How do you decarbonize the power supply and maintain system reliability at the lowest total cost to customers?
John Woolard, the President and CEO of CSP pioneer BrightSource Energy kicked off the this year’s Cleantech Group meeting in San Francisco this morning.
He was introduced by Stephan Dolezalek, one of the initial investors in BSE and cleantech lead at VantagePoint Capital Partners.
Dolezalek suggested that had Woolard known the challenges that lay ahead of him when he took the job as a younger man, he might have reconsidered. In addition to convincing venture capitalists to throw in a few hundred million dollars, Woolard has had to raise billions in project finance from the likes of Goldman Sachs, CitiCorp, NRG, and Abengoa — while enduring hostile opposition from environmentalists, tortoises, and the LA TImes.
On the weekends, Woolard has spent his time standing up to a hostile U.S. Congress, while managing the half of his company located in Israel. He’d have to work with ex-presidents, the Senate, the CPUC, and the DOE.
Dolezalek called Woolard one of the brightest minds and hardest workers in the cleantech world.
Woolard discussed the macro-economic forces in today’s energy environment — the rise of natural gas, the decline of coal and the imminent overbuild of natural gas power plants.
But Woolard tried to bring the focus onto the root problem that BSE is trying to solve.
"The problem we’re trying to solve is