It was an inspiring two days attending the PROPEL Energy Tech Forum last week! It was great to connect with entrepreneurs, investors and thought leaders from around the globe who are taking action to advance our country to net zero. From listening to start-up pitches to conversations with blue chips and industry associations, I was encouraged by industry’s commitment to step up and work together to tackle the energy sector’s toughest challenges.
1. Buckle Up: Venture Capital is Changing Course
Among significant world events and rising interest rates to combat inflation, venture capital has changed course. The global economy is facing considerable challenges, with these challenges trickling down to VC decisions and their assessment of the investment landscape. After setting a record-breaking year in 2021, we are starting to see valuations come back into check. Lower valuations may entice venture capitalists to strike a deal despite the uncertainty of the market, however, Phoebe Wang from Shell Ventures cautioned that cleantech investment could chill significantly for pre-revenue ventures.
2. Energy Diversification Requires Collaboration
One of our favourite panels from the event focused on #cleantech as a vehicle for accelerating the path to net zero. Many panelists stressed that there is great urgency to assemble the pieces required to facilitate the energy transition and there are many amazing technologies being developed offering part of the solution. Energy affordability and security were also emphasized, calling out the need for diversification and collaboration among all players in the energy system. As energy systems reconfigure and demand for energy increases, high energy prices will affect universal access and affordability for consumers and industries. As Myrna Bittner from RWI Synthetics put it, “energy affordability is energy security.” The bottom line: the energy transition is complex, and no one can get there alone.
3. ESG Reporting is Top of Mind
Throughout the two days we heard multiple conversations about the need for standardization around ESG reporting. Movements in the market have signaled that consumers and investors want measurable insights to help assess investment risk and reputation. It comes as no surprise that climate change has assumed a pivotal role in ESG reporting and energy companies who embrace this stand to benefit.
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