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5th Cleantech Editors & Reporters Roundtable –  Big Three Points

on • 8 min. read

Last week, we hosted the 5th Cleantech Editors Roundtable, and we think it was our best yet. Six editors from major cleantech news sites met to cover a wide range of topics. You can view a highlight reel below, but beneath that is what we heard to be the “B3Ps,” or Big 3 Points:  

#1 - There’s a truckload of stuff going on in cleantech.  

Q: What are 3 biggest cleantech topics you see emerging from the summer that are sure to extend into the fall 

Heather Clancy (Green Biz) 

Carbon accounting softwareelectronic waste, increased focus on domestic manufacturing.  

Iulia Gheorghiu (Utility Dive) 

Developing offshore wind supply chains, electrification, cybersecurity.  

Kelly Pickerel (Solar Power World) 

State-level solar policy in CA and beyond, international solar tariffs, domestic solar tax credits.  

Zachary Shahan (Clean Technica) 

Growing EV sales/decline in ICE cars, domestic manufacturing of EV batteriesself-driving vehicles.  

Darius Snieckus (Recharge) 

Green hydrogenoffshore wind & hydro as a power couple,” floating wind. 

David Wagman (PV Magazine) 

Energy storage alongside solar, more policy focus on reshoring manufacturing, risk of grid disruption.  


#2 – Storing electricity is going to have a bigger impact than storing heat. 

 Q: Within the next five to 10 years, will storing heat or storing electricity contribute more to renewable scaling?  

 Clancy: That is a really hard question. [If] you're asking which will have the most impact, then I say electricity. Which should have the most impact? I'd say heat, I mean, thats where so many companies have not made a dent yet in their decarbonization. They have all these manufacturing processes that require that heat, and we really need to work on that.  

 Wagman: Yeah. I'd have to agree, electricity. Although, I will say that my colleagues who are working on the global issue of our magazine over in Europe are getting a lot of play around heat and they're covering that as an increasing issue. It hasn't hit the radar to the extent here. 

 Gheorghiu: I think of the heating question as something that is just so much more conceptual [in] the U.SWe'd be reporting on something that would be cutting edge to pilot or to model. Whereas the discussions on energy storage, electricity storage, has been a lot more about how can we scale up yesterday?” 

 #3 – There's no one way yet emerging to address renewables’ transmission challenge. 

Q: Will the renewables industry be able to solve its transmission challenge, and if so, how?  

 Gheorghiu: Everyone agrees transmission is a big, big blockBut it's hard to have renewables try to sell that for themselves. So, I say hopefully we're going to see a lot more coming from FERC and a lot more coming from different wholesale markets on just the competition to have transmission connect to them.  

 Wagman: I think the interesting thing about solar is that it certainly is scalable and you can solve the transmission problem by putting solar on your rooftop and really have a local, very distributed solution to it.... [we need] more distributed, local micro grid solutions that use solar along with storage. It strikes me as solving some of those transmission issues. 

 Pickerel: I've been talking to a lot of people out in the Northeast United States about virtual power plants....Utilities have always been quick to dislike residential solar, but now it seems that they are actually pro-residential storage. So it's starting, and those situations are going to solve a lot of those bigger transmission issues. 

 Snieckus: Hydrogen is the solution, obviously. You produce as much as you like, you make it a commodity, you ship it around the planet, you use ex LNG shuttle tankers to do so, and you're green shipping in the process. Transmission aint that big a deal all of a sudden, in a sense.   

Bonus point.... Editors have the “dream” interview, and here’s who they are: 

 Q: What would be the dream interview or dream byline, and why? 

 Shahan: Yeah, Elon would be great. 

Clancy: Laurene Powell Jobs. I just feel like she's…got a lot of money and she's using it in places you wouldn't expect. 

Gheorghiu: I'm interested in utility executives that made the transition into distributed and other energy services, because they will have a lot of perspective on utility partnerships and competing for services with utilities. People like Mary Powell, who's now at the helm of Sunrun.  

Wagman: What I like are elegant, simple solutions, folks who come up with those and then really drive them down to the underserved portions of the global population.  

Pickerel: I think the actor Mark Ruffalo would be really cool to talk to. He's very pro solar, he's gone to board meetings, utility board meetings, and spoke his mind.  

Snieckus: Amanda Lefton, I think, director of BOEM. She's taking a creaky old oil and gas organization and she's turning it upside down and turning it into something that's very forward looking and visionary.