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Why These 19 States Hate Building Electrification
By Caroline Spears
Why These 19 States Hate Building Electrification
By Caroline Spears
Let’s go back to January of 2021: Span, a company streamlining home electrification, just raised $20,000,000 in funding. A month later, BlocPower followed up with a $63 million Series A. From a startup’s perspective, it’s a good time to be tackling one of the most fundamental challenges facing the climate crisis: home electrification.
But in states across the country, politicians didn’t agree - and the crackdown had started. By July, nineteen states had passed laws crushing building electrification, and four more had legislation pending.
Sound crazy? We think so, too. But here’s what went down: the American Gas Association got involved, and the clean energy industry just wasn’t prepared. In just a few months, the AGA went from this initial slide deck to a 19-state anti-electrification victory.
What does this mean for Span and BlocPower? In just a few months, their potential market was reduced dramatically - and artificially - by an American Gas Association lobbying campaign.
So how do we stop this? If you’re reading this newsletter, you probably agree that we need a whole bunch of new businesses and new technologies to solve climate change.
But today’s clean energy startups aren’t operating in a vacuum. Fossil fuel industries have a decades-long head start on a policy and politics machine that gets into the nitty-gritty of state and local races. They are actively working to limit the market for everything from WeaveGrid to Voltus to Charm Industrial to Sila Nanotech.
Unlike many other industries, energy and utility markets have strict floors and ceilings set by policy and politics. A company’s ability to stay afloat - or 10x their investment - is dependent on their ability to influence these dynamics.
Here’s the flipside: with policy and politics at our back, we can make game-changing strides. Just take Arizona and Massachusetts. According to the NREL solar potential map, it shouldn't even be close: Arizona is the sunniest state in the entire USA. But because of Arizona's lackluster policies, Arizona produces a smaller percentage of its electricity from solar (5%, to Massachusetts' 8%). It even has fewer clean energy jobs: Massachusetts has 100,000 of them, and Arizona's trailing at a measly 50,000.
The climate community needs to fight back. We’re being outspent and outgunned on policy and politics at every level of government. We need a smarter way to organize. Here’s how we do it:
Get political. The fossil industry sees the ROI in policy and politics - it’s time the cleantech industry has a plan to counter. Fund candidates and local organizers, who create the political will for bold climate action but are undervalued by the cleantech community.
Go local. The biggest levers for action are in local offices. Reach out to your local candidates running for office, and ask them: what’s your plan to solve climate change? Join - and support - your local organizing group.
Use tech to scale. There are a whole lot of policymakers in America - 500,000, in fact. So we need to work smarter, surgically identifying the top priorities for impact with the latest in data science.
Want to get involved? Thinking through climate policy and your business? Join our newsletter, and stay tuned for the first high-impact climate opportunity of the year: our Climate Slate, which will feature the highest-ROI climate races of 2022.
At Climate Cabinet, we’ve spent 3 years building the largest national database of political races and their climate impact. We have office hours every Thursday - come chat!
Weekly climate art! This week, we’re featuring Nicole Kelner, check her out on twitter.
Each week, The Regenerates will surface a climate campaign or stories to be told—elevating why it works (or doesn't) from a communications and marketing lens.
Volvo stays true to their brand with Ultimate Safety Test, drawing a clear link between climate commitments and their reputation for safety. Owning, "We are part of the problem, so we need to be part of the solution," feels obvious but is usually skipped by most companies. In the future, we'd love to see more airtime on what they call "modern urban living.” These stories can make it appealing to adapt and live differently.
📸Visualizing the Transition
Mark Tomasovic is helping us imagine the climate future.
Spotlight on a climate tech deal of the week. Check out Climate Tech VC for the full roster of companies that raised climate capital this week.
Sylvera, a London-based startup tackling the lack of transparency in carbon offset markets, closed a $32 million Series A led by Index Ventures and Insight Partners. Sylvera, the ‘Moody’s of carbon,’ rates carbon offset projects by parsing satellite imagery and LIDAR data using machine learning. As a result, corporations and governments can invest in projects with a higher degree of confidence that they will be effective.
Learn about Aether Diamonds this week with Pique Action’s mini-documentaries.
This week the world of climate action in web3 from John Ellison at Toucan. You can read more in Issue #2 of the ReFi Weekly Roundup by the ReFi DAO community.
Regen Network launched their first-ever Community Staking DAO. KumoDAO is launching a carbon-backed stablecoin. ReFi DAO has opened up a weekly founder's circle for high-ambition startup founders in climate x web3. 64 Phoney Plants, an Eco Labs DAO Collection, will be available to mint on Cardano on 28th January.
This week, Jason caught up with Andrew Ponec, Co-Founder & CEO of Antora Energy. Antora Energy's technology stores electricity as heat in extremely inexpensive raw materials and uses a novel thermophotovoltaic heat engine to convert that heat back to electricity when consumers need it, hours, days, or weeks later.
📋 Calling all MCJ members! Please fill out our first quarterly survey of 2022
💎Diamond List is back in action! Diamond List is an annual roundup of “hidden gem” climate startups built on nominations from top-tier climate investors. The all-volunteer team behind Diamond List includes Olya Irzak who participated in our Startup Series. They’re still approving nominators for this round (deadline extended through Feb 6!). If you’re a professional investor, especially outside the US, apply here to nominate companies.
For more open positions, check out the #climatejobs channel in MCJ Slack.
Terra.do is hiring a Business Development Manager - Climate Employers (US Pacific timezone), Data Engineer/BI & Analytics (US and India timezones), Finance Manager (US timezones), Marketing Manager (US timezones), and Senior Visual Designer (US timezones)
The US DOE Is hiring 1000 people for the Clean Energy Corps
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