New Energy + Mature Energy = Scale

Because of my work with PetroAlgaeSkyFuelEarthTronics and other cleantech companies, it has become clear to me that the degree of success achieved by “new energy” technologies (wind, solar, biofuels, electric vehicles, etc) will in large part be the result of their ability to integrate into and leverage the existing, “mature energy” infrastructure. Whether it’s plug-in, drop-in, co-fire, bolt-on or some other term, it is these types of technology – which DO NOT require significant retooling of refineries, transmission, storage, etc – that will have the best chance to scale, and thereby win in the long-term. Exxon’s recent announcement to invest $600 million in algae is a good indicator of this trend. Similar to the discussion of gigaton scale in my last post, cleantech companies need to be thinking about this issue when developing their positioning and go-to-market strategy.