NREL Forum Talk


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The cleantech roller coaster ride, and why you should still be excited about it.

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  • For full Biden GIF enjoyment put in slide show mode
  • Alternative title
  • Me, I get a growing number of readers from Twitter these days
  • In 2006 I joined GigaOM as the first employee and for the first year I was writing about wireless technology and broadband.
  • Example of a typical story of first year at GigaOM. Mountain View Google free WiFi network.
  • Decided writing about wireless and broadband wasn’t all that satisfying in 2006. Looking for something new.
  • Here’s the trends I saw in 2006. Despite dotcom bust, venture capitalists have money to spend and looking for the next big thing.
  • CA AB 32, 2006. Schwarzenegger as the green governor.
  • The Valley’s premier VC firm making major bet on cleantech.
  • How I felt in early 2007, I’ve found it: cleantech.
  • Launched GigaOM’s green channel.
  • Cleantech startup and funding movement growing rapidly from 2006 to 2008.
  • First wave of capital intensive cleantech startups. Electric car companies like Tesla and Fisker.
  • Wave of thin film solar startups, like Miasole.
  • Yikes.
  • Recession hit some of these first wave, capital intensive, cleantech startups hard. Some survived, some didn’t
  • Stimulus package enters to support cleantech.
  • Cheap natural gas emerges and makes some clean power uneconomical as an investment.
  • Dropping silicon prices upend solar industry, solar panels super cheap, but startups, like the first wave thin film solar startups, on the wrong side of cost curve.
  • A bankrupt Solyndra sells this banner for $400 in an auction.
  • Cleantech becomes officially politicized.
  • Venture returns are not all that impressive for cleantech
  • While many VCs betting on web and mobile are making tons of money.
  • WTF
  • But. . . .why you shouldn’t be so depressed about it.
  • Climate change already happening
  • Population boom in developing countries will be the future of clean power generation and also managing of resources efficiently in cities.
  • Opportunity for entrepreneurs in India, China.
  • Energy efficiency opportunities in China. Smart grid investment in China will be massive.
  • China is starting to dominate clean power financing.
  • And Chinese conglomerates making investments in low cost assets, or buying them outright (up until lately A123 and Wanxiang)
  • One of the biggest opportunities in the U.S. is the rapid installation of solar panels.
  • Capitallite and business model innovation is working.
  • The Clean Web movement is emerging.
  • Clean Web example.
  • However, perhaps Clean Web will be cleantechlite. Won’t be as disruptive.
  • Turns out Internet companies are great customers. They buy low power stuff and even clean power.
  • Facebook’s energy efficient data center.
  • Apple’s massive solar farm in North Carolina.
  • Corporate partners, and also corporate investors, will dominate cleantech of tomorrow.
  • ARPA-E seems like a good model. But tiny right now. Needs to be bigger.
  • Advice for where to find money for cleantech startup.
  • Whole idea of cleantech is changing. Not a cohesive vertical.
  • One thing that can help public perception of cleantech: if extreme weather continues, public will demand action.
  • Need success stories that are big wins, cool, good brands, make people money and employ people.
  • NREL Forum Talk

    1. The story of the cleantech rollercoaster ride And why you should still be excited about cleantech
    2. John Doerr’s TED Talk 2007
    3. Cleantech!
    4. Recession
    5. Tastes great, less filling
    6. Advice wrap up: Capital lite Trust in the overall resource trends Business model innovation Clean Web Find solid customers – Internet companies Corporate partners China ARPA-E
    7. How to get in touch with me:Email =Twitter = @katiefehren