Great to chat with Grant McDowell, Co-Founder and Head of Commercialisation and Strategy at Enosi Energy, a company that unlocks the promise of clean energy for all households and businesses! We discussed the future of renewable energy, the energy grid mix needed to reach true zero, how Australian energy compares to the USA, COP26 and more! 

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Thanks so much! 

James

The unedited podcast transcript is below

James McWalter

Hello! today’ ‘ speaking with Grant Mcdowell co-founder and head of commercialization and strategy at Enosi, welcome to podcast grant brilliant I suppose to start with. Can you tell us a little bit about a no see so.

Grant McDowell

Thanks, Very much James Great to be here. Thank you.

Grant McDowell

Well Enosi is a um, an energy trading platform Traceability platform. In fact, what we we do in principle and Essence is match the the solar farm and the wind farm energy with the household consumption. And we do that by measuring the generation that’s coming from a solar or wind farm meter and and then match that with the meter of the household or business and in doing that simple matching and Traceability. We can unlock source time and price. Um, so a small small ah essentially a counting exercise but because that counting exercise is is allowing us to see where the energy is coming from at a specific time and um, what power Tracer does is add price onto that layer. Um, there’s an enormous amount of value created and so yeah, that’s what that’s what power Tracer does.

James McWalter

And what drove the initial decision to start a Enosi.

Grant McDowell

Well, the the um the initial decision for me was ah I’ve been on this kind of personal quest for a long time. In fact, I had this idea in 2000 7 so you know almost 15 years ago where I I was living in a. In sydney and australia and and had a lots of trees covering my roof and I was frustrated by not being able to put solar on the roof so worked out that if you put solar in the solar farm and matched that to the meter of the house there. There would be this economies of scale. And access to clean energy and that simple idea sent me on this path to join the industry to get an innovation patent. Um, which which I then went out and and and learned about the industry but I was way way too Early. So what I ended up having to do was to. Join the industry join the solar industry and in in in residential solar and then in commercial solar and over that interim period came to meet the team 3 years ago who had started out doing energy traceability on anosi and joined as a co-founder so we. Business has been running 3 years um and and primarily here in australia but we’re starting to to look ah abroad. We’ve got a retailer. We’re working with in singapore we’re doing some work in South africa and and the uk so it’s um, you know we’re creating a. Strong foundation with retailers here in in australia with the view to take our tech global.

James McWalter

And and what change in those nearly 15 years that made you know this idea ripe today versus versus like over a decade ago.

Grant McDowell

So the the biggest change is the cost of solar to be honest and and wind but the cost trajectory of solar just is unlocked and an enormous amount of value. The nobody is and as I’m sure most of your your listeners would be aware. Nobody had got any of the predictions. Right around how that cost trajectory was just going to be. You know a steep steep curve downward. Um, and that’s what’s unlocked the value. So so when I came into the industry was very expensive cost. Yeah 60 or seventy thousand dollars to put something on the roof it now costs three thousand dollars to put.

James McWalter

So thankfully.

Grant McDowell

Solar on the roof same size. So you know that that an incredible certainly in australia we’ve seen australia leads the world in rooftop installations. We have over 3 million rooftop installations and when I first joined the industry there was fifty megawatts of solar installed. Across australia we now have twenty three and a half gigawatts of solar installed across that 15 year period so yeah very um, ah surprise is the big big driver big change and and where the unlocked unlock the value and and as Matt campbell said.

James McWalter

Meza. Yeah.

Grant McDowell

On your podcast in an earlier episode. It’s this next trajectory of price which we’re still in this steep decline to bring 1 cent per Kilowatt hour sole intivity solar to the market which is which is what we’re really excited about because that will then unlock the the next stage of Making. Factory Storage Hydrogen and other applications of energy possible. So yep, the the cost trajectory continues down.

James McWalter

Yeah, and absolutely yeah, the the level of excitement for all the the enablement of those different kind of industries that you mentioned you know there’s a lot of people running around with pitcht text right now for those industries and 1 of those have a incredibly cheap renewable energy as part of like a necessary risk factor. Them to actually you know reach their kind of larger vision and so yeah, absolutely and you know it is everyone got it wrong thankfully because it’s been obviously way better than anybody predicted and you know long may it continue because it doesn’t unlockck all this other value.

Grant McDowell

Yes, that’s right? and and I you know I think offshore wind is the next frontier and it we’ll be seeing huge huge value brought and and and again downward cost trajectory. The interesting thing about the work that we’re seeing in this next frontier so this was first period that I you know that. We’ve been I’ve been witness to the last fifteen years is to to prove out that renewable energy is going to be the next you know our? ah next base load power if you like and that moving off fossil fuels is possible and I think we’ve proven that that the the next 10 years are critical though. In that we need the diversity. It’s not It’s not just about simply rolling up more wind and solar only um, we need the diversity in the mix to create that firming when the wind’s not blowing and the sun’s not shining so power tracer and and the work we’re doing with 24 7 carbon free energy. Um. Is is that next stage is that next phase in in development in in the in the tech and the industry.

James McWalter

And so let’s say I become a customer of an Oc I start to use your power tracer platform. Yeah what? what does that experience look like what does my onboarding. You know what? what is the entire process like.

Grant McDowell

So what we do is we? Um, we’re a software layer that that the different retailers in australia and you know our retailers will partnerships. We’ll work with globally will have within their billing systems. So we’re’re. We’re not a retailer with just a layer of software. Essentially a counting layer of software. Um, and so if you would if you lived in australia and you wanted to sign up to to power tracer you could do through do that through our 5 electricity partners through energy locals or simply energy or or some of the others and and essentially you can. Gain access to a utility scale profile. Um or indeed you can you can do peer-to-peer trading with people who have rooftop solar installed so those things sound you know, quite straightforward, but but what they do is unlock. Enormous opportunity because we’re seeing variations on that theme where a big tech firm in Sydney is about to launch a staff program where they have a power purchase agreement from 2 solar farms here in new south wales and they’re extending that. Power purchase agreement through to their staff working from home in the pandemic people have started to live from home of course and and and what what power tracer is enabling is for those that us to have a staff energy program so that those team members can get access to that clean energy. Um, during the day so it’s from the solar profile and the fact that tech company is going to pay for that energy through the year and so not a huge cost imppost on them. They get the scope 3 benefits the team get to sign up to a collective sustainability action and. And so small change. but but ah you know I think a ah real innovation in the way energy is being being consumed here in australia.

James McWalter

And I guess if I think about yeah, what I how I think about the way people are selling renewable energy to customers to consumers of commercial entities today. They’ll say look you could buy a or going to a power purchase agreement if you’re a commercial entity with a solar farm. And you’ll buy a certain amount of electricity from that soil farm not so a farm could be in a different state across the country. Um and the odds of the electric electrons being produced by that sort of farm getting to your actual business are pretty slim and so there does seem to be this kind of great difficulty in saying you know if I if I’m buying renewable energy like is that actually renewable energy. That’s. Getting to me and how do I kind of trace all that um I guess how is your you know how is power tracer kind of changing that kind of status quo.

Grant McDowell

Well, what power trace is doing is is measuring the source at that in that half hour trading period australia now has five minute trading period. but but but the rei meters are still half hour so in that half hour trading period. We’re seeing how many megawat hours are coming out onto. Grid and then we’re seeing how much energy is being consumed in that half hour period by the household and power traces matching that out within that half hour period at a particular price. So again in australia we we the utility says solar is cheaper than the firming price. And so we’re able to offer clean energy cheaper than firming um because we’re able to bifurcate the price for the first time so traditional retail is a kilowatt hours a kilowatt hours is just a grid mix and you might have time of use which gives you some variation in the price. But it’s never related to the source of the energy and and this is classic measure and manage as soon as you’re able to measure that source and match them through what you’re consuming and then we’ve done the modeling on this across nine thousand household households um, historically. Here in in in sydney and when we match that to a solar farm. It comes in around around forty percent of the of the consumption and when we add a wind profile on top of that that comes into seventy six seventy seven percent of that profile so we call that. Path to true zero. So instead of just having 1 hundred percent renewables and by the certificates what power tracer enables you to do is to buy cheaper energy because the solar is cheaper and the and the wind is slightly cheaper. So we’ve got cheaper, clean energy. That’s seventy six seventy seven percent of your load. And then for the balance of that um load of 22 or 23 percent you can buy certificates and be 1 hundred percent for your renewable. So it’s complementary to the certificate market. But most importantly, you’re able to see where that energy is coming from and now add our second solar phout. A second wind farm but you might only then get into the early Eighty percentile and then the incentive is well I’d like to pay a bat. Ah you know, have battery storage and you’re prepared to pay now above the firming rate because you’re into these high percentages and what’s happening is that the humble consumer is driving the the mix driving this diversity. In the generation mix because the battery then has is as as clean energy from the solar stored during the day and then used in the evening. Um, and we we we we get you on this path to to true zero which which is aligns perfectly with what google.

Grant McDowell

Trying to do with the the 24 7 carbon free energy compact with the United nations and recently we you know he was invited to to cop 26 to to give the first foundation meeting for the un carbon-free energy compact very exciting stephen. Hoi our ceo and I went and we think that this next um, you know innovation and which has been driven by the big tech companies. What powertrace is doing is ah is expanding that that accessibility to just general business. But then right down to the household where. Where we where everyone can be on this same path essentially towards true zero and unlock the value because the choices will drive the the clean energy uptake and then those higher percentiles will be driven by the diversity and and people be be prepared to pay that little bit extra.

James McWalter

That’s yeah I love a lot of that I I like all of it. But I think what’s really interesting is moving the standards piece right? because generally standards are adopted by players that fit their existing ah the existing status quo in some way right? So we’ll say. You know it’s easy for us to supply energy in this particular way. Um, but what’s the cleanest way we can kind of you know, put move some things together to make it look like it’s it’s it’s a kind of carbon zero energy mix. Um and let’s do that and and it’s not the worst idea in the world right? It’s the first chapter. It’s the first version that makes a ton of sense.

Grant McDowell

Um, sure.

James McWalter

But actually shining a light on it and saying hey there is this gap and the way you can fill that Gap is through some sort of transparent purchase and that could be carbon off like credits or as you mentioned or that could be you know, actually investing in more expensive Energy. You know, battery storage that might be more expensive in a given time of day and all that kind of thing. I Think that’s that’s really interesting because what it also gives is a signal to the kind of entrepreneurs and the product developers of the world to say oh you know where? what’s the next layer in that kind of in that slice that we should be building towards you know.

Grant McDowell

Sure, but more importantly, it it to echo that it it unlocks the op a new understanding for the retailers because in australia we have gentators so they they generate and retail electricity and and and what. What power tracers doing is showing for the first time to you know, demonstrating to the retailers that the customers will buy these products and that they can build these products with a customer base behind them and so you know in the past they’ve had to just build the assets. And and and use this idea of the energy trading as ah as a big amorphous blob of energy. Essentially we call this the the energy lake um that that the energy retailers are buying and selling into and and now traceability unlocks this visibility of where the. Where the energy is coming into the lake. Um, and where it’s going after the lake and and then paying for that directly and and and through the the payment we’re able to track and and drive and show incentive to the market that you know more solar and wind is is needed. And there’s ah, there’s an appetite and market for it. But then the diversity mix as as people are on this true zero ambition would be people will be prepared to pay for it as we use battery storage and and and hopefully hydrogen storage down the track to to then? um. Complement these very tough parts of the the small percentages at the top end that will be harder and harder and we need to create a market for that and we believe that that you know this this 31 enty four seven carbon -free energy is the is the foundation to unlocking that and. You know our our expression for is true zero because that’s much more consumer, friendly and easy to to understand and we’ve had great reception to the idea of true zero and and and people being wanting to sign up for that because it makes sense if we can take the heavy lifting.

James McWalter

Sure.

Grant McDowell

Out of the equation and make it simple and cheaper. Then why wouldn’t you sign up for something that’s cleaner and cheaper and and and and has you on a path of sustainability over time so it can complement the existing infrastructure with Certificates. We’re not, we’re not saying don’t buy the certificates. We’re just saying that. There is a um you know a ah grid 2 point zero here and and this unlocks an enormous amount of value to move fossil fuels out of the the grid mix and keep the lights on.

James McWalter

That that’s fascinating and I suppose that kind of lead me to think about things like monetization right? because within all these different systems. How these things are Monetized. You know has a direct effect on the incentives right? to kind of push to something like true zero. How are you thinking about Monetization. What’s the kind of. Model of it today for.

Grant McDowell

Well, the monetization. Um, for for everyone in the ecosystem works I think particularly well because as we’ve said the solar trajectory um is you know that that continues to go down and and so that’s price that those prices can be reflected. Um, back to the customer but the margins are still there for for the retailers. So they’re not out of pocket. Um, the you know from our point of view. The the cost of energy is going down therefore the electricity consumer should pay less and we’ve seen this in australia you know the the. Everyone always said, we’ve always pay a premium for renewable energy and as it’s turned out. Um, ah, clean energy certainly in South australia’s put the prices down and across the rest of the country. We put the prices down so we you know we’ve hit peak pricing in australia where I’m the downward trajectory of that now. Um, and and that’s. And again locks unlocks the value for the general consumer. Um, and then our tech you know in terms of the cost. We’re a saas play so software is a service and we only charge the householder 2 dollars fifty a month to to use power tracer and that’s done through the retailer. So. It’s such a small number that the retailer is absorbing that figure anyway. So it’s ah it’s a it’s a really good news story if we can get this right to bring down the cost of energy. Um and and to keep the reliability there and move fossil fuels out and in an excessive accelerated way. So.

James McWalter

Not so that’s fascinating and yeah, that definitely kind of lines. It makes a lot of sense to me. You also mentioned this ability to you know for a consumer to basically trade energy with a specific source in some way. Um, that’s kind of fascinating to me like.

Grant McDowell

We we think it has great potential.

James McWalter

Who’s I guess is like a typical profile of somebody who might do that on your platform.

Grant McDowell

Sure so we have um, ah layers of trading on on the platform and and our peer-to-peer layer is just 2 options. Somebody can go onto the power tracer platform and set their own price for the solar energy that they are exporting out onto the grid. You don’t need to go through your retailer to have that conversation and you set up a trading partner. So if I want to sell my electricity to a family member I can sell it to my sister-in-law. Um, and I can offer a zero price for energy for just the the energy part. So so. In that in that stack we have the energy Sta energy cost the poles and wires cost the enviro costs in the retail margin and all we really all power traces do is calculating the energy only part of that stack each time and comparing that to either feed tara or or the standard. Price from the retailer. So in this case, my sister-in-law would would pay would have a saving of around 8 cents per kilowatt hour if I was selling that electricity. That’s um, if I had a trade of zero cents on power tracing with her I could also send it. To an uncle of mine who’s lots of money so he’s prepared to pay more so so you know um an uncle would pay potentially you know 10 cents per kilowatt hour so on power tracer you’re able to to go onto the platform and then and then set your own set an invitation at an offer. To to trade directly with those trading partners that you may know and and that that you know it’s ah it’s a feature to be honest peer-to-peer trading is ah it’s a great feature but it’s not where the action is it’s it’s you know? ah people aren’t that interested in energy I always say that you know there’s this. Tiny space in our mind where we we prepare to look at energy for about um you know I think I think the average is about ten ten minutes a year and the rest of time is on Netflix. So so you know we have to keep we have to always as energy people be aware that the punterellial or the customer isn’t that engaged and we have to make it simple accessible. And and and and and and and as cost effective as possible because it’s a commodity people are are are far prepared to pay less for energy than they are to pay a premium for Green. So so that’s the kind of ethos behind it. The last thing I’ll mention in the trading. Ah, the next trading layer is the is the community trading a where if both in this case, my sister-inlaw mine haven’t consumed all the excess energy I’m sending out onto the grid I can I can offer that into the community pool and and and that.

Grant McDowell

Allows anyone in my community pool to match out that electricity in the way. It’s a very kind of Australian algorithm we we match out the the person offering the the the lowest price matches out with the person. Um, who’s prepared to offer the The. Ah, the the highest buy price and so the the match the the the algorithm works out where the lowest and highest match out and then it runs all the way through to the centre and and it’s naturally a very equitable way of of matching out all those trades across the community. So We have those 2 layers of of a um you know peer-to-peer trade which we call a nominator trade and then a community trade as well.

James McWalter

This is absolutely fascinating and I think what’s remarkable to me mostly is that a lot of what you described there for the audience is basically illegal most of the United states um, the idea of moving. Um, what they call distributed energy resources are drrs. Um. Having kind of a prosumer layer or even like a somewhat aggregated you know mom and pop business d layer where you might have ah you know a farm at putto and solar panels and they you want to bid into a local market. Um, that is incredibly expensive or illegal or both in most parts of the United states. And so the thing you’re describing is actually something I’ve heard a few people kind of like you know shake their fists at the at the sky about in the us about these are the kinds of models that would be amazing to have emergent in that market and so yeah and you know I guess is that your kind of experience as you look at other markets around the world is australia like. Specific you know particularly kind of you know, open relative to other types of energy like trading to to that level of granularity. So.

Grant McDowell

Sure so so look australia has led the way in so much of this distributed energy future just because of the the low cost with the lowest cost installed solar in the world rooftop specifically. Um. You know we’re down to less than a dollar a watch I I think the us is still hovering around 3 dollars or what it’s you know it’s ah, incredibly expensive still and I you know I think there’s been some work done to to reduce those soft costs and applications and things which have only recently come through in the last few months. Few months which have been led by open solar and others. So so I think ah, but because we’ve had such an aggressive rollout of of Solar. We’ve you know we’ve just we’ve an energy only Market so very different to to other other markets. Um, so we are progressive in that way. But. But ultimately, what’s happening if you look at it from a macro point of view electricity has always been the central central system where big generators like coal generators and gas generators have provided all the energy centrally and then that’s gone distributed out onto the electrical grid. Um, and now those. End nodes are now the centre of the universe. The end node is is where the action is the customer. In fact, can put solar on the roof a battery on on the on the wall and and will soon have an electric vehicle and so their influence on the grid is so much more. Important now than than the centralised system. So I think the policy needs to catch up in the us I think the policy needs to reflect that the the homeowner um will be the centre of the universe. And and then and then that distributes um, how do you How do you track value and and allow the homeowner to participate in the ecosystem by by being able to you know capture some of the value themselves.

James McWalter

I Yeah that was actually the next thing kind of of my mind to kind of ask you about is you know we we do have this kind of ev future I think every day it seems to be coming faster and I also think more and more that um, we’re.

Grant McDowell

Um, so.

James McWalter

Collectively pretty unprepared for how different things will be once we get to a plus thirty percent penetration of evs in a given neighborhood. Um, you know there’s all these positive effects. It’s quieter. You know it’s less pollution. All those kind of things but the strain on the kind of local grid. Is something that has a kind of very very large management problem that know utilities as great as they are and I generally do think they’re great tend of moves not to me slowly um and adopt things and and very careful kind of risk you know, obsessed fashion as they showed right? like losing electricity is like a major.

Grant McDowell

Are.

James McWalter

You know downer for for everybody and life and death really? So yeah, so how how are you thinking about you know ios the role that in Nosu will play in this kind of rapidly emerging ev market.

Grant McDowell

Well before we get to anoci I think again, there’s another macro 30000 foot view which we should. We should take and um, which is yeah know another thing we’ve been looking at in australia which is instead of thinking about 1 hundred percent renewable grid. Let’s look at a five hundred percent renewable grid and and that just that exercise that mental exercise of of to get back to the terror base example of 1 percent. What 1 cent per per kilowattho you know this is a market driven exercise and if solar is that cheap. It’s going to be everywhere and and and if we’re able to to um you know.

James McWalter

I No no.

Grant McDowell

Blow past 1 hundred percent and get into 1 hundred and 50 or 200 and 3 hundred and certainly in australia with all the space and great sun hours. We’re able to get into you know the 500 percent renewable economy what that unlocks is cheap Green steel. Um. Cheap hydrogen which we’re able to export um and and and evs become the the the sponge they become the energy sponge to soak up all that excess in the day. Um and and then and then play a role with vehicle to grid. Um, in stabilizing the grid in in providing you know v to g or v 2 h v to household and the the vehicle but is that that instead of a stationary battery on your wall becomes a you know sogryphersis you know, 5 or 6 or 10 batteries on wheels.

James McWalter

Right.

Grant McDowell

And the car just happens to come with it. so so I I you know I think that that opportunity is is so I’m not as concerned about the grid not being able to cope with the volume of energy and and this flow of energy which is. Which just gets back to the earlier point the the grid now is 2 wo-way. It’s been a 1 way from the centralized sending out across the the grid network and now we have a very much a 2 wo-way relationship with with the householder which is why we need the householder engaged not necessarily. You know. Themselves. But but we need the value to be filtering through to make that ev more affordable to provide some of that you know whatever those grid services are that the ev can provide um to to extend that back into the lease or whatever it might be and get the adoption curve. Accelerated and then we move fossil fuel out of the market that much faster. So ah, you know that’s my you know my first take on it the second. So how power tracer fits into that is this bringing this value of of source time and price means that there’s some accounting. To to take some of that value and extend it. Toever who’s whoever the participant is um and and what power trace is doing that is instead of behind the meter where most of the value is is is happening at the moment where you do have control. We want to bring that onto in front of the meter. And allow allow participants in the network and participants on the grid to to you know have have value attributed to whatever role they’re playing at any and any given moment so already australia’s in the five minute settlement period. Um. And and we’re able to you know that that gives batteries much much better opportunity to compete in the market than the big gas turbines and so that’s the reason for the change in the rule and that stimululates the battery market so there are there are there is policy. And there’s a policy framework and a policy vision today. There’ll be a new aemo which is our regulator will be publishing a integrated systems plan the new version which I haven’t had a chance to to read it. It’s published today but that will set out again. These. Goals that we set twelve you know, maybe twenty four months ago we’ve blown past them and and and there’s recalibration. so so I think um, the regulators will need to be much more dynamic and and ah.

Grant McDowell

You know there’s more change in the next 10 years in the electricity sector than the last hundred years combined.

James McWalter

Yeah, that makes absolutely ton of sense and just to your kind of point of Batteries. You know was 1 of the kind of surprising things I learned relatively recently is that you know a battery as storage for stabilizing the grid is just far better than existing peaker plants like coal and gas because a battery if you turn it on it immediately. Generates. Gives you power within in you know a second whereas coal and and and oil you still have to you know heat up a furness. You start to kind of go through this process and so yes, moving to this kind of five minute um dynamic ah you know timing gives a huge advantage to something that can be as nimble as a battery right. And then the other power of the batteryter is that they can move across lots of different types of electricity markets and stabilize the grade all the way through and service services and everything in between in a way that most other types of energy cannot do so because they just lack that flexibility right.

Grant McDowell

That’s right batteries have the ability to attract Eight value tree 8 value streams. Um, and so when you unlock a single resource that’s able to capture 8 value streams then you know it’s creating a much healthier greater much. More stable grid. Um, and and there’s certainly challenges to come with. We’ve got you know batteries operate great fantastically within the millisecond and over 2 and 3 hours we need long duration storage solutions and this is the reason why Google have got behind this 24 7 carbon free energy idea is that. The hard parts those top you know, eighty and ninety percentiles is where the work needs now and then we need to find a way of conquering those single percentages over this next decade so google will be 24 7 carbon free by 2030 and all their their data centers around the world and all their their operations. Um, and so that’s a tough call I mean that that means in in singapore where there isn’t much solar penetration renewable energy solutions that need need to be found and and supported and so that innovation. Most innovation exists today and we can we can invest in it and grow it and and blow past 1 hundred percent renewable as I said but there will be new innovation that that certainly in battery storage and others that that will come to the market but but the stimulus is needed but you know we need to create the market and and what the market then. You know if there’s if there’s sufficient market behind it that unlocks an enormous amount of value.

James McWalter

Yeah, you know you talked about australia up from ireland originally and the ah the energy mix in Ireland just can be very different right? It’s going to be onshore and mostly offshore wind and there’s a large investment in Hydrogen happening today to kind of solve for you know the longduration storage piece.

Grant McDowell

Um, sure.

James McWalter

Are you know the hydrogen fee in particular is like an you know nascent Marketll we’ll see how it scales up but you know there’s already billions of dollars from the Irish government going into this as we’re seeing in projects across the world. So Yeah to your point last hundred years you know and’s ah everyone I talked to. It’s like get into clean energy. You know there’s a lot of opportunities and exciting things Across. You know the climate solution space. But if you want to kind of get to massive scale quickly like energy and the related aspects of the energy is where it’s at.

Grant McDowell

Yes, I mean the the other interesting thing is that certainly australia we’ve we’ve got a huge penetration of of renewables. You know I think solars around yeah nearly thirty percent of whatever it is. It’s massive but globally. Um, solar is only 1 percent of the energy mix now we need to be in the seventy percentile in the next twenty Twenty five years. So if you map that out. It is just an incredible amount of of clean energy. That’s that’s coming in an industry that that will continue to to grow.

James McWalter

Fresh.

Grant McDowell

And prosper and bring lots lots of jobs, lots of innovation and you know I think I think like electricity said it’s been very dormant and and boring for a long time. But I think it’s going to be the next 10 years is going to be a wild ride.

James McWalter

Absolutely. And yeah, the next 10 years they were definitely out top of mind for the people like cof twenty six as you mentioned you were there. You know what surprised you most about your time there.

Grant McDowell

So ah, the you know the biggest takeout from Cop Twenty six is that and this is not being publicized in the media to my mind is that it’s no longer cool to have fossil Fuel sub subsidies. Um.

James McWalter

Yeah.

Grant McDowell

And that’s a big deal. You know the fossil fuels subsidies and governments that have just you know randomly so ongoingly support year in year out subsidized fossil fuels I think will be more and more tough politically? Um, so that’s. First observation the the the second observation is that although it was you know the um, some of the the ambitions weren’t achieved that we set out to achieve it at a cop and not me but the the broader cop ambitions um, the we were able to get. ah well ah next year will be another opportunity to to come back to the negotiation table rather than wait in 5 years and I think that’s an achievement. Um, so the urgency is is has dawned although you know not much progress was made this time. The the urgency has meant that that cop 20 7 in in in egypt Next year will be I think another big opportunity to to move things forward. So yeah, progress incremental but those are 2 but those am my 2 takeout.

James McWalter

Yeah I guess my view’s pretty similar. You know I think that in any sort of sit like setup like that if you get sixty percent of what you want going in like you’re doing pretty well 50 1 percent is probably more typical at best and so.

Grant McDowell

So.

James McWalter

You know there’s obviously a huge amount of disappointment from large parts of know society in general at the climate community in particular, um, you know small outland nations around the world. Obviously you know are are feeling this most harshly but you know we went from like Decade long conversations to like yearlong actions and um and I think the levers that we’re seeing right on the consumer level the kind of company such innovation level and now more and more on the governmental level to kind of you know, accelerate? What’s happening on the innovation side. Yeah I think it’s actually fascinating and you know there’s few big bills happening some of past some are about to pass across europe. Um, leave australia some as as well as united states and yeah and some starting to see real dollars going into this space as well.

Grant McDowell

Yeah, and and I think the the yeah that’s exactly what? um the opportunity really is is we we’ve got um a tenure window and we can embrace that opportunity because. We’re running under time I mean the it’s no fun to live in a world that’s gone up 3 degrees celsius you know climate the impact on the Climate. We’re seeing it already. Everyone’s aware of it. The the exciting thing about the electricity sector is we can play a big role we can play if you look at it. Um, from electricity directly and then how that flows through we can we play a role of around seventy percent of emissions. Um, when extended through to transport and so the electricity sector is by its nature then an exciting sector to join because the contribution we can make is enormous. Um. And and we’ve got ah we’ve got to roll out and replace the huge amount of fossil fuel in the next 10 years um and Beyond and and do that effectively by creating. You know the price signals to the market to to get access to those cheaper prices. The clean energy brings and ah and a sense of. Being of everyone being able to participate and that’s why 1 of the things that I’m particularly excited by an ocn power tracer is. We’re able to enable just ah, a regular household to be on a path towards true zero. And to to get on board and and then measure and manage their own performance against resources that are out there in the in the market and then with vote with their dollars to say you know I want to say to the retailers to say to to to generators the signal le we want more of this and we’re prepared to pay for it. And and so if we can bring that radical transparency across the grid. Um, we we hope that that will have a positive impact and and and accelerate the adoption.

James McWalter

Yeah, you know the level of apaqueness across the global economy. Um, you know some of it accidental a lot of it have planned um is really what I think the common thesis of many many companies trying to either decommorize the grid or decarbonize other industries. It’s like really trying to shine a light. Um, these different incentive structures and so on and what I think is fascinating but what you’re doing at a noc is that the ah the business itself like the more transparency like your business model is tied basically to a transparency that also decarbonizes and I think that is I guess the sign of like ah like a. Climate company. That’s properly tacking Climate. There’s a lot of climate companies that like may might do the measurement piece but like that doesn’t necessarily like drive change in the same way and so yeah, but I’m quite fascinated by kind of that approach. Um, 1 thing you know as I like kind of looking into your background and so on and started listening to some of your podcasts. So I believe you have.

Grant McDowell

Um.

James McWalter

Podcast called Spark Club Yeah I’d love to hear a little bit about what kind of was genesis of that project.

Grant McDowell

So I I um I was a startup founder in in here based in sydney and really felt long for a community. So if you can’t find 1 they say just build it yourself and and and so in 2000 16 I I set up spark club which. And and the premise behind it is that we’ve got to some credible opportunity here in Australia. We’ve got great Universities. We’ve got great abundance of clean energy and and and in aspects of of this distributed energy transition australia leads the world and so the idea was to. To create a forum spark club for people to come together and and and and learn from each other so I interview founders and and and elders and and and then particularly depending on the policy. We. We do a policy piece as well. We did 1 on blockchain 1 on. Big battery storage and five minute settlement and and so ah, you know the idea is to to share this knowledge and experience with the with the broader community here and replicate the success of of silicon valley um, in in what they were able to do in the early days. Um, was was communicate and share as a community and learn and accelerate by by taking tech that was developed universities and bringing those successfully out into into the broader market and so yeah, that’s been I’ve been doing this since 2000 16 and and it’s been. Fantastic opportunity to to learn and share ideas across the the clean energy entrepreneurial space. So it’s been a good journey.

James McWalter

Super cool. yeah yeah I think you’re you’re kind of slightly smiling because that’s somewhat similar to obviously what reform we’re trying to do ah on on this podcast as well and I think the trying to recreate the kind of innovation of of silicon valley around the world. Um, like I think this is like fascinating story and some places do it better and worse I think. Having a very much a kind of Storyd driven approach can help a lot because to me like the core value or the core reason that Silicon valley is what it is today is that basically failure is not really punished like risk is very very rewarded in general. Um, you know you can go and like tell somebody like you lost 15 million dollars last week and they won’t.

Grant McDowell

Um, so.

James McWalter

Like an eye whereas you know you’re castigated and pretty much everywhere else in the world. Um, now if you just if everybody is just losing all that money obviously like they would never have gotten into it but because it encourages that level of kind of risk takingking around specific types of business. You know it’s had success and I think hearing stories of success and all the failures that led up to that success. Because everybody has like 20 failure stories before they got into success I think that encourages like that next kind of generation of entrepreneurs to like take the chance.

Grant McDowell

So And and this is the premise that we have at spock Clubb um is that we can no longer afford given the climate emergency to have a 1 in 10 ratio. So The Silicon Valley ratio is. You. You know you have 1 unicorn or 1 success and and and then it’s nine failures and and our premise is that we needed to change that ratio if we’re going to be successful to 30 to 1 and we we need to blow up some money. Um and and in blowing up some money we can indeed.

James McWalter

Right.

Grant McDowell

Ah, from an innovation point of view. Bring some some new ideas new tech into the market and make those successful. But if we sit in an old paradigm of 10 to 1 we might get there by twenty forty or twenty fifty in which case it’s just too late so you know let’s blow up some some money now. And and and try and accelerate some of the the you know these ideas that are coming out of the university ideas coming out of entrepreneurs young and old and and and if we can do that successfully can certainly australia we can do as silicon valley did export those ideas around the world. Silicon valley is done very well and handsomely from the success of of what I you know um we we call you know I think that that’s tech 2 point Zero. We’re now in in in the third stage of tech which is is how do we leverage the internet against the internet of things against the real world bricks and mortar. And that’s the electricity sector and and that holds the the largest opportunity. So um, yeah, very but very much um in favour of of a 30 to 1 ratio how vcs feel about it is is different. But I think there’s lots of money out there. It’s just about framing those risks. Umm, interviewing some fantastic entrepreneurs to come who have I think the the potential to build building dollar billion dollar businesses and that’s the first time I’ve seen it not since ah doing doing this in 2000 16 it’s the first time I’ve seen. Okay here are the unicorns coming and. And I think they’re they’re going to come thick and fast in the next twenty four months.

James McWalter

Very exciting. Um grant is of e Been brilliant I’ve really enjoyed the conversation before we finish off is just anything I should have asked you about but did not.

Grant McDowell

Now I think we I think we did cover the ground that I really wanted to share the 1 little tip Thatt I’ll I’ll share is that we were um on an oc we’ve been um. Going through years. But but recently we’ve had a successful recruit in in David letwi who’s joined us who who’s out of voltus and and that’s really got us excited because having this tech depth will allow us to really accelerate what we’re doing. Um, and oes is is just raised ah around and will be going out next year in 2022 for a series a in late late 2022 to allow us to go to go global. So just ah. Wanted to share that on specifically on on an oc which is which ah so thank you.

James McWalter

Absolutely and the people can check out a no see sign up, check out the careers page. Potentially you know try to try to get hired and kind of go from there. Thank you very much grant.

Grant McDowell

Um, thanks, very much very much appreciate it. James.

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