show episodes
 
Watt It Takes tells the stories of founders that are making our zero-carbon future a reality — their upbringings, their risks, their failures, and their breakthroughs that are transforming our world. Hosted by Powerhouse Founder & CEO Emily Kirsch. New monthly episodes coming this spring.
 
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show series
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Michael Liebreich, the founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Michael had been many things, from entry-level analyst to Olympic skier to a crestfallen dot-com entrepreneur. And then in the mid-2000s, he found his home in the clean energy economy. Unemployed, he used a team of interns to begin compiling d…
 
Tony Blair, UK Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007 and Executive Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute, joins Michael Liebreich for the first episode of Season 3. Bio Tony Blair was the UK Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007 and is now the Executive Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute, a not-for-profit organisation established in 2016 with staff of 200 s…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Lynn Jurich, the co-founder and CEO of Sunrun. Sunrun was a pioneer in the early days of residential solar. Today, it’s the biggest installer of home solar systems in America -- and one of the industry’s biggest success stories. Sunrun also partners with utilities on using batteries and rooftop systems to …
 
Over the years, we’ve profiled top leaders in climate tech, on stage and in-studio. And now we're spinning the series into a standalone show. Watt It Takes will introduce you to the entrepreneurs who are making our zero-carbon future a reality. We’re launching new episodes throughout 2021, featuring the founders, innovators, and companies you need …
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with CNN host and green-jobs pioneer Van Jones. Van may be best known for “The Van Jones Show” and “The Redemption Project,” which both air on CNN. He is also the author of three best-selling books, including “The Green Collar Economy.” But long before his high-profile career, Van was a powerful voice for bring…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Donnel Baird, the founder and CEO of BlocPower. BlocPower is a Brooklyn, New York startup electrifying and weatherizing buildings in underserved communities — slashing pollution and saving money. This includes housing units, churches, community centers. BlocPower was founded in 2012. It has raised venture …
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Matt Rogers, the co-founder of Nest. Nest is best known for its elegant learning thermostat, the first major breakout hit in the smart home space. Google later acquired the company for $3.2 billion. Matt is a former Apple engineer who applied design principles from the iPod and the iPad to smart thermostat…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Steph Speirs, the CEO of Solstice. Solstice is a community-solar company with a mission to bring clean electricity to underserved communities. Steph Speirs grew up as one of three kids, a first generation immigrant, in Hawaii. She knows what poverty can feel like, or how a poor credit score can sink a huma…
 
In this episode, Shayle Kann interviews our Watt It Takes host, Emily Kirsch. Emily is the founder and CEO of Powerhouse and Managing Partner of Powerhouse Ventures. In this episode, she shares her entrepreneurial story. Emily began her career as an organizer at the Ella Baker Center, working with green jobs pioneer Van Jones. Then, in the early da…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Stephen Lacey, the founder of Post Script Audio. Stephen has been the creative force behind many of the top podcasts about climate change and clean energy. And, he also happens to be our executive producer. He’s been making podcasts about the energy transition since 2006. This was the dawn of on-demand aud…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Cathy Zoi, the CEO of EVgo — one of the country’s largest electric vehicle charging networks. Cathy has seen it all. She’s studied and worked in oil, gas and clean energy since the Reagan Era. Now at the helm of EVgo, she’s convinced the future of mobility is coming fast. Cathy was on the team that develop…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Dan Yates, the co-founder and former CEO of Opower. Opower was based on a simple premise: send paper mailers to utility customers comparing their electricity use to their neighbors. And if people saw they were doing poorly, they’d make changes. It worked. Over time, Opower inked deals with the world’s bigg…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Gia Schneider, the co-founder and CEO of Natel Energy. Natel is commercializing a turbine for low-head hydro applications—at locations like old dams, irrigation canals and run-of-river projects. And it’s designed to protect wildlife and drastically cut the ecological impact of hydropower. Gia has a long hi…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Saul Griffith, the founder and chief scientist at Otherlab. Otherlab is an R&D incubator and accelerator that helps pair startups in robotics and renewable energy with government labs and corporate investors. It has partnered with NASA, the Navy, the Department of Energy, Google, Facebook, GE and Ford to h…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Robyn Beavers, the co-founder and CEO of Blueprint Power. Blueprint works with real estate companies to turn their buildings into power plants. It has a piece of software that helps building owners optimize their use of co-generation, fuel cells, solar or batteries. Robin has a long history in the tech, re…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Dr. Christine Ho, the co-founder and CEO of Imprint Energy. Imprint is the company created to commercialize Christine’s invention: a tiny, zinc-based solid-state battery that can be screen printed. It’s being integrated into sensors and other tiny devices, helping power the internet-of-things. Today, Impri…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Dr. Etosha Cave, the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Opus 12. Opus 12 is a team of engineers, electrochemists and materials scientists working on a technology that converts carbon dioxide into usable products. If the tech works at commercial scale, it would be a vital solution for slashing CO2 f…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Mateo Jaramillo, the co-founder and CEO of Form Energy. Form is working on a new kind of long-duration battery that could change the power sector. In the early 2000s, Mateo deployed some of the first battery systems in New York for demand response — seeing the grid services potential well before anyone els…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Xavier Helgesen, the co-founder and former CEO of Zola Electric. Zola is a provider of solar and storage systems in Africa. Since its founding in 2012 as Off-Grid Electric, the company has served over a million people with clean power in five countries. Over the years, Zola has evolved from a small, scrapp…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Laura Schewel, the founder and CEO of StreetLight Data. While at UC Berkeley, Laura got interested giving EV owners more information about how they were driving their cars. She ended up uncovering a data gold mine in the process. Laura built a company that now processes over 100 billion data points and pro…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Gene Berdichevsky, the co-founder and CEO of Sila Nanotechnologies. Sila is developing a new lithium-ion battery chemistry that uses silicon in place of graphite, leading to an improvement in battery density by 20 percent. Gene was the seventh employee at Tesla, where he developed the Roadster’s battery. F…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Kathy Hannun, the co-founder and president of Dandelion. Dandelion is a company reinventing home geothermal systems. The company uses a proprietary drilling technique, simple product design, and financing to cut the cost of ground-source heating and cooling. For seven years, Kathy was on a team at Alphabet…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Terry Jester, a solar technology veteran. Terry has seen it all in her four-decade career in solar and electronics. As both an engineer and an executive, she’s learned that timing is everything in the energy business. Terry started her solar career in the late 1970s. She’s since held operations and enginee…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with David Crane, the former CEO of NRG. Today, David is a clean energy investor. Back in 2015, he was CEO of NRG, one of the biggest power producers in America. And he was fired by his board for his ambitious plan to make the company a renewable energy titan. This conversation was recorded in 2019 in front of …
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Bryan Birsic, the co-founder and former CEO of Wunder Capital. Since its launch in 2014, Wunder has exploded onto the solar scene. It quickly became the top financier in commercial solar—which is a big deal, because commercial solar is extremely hard to finance. But Wunder cracked the code. This conversati…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Bertrand Piccard, the co-pilot of Solar Impulse, the first solar-electric plane to circumnavigate the globe. Bertrand is a Swiss aviator who spent 15 years of his life obsessed with flying a solar airplane across the world. He didn’t just see it as a novel technical feat—he wanted to prove the extraordinar…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with John Berger, the Founder and CEO of Sunnova. Sunnova is a Texas-based company putting hybrid solar-battery systems on homes across the country. The company is backed by players you wouldn’t expect: oil & gas investors who are looking for the next big thing in energy. This conversation was recorded in 2018 …
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Ryan Popple, co-founder and executive director of Proterra. Proterra is one of the largest makers of electric buses and chargers in the world. Electric buses are quickly gaining market share—and Proterra has a pipeline of sales that covers 10% of the U.S. transit fleet. But it took many years to reach that…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Susan Kennedy, the founder of Advanced Microgrid Solutions. AMS created a platform for managing battery storage across buildings, turning them into virtual power plants. The company raised $34 million from a “who’s who” of strategic investors—and was eventually acquired by the battery developer Fluence. Th…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Leila Madrone, the founder and chief technology officer of Sunfolding. Leila is a former NASA engineer who used her expertise to create a new kind of tracking system that eliminates expensive components and reduces the installed cost of solar. This conversation was recorded in 2018 in front of a live audie…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Billy Parish, the co-founder and CEO of Mosaic. Mosaic is the top underwriter of home solar loans in America. It is creating the financial tools for homeowners to easily get solar on their roofs. Billy didn’t start in finance: he actually dropped out of Yale to pursue a career in activism. This conversatio…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Jigar Shah, the co-founder of Generate Capital. Jigar is one of the most well-known entrepreneurs and investors in the world of climate tech. He helped pioneer a financial model that allowed solar to scale massively in the US. He’s been responsible for financing billions of dollars in clean energy projects…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Sara Ross, the co-founder of Sungage Financial. Sungage is a company that makes it easy for homeowners to finance solar or energy efficiency projects. In 2009, Sara turned her Massachusetts farmhouse into a net-zero home -- but it was expensive and difficult. She became obsessed with improving the process.…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Nancy Pfund, founder and managing partner of DBL Partners. Nancy is one of the most recognizable VCs in the clean energy space. DBL made early investments in companies like Tesla, PowerLight, and Nextracker. Nancy has been featured by Forbes and Fast Company as one of the most creative people in business. …
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Scott Clavenna, the co-founder of Greentech Media. Launched in 2007, Greentech Media quickly became the premiere brand in cleantech journalism and research. The company took a forward-thinking and sometimes-edgy approach to covering the emerging world of cleantech and climatetech. This conversation was rec…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Dan Shugar, the founder and CEO of Nextracker. Dan lives, breaths and bleeds solar. Some call him the "King Midas" of solar, because he's turned so many ventures into gold. He’s been responsible for some of the biggest and most consequential solar projects and companies ever built. This conversation was re…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Andrew Birch, the co-founder of Sungevity. Sungevity was an early success story in residential solar. But after 10 years in business, it went bankrupt in 2017. In this interview, recorded five months after the company’s collapse, Birchy joined us on stage to talk about what happened. His story tells us a l…
 
In this episode: Emily’s conversation with Dick Swanson, the founder of SunPower, one of the most successful solar companies of all time. Dick is a solar legend, who has been working to make solar cheaper and better since the 1970s. This conversation was recorded in 2017 in front of a live audience at Powerhouse’s headquarters in Oakland, CA. Power…
 
Teresa Ribera, Deputy Prime Minister in the Spanish government and the Minister for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, is joining us this week on Cleaning Up. She has played a key role in Spain’s low-carbon transition and is a vocal advocate of a green COVID-19 recovery. Bio Since 2018 Teresa Ribera is a Deputy Prime Minister in t…
 
This week, Michael Liebreich is joined by Professor Jim Skea from Imperial College London’s Centre for Environmental Policy and the co-author of the seminal IPCC 2018 Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C. Bio Jim Skea is a Professor of Sustainable Energy at Imperial College London and the co-author of the IPCC 2018 Special Report on Global Warm…
 
This week our guest on Cleaning Up is Kate Hampton, the CEO of the Children's Investment Fund Foundation and a long-time expert in sustainable finance and the carbon markets. Bio Kate Hampton has been the CEO of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) since March 2016. Before that, she was in charge of the CIFF’s Climate Change team, since…
 
This week, Kristian Ruby, the Secretary-General of Eurelectric since 2017, will be joining us for a conversation. Eurelectric is a pan-European organisation with the aim of representing the common interests of the electricity industry. He was also once part of the Danish government in the Ministries of Climate and Energy as well as Environment. Bio…
 
Today is International Women’s Day. We want to take the time to highlight some of the incredible women who are leading the world’s pivot to net-zero. From politics to finance and diplomacy, these women are vital to climate action on an international level. Each episode is available in full at www.cleaningup.live Name of each episode with their link…
 
From the core of British politics, Amber Rudd joins Michael Liebreich for a conversation. She is the former MP for Hastings and Rye representing the Conservative party, the Home Secretary for 2 years from 2016, and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from 2018 to 2019. Bio Amber Rudd is currently the Chair of the International Advisory Gro…
 
Joining Cleaning Up today is start-up legend, Greg Jackson. Greg is CEO and founder of Octopus Energy whose mission is to bring ‘power to the people’ by supplying their customers with 100% green electricity at fair prices. Bio Greg Jackson is the CEO and founder of Octopus Energy, the new renewable energy provider that started in the UK and is now …
 
Emma Howard Boyd is one of the leading voices in the UK’s Environment scene. As the Chair of the Environment Agency, she is at the forefront of the current environment agenda. This week, Michael and Emma will discuss everything from recent flooding in the UK to the unique UWC schooling experience. Bio Emma Howard Boyd has been the chair of the UK’s…
 
Having first met in Business School in Harvard, Claire Perry O'Neill and Michael Liebreich go back a long way. However, he has never been surprised at how much she's achieved since then. From finance to politics and now to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, she has been behind some of the key implementations in the UK’s fight t…
 
This week, we welcome Steven Chu, Professor of Physics and Physiology at Stanford University, and the 1997 co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics to Cleaning Up. Professor Chu was was the first of two Secretaries of Energy during President’s Obama term as president, the second being Ernie Moniz, my guest on Episode 17 of Cleaning Up. He is…
 
Named one of the most influential people in the energy sector by the Forbes magazine and the energy personality of the year by the Financial Times in 2017, Fatih Birol is one of the most important voices in the energy world. He is the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, leading it for the second four-year-term now. Dr Fatih Birol…
 
Beverley Gower-Jones is the leading figure in the cleantech start-up world. She is the Managing Partner at the Clean Growth Fund which invests in the UK's most promising early-stage, clean growth ventures. She’s also the CEO and founder of Carbon Limiting Technologies, helping companies to commercialize new, innovative technologies. Bio Beverley Go…
 
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