Last month, I went to Mumbai, India, to present at an institutional investment conference that was focused on disruptive technology. Complementing presentations by Piyush Goyal (India’s Minister of State for Power, Coal, and New and Renewable Energy) and Pashupathy Gopalan (SunEdison’s Asia Pacific President), I presented on cleantech disruption — the market disruption from solar power, wind power, and electric vehicles that has already begun and will certainly hasten quickly in the years to come.
Check out my presentation below. Although the presentation screen is not very sharp and quite difficult to read, my slides are right below the video, so you can easily skip through them while listening to the talk. Below the video and slides are notes about what I discussed in different segments of the video.
1:00 → I introduce the theme of the presentation, which is a combination of “the future is now” and “change, change, change,” coming together in this instance as “clean disruption.” (I later realized that’s the name of what I’ve heard is a great book by Tony Seba — apologies, Tony, for using the term without request, but I hope you see it as a good advertisement and use of the term! 😀 )
1:35 → I then slide into some brief highlights of other technology shifts we’ve experienced in order to put these themes into context and help convey the specific points of the rest of the presentation.
4:35 → One of the keys to a disruptive technology actually becoming disruptive is the price being right, but once the price is right, the story regarding that technology takes a massive shift in direction. Disruptive technology typically doesn’t take over the market in a linear fashion, but in an exponential manner — which is largely why “disruptive technology” surprises people (even the incumbent industry experts) time and time again, and why it really deserves its name. I highlight this with a handful of great charts I’ve gathered over the years.
7:05 → Finally, I dive into how these topics relate to solar energy and wind energy, highlighting some of my favorite clean energy charts (which you should be familiar with). This involves charts on annual renewable energy potential vs energy potential from total known fossil fuel reserves, renewable energy price trends, renewable energy growth trends, how projections from even a couple years ago are now clearly off the mark, and how renewable energy technologies compare to fossil fuels on price (hint: very well).
14:40 → With all of those attractive numbers and charts out there, I then ask the inevitable question: Why aren’t renewables growing even faster? One key reason, in my opinion, is simply the powerful effect of societal inertia. Part of that inertia is due to lack of awareness (which is the barrier I often focus on)… but not all of it. I expound on these matters more here than I think I have anywhere else (particularly because the audience was institutional investors, analysts, etc., who didn’t necessarily have much background knowledge on renewables or electric vehicles).
16:55 → Eventually, though, inertia is on our side, so I speak a little bit about our transition into that period, which I think is just starting with renewables, but is yet to kick in with EVs.
17:47 → Coming back to the start, though, I note that a catalyst is needed to help disruptive technology break through to the mass market, people who will largely sit contently with the current situation if not really stimulated. A lower price is generally part of that stimulus, but some external catalyst is still needed much of the time, at least to hasten the transition. One thing that is typically needed is a better product. So, I put a spotlight on some of the obvious and not-so-obvious ways clean technologies are better products. As part of that, 19:00 minutes in, I jump off of a great article by Christopher Arcus (which I had just edited) that comments on countries ignoring the lessons of more developed countries and following them down the same deadly path of extreme pollution. I also reference a recent study showing that we have 10,000 years of sea level rise on order if we don’t stop global warming quickly. Talk about a mistake for the history books….
22:07 → I finally get around to discussing electric vehicles directly, starting with their clear societal benefits, and also highlighting two consumer benefits that most people who haven’t driven electric vehicles aren’t aware of (yep, instant torque and superior convenience).
26:48 → Delving into numbers again, I discuss EV cost trends and the point at which EVs are expected to be “cost competitive” with gasmobiles — not accounting for the superior consumer aspects of EVs, nor the clear societal benefits. (If you watched my EV Transportation & Technology Summit presentation, you’ve already seen much of this, with a couple of updates from Tesla.)
31:35 → Pulling again from my EV Summit presentation, I also acknowledge one of the remaining barriers to broader EV adoption, and the fact that Tesla is the only company demonstrably knocking down a large part of the barrier — super-fast charging for long-distance trips. I briefly discuss why incumbent automakers may be dragging their feet in this regard. I also slide into comments touching on these stories:
- How Can Electric Cars Make Their Way In The Cost-Sensitive Market Of India?
- Norway Saw 71% Growth In EV Sales In 2015
- Tesla’s Q1 & 2016 Sales Projections
- Tesla Crushing Incumbents In Large Luxury Segment
39:30 → I add a few final comments highlighting stats that I thought to add while watching other presentations earlier in the day. Here are some articles on those:
- Renewables = 69% of New US Electricity Capacity in 2015
- EVs Will Not Gain Significant Market Share… Says OPEC
- Michael Liebreich Answers My Electric Car & Renewable Energy Questions (Video Interview)
41:10 → Q&A begins.
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