydrocarbon companies looking backward and forward Importance of policies like the 45Q tax credit The emergence of the carbon-to-value economy Some of the most exciting innovations to keep an eye on What Jim would do with $100B if he could put it to work to maximize impact in the climate fight Jim’s advice to people trying to find a way to help Links to topics discussed in this episode: Jim McDermott Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesacmcdermott/ US Renewables Group: https://usregroup.com/ Fulcrum BioEnergy: http://fulcrum-bioenergy.com/ Bret Kugelmass: https://www.myclimatejourney.co/episodes/bret-kugelmass 45Q tax credit: https://www.catf.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/CATF_FactSheet_45QCarbonCaptureIncentives.pdf Carbon Engineering: https://carbonengineering.com/ Renewable portfolio standard: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_portfolio_standard Oil depletion allowance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_depletion_allowance Low carbon fuel standard: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-carbon_fuel_standard Electrolysis: https://www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/hydrogen-production-electrolysis Photocatalyst and hydrogen production: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-photocatalyst-hydrogen-production-efficient.html You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at firstname.lastname@example.org, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests. Enjoy the show!
2 Sep 2019
Ep 44: Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs
Today’s guest is Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs. Dr. Emily Reichert serves as Chief Executive Officer of Greentown Labs, the largest clean technology startup incubator in the United States. As the company’s first employee, Emily has spearheaded the rapid growth of Greentown Labs into a global center for clean technology innovation, attracting visitors and partners from around the world. Emily started her career at Arthur D. Little as a Ph.D. scientist and progressed into R&D, business development and general management roles. Prior to Greentown Labs, she was the Director of Business Operations at the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry where she helped grow the angel-funded startup into a sustainable contract R&D business with a mission to minimize environmental impact of chemical products. Emily also served as a MIT Sloan Fellow in Innovation and Global Leadership as well as a Venture Labs Fellow at Flagship Ventures, a Boston-based Venture Capital firm. Emily has served as a board member or as a key advisor for a number of innovation and entrepreneurship-focused organizations including the Northeast Clean Energy Council, Cleantech Open Northeast, Cyclotron Road, the Incubatenergy Network and the MIT Enterprise Forum. She has been appointed to leadership positions on innovation, economic development, entrepreneurship and clean technology commercialization at both the state and federal level including Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s Economic Development Planning Council and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Emily has earned international recognition for her leadership in cleantech innovation and has received invitations to speak at International Conferences such as Les Rencontres Economiques d’Aix-en-Provence, France, and the Fish Family Foundation’s Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative in Tokyo, Japan. She holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management. When Emily isn’t at Greentown Labs, you’ll likely find her traveling the world with her husband, Chris Nielsen. As an avid outdoorswoman, Emily has experienced adventures in many corners of the globe including, tree-climbing in the Amazon, swimming with sea turtles off the island of Fernando de Noronha, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, trekking the Andes of Ecuador, and cycling along the Danube River bend north of Budapest. In today’s episode, we cover: Overview of Greentown Labs Origin story and what problem it is solving Traction to date, long vision, and what is coming next Long vision and whats coming next How the model works - tools, resources, and benefits Some example member success stories How large companies can/are engaging Role of innovation in the climate fight Lessons from the first cleantech bubble Barriers holding back innovation today Encouraging signs 'Best ways to accelerate Greentown’s role Role of policy and how it interrelates with innovation How startups should know if right they are a fit for Greentown How Emily would allocate a large pool of money to maximize its impact in the climate fight Emily’s advice for others looking to find their lane to help with this problem Links to topics discussed in this episode: Greentown Labs: https://www.greentownlabs.com/ Department of Energy grants: https://www.grants.gov/learn-grants/grant-making-agencies/department-of-energy.html Ed Markey: https://www.markey.senate.gov/ You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at email@example.com, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests. Enjoy the show!
10 Oct 2019
Ep 84: Roundtable with Shayle Kann from Energy Impact Partners and Abe Yokell from Congruent Ventures at the 1st SF MCJ Meetup!
In today’s episode, we cover:• Shayle’s journey from energy transition in the market intelligence space to climate change venture capital at Energy Impact Partners (EIP)• EIP, a VC with ~$1B in AUM whose LPs are a coalition of utilities• The sectors EIP invests in• Abe’s journey from Rockport Capital Partners, a cleantech private equity firm based, to cofounding Congruent Ventures in 2016• A history of the first cleantech wave• Lessons learned• How the current interest in climate tech compares/contrasts with the first cleantech wave • What types of innovation is needed in climate tech• What types of capital are the best for for which types of innovationLinks to topics discussed in this episode:• Energy Impact Partners: https://www.energyimpactpartners.com/• Congruent Ventures: https://www.congruentvc.com/• Rockport Capital Partners: http://www.rockportcap.com/• Solyndra: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solyndra• Thin-film solar cell: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin-film_solar_cell• MiaSolé: http://miasole.com/• Alpha: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/alpha.asp• National Renewable Energy Lab: https://www.nrel.gov/• Lawrence Berkeley Lab: https://www.lbl.gov/
24 Feb 2020
Ep 46: Ted Nordhaus, Founder & Executive Director at the Breakthrough Institute
Today’s guest is Ted Nordhaus, Founder & Executive Director at the Breakthrough Institute. Ted Nordhaus is a leading global thinker on energy, environment, climate, human development, and politics. He is the founder and executive director of the Breakthrough Institute and a co-author of An Ecomodernist Manifesto. Over the last decade, he has helped lead a paradigm shift in climate, energy, and environmental policy. He was among the first to emphasize the imperative to "make clean energy cheap" in The Harvard Law and Policy Review, explained why efforts to establish legally binding international limits on greenhouse gas emissions would fail in The Washington Post and Democracy Journal, made the case for nuclear energy as a critical global warming solution in The Wall Street Journal, has written on the limits to energy efficiency and the need to prepare for climate change in The New York Times, and has argued for the importance of intensifying agricultural production in order to spare land for forests and biodiversity in Scientific American and The Guardian. His 2007 book Break Through, co-authored with Michael Shellenberger, was called "prescient" by Time and "the best thing to happen to environmentalism since Rachel Carson's Silent Spring" by Wired. (An excerpt in The New Republic can be read here.) Their 2004 essay, "The Death of Environmentalism," was featured on the front page of the Sunday New York Times, sparked a national debate, and inspired a generation of young environmentalists. Over the years, Nordhaus been profiled in The New York Times, Wired, the San Francisco Chronicle, the National Review, The New Republic, and on NPR. In 2007, he received the Green Book Award and Time magazine's 2008 "Heroes of the Environment" award. Nordhaus is executive editor of the Breakthrough Journal, which The New Republic called "among the most complete efforts to provide a fresh answer" to the question of how to modernize liberal thought, and the National Review called "The most promising effort at self-criticism by our liberal cousins in a long time." In today’s episode, we cover: Ted’s background and history, and what led him to care about climate change Ted’s views on the problems with the environmental movement, which led him to founding BTI BTI mission, vision, work Ted’s views on the nature of climate change, and the misconceptions people have about the best ways to solve. Ted’s views on the best path forwards, and where innovation, policy, and government fit in. Ted’s views on how to think about the 2020 election and the stakes. Different views here than most other guests! Links to topics discussed in this episode: The Breakthrough Institute: https://thebreakthrough.org/ Neoliberalism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism Green New Deal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_New_Deal The Empty Radicalism of the Climate Apocalypse article: https://issues.org/the-empty-radicalism-of-the-climate-apocalypse/ Shale gas revolution: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shale_gas Advanced nuclear: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_nuclear Carbon capture and storage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_capture_and_storage Nuclear Regulatory Commission: https://www.nrc.gov/ Net Power: https://www.netpower.com/ 45Q tax credit: https://www.betterenergy.org/blog/primer-section-45q-tax-credit-for-carbon-capture-projects/ Nuclear energy leadership act: https://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2019/3/murkowski-booker-and-13-colleagues-reintroduce You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at firstname.lastname@example.org, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests. Enjoy the show!
17 Oct 2019
Ep 82: Rob Hanson, Co-Founder & CEO of Monolith Materials
Today’s guest is Rob Hanson, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Monolith Materials, where he leads the development of next-generation technology for producing low cost, low emission hydrogen and carbon black, an important raw material used in the manufacture of rubber and plastic. Prior to Monolith, Rob served as the global director of product management for AREVA Solar, the solar division of the world’s largest nuclear company. He has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford, and has been a guest lecturer at Stanford, UNL, Foothill College and the University of Saskatchewan on topics ranging from thermodynamics to entrepreneurship. Rob also co-founded uforia studios, a 65-employee health and fitness company with locations in San Francisco and Palo Alto.In today’s episode, we cover:Rob’s journey from solar to the chemical sectorThe dirty process of traditionally producing carbon blackHow a generalist background (e.g. blending science and finance) can be positioned to make a big impact as an entrepreneur in the climate technology spaceScaling the method of cleanly creating carbon black from natural gasThe genesis of MonolithStaggered financing modelMarkets for carbon blackImportance of establishing a market “beachhead” with product-market fitReception of the clean “story” and value proposition among prospective customersOpportunities Rob finds interesting outside Monolith’s focusThe opportunity and importance of education in addressing Climate ChangeLinks to topics discussed in this episode:Monolith Materials: https://monolithmaterials.com/Carbon Black: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_blackAreva: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ArevaImperative Science Ventures: https://imperative.vc/You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at email@example.com, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.Enjoy the show!
17 Feb 2020
Ep 69: David Perry, President, CEO, and Director of Indigo
Today's guest is David Perry, President, CEO, and Director of Indigo Ag, Indigo Ag is harnessing nature to help farmers sustainably feed the planet. They improve grower profitability, environmental sustainability, and consumer health through the use of natural microbiology and digital technologies. Founded in 2016 Indigo Ag has raised more than $650 million in funding. The recently announced Terraton Initiative is a global effort to remove a trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use it to enrich agricultural soils.David is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and built three innovative companies in the last 20 years, leading the last two through successful IPOs and to multi-billion dollar market capitalizations and raising over $1.2 billion while generating significant returns for investors. He was most recently CEO and Co-Founder of Anacor Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ANAC), a biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing novel small-molecule therapeutics to treat infectious and inflammatory diseases. The company was acquired by Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) in 2016 for approximately $5.2 billion. David previously co-founded and served as CEO of Chemdex (NASDAQ: CMDX), later creating its parent company Ventro Corporation (NASDAQ: VNTR), a business-to-business marketplace focused on the life sciences industry. At its peak, Ventro was valued at $11 billion and was later sold to Nexprise. David is Founder and Chairman of the San Francisco-based digital health startup Better Therapeutics (f/k/a FareWell) and a Board Director of the human microbiome company Evelo Biosciences.In 2000, David was named Entrepreneur of the Year in Northern California by Ernst and Young. He holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Tulsa. He also attended the United States Air Force Academy, where he was a National Merit Scholar. In today’s episode, we cover:Overview and origin story of Indigo AgDavid’s career as an entrepreneur, and how he has prioritized what projects to take on along the wayThe most striking problems to David about the food and agriculture systemDavid’s consistent approach to starting from zero as he kicks off a new ventureIndigo’s vision, strategy, and progress to-dateOverview of regenerative farmingValue prop to farmersOverview of Terraton Initiative and other key Indigo projectsHow they fit into the climate fight, and what their impact can be if successfulHow David thinks about climate change in general, and what else can be impactful in the climate fight beyond Indigo’s workHow David would allocate $100B to maximize its impact in the climate fightDavid’s advice for others looking to find their laneLinks to topics discussed in this episode:Indigo Ag website: https://www.indigoag.comFlagship Pioneering: https://www.flagshippioneering.com/Cargill: https://www.cargill.com/ADM: https://www.adm.com/Bunge: https://www.bunge.com/Indigo Carbon: https://www.indigoag.com/for-growers/indigo-carbonTerraton Initiative: https://terraton.indigoag.com/Regenerative farming: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regenerative_agriculture45Q primer: https://www.betterenergy.org/blog/primer-section-45q-tax-credit-for-carbon-capture-projects/You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at firstname.lastname@example.org, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.Enjoy the show!
6 Jan 2020
Ep 81: Matt Eggers, Investor & Company Builder at Breakthrough Energy Ventures
Today's guest is Matt Eggers, Investor & Company Builder at Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a $1.1 billion, patient capital fund dedicated to building companies that will have a massive impact on greenhouse gas mitigation. He also serves on the Board of the Institute for Market Transformation.Matt is a seasoned cleantech leader, investor and advisor with 20 years of experience delivering results in diverse companies. Matt’s recent past experience includes serving as a Vice President with Yardi Energy. He has also been the Vice President of Sales, North America for Tesla and the Vice President of Operations for Sunrun, a national leader in home solar power service operating in 11 states. His earlier experience includes leading the stack operations team and serving as Director of Product Management at the fuel cell company Bloom Energy. In that role he led development of the plan to massively scale manufacturing of Bloom’s core cell technology and developed the features and specifications for the second generation “Bloom Box.” Before Bloom, Matt worked for Genentech where he led the commercial launch of Herceptin Adjuvant, a breast cancer drug with over $1 billion in sales. Matt’s early career experience includes serving as an Associate at Morgan Stanley Venture Partners where he championed investments in biotech and enterprise software companies. Matt has a BS in molecular biology from Duke University and an MBA from Stanford University.In today’s episode, we cover:Mission of Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) and its high-network individual investment modelSuccess metrics anchored around half-a-gigaton carbon atmospheric reduction and financial return for investorsBEV’s long investment time horizon (20 years)BEV’s investment criteriaPivot Bio, a portfolio company, addressing carbon emissions found in fertilizer75F, a portfolio company, offering AI-driven software to drive efficiencies with HVAC systemsMatt’s climate journey from a farm in Iowa to BEVMatt’s perspective on the climate problem and its multifaceted solutionsPutting a price on carbon Inadequate funding in the climate spaceDisrupting the dairy industry’s carbon footprint via low-emission Casein The patience required with Climate Change investing (cf. traditional software venture investing)The role of corporate strategic investors and banksPolicy developments at the municipality-level that factor in Climate Change and affect homeownersLinks to topics discussed in this episode:Breakthrough Energy Ventures: https://www.b-t.energy/“Additionality” with respect to carbon markets: https://resource-solutions.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/RECs-and-Additionality.pdfConceptualizing a gigaton: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/07/01/meet-the-gigaton-the-huge-unit-that-scientists-use-to-track-planetary-change/Pivot Bio: https://www.pivotbio.com/74F: https://www.75f.io/Genentech: https://www.gene.com/Casein: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CaseinYou can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at email@example.com, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.Enjoy the show!
13 Feb 2020
Ep 16: Kiran Bhatraju, Founder and CEO of Arcadia Power
In this episode I interview Kiran Bhatraju the Founder and CEO of Arcadia Power. Arcadia Power connects customers to local community solar projects and purchases renewable energy certificates from wind farms on their behalf. To date, Arcadia Power has 250,000 customers that have produced 680,000 megawatt hours of clean energy. In this episode we discuss: How Arcadia Power is making it easy for customers to transition to clean energy. How Arcadia Power uses offsets and renewable energy certificates and the impact those have on energy markets and innovation by demonstrating demand. The pricing strategy and freemium model Arcadia Power is using to attract customers. Kiran’s fear about societies tendency to adapt to the “new normal” and the consequences of tendency. Why Kiran believes its important for policymakers to remember those most significantly impacted by the transition to clean energy. I hope you enjoy the show! You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 and email at firstname.lastname@example.org, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and provide suggestions for future guests or topics you'd like to see covered on the show. Links for topics discussed in this episode: Kiran Bhatraju’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kiran-bhatraju Kiran Bhatraju’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/KiranRaju Arcadia Power: https://www.arcadiapower.com Wealthfront: https://www.wealthfront.com/ Bettermint: https://www.betterment.com Runkeeper: https://runkeeper.com/ Solar Holler: https://www.solarholler.com/
3 Jul 2019
Ep 76: Jigar Shah, President & Co-Founder at Generate Capital
Today's guest is Jigar Shah, President & Co-Founder at Generate Capital.Jigar was the founder and CEO of SunEdison (NASDAQ: SUNE, TERP), where he pioneered “no money down solar” and unlocked a multi-billion-dollar solar market, creating the largest solar services company worldwide. He is the author of Creating Climate Wealth: Unlocking the Impact Economy. After SunEdison, Jigar served as the founding CEO of the Carbon War Room, a global non-profit founded by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Unite to help entrepreneurs address climate change. Generate Capital, the Carbon War Room and SunEdison all follow from Jigar’s vision that business model innovation will unlock the largest wealth creation opportunity – resource efficiency. Jigar is committed to helping entrepreneurs and large companies alike implement resource efficiency solutions using “pay as you save” project finance models. Jigar holds an MBA from The University of Maryland and BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He sits on the boards of sPower and the Rocky Mountain Institute. Jigar lives in New York City and is trying to find the perfect cocktail.In today’s episode, we cover:Overview of Generate Capital'Generate’s business model and approachIndustries and solution types they are interested inExample projectJigar’s backround and experiences leading up to GenerateHow Generate measures success beyond returnsHow Jigar thinks about the nature of the climate problemThe role of the new blood coming into the spaceCapital types and capital gapsCapitalism, GDP growth, and climate changeWhere economists get it wrongHow optimistic is Jigar for the future?The most effective ways to address this issueHow Jigar would allocate $100B to maximize its impact on the problemHow you and I can helpLinks to topics discussed in this episode:Generate Capital: https://generatecapital.com/McKinsey’s resource revolution paper: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/resource-revolutionScott Jacobs: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacobsscott/Matan Friedman: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matanfriedman/WeDriveU: https://www.wedriveu.com/SunEdison: http://www.sunedison.com/NEXTracker: https://www.nextracker.com/Greenpeace: https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/Breakthrough Energy Ventures: https://www.b-t.energy/ventures/Carbon War Room: https://rmi.org/carbon-war-room/Sunil Paul: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sunilpaul/International Energy Agency: https://www.iea.org/Craig Venter: https://www.jcvi.org/about/jventerYou can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at email@example.com, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.Enjoy the show!
30 Jan 2020
Ep 25: Rob Day, General Partner at Spring Lane Capital
Today’s guest is Rob Day, General Partner at Spring Lane Capital. Spring Lane Capital partners with strong management teams who are selling or using distributed assets with compelling customer economics in the energy, water, food and waste sectors. In these sectors, they focus on solutions that have significantly positive impacts on the sustainability of our natural resources, which they believe offer advantaged long-term benefits economically and socially. They’ve found that in practice, most such solutions have major physical components – “distributed assets” are those solutions using equipment or facilities smaller and less concentrated than traditional project finance can address. Rob has been a sustainable resources private equity investor since 2004, and acts or has served as a Director, Observer and advisory board member to multiple companies in the energy tech and related sectors. Rob also serves on the Board at the New England Clean Energy Council. From 2005-2016 he authored the column Cleantech Investing, which appeared on GreentechMedia.com, and co-hosted several conferences with that group on the topic of new investment models for the sustainability sector. Formerly a consultant with Bain & Company, Rob has worked with companies and evaluated private equity transactions in the energy/ utilities, telecom, IT, medical/pharmaceutical, and retail industries. Earlier in his career, Rob was a member of the World Resources Institute's Sustainable Enterprise Program, where he co-authored the report The Next Bottom Line: Making Sustainable Development Tangible. Rob received his MBA at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Northwestern University), and his BA at Swarthmore College. In this episode we discuss: Overview of Spring Lane Capital Rob’s background & history and what got him initially caring about the planet and sustainability Spring Lane Capital model, target customers, what alternatives existed before they came along, and how they are different How they measure success, in terms of both financial returns and the mission What Rob would be doing to focus on climate change if he wasn’t doing this Rob’s advice to people trying to find their own ways to make a mark in this problem space Links for topics discussed in this episode: Aries Clean Energy: https://ariescleanenergy.com/ Generate Capital: https://generatecapital.com/ Ultra Capital: https://www.ultracapital.com/ Rob Day’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robday/ Rob Day’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/cleantechvc I hope you enjoy the show! You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.
5 Aug 2019
Ep 6: Bob Mumgaard, Co-Founder & CEO of Commonwealth Fusion Systems
In this episode, I interview Bob Mumgaard, the Co-Founder & CEO of Commonwealth Fusion Systems. I was looking forward to this interview for many reasons. I had many questions about fusion, how close it is to primetime, what the benefit to the world would be if it gets there, and what barriers stand in its way. And also about CFS, how it came to be, how it is positioned in the fusion landscape, and where it is in its evolution. Bob is a great guy, as knowledgeable as they come, and also pretty funny! While the discussion was airy and lighthearted, it was also substantive and he gave an incredibly candid look inside the CFS machine. I hope you enjoy the show! You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 and email at email@example.com, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and provide suggestions for future guests or topics you'd like to see covered on the show. Links for topics discussed in this episode: Commonwealth Fusion Systems: https://www.cfs.energy/ Light-water Reactor: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-water_reactor ITER: https://www.iter.org/ Kitty Hawk & The Wright Brothers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_brothers
30 May 2019
Ep 93: Naomi Oreskes, Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University
In today’s episode, we cover:Her journey from Geologist to Historian of ScienceThe genesis of her climate change awakeningWhat led to her seminal book on climate change, “Merchants of Doubt”How the science showing fossil fuels impact on climate change go way backHer work inspiring the movie, "An Inconvenient Truth"The foundational work of Prof. Ben Santer, proving climate changeHow the fossil fuel industry led a disinformation campaign, intent on discrediting climate scientistsHer views on how the fossil fuel industry is not a reliable partner in combatting climate change in this dayWhy science should be trusted by the publicThe significance of consensus in scienceRemaining topics of climate change debate within the scientific communityHow public policy changes is not in the domain of scienceHow the challenges with climate change are not within the science or technology but within policy and politicsWhy nuclear is not a viable solution to climate changeLinks to topics discussed in this episode:“Merchants of Doubt”: https://www.merchantsofdoubt.org/“Why Trust Science”: https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691179001/why-trust-scienceRoger Revelle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_RevelleCharles David Keeling: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_David_KeelingProf. Ben Santer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_D._SanterJames Hansen's 1988 Congressional Testimony on Climate Change: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hansen#US_Senate_committee_testimony
26 Mar 2020
Ep 92: Dawn Lippert, CEO of Elemental Excelerator
In today’s episode, we cover:What is Elemental ExceleratorDawn’s journey to climate changeHawaii Clean Energy InitiativeApplying the startup accelerator model to energy and clean techInvesting focus and criteriaHolistic support for portfolio companiesGeographic focus for its projectsSources of funding for Elemental ExceleratorPurpose of pilotsCoaching supportLinks to topics discussed in this episode:Elemental Excelerator: https://elementalexcelerator.com/Emerson Collective: https://www.emersoncollective.com/Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative: http://www.hawaiicleanenergyinitiative.org/CarbonCure Technologies: https://www.carboncure.com/Zero Mass Water: https://www.zeromasswater.com/Cyclotron Road: https://www.cyclotronroad.org/Trove (f.k.a. Yerdle): https://www.trove.co/
23 Mar 2020
Ep 24: Diego Saez Gil, Co-Founder & CEO of Pachama
Today’s guest is Diego Saez Gil, co-founder & CEO of Pachama. Diego Saez-Gil is Co-founder & CEO of Pachama, a company focused on restoring the forests to solve climate change. Prior to Pachama, Diego co-founded Bluesmart (acquired by TravelPro) and WeHostels (acquired by StudentUniverse). Diego was awarded MIT 35 Under 35 and was selected High Impact Entrepreneur by Endeavor. Pachama is working to help restore the forests to solve climate change. They are developing technologies to bring trust, transparency, and efficiency to the Forest Carbon Market. They are combining machine learning with satellite and drone data to accelerate the verification of carbon in forests and increase the flow of capital from those offsetting their carbon emissions to those protecting and restoring the forests. They are backed by some of the best investors in Silicon Valley including Chris Sacca, Paul Graham, Y Combinator, among others. In this episode we discuss: Overview of Pachama Background on carbon offsets and how they work Overview of reforestation and why it is important Background on why reforestation has been difficult to certify land for historically, and how Pachama can help Progress of the company to date, long vision, and what is coming next What success looks like, and how it ties into broader climate fight What else can be high leverage on climate change, besides reforestation Role of policy, specific to Pachama and with broader lense in climate fight Role of venture capital in climate fight, and what types of climate solutions are the right fit for VC Advice to people trying to figure out how to help Links for topics discussed in this episode: Diego Saez Gil Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dsaezgil/ Diego Saez Gil twitter: https://twitter.com/dsaezgil Pachama website: https://www.pachama.com/ Project Drawdown: https://www.drawdown.org/ Why Forests? Why Now?: The Science, Economics, and Politics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1933286857/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_.krdDbWWR127E I hope you enjoy the show! You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics and guests.
1 Aug 2019
Ep 23: Noah Deich, Founder & Executive Director of Carbon180
Today’s guest is Noah Deich, the Founder & Executive Director of Carbon180. Carbon180 is a new breed of climate-focused NGO on a mission to fundamentally rethink carbon. They partner with policymakers, scientists and businesses around the globe to develop policy, promote research, and advance solutions that transform carbon from a liability to an asset. Their vision is to build a prosperous, carbon-conscious economy that removes more carbon from the atmosphere than we emit. Noah is a cleantech professional with a passion for fighting climate change. Prior to founding Carbon180, Noah worked in consulting, and gained experience with environmental market and carbon offset modeling, financial valuation of renewable and fossil energy power plants, energy efficiency and demand response program design and implementation, and corporate social responsibility strategy assessments. Noah received his M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and his B.A. from the University of Virginia, and his writing has been published in GreenBiz. In this episode we discuss: Carbon removal defined & why we need it Carbon180 overview, history, etc Where they are the journey today, the long vision, and what is coming next Types of projects they work on, some examples, and how they measure success State of carbon removal and where it needs to go Some barriers holding it back and the best way to unlock faster progress Role of policy vs innovation Carbon 180’s role How you and I can help What else matters in the climate fight Advice to people trying to find their lane Links for topics discussed in this episode: Noah Deich LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/noahdeich/ Noah Deich Twitter: https://twitter.com/thecarbonsink Carbon180: https://carbon180.org/ National Academy of Science: http://www.nasonline.org/ Carbon removal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_removal Occidental Petroleum: https://www.oxy.com/Pages/default.aspx I hope you enjoy the show! You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and via email at email@example.com, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.
29 Jul 2019
Ep 29: Bill Weihl, former Director of Sustainability at Facebook & Green Energy Czar at Google
Today’s guest is Bill Weihl.Bill was the Director of Sustainability at Facebook where he focused on energy efficiency initiatives. Prior to joining Facebook in early 2012, he spent 6 years as the Green Energy Czar at Google, where he led efforts in energy efficiency and renewable energy, spearheading Google's drive to become carbon neutral, founding the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, and leading the Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE
19 Aug 2019