How venture capital and human capital are making the impossible possible in EnergyTech

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Part three of our EnergyTech series looks to the key role of startups and their investors.

  • Incumbent energy companies need to transform
  • Climate change is both an existential treat and a $56 trillion opportunity by 2050
  • Young people will invest their energy in a low-carbon future

“I think there is a possibility that the horrible, old fossil fuel incumbents could become the new, beautiful, clean energy experts that save the 21st century.” That is the message from Bill Nuttall, Professor of Energy at the Open University.

In conversation with Steven Drost, Chief Strategy Officer at Codebase, Bill discusses how the status quo, including incrementalism, needs to be overcome if the energy sector is to meet the existential threat of climate change.

Bill and Steven consider how, if they fail in this challenge, incumbents will struggle to entice talent into their ranks. They suggest that prominent voices like Greta Thunberg’s capture the feelings of the younger generations, who want to be involved in energy transformation but not through reputationally damaged oil companies. There is an opportunity cost of choosing where to work, and younger generations want to feel that they’re making a difference in the world and in their own lives, voting with their feet to achieve this goal.

In the final part of our EnergyTech series, Bill and Steven compare the future for fossil fuel incumbents to the evolution of dinosaurs into birds, explain how venture capital will be a kingmaker in the energy world, and share their vision for the future.

To find out more about Barclays’ EnergyTech initiative, which enables collaboration between incumbents and innovative startups, click here.



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