Brief Interview with Axios Pro Climate on State of the Market

Brief Interview with Axios Pro Climate on State of the Market

Energize’s work over the past few quarters came to public attention this week. As a result I was interviewed by Axios Pro Climate around the state of the market. I liked the direct framing of the questions and wanted to share. Axios Pro Climate has quickly become a leader in Climate tech reporting. You can sign up here, if interested.

Here is the post:

This week we’re talking with John Tough, managing partner of Energize Ventures, a Chicago-based VC that focuses on early- and growth-stage companies in climate tech.

Why he matters: Energize had a big week, announcing lead investments in Sitetracker, which has developed management software for critical infrastructure, and Sinai Technologies, a San Francisco-based decarbonization software provider focused on industry. 

What in your view has been the big story in clean energy/climate tech this week?

  • The Energy Independence & Security Act initially included parameters to rapidly expand transmission lines and renewables-related interconnection requests in the United States. 
  • It now appears that the transmission portion of the bill is off the table, likely impacting both the timelines and unit economics for large-scale renewables projects.

What would you add to the narrative?

  • The best renewables firms were already charging forward and not relying on government funding. Renewables developers are taking lessons from the construction technology landscape and adopting digital solutions that help manage the deployment of increasingly distributed assets. 
  • Critical-infrastructure-focused software can help deliver and manage the increasing scale, interconnection needs, and network management of solar and wind projects. 

By contrast, what’s going under-noticed?

  • An overabundance of decarbonization tools focus on serving the technology landscape, while ironically, asset-heavy and emerging market emitters — where the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions reside — lack access to effective reduction strategies. 

In three-ish words, what change would you make to clean energy/climate-tech investing?

  • Cost of capital matters: Renewables and sustainability-focused capital projects have historically been hurt by rising interest rates that are passed through in project finance mechanisms.
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