First, I learned from innovators that the clean-tech space is no longer based in philanthropy or only public investment. Multiple private investment funds that support these technologies are ready to commit, if the innovation is ready regardless of risk and the length of time involved in a return on investment in this market (e.g., Gates Venture Fund, etc.). Among the innovators, our discussion with the Mission Innovation Champion, Mr. Santi Pada Chaudhari, the man behind the first off-grid plant in India, was particularly interesting. He emphasized how businesses play the role of “grid-integrator” between decentralized and centralized electricity sectors by phasing out off-grid in high demand and working with Purchase Power Agreements (PPAs), for example. Nevertheless, it was clear from the discussions that innovation needs a great deal of support from market regulators.
Gladly, I had the opportunity to be keynote speaker and delegate for the Mission Innovation round-table discussion with people from academia, business, and governments. The discussion centered on developing collaboration opportunities that incorporate digitization solutions in clean energy industries – especially in smart manufacturing. The group expressed a willingness to listen to disruptive solutions that challenge existing energy solutions. In spite of some friction, group members presented interesting solutions like an open marketplace for transparent recording of associated emissions along the manufacturing supply chain. Overall, it was my first hands on experience making innovator- oriented policies in the clean energy.