As part of our support for #EarthDay, we spoke to the founders of our cleantech portfolio companies to get their perspectives on what it means to innovate in this space, and their thoughts about the future.
SyndicateRoom: In a few sentences, tell us what Zeigo does.
Juan Pablo Cerda: Zeigo is a climate tech platform that helps organisations buy energy directly from wind and solar farms via a mechanism called power purchase agreements (PPA). PPAs are very important as they provide developers with t he necessary finance to build solar or wind assets. PPAs directly contribute to the replacement of fossil fuel energy with new green electrons, this is essential in combating climate change.
SR: Tell us more about why developing cleantech is important and what other businesses can learn from what you’re doing?
JPC: The world relies upon innovation, technology and the digitisation of current processes in order to accelerate the transition to renewables and achieve net zero. We are experiencing a huge shift / transition to a digital era. It is only now that we are realising the power of connectivity and how we can use that to accelerate the displacement of fossil fuels.
SR: What trends or developments in the cleantech space are you most excited about and why?
JPC: Battery storage and the electrification of all vehicles including planes. If we think about intermittency, grid flexibility and risk mitigation, energy storage plays a key role ensuring energy gets distributed, is available and constant. To move now to a fully electric world, we will need a LOT of batteries, so the efficiency, materials and functionality will play a key part in the coming years.
SR: What do you think we’ll see in the next 5-10 years within these sectors?
JPC: Giga-battery hubs, more virtual power plants, a more efficient energy system and better / cleaner power distribution.
SR: What do you consider the main impediments to widespread advances in clean technologies globally, and what steps can businesses and ordinary people take to mitigate them?
JPC: Complexity and misinformation. Clean technologies are deemed to be complex, in their infancy and expensive. Increasing the rate of adoption will bring future costs down and provide better data and visibility to enable the enhancement of existing products and the creation of many more.
SR: What differences do you feel your business specifically will make to the larger landscape of environmental responsibility, renewable energy or sustainability?
JPC: The more companies that adopt truly clean power and realise the difference and impact between buying offsets or certificates from directly buying energy from wind or solar farms, the quicker the transition towards a clean global energy grid will be. Therefore convincing companies to switch to clean energy and facilitating the process will play a crucial part for future adoption.
SR: What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs looking to start businesses in the cleantech space?
JPC: Go for it, the world needs more innovation in this space. Make sure you are aware of the secondary impact of the product as well as focusing strongly on the business case, cost, and effectiveness. We need companies to make a lasting impact.
SR: How important is investment to the success of cleantech businesses, and what single argument would you make to encourage investors to consider investment in this area?
JPC: Companies that have an explicit or underlying social, environmental and/or green agenda are outperforming traditional companies in every aspect including sales, market penetration, revenue etc. This is largely due to a shift in consumer demands driving internal corporate commitments, targets & product development.
Juan Pablo Cerda is the founder of a London-based technology company at the forefront of renewable energy, Zeigo. He has 12 years’ experience working within the energy sector and international commodity trading markets as well as building and exiting businesses in the sector. Juan Pablo believes in disrupting corporate procurement of renewable energy to accelerate the green revolution and contribute towards a sustainable future. Juan Pablo is an ambitious entrepreneur with a vision to achieve a fully decarbonised energy system around the world sooner than 2050.
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