On October 12, Fresh Energy will host our annual Benefit Breakfast, an event known for convening diverse, leading voices in the clean energy space. This year, we are pleased to welcome back climate tech entrepreneur Ramez Naam, an investor and author with globally recognized perspectives on the market trends in solar energy, wind power, storage, and electric transportation.
Friends of Fresh Energy may remember Ramez from our very first Benefit Breakfast in 2016. Since then, much of Ramez’s forecasting in the growth of clean technology has come true – and new challenges and opportunities have presented themselves to shape an equitable, clean future.
We hope you will join us in person at the Saint Paul RiverCentre for the “Fair of the Future” all-electric showroom and a high-energy program featuring Ramez Naam and Fresh Energy’s new executive director Brenda Cassellius. There will be an engaging discussion about how we are making our clean energy future a reality and the crucial role that organizations like Fresh Energy are already playing. If you can’t attend in person, please be sure to purchase a ticket for the virtual event.
Ramez was one of the first to forecast how quickly clean technology would become exponentially cheaper.
In 2011, Ramez wrote a seminal article about how the cost of solar power was dropping more rapidly than any energy source in history. He forecasted that because solar power is a technology, not a commodity, it would become cheaper and cheaper the faster it was built. If trends continued, he predicted, clean technologies like solar, wind, batteries, and green hydrogen would inevitably become cheaper than using fossil fuels.
Fast-forward to today, and we can see that Ramez’s prediction has become true. In many places in the world, it is now cheaper to build new wind and solar than it is to buy the fuel to power existing coal and fossil gas plants. The challenge to decarbonizing our electric grid is no longer about economics or technology, Ramez notes, it’s about figuring out permitting and transmission infrastructure to build it more quickly. For a recent conversation on the state of the clean energy industry, check out Ramez’ guest appearance on the Volts podcast.
For more than a decade, Ramez has been on the forefront of educating global audiences about new and emerging market trends and technology.
When Ramez wrote his book The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet in 2011, the price of wind and solar energy was dropping, but they were not yet the cheapest way to generate electricity. By 2015, they began being cost-competitive with existing sources of electricity. Today, they are the cheapest sources of power – and Ramez is educating audiences about how these market trends apply to a wide variety of other clean energy technologies. In his recent TED talk, Ramez notes that we are now beginning to see plunging costs for technologies like energy storage, green hydrogen, and electric vehicles (EVs) drop even faster than solar did, and these technologies will provide weeks or months of backup power to the grid and power our future in industry, aviation, and shipping.
Ramez founded a climate technology venture capital firm.
Ramez is a computer scientist that first worked on Microsoft’s early versions of Outlook, Internet Explorer, and Bing. Today, he leads PlanetaryVC, which invests in early-stage startups that are part of the clean energy transition. This firm funds high-risk, high-reward businesses like climate banks, energy storage and solar panel manufacturers, advanced EV charging technologies, and more. Ramez leads the syndicate so that other investors can pool their money to back these startups. While many of them may fail, the ones that succeed will rapidly increase the transition to a decarbonized economy.
Ramez is committed to radical optimism.
Stories about how climate change is affecting our lives appear across the media we consume every day, making it easy to feel discouraged or helpless. But there are just as many reasons for hope, too. Ramez sees trends like the rapidly decreasing cost of clean energy and electric vehicles as reasons for radical optimism. Humans are innovative, and we have long used our capacity for big ideas and sharing knowledge to improve the world – and tackling the climate crisis is no different.
He has written a trilogy of award-winning sci-fi books.
In The Nexus Trilogy, Ramez creates a world where people can take a drug that allows them to network their mind to other people’s minds, sharing thoughts, knowledge, and memories. Though illegal, an underground network of mind-linked humans emerges to work together and try to overcome the main villains of the story: a posthuman computer system that threatens humanity’s future and the government’s top-down structure seeking to control Nexus.
Part techno-thriller, part spy novel, Nexus was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2013 and went on to win two prestigious sci-fi awards – the Prometheus Award and the Philip K. Dick Award. The trilogy clocks in at over 1,500 pages, which provides plenty of page-turning entertainment before October’s Benefit Breakfast!
Ramez loves exploring the natural world to inspire his work in combatting climate change.
Ramez is an avid adventurer and explorer of the natural world. He’s climbed mountains, ridden his bike down hundreds of miles of the Vietnam coast, and backpacked in rural China. As an avid scuba diver, he fell in love with the world’s biodiversity under the waves, and that love of the ocean helped inspire his transition from working in tech to working on issues of global climate change.
We hope you will join us in person at the Saint Paul RiverCentre for the “Fair of the Future” all-electric showroom and a high-energy program featuring Ramez Naam and Fresh Energy’s new executive director Brenda Cassellius. There will be an engaging discussion about how we are making our clean energy future a reality and the crucial role that organizations like Fresh Energy are already playing. If you can’t attend in person, we have a virtual streaming option as well. Register today!