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Expert Voices: Powerhouse's Emily Kirsch

Megan Hernbroth
May 5, 2022
Photo illustration of Emily Kirsch with collage of abstract shapes and wind turbines.

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Courtesy of Powerhouse

Today we're talking with Emily Kirsch, founder of Powerhouse and its seed-stage venture arm, Powerhouse Ventures.

Why she matters: Powerhouse and Powerhouse Ventures represent two distinct pathways to success for early-stage climate and sustainable energy startups. Powerhouse matches young companies with larger corporations for partnerships or buyouts, and Powerhouse Ventures backs startups, often as first money in, to help them get to the point where a partnership or buyout makes sense.

What was this week’s big story, in your view?

  • The announcement that Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) received a $500 million conditional loan guarantee from the DOE's Loan Programs Office. ACES’s project, which will generate hydrogen from renewables and store it deep underground in a salt dome in Utah, is precisely the kind of long-duration seasonal storage our grid needs as renewables continue to make up an ever-increasing share of our energy generation.

What do you feel is being under-covered or under-noticed?

  • Improvements in the credibility of measurement and verification for carbon capture and storage solutions, especially for nature-based solutions.

What are you most closely following?

  • We're keeping a close eye on whether we'll see big policy shifts (including a rebooted Build Back Better package) that could open up federal funding streams to big sectors.

In three words, what one change would you make to accelerate investment in sustainable energy/climate tech?

  • Democratize financing solutions.
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