I’m trying something new with my book notes. Moving forward, I’ll be posting them here since the process is really simple using a combination of Roam and Hugo. The first book I am adding is Sam Zell’s “Am I Being Too Subtle”. Sam is a real estate and investing legend, and his book is full of lessons on dealmaking, culture, and life principles.
Preface: This week’s deep-dive takes on a deeply personal issue for a lot of people. I’d like to make clear that the purpose of this post is not to compare or rank in any way the severity of the issues before our society. Instead, I want to share an objective framework for progress using the three most pressing issues I think we face today - all three of which I believe we should tackle with the upmost urgency. Thank you for reading.
In 1768, New England was the whaling capital of the world. By then, almost 75% of the world’s whale oil passed through American ports before (dimly) lighting up the world. Some 4200 voyages launched from New England in the years of the whaling industry, most funded by terms that look similar to today’s fund structures.
We’re sitting in the giant conference room at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where the partners hold their weekly meetings. After loading his plate with Chinese food from a buffet, Gore is firing detailed questions at the management team of Ausra, a Kleiner-backed company in Palo Alto whose technology uses mirrors the width of a flatbed truck that focus the sun’s energy to generate electricity. - CNN MONEY February 12, 2008
What was clear to some then is clear to a growing number of people now - we need a significant mobilization of capital to build, deploy, and scale the solutions required for a full decarbonization effort in the coming decades.
Venture capital can play a role, but as the cleantech boom and bust proved, it is not built to support innovation in technologies like power generation or carbon capture without significant help from the other types of capital allocators. It’s important to address and understand those concerns if we are to deploy innovation at scale.
A small, but growing, subset of investors are increasing the importance of firm-specific ESG behavior in their investment criteria. This year, financial behemoths like Blackrock and Goldman Sachs announced they would be considering sustainability metrics in all of their allocation decisions.
Each year, Utility Dive publishes a “State of the Utility” report. The report is built mainly on survey response data from executives in the sector and includes investor-owned utilities, co-ops, municipal utilities, and retail energy providers.
The explosion of distributed resources, renewable energy, and the electrification of everything are positive steps in our fight to curb carbon emissions. These new technologies present unique challenges to our grid and the regulatory structures surrounding it.
Energy tends to bore people until it touches on their values. But, those values are very different and prioritized in completely different ways depending on the participant.
For some, involvement in the energy transition is a moral imperative (i.e. “I want to leave Earth better for future generations”) and sometimes because it’s financially smart to do so (i.e. “We installed solar to save on our energy bill”).
Right before Christmas, researchers from Stanford and Berkley, published a 119-page report on the impact of a global GND on grid stability, costs, jobs, health and climate across 143 countries grouped into 24 regions.
The plan would require an investment of about $73T USD over the next 30 years, but the research shows that a payback period, adjusted for new jobs and estimated savings from climate related disasters, could be as little as 7 years.
If you ask most early-stage VCs their number one criteria for investing in a startup, the answer you will get is “team.” Even market first investors, like us, want to know why the team is best suited to tackle the problem.