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On Wednesday, October 29 Axios' Amy Harder hosted a conversation on the pandemic's effects on the environment, the energy industry, and how these shifts will have a lasting impact on the private sector's approach to renewable energy. The conversation featured Sunrun co-founder and CEO Lynn Jurich and New York's deputy secretary for energy and environment Ali Zaidi.

Lynn Jurich discussed the shift to renewable energy and the technology making renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuels.

  • On the next biggest global challenge in renewable energy: "How do you decarbonize this energy industry globally?...I view this very much as an opportunity and something where the U.S. should really be just moving faster on this. And that's why I look to the Biden program to help us."
  • On new technologies in the energy space: "We're just scratching the surface of the existing lithium-ion battery technology. If we combine that technology with renewable energy, we can go a long way to decarbonizing our energy system."

Ali Zaidi unpacked Gov. Cuomo's statewide plans around renewable energy, from centering issues of race and equity, as well as New York state's initiative to get to 70% renewable electricity by 2030.

  • On the goals of New York's energy policy plans: "It's an opportunity to advance jobs. It's an opportunity to advance justice. And it's an opportunity to advance our climate ambitions. That's the playbook Gov. Cuomo has laid out."
  • How energy is an equity issue: "What we are seeing increasingly is the intersecting and interconnected challenges of race, of equity and of the environment. And what that reveals to us is a real opportunity. Coming out of this pandemic to build back better."

Axios Chief Revenue Officer Fabricio Drummond hosted a View from the Top segment with Cognite co-founder and CEO John Markus Lervik and discussed the role of technology in increasing usage of renewable energy.

  • "For renewables and renewable transformation, [it is] fully dependent on digital transformation. Technology is the single most important driver for more sustainable and environmentally friendly operations."

Thank you Cognite for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 10, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on 5G

Axios' Ina Fried hosted a conversation on the potential of 5G and its capacity to disrupt everything from emergency response technology to sports, featuring Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, Qwake Technologies co-founder John Long, and ORBI CEO Iskander Rakhman.

Cristiano Amon discussed the success of Qualcomm's 5G phones, which recently reported sales and earnings that exceeded expectations. He highlighted how 5G will change mobile phones and household devices in the future.

  • How 5G will upend consumers' video capabilities: "5G will do to video what 4G did to music...We don't listen to CDs in our cars. We stream music everywhere. And that's going to happen with high-resolution video. 95% of the time with 5G, you're going to be able to consume video in the highest possible resolution was made and it's going to turn each and every one of us into a broadcaster"

Hans Vestberg unpacked the increased capacity of 5G and how this will have a tangible impact on consumers.

  • On the leap from 4G to 5G: "On 5G I can connect one million devices per square kilometer...At the same time in 4G, I can do at this one hundred thousand."

In a new Smarter, Faster segment, Ina Fried hosted a rapid-fire Q&A with guests using 5G technology in their fields.

  • John Long discussed how 5G's improved bandwidth is critical for emergency responders: "If there's ever...a natural event where you have 50 hundred firefighters, several hundred, that's where you really need 5G. You need that scale. You won't have that bandwidth for a small number of people."
  • Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin on how cities can use 5G to make informed policy decisions: "If we can use interconnected devices that give faster and more reliable data, then we can come back and talk about issues like climate change and the impacts on, say, pollution and wind and rain."
  • Iskander Rakhman on the role of 5G in sports entertainment: "5G is going to be essential for bringing new types of experience to increase engagement among the fans of various ages."

Thank you Verizon for sponsoring this event.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

New deals in the COVID economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 is the macro horror of our lifetimes, and has destroyed or severely damaged countless businesses. But, like with most horribles, it also has created some opportunities.

Driving the news: Merck this morning announced an agreement to buy OncoImmune, a Maryland-based biotech that showed promising late-stage clinical results for a therapy that treats severe and critical coronavirus cases.

2 hours ago - Technology

Biden's openings for tech progress

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images 

Item No. 1 on President-elect Joe Biden's day-one tech agenda, controlling the flood of misinformation online, offers no fast fixes — but other tech issues facing the new administration hold out opportunities for quick action and concrete progress.

What to watch: Closing the digital divide will be a high priority, as the pandemic has exposed how many Americans still lack reliable in-home internet connections and the devices needed to work and learn remotely.