Since power markets and governments are not providing sufficient revenue to keep many nuclear plants open and the increasing adoption of wind and solar will only exacerbate this problem, merchant nuclear plants should focus on serving co-located industry rather than the grid. In fact, it may be the most economic way to decarbonize industry and balance a high renewables grid long term.

U.S. merchant nuclear plants have faced a number of premature closures in recent years due to falling wholesale energy and capacity prices . NEI reports that 16,490 MW of nuclear capacity responsible for 135.6 TWh of annual energy production (over 3% of U.S. electricity demand) have shutdown or announced shutdown…

With the recent boom in ESG and climate tech investment appetite, venture capitalists cannot lose sight of the importance of finding venture-style returns, not just to satisfy LPs but to expedite the transition to a zero carbon economy. The energy industry is unforgiving, and investors will still experience 2008-style busts if they do not recognize the industry’s unique constraints.

When I started my first role in corporate strategy and innovation at a large utility, I was full of strong convictions about which energy technologies held the most promise for quickly driving decarbonization. Like many recent engineering grads, I was a techno-optimist who believed that fundamental economics should generally win…

A playbook for navigating incumbent thinking and driving meaningful, scalable change in the energy sector.

As Clay Christensen detailed in “Innovator’s Dilemma”, driving meaningful innovation in large incumbent corporations is hard and plagued by misaligned incentives. Innovating in the electricity industry with its layers of regulations on earnings and operations, commodity markets, and 150 years of risk-averse command-and-control culture is perhaps the greatest manifestation of…

Hypothesis: There is an amount of capital every utility could spend on a customer’s electrification asset per kWh of incremental new load without raising electricity rates.

Every utility generates earnings based on a specific revenue formula set by their local regulatory commission. That formula determines the electricity rate ($/kWh) that the utility’s customers need to pay in order for the utility to cover its operating expenses and earn a modest return (set by the regulators). The…

There has been a lot of focus on moving energy transactions to a blockchain, but energy transactions already have a complex and regulated market structure. Why not use digital scarcity to create markets that don’t currently exist…

Problem

Most people have no concept of their carbon footprint, no easy way to…

The energy industry is fueled by debt. Long-lived assets require low-interest, long-lived financing to keep energy affordable and available to all. Securing low-interest debt means investors and decision-makers need to have confidence that the right infrastructure is getting built for a particular community. Accelerating the electrification and decarbonization transition while keeping it affordable and politically tenable means we need an ESG scoring system that investors and regulators trust.

Summary

An enterprise software platform that provides a rating for energy infrastructure proposals put forth by utilities, developers, and other stakeholders (akin to how Moodys or S&P are paid to rate corporate bonds). The platform enables collaboration between stakeholders in order to accelerate the pace of capital deployment on the grid…

Why is innovation in nuclear energy so slow and how can we change the paradigm?

I am going to start this article with a statement that is technically true but disagreeable to the majority of the energy industry: Nuclear power can be the lowest cost generation technology. …

What is the rationale behind the hundreds of millions of dollars suddenly pouring into nuclear fusion development? How does nuclear fusion become the multi-billion dollar unicorn that investors, oil companies, and society need it to be?

When I was involved in the nuclear fusion research community in 2012, it was almost entirely funded by government science programs (as it had been for decades). Progress was being made but it was slow, costly, and often lacked commercial intent. Since 2012, the nuclear fusion community has made a…

Infrastructure as a means to economic recovery

The original New Deal spanning 1933–1939 was designed to help pull the United States out of an economic depression but it had the added benefit of laying down a foundation of infrastructure that enabled the greatest economic and productivity boom the country has ever seen. The strong government-backed build-out of…

We need to take a more data-driven approach to the way we plan and finance infrastructure.

The full decarbonization of the global economy will involve a great number of new technologies and new businesses; new power plants, new ways of moving and storing energy, new way of efficiently using that energy to do useful things, new ways of delivering the services modern society has grown accustomed…

Jake Jurewicz

Jake is an energy strategist and entrepreneur passionate about combating climate change with data, technology, and creative business models.

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