Podcast 065: Michael Liebreich – Is it time to go big or go home? Which renewable energy solutions should we pay attention to?

In this first of a two part interview,  host Bill Nussey talks with the founder, chairman and CEO of Liebreich Associate and founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Michael Liebreich.  This world-renowned thinker, investor, philanthropist and much sought after advisor, weighs in on the renewable energy solutions we should all pay attention to and why.

Here are a few of the insights from Michael…

“So energy is not going to be something that you do out in Saudi Arabia or in Oklahoma. It’s going to be something that you increasingly do within communities. And that changes everything.”


“I just think it’s going to be unthinkable in 10, 15, 20 years to build pretty much anywhere in the world without putting solar on a roof. It’s such an elegant solution.”  


“Batteries are great direct electrification. If we can electrify things rather than having to use hydrogen with all of this sort of losses and inefficiencies and complexity, we should electrify.”


You can also listen to this podcast and others in our series on these platforms:

Bill Nussey and Dr. Jemma Green during the recording of the podcast

Useful Links

Project Bo

Liebreich Associates

Freeing Energy Article: “Bloomberg New Energy Finance Founder and Chairman Michael Liebreich shares his views on nuclear, solar, and the politics of energy”

Transcript

Bill Nussey :

Welcome, welcome to everybody and the Freeing Energy Podcast world. I am Bill Nussey the founder of the Freeing Energy Project and your host for today’s podcast. Thanks to all of you for sharing your time with us. We’re so grateful all of us in the Freeing Energy team for your attention, your thoughts, and your enthusiasm for our mission of local energy. My guest today is someone who I have been looking for years to get on the podcast. One of my favorite thinkers, one of the sharpest minds in the entire industry. It’s Michael Liebreich.

Bill Nussey :

He is a visionary. He’s got an amazing story, which we’ll share with you today. I first interviewed him not for the podcast. Before we did the podcast in late 2017, there was an article on the site about that interview. It was brilliant. He’s very, very provocative, and hopefully today we’ll see he’s also pretty funny. He’s also one of the most quoted people in my book, which is coming out in a few months. Before I introduce him properly and we start to hear from him, which is what we all want to do, let me just give you Michael’s background because it’s pretty amazing.

Bill Nussey :

He earned an MA in engineering with first class honors from the University of Cambridge, and then he went on to get an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Along that way, he was an Olympic skier. And if you know the name, you’re going to be familiar with it because he was the founder of New Energy Finance, which he started in 2004, which now became the ubiquitous Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which he sold to them in 2009. It’s one of the most widely recognized names in clean energy and finance, their data, their reports, which Michael contributes to still.

Bill Nussey :

He’s also a rockstar podcast, where he’s got the number two Apple Podcast to the UK News commentary list. His guests are amazing. Tony Blair, the previous prime minister of the UK, as well as our Ernest Moniz and Steven Chu, who are both US Secretaries of Energy. Huge following of that. If you have not listened to his podcast, I cannot recommend it strongly enough. He’s also a venture capitalist, an angel investor, and a philanthropist, as well as an Olympic athlete, which I mentioned, an author and a speaker. He’s even created the world’s leading sports news video service.

Bill Nussey :

And while he’s doing all that, he served as an advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations, the UK Board of Trade, the International Energy Agency, and the list goes on and on. Today, he runs Liebreich and Associates, which is a UK-based consulting firm and a think tank on climate change. And just a few months ago, he launched the new venture EcoPragma, which is a really cool funding organization for climate tech stuff. Wow! Fantastic background. Super thrilled to have you. Michael, welcome to the Freeing Energy Podcast.

Michael Liebreich:

Bill, thanks so much for that introduction. I’m feeling tired just thinking about doing all those things, which I did do. It’s true. They’re all there.

Bill Nussey :

It’s an amazing story, and it’s an inspiration for a lot of us. We always like to start with a little bit of personal Q and A. And rather than go through this long background, which is available for anyone to read online for a million different places, let’s just dive into one that really fascinated me. I read that there was people placing bets in London whether you would run for and win the Mayor of London. Now, apparently they thought you would. You didn’t run, but what’s the story there and where are you thinking about it? I mean, what happened?

Michael Liebreich:

Yeah, so I was indeed thinking. In 2015, I was thinking of standing for Mayor of London. An interesting thing about politicians, apparently politicians in America run for things, whereas we, in Britain, we stand for them. It’s much more relaxing. But no, I did nearly stand for mayor. I thought about it very seriously. There’s a lot of things in my background that would lead at least me to believe I could be a good mayor just to do with I’ve created a ton of jobs. I’ve been on the Board of Transport for London.

Michael Liebreich:

My own story, I’m not a privileged person by background, so my parents were a mechanic and a nurse. I’ve been incredibly lucky. I’ve been privileged to grow up in London. And even things like London, of course, is an Olympic City. Actually at the time was a fairly recent Olympic City, and I have my own Olympic background side. I know about the role of sport and inspiration. So anyway, I thought I could do a good job.

Michael Liebreich:

Of course, at the time, Boris whose now prime minister, I was serving under him when I was on the Board of Transport for London, but he was moving on onwards and upwards as we now know. His successor, Saadi Khan, I think we can now say yes, I probably couldn’t have done the worst job than him. Now, I didn’t stand because it was the wrong time just for sort of family reasons. I’ve got very young children. I didn’t stand also for economic reasons. I have not yet created enough of a buffer so that I could give up everything I do and just devote myself to public service.

Michael Liebreich:

I try to do what I can, but I still have to bring in some money, some bread, put food on the table for my kids, and so on. And then the third reason was that Zac Goldsmith, who put herself forward as a candidate, I thought he was going to be a better candidate than me. He’s a fabulous guy. He’s a friend. He’s taller. He’s better looking. He’s better off. He’s got more resources, and he’d already devoted his life to public service and politics. For him, it was a less disruptive step than it would have been for me.

Michael Liebreich:

I stepped aside. I said okay, but I have to work pretty hard to get those bets placed and to get people to notice that there was this crazy business guy with his clean energy background and his sports and whatever, and his entrepreneurship that was interested in the role. And who knows? I might do it in future, I’m not saying.

Bill Nussey :

You certainly have the thick skinness, which is one of the requirements for anyone in the political environment. I think you’d bring a lot to it, but it’s a fascinating story and just shows how diversity your years have been. Well, let’s talk about one other spot project among your long list, and this is one for the Freeing Energy audience it really resonates. Because as people have listened to us for the last two years know we spent a lot of cycles talking about opportunities, had a lot of guests who were building off-grid and clean energy projects in Africa.

Bill Nussey :

We’ve been to Puerto Rico and interviewed people there, building off-grid schools for low income areas. Michael, you’ve done something that’s really cool. It’s called Project Bo, which is… Just tell us that story. I really was intrigued by it.

Michael Liebreich:

I used to do this thing on Twitter called The Chandelier’s of Climate Change. What I did was I would take pictures of these extraordinary places where there would be dinners at various conferences, and we were talking about literally the Élysée Palace and these fantastic hotels and restaurants and palaces and castles we’d get invited. Prince Charles has hosted various events at St. James’s Palace and so on. I would take a picture of these magnificent chandelier as well.

Michael Liebreich:

I’m not sure if it was a chandelier of climate change, but I was invited to a dinner. I was sat to down from the tea shack in Dublin and my immediate neighbor was the CEO of ESB. That’s the main utility in Ireland. I was going to this fantastic dinner to celebrate I think it was a hundred or so years of the Irish utility’s history, the anniversary. I saw a tweet by a doctor and he tweeted a picture of an empty cot at this hospital at this neonatal unit and he said, “Tonight, there was a power cut and three of our babies died. That should not happen in this day and age with solar power,” and so on.

Michael Liebreich:

This was Dr. Niall Conroy. I reached out to Dr. Niall and I said, “You’re right. It should not happen, and I’ve got the network. You are a doctor. If you can sort out the local end of things in Bo, in Sierra Leone, if you can get the ministerial permissions and the hospital and you can get some land, I will raise the money and we’ll put a solar battery system in, robust, resilient, and we’ll stop this happening.” And so fast-forward, we did exactly that. We raised it was about a hundred thousand pounds.

Michael Liebreich:

It was more than needed, we thought, because we didn’t know about things like customs duties on importing batteries and so on. We built the system. It has performed well for most of the time. Right now we think we’re going to have to replace some of the batteries. The batteries failed early partly because it was designed to operate entirely off-grid. We didn’t know the quality of the electricity. There was no data. We designed an off-grid system, but actually there is grid power because the hospital does have a grid connection when there isn’t a power cut.

Michael Liebreich:

The batteries weren’t used in quite the right regime. They didn’t cycle fully, so they’ve actually given up the ghost a bit early. I’m just about to… Well, we’re working with the local engineers, and we’re going to be replacing those batteries and sorting it out. Hopefully we can get it back to being as reliable as it should be. We already know that it has reduced mortality. It has saved I don’t even want to think how many lives. It’s just tragic to think of what would have happened had we not stepped in.

Michael Liebreich:

And of course, with COVID, we’ve sort of had to take a bit of a backseat and replacing those batteries is taking a bit longer, but it’s been a really fulfilling and challenging project to be involved in and to lead.

Bill Nussey :

That’s a wonderful story and what a motivating reason to start it. I never heard a story quite like that, and really tragic and also wonderful that you’ve been able to play that role with all the people that supported it. I will definitely make sure that the Freeing Energy audience knows about it. If you’re going to spin that back up, let us know and we’ll make sure we get the word out there about it.

Announcer:

Project Bo reminds us of just how dependent we are on electricity and highlights how forward thinking people are helping solve the problems of when electricity is not available. In his soon to be published book, Freeing Energy, Bill Nussey delves into not only the magnitude of energy poverty, both here in the United States and around the world, but opens our eyes about how innovators and entrepreneurs are creating opportunities in some of the most difficult markets in the world.

Announcer:

Nussey describes how a new breed of entrepreneurs are tackling energy poverty head on through exciting new sustainable business models and what that means for all of us in this energy transition. In one story from Freeing Energy, Nussey writes about Jacqueline Novogratz, the CEO of an Acumen, a firm she started in 2001 to forge a new approach to solving poverty. He writes, “Novogratz and her team have grown Acumen into a global exemplar of what she calls taking a pro-poor patient approach to investing and what is often referred to broadly as impact investing.

Announcer:

Acumen’s manifesto describes this new type of investment beautifully. It starts by standing with the poor, listening to voices unheard, and recognizing potential where others see despair. It demands investing as a means, not an end, and daring to go where markets have failed and aide has fallen short. It makes capital work for us, not control us. The firm has been a pioneer in making energy-based solutions like lighting and charging affordable in some of the world’s poorest regions.”

Announcer:

If you are an innovator, entrepreneur, or philanthropist and interested in the dramatic transformation of our energy landscape, send a request email to bookalert@freeingenergy.com and we’ll be sure to let you know when the book is available. Now back to Bill and Michael for more of going big or going home.

Bill Nussey :

Now, we’re going to ask you to share a little bit of your brain and your opinions, and we came up with something we’ve never tried before, so we’re going to give this a shot. We call it the thumbs up or down. I’m going to throw out a topic on clean energy and you can say basically go big or go home. In other words, is this something that we should invest in as governments and as business people, or is this something that is a distraction?

Michael Liebreich:

Bill, I love it. I love it.

Bill Nussey :

Good. Well, then, we’re going to get your answer on a lot of these, and I’ve read a lot of your stuff on these. I know you have some strong opinions. We’re going to start with hydrogen, which you’ve written extensively about, and a couple of different industries. Because as you point out in your articles, hydrogen has many uses, many sub-industries. The first one is green hydrogen, that is hydrogen generated by electrolysis through renewable energy, used as a feedstock for chemical processes.

Bill Nussey :

Is this going to be big? It is going to replace the old natural gas hydrogen, or what’s it going to do?

Michael Liebreich:

Go big. Go big on that one.

Bill Nussey :

Go big.

Michael Liebreich:

Absolutely. And that’s because we’re already using hydrogen, but we’re using gray hydrogen. Hydrogen production currently accounts for about 2% of global emissions. We need green hydrogen, maybe blue hydrogen, but go big on green.

Bill Nussey :

All right. Next one is green hydrogen is an industrial heat source. People don’t realize that when you’re making steel and cement, you need really, really hot temperatures usually from natural gas. Can we replace that with green hydrogen?

Michael Liebreich:

On that one, go home. A lot of people say you got to get to use hydrogen to get to the high temperatures for industrial heat. That’s not true. You can get to high temperatures with electricity. Heat pumps will get you to all of the temperatures needed in the food industry. You want to go higher than that, you can use all sorts of whether it’s resistive heating or arc heating. Electricity can handle it all, can do it more efficiently and more precisely than any gas.

Bill Nussey :

How about green hydrogen for cars and transportation?

Michael Liebreich:

Green hydrogen for cars, anybody who follows me on Twitter @mliebreich will know that that’s a go home, and go home fast and go home without lobbying please. Green hydrogen elsewhere in transportation, if you’re talking aviation, then we’re going to need a fuel, probably a liquid fuel, but it might be a synthetic fuel using hydrogen. Shipping might be ammonia. Again, based on hydrogen. Very long distance trains, trucking, I’d give that a count of maybe don’t go home immediately.

Michael Liebreich:

See how it pans out. But when it’s anything urban, peri-urban at any weight, go home.

Bill Nussey :

I had a feeling that was your answer, and I’m going to read from one of the reports you wrote. You said the late Frank Zappa once said that stupidity rather than hydrogen was the most common element on the planet. What he did not tell us is that in the minds of car, bus, the two combined to create the alloy called hopium, which has the extraordinary ability to absorb public and private money, which I thought was one of the cleverest things. I love that. It’s so funny.

Michael Liebreich:

That’s right. And of course, any reference to the great Frank Zappa has to be a kind of go big in my book.

Bill Nussey :

Right. Right. Let’s talk about electricity. What about if we a store… The problem we hear is that lithium-ion batteries are too expensive to store electricity, a variable generated electricity from solar and wind over rainy weeks and certainly between the sunny summer and the dark winter. Can we use green hydrogen? Should we use green hydrogen for long-term grid storage?

Michael Liebreich:

That one is go big. Batteries are great direct electrification. If we can electrify things rather than having to use hydrogen with all of this sort of losses and inefficiencies and complexity, we should electrify. The problem is we’re going to have this incredibly deeply electrified economy, and then there are times when that just doesn’t work. It’s not windy for a few weeks at a time, or if you’re in a Sun Belt country, that’s fabulous.

Michael Liebreich:

But what about the monsoon, or if your interconnectors go down? Resilience, we’re going to have to think harder about resilience, and hydrogen overall is one way we can do that.

Bill Nussey :

One thing that gets me optimistic that will work because hydrogen is difficult and expensive to store. But in the US, we store a stunning amount of natural gas in underground caverns. They can’t be immediately reused for hydrogen, but at some of it can. There’s just a vast amount of non-pressurized storage available I had no idea about. And if that gets applied to hydrogen, it certainly ups the chances that will make the difference.

Michael Liebreich:

That’s right. Salt caverns, depleted gas fields, there are ways of storing hydrogen. I have this thing called the hydrogen ladder. Again, those who follow on social media will know about this, where at the top, you’ve got the things you started with, which is the feedstocks where we really have to use clean hydrogen because we’re currently using dirty hydrogen. Those are the things where clean hydrogen is unavoidable. Down at the bottom, you’ve got the things where hydrogen of any sort, clean hydrogen is uncompetitive.

Michael Liebreich:

Long-term storage, I put pretty far up there. It’s not quite at the top. It’s not an absolute must do go big or else because it is possible. We’ve got other things like compressed air storage. There may be some other approaches, long-term thermal storage and so on. But I’m finding it hard to believe that a system without hydrogen is going to be fully resilient over those long period, long duration dropouts.

Bill Nussey :

A lot of folks say nuclear power plants are the future. We can’t decarbonize the world without a lot of new nuclear. A lot of people say it’s a nasty mess. Go big or go home on nuclear power plants?

Michael Liebreich:

Oh, this is a good one. Go big on keeping the ones we’ve got working. In fact, go huge on that because they’re producing vast amounts of low carbon electricity, and they’re doing it safely. Now, there’ll be some in your audience who’ll be like, “Ooh, but what about this? And what about that?” I don’t want to rehearse all the science, but the fact is in terms of any rational, analytical metric, nuclear power over the last 70 years has been one of the safest forms of power.

Michael Liebreich:

Now, when it comes to building new nuclear, then you’ve got a real economic problem. So then I would say go… Am I allowed to do on this one go medium and learn? And if it works, go really, really big. But if it doesn’t work, then don’t.

Bill Nussey :

Well, that actually gets to my next question, which is the savior of the nuclear industry is the notion of these small modular reactors, cheaper, safer. So go big. Maybe you’ve already answered it, but tell us what you think about that new promise coming out.

Michael Liebreich:

Oh, yes, for sure. If we’re talking about new nuclear, those huge pressurized water reactors have really been tested to economic destruction. I mean, you can see it in the West, you’ve got projects… I don’t know how to pronounce it exactly, in the US, Vogtle I think it is. We’ve got Olkiluoto in Finland. You’ve got Flamanville in France. You’ve got Hinkley C in the UK. These are just proving to be really, really difficult projects. They are overrunning. They’re going over budget. They were expensive to start with.

Michael Liebreich:

Hinkley C, the famous quotation from the EDF executive who pushed that through was that we will be using electricity from Hinkley C to cook our turkeys in 2017. Well, the only turkey here is the one that’s not being cooked until 2027 or so. Small modular reactors can be walkaway safe, and they can also benefit from this thing on which I built really my whole professional career, which is the learning curve.

Michael Liebreich:

What you need to be doing to learn is doing the same thing again and again and again, whether that is building a solar panel, building a battery, building a wind turbine, learning to ski moguls, or building nuclear plants. If you’re only doing one or two in your whole career, you’re not going to learn very much. But if you can do a small modular reactor and churn them out in a shipyard, the way we do with ships or with locomotives, with other big bits of kit, we are going to be able to push down the costs. And that’s the great hope.

Michael Liebreich:

There’s a couple of other things about nuclear, if I might, just where it might.

Bill Nussey :

Please.

Michael Liebreich:

Because it’s not just the fact that they’re small or modular. People say, “Oh, we have to do nuclear because it’s the only thing that scales, and we’ll use it to fill in when it’s not windy and sunny.” The problem with that is the economics of nuclear are really sucky, even if you’re running them 24/7, 365, right? You can run them at 90, 95% capacity factor and the economics are bad. What do you think they look like when you’re only using them for a few weeks a year to fill in when something else that’s much cheaper doesn’t work?

Michael Liebreich:

I mean, they’re going to be absolutely horrible. I can envisage a system where nuclear power is used to run industrial processes. They have to be industrial processes that you could switch off, so not something like aluminum smelting, which you can never stop, or running a glass line, because as soon as you stop, it freezes and that’s bad, but something like, I don’t know, electrolysis. You could run that for let’s call it 48 weeks a year. And then if there is a time when there’s very poor solar production or the wind drops, you could then stop that process.

Michael Liebreich:

It’d be demand responsive. You’d stop that process. And not only could you use some of the hydrogen for that long-term resilience I just talked about, but also you’ve got the nuclear power. You’ve now got a double benefit. You’ve got the hydrogen you can use for backup. You’ve also got the nuclear, and it might just work economically. In that situation, first of all, you probably don’t care that it’s a little bit more expensive, because it’s only four weeks a year, so you don’t care that the resulting electricity is a bit more costly.

Michael Liebreich:

But also, nuclear power producers as a by-product heat. If you look at the economics of that whole system, by using the heat, by running the nuclear 24/7, by allowing it to earn lots of money during the four weeks when you’ve got high… Electricity prices will be spiking at that point. There’s no wind. There’s no solar. Oh my goodness! High prices let the nuclear run it, and it’s just possible you might squeak the economics across the line with lots of learning and pushing the costs down as well, of course.

Bill Nussey :

I love that vision. I should tell you that one of the core concepts of this book I’ve got coming out is what I’ve called economies of volume, but it’s exactly what you talked about, the mass production. The more you make of something, the more you learn, the lower the price goes, and that’s really driving solar and batteries particularly aggressively because the sheer volumes are so, so large. I’ve done a lot of economic analysis of that. I think we very much see eye to eye.

Michael Liebreich:

I was just very, very lucky in my career because very early on, my first job as a management consultant, we were calculating learning rates, learning curves. It was just the purest coincidence really that I fell into that. We did them for some really odd things when we were doing, obviously, Moore’s law, which is a special case. We started there, but we ended up doing things like rock quarrying.

Michael Liebreich:

And amazingly enough, there’s a learning curve on rock quarrying and you barely notice it year after year, because the cumulative volume of rock quarrying that’s ever happened in the world is so large. But guess what? You use bigger trucks. You use cheaper trucks. You invest more. You lower the cost of capital. There’s all sorts of ways. You use digital control. There’s lots of ways in which even rock quarrying gets cheaper and cheaper as you learn.

Michael Liebreich:

Nuclear has a problem because it has not been… It’s not just that it’s not been learning. The costs have also been pushed up by frankly excessive you could almost say hysterical regulation on the safety front.

Bill Nussey :

Yes. Hysterical is.

Michael Liebreich:

That’s a shame. And frankly, if you look at the urgency of climate action, we’ve really got to stop self-harming particularly by shutting existing nuclear.

Bill Nussey :

That has been my view supported entirely. Thank you for giving that to me a few years ago. I’ve seen nothing to convince me otherwise. You should know that I live in the Southeast United States and it’s a quick drive to the Vogtle as we call it nuclear power plant. I get the honor of helping pay for it every month.

Bill Nussey :

I have a solar and battery in my house, and sometimes I generate enough of my own power that the only thing that really shows up on my bill is my monthly $10 for the Vogtle power plant overages, which is certainly going to go up because they just announced another major overage and delay. I’ve not become a believer through those experiences. These large traditional plants are the solution. We’ll see about the rest.

Bill Nussey :

All right. We have a couple left. Go bigger, go home on a direct air carbon capture, which is taking carbon out of the air after it’s already been released.

Michael Liebreich:

On that one, I would say go big at some point in the future. The reason for that is we’re going to overshoot one and a half degrees, and we’re now learning more and more about not just the impact of one and a half degrees itself, which are actually pretty ugly. I mean, what we see today, pretty ugly, one and a half. We’re at 1.1, 1.2, one and a half will be worse, particularly vulnerable communities.

Michael Liebreich:

But also one and a half risks tipping over some large systems into new and ugly configurations, things like the Amazon that might turn into a Savannah or Greenland or the Antarctic, and so on. One and a half is really bad. We’re going to overshoot it. It’s pretty clear the inertia, whether it’s physical inertia in the CO2 in the atmosphere, or physical inertia in our energy system or political inertia, we’re going to overshoot one and a half. And we are probably going to overshoot two, if I’m honest.

Michael Liebreich:

At some point, we’re going to have to reach up there and grab those little molecules and get them back somewhere where they can’t do any damage. Now, that is at the moment probably not the top priority. I hate to say it. Top priority is to stop emitting. And then if we are still emitting, grab the stuff that’s coming out of smokestacks. It’s just much, much cheaper to do than grabbing stuff out of the air. And unfortunately, both processes are going to produce CO2, right?

Michael Liebreich:

CO2 is a commodity. Whether you’re sticking it on the ground, stick it into Coca-Cola, using it to grow tomatoes, using it to get more oil out of the ground, which is really a self-licking ice cream concept, but it is just CO2 and it’s cheaper to get it out of a smokestack than it is out of the air. For the moment, I wouldn’t put my money in direct air capture, unless it’s called a tress, in which case I do.

Bill Nussey :

Perfect. Two left. The next one I’m really curious your take on it, because you’re European and thoughtful, offshore wind. Everyone talks about it, particularly in Europe. Does this actually have an economic case for our long-term grid?

Michael Liebreich:

Offshore wind is a go huge, not just a go big. The resource is incredibly extensive. We’ve seen the costs coming down at a rate that I’m going to be completely honest even surprised me, and I’m usually at the bullish end of learning rates and the possibility of pushing down the prices. The UK leads on climate action. It’s incredible because it doesn’t feel to me like it’s been particularly well-planned. It just seems like something that kind of happened.

Michael Liebreich:

But one of the things that we did do, and there was a few of us that were really pushing for it, was to move from subsidies feed-in tariffs, where the state decides a price, to a reversal auction, where you get price discovery. When we did that… And in fact, it’s been done now all around the world. When you do that, basically the prices over a few years effectively halves. By moving these offshore procurements to a reverse auction, the price plummeted and we’re now at something like $50 per megawatt hour.

Bill Nussey :

Oh really?

Michael Liebreich:

Oh yeah. That depends. Does that include the interconnection? Now, the problem you’ve got is, of course, the sea gets deeper and deeper and deeper the further you go out in the continental shelf and some places don’t have a continental shelf. The big frontier of… It’s probably too early to say go big. Just pull the trigger and do it now. But if we can do floating offshore wind, then we effectively have I don’t want to say infinite energy, but we’ve got enough to do pretty much anything we want.

Michael Liebreich:

Between solar in the places it’s really, really sunny and kind of deserty and wind in the places where it’s really, really windy and oceany, we are going to get a long way to meeting humanity’s energy needs and doing it in a way that is not no touch, but as light touch as we’re going to do. Geothermal, I’m a big fan of. I think geothermal is having a Renaissance, and I’m involved in a company, an advanced geothermal player, which could be the third leg on the renewable stool.

Bill Nussey :

I’m very bullish on geothermal. I agree with you on that. Last question is a distributed generation, DERs, what we call local energy. Where does that fit, go big, go home? What do you think?

Michael Liebreich:

I think go ubiquitous. I just think it’s going to be unthinkable in 10, 15, 20 years to build pretty much anywhere in the world without putting solar on a roof. It’s such an elegant solution. And it’s not just that it is more power, but it’s more power that reduces the need for capacity in the grid, and it’s more power that also educates. We’ve talked a lot about the engineering of these systems. There’s also wetware humans in the system.

Michael Liebreich:

What you can see is as soon as somebody’s got solar on their roof, be they an Australian, be they a German, be they a Trump voter or a Biden vote, whatever, as soon as you get solar on your roof, you have a different understanding of what is a kilowatt, a kilowatt hour, should you have that shower running, leaving all the lights, and all that sort of stuff. There’s a package of actions. I think that people are going to get solar roofs and electric cars and start really interacting with energy in a much more educated way.

Michael Liebreich:

Energy is not going to be something that you do out in Saudi or in Oklahoma. It’s going to be something that you increasingly do within communities, and that changes everything.

Announcer:

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