Thanks to a timely duo of the 7th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) and World Environment Day, this past week was all about global environmental concerns and enhanced political attention around energy and carbon emissions. There’s something contagious about people coming together to take positive environmental action and galvanize support from governments, organizations and individuals from all over the world…
Last week, Switch Automation, was a proud participant in CEM7, hosted in Union Square, San Francisco. CEM7 is a follow-up to the United Nations COP21 Convention of Parties Climate Change talks in Paris last year and attracted energy ministers and global policy makers from all over the world, including the U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz.
Silicon Valley is widely recognized as both a global hub for clean energy entrepreneurs and the venture capital that fuels the industry growth. Part of CEM7 was a showcase of highly innovative companies from all around the world who developed technologies that impact the use of clean energy or improve energy efficiency. This was, as you can imagine, a highly competitive selection process so we were delighted to be one of the three Australian companies selected. Our Smart Buildings platform connects the physical ‘things’ across large real estate portfolios allowing for proactive maintenance, improved energy efficiency and happier tenants = innovative energy solution for the win.
One of the most interesting discussions was driven by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (Bloomberg NEF) on how to finance the COP21 target, which seeks to limit climate change to two degrees each year. There’s a lot of debate about whether our capital markets have the capacity to fund the clean energy required for this goal. Bloomberg NEF’s, Ethan Zindler debunked some of the myths and internet innuendo by providing a fact-based analysis of the capital required and putting that into perspective with today’s capital markets. His analysis shows that if we carry on with business as usual to 2040, then we are committed to spend $6.8T but if we agree to develop enough Clean Energy to limit and meet the COP21 two-degree target then we will need $9.4T. The uptick in capital is $2.6T and this amounts to $150B of additional capital each year. To put this in perspective, in the U.S. alone, the new car loan market is over $450B annually—basically, 1/3 of the U.S. new car loan market is enough to fund the world’s Clean Energy targets.
The finance to back the Clean Energy targets is just one side of this story and we are always intrigued at how much airtime the naysayers get. The real opportunity here is the creation of jobs, businesses and new economies, particularly in emerging economies. Creating new paradigms like steam power, electricity and the internet certainly disrupted incumbents of their time, but the new opportunities for economic growth and progression of the human race far outweighed the displacement.
Clean Energy is an opportunity that has the potential to be one of the great economic growth drivers of our time. Australia has several times implemented Renewable Energy Policies with the potential to become one of the leading nations on earth, particularly in solar. Portugal recently powered their entire country for four days from solar power. And Germany recently had so much renewable energy it has to pay people to use it.
Needless to say, CEM7 was an incredibly humbling and inspiring experience for the Switch team. Talking about these big-global changes with the world’s leaders is music to our ears. But we love to see people ‘walk the walk’ as well. And so we were inspired to do our little practical part on Sunday 5th June for World Environment Day, when our CEO grabbed her bike and took to the local parks to clean up trash.
Talk the talk. AND walk the walk. That’s what we’re all about here at Switch Automation.