My career path has been forged at the intersection of innovation and environmental impact, so it came as a natural progression to make the leap to join an ambitious new company focused on the emerging Electric Vehicle fleet charging market as its CEO.
At Google, we were one of the first large “prosumers” of clean energy, which encouraged a host of major companies to follow suit. Eventually, the combination of the increased demand for clean energy, decreasing technology and manufacturing costs, and other key market dynamics pushed the price of clean energy to a place where choosing clean electricity made financial sense and companies had every incentive to get on board. I fundamentally believe that this combination of incentives, and in particular, the financial incentive, is required for any aspect of the energy transition to be successful.
In some ways, I see the last decade as a key period of “greening the grid,” when very large, utility-scale clean energy became a reality. It was kicked off by the California utilities meeting their RPS goals, pushed by residential consumers participating in demanding and acquiring their own green energy via rooftop solar, and then massively accelerated by large energy users like Google demanding and acquiring clean energy – all of which I had the privilege to participate in and lead.
In my previous roles at Goldman Sachs, then PG&E, and finally Google, I have been able to work on developing new technology, deal structures, policy, and purchasing frameworks to get more clean energy onto the grid, at scale. I am proud yet deeply humbled to have played a role in greening the grid during that pivotal period.
As the decade came to a close, I began looking around to see what would be next in the technology and energy space, and the opportunity of electrified transport was apparent. Transportation and energy generation are two of the top three producers of carbon emissions globally. There are significant policy tailwinds supporting this transition. Layer this on with the fact that the total cost of ownership for commercial electric vehicles is less than their diesel counterparts, and this seemed to be the next big technology-meets-business-meets-carbon reduction opportunity.
As public and private organizations increasingly look to electrify their fleets at scale, four key challenges have emerged:
- Availability of sites suitable for charging, with sufficient energy capacity
- The resilience and sustainability of energy supply
- The amount of capital required for fleet charging infrastructure
- Long lead times needed to build out these projects
At the moment, the grid does not have sufficient capacity to support concentrated, large-scale EV fleet charging. This is not a quick nor simple fix, despite growing utility and government investment. Charging infrastructure capacity needs are complex and vary greatly; plus, upgrades to grids’ distribution networks are expensive and can take years to complete.
Owners of electric vehicle fleets need reliable, efficient, and cost effective ways to power their operations. On-site electricity generation, storage, and demand side management will be required to meet the massive increase in electricity demand from the charging hubs that will power fleets and long distance freight. However, building reliable large scale charging infrastructure requires more capital, and risk management and energy expertise than most organizations want to take on alone.
Without the resources or know-how to develop such projects in a cost-efficient manner, the rate at which companies adopt EV fleets will outpace the facilities available for charging, creating a hole in the market and stymying the progress towards electrified transport.
Terawatt Infrastructure was established to provide solutions for the aforementioned challenges brought on by widespread EV charging to ensure a faster, successful transition to electrified transport. There needs to be more cooperation between capital markets, utilities, and organizations of all types looking to electrify their fleets. Terawatt serves as the intermediary and trusted partner to organizations amidst this transition.
I’m incredibly excited to be able to use what I’ve learned about pushing and transforming one industry from ideas to execution, and applying that to a new opportunity set with Terawatt. In order for the electric transportation transition to fully materialize, organizations need easy-to-implement, cost-effective, and rapidly deployable solutions. It’s my aim for Terawatt to be the leading provider of these solutions for customers, and the leader in this once-in-a-history transition.