🌏 Google searches for a lower carbon future #75
Plus, 30 more countries pledge to lower methane emissions
With just one more Monday before the UN negotiations officially kick off, there’s minimal news this week as everyone holds their breath - or journeys to Glasgow. We were all 👀 on the TED pre-stage, where an activist didn’t mince her words confronting the CEO of Shell.
The flurry isn’t slowing down Alphabet, though. The omnipresent tech giant released an Alphabet soup (sorry..! 🙈) of climate efforts to nudge users towards lower carbon search results - from trips, to ads, to storage.
Plus healthy rounds from Leap and WattBuy for their energy solutions, meanwhile GoodLeap (formerly LoanPal) rakes in the PE cash. 2150 closed their European urban-focused debut fund with a deep team bench and deep pockets of $312m to deploy.
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Spelling ‘climate’ with Alphabet
Google has been one of the most ambitious companies when it comes to meeting climate goals. As early as 2007, the company announced its goal of producing 1 GW of renewable energy more cheaply than coal power. More than a decade later, it’s still fighting the good fight. Google data centers now run on 67% clean energy – putting the company in striking distance of its promise made last year to run all offices and data centers on locally-sourced carbon-free energy by 2030.
In the last week, Google has gone beyond its own campus and data centers to launch several new features in its product suite to drive down emissions among the masses:
📍 Google Maps now shows drivers the lowest carbon route for their journey based off factors such as traffic and road inclines.
✈️ Google Flights is presenting passengers the carbon emissions per seat for every flight for buyers to consider in addition to price and duration.
🙈 Google Ads and Youtube is prohibiting advertisements for, and monetization of, climate change denial.
☁️ Google Cloud will provide custom carbon footprint reports for its users detailing the carbon emissions their cloud usage generates.
🌡️ Google Nest is offering new features to automatically shift heating and cooling usage to times when the grid is cleaner and offer a $10/ month program to match energy usage with renewable energy credits.
With billions of users across its platforms, Google can create immense impact with these initiatives and “nudges.” The Google Maps emission feature alone could save more than a million tons of carbon emissions per year if everyone takes their suggested “green” route every time. However, only time will tell how significant these “nudges” are in influencing behavior.
Many of these climate policies are also a simple rebranding exercise – switching the word “efficiency” with “sustainability.” And, as many know, efficiency also means saving money. Will these emissions tools bolster business’ and peoples’ bottom lines? Once again, only time will tell.
Deals of the Week (10/11-10/17)
☀️ GoodLeap, a Bay Area, CA-based solar financing company, raised $800m in funding from MSD Partners, BDT Capital Partners, and Davidson Kempner.
✈️ Universal Hydrogen, a Los Angeles, CA-based hydrogen aviation startup raised $62m in funding from Mitsubishi HC Capital, Tencent, Stratos, GE Aviation, Waltzing Matilda Aviation, Fourth Realm, Hawktail, TIME Ventures, Jeff Wilke, and 75 & Sunny Ventures.
🚗 Zest Eco, a UK-based EV charging company, raised $41.2m in funding from Zouk Capital.
⚡ Leap, a San Francisco, CA-based energy market access provider, raised $33.5m in Series B funding from Park West Asset Management, Foobar, Climate Capital, My Climate Journey, Union Square Ventures, Congruent Ventures, and National Grid Partners.
🛰️ AiDash, a Santa Clara, CA-based provider of satellite and AI-powered vegetation management and sustainability solutions, raised $27m in Series B funding from G2 Venture Partners, BGV, and National Grid Partners.
⚡ WattBuy, a New York City, NY-based clean energy startup, raised $10m in Series A funding from SE Ventures, MCJ Collective, Evergy Ventures, Updater, Powerhouse Ventures, Techstars Ventures, Avesta Fund, and Yoav Lurie.
💧 Pani Energy, a Vancouver, BC-based software platform elevating the efficiency of water treatment plants, raised $8m in Seed funding from Blue Bear Capital, Blue Coast, Mazarine Ventures, Humanitas, and SDTC.
♻️ Seenons, an Amsterdam-based waste-saving platform for the circular economy, raised $7m in Seed funding from Tablomonto and Capital T.
🛵 Ion Mobility, a Singapore-based electric motorbike maker, raised $6.8m in Seed funding from TNB Aura, Quest Ventures, GDP Venture, Monk’s Hill Ventures, Seeds Capital and 500 Southeast Asia.
☀️ RatedPower, a Spain-based software platform to design and engineer solar plants, raised $6m in Series A funding from Seaya Ventures.
💨 TrustTrace, a Sweden-based sustainability-focused supply chain traceability platform, raised $6m in funding from Industrifonden, Fairpoint Capital, BackingMinds, and Fashion for Good.
🪟 Tynt Technologies, a Boulder, CO-based developer of smart windows, raised $5.5m in Seed funding from Starlight Ventures, Prime Impact Fund, and Kompas Ventures.
💨 Agreena, a Netherlands-based carbon market platform focused on regenerative agriculture, raised $4.5m in Seed funding from Giant Ventures and Danish Green Future Fund.
🧀 Grounded Foods, a Los Angeles, CA-based maker of dairy cheese alternatives, raised $2.5m in pre-Series A funding from Big Idea Ventures, Stray Dog Capital, Route 66 Ventures, Nucleus Capital, Kale United, and Presight Capital.
💰 Grunfin, an Estonia-based sustainable investing platform, raised $2.3m in Seed funding from Norrsken VC and other angel investors.
💨 RepAir Carbon, an Israel-based direct air capture company, raised $1.5m in Seed funding from Counteract, ESIL, Consensus Business Group, ImpactAssets, and other investors.
⚡ Enosi Energy, an Australia-based energy traceability company, raised $1.5m in Seed funding from ReNu Energy, Energy Estate, and Artesian Clean Energy Seed Fund.
💨 Aspiring Materials, a New Zealand-based carbon capture startup, raised $1m in Pre-seed funding from Icehouse Ventures and Outset Ventures.
Exits & New Funds:
2150 closed its debut fund focused on making European cities greener at $312m in funding.
At One Ventures closed its debut $150m fund focused on environmentally positive hardware innovations.
In the News
More than 30 countries pledge to lower methane emissions to 30% by 2030. But, the pledge misses four biggest methane polluters - China, India, Russia and Brazil.
After 30 years of trying, the Austrian government implemented a carbon tax. Starting at €30/ ton in 2022, the country’s price falls within the middle of the pack in Europe, but is low relative to the Social Cost of Carbon (€45-75/ton). Greenpeace called the price “too weak, too late, and ineffective”.
The window of opportunity to pass the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) is growing ever smaller with Senator Manchin publicly expressing his opposition to the $150B program crucial to Biden’s climate agenda.
Meanwhile, in another attempt to inch closer to its soft target of 100% clean energy by 2035, the Biden Administration set a target to power 5 million homes through community solar. [Learn more about community solar with Arcadia]
Larry Fink penned an opinion ahead of COP26, hoping richer and more developed nations would heed his advice: rich countries should pay more to drive net zero abroad zero. The $10T fund manager says investment funds, like his company, won’t bear the climate risk, nor will developing nations - so deeper pocketed nations need to step up for the sake of our future. What do you think?
The IEA released a special addition of its World Energy Outlook, also in the run up to COP26, emphasizing the gap between current pledges and the roadmap necessary to keep below 1.5°C of warming.
The lesser-known UN biodiversity conference convened this past week to solve a parallel task: how to stop the extinction of species that prop up life on earth.
As one of the last holdouts of the O&G majors, Chevron announced it would commit to net-zero for its operational emissions by 2050.
Last week, each federal department released their report on their climate-related vulnerabilities. This week, the Biden Administration presents a government-wide roadmap to measure, disclose, manage, mitigate climate-risk, and build a climate-resilient economy.
Break out the popcorn - TED Countdown published an unedited teardown discussion between the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, the cofounder of activist hedge fund Engine No.1, a Scottish climate justice activist, and former executive secretary of the UNFCCC.
The British are all in on climate. Ahead of COP26, her majesty Queen Elizabeth II mutters her irritation by leaders who “talk” but “don't do;” Prince William side-eyes billionaires “trying to find the next place,” asking us to focus on saving Earth; and officials at Britain’s environment agency warns world leaders: “Adapt or die.”
Meet the inaugural Breakthrough Energy Fellows working on electrofuels, cement, steel, hydrogen, and fertilizer.
Explore the 10 climate tech companies including Joule and SolarFi to join LACI’s Fall 2021 cohort.
Energy Innovation’s modeling revealed that the infrastructure bills could help the US reach 70-85% clean electricity by 2030.
First Street Foundation finds 1 in 4 units of critical infrastructure (e.g. hospitals, airports) in the US at risk of being rendered inoperable due to flooding. See how your state is doing.
Beyond Meat McPlant burgers are heading to a Mickey D’s near you.
After months of collaboration, Persefoni and Patch launch the “Robinhood of Carbon Offsets” for climate-conscious consumers.
Opportunities & Events:
💡 Urban Water Challenge: Apply by Oct 27th to Imagine H2O’s Challenge IV for urban water tech solutions to receive $50-100k in pilot awards.
🗓️ Carbon Removal and Environmental Justice: Join Grist and Carbon180 on Oct 20th for a discussion about how to deploy carbon removal equitably.
🗓️ Procurement as an Instrument of Policy: Join the Federation of American Scientists on Oct 21st for a discussion on how government procurement can solve market failures for climate solutions.
🗓️ Canadian Technology Accelerator: Connect with 8 of Canada’s most exciting early-stage climate tech founders as they pitch at the Climatetech Investor Showcase in front of US investors on Oct 28th.
Climate Strategy Manager @Watershed
Venture Capital Associate @SET Ventures
Client Partner - USA, East Coast/DC @Circulor
Full-Stack Engineer @Euclid Power
Investment Operations Associate / Manager @Prime Impact Fund
Senior Electrical Engineer @Gradient Comfort
Business Accountant @Phoenix Tailings
Feel free to 📩 send us new ideas, recent fundings, events & opportunities, or general curiosities. Have a great week ahead!