The Energy Gang
The Energy Gang
Oct 23, 2020
Watt It Takes: Why Steph Speirs Wants Solar For All
53 min

This week on Watt It Takes: Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch sits down with Solstice CEO Steph Speirs.

Solistice is a community solar company trying to make PV accessible to everyone.

Steph Speirs grew up one of three kids, first generation, in Hawaii. Her mom had immigrated from Korea. She knows what eviction feels like, and what it’s like to skirt homelessness. And she knows how a poor credit score can sink a human being.

She got a scholarship to a private high school, became a National Merit scholar and accrued three masters degrees at Yale, Princeton and MIT.  

In this interview, we’ll hear how her time in the Obama administration led to a summer internship with the non-profit impact investor Acumen. She worked on solar lanterns in India. Her time in Yemen, India, and then Pakistan led to an awakening about energy injustice in the United States. 

Solstice has now developed demand for 100 MW of community solar and just closed its biggest funding round so far. 

To learn more about future speakers and attending a live event, go to and click on the events tab. You can listen to all of the episodes of Watt It Takes here.

The Energy Gang is also brought to you by KORE Power. Based in the U.S., KORE Power is situated to meet the growing global demand of the energy storage market. KORE Power is building the first large-scale battery cell manufacturing facility in the U.S. owned by an American company. Once it’s operational, the 1-million-square-foot facility will have 12 gigawatt-hours of scalable manufacturing capacity. Learn more

The Energy Gang is brought to you by Sungrow, the leading global supplier of inverter solutions for renewables. During these uncertain times, Sungrow is committed to protecting its employees and continuing to reliably serve its customers around the world. Sungrow has also leveraged its extensive network across the United States to distribute face masks to communities in need.

The Interchange
The Interchange
Greentech Media
Decoding the New Energy Customer
This week, Shayle Kann talks with Kiran Bhatraju, the CEO of Arcadia, about who's buying clean energy. Every pathway toward economy-wide decarbonization drives straight through a dramatic transformation in the electricity sector. But so much of the discussion in that sector focuses on the supply side: how fast will wind and solar displace fossil fuels? what will happen with natural gas? But there's another important player in this game: the energy consumer.  Consumers tend to be confusing when it comes to energy. It's hard to discern how much we actually care about it in the first place, what our preferences are, what decisions we'll make, what we'll pay for.  Most sectors that have undergone dramatic transformation have been driven by changing customer behavior, and energy may be no different. So we need to understand the consumer, and to find ways to deliver them products and services that will accelerate the energy transition. Shayle and Kiran discuss the different groups of clean-energy customers, how they respond to options, and how a changing regulatory landscape could influence behavior. Support for The Interchange comes from Trina Solar, a global leader in PV modules and smart energy solutions. With decades of industry recognition and awards, Trina Solar is committed to delivering reliable and fully bankable solar technology to the world. Download the free TrinaPro Solution Guide Book on how to optimize utility-scale solar projects. The Interchange is brought to you by S&C Electric Company. Today, non-wires alternatives such as microgrids can provide more sustainable, resilient and economical ways to deliver reliable power. S&C helps utilities and commercial customers find the best solutions to meet their energy needs. Learn more.
41 min
Columbia Energy Exchange
Columbia Energy Exchange
“Future of Coal in India"
With a population of 1.4 billion people and one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India is crucial to the future of global energy markets and climate change - and coal is fueling much of that economic growth in India. Coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel and is responsible for more than 40 percent of energy-related global carbon emissions. Over the next five years, India’s coal demand is expected to grow more than that of any other country in the world. In short, there’s no pathway to global decarbonization that does not include meaningfully changing the trajectory of India’s current and projected coal use. In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Dr. Rahul Tongia, author of the new book “Future of Coal in India: Smooth Transition or Bumpy Road Ahead?” to help shed light on that very subject. Dr. Rahul Tongia is a Senior Fellow with the Centre for Social and Economic Progress in New Delhi, where he leads its Energy, Natural Resources, and Sustainability group. He is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Adjunct Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He was the founding Technical Advisor for the Government of India’s Smart Grid Task Force. He holds a PhD in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering from Brown University. You can read Dr. Tongia's blog post about his book here.
46 min
80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin
80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin
The 80000 Hours team
Benjamin Todd on what the effective altruism community most needs (80k team chat #4)
In the *last '80k team chat'* with Ben Todd and Arden Koehler, we discussed what effective altruism is and isn't, and how to argue for it. In this episode we turn now to what the effective altruism community most needs. • *Links to learn more, summary and full transcript* • The *2020 Effective Altruism Survey* just opened. If you're involved with the effective altruism community, or sympathetic to its ideas, it's would be wonderful if you could fill it out: _ According to Ben, we can think of the effective altruism movement as having gone through several stages, categorised by what kind of resource has been most able to unlock more progress on important issues (i.e. by what's the 'bottleneck'). Plausibly, these stages are common for other social movements as well. • Needing money: In the first stage, when effective altruism was just getting going, more money (to do things like pay staff and put on events) was the main bottleneck to making progress. • Needing talent: In the second stage, we especially needed more talented people being willing to work on whatever seemed most pressing. • Needing specific skills and capacity: In the third stage, which Ben thinks we're in now, the main bottlenecks are organizational capacity, infrastructure, and management to help train people up, as well as specialist skills that people can put to work now. What's next? Perhaps needing coordination -- the ability to make sure people keep working efficiently and effectively together as the community grows. Ben and I also cover the career implications of those stages, as well as the ability to save money and the possibility that someone else would do your job in your absence. If you’d like to learn more about these topics, you should check out a couple of articles on our site: • *Think twice before talking about ‘talent gaps’ – clarifying nine misconceptions* • *How replaceable are the top candidates in large hiring rounds? Why the answer flips depending on the distribution of applicant ability* *Get this episode by subscribing: type 80,000 Hours into your podcasting app. Or read the linked transcript.* Producer: Keiran Harris. Audio mastering: Ben Cordell. Transcriptions: Zakee Ulhaq.
1 hr 25 min
Business Lab
Business Lab
MIT Technology Review Insights
Leveraging collective intelligence and AI to benefit society
A solar-powered autonomous drone scans for forest fires. A surgeon first operates on a digital heart before she picks up a scalpel. A global community bands together to print personal protection equipment to fight a pandemic. “The future is now,” says Frederic Vacher, head of innovation at Dassault Systèmes. And all of this is possible with cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and a virtual 3D design shop, or as Dassault calls it, the 3DEXPERIENCE innovation lab. This open innovation laboratory embraces the concept of the social enterprise and merges collective intelligence with a cross-collaborative approach by building what Vacher calls “communities of people—passionate and willing to work together to accomplish a common objective.” This podcast episode was produced by Insights, the custom content arm of MIT Technology Review. It was not produced by MIT Technology Review’s editorial staff.  “It’s not only software, it's not only cloud, but it’s also a community of people’s skills and services available for the marketplace,” Vacher says. “Now, because technologies are more accessible, newcomers can also disrupt, and this is where we want to focus with the lab.”   And for Dassault Systèmes, there’s unlimited real-world opportunities with the power of collective intelligence, especially when you are bringing together industry experts, health-care professionals, makers, and scientists to tackle covid-19. Vacher explains, “We created an open community, ‘Open Covid-19,’ to welcome any volunteer makers, engineers, and designers to help, because we saw at that time that many people were trying to do things but on their own, in their lab, in their country.” This wasted time and resources during a global crisis. And, Vacher continues, the urgency of working together to share information became obvious, “They were all facing the same issues, and by working together, we thought it could be an interesting way to accelerate, to transfer the know-how, and to avoid any mistakes.”  Business Lab is hosted by Laurel Ruma, director of Insights, the custom publishing division of MIT Technology Review. The show is a production of MIT Technology Review, with production help from Collective Next.  This episode of Business Lab is produced in association with Dassault Systèmes.  Show notes and links  How Effective is a Facemask? Here’s a Simulation of Your Unfettered Sneeze, by Josh Mings, SolidSmack, April 2, 2020  Open Covid-19 Community Lets Makers Contribute to Pandemic Relief, by Clare Scott, Dassault, The SIMULIA Blog, July 15, 2020 Dassault 3DEXPERIENCE platform Collective intelligence and collaboration around 3D printing: rising to the challenge of Covid-19, by Frederic Vacher, STAT, August 10, 2020
35 min
Reversing Climate Change
Reversing Climate Change
S2E40: Much talk of CO2, but what about methane?!—w/ Olya Irzak of Frost Methane
Carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. In fact, methane emissions are responsible for 16% of the warming we experience today. And because methane is more potent than CO2, we can make a big impact in a short period of time by addressing the concentrated, continuous methane seeps that exist around the world. Olya Irzak is the Founder and CEO of _Frost Methane_, a company working to combat climate change through the deployment of remote methane destruction devices. On this episode of the podcast, Olya joins Ross and Christophe to discuss why she chose to focus on methane emissions and explain how her team’s technology works to convert concentrated methane into CO2. Olya describes Frost Methane’s initial work with Arctic permafrost and introduces their new application of the technology in coal mines, sharing how the business generates revenue through carbon markets like California’s cap-and-trade market.  Listen in for Olya’s insight on the benefits of voluntary markets and learn her approach to prioritizing climate interventions to make the biggest impact. Connect with Nori _Purchase Nori Carbon Removals_ _Nori_ _Nori on Facebook_ _Nori on Twitter_ _Nori on Patreon_ Resources _Frost Methane_ _Frost Methane on LinkedIn_ _Olya on LinkedIn_ _ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit_ _Center for Negative Carbon Emissions_ _Google’s Climate Change Initiative_ _‘7,000 Underground Gas Bubbles Poised to Explode in Arctic’ in __The Siberian Times_ _Video of Exploding Under-Ice Methane Gas in Siberia_ _Laughlin Barker_ _Pleistocene Park_ _Pleistocene Park on Reversing Climate Change EP073_ _Dr. Leslie Field_ _Ice 911_ _ASU’s Arctic Ice Management Project_ _University of Beijing Research on Calving_ _Silver Lining_ _‘Sometimes Success Is Right Under Your Feet, As Tomato Grower Knows’ in __AP News_ _California’s Cap-and-Trade Program_ _Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation_ _Stripe Climate_ --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:
42 min
Outrage + Optimism
Outrage + Optimism
Global Optimism
80. The Future of Fuels
This is our second episode of an Outrage + Optimism investigative series on The Future of Transport. There’s no denying that for over a century, fossil fuels have played a key role in humanity’s progress. But at a cost. They account for two-thirds of global greenhouse-gas emissions, and the pollution from burning them kills more than 4 million people a year. So in a year where cars sat unused, and oil prices crashed...what is the future of fuels? We know that in order to meet the Paris Agreement, we need to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030. Because even though COVID-19 is expected to reduce energy-related CO2 emissions by 7% this year, we need massive changes in how we move people and things. So will we see the end of the internal combustion engine? How will the world go electric? Can hydrogen scale to meet our energy demands? Our hosts Tom Rivett-Carnac, Christiana Figueres and Paul Dickinson pull out the roadmap to a zero-emission future, hit the road looking for answers to a decarbonized transport sector with experts who are in the driver's seat. Read Tom’s blog to find out more from behind the scenes. Watch David Lammy’s TED Talk before listening next week! — This series is sponsored by NESTE Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram — Guests this week: Ramez Naam, Singularity University Twitter | LinkedIn Monica Araya, Climate Champion Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Ted Talk Mary Nichols, CA Air and Resources Board Twitter | CARB Martin Daum, Daimler Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram Alejandro Agag, Formula E Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn | YouTube Craig Knight, Hyzon Motors Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Craig LinkedIn Sara Forni, CERES Twitter | CERES Robert Llewellyn, Fully Charged Twitter | FC Twitter | Fully Charged YouTube — Keep up with Christiana Figueres here: Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook — Tom Rivett-Carnac: Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn — Follow @GlobalOptimism on social media! Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn — Don't forget to hit SUBSCRIBE so you don't miss another episode of Outrage + Optimism!
59 min
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