The energy transition: Trade and technology

The energy transition: Trade and technology

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Let's give a round of applause for Richard. Uh, The very least a BCS applauding while we're on zoom, I think the this is I mean Richard's remarks in the conversation we had earlier today, you know, sets up a really important nexus of discussion around trade and technology. That is perfect for this next group of Panelists that I'm going to bring on on board a little bit. This This panel is titled Energy and Energy, Technology and Trade. It's brought to you by our partner. National group is a fantastic sponsor of this effort. To that end, I'd like to bring on

Autumn Brown, senior senior procurement manager at Terra Power, Joe Ibrahim, senior director of engineering and construction and national grid, renewables, Jon Monken, principal at Converts Strategies, and Ben Richardson, energy portfolio director at the defensive and innovation unit. Let's give them a round of applause before we get started. So to kick things off. I'm struck by the tenor that suddenly trade has has taken around the deployment of clean energy technologies We're talking about, Ah supply chains and the resilience of the supply chains access to those supply chains, all of which are core parts of the trade agenda, but nonetheless critical to getting these clean energy technologies from the lab desk. Into into the local communities are designed to serve and I think on this panel we have For extraordinary perspectives on that nexus between Technological development. And trade. And so I'd like to turn to each of you kind of one by

one for some initial reflections on Where do you see your particular company organization? Fitting within that nexus between trade and technology and autumn? I might start with you, Tara Power, you know, a innovator in the nuclear energy space right on the cusp of some of both. The innovative technologies are going to shape the nuclear the nuclear industry for the future, but also on the cusp of the supply chain risks that are that come with That innovation. How do you think about this relationship between trade and technology in order to get your reactors? Out into the world. I think we would definitely have to rely heavily

on the Department of Energy. Um ah. With this Russia crisis or invasion of Ukraine. Um, that has changed our strategy from, you know, going to Russia. Procuring Hailu from Russia. Um so, um, you know, reliance on d O E to help build

The supply chain for the production of Hailu is is essential to our success in, um, the pointing our events, nuclear reactors, even with this demonstration, um, the Rdp award that we received from Dealey last year. Um, we need fuel for our advanced reactors, and, uh, so Ah! The government's help with this new inflation bill, I think, will, you know, get us You know that that those investments and the support we need to build that supplies, Joe, I might turn to you next. A similar question. National group renewables, Obviously you're not in the nuclear space or no, a wider range of power generation products.

So in a way your supply chain risk your trade concerns are also quite broad. Have that breath. How do you think that this issue and also strategically speaking, how do you manage the breadth of the supply chain concerns? So I mean, our focus is on the deployment of utility scale wind, solar and energy storage, so that that takes a lot of different resources. Um So I think from our standpoint The I guess the continued motivation around maybe moving away from what we consider to be conventional energy resources to more renewables and what that means, at least domestically. For the agendas around manufacturing and mining. And so again, you know what materials do we have? What capabilities do we have, you know, within our borders to ultimately produced.

The goods needed to be able to deploy that, so that's That's kind of the the battle we're in right now. So you know so much of what the industry that I'm focused in. Requires from the globe right globally, especially when it comes to raw materials that that's really one of the big challenges right now. I think domestically as well just to strategy around our grid and continue to improve The capabilities around getting Transmission. So getting the energy from where we can, you know, deploy it. Um, back to then the load centers. So both both kind of key things

right now that that we're Trying to manage priorities around John Joe mentioned the grits. I'm going to turn to you next. I know that's a particular area of focus for you. It converged but also that converge. I know you're able to take your you have this kind

of wider 3000 ft view of what's going on in this space. How do you see this nexus of clean energy technology deployment and growing supply chain dependencies around that deployment? Evolving, particularly from a you know, from a national security perspective, but also from a from a foreign policy research as we look to deploy and export these technologies abroad. Yeah. I mean, I think where we find ourselves right now is kind of the old school elementary school word problem. A train leaves Chicago at 45 Miles an hour and another train leaves 30 Miles an hour sales.

The problem is, we didn't have the variables plugged in. We had the words for the word problem. But we didn't actually have the variables that we needed to understand where these supply chain dependencies were ultimately gonna manifest and people had information that could fill those variables. And now I think with the IRA First off. It gives the level of predictability that I think a lot

of people have been lacking about what is policy going to do or not do to be able to support this. What level of investment is appropriate so that people don't find themselves over investing in particular areas that are not economically viable because of a changing policy environment, But to your point is, we see the pieces come together right now, there is a literal sense that if we look at it from a national security perspective And apply the same word problem. But look at it inside and installation inside the fence line of a diode installation outside the fence line of how the private sector and utilities are trying to address it.

Right now, we're still in a challenge where we don't know when those trains are going to meet, and I think what we really need to do is take a more holistic approach of saying we can anticipate. Where those supply chain bottlenecks are most likely to occur and what we can do to address them. But there needs to be better joint strategy did identify how we get there. Right. So the demand signal that comes from the national security imperative of installations from the Department of Defense from thought leaders like Richard on how we're going to get there need to be able to marry up to You know the what technologies were pursuing. What types of solutions are out there to be able to get us there. So what's reasonable? What's viable? What's going to be effective? And I think facilitating conversations like this are essential to trying to figure out what those little pieces and parts are so that we can plug in those variables. You beat me to the punch and mentioned

the IRA, But we're gonna table that for the next round of questions. Great. You know, I want to turn to Ben. Bring in the defense angle here, you know, D I you You're on the cutting edge of building some of these technologies. But your exposure to your interest in the trade spaces is equally as great because ultimately you want to see the work you're doing deployed into the field, and you also have exposure to the supply chain necessary to supply chain inputs necessary for this technology to succeed in the first place.

How do you think about this nexus of trade and technology. And how is the eye? You kind of moving forward to meet? You know the clean energy goals set by the broader department. Thank you. It's great following Richard because, you know I'm the government person on the panel so I can agree with everything you just said, Um Defense innovation units. Primary mission is to accelerate the duties, adoption commercial technologies. So this trade in these issues we're having supply chain impacts us because we're going after that commercial sector and that commercial sectors having those challenges with access and that I've got roughly 20 projects going on inside the portfolio right now, and every one of them has you know, delays and cost issues right now do do supply chain related issues.

Um, and that it really works against our thesis idea you because by engaging the commercial sector, um versus some of the traditional players in the defense sector, we are looking for things that are faster, cheaper and better. So we're kind of running up against that. We have a number of projects in the in the battery, You know, you know, arena, some direct some indirect and obviously, some of these things are coming up with supply chains in raw materials. Richard. I don't think he talked too much about like the Defense production act, and the money is being put there. So even before the I R a, you know, there's already a presidential directive on using title three in the Defense Production act to get get at those raw material piece of it. So we're working on those types of issues

help accelerate, So there's an interesting element for D I you because Um, the kind of where we sit in the supply chain. We can work on projects that are looking at new technologies to, you know, find some of the raw materials and work on some of the supply chain issues, but we're also working on very mature projects that are being directly impacted. By lack of access to some of those raw materials. I think I mean again. You mentioned the D P a another area I want to hit on later. I also think it's worth mentioning again. The congressman mentioned,

you know, and we just saw the president signed the Chips Act, which another huge piece of while we tend to get caught up in the raw materials piece of the cleaner technology supply chain. Semiconductors are equally as necessary, You know, power any sort of electronic that we're looking for in this space. So I might, you know, turning back to turning back to Joe and autumn. I might kind of ask you both to reflect on this. This change in the policy space we've seen over the past week we can have from, you know the surprise that we saw with the inflation reduction Act and what that means for your respective businesses and in the trade and supply chain piece, But also I think the chips Act here is also worth mentioning. Because I know that plays a role

in both of your technologies. I might go in reverse order, go to Joe first and then Autumn. So the guess from what's on the table today, and, you know, maybe we can look at it from from two parts. One is the certainty you know, around the tax credits and things like that. That drives some value. Um, you know with within the areas that That we try to deploy. Um you know, there's definitely going to be. I think some positives that come out of it is from a from a certainty standpoint. Extending, you know the number of years associated with

that, But it also, then you know, provides a little bit more complexity around. Um you know some of the conditions you know, with that so again from my standpoint. If you if you look at the bigger picture, you know, definitely some positives there as it relates to deployment, But it's certainly starts to provide some complexity within it. Um and and all the different

areas that you know whether it be again from You know local content? Uh, you know, labor things like that. So if you separate that out definitely good for the domestic agenda. But when you talk about deployment to ultimately try to get to some of the other goals that we're trying to get to it can. It can provide a little bit of chaos as well. So a little bit of a little little

bit of both local and be in the column being a bit. I think it's interesting to talk about. Especially when you know Richard and also, frankly the congressman spoke about. You know, China in ways that is the elephant in the room here that we're talking about there, the behemoth in the supply chain. A lot of you know, when you talk about China's a geostrategic

threatened some ways you need to actually think about, you know equally a strategic approach to loosening their grip on the supply chain. But first Autumn. A turn to you the The IRA, the chips Act, You know, I think we're seeing to Ben's point a lot more emphasis on the DPA as kind of a quasi industrial policy, right? How does Tara How does that How does that change terror powers thinking Or does that fit into terror powers thinking about you know, accessing the supply chains are building the supply chains necessary to get your technologies into the market. So I think it Deals with, you know. I think assessing, you know the supply chains. Uh

For looking into the future. On what? Because we're at the development stage right now, at this point, um so just looking to see what materials are needed. Um, and we actually perform assess mental and a lot of our components and materials last year identified our number one risk. Um, with this chips act, I think, um Having been in the semiconductor, you know, and, you know, industry when I first started my career, and then it moving away, you know, losing. I think domestic supply chain for those components. Um, with this act, bringing it back to the U. S. I think that Lessons are risk of dealing with counterfeit. Um, you know items.

Um Which you know we've implemented. I think a lot of companies have implemented, you know, confident, counterfeit avoidance programs, But I think that actually strengthens us, um, domestically too, You know, I guess you know. Game, you know, re assert ourselves on the think that leadership role in, um on a global scale, you know, to be able to manufacturer supply somebody conductors domestically. Ben, I want to turn back to you quickly. You know, you mentioned that you know, at the U. You're working on a lot of the technologies that could possibly resolve. You know, some of the supply chain constraints.

Um And I'm also struck by the fact that d o d n d in particular has long been a early adopter of these technologies of technologies. You know, Microgrids being one of them Solar being another one. When you in that way, you can almost be a interesting additional pillar to these Public support mechanisms We're seeing emerge as the United States tries to support clean energy technology. What does your public private

partnership model look like? How do you work with the private sector to, you know, leverage your research, your research and your innovations to private markets and support companies like national grid and or telegraph, terror, power and others. So for Dru, Um, you know what kind of we're supposed to make it easy to work with the government. That's our goal. Um, you know, most people do say it's relatively easy door. Put the I you We still have

some of the bureaucracy that comes with being part of the government's, um, we do get complimented by many people tell us they don't think we're part of the government, so I think that's a compliment when they deal with us. Um, but we use OTAs. Other transaction authorities so non far based contracting, which is a simpler, easier way to to work. It's really, really literally like a blank sheet of paper. From a negotiating standpoint, you don't have the 150 rolls in the federal acquisition regulations that you need to go through and deal with for contracting with the government. Um, it's it's It's a simple as going to our

website the dot mil looking at active solicitations responding to that Um five pages or less 15 slides or less. It's really meant to be a pitch pitch deck. Type response from companies make it very easy to kind of get in the door. And then it's a competitive down select process. You know, from that, where you'd actually do a what used to be in person, Obviously, now mostly video pitches, Um and then you know, we try to do multiple awards and then go through a what? We got prototyping phase. The real key to it, though, is if you get through that process, and you get a letter from us, saying that you've met all the requirements of that prototyping phase. You can get a five year noncompetitive

for nonfarm based contract with you or whenever duty duty partners and that could be used across all of the the and USG So lots of success stories I could talk about on that front. But really, it is supposed to make it easier for commercial companies to work with. With us getting back to that thesis before about making things better, faster, cheaper to work with the government's There's benefits for, you know, private industry and the government on that side, But things like the chips act things like the IRA. What's important

there for us is, um Is the fact that the biggest challenge I have with working with Private industry is some of the supply chain things where some of the traditional defense contractors have certain supply chains. Not that they don't have their own challenges have certain supply chains that are organized in a certain fashion that allows them to work more easily with the government. What the IRA and the chip stacks is doing is by bringing more on shoring by looking at kind of our allies and partners that we're working with. Investing in certain technologies will ultimately make what Well, D I U is trying to do in our outreach, the commercial sector easier and faster and better for all parties and you know, just just like autumn. I have some history with semiconductors, too. So it's nice to see this finally certainly move forward The chips Act.

About you know, you mentioned part of your process is almost that awareness of the insights into the supply chains from those from the candidates applying to this base autumn, I think you you mentioned that. You know, your work is so forward your you know Your next Gen nuclear technology. So forward looking, you're able to do that supply chain assessment a little bit in advance. But, Joe, I might I might turn to you that strikes me as a little bit more complicated for you. Do if anything purely to the lack of transparency, particularly like the minerals upstream of the supply chains. How do you manage that

uncertainty and build that really insightful vision to understanding your supply chain risks. Yeah, It's like crystal ball. Um, but it off eBay? No, it's you know, I mean, really, If you look over the short term just over the last 15 18 months take take out of it all the geopolitical, um, you know, challenges that we've seen. I mean, really, you know, from a commodity

standpoint, I mean, everything is simple. As you know, Suez Canal getting blocked up, right? And? And so it really is. I mean, you know, from our business and and you know, again from a from a global standpoint of what we need to pull Into the United States in order to be successful around, um, you know, renewables deployment, whether we're talking, you know, batteries, whether we're talking, you know, solar or wind? Um, you know, it's really the tides that you know, And so from from that standpoint, trying to create strong partnerships again, both domestically and globally, um, is important.

Um, but but again at the end of the day, those type of force majeure events are going to happen in the industry when you're back towards you know the the end of it and trying to to make that execution happened. And so from that standpoint, it's just having some good, you know, thinkers, you know, especially, you know, in this room. We've got a lot of of that, you know, with with military background and you're trying to solve a problem that's happening in real time. And and, you know, coming up with what That solution is so and we've seen a lot of that. You know, recently and we've been able to successfully, you know, kind of kind of moved through it, You know, but again when you're talking about pandemics and what it did to ports when you're talking about, you know, labor shortages on offload and you're talking about some of the other challenges we've seen with logistics and things like that. It just seems to kind of be alright. What's it going to be this week and figure out how to move through it so but but strong partnerships with those Manufacturers is going to be key, um, without a doubt, so It's It's embedding resilience through those partnerships. It sounds

like John, I might turn to you again to blow this out to the almost a macro level and ask you I mean, Joe said, You know, let's put the put the geopolitics aside for a minute. I'm gonna put him right back in because I think ultimately we're talking about these issues around supply chain resiliency. Autumn mentioned Hailu. So you're talking about Russia there for a lot of those other mineral material supply chains. We're talking about China. As Richard said, You know, that's the that's the geo

strategic competition at hand. We also heard the congressman mentioned countervailing Tariffs right against China is part of the overall strategic calculus and how we build these more resilient supply chains. That said.

Right. The The amount of weight that China has in the supply chain will take time to dislodge. That's not necessarily a light switch. We can turn on. How do we effectively manage building resiliency into into alternative supply chains right keeping costs low while still rapidly deploying these technologies in order to meet Our clean energy technology. It's almost a shift on the trial. Emma that Julia Julia was talking about during her fireside chat. Well,

that's the total softball. Obviously, I mean, I think we're we'll be able to crush this one. Give it to you. Thank you. Thank you much appreciated, So I think one of the things that's lasting lacking right now is that we're still taking a piecemeal approach to how we're trying to tackle these strategic level issues.

Which in and of itself is, I think a strong a flawed strategy right? And that's that's not pointing a finger at anybody in particular. It's that's really a collective need that we have to address more systematically. And so an example that I would point to is that when we're talking about the clean energy transition and the types of things that need to be done, a lot of it ends up happening on a one size fits one approach. Alright, We're gonna try and solve this problem for either this specific component that supply chain or we're going to fix the requirements for this particular type of client or this particular type of customer or this particular type of technology. And I think what we're missing

in the process of doing so is really trying to understand where the pressures exist in the constraints associated with deploying the types of solutions that we want to get out there. So whether it's renewables, or we're talking about Smrz or nuclear technology. Right now. The the way that the system is is set up when I say the system talking about the bulk electric system in North America, it's not set up for that, right. We're still taking a piecemeal approach to a national scale problem. So if you think about things like the lack of HP DC ties and transmission systems that Enable a greater capability to share Renewable resources that are geographically disparate as an example.

Or if we have the backbone of the system that's capable of receiving the type of advanced nuclear technology that's there to really harness the true capabilities of it. Those types of Conversations need to happen because when you're having those conversations, you start to see these little points of pressure that exists in terms of how you tackle it. China understands, and Russia both understands that we can't make that transition.

Turn on a dime. They're betting on the fact that it's going to be politically challenging. It's going to be economically challenging, and it's going to be technically challenging to be able to get there and they're counting on us not taking a strategic approach. They're hoping that we're going to continue this piecemeal process of saying, like, you know, play the whack a mole of like, Let's try and fix this one problem at a time and then we'll fix this one problem at a time. And so I think where we find ourselves and to tie it back to really the national security theme of what we're identifying right now. National security is a unifying principle that has the ability to focus this conversation in a productive way.

So when you say all customers everywhere, it's way too up to right. You're just you're trying to fix everybody's problem at the same time. If you look at it Within the context of identifying specific national security requirements that have this dependence on energy resources. You have now taken a very abstract concept and put it into a very, very specific viewpoint of saying, Okay, you can't solve it for everybody all the time immediately. But what if we took this and looked at what it would require? From a technological standpoint? From a contracting standpoint? I'm so glad you mentioned OTAs as an example, which is This is an OTA sized problem, right? That's why that contracting mechanism exists. Use it for the Apollo program. You use it for developing

vaccines. You can use it to try and tackle and energy security and national security problem because it's timely and important. Then I think we're in a different spot of being able to say not just generically.

What do we need to do to get there? But what can we do to support Some specific energy resilience needs. In the context of national security. We can start to to really identify these things one at a time. And of course, I think, what do you say? You know, the national security argument can be a really strong framing mechanism, not just in terms of, you know, creating the unifying for level of effort within the US government, but also to a point you were making Joe about the search for partnerships, right national security concerns and the development of like minded friends, Partners and allies, which we see happening on, you know, across the cleaner to supply chain beyond the United States. Can be an effective, you know, again, framing by which to begin developing those partnerships, Joe, I might press you a bit. You know, when you talk about building those partnerships, who are you looking towards, both within domestically within the United States, But also and that's like a T up for Ben in a way, but also internationally, because I think again when we talk about geostrategic competition, right, it has to be a conversation of like minded partners and allies, not something that the United States can.

Or should necessarily seek to take China on on its own, for example. Yeah, that's um It's a good question, because I think it's it's it's got, you know, a couple different spokes. Kind of coming out of that. You know, one is definitely You know, from an offtake standpoint, right, So it's it's those partnerships and making sure that we're kidding Those, You know, it's talked about earlier whether it be with power purchase agreements are seen I type deals. Um, The second thing is obviously from a supply standpoint, right? Um, also the installation, the experience and and, um From, you know, from a A And and and then I guess I would say in regards to responsible sourcing, you know, So when we talk about labor, we talked about materials that that, you know, get that get that labor to the actual finished product. So you know, there's a There's a couple different, you know, talking points there again from a domestic standpoint and driving too. Being motivated on on the mining side being motivated on the manufacturing side.

That that to me is a political issue, right? And you can see our country is extremely divided in that regard again, whether you talk about conventional resources, um you know, and what we've utilized to date or we're trying to transition away from and and to me. That's one that I think is going to take some time. You know, maybe more from a strategic standpoint, as you mentioned right and getting people comfortable with that, right, Um and and that.

That ability to start to change the thinking around that, I think is going to be a big deal in order to be able to create the partnerships that are more localized right with within our borders, But then again, bigger picture What I have to look at from actually being able to deploy and execute on things is, you know It might be more tactical than strategic, but it's it's scheduled its timing. It's it's logistics. It's cost. Certainly cost is a big component of it as well. And so, you know, making sure that we've got a diverse yet responsible approach to who we're working with. Um, you know, 48 hours from now I'm going to be up in Perrysburg, Ohio, Um, you know when a module manufacturing facility there, which is domestic, and that that's a great story in a strong partner of ours. But then you know we're talking about you know some of the things that are just starting to gain momentum. We don't have that. You

know, here yet? Locally, whether you talk about you know, semiconductors and so again having to have those partners, you know whether they're coming from Europe or other places in order to be able to still deploy on. You know, some of the goals that we have, Um, you know, here in the near term, so Actually, I'm going to come to you. But that first want to turn to bend because you nodded your head. When Joe mentioned, you know, the strategic the strategic vision and the tactical kind of needs that you see here? What does D What role does d a. You play in balancing those two needs from the private sector. And then I think I want

to turn to autumn because we're looking again towards building these partnerships with a little bit more delete time, whereas National grid. We have these technologies. Now We're trying to make sure their supply chains are resilient now. Yeah, I mean to Dru executes on a daily basis at the tactical level with projects that we're working on the various technologies, But we always have an eye on that strategic issues because we're looking inherent in their emissions, the health of the National Security innovation base, So we're always trying to make our investments in in the commercial sector, working with companies to try to move them forward, a certain technologies that can help out with some of the strategic issues and move it forward. Do you? D by itself doesn't have enough of a market share in this energy transition to be able to sway the market in one way or another by itself, But we can definitely get out there ahead of things and and shine the light on certain past to help open some doors. We don't things on the regulatory front

for advanced aviation with electric vertical takeoff aircraft, For example, Jobe was one of our first investments. If you've heard that company before. Four or five years ago, We worked with them, and their biggest challenge was with the FAA getting a flight hours. They couldn't get a flight out as well. You know, if you go west of the Mississippi, about half that lands the federal government land a lot of us military land.

And if you want to get flight hours there you go. You come to the U. D and and we can sign off on your flight hours and job in the CEO of Jobi has spoken to this about how much The EU and beauty has really helped accelerate that marketplace.

We can do similar things with things like long duration, storage and other things were not going to move the entire market. But you know you heard your kids talking about, you know the long duration storage and the investments. We can make a huge impact. We've got like 500 installations around the world for duty. Um, most of these are roughly kind of size of small towns. Some of

these are quite large. I think it can't penalty in Southern California very large installations. We will lie to data centers. We got a lot of hospitals. A lot of things. All of those could use these investments in long duration storage. You think about things like Texas and the power grid issues we had in Texas while you know It wouldn't you know? It would have been good if we're not a drain on the grid. When the power went down. We've got about 25 bases in Texas. It would be more

ideal. If we can push power back into the grid during the during the time and because it's also inherent to the duty mission that we have humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. We need to be able to deploy resources and instances like that and get out there and have those vehicles that can do vehicle to grid type type things and take our tactical and commercial vehicles off that base and go plug in.

To the hospitals and everything else to keep things going and keep keep those localities and support them. So You know, we're not gonna We can do individual projects and help move things along and help technologies and help move money more efficiently and and smarter from a government perspective. Um, you know, but the big the big strategic shifts are still gonna have them back in the Pentagon. You know, we're just this little outburst out there in Silicon Valley, you know, give yourself some pop shop just a little little value in Northern California, You know, turn into you now.

I think this question of partnership building. I think it's hugely important producers because when you you know, as we've discussed earlier on You know, your big supply chain risk is is where do we get this Hayley from? Obviously the major source of that Hailu is now currently doing unspeakable things by invading, violating all the international norms that we previously based, you know, free trade upon. So when you look at building the partnerships necessary to create a sustainable, resilient supply chain How is Tara Power thinking of that? And what are the considerations you're making. So, um In 2020, the the See the deal. We was authorized by the engineering and what the energy

act of 2020 to establish, Um, available ability program. Um, so I think they see the need and I'm getting to the point right? But So they see the need that we don't have enough Hailu to on a commercial scale to fuel events. Nuclear reactors. We will not have, you know, nuclear advanced nuclear actors without it. Um um so Ah, that Part. I think that deal with developing that program, um, seeking

out those that can produce commercial skill, Hailu terror powers is also on the back end. Um, helping to, you know, invest in those companies to Ah say, create more of it at the right time for us to use. Um um and in the future, so it's really key. I think Developing those Those partnerships is really key to the to the success of our program. And, um, which is the demonstration, which is, you know, at the demonstration.

Um, phase, but we're looking, you know, to sell those on those plants going forward, so we need Hey, glue Now for our you know, Project, but also going, you know, to help replace our current nuclear technology today. So, um, it's really intention, of course. So I want to give anybody in the audience who wishes to ask the question. Raise your hand and Head on up to the microphone. Otherwise, I'm just gonna keep asking supply chain questions, which I'm happy to do. But, you know, we

might not have been the most useful direction for y'all. Um, I'm interested in, you know, Joe and Autumn, one of the things act. Frankly, everyone on this panel has brought up some form of localization and reassuring And when we talk about the supply chain Uh, that inherently, you know, brings up this good political narrative around job creation here in the United States, Right? And I think when you're talking again, John, to your point about the national security prerogative year, the integration of the defense community right in getting involved in that space, you know? We're at a or were at this convening is designed to engage that that veteran that military you know, talent, right? How do you? How do you effectively use that talent pool, which understands the national security prerogative is locally based already. How do you plug in

those two? Those two pieces to work more effectively together Might all start with start with John on this one. Since I've been Following him on the China Sure, Yeah, it's a It's probably the most important thing that we can talk about, especially within the context of who's in the room and what we can really emphasize. So I think it's a combination of understanding what type Military veterans have seen resilience in a number of different aspects from a number of different perspectives. Mine was as a tanker escorting fuel convoys in Iraq and 4 2005 and six And you don't really have to go very far and take a long leap of logic to understand that The energy resilience of the system that we were supporting was horrible, right? It was just like, okay, let's put 505 gallons of JP eight into a tank so that we can drive down to score the fuel truck to get back up to the base so we can put fuel in it to go guard pipelines so that we can get the product outside. It can be refined into JPA to put in the tank.

To bring it back up to the base, so not a great strategy, right? And we also saw that that was an imperative that drove a lot of innovation of trying to understand expeditionary power and a completely different way. Then we looked at before And if anybody has any questions as to whether or not this is a big deal in modern warfare. Ukraine and Russia is a perfect example of how they have not solved.

That problem, and it has been the Achilles heel of modern military is whether or not they can project force based on the availability of energy. So that's just from a messaging standpoint, But when we talk about how veterans can integrate themselves into it, they're inherently carrying that perspective of that knowledge into the work that they can potentially do in the energy field and the most common mistake. I see. I did not come to energy because I was an electrical engineer. By trade, right? There's there's nothing in my history that would indicate that I should be working in energy right now, right, But the difference is understanding that there's a perspective and a passion that comes with recognizing an imperative in a different way than just the traditional like well, well, is there is there an opportunity to be had in this particular field or do I have a level of technical expertise? Um, that just seems suited for it, so I'll go ahead and do it. I really want to shift the narrative about The way in which we engage veteran communities to be able to do it, because if you take Texas as an example The level of disruption that happened on DOD installations.

For communications, Electricity and water service, hopefully serves as the canary in the coal mine of like, this is a really big deal. We're not ready for it right now. And, oh, by the way, if we just light up the installation like a Christmas tree, and we solved solved that problem of mission assurance. We actually didn't because 60%

of the personnel live off the installation. All your people are out there all the military families are out there and all the civilians that run all of those systems on the base. They also live off base. So you're you're not fixing the problem by just fixing it for like, one little boundary. If you can take that community approach that manifests very literally around the defense communities Channel that into what we're trying to do from an energy perspective.

That's the value the veterans are providing to what we're trying to accomplish because they've seen it. And of course, I think one of the other pieces of that is just as much as the veteran community is bringing in that that real sense of the national security urgency here, Uh, bringing that to a clean energy technology company, like a terror power or, like a national grid actually can help. Diodes solve those problems and turn on the back end as well. Which

is equally as it I mean, whether that be for deploying an SMR or something like project Pele right to electrify the battle sprays. We can get into that. That's all. It's a whole nother conference, not just a sub question of the panel, but I think I want to turn. I want to give the rest of the panel the opportunity to ask this question, and I see a question there in the audience, So let's go to autumn. How do you think about these issues around? Localization job creation in terms of the narrative that terror power brings to, you know the conversation on its role in the energy transition, So Yeah, definitely, Uh, small businesses as our focus is making sure we, you know, get small business participate. Participation.

Um, I worked for the government. And so I Very familiar with the you know, aware of that are small businesses are employing more employment, more people and you know the United States and large businesses. So we want to make sure we're focusing on getting them the resources they need to sustain, you know, or even Or expand their you know their capacity, um through You know me, you know, connecting them with the loan programs that the government has, um things that you know, that's Joe. Same same question to you. You know, you're all over the place. You just mentioned you were talking about where you're headed after this conference, Right? So you're in. You're in small town America,

see in this job creation on a regular basis. How do you see that unfolding further as a result of this trade conversation and again to reintroduce the veterans component to how you think about that job immigration might Focus on on the back end. So actually, you know, out in, you know, out on the project, so many of our projects have at peak roughly for 5 600. You know, workers on site and so only think about you know what it takes to You know to actually Complete the installation. Do it. Inequality manner, do it in a safe manner, You know, you know, talk about people that that I served with that. You know that that are in this room. Um, you know to me that that's a huge plus knowing, you know, coming in. They've got

a level of of background of, um You know, have have kind of done and seen. You know what I mean? Some some some difficult things can think on their. You know, those are the type of qualities when we talk about maybe the installation side, right? So maybe more on the technical and actually, you know, doing it out in the field. You know, you're you're out in it. You've got your boots dirty, and I mean, you know, for a lot of us, that's that's ultimately what we live for, right? Um, being able to, you know, get, you know, get direction, you know, get a, you know, get get some parameters and then have to think on her feet have to understand that it's got to be done inequality manner.

It's got to be done on time. It's got to be done, You know, in a safe manner and then making sure that that that's how You know, it's actually carried out and so I like to look at it. From that standpoint again. We talked earlier about the IRA, Um and and, you know, talked about that domestic that, you know, prevailing wage the apprenticeship type conditions that are actually in their specific to. You know what my my organization does to me that that's

it. That's a huge benefit to to actually getting that craft trained up. Um and you know from from a veteran standpoint again, a lot of where we are at our our in some more of these small rural areas like you had mentioned and can tie in pretty well from that standpoint, So, yeah, I want to give you the opportunity to jump in on this question around job creation and engaging with the veterans, even though I imagine it's more closely tied to your public private partnership.

Right. I mean, Dru Defense Innovation unit. We, You know, most of the companies we work with about 60 70% are small businesses and in that category, we do work with some bigger entities. Google's one of her portfolio companies, not exactly small company. Um, but we, you know most of our awards good as small companies a lot of veterans in those companies that are there because they're innovative. They are seeking those opportunities to kind of drive things forward. Like John. I was there in Iraq in the early two thousands. I remember

the miles of fuel line. We could have actually gone faster. We had to slow down because we had to get fuel. So the the Canada's issues or, you know you can look at veterans. They've been through this some of innovative people in the world I've ever worked with or the young Marines have worked with early in my career. They find solutions.

Um and the whole veteran community. It's happening into that. Is, um, is a great opportunity. We seek that out and some of the companies we work with, um, and on the energy side. I mean, there's

a deep appreciation. I think that's kind of what Jonah lose, alluding to about the challenges with contestant logistics. What Secretary Mattis talked about with releasing us from the tether of fuel those types of things without that's hydrogen or synthetic fuels or other things out there. Those are there's a big areas where there's a lot of reasons for duty to invest in right now, and other areas that were very interested in looking at those innovative technologies around like this distributed energy resources and stuff that that trend line in in, um in the energy sector right now is a really great opportunity for us to address them or operational energy issues. And of course we're d. O d. Does invest. It becomes just another demand signal for that alternative supply chain activity, which again talking about a process of loosening that grip that you know some of our more cantankerous global partners. Let's say might, you know, are

ultimately hurting the resiliency of our clean energy deployment and economic clean energy, economic goals. But let's turn to our first audience. Question over here. Please introduce yourself and your affiliation, please.

All right. Thanks. My name is Laura Smeagol. I'm a senior vice president at Ryan talent and I have almost a follow up to that question. So thank you for that. I'm moderating a panel this afternoon with government and training providers for veterans who want to get into clean energy, and we're going to discuss all the issues around how to get more veterans into these jobs. But we don't have any employers on the panel. So my question is Um John, what you were saying about Connecting the pain points right. There's going to be this flood

of new investment jobs, everything else we're focused on in Orion Orion on training technicians and operators to go out and work into the field. The junior enlisted level. But it would be very helpful to know and anticipate where those labor pain points and workforce development. Pain points are going to happen in the industry so that we can be prepared to send the veterans where the work is needed and kind of start talking to them earlier about where that work is going to be needed. So how can companies like

ours? How can the government providers that are on my panel work with industry to kind of anticipate those needs and make sure that we're filling them as you need them and not stay one step behind all the time? It's a fantastic question. Might I'm going to stick that with with with John first? Sorry, we'll go to the bottom and Joe I remember my transition off of active duty and it was a ship show part of my French. It was a total mess, right trying to figure out like, what do I want to be when I grew up? Because I thought I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, and now I want to do something different. And

I don't know what that thing is and trying to figure that piece of it out. Right now. I think the demand signal and clean energy is so strong. The hard part is like Sorting out Where those opportunities manifests and what areas it's most compatible with the types of skill sets and the passions that people have. So I think a lot of it is focused on technical skill and rightfully so right the translate ability of what people are learning in the military and wanting to be able to channel that into what they do.

The real question is whether or not that aligns with the passion for what they're most interested in and really contributing to. And so a couple of things that I would offer up one donut, underestimate the importance of nontraditional education or associations that provide at least a greater level of awareness as to what's happening in this particular space. Otherwise, they kind of find themselves in a similar like funnel that God provided them of like these are the skills that you have to have You get, like the suffocation by certification, and you're going to do like all of these specific things. And then you're going to be the trigger puller that we need you to be in D O D.

I think the different question is when we look at the very needs associated with the companies that would be hiring veterans into clean energy. In the vast majority of instances, the technical piece is one only one of or might actually not be the driving reason why they need them In there, it could be around the organizational management skills. It could be around bringing a diversity of viewpoints into an organization that has not placed the right level of emphasis on these kind of these types of issues that we're talking about in the panel right now, And so what? I would really encourage you to do is try and find those opportunities. Just like you're doing here today. And there are so many different advocacy organizations that are trying to bridge these gaps and make sure that the right narratives are actually appearing in those discussions that are trying to capture both that blend of technical capability that they developed in the military, but also identify the passion areas that they really want to grow into Joe. I was actually thinking, you mean because you mentioned you're

looking for both that tactical but also that strategic kind of framing, and I think one of the best opportunities coming forward is that that that works. Force that that likes to be out there, working with their hands right getting their boots dirty Putting in, you know that full, full full day's work and coming home and feeling like something was accomplished. And so we talked about strategic partnerships and, you know, from from our standpoint or my, you know my company. We have a pipeline

that we look out 357 years And so logistically you know where those areas that we're looking that were originating in that ultimately, we're going to be building these projects, or, you know we're talking about then that the need for the boots on the ground and and although you know, national get renewables doesn't specifically Higher and self perform. We hire what we consider to be EPC contractors. And so if you look on Bloomberg or wood Mackenzie, what have you, You know, they have a list of the top 20 contractors, you know, in the renewable space, whether it's wind or solar deployment, and so then you know those names that are at the top of those lists that to me, you know whether you come through a company like myself and say, Okay, you know, logistically where you guys looking at? You know what I mean? Texas Rust Belt. You know the code is whatever it may be, and then to the actual contractors that then we partner with that that you know will be doing that work needing that workforce and and, you know, so from that standpoint, you know, kind of creating a bit of a triangle relationship. Um, is what I'm trying to create. From my standpoint. Yeah. I want to give you a chance to weigh in on this as well. In a way we're talking about, you know? Assessing your supply chain of human capital right out 10 10 or so years. How do you? How are you thinking about these issues in relation

to that question, so So it's I think, identifying the talent and and ensuring that talent has the right You know, education that is needed to fill those positions. We currently have. Tens. You know quite a few positions open now, and we can't feel people. You know they feel those people because those you know the the individuals I think that are applying to the job aren't necessarily, um, um, have that background or training that we need to, you know, for them to have to be able to take? You know, it's a offer them the position, so I think To your point is making sure that You know they they can't. They're trained or or, you know, have the

skill set to be able to fill those positions. Um, but also maybe looking out. Um, um on, say, sam dot gov or something like that. I mean, those are opportunities that are out there that the government has and there and and those contractors those awardees. They're going to need, you know, you know, just this is just a suggestion, but they're going to need, you know, contractors to or, you know, the contractors who are being awarded these contracts that we're going to need employees to, you know, do the work. So maybe that

could be a way to, um, get those those people in the right areas when needed, But I know for our situation Is this all about? You know, having the right background. Ben and just, you know, I've Dozens of portfolio companies that we're working with right now, most of which never thought they'd have a government contract. You know, that's kind of the model we're going after, right, you know, so that they do, and they see the opportunity in the growth there. So I would be more than happy to get you engaged with them because, you know, hiring veterans to kind of make that connection. Help grow

that business. The idea idea you company that we work with has about 10 20% of their business with the government. We still wanted to focus on the commercial sector that's still a good chunk of 20% of your business is with the government and they still need to hire for people that are going to work in those areas and veterans would love that technology and still be in a help the mission.

Thank you. We got about just a few minutes left. I want to kind of do one. Oh, we have another question. So many questions. You got a line to hold the line on the back questions. All right. There was a bar on that side of the hot second next Kevin Moore with delight question for Ben. What's the expectation for you? And how do you balance between

being the experimental sandbox or having to land every project successful? Um, DIA. You roughly works right now about 45% transition rate, which in the ecosystem of innovation groups inside the body is really well because I think we're averaging around 11% amongst the other players, So we're doing relatively well their definitions of transition. What's a successful project? That goal line keeps seeming seems to move. You were starting to use the terms of adoption less concerned about whether or not they landed with that particular contract, Or that particular thing, and more about was It actually adopted in being used actually going back to the company and be like how many orders did you get? Because companies can get government contracts idyllic and other things and then actually not have any revenue coming in. So we're we're very focused on that. We

We call companies that we work with portfolio companies because there's a lot of D I you or were you kind of model that VC kind of environment, But we're not a VC. We're not taking equity stakes, its non dilutive or buying. Where's for these companies? So we're very you know, but but in that vein of a portfolio company were concerned about the company's success. So we're looking at how that you know. What regulatory orders running into you What contracting issues that they're running into What kind of growth and scaling issues. What kind of hiring issues that they aren't into? So it's that same type of process to make sure those companies are successful. So you know, there's a full gambit of what we call success from like, you know, working with a company initially and kind of moving through, uh, working with the hill working with the duty Budget office.

They want us to start a project creates, and we actually funded it over the five year budget plan that you have. There's a lot of that as you if you've anybody's work with government. We do a lot of initial like there's a little bit of money. Well, is it in the budget for next five years? No. Well, I just, You know, Valley of death type type stuff, so we're constantly kind of hitting it in the energy space. It's great right now because there's such an emphasis on climate. Um, coming down from the White House that that's an area where Blake here's all my climate projects. It fits into a climate category.

You want to align it with the budget that the president wants to push put forward. Do you ever get any pressure to be more experimental and Um, find new avenues. Yes, And no. I mean, we cover a spectrum of if you know, like the technology readiness stuff of like, four or five up to nine. So it just depends on the technology. Um, I've got I I literally have projects coming from electric jet skis to geothermal plants right now. Um so

I also have a project on a new advanced aircraft blended wing body that just closed so I don't know what's more extreme from electric jet skis. Do you throw more or new aviation? So, yes, we're pushing the envelope from new technologies. But it's every run the gamut of different things that you have a fusion project right now. So which is always five years out, right? So Nothing. Thank you. We got it. Great. You in line for a question, All right.

Okay. Questions for Joe. Show. We're talking about energy transition right, which requires baseline energy, which is secure grid.

Secure grid is threatened by climate, private payrolls are becoming more common and more violent an

2022-08-11 08:05

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