Episode #006 - Jonas Corné
Episode #006 with Torsten Brammer & Jonas Corné:
In this episode, we had the immense pleasure to talk to Jonas Corné from Sweden. He is immensely bullish on renewable energy for many reasons that he shared with us.
After getting an excellent education at ETH Zurich and even an executive program at Stanford University, Jonas has started a string of companies. All of his business ideas were in the tech space. As these things go, not all of them survived, but that is a really good thing for us, because with his latest venture, Greenbyte Jonas and his team of around 80 people are now fighting climate change with code!
Jonas is the CEO and founder of Greenbyte, which launched its first product in 2010. Greenbyte is a data aggregator and management hub for the optimization and yield forecasting for different kinds of renewable energy.
Connect with Jonas on LinkedIn.
Interesting points covered in this episode for those of us on our own Solar Journey):
What are the two most important ingredients in starting a business? [00:05:14]
What is the founding story of Greenbyte? [00:08:00]
How does Greenbyte create value for its customers? [00:14:05]
Which way will Greenbyte develop their product? [00:22:18]
Who will dominate the future of the renewable energy sector? [00:27:41]
What appears to be the biggest advantage for a business in the race to acquire solar assets? [00:30:41]
Why is Jonas super optimistic and bullish on renewable energy? [00:40:00]
How do capitalism, sustainable energy, and mis-priced external risks play together? [00:42:14]
[00:00:02.450] - Torsten
OK, welcome, everybody, to another episode of the Solar Journey, and today we have a new guest. It's Jonas Corne from Greenbyte! Welcome Jonas!
[00:00:15.310] - Jonas
Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here Torsten.
[00:00:18.510] - Torsten
Yeah, so let me first please introduce Jonas and I'll just go briefly through his CV and you will see that he's a serial entrepreneur and he's got a degree in management from the ETH Zurich in Switzerland. And he also took part in an executive program in Stanford University in the U.S.A.. In 2005 he founded a Web agency and he ran it for five years. And then he keeps on founding new companies, so in 2008, he founded another company called Don't Buy It. It's pretty cool name, I think. And it's a it's a website, I guess, which aggregates comments from unhappy customers and forwards. This feedback in an aggregated way to the actual vendor supplier and companies pretty cool! And in 2009, he founded a website which allows volunteers to find work experience on organic farms. So I think we can see a shift towards sustainable lifestyle. And so we'll learn about it in a in a bit, I guess. But now he's not part of these companies anymore, if I understand correctly, at least not in an active executive way. In 2010, he founded Greenbyte. The company is now still working for as a CEO and Greenbyte. Is a a software company, and it helps to bring down the cost of wind energy, so bits and winds. This is what Greebyte brings together and we will touch later. On on what Greenbyte actually does. Let me just have some initial questions on Jonas, so you founded four companies that that's a lot, right? And you still look pretty young. So, yeah, you seem to be dedicated on founding companies. When did you feel the urge or the desire to to do this to found companies? How did that come about?
[00:02:36.720] - Jonas
Well, Torsten, the fact is, I'm not so young, I just use great skin products! No, but seriously, yeah it's I haven't really thought about starting companies in that way. It just happened very naturally. We were a group of friends to built some websites when we were younger. And all of a sudden we built the websites for a company and we needed to send an invoice. So we needed to start a company and kind of off we were and we did that for a few years. And we realized that being a consultant is really hard and we wanted to build the product company instead. So we tried to build "Don't buy it. We failed miserably and. But the one thing that we did learn was that if we ever found a company again is that we need to focus and it's all about focus. And so when we found a Greenbyte, we thought we thought that, OK, let's see if we were four. So three of us want them working Greenbyte, one hundred percent dedicated. One of us worked in the consultancy and over time, green light started to become more successful. And it's a product company. That's what we wanted to do in a really interesting space. And then we just focused on Greenbyte fully. So, yeah, I guess what we learned from that is just like focus is so important.
[00:04:10.120] - Torsten
Interesting, so so the very first company. It's the same team, right? All the company, all the companies I mentioned, this was always the same team. Right. And it's like a dream team. It is a dream team.
[00:04:23.570] - Jonas
We compliment each other very well. So two of us are deeply technical and one is much more marketing and front end user interface oriented. And then it's myself who is just a generalist.
[00:04:41.770] - Torsten
OK. And you know each other, from school, I think you mentioned that earlier.
[00:04:49.430] - Jonas
Well, yeah, so so one of the one of them I know from when we were six years old. So really, really long time. Well, and when I met in high-school and the other in university.
[00:05:02.250] - Torsten
Yeah. OK, so what makes you stick together. Did you, did you elaborate for yourself as a team on this one? Why do you what does it work. Right? I mean you said you're complementary, but what else?
[00:05:14.410] - Jonas
Is it's you know, I think that when you start a company, you have to I think it's important to be a team, to be a few people, because building a company is so hard. And I think that when you. When you, I don't know, decide who to work with, you want to work with someone you trust, trust, and who do you who do who do you trust better than your friends? And so, yeah, we started a company. We were friends for a long time and we trust each other. We knew each other about each other's boundaries. And I mean, to be honest, we fought a lot during during the early days of the business about where do we go and actually maybe not so much about where do we go, but about stupid stuff like what color should this button in the front-end be and what like really stupid stuff. But I would say, like the long term has not been anything that we have been we've been we've had a pretty clear picture about where we want to go and but some but but given that we know each other so well, we don't have any. But I mean, we know the boundaries, but sometimes we know, OK, when I cross this boundaries, things are going to go sour. And when you're in an emotional state, you just choose to go across that boundary. And that's kind of that happens. And over time, if you can if you can talk about it afterwards, it builds even more trust.
[00:06:41.950] - Torsten
[00:06:43.530] - Jonas
Yeah, I think that trust component is really important when you want to start a company with somebody and the complementarities.
[00:06:48.970] - Torsten
Cool, hey, wonderful input for other listeners who may be interested in founding a company. Thanks a lot for elaborating on this. So the other companies, they are they are not operative anymore?
[00:07:04.860] - Jonas
That's it. No, they're not. And yeah, OK. I thought I thought that all of them were good ideas. So it's too bad.
But when going to read about that, I thought, well, that's pretty good and.
[00:07:19.240] - Torsten
So so how did that switch come about or how did how when did you move solar or for the force you move solar? You started as a a Web agency, then a customer feedback, then you know that organic farming. Yes. How did that happen? Right. How did you find your industry?
[00:07:42.160] - Jonas
So. I mean, if the organic farming part is kind of a separate, separate track, so maybe we focus like on Greenbyte, because I could go far down into the organic farming part, but maybe it wouldn't be so relevant for the listeners. So but it's talking about like. Greenbyte and how we came into this, and so we have this consultancy business and we were consulting and building websites and doing some marketing work and things, but we knew we wanted to build this product company. And so one of our customers back then was a wind power developer. So they were developing wind farms and they said when you develop wind farms, you need to know how windy it is in the forest. So you have a bunch of measurement devices in the forest. And they said to us and they were coming from different manufacturers and they said, since we knew technology, they said, can you guys just consolidate some of the data coming from these wind measurement devices? Because the wind measurement device is the quality of that data is super important because the wind is what's going to determine all future cash flows. So you want to know exactly what the wind is. And so they said we did a consultancy project and then we had all of the data in the database and they said, well, can you show us some reports? Can you build some screens where we can see how windy it is? Can you do some data, quality assurance? And yeah. And all of a sudden we have a little product and we thought, hmm, probably other people are going to want something like this as well. So we went out and asked other developers if they would buy this if we built it. As a product that could be sold. And they said yes. And so then we thought, OK, this is an opportunity for us. It's in renewable energy, which we know is going to happen because the world doesn't have a choice. It has to have. And so we knew that the macro was great for that. We knew software and we love data and building a company. I mean, let's do it. Stars were aligned and we started in this little little niche, which is wind measurements. And of course, Sweden, being a super small country, doesn't have so many wind measurements. So our second customer was in Costa Rica. Our third customer was in like South Africa or something. So we were pretty like international from day one. And that's the way I find every one of the things I love about renewable energy is just how international this businesses. And so and being Swedish, I mean, we have to go out of Sweden, it's like nine million people. And yeah, we're just small, can't build company in Sweden.
[00:10:29.360] - Torsten
And there is many big famous Swedish companies that you seem to naturally do a good job in going overseas. Cool. So, um. So. What exactly is the problem that you are solving at Greenbyte? So it's putting together the data. Is it a lot more? Has it grown well beyond that?
[00:10:51.550] - Jonas
Yeah, so it started out with this, like measurement data from the wind, from wind measurement devices. And we did that for, like, I don't know, three or four years. We were five people in the company and so really niche market. But all of a sudden our customers had verified the wind. They had gotten the financing and they had built operating wind farms. And they came back to us and said, yeah, we like to collect this data as well, because we own turbines from Siemens, from Vestas, from GE and Enercon, and we want to collect all of this data in one place. And that's what you guys do, right? And we said, yeah, that's what we do. So then we said, OK, let's build the product for this. And we built a new product. And then and back then we called it Breece. And its people started to like that. And the market was bigger. More customers came in and we hired more people and the company really started to grow. And then our customers were like, OK, so we're not just a wind company, we're renewable energy company. We want to invest in solar assets as well. And so they came back to us and said, can you build something for solar? And we said, yeah, we can do that. So then we built a new product and we called it Bright. So we had two products, Breece and Bright. And and then we started to think about. But yeah, I mean, wind and solar, they're going to be big. But in order to really, like, have an impact, we're going to need to think about more technologies. We're going to need battery storage and hydro. Maybe we're going to need geothermal and all these types of energy sources. So we thought, OK, and nobody's going to remember all of our names, Breece, Bright, green, Greenbyte, but it's too much. So let's just call our product Greenbyte and let's make it technology agnostic and so that we can be the company that is empowering the renewable energy from a digital perspective to grow even faster. And so that's what we're all about today, is to empower the owners of large scale renewable energy with the digital tools to produce more renewable energy. That's what we do today.
[00:13:07.500] - Torsten
OK, so you that is an unusual product was to collect the wind data and now you bring together the actual kilowatt hour output from different turbines.
[00:13:18.270] - Jonas
Exactly. So it's like from turbines and solar parks. And so it's getting that data from the asset. Yeah, but the data from the asset really isn't enough to manage the assets. You need to have other sources you need to have. What is the power, one of the power prices, what is the power forecast and what is the substation doing and what is other measurement devices on site? So getting all of this data together and helping our customers to optimize and operate their assets.
[00:13:50.960] - Torsten
So how does it help to to optimize it so they know more precisely what they will produce so they can achieve a better price on the market for their renewable electricity?
[00:14:05.340] - Jonas
So there are a couple of ways to think about this. One way is, of course, like the basic scenario, which is when you in which you have availability. So when, and I'll use the wind turbine case or wind farm case, it goes exactly similar or very similar in the solar solar case. But basically you have a wind turbine and you and you have the availability of that wind turbine can produce energy or can it not produce energy. And so you want that turbine to produce to be able to produce energy when there is wind and when the electricity prices are high. So we measure what is the availability of the turbine. And many of our customers are in full service contract with their turbine OEM. So we help our customers to evaluate that. They're getting the availability and that is in line with the availability contract that they have with the OEM. So making sure that the turbines are able to produce energy and as much of the time as possible. The second thing is to optimize the performance. So when the turbines are performing, are they producing as much energy as they should be?
[00:15:17.780] - Torsten
[00:15:19.380] - Jonas
And that's not always the case, because sometimes there can be your misalignments, there can be wrong controlled settings and the controlled system. And so being able to capture this over a large base of assets is really valuable for our customers. So that's availability and performance. And a lot of the time, historically, the amount of energy. That you produce is linearly correlated with the amount of revenue that you could generate from the renewable energy asset because you had a feed in tariff or you had some other mechanism that gave you, I don't know, seventy five euros per megawatt hour they produced for the next 15 years in the world we're in today. I don't see that. What's going on. Renewable energy, wind and solar, they're so cost competitive that they are not going to be getting those incentives as they had in the past. So now we added the next level of volatility that owners need to take care of, and that is the price. So price is going to be an energy from renewable energy is going to be traded on a merchant basis. So basically, there's going to be price volatility as well. And that needs to be brought into the operational strategy of an owner in order to maximize revenue coming from a renewable energy asset.
[00:16:39.640] - Torsten
Yeah, what's what's the where are we today with the cost of wind energy, roughly?
[00:16:47.200] - Jonas
Ah, the cost of wind energy?
[00:16:49.660] - Torsten
The typical PPA price. I mean, the price. Let's talk about the price.
[00:16:53.860] - Jonas
The price? OK, but I wish I could give you an answer. This is not really my level of expertise, but I can say I'm not I'm not sure about the listeners. A lot of your listeners probably know this a lot better than me, so. But what we can say is like there is onshore and there's offshore and offshore is still a lot more expensive to build. Some people say twice as expensive to build. But of course, the winds on offshore are a lot better. So you can still get economics in building an offshore wind park. But in terms of the LCOE or like the PPA prices, I can't really tell you.
[00:17:30.530] - Torsten
OK, no worries. So when you sell the electricity, what cycles do they have to optimize the forecast? Is it like for the next day or is it 15 minutes, you know?
[00:17:44.410] - Jonas
Yeah. So in terms of the like, the differences in there are quite some regional differences in how you can trade energy and but if we take a market which is quite advanced in how to trade energy and we can look at the Nordics that have come quite, quite, quite, quite a way in order to design the energy system, in order to find the correct incentives to build out renewable energy. And the way that energy is traded in the Nordics is that you you have to, at 12 a o'clock or midday noon. You have to say to the market how much you expect to produce from, for the next for the next day. So 12 hours before you have to say how much you're going to produce for the next 12 to 36 hours. And you have to say how much you're going to do on an hourly basis, this is going to become even shorter. So you going to have to say on a 15 minute basis. And and if you are. Producing more, we are producing less, you need, you need to pay basically, and because the grid can't handle more energy and it can't handle less energy, it needs to be in balance between being consumed. So having an accurate forecast is absolutely key. And there are many ways, there are many aspects to bring in an accurate forecast. It's about weather like how is how are the winds going to blow? And it's also about the availability of the assets themselves. Are they going to be available to produce?
[00:19:23.370] - Torsten
So, so it's at 12 o'clock at lunch, basically you have to say, for the next 12-36 hours, depending on the city of this country.
[00:19:32.710] - Jonas
Sorry I was unclear. So at noon, you have to say how much you're going to produce from midnight to midnight.
[00:19:39.290] - Torsten
From midnight to midnight for the next year. So in 12 hours, for the next 12 hours?
[00:19:43.610] - Jonas
Yes, the next twenty four hours.
[00:19:45.680] - Torsten
OK, and and on the granularity on an hourly basis. OK. And you get a penalty basically if you produce more or less. Right. Cause less there's somebody who needs to buy expensive electricity.
[00:20:03.650] - Jonas
I actually, actually what you have to do is if you produce less, you have to go out and source the energy.
[00:20:09.320] - Torsten
And do that for yourself. Right?
[00:20:12.090] - Jonas
Exactly. And if it's a scenario where there is not enough energy on the grid, that energy becomes really expensive. And so and so there are a few. And most of the time it doesn't really matter because there is energy available. But there are a few hours every year where that energy becomes very, very expensive, like crazy expensive. And that is what can make or break...
[00:20:38.390] - Torsten
That's what, ten times more than normal or a hundred times?
[00:20:40.860] - Jonas
Maybe like a hundred, I've seen thousand times more expensive! For a few hours.
[00:20:48.950] - Torsten
All right. So if you produce too little, then you have to source yourself, which can be super expensive. And if you produce too much then yeah. Then you can sell it or you can curtail and or you just waste it now. Yeah. But the blades of the turbine and produce less.
[00:21:08.140] - Jonas
Exactly. But that means that you need to have the ability to do that. And that's not always the case.
[00:21:16.400] - Torsten
So the funny thing with electricity. I mean, they're storage, right? But if you produce it and you don't have storage yourself, you can't. That's why you have to be careful about what you just can't squeeze it into the grid. Right. It will be rejected physically. Right, or? That's the.
[00:21:33.600] - Jonas
Ah, you know, I'm not exactly sure what happens if you actually produce more, but I would guess that they would be like frequency issues on the grid. And if there are frequency issues on the grid, someone is going to be really pissed off.
[00:21:49.170] - Torsten
To a certain level that can be compensated with the frequency. But I think there's a limit for old appliances, right? They go wild at some stage.
[00:21:57.390] - Jonas
[00:21:58.630] - Torsten
Good. Excellent. And and you're you're offering your your software that. So that's one package. All right. The collecting data, checking the availability and doing the forecasting. That's the one software package. Right. And you provide it as a as a as a service. So it's a subscription?
[00:22:18.720] - Jonas
Actually, you know what. Yeah, but what we're trying to do is that so we sell our services as software, as a service. So basically we charge on a per megawatt basis. So how many megawatts does the customer have installed? And we then the prices determine on the number of megawatts. But one thing that we have come to realize is that our customers are very smart and have very large needs. And so and because the market is changing so much all the time, we have determined that we're a small company, we're like eighty five people and we're not going to be able to solve all of the issues that our customers have because they may be varying in different regions or different technologies. And so what we have decided to do is to make the data available to third parties so that others can build applications on top of the data that we have in the platform. And this is, of course, with the consent of those of the customers that want these add on services. But basically we want to build like kind of what Salesforce has done in the CRM market, that they build the platform in which other companies can tap into the data and offer additional value. And we want to do exactly the same thing in the renewable energy space.
[00:23:42.210] - Torsten
Yeah, the wonderful platform business, everybody wants.
[00:23:45.130] - Jonas
[00:23:46.080] - Torsten
Excellent. Excellent. So that's that's interesting. Cool. You mentioned you got 85 people. Can you share how many customers you have just to given the listeners an idea?
[00:23:57.510] - Jonas
So we have about a hundred and twenty customers.
[00:24:00.790] - Torsten
And in how many countries?
[00:24:02.920] - Jonas
It's and they're like in 30ish countries, something like that
[00:24:10.100] - Torsten
On all continents you talked about Costa Rica, I think.
[00:24:13.680] - Jonas
Yeah, we actually have company of customers and all the continents. Antarctica, actually maybe not, but all of the other continents.
[00:24:23.700] - Torsten
Yeah, well, and can you give us an indication of the revenue of your businesses and just the range?
[00:24:31.100] - Jonas
Sure. So if we think about, like the footprint that our customers have with a portfolio that's installed in Greenbyte, we're at around 30 - 34 gigawatts and a lot of assets. And our revenue, it's like I won't give you an exact number, but I'll give you like an order of magnitude. So it's like, yeah, somewhere in some 10 million euros. OK, yeah.
[00:25:05.910] - Torsten
Excellent. And. So how do others how do companies who are not your customers yet, how do they operate, their wind windfarms, they're using in-house software solutions or.
[00:25:22.300] - Jonas
Um, yeah. So, you know, one of the things is that unfortunately, we have some competitors at who, some of our and some of these companies use. But I would say that and we look at the market in different some different spaces, but like utilities, they tend to have systems that have been internally developed in order to to manage this. So some utilities have large development teams where they work with assembling the data, harmonizing the data and making the data into actionable insights. So some some have built their own and some have and are using one of our competitors and some just don't have a system. They rely completely on the service providers that their or Excel , yeah even Excel!
[00:26:21.000] - Torsten
Um. So that's an interesting area here in the good old world, right? Like, let's say three decades ago or so. Basically you had these big utilities, right? So in Germany, there's like four or five. They they you know, they had monopolies in their region. Right. There was a RWE and the EnBeWe and there's Vattenfall. Right. Who came in to Germany, I don't know, some years ago. So this big, big, big, big corporations. Right. Ehm, I guess that's the ones you call and I call would call a utilities. Right. And then you now have with with the renewables, those independent power producers, which I call the IPPs in the in the community. Right. They are new in the area, and I guess I would assume they are most of your customers, right? They they are new in the market. They they have a maybe a different culture, a different approach to to the whole industry, your whole mindset, which also which also separate the energy industry, now in these. And then, of course, you have those private, and super small scale, eh power producers, is that also the sectors how would you describe the current energy landscape?
[00:27:41.360] - Jonas
Yeah, this is something that we think about quite a lot. We think about who, where, who is going to own the assets in the future? And so, yes, we look at the IPPs and yes, that is our core customer base. And we do believe that the IPPs are going to grow a lot and they grow a lot because they have access to capital that is of low cost, let's say, pension money, so a lot of pension money is going into IPPs and and then we have the utilities who I think are going to. I don't know, I think a lot of I think a lot of utilities may be struggling because they're sitting with asset bases that are going to be come pretty soon toxic, basically. And how do you get out of that and get into renewables? And I'm not I'm not certain. So I'm a big believer in the IPPs. But then there is a third player that I think is going to have, eh could have a really big impact and that are the oil and gas companies. Like if you look at the market cap of oil and gas companies compared to utilities around the world, oil and gas, oil and gas companies completely dwarf the market cap of all utilities. So if the oil companies want they have balance sheets and access to capital that can get into renewables in a big, big way. But again, they are sitting with those assets that may become toxic pretty soon. And I believe that the change from, eh powering, the world from hydrocarbons and into renewables, I think it's going to go pretty fast, and so I think it's. We're just getting started and it's going to go faster and faster. It is my belief because fundamentally we don't have an option. So but it is interesting, though, to think about like where we get our energy from. And like still today, less than twenty five percent of the energy is electricity. The rest is basically burning of hydrocarbons. And even within that electricity, twenty five percent, a lot is burning on hydrocarbons. So what's going to be important for the future is increased electrification and that that increased electrification is powered by renewables. But I mean. That 75 percent is coming from transport, heat, which is something that we maybe don't think about so much, but that's where the real change can be made, is by electrifying more and more and by getting that electricity from renewables.
[00:30:41.010] - Torsten
Yeah, so that's a plenty of super interesting stuff you just covered. I would like to jump back and hopefully you don't forget what you just mentioned. So the oil and gas money, let's put it this way, right. Do you think they're going to go right? I mean, they. It's all their assets and the value they have, are they going to hunt IPPs eventually, right? I mean. I mean, what's going to happen?
[00:31:13.590] - Jonas
Yeah, I think it comes down to because the investments into renewable energy or any energy costs are so big and they're so long term that I think the companies that are going to win are the ones that have access to the lowest cost of capital. And then if you have access to the lowest cost of capital, that's a really competitive advantage. And then you can organize yourself so that you can run these assets in the best way possible. But I think lowest cost, access to lowest cost of capital is what's going to determine who ends up with the most amount of renewable energy assets.
[00:31:52.040] - Torsten
And what does it take to have this good access to to capital?
[00:31:59.900] - Jonas
It takes a really solid balance sheet and a really. A good view on how future cash flows are going to become available in the future, and this is where I think that maybe the oil companies could be struggling, is because if investors think or dept-providers think that they are not going to generate enough cash coming from the renewables sorry, from the oil. The cost of capital may increase for those companies, and that would be beneficial for the IPPs and so. Yeah, this is something I'm not certain about and it keeps me it keeps me up at night because a lot of it actually comes back to how do we build our product? Do we build our product for the company that is like Chevron or Shell or BP, or do we build our product for a much more lean IPP? And I think that the right decision for us right now is to think about how we can build our products for IPPs. And if we are in a situation where IPPs are getting acquired by oil and gas companies, we need to be fast in order to switch our own strategy, in order to be able to support those oil and gas companies. But I really don't know where we will end up. But I do think I do I do think that there are economies of scale. I think that the portfolios are going to get bigger and bigger and bigger.
[00:33:45.260] - Torsten
Yeah. Um, I mean, solar and renewables was this kind of underground movement. It's like, listen, in Germany, I'm from Germany. So the initial development was through private people. Right. And it has had this kind of. Energy becomes a democratic freely available source, but how regulation has changed in Germany, it became more and more favorable for larger companies. Right. And the importance of balance sheets you just mentioned is stressed more and more particularly for the for the PPAs. Right. Because since you have to have a strong balance sheet to work to minimize the risk for purchasing power, if you don't if you can't provide power from your renewable energy source. So in a way, there's a natural but also regulatory move, at least in Germany. I would say in most countries that it's going to go to the big and bigger guys, more and more. Right.
[00:34:59.970] - Jonas
You know, I think I think that there are two parts here. I think that a lot of people themselves are interested in becoming more self-sufficient on energy. And I think it's the same. That's why I was so interested in organic farming before it is that people are interested in, in kind of being a bit more independent and being able to discuss the world, it's like the it's it's like when you have this whole digital world that where people are living in their filtered bubbles and we're becoming more and more interconnected. I always think that when there's such a strong trend, there is a counter trend. And I think that trend is all about like being self-sufficient in terms of energy, food and whatever it is. So and it feels good to produce your own energy. It's awesome!
[00:35:50.360] - Torsten
It's control, right? And it's becomes at least a bit at least you have some tangible things. Right, because in the all digital world, it's not tangible. Right.
[00:36:01.240] - Jonas
Yeah. So so I think that, like, of course, there's going to be these big wind farms and big solar plants that are going to produce a lot of energy. But at the same time, I'm really bullish on the more individual being able to purchase their own energy plant and to run it on the roof or in their garden. And so I think that's going to happen in a big way, and especially now that prices come down and buying those systems, that's going to happen for sure and long term, I think that we're going to have such an abundance of electricity that electricity prices are going to be basically zero. So it's a well, I'm of the belief that we're going to have just too much energy.
[00:36:48.690] - Torsten
Have you considered to provide a solution for, like, you know, the private household, a house owner who now has a 10 kilowatt system? And I mean, if he produces too much and his his batteries are full and his car's already fully charged and he can run more dishwashers than he's already running because he will also need a solution to sell himself. It would be fantastic if you could sell the electricity just a little at least and it has to be fully automated, which you know is possible, right?
[00:37:21.280] - Jonas
Yeah, I think, I think and that's awesome. And and I'd love to play a part in that. But for Greenbyte, the way, that we are organized and the way that it comes back to like our sales process is really geared towards larger players, which means that we invest quite a lot in our marketing and sales. So in order for it to make sense, we need to go after bigger deals. And so our company is kind of organized to go after those large portfolios. So at the time, if we were to start to play a part in the more residential growth of solar, we would need to build our product a little bit differently and put more responsibility on the individual who connects to our product. And right now, that's not part of what we do.
[00:38:20.510] - Torsten
And then the other thing you mentioned earlier, I mean. Before we pressed the record button, we had a chat about your background picture and you said maybe we can highlight that again, why you think you like you like the picture taken from the moon?
[00:38:38.260] - Jonas
Yeah. So I have this picture here to remind me that, like, going to the moon is is hard. It's really hard. And doing it in the 60s, that's even harder. Yeah. And in comparison, like building out renewable energy is easy and it's such an imperative that we have in all of us around the world. So and we have the technology. We have the funding. So it's easy. And yeah. So I just think that I mean, I know this is going to happen and it's not going to be that hard.
[00:39:20.000] - Torsten
Yeah. So everybody just listening to the to the audio version of this interview Jonas has a picture taken from the moon looking back onto the earth. It's a wonderful picture. Yeah. Fantastic view on it. And it's, it's inspiring you your view on how renewables will will grow. But earlier on, you mentioned it's going to go fast, it's going to go fast, fast, a lot, a lot faster than people might think. What makes you so optimistic about it? What are the what's the dynamic here?
[00:39:58.940] - Jonas
Well, the first thing that makes me really optimistic is just looking at the data and looking at if we go back to, I don't know, 2005 and looking at the projections of how much solar there would be in the world, then we go to 2006 and we go to2007, 2009, etc, every time that we have tried to project how much solar is going to grow, we have underestimated historically. And so that speaks to the fact that solar is just going to grow rapidly. And I think we're doing exactly the same mistake now in storage. We're thinking about how much storage there's going to be in the world and I think we're underestimating it completely. The driver, is the speed which with cost is going down in these technologies, so eh, I think we're just underestimating the speed and. So and it's becoming cheaper and we all know it has to happen, so that's why I think it's going to go faster.
[00:40:58.800] - Torsten
What's your take on nuclear energy?
[00:41:01.660] - Jonas
Nuclear energy? Yeah, that's a good one. Ah I don't mind nuclear energy. I think nuclear energy as a concept is good. I just don't think it's price competitive. It's it's just. Yeah, I mean, it doesn't it doesn't make economic sense to build it. So I'm not I'm not opposed to nuclear energy. And it's but from a financial perspective, I just don't think it makes sense.
[00:41:29.400] - Torsten
Yeah. Yeah. Well, there was a study, um, on, uh and trying to get an insurance for operating at a nuclear power plant. And that alone, just ruins the whole business case. And I mean, fortunately, I mean, unfortunately, you could say, unfortunately, the operators of nuclear power plants don't need to have this insurance because basically they, all individuals and pay the bill if something happens, right? So that's that's that's the only reason why, in my opinion, nuclear energy actually works right now, because we just know if something happens, then it's just bad luck.
[00:42:14.610] - Jonas
Yeah, it's the whole thing of not taking, like, enough of those negative externalities into effect in how you price and tax nuclear energy. So I think there's a point to be made here about like the modern environmentalist. And I think that a modern environmentalist needs to think about how to make this change happen in a capitalist environment. And because at the end of the day, our and our society is based on generating profit for someone. And so in order to accomplish change, I think you need to play by those rules. And of course, I think that, like Greenpeace and activism have an important role to play. But I'd like to really make change. We need to play by the rules that we as a democracy have set up, and those rules is basically capitalism. And so a lot a lot of impact can be had by playing by those rules, I believe, because the trend is going that way.
[00:43:19.950] - Torsten
Yeah, interesting topic. I don't know if you dare to comment on this, but many, many blame exactly capitalism for the climate crisis of the climate change we are in. What's your what's your take on that? If you like my comment.
[00:43:34.700] - Jonas
I share that. I totally share that. It's it's again and take not taking negative externalities into into account, OK. And so I totally share that, like if we look back to maybe the, I don't know, industrial revolution, we realized that in order to generate growth, we need energy. OK, what's the cheapest way of generating energy? Yeah, it's burning hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons exist in abundance and let's just burn them. Let's have an efficiency of like 20 percent when we burn them and 80 percent going off to. Like heat can just being stupid about how we use them, but it made economic sense, so I share that view completely and I do think that like the incentives from capitalism in order to make this change, are there though, so and but, of course, like we need to as a society, think about taxing the negative externalities in a way that we haven't before.
[00:44:33.540] - Torsten
So, yeah, so but it would mean sticking to capitalism, but just including the externalities like fixing the fixing the the problem we had in the past, that externalities were not included in the cost calculation.
[00:44:49.290] - Jonas
I mean, the fact that that oil and gas are still heavily subsidized is just insane. Yeah. And there it's up to every person to vote so that we get regulation that makes sure that we can't subsidize that type of energy production. This is my opinion.
[00:45:16.110] - Torsten
We are touching touchy ground here. But yeah, a point well taken and I think I share the same view. So it's going to grow and grow like crazy because the costs are coming down. But then you also mentioned the regulatory aspect, right? Avoiding subsidies. So as a final remark, because I know you need to run now, what does it take to bring it to the next level? I mean, the growth is there, as you mentioned, 10, maybe 20 percent each year. Many say it's not enough right to to meet the Paris climate targets. What does it take to accelerate the growth of the renewables, in your view?
[00:46:06.000] - Jonas
Well, I do think that the money is there. I think that the technology is there. But I think that there is room for more clear regulation on how these assets can be built out, and if we look at many parts of the world, it's not possible to build out renewable energy due to different. Regulatory rules. I mean, you can't build close to airports because. Radars could be, I don't know, sometimes I think that they they are just people opposed to renewable energy who set all of these rules. But in some areas, of course, there is flora and fauna and other aspects to be taken in, that need to be taken into account in order to keep biodiversity and like those types of things in place. Because but I think that the rules are they need to become a little bit more lax so that this technology and this capital can be deployed in order to speed up the. You have to speed up the like inherent power of what's going on right now and then I think that there is something to be said about the regulatory environment for batteries and storage, which I think is going to be an absolute necessity in the future. And today, it's hard to make an investment into storage because people don't know what is. How do I make money off of this? So I think that. That the regulation is probably where something that's stopping us right now, it's not the capital, it's not the technology is more about how it can be deployed. And so I think that's where where we have a lot of work to do.
[00:48:17.120] - Torsten
Excellent. I never thought of the storage part. Do you have ideas or do you know about ideas? How storage can be included in the energy pricing scheme?
[00:48:27.960] - Jonas
I mean, and it's it's it's a it's a topic where we are doing quite some research within green light to understand this better. And like I would say, like the layman's view is to just store energy when prices are cheap and then to release energy when prices are high. But there's a lot more around like how quickly could you be able how quickly can you ramp the battery? Like, can you use it for frequency regulation? Can you do. I don't. This is an area that I personally don't know so much about. I just heard from my team that this is these are areas where there isn't really regulation. And I think that with batteries, there are going to become so many new possible and interesting ways to generate revenue. And as I said before, electricity prices are going down. And so so I think electricity prices are going towards zero. I think the way that you're going to be able to generate the energy to generate revenue within energy as a whole is by selling more value added services. And I think batteries are excellent way to sell those value added services. And so. But we don't know and we don't know what the what the. We don't have the framework in order to where investors don't have the framework in order to build their business case around storage.
[00:49:56.230] - Torsten
The journey hasn't ended yet. But today and we need to end. Jonas it's been a wonderful talk, man! It's again, time rushed by so quickly. Thanks, thanks so much for coming into the show and sharing your views! It's been super inspiring and all the best with Greenbyte!
[00:50:20.200] - Jonas
Thanks a lot, and you challenged me a lot, Torsten. I haven't thought through all of these things, so I will need to go back and think!
[00:50:30.600] - Torsten
Yes, that's a good thing, I hope you didn't mind. Yeah, fantastic. And do call me at midnight when you, again have your sleepless nights, when you think about stuff and or text me - maybe that's better. When you have another cool idea! Hey, it's been a pleasure. Jonas, thanks a lot!
[00:50:52.780] - Jonas
Thanks a lot - Bye!