Show cover of The Decarbonization Race

The Decarbonization Race

It's not enough to think about what it takes to be more sustainable. Now is the time to act. The question is, who will lead the pack in saving our planet, and what do they need to stay on track and honest with their goals? The Decarbonization Race is a show for ESG and sustainability leaders ready to go beyond 100% renewable, beyond the bare minimum, and truly make an impact. Join host Lincoln Payton, CEO of Cleartrace, and a passionate executive leader with over a decade of experience in the energy sector. He explores what organizations are doing around the globe to set the pace for true net zero leadership.

Tracks

Ingredients for a Nuclear Power Renaissance with Brookfield All-Star Panel
Nuclear energy is facing a marked uptick in private investment over the next five years, spurred by the escalating demand for clean energy and energy security. Both governments’ and the private sector's net-zero ambitions are driving significant interest in high-growth energy areas like nuclear energy. Further, according to the International Energy Agency, existing nuclear plants make up a large part of global energy production today - representing nearly 10% of global energy production and nearly 20% in advanced countries. The further growth of nuclear power is becoming critical to the decarbonization of the electricity grid and the growing market for emissions-free energy. In this episode, host Lincoln Payton brings together a panel from investment giant Brookfield Corporation to explore the transformative role that nuclear energy plays in the pursuit of a net-zero future, particularly in the private sector investment landscape. Joining Lincoln for this episode are Pramod Shukla, Managing Director in Brookfield’s Private Equity Group; Sam Meyers, Senior Vice President at Brookfield Asset Management; and Mike Daschle, SVP of Sustainability for Brookfield Properties.  The discussion spans the intricate considerations around nuclear power investments, the ability of nuclear power to meet the world’s growing energy demands, and the role of companies like Westinghouse within the broader nuclear industry. A projected and insightful outlook on nuclear energy, Lincoln and the panel acknowledge its significance and the expected evolution of investments and deployments over the next five years. Key Takeaways: Clean power is on the rise: the world is turning to nuclear energy as a critical tool for decarbonization, as this clean energy source offers a vital solution for achieving net-zero emissions goals. Gigawatt-scale giants lead the way: while smaller modular reactors (SMRs) hold immense potential for future deployments, their development remains in its early stages, meaning that larger, gigawatt-scale plants will likely dominate the energy landscape for the next decade. Public sentiment shifting in favor: public opinion toward nuclear power is undergoing a positive shift with growth in bipartisan support in the USA coupled with the urgency of climate action and the need for clean energy solutions, all of which paint a promising picture for the future of nuclear power. Resources: IAEA's revisions up of projected nuclear buildout by 2050: https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pressreleases/iaea-annual-projections-rise-again-as-countries-turn-to-nuclear-for-energy-security-and-climate-action Energy Monitor on SMRs: https://www.energymonitor.ai/sectors/power/small-modular-reactors-smrs-what-is-taking-so-long/?cf-view Bipartisan support in the U.S. is up significantly compared to polling in 2020: https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2023/08/18/growing-share-of-americans-favor-more-nuclear-power/sr_23-08-18_nuclear-energy_1/  
41:23 12/18/23
Energy Minute: How The Emissions First Partnership is Putting Emissionality Front & Center
Following a riveting conversation with Killian Daly of EnergyTag about hourly matching in carbon accounting, this Energy Minute looks at the work of the Emissions First partnership - a group of companies including Akamai, Meta, General Motors and Salesforce - and its collective focus on carbon matching in clean energy procurement.  Cleartrace’s Steven Goldman delves into the difference between hourly matching and carbon matching approaches, and what principles the partnership members are applying in their work. He also explores the evolution from traditional electricity purchasing strategies and discusses how aligning with this approach might boost companies' carbon impacts of their energy procurement. Key Takeaways: The Emissions First partnership seeks to maximize greenhouse gas emission reductions from the electricity system through corporate action. This includes prioritizing decarbonization, valuing grid decarbonization progress, incentivizing innovation in the emissions data ecosystem, and implementing accounting governance. The coalition aims to source energy based on emissionality, focusing on the marginal carbon impact of each procurement rather than matching based on timing or which grid or market the energy is sourced in. Instead, they encourage companies to schedule electric loads around system signals like high marginal greenhouse gas emissions. This approach signifies an evolution from traditional electricity purchasing strategies based on price or annual matching while providing flexibility for energy procurement teams to source for the greatest - while still feasible - marginal carbon impact. Resources: Emissions First Partnership: https://www.emissionsfirst.com/  
04:42 12/11/23
Devil’s in the Details: Advancing Granular Carbon Data with EnergyTag’s Killian Daly
Decarbonization has diversified from simply vanilla to 31 flavors, where a range of goals and strategies are being adopted as companies work to reduce carbon emissions and other environmental impacts. One key strategy that’s emerged has been time-matched procurement of electricity, ensuring that the electricity that’s sourced corresponds to when and how much electricity is used onsite. Granular energy attribute certificates (EACs), which add transparency by including information on where and when energy is sourced, are crucial to delivering 24/7 carbon-free energy matched on the hour. On this episode, host Lincoln Peyton talks with EnergyTag Executive Director Killian Daly about how the organization is leading the charge for granular certificates, including advising governments around the world on their use and how they can ensure commodities like hydrogen are produced sustainably. They also discuss the complex world of voluntary standards, market impacts, policy implementation, and the ambitious mission of EnergyTag, which is backed by big names like Google and Microsoft. As EnergyTag champions global adoption of more granular carbon accounting standards, Killian will also shines a light on his role in harmonizing these efforts through leading the Carbon Data Specification initiative at the Linux Foundation. Key Takeaways: Granular data is key to transparency and accountability: by supplying information on when energy is generated, granular data enables organizations to better match the energy they source with consumption, better ensuring companies decarbonization efforts’ deliver the desired impacts. Education leads to action: regulatory measures, such as the push for renewable hydrogen in Europe, will help suppliers shape how they source energy and produce commodities like hydrogen, chemicals and steel. Clear definitions of 'green' and enforceable standards can safeguard against inefficacy or greenwashing of products. Strategic advantages of sustainable practices: There is a competitive edge companies gain by committing to sustainable practices — from price stability in energy markets to consumer trust in green certification. Going beyond the rhetoric of corporate responsibility, Killian articulates the tangible benefits of embedding sustainability into business models. Resources: Learn more about EnergyTag: https://energytag.org/  Case studies of granular certificate use: https://energytag.org/case_studies/ The Granular Certificate Standard: https://energytag.org/standards/  Canary Media’s series on the green hydrogen debate: https://www.canarymedia.com/articles/hydrogen/the-great-green-hydrogen-battle
47:12 12/4/23
REPLAY: Creating Sustainable Infrastructure-as-a-Service with Generate Capital’s Nam Nguyen
Investing in infrastructure is different and more complex than many other investment classes, often involving significantly longer timeframes and larger capital expenditures. Investing in sustainable infrastructure — like renewable energy, energy storage, or electric vehicle fleets — can be attractive to investors but adds complexity and often requires delivering with newer technologies. Generate Capital was founded in 2014 with an unusual approach: invest, operate and maintain a range of sustainable infrastructure assets for the long term — creating “sustainable infrastructure as a service” — that can provide extended value to investors and customers while yielding lasting environmental, social, and economic benefits. Nam Nguyen, Chief Operating Officer of Generate Capital and a visionary leader in the clean energy sector, joins Lincoln on the podcast to talk about how she and Generate Capital’s team are creating long-term impacts with strategic investments in the sustainable energy, e-mobility, waste and smart cities sectors. Key Takeaways: When Generate examines an investment opportunity, they view it through the lens of a long-term asset owner, looking at impacts and returns across 20, 30, or 40 years. Therefore, when looking at the opportunities, they are also looking for drivers that are going to factor in for the long term. In addition, they are looking at how to optimize assets and facilities so that they are lasting for a long time. Generate’s investment strategy isn’t limited to clean energy. Part of their portfolio is a platform called Generate Upcycle, which is focused on the circular economy—keeping waste streams out of landfills, and turning that waste into something more renewable, whether it's in the form of renewable electricity, renewable natural gas, compost or other uses. Generate’s team has a problem-solving mindset, because markets change quickly and the world is always evolving. Because of this, Generate’s team look at issues, like grid instability in California, and regularly sit down with the company’s partners to ask, “how do we solve for this? How do we change the way we utilize the assets we’ve built to address fresh concerns? How do we optimize portfolios in different parts of our customer base?”  
34:46 11/27/23
Energy Minute: Green Tariffs as a Path for Sourcing Clean Energy
On this Energy Minute mini-sode, Steven Goldman explores the world of “green tariffs,” voluntary utility programs that enable eligible customers to buy the “bundled” energy and associated Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from renewable energy projects. These programs are typically offered by local electric utilities and approved by state public utility commissions (PUCs). He explains the main types of green tariffs and how they are an important tool for companies seeking to procure clean energy, as they offer a number of benefits, including predictability, reduced upfront costs, and brokerless access to clean energy. We'll discover the benefits of participating in these programs, including access to clean energy without high upfront costs and the ability to reduce operational carbon emissions. Join us as we uncover some of the more innovative green tariff programs and how utilities are working towards meeting the needs of companies in their clean energy sourcing.  Key Takeaways: Green tariffs are voluntary utility programs that enable eligible customers to buy green power - both the energy and the associated RECs - generated by renewable energy projects. They are more common in traditionally regulated electricity markets and are an avenue for companies to source clean energy without having to pursue a bilateral agreement with a power producer. There are three main types of green tariffs: subscription programs, sleeved power purchase agreements (PPAs), and market-based rate programs.  Green tariffs offer several benefits, including predictability, reduced upfront costs, and brokerless access to clean energy. As of January 2023, there are 50 approved or pending green tariff programs offered by 40 utilities in 28 states. References: CEBA’s Green Tariffs report (updated in Jan 2023): https://cebuyers.org/solutions/procure-clean-energy/green-tariffs/#:~:text=Green%20tariffs%20are%20voluntary%20utility,a%20customer's%20current%20electricity%20bill  EPA primer on Green Tariffs: https://www.epa.gov/green-power-markets/utility-green-tariffs#:~:text=Utility%20green%20tariffs%20are%20optional,a%20special%20utility%20tariff%20rate  S&P Global, “Utility green tariffs fuel growth in US corporate renewables market” : https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/research/utility-green-tariffs-fuel-growth-in-us-corporate-renewables-market   
05:40 11/20/23
Decarbonizing Flight: Growing the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Market with Kim Carnahan
Most people think of jet fuel the same way they think of filling up their car with gasoline: go to the pump, fill the tank, pay the price per gallon. But decarbonizing business travel and air freight is a much more complex task, where sellers, buyers and users are all part of the transaction, and standards for what makes aviation fuel “sustainable” are still being set. On this episode of The Decarbonization Race, new co-host Steven Goldman takes flight into the world of Sustainable Aviation Fuel or SAF – including the market currently being built for it, the range of ways SAF is being produced, and what structures need to be in place to make sure SAF is not only affordable but provably more sustainable than conventional fuels. He's joined by Kim Carnahan, founder and CEO of Neoteric Energy & Climate. Kim co-founded the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance (SABA), an industry body bringing together a range of NGOs, airlines and other companies investing in SAF supply and technologies.  How does she know so much about the intricacies of decarbonizing international sectors like aviation and shipping? Because while working at the State Department, she served as the United States’ Chief Negotiator on Climate Change. Kim played a central role in the negotiation of the Paris Agreement and its implementing guidance. Kim also led the U.S. team that negotiated the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) – a parallel agreement to Paris governing the international aviation sector – and its implementing guidance.  In a fast-paced and wide-ranging interview, Kim discusses the different approaches jurisdictions are taking when it comes to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) certification and highlights the need for clear guidance from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and Science Based Targets Initiative.  SABA is not only helping create certification standards for SAF, but is working with airlines, suppliers and buyers (who often aren’t the airlines themselves) to build the marketplace, create a book-and-claim system similar to Renewable Energy Certificates to track supply and usage, and advance policies to keep SAF moving down the cost curve. Key Takeaways: ​​The aviation industry contributes more than 2% of global energy-related emissions. Today, commercial aviation is fueled primarily by kerosene-based fuel Jet-A/Jet-A1, which can be easily substituted with SAF blends. SAF is a liquid “drop-in” fuel currently used in commercial aviation which reduces CO2 emissions, which can be produced from several feedstocks, including but not limited to waste oil and fats, municipal waste, non-food crops, CO2 and water. SAF meets all the same technical and safety requirements as fossil-based jet fuel and can therefore be used safely on existing aircraft and within current airport systems. SABA is managed by Environmental Defense Fund and Rocky Mountain Institute with guidance by Neoteric Energy & Climate, but was founded by a diverse set of companies working to tackle the decarbonization of aviation – Bank of America, Boeing, Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte, JPMorgan Chase, McKinsey & Company, Meta, Microsoft, Netflix and Salesforce. Air carriers involved in the initiative include Alaska Airlines, Amazon Air, JetBlue, United Airlines and UPS. Standardization and certification is critical to growing the sustainable aviation fuel market. The certification guidelines developed by SABA are crucial to prevent negative impacts on the environment and society, particularly when dealing with biomass, organic waste and crop-based fuels. Saba's focus on certification helps companies navigate the market, understand what different sourcing criteria should be, and gain assurance that the fuel they are purchasing is sustainable. Resources: Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance website SABA’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel 101 Guide Recent announcement of Minnesota creating a SAF Hub, in partnership with Bank of America, Ecolab, Delta Air Lines and Xcel Energy. Boeing’s SAF Dashboard
46:53 11/13/23
Moving Corporate Clean Energy Adoption “Beyond the Megawatt” with Apex’s Erik Haug
Corporate demand for clean energy continues to grow across the globe, particularly in the United States. Apex Clean Energy, a developer of commercial-scale wind, solar and battery storage projects, is a key player in this growth. With a diversified portfolio of 60 gigawatts and more than $2B in assets under management across the United States, Apex has a range of corporate offtakers including Google, IKEA, Cargill, and Meta.  On this episode of the Decarbonization Race, VP of Energy Marketing for Apex, Erik Haug joins our new co-host, Cleartrace Head of Customer Growth Zach Livingston, to discuss Apex’s role in the evolution of the renewable energy space, how environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations are shaping decisions around clean energy purchasing, and the complexities of educating consumers and communities to accelerate the growth of renewable power projects. He gets candid about the growing role of battery storage and other forms of dispatchability in Apex’s portfolio as well as how they’re prioritizing looking “beyond the megawatt”. Key Takeaways: Aggregation is playing a crucial role in driving renewable energy projects, enabling smaller customers to pool demand to access larger-scale projects at competitive prices. There are challenges and benefits in both self-aggregation and advisor-led aggregation within the evolving landscape of renewable energy finance and procurement. Apex works to empower customers through education. Renewable energy advisors play a pivotal role in educating and guiding customers toward making informed decisions. By helping customers understand the potential of renewable energy solutions and how they align with their goals, these advisors facilitate the transition to a low-carbon future. The Investment Tax Credit was extended to standalone energy storage in the Inflation Reduction Act, which will bring more storage and resulting flexibility onto electric grids around the U.S. However, a mechanism is still needed to compensate battery storage projects to maximize how much decarbonization impact they deliver for the grid. An incentive rewarding energy storage for delivering net carbon emission reduction could significantly accelerate the already fast-growing market for energy storage. Resources: Apex Clean Energy - https://www.apexcleanenergy.com/ Connect with Erik Haug - https://www.linkedin.com/in/erik-haug-03b35539/    
39:06 11/6/23
Evolving Nuclear Power and Its Role in Decarbonization with Westinghouse’s Dr. Rita Baranwal
Nuclear energy is a low-carbon source of electricity that has been playing a vital role in the global energy mix for decades. Today, there are about 440 nuclear power reactors operating in 33 countries, providing about 10% of the world's electricity. While the nuclear energy industry has faced an array of challenges over the last few decades - including plant closures due to competition from cheaper natural gas and renewable energy sources, as well as overall safety concerns - nuclear technology remains a key part of the decarbonization puzzle. In this episode, host Lincoln Payton speaks with Dr. Rita Baranwal, Senior Vice President at Westinghouse Electric Company, who leads the company's work around its AP300 Small Modular Reactor. She discusses with Lincoln the growth of small modular reactors (SMRs) as a pathway to growing nuclear power adoption, the rigorous regulatory framework surrounding nuclear plant deployments, and the critical role that this power source can play in the decarbonization journey.  Key Takeaways: Dr. Baranwal addresses common safety concerns regarding nuclear power, and emphasizes the significant improvements made in safety and technology over the years. She discusses "walk-away safe" designs and the importance of continuous innovation and collaboration with regulators to ensure success. Westinghouse recently launched its AP300 SMR technology, more compact reactors that can serve in a wider range of applications, from powering data servers and hospitals to serving military needs. The flexibility and scalability of SMRs make them appealing to communities, states, companies, and countries looking for clean energy solutions, especially where the need for “baseload power” is coming in smaller increments than nuclear has typically been sourced for. The nuclear industry takes immense pride in its rigorous training programs and there is heavy focus on continuous education and the collaboration between operating plants, utilities, and organizations to ensure a well-trained workforce. Dr. Baranwal also discusses the exciting potential for remote operation of microreactors, opening up new possibilities in industry applications. Resources: Westinghouse Electric Company Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) More information on the AP300 SMR from Westinghouse
40:45 10/30/23
Pioneer Portrait: Inside Jan Pepper’s Push to Provide 24/7 Renewable Energy for Californians
Clean energy doesn't have to cost more. California electricity supplier Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) is charting a path to supply 24/7 renewable electricity in northern California that is competitive today and less expensive in the long run compared to typical utility electricity offerings. How is the company getting there? On this episode of The Decarbonization Race, renewable energy pioneer and PCE CEO Jan Pepper joins Lincoln to explain it all, including the genesis of PCE’s ambitious strategy to supply 100% renewable energy matched hourly to its customer base by 2025. Jan discusses the role community choice aggregators (CCAs) like PCE are playing in putting communities’ priorities first when procuring energy for their customer base, and how PCE is both keeping rates competitive and ensuring long-term stability, compared to offerings that have greater volatility from fuel price swings.  Jan Pepper has over 30 years of energy and utility experience, with a focus on renewable energy contracting and financing. Across her career, she’s founded four energy-related startups, at her company APX she developed and pioneered the first use of renewable energy credits, and her company Clean Energy Markets designed and implemented the successful Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program for the State of New Jersey. And she’s also had a political career, as both a City Council member and mayor of the city of Los Altos, California. Her expertise has been vital in guiding Peninsula’s sourcing of electricity from different renewable energy and energy storage projects, navigating factors such as price, location, and diversity of supply.  Key Takeaways Community choice aggregators (CCAs) provide an alternative for California electricity customers, allowing cities or counties to procure and supply electricity for their residents separately from existing utilities. The CCAs decide the mix of electricity and deliver it via utility-owned transmission and distribution networks. Peninsula Clean Energy is a “public agency startup,” focused on supplying renewable energy and matching supply to demand on an hourly basis. Their goal is to supply 100% renewable energy, and in the process ensure price stability via long-term contracts, avoiding the volatility from fossil fuel prices. Because Peninsula procures from a range of different sources and technologies, the utility is able to provide electricity supply at a competitive rate and ensure a diverse portfolio. PCE’s ambitious strategy is to supply 100% renewable energy matched hourly to its customer base by 2025. The utility has already procured enough solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower resources to cover 75% of its 24/7 strategy by 2025, and will procure additional capacity to reach 99% by the end of 2025. This is providing a blueprint for other utilities to decarbonize, evaluate their modeling, and dispatch storage. Resources Peninsula Clean Energy white paper, “Achieving 24/7 Renewable Energy by 2025” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on  Community Choice Aggregation programs Our Energy Minute segment from earlier this season to go deeper on Peninsula Clean Energy’s 100% renewable energy strategy and how it’s progressed
44:32 6/12/23
Energy Minute: A Shift Towards Mandatory Due Diligence on Sustainability in the EU
In this Energy Minute episode, Dana Dohse and Steven Goldman jump into the European Union's Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Direction (or CS3D for short) recently passed by the European Parliament. While the CS3D is not a regulation -- meaning member states will have several years to develop their own respective national laws on implementing the directive -- it still holds significant weight, and will impact both EU-headquartered companies as well as non-EU firms exporting goods via the EU or with significant operations in the EU. Compliance with the due diligence requirements will involve various jurisdictions and mechanisms, making it a complex endeavor for companies, meaning companies need to pay close attention as EU member nations issue their own regulations to better understand the impacts to their operations. The directive will have significant implications for corporations' sustainability planning, alignment with the Paris Agreement, and require a greater understanding of supply chain risks.  Listen in as Dana and Steven dig into this environmental and human rights legislation and its implications for companies operating in the EU, and explore the potential costs and benefits for companies in different high-impact sectors, the role of due diligence in risk management and the impact on local communities. Key Takeaways The EU is imposing a higher level of diligence than other parts of the world, which means that non-EU firms exporting goods via the EU or linked to EU companies will be impacted. Compliance with due diligence requirements will involve various jurisdictions and mechanisms, creating new costs and uncertainties for companies. The CS3D is a piece of legislation passed by the European Parliament that requires EU and non-EU companies to comply with due diligence requirements to operate in EU markets. This directive applies to companies based on their headcount or turnover thresholds, depending on if they operate in a high impact sector. This means that companies need to have a clear understanding of their eligibility for the requirements of CS3D and properly classify their business to meet the criteria during two consecutive financial years. The directive will lead to changes in internal controls and business procedures that companies will need to put in place to comply with the directive. Companies will bear the cost of establishing and operating due diligence procedures as part of their business procedures, and may have to pay up to 5% of their global turnover as damages in case of non-compliance. These costs are significant and will add up over time, causing a financial incentive for companies to comply. Resources:  European Union information page on the CS3D: https://commission.europa.eu/business-economy-euro/doing-business-eu/corporate-sustainability-due-diligence_en KPMG on the CS3D: https://kpmg.com/xx/en/home/insights/2023/02/the-eu-corporate-sustainability-due-diligence-directive.html
17:24 6/5/23
Building (and Rebuilding) for Net Zero with Architect Lori Ferriss
On this episode of the Decarbonization Race, Lincoln Payton dives deep into the world of sustainable architecture with architect Lori Ferriss, who’s worked across her career to square sustainability, historic preservation and aesthetic concerns in cities swimming in history, like Boston.  As Director of Sustainability and Climate Action at Boston architectural firm Goody Clancy, Lori leads research initiatives and project design and implementation serving a range of sectors including higher education. For Lori, building reuse is a significant form of climate action. Her far-reaching work has expanded the role of architects while simultaneously elevating building reuse as a prime way to combat climate change.  Lori and Lincoln discuss the interplay between both operational and embodied carbon in buildings, debating investments to reduce carbon emissions through retrofitting or new-build construction (including with the Carbon Avoided Retrofit Estimator or CARE Tool, which Lori helped develop), policies passed by cities like London and Cambridge, Massachusetts that prioritize life cycle assessments and emissions disclosure, and changes in the materials being used like biogenic materials for insulation or green cement or steel. Key Takeaways: Boston has implemented policies and ordinances to achieve net-zero operations for commercial buildings such as the Building Energy and Reporting Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO 2.0) to achieve net-zero operations for commercial buildings over 20,000 sqft. BERDO 2.0 requires disclosure and reporting followed by reductions, with a financial penalty for non-compliance. Boston's zero net carbon zoning policy complements BERDO by requiring new buildings to meet similar standards. Biogenic materials are becoming more viable for commercial construction. These natural materials like wood, cross-laminated timber, hemp, and straw bale are becoming more viable for commercial construction, with their environmental benefits dependent on where the materials come from, how they are produced, and they are disposed of or repurposed at the end of their life cycle. The CARE (Carbon Avoided Retrofit Estimator) Tool was developed to help planners, owners, and design professionals calculate the total embodied and operational carbon of existing buildings after energy efficiency upgrades or renovations. CARE can help estimate the environmental value of reusing existing buildings, and inform decisions on whether to retain buildings or demolish and build new ones.  Resources A Better City blog post, "BERDO 2.0 Explained" Carbon Avoided Retrofit Estimator (CARE) Tool Architecture 2030  
32:35 5/29/23
Energy Minute: The EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive Ups the Ante on ESG Disclosures
On this Energy Minute episode, Dana Dohse and Steven Goldman take a deep dive into the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) legislation that will be taking effect in the European Union in 2024. Under the new legislation, aligning with Paris climate goals or ensuring ethical supply chains will move from voluntary practices or proactive risk management to regulatory requirements with oversight by EU nations.  Listen in as they examine the legislation's details, requirements, and potential impact on businesses and society, discuss the differences between the CSRD and the proposed SEC rules on climate-focused disclosure, how they reflect existing sustainability reporting standards such as SASB/ISSB standards, and analyze the legislation's implications and advise companies on how to prepare for compliance. Key Takeaways The EU adopted a “double materiality” approach as the basis of the new legislation, meaning it encompasses not only ESG issues with material impacts on financial performance, but also impacts of the company's operation on the environment and society.  Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors covered by the CSRD will be significantly more far-reaching than the proposed SEC rules on climate-focused disclosure, encompassing issues including climate change mitigation and adaptation, water and marine resources, equal treatment and opportunities, sustainability risk management and internal controls, and anti-corruption policies, to name a few. Unlike the proposed SEC rules, the CSRD explicitly includes Scope 3 emissions in its carbon footprint disclosure requirements.   References Press release on the adoption of the CSRD: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20221107IPR49611/sustainable-economy-parliament-adopts-new-reporting-rules-for-multinationals https://finance.ec.europa.eu/capital-markets-union-and-financial-markets/company-reporting-and-auditing/company-reporting/corporate-sustainability-reporting_en Harvard Law School analysis: https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2022/08/23/eu-corporate-sustainability-reporting-directive-what-do-companies-need-to-know/ 
18:35 5/22/23
REPLAY: Taking Data Centers to Net Zero with Iron Mountain’s Chris Pennington
Iron Mountain Data Centers are in the vanguard of the clean energy transition: they not only run their facilities on 100% renewable energy, they are working towards a more ambitious goal, powering them with carbon-free energy 24/7. In this episode, host Lincoln Payton dives deep into decarbonization with Chris Pennington, Director of Energy and Sustainability at Iron Mountain Data Centers, to understand the more ambitious goal, and how Iron Mountain is using hourly energy and carbon data as the foundation to match supply with consumption and help the company meet its emission goals.   Key Takeaways Why the future of decarbonization is moving away from annual market-based accounting methodology to hourly location-based accounting More granular data is key to understanding facilities’ load and matching it in near-real time to available clean energy sources Why adopting a long-term clean energy and decarbonization strategy serves both the climate and Iron Mountain’s bottom line   Resources What is 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy & Why It Matters
33:15 5/15/23
Energy Minute: Appetite for Hydrogen is Booming, But How Do We Ensure It’s Green?
Hydrogen is used as a heat source, a fuel or a feedstock in a range of industries… but depending on how it’s made, it can be a boon or hazard to our climate. Shifting to zero-carbon “green hydrogen” - produced using renewable energy sources like solar and wind - is critical for using hydrogen as a decarbonization resource, so much so that both the United States and European Union have passed legislation and targets aimed at quickly growing hydrogen adoption.  But making sure hydrogen production is indeed green is complicated, and the choices we make today will have big impacts on how quickly hydrogen use grows, and how much it helps or hurts the climate challenge in the process. In this Energy Minute, Dana Dohse and Steven Goldman explore the complex world of hydrogen and the efforts to ensure its production is sustainable and decarbonized. They discuss the challenges of transitioning from grey to green hydrogen, the debate over how incentives should be structured to avoid decarbonizing the grid, and some of the ways hydrogen fits into the overarching goal of decarbonizing heavy industries. Key Takeaways The most common type of hydrogen produced today is “grey hydrogen,” made by heating and reacting methane to break its carbon and hydrogen bonds, creating carbon emissions in the process. “Blue hydrogen” is made by capturing and storing the resulting carbon emissions in geologic formations like caverns, or built storage facilities under high pressure. If captured and stored properly, that process can abate about 90% of emissions associated with making grey hydrogen. The key accelerator of green hydrogen projects in the United States is the Section 45V Production Tax Credit passed as part of the Inflation Reduction Act legislation. The 45V tax credit is a scaling tax credit tied to lifecycle hydrogen emissions through the point of production, based on how much lower the emissions from hydrogen production are relative to grey hydrogen. The highest tax credit level is set at $3 per kilogram of hydrogen, but how production qualifies is yet to be finalized by the U.S. Treasury.. The hydrogen “color wheel” refers to the different colors used to represent different methods and energy inputs for producing hydrogen. Grey hydrogen is produced by breaking natural gas; black and brown hydrogen respectively by converting different types of coal into syngas, then breaking that like natural gas; turquoise hydrogen by breaking natural gas and producing hydrogen and solid carbon through pyrolysis; green hydrogen by powering an electrolyzer with renewable energy to split water; and pink hydrogen by powering an electrolyzer with nuclear energy to split water. The framework that a coalition of renewables and electrolyzer developers, midstream companies, think tanks, academics and nonprofits have advocated for calls for three principles: 1) additionality, requiring electrolyzers to draw power from new sources of clean electricity brought online as a direct result of that electrolyzer’s construction; 2) deliverability, requiring that electrolyzers use local sources of clean electricity that are physically deliverable to the electrolyzer site; and 3) time-matching, requiring that electrolyzers run at the same time as clean electricity generation. References IEA report, “The Future of Hydrogen” Renewable Thermal Collaborative report, “Green Hydrogen Technical Assessment” Energy Innovation research note, “Smart Design of 45V Hydrogen Production Tax Credit Will Reduce Emissions and Grow the Industry” Natural Resources Defense Council blog post, “Success of IRA Hydrogen Tax Credit Hinges on IRS and DOE” Spectra, “Europe Sets Rules for Producing Green Hydrogen” Green Hydrogen Catapult
22:48 5/8/23
Creating Sustainable Infrastructure-as-a-Service with Generate Capital’s Nam Nguyen
Investing in infrastructure is different and more complex than many other investment classes, often involving significantly longer timeframes and larger capital expenditures. Investing in sustainable infrastructure — like renewable energy, energy storage, or electric vehicle fleets — can be attractive to investors but adds complexity and often requires delivering with newer technologies. Generate Capital was founded in 2014 with an unusual approach: invest, operate and maintain a range of sustainable infrastructure assets for the long term — creating “sustainable infrastructure as a service” — that can provide extended value to investors and customers while yielding lasting environmental, social, and economic benefits. Nam Nguyen, Chief Operating Officer of Generate Capital and a visionary leader in the clean energy sector, joins Lincoln on the podcast to talk about how she and Generate Capital’s team are creating long-term impacts with strategic investments in the sustainable energy, e-mobility, waste and smart cities sectors.   Key Takeaways: When Generate examines an investment opportunity, they view it through the lens of a long-term asset owner, looking at impacts and returns across 20, 30, or 40 years. Therefore, when looking at the opportunities, they are also looking for drivers that are going to factor in for the long term. In addition, they are looking at how to optimize assets and facilities so that they are lasting for a long time. Generate’s investment strategy isn’t limited to clean energy. Part of their portfolio is a platform called Generate Upcycle, which is focused on the circular economy—keeping waste streams out of landfills, and turning that waste into something more renewable, whether it's in the form of renewable electricity, renewable natural gas, compost or other uses. Generate’s team has a problem-solving mindset, because markets change quickly and the world is always evolving. Because of this, Generate’s team look at issues, like grid instability in California, and regularly sit down with the company’s partners to ask, “how do we solve for this? How do we change the way we utilize the assets we’ve built to address fresh concerns? How do we optimize portfolios in different parts of our customer base?”  
34:46 5/1/23
Energy Minute: Get in the Game: Shifting into a Climate, Sustainability or ESG Career with Mike Hower
In time for Earth Day, Dana Dohse and Steven Goldman are joined by a special guest to talk about how to begin your journey into the ESG or sustainability career field. Over the past year, we’ve seen a “green wave” of skilled workers looking to shift to roles focused on sustainability or ESG issue areas, either at their current company or at a new one, or taking their talents from Big Tech to Climate Tech companies. Mike Hower, a sustainability expert with an unconventional career trajectory, has been helping companies to report out and tell stories about their ESG and sustainability impacts in roles across the last 15 years. Mike recently founded Hower Impact, his own sustainability communications consultancy, and Impact Hired, a platform aimed at helping people find impact jobs — while making it easier for companies to find the experienced hires they need to achieve their sustainability ambitions. In this episode, he joins Dana and Steven to dig into how professionals can transition their existing skills into sustainability and ESG-focused work, the unique challenges and strategies faced when hiring ESG professionals, how the growing climate tech is creating new opportunities, and how those already in ESG roles need to stay ahead of future regulatory requirements for ESG reporting and adoption.   Key Takeaways: Nobody has perfect experience in the sustainability sector - even if you have deep experience in one sector, shifting to a new one usually requires a fresh learning curve on the specific issues that sector faces. But those shifts are possible, requiring you to master the story you have to tell around your experience and how it translates between industries. When pursuing an ESG or sustainability career, make sure to focus on your soft skills - communications, ability to advocate for new initiatives, working across a range of teams - as much as technical knowledge. Become a lifelong learner if you aren’t already, because this space is changing so fast. Even if you recently got a degree or finished a certification, regulations and standards continually change, and you need to stay on top of relevant areas for your sector. A career in sustainability takes grit and optimism - there are lots of learning curves, failures or setbacks along the way. It’s a constant - but rewarding - battle as you work to solve problems and get the right initiatives in place to meet your organization’s sustainability goals.   Resources: Environmental Defense Fund’s Degrees podcast curated an excellent Green Jobs Hub for jobseekers; Broader green job boards include Kristy Drutman’s Green Jobs Board, Green Jobs Network and GreenBiz’ Sustainability Jobs board, and Ed Carley’s Clean Energy & Sustainability Jobs email list on Substack; Specifically climate tech focused job sites include Climatebase, Climate Draft, MCJ Collective, Terra.do and Climate Tech VC - note that many of these also offer focused networking, office hours with experts, events, and in some cases training or fellowships; Check out the #DayInTheLife series on OpenDoorClimate to better understand what actual skills climate professionals use in their jobs (spoiler: most are non-technical skills); Get real-world skills and experience through a fellowship like EDF Climate Corps or the Clean Energy Leadership Institute; sustainability career coach Trish Kenlon curated a list of 18 fellowships to consider; Trish also put together a comprehensive list of certifications or degree paths if you’re considering further education; Lastly, look at the hashtag #opendoorclimate on LinkedIn to find sustainability professionals offering an open-door policy.
28:50 4/22/23
Scaling Up Local Government’s Sustainability Ambitions with Harris County’s Lisa Lin
When it comes to decarbonization, local governments have a twofold role to play: reducing the impacts of their own operations, which can be broader than one thinks depending on the footprint of county services; then in supporting the ecosystem of public, private and stakeholder groups like NGOs in growing impacts within the region. In this episode, Lincoln is joined by Lisa Lin, who currently serves as the Director of Sustainability for Harris County, Texas, the third-largest county in the United States and home to Houston. Lisa discusses the role of driving behavior change in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, how the county is pursuing renewable energy and energy storage to create jobs and add resilience as much as curb emissions, how the county is growing its “solar-ready” status through the SolSmart program, and how her team is collaborating with both private companies and other local governments to enhance sustainability efforts. With a background in architecture and a passion for green building, Lisa has played a crucial role in shaping sustainability initiatives for local governments across central Texas for the last 12 years. Her journey began assisting the city of Houston with its Green Office Challenge, and eventually led her to leading sustainability programs for three local governments (San Antonio, Houston and now Harris County) and Rice University. As Harris County’s first Director of Sustainability for Harris County, Lisa has been instrumental in crafting Harris County’s first Climate Action Plan, which includes energy conservation measures, renewable energy projects, and transportation demand management programs.   Key Takeaways: A key goal for Harris County is to reduce reliance on grid power through two targets: securing a 50-100 megawatt power purchase agreement and developing up to 20 megawatts of solar and 10 megawatt-hours of battery storage projects at county facilities. The county plans to site these projects to support community centers or other facilities that can serve as “resilience hubs,” protecting critical services and providing powered shelter in case of extreme weather. The Inflation Reduction Act tax credits have created a range of opportunities for counties and cities to invest more heavily in renewable energy, electric vehicle deployment or clean fuel projects. The county recently conducted a series of community meetings with its precincts to see what critical assets or sites should be prioritized so they can work to leverage the new federal funding and incentives. Harris County recently achieved the Silver designation in the U.S. Department of Energy’s SolSmart program - a free series of trainings and resources available to towns, cities, MPOs, and regional organizations to break down barriers to solar adoption.   Resources: Harris County's Climate Action Plan for Internal Operations - aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 compared to the base year of 2021 The Sunnyside Landfill Solar Project mentioned by Lisa - 52 MW of utility-scale solar being built on a local, 240-acre former landfill site that has limited reuse potential; will include 2 MW of community solar, as well as 150 MW of battery storage and an Agricultural Hub and Training Center The SolSmart program - provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, to help towns, cities, MPOs and regional organizations get “solar-ready” and support solar deployment in their areas The federal Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund - competitive grant program administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, funds that must be disbursed by 9/30/2024 The [National Community Solar Partnership](https://www.energy.gov/communitysolar/about-national-community-solar-partnership#:~:text=The National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) is a coalition of,increased resilience and workforce development.), run by the U.S. Department of Energy - the program’s goal is to enable community solar systems to power the equivalent of five million households by 2025 and create $1 billion in energy savings for subscribers Urban Sustainability Directors Network
28:18 4/17/23
Energy Minute: Growing the Carbon Impact of Renewable Energy through Additionality or Emissionality
In this Energy Minute, Dana Dohse and Steven Goldman discuss the importance of examining the marginal impact of different energy sources - using principles like additionality and emissionality - and why businesses may want to consider them in during clean energy procurement processes. Some of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Meta, and others are looking hard at their energy procurement through one of these lenses, with different outcomes in mind for the facilities they power or the grids they operate on. In this segment, Dana and Steven look at the concepts of additionality and emissionality, and what they each mean for companies evaluating whether to procure clean energy through financial instruments like RECs or virtual power purchase agreements or working to directly source that power through physical PPAs or local green power/tariff programs. Resources: Nature Climate Change journal article, "Renewable energy certificates threaten the integrity of corporate science-based targets" Key Takeaways: Once it is generated for transmission and delivery, all electricity fundamentally is identical - you can't distinguish between electrons. RECs are a financial construct that allows the environmental value of clean energy generated to be bought and sold, either bundled with the energy being sold or separately (“unbundled”). Additionality value refers to when purchasing clean energy is contributing to new capacity being added to the grid, rather than purchasing clean energy from a project that has already been in operation. For an offtaker, focusing on additionality means purchasing clean energy in ways that drive deployment of new projects in general Emissionality value refers to purchasing clean energy from projects that are have lower marginal emissions compared to the local average emissions factor, in effect reducing emissions on the local grid by becoming part of the local mix. For an offtaker, focusing on emissionality means procuring from projects that have carbon reduction impacts on the grid in which your facilities are operating.
10:18 4/10/23
Growing Clean Energy Jobs & Decarbonizing Low-Income Communities with Nicole Steele, U.S. EPA & DOE
To decarbonize the world, ensuring all homeowners and communities can play a role in adopting clean energy is critical. Under the Biden Administration’s Justice40 initiative, the U.S. federal government is directing 40 percent of certain funds and programs at helping low-income and historically excluded communities scale up renewables and energy storage locally. Why those communities? Because low-income households typically have higher energy burdens - meaning they pay a larger amount of their income to their utility bill than the majority of other households. Nicole Steele serves as a Senior Advisor for two federal agencies in key areas - leading programs like the National Community Solar Partnership at the U.S. Department of Energy and guiding deployment of the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund at the Environmental Protection Agency. Across her career, she has been working to bring clean energy deployment into low-income communities, to grow their use of clean energy and reduce their energy costs, and train new additions to the solar power workforce in the process. In this episode, Nicole shares stories and experiences with Lincoln from the frontline of these efforts - including the range of instruments helping make it happen like financing products and community solar subscriptions - and how we can all play our part. Key Takeaways: The Inflation Reduction Act created a huge pool of resources to help communities adopt clean energy, but the EPA is continuing to fine-tune the approach to make sure communities most in need are being heard and made aware of opportunities. To do that, the EPA has already held a nationwide RFI process and continues to hold town hall listening sessions to ensure communities can discuss their needs. The goal of $7 billion of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund is to deploy residential or community solar and/or storage in disadvantaged and low-income communities. This is part the administration's goal to make the building sector decarbonized by 2035, and the economy by 2050. Programs at both the EPA and DOE are part of the Justice40 initiative - the product of an executive order requiring that a minimum of 40% of the benefits of certain programs flow to disadvantaged communities. Resources: GRID Alternatives, the organization Nicole led in the mid-Atlantic region The Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool - a geospatial mapping tool developed for the Justice40 initiative to identify disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution The Disadvantaged Communities Reporter - a Department of Energy mapping tool intended to allow users to explore and produce reports on census tracts DOE has categorized as disadvantaged communities
34:56 4/3/23
Energy Minute: Reuse, Repurpose or Recycle - Pathways to Reducing Waste in Key Clean Energy Sectors
Today, discussions on decarbonization are focused about what we need to build - more clean energy assets, more electric vehicles, more hydrogen and EV-charging infrastructure, more new efficient buildings or software and equipment to make older building more efficient. But a soon-to-be-huge issue that’s emerging is waste - retired solar panels, wind turbines and blades, batteries from electric vehicles and energy storage - and what to do with it all. In this Energy Minute, co-hosts Dana Dohse and Steven Goldman pull back the lens and take a broader look at the challenges of end-of-life materials pose to the clean energy transition, and how a mix of startups, local governments and heavy industrial companies are finding ways to reuse, repurpose and recycle solar panels, wind blades and turbines and batteries. They provide insights on some of the early efforts - and big funding rounds - underway to close the loop on materials in the clean energy supply chain. Key Takeaways: New recycling technology has the potential to separate out the elements that are caught up in the “hash,” such as silicon, polysilicon, and silver. Those materials are expected to become more valuable over time due to virgin material shortages and supply chain bottlenecks. The cumulative mass of decommissioned wind turbine blades in the U.S. will reach 1.5 million metric tons by 2040 and 2.2 million tons by 2050. The largest blades being deployed today - turning to power 15-megawatt offshore wind turbines - are over 350 feet long, roughly the length of a football field, so keeping them from taking up landfill space is critical for communities. A recent partnership between the Environmental Solutions and Services division of Veolia North America, an energy, water, and waste company, and GE Renewables to build a recycling program has already turned 2,000 of these giant blades into an alternative valuable commodity, which is cement. Resources: Organizations mentioned in this show: SOLARCYCLE, Veolia North America, Carbon Rivers, Global Fiberglass Solutions, Ascend Elements, Redwood Materials, Li-Cycle The Renewable Energy Laboratory wind turbine study: https://www.nrel.gov/news/program/2021/nrel-research-identifies-motivations-methods-for-achieving-a-circular-economy-for-wind-energy.html Article on Veolia partnering with GE for renewable energy blades: https://www.veolia.com/en/news/united-states-veolia-makes-cement-and-gives-second-life-ge-renewable-energys-wind-turbine
20:41 3/27/23
Closing the Loop on Electric Vehicle & Energy Storage Batteries with Nth Cycle’s Megan O’Connor
Electrification is a critical part of decarbonization - but ensuring emissions come down in the process means ensuring the processes that get us there don’t create their own excessive impacts. The global appetite for electric vehicles and battery-based energy storage has grown considerably, and with it, the need for more raw materials to produce them. But as the first generations of electric vehicles and battery storage start to retire and replace batteries, processes for recycling them at end-of-life are still being refined and facilities scaling up. Coming in with a fresh solution is Megan O’Connor, CEO and Co-Founder of Nth Cycle, a metal processing technology company that works with both lithium battery recyclers and miners to increase the supply of critical minerals for the clean energy transition. Nth Cycle’s electro-extraction technology, the OYSTER, provides more efficient harvesting of these materials from batteries during recycling as well as mining, from both low-grade ores and waste streams. On this episode, Megan shares with host Lincoln Payton the story of Nth Cycle’s beginnings in a Yale laboratory, how she and her team took the technology to scale, and its potential to make meeting global needs for battery materials more localized and more efficient. Key Takeaways: Nth Cycle’s mission is to change the perception of the mining industry by creating a much cleaner way to process these materials to try and get as much of these metals back in circulation, and enabling manufacturers to source those materials in other ways. Electro-extraction only uses electricity and water - meaning no high temperatures, high pressures, or solvents. As a technology, it not only helps increase the efficiency of battery recycling but also reduces the carbon footprint by over 40%. Nth Cycle developed the OYSTER unit to be mobile and each has a 1200-ton processing capacity, and its initial use has been focused on the nickel scrap sector. The heaviest concentrations of nickel production are in Indonesia, so Nth Cycle’s technology offers an opportunity for companies looking to localize or diversify supply. Another area of opportunity is other types of heavy industrial nickel scrap sources such as catalysts from oils and gas.
33:42 3/20/23
Energy Minute: Inside the Global Push to Accelerate and Deliver “Green Steel”
As more and more industries are pushing to decarbonize their processes - and in the process, help curb emissions for companies’ supply chains - green steel is trending. Automakers, builders and companies in a range of other sectors are under pressure to reduce the embodied carbon in their products. But delivering “green steel” means both changing processes that have been in place for decades, and agreeing on what constitutes zero-carbon or near-zero carbon steel. In this Energy Minute, co-hosts Dana Dohse and Steven Goldman delve into the push for green steel - what’s driving it, where early demand is coming from, what process changes are making significant cuts in steel’s embodied carbon emissions possible, and the big challenges ahead in taking green steel to sufficient scale. Key Takeaways: Emissions from steel making are representing, depending on estimates, between 6-8% of global emissions - a big slice of the planet’s global carbon footprint. The manufacturing of iron and steel is on track to consume 50% of the total remaining carbon budget to meet a 1.5 degree target by 2050. Using hydrogen instead of coal as a reagent to reduce iron ore to pig iron - the key feedstock in refined steel - is one pathway to create green steel, reducing the CO2 emissions compared to the equivalent process in a traditional blast furnace. Sweden’s H2 Green Steel is looking to cut emissions from its production of green steel by 95% through the use of green hydrogen as a reagent, compared to coal in traditional steel making. They plan to source the electricity required for hydrogen production (via electrolysis) and plant operations from nearby renewable sources, including hydropower from the Lule river and wind farms in the region. Resources: Startups mentioned in this segment: Boston Metal, Electra, Hybrit, H2 Green Steel Background on the First Movers Coalition and its sectoral approach to decarbonization: https://www.weforum.org/impact/first-movers-coalition-is-tackling-the-climate-crisis/ China Baowu and Rio Tinto’s decarbonization alliance: https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/latest-news-headlines/china-baowu-joins-decarbonization-alliance-rio-tinto-invests-in-battery-startup-67679175 Rocky Mountain Institute blog post, "Forging a Clean Steel Economy in the U.S.": https://rmi.org/forging-a-clean-steel-economy-in-the-united-states/
18:36 3/13/23
Decarbonizing The “Forgotten Wedge” of Thermal Energy in Industrial Sectors with Blaine Collison
To create the products and grow the food we eat, the industrial sector requires a lot of thermal energy—heating and cooling—which today represents approximately 13% of total U.S. emissions. However, tackling this “forgotten wedge” of the emissions mix to slow climate change requires a range of approaches and policies beyond electrification. Tackling this difficult challenge is Blaine Collison, Executive Director at the Renewable Thermal Collaborative (RTC) and a renewable energy & sustainability professional looking for ways to decarbonize our industrial sectors. In this episode, Blaine discusses with Lincoln the technology roadmaps, policy initiatives and convening work the RTC has been leading to help large industrial companies start reducing their thermal emissions across the globe. Key Takeaways: Last year, the RTC collaborated with the Boston Consulting Group to develop the Renewable Thermal Vision Report: charting five pathways to decarbonizing U.S. industrial emissions by 2050 focusing on specific sectors, geographies, and technologies. Critical to the RTC’s work is bringing together companies, solution providers and outside experts to connect and combine perspectives. By getting sustainability and operational teams out of their respective siloes, companies can share new ideas, best practices and fresh approaches to decarbonization in their respective sectors. Green hydrogen is gaining a lot of attention for its potential to curb emissions in a range of industrial sectors, from steel production to shipping and heavy-haul freight transportation.
35:27 3/6/23
Energy Minute: Unpacking the Inflation Reduction Act’s Clean Energy Framework with Environmental Defense Fund’s Michael Panfil
The Inflation Regulation Act, the United States’ most ambitious climate legislation to date, was passed in August of 2022, delivering a range of grants, loan programs, tax incentives and a greenhouse gas reduction fund, all targeted to accelerate clean energy and technologies to mitigate climate change, including energy storage, hydrogen production and direct air capture to name a few. In this Energy Minute, co-hosts Dana Dohse and Steven Goldman are joined by Michael Panfil, Senior Director & Lead Counsel for Climate Risk & Clean Energy at Environmental Defense Fund, to unpack the legislation and its potential to accelerate clean energy and transform our energy infrastructure, with huge potential impacts for communities and corporations alike. Listen in for: The IRA is a big opportunity for any company in the United States with climate commitments and clean energy adoption targets, because it’s designed to accelerate clean energy and energy storage deployments, and lower energy costs in the process. If you are a company that has clean energy commitments, the new standalone energy storage tax credit creates new opportunities for energy storage – as a resource for firming solar or wind output to meet corporate energy procurement needs, or as standalone flexibility assets to support the overall decarbonization of electric grids businesses draw power from. The IRA implementation is a golden opportunity for states to supercharge progress and clean economic growth on lower energy costs, on reductions in harmful air and climate pollution, and for significant clean energy investment for local organizations and local governments.   References The Inflation Reduction Act Tracker, a joint project of EDF and Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, compiling information about the climate change-related provisions of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA): https://iratracker.org/ EDF blog post on how the IRA’s $369 billion in funding for clean energy breaks down: “The Inflation Reduction Act: A breakthrough for lower energy costs and climate progress” EDF+Business blog post: “3 big wins for businesses in the Inflation Reduction Act”
19:51 2/27/23
Leveling Up Employee Engagement & ESG Leadership with Susan Hunt Stevens
"What we need is a bunch of courageous people right now. People who are willing to advocate and fight in their business life and to fight for what we need at the civic and government and arguably global level." In this episode, Susan Hunt Stevens, CEO of WeSpire, shares with host Lincoln Payton ways in which businesses can energize employees by actively including them in ESG initiatives, develop ESG maturity models, and inspire workers to find the courage to combat the climate crisis. Susan Hunt Stevens is an experienced business executive and sustainability advocate. She has held positions at The New York Times, WeSpire, and the Sustainable Brands Advisory Board, and is an expert on using digital game mechanics and social mechanics to drive behavior change.   Listen in for: People really internalize and change their points of view when they experience something. This is why companies need to get executives and teams across companies engaged on sustainability in ways that they can see, feel and quantify the results. If you have or are starting to embrace ESG initiatives in your workplace, you need to make it a priority to make programs easier, clearer, and less susceptible to fraud or greenwashing. Tip for companies who need or want employees to engage more in sustainability: Engage them in your ESG practices. They want to help and know that they are making a difference in the world.
40:44 2/20/23
Energy Minute: Peninsula Clean Energy's Ambitious Pursuit of 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy
In 2016, Peninsula Clean Energy made an ambitious move to supply its customers with 100% renewable energy. As of 2021, it met its goal with a mix of renewable and carbon-free energy, including large hydropower and nuclear power at a lower price than customers were paying for power through Pacific Gas & Electric. In this Energy Minute, Dana and Steven jump into how Peninsula Clean Energy then decided to reach for a more ambitious strategy - to provide 100% renewable energy matched every hour, the first U.S. energy supplier to do so - how that strategy is progressing towards its 2025 goal, and how it plans to continue to advance the strategy further in years to come. Listen in for: PCE has already procured enough solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower resources to cover 75% of its 24/7 strategy by 2025, and will procure additional capacity to reach 99% by the end of 2025. This is providing a blueprint for other utilities to decarbonize, evaluate their modeling, and dispatch storage. California has been increasing targets to add energy storage to their mix, which are typically arriving in the form of battery-based storage systems designed to run for as much as four hours at a time, helping fill in some energy gaps. PCE is envisioning eventually adding a broader range of technologies to its strategy, including offshore wind and seasonal energy storage. Resources Peninsula Clean Energy's Strategic Plan: https://www.peninsulacleanenergy.com/strategy/ PCE's original white paper sharing its approach to 100% carbon-free energy: http://peninsulacleanenergy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Whitepaper-OUR-PATH-TO-247-RENEWABLE-ENERGY-BY-2025.pdf  PCE's 2023 white paper sharing how its approach was updated to a 24/7 model: https://www.peninsulacleanenergy.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/24-7-white-paper-2023.pdf  
16:25 2/13/23
Decarbonizing a Manhattan Skyscraper with Brookfield Properties’ Michael Daschle
The Decarbonization Race is back! On our season premiere, Michael Daschle, SVP of Sustainability at Brookfield Properties, joins Lincoln to share how the company’s push to decarbonize its commercial real estate portfolio led to powering Brookfield’s flagship New York City property, One Manhattan West, with 24/7 carbon-free energy. Michael dives into Brookfield’s vision and approach to ESG, how to get the tenants on board with Brookfield’s investments in sustainability, sourcing 100% renewable electricity, and Brookfield’s plans for the future. Key Takeaways: As an organization that has invested in ESG, it's the managers’ responsibility to make sure it’s an investment that tenants want to be a part of—listen in for what they are looking for. With the right procurement approach, you can have a large impact on your building's carbon emissions footprint and make a sizable difference in a short amount of time. As a real estate company, it is important to not only say what you’re going to do to tackle ESG-related issues, but to be authentic, transparent, and show that you’re committed to your word. Resources: https://www.propmodo.com/anti-greenwashing-tech-helps-brookfield-back-up-esg-claims-at-one-manhattan-west/
46:00 2/6/23
Fluence’s Kumaraswamy on Energy Storage: The “Flex” Making The Grid Smarter, Cleaner & Faster-Responding
Energy storage is playing a critical role in managing and reducing corporations’ and communities’ carbon footprint. And no one knows this better than Fluence, the technology company whose team pioneered the use of grid-scale batteries as energy storage 15 years ago. Kiran Kumaraswamy, VP of Growth & Head of Commercial at Fluence, joins our host Lincoln to share the history and importance of energy storage in transforming how countries and companies source, store and deliver electricity. They cover questions such as: How has public perception of energy storage evolved? And what roles are digitalization, companies’ pursuit of 24/7 carbon-free energy, and materials sourcing playing in progress towards net zero?
45:42 12/19/22
Energy Minute: The IEA on Advancing Decarbonization Through Clean Energy Procurement
One key publication that was highlighted during the UN COP27 summit was the International Energy Agency's (IEA)  report on advancing decarbonization through corporate clean energy procurement. In this Energy Minute, Dana and Steven dive into the report and its key takeaways—in particular looking at the options available to corporations for sourcing clean energy, some differences in how decarbonization efforts would likely differ in the example countries of India and Indonesia, and how even setting lower targets than 100% on time-matched carbon-free energy can yield better carbon reductions than those obtained through a simple solar or wind power purchase agreement by itself. The IEA is a Paris-based organization that provides policy recommendations, analysis, and data on the energy sector. They have 31 member countries and 11 associated countries. Their contribution to COP27 helps steer energy policy and practice, so tune in to hear their recommendations for achieving decarbonization goals. IEA Advancing Decarbonization Through Clean Energy Procurement report: https://www.iea.org/reports/advancing-decarbonisation-through-clean-electricity-procurement
14:18 12/12/22
Lincoln Payton Talks Tracking Carbon & Power by the Hour on the Entrepreneurs for Impact Podcast
Turning the microphone around for an episode, our host Lincoln Payton joined Dr. Chris Wedding on his podcast, Entrepreneurs for Impact. Dr. Wedding interviews CEOs and investors on his podcast who are tackling climate change—an initiative we at The Decarbonization Race can certainly get behind. Listen in to hear the interview, including Lincoln’s “origin story,” - his career in investment banking prior to joining Cleartrace - the energy transition that led him to join the climate tech sector as Cleartrace’s CEO, as well as delving into the company’s mission and growth. If you’d like to hear more from Dr. Wedding, check out his podcast here: https://www.entrepreneursforimpact.com/
46:59 12/5/22

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