Today’s episode is about clean energy, green hydrogen, and decarbonization. Our guest, Sheldon Kimber, has over 20 years of experience in energy finance, development, and entrepreneurship. He is currently CEO and Founder of Intersect Power, a clean infrastructure company bringing utility-scale energy and storage solutions to wholesale customers, delivering value and viability to both energy buyers and asset investors. Professor Severin Borenstein who is an expert on these topics also joins us in this conversation.
Sheldon spent five years at Calpine, working on finance and development of gas-fired power projects. He also worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, and in Accenture’s strategy consulting practice, specializing in power-price forecasting and asset valuation projects for utility clients.
In this episode, Sheldon shares his origin story, his professional career, and his time at Haas where his interest in clean energy and clean technology escalated.
We also get to hear about the company he founded, Intersect Power, what it is currently doing, its plans for the future, and how Haasies can join its vision in building a clean energy future.
The best thing you can do as an entrepreneur
“I think the best entrepreneurs are people who do feel a sense of obligation to the people who work with them or for them. The best entrepreneurs are, first and foremost, servants to their people, because I think, at the end of the day, in this day and age, pulling together great teams of people is what builds value in almost any industry. And if you, as a leader, aren’t really a servant to your people and really focused on that being the number one thing, it’s pretty much the most valuable thing you can do. And I don’t know, there’s a lot of people that’ll tell you how smart they are and how visionary they are and all of that, but I think, at the end of the day, I’ve found that creating an environment that is more caring and open and transparent is probably the best thing you can do as an entrepreneur.”
Why he founded Intersect Power
“Intersect was actually born out of two questions. One was, it’s clear that renewables are just getting cheaper and cheaper. So, what happens when renewable power, at certain times of day in certain locations, is so cheap you just either can’t or shouldn’t put all of it on the grid, it’s just not necessary, it’s not needed, you can’t even get it to where it needs to go? That’s one question. And the second question was, how do I never wind up having a utility between me and my customer ever again? I didn’t necessarily solve that second one, but those were the two big problem statements or questions that I was most focused on.”
Having a small team that is aligned with the company’s vision
“When you can prove that you’re able to do much, much more with less on the overhead side, people, they step back and let you get the results, which is what we want to do. I’d much rather have a small group of people who are the absolute best, the pinnacle of the industry, that are willing to work their tails off, but are expecting to get compensated pretty highly and are also, they’re used to being treated in a certain way, having information shared with them, having a clear and transparent view of the company’s strategy, being treated like peers and leaders and strategic thinkers. And I think I’d rather create that environment and that’s what we’ve done here. And I think, because you remain lean and can control your overhead, your investors usually go along with that because they’re seeing the results they need, because people—they’re happy, they’re plugged into the vision.
How can Haasies help?
“For Haas folks, it’s important to understand the ties that Intersect has culturally to some of our roots at Haas. And so, when we talk about challenging the status quo and confidence without attitude, these are the types of values that are at the absolute core of Intersect. We are confident people. I do think we’re the best at what we do. And that’s important to believe that. But at the same time, exercising a certain level of humility to understand some of these new things you have to go in. …you know, I had a meeting with a CEO of a wind company the other day, and I started by saying, ‘We’re getting into wind….I have no idea what that means, really, you know? So I first want you to know that there’s no pride here, please help me.’
So, I think, when you step back and look at the cultures of our organization versus the school, there are a lot of overlaps, a lot of similarities. And I think that makes Haas folks a really good fit for us. And we have a lot of Haas folks already that work with us and a lot of Cal folks that work with us. We’re also just whip-smart. I do think we are the best. We’re confident about that. And I think that also matches up really well with Haas because I think there are a lot of really talented people looking to make a difference in the world. And we’re a great place to come to work if that’s what you’re looking to do with your life.”
- Sheldon Kimber
- “The Nexus of Deep Decarbonization” Blog by Sheldon Kimber
- Professor Severin Borenstein
- Intersect Power
- Intersect Power Job Opportunities
(Transcripts may contain a few typographical errors due to audio quality during the podcast recording.)
[00:00] Sean: Welcome to the OneHaas Alumni Podcast. I’m your host, Sean Li. And today, we’re joined by Sheldon Kimber. Sheldon is the CEO and Founder of Intersect Power, a clean infrastructure company bringing utility, scale energy, and storage solutions to wholesale customers, delivering value and viability to both energy buyers and asset investors. Sheldon is also, obviously, a Haas alumni. He was part of the Full-time MBA class of 2007.
Also joining us today is Professor Severin Borenstein to just bring in this conversation because I am a lay person about a lot of these things. But welcome to the podcast, both of you.
[00:46] Sheldon: Thanks for having us.
[00:47] Severin: Thanks.
[00:47] Sean: Sheldon, my favorite question is, what’s your origin story? Because as an alumni, I love to hear how you got from how you grew up to where you are today.
[00:59] Sheldon: I was born in South Africa, outside East London, South Africa, so six generations South African, was raised there until I was about seven years old. And then the country saw fit to invite my parents to leave because of their opposition to apartheid and my dad was a Methodist minister and said a lot of things that government didn’t like. So, my parents decided to leave the country and came to the United States, where my dad did his PhD in Theology at Southern Methodist University. So, it’s definitely a very lucrative degree that I’d highly suggest that people—the MBA versus the PhD in Theology. You can see that my father’s career didn’t rub off on me, necessarily. But it did in some ways because I think I’ve always been very mission-driven and cause-focused, if you will, always knew and always was expected in my household that you did something with your life that made the world a better place. And so, my sister became a litigator, pretty much litigating only on behalf of plaintiffs in the Americans with Disabilities Act. She also went to Berkeley for a law degree.
And so, when it came to my career, I went into finance and business. But I always knew that I wanted to find a sector where I could make a positive contribution. Went into electric power, knowing that, at the time, things needed to get cleaner. And I went to work for a company called Calpine, which, at the time, was re-powering America with clean natural gas, which sounds funny right now, but at the time, it was not. At the time, it really was a lot cleaner than most of the things that were out there. And so, I worked in that for a while in the early 2000s and learned a lot about financing infrastructure, financing power plants, and then eventually wind up coming back to Berkeley to get out of the energy industry. I was ready to leave the energy industry because it was very cyclical and, when you went to cocktail parties in the Bay Area, you were not very popular and no one wanted to talk about energy. They all wanted to talk about tech.
And so, I came to Berkeley to get into tech and wound up finding myself in the middle of, I think, really, the beginnings of the wave that has taken over now on clean technology, clean energy. And I don’t know, Severin, what you would say, but I think certainly, you had your class before then, but I think that was probably when things really picked up and it felt like there was a very big escalation in interest in energy and clean energy when I was in business school at Berkeley.
[03:25] Severin: So, you took my course in 2006, which was when we were really changing the course from being energy markets course to being an energy and environmental markets course, and introducing a lot more about cap and trade. And of course, that was the year that Schwarzenegger signed the bill that introduced cap and trade in California and started the big California push to decarbonizing the economy.
[03:52] Sheldon: So, it’s been a wild ride from there. I went from there, thought I was going to be an investment banker. Did my summer with Goldman Sachs. And my wife was like, “You cannot do that for a living. And it will kill you.”
[04:04] Sean: Mine said the same, by the way [laughs].
[04:06] Sheldon: Actually, I got an offer from Goldman to go to New York or Houston. And we looked at it for a while, and then my wife said no. And so, I was really there without a job in the second semester of my second year. And I wound up running into a guy who was starting a company called Recurrent Energy, which was a solar development company, mainly rooftop-focused at the time. And he came in to do a speaker series class at Haas. And his name was Arno Harris. He’s now on the board of PG&E. He’s one of closest friends. And I really did try to keep him from taking that job on the board of PG&E because I think it must be one of the hardest jobs around [laughs]. But anyway, he was gracious enough to put up with a lot of really obnoxious questions from me in the audience, and afterward invited me to grab a beer and hired me. He and I really hit the ground running at Recurrent, and ultimately changed the strategy of that business, recapitalized it, and built it into what it once was before it got bought for the second time.
[05:06] Severin: And Sheldon, I remember the dinner that we had is around your graduation with what turned out to be the founders of Burke, and you turning to me and saying, “By the way, I took a job at a solar startup.” And I practically fell out of my chair. You had been the hard-nosed project finance guy, but you figured you could use the skillset.
[05:29] Sheldon: Yeah, it was the kind of thing where my wife had worked for a company called PowerLight, which was Dan Shugar and the guys that are now over at NEXTracker. And they’ve done incredibly well over the years in various ways through solar.
[05:42] Severin: And they were some of the earliest vendors on the solar panel side.
[05:47] Sheldon: True believers, just completely dyed in the wool, back before you made any money in solar. And just the realization, as Severin said, that it was getting to the point where you needed bankers and lawyers, as much as you needed true believers. So, that inflection point hit it just the right time. I got very lucky. So, that’s the story. That’s the origin story, I guess.
[06:09] Severin: There’s more than that. You haven’t gotten up to modern times. We might want to know about your hard-track through your first startup, and eventually, your brief retirement.
[06:24] Sheldon: Yeah, I definitely recommend brief retirements as a way of focusing the mind. But yeah, startups are really hard. And I think, after Recurrent, we built Recurrent over a number of years. We sold it in 2010, I think it was, to Sharp Electronics, 2010, 2011 maybe. Great exit. Our investors made a lot of money. It was good for everyone. And then I stuck around with the rest of the senior team. I was the COO. Arno was the CEO. And helped run it for a number of years, another three years or so, until about 2014. All throughout that period, starting in about 2010, I had a lot of health issues, actually.
And I’ve been pretty open about this. But startups can be just absolutely brutal. And best I can tell, I had elements of long COVID before a lot of people knew what long COVID was. So, it’s post-viral fatigue syndrome, which not a lot of people even knew anything about until long COVID. But anyway, I struggled with that for a number of years. And ultimately, the combination of my health and just the business had matured to a point where it was time for me to leave. And in 2014, I moved out from Recurrent, took a little bit of time off, in which my wife will tell you that I took no time off because I did a bunch of other stuff just on the side. But managed to recuperate a little bit, moved my family to Kaua’i. And then, in 2016, started Intersect.
In August of 2016, the day after my non-compete was up, I sent an email to our lawyer at Orrick, who is actually now our chief legal officer here at Recurrent. So, I sent an email to John Cook, who’s on our executive team, and said, “I want to set up an entity. I want to call it Intersect Power.” And actually, what’s really funny is you’ve met our Head of Marketing and Communications, Cate Powers. And I sent her an email maybe in the same week with a bunch of logo ideas. So, all the crew has been together for a long time. And then, from there, it’s been a bit of a rocket ride, teaming up with Luke in the very early days to set out the business plan. And Luke Dunnington, who’s my co-founder and also a Haas alum, pretty quickly from there, hiring up the core people who were all at Recurrent and came over from Recurrent to Intersect. Numerous of them are also Haas alums. It’s a tight-knit family.
[08:42] Sean: I’m so glad you share your journey about your health, because I was just telling Severin before we started recording that I have two startups. One of them, it’s investor-back, it’s a tech startup. And it’s been really stressful where, literally, the week we had to lay off half the team, I got Bell’s palsy. And I thought I was having a stroke, but I ended up having Bell’s palsy. And that was two weeks ago. Luckily, my wife’s a doctor, so she caught it really early. So, you can’t really see much. But it was just a crazy scare and just the amount of stress that we had to go through. I was thinking, wait, we gave up banking to do this.
[09:20] Sheldon: Exactly, you are preaching to the choir. My wife was like, “The hours and the stress.” And then I went from there to working pretty much at Recurrent, as we built that, the first four years, I think I shut the lights off and closed the doors at 10:00, 11:00 at night, pretty much every day, oftentimes on a Saturday. Unlike banking, it wasn’t like some of the grind of 2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m. kind of thing, but it was just unrelenting. It was just that constant—and then in addition to that, just the buck stops with you, you raising capital.
[09:55] Sean: That’s right.
[09:55] Sheldon: We’re raising equity right now. And everything’s going great. Don’t get me wrong. It’s super stressful because, if you’re not successful, you’ve got people that depend on you. And so, I think the best entrepreneurs are people who do feel a sense of obligation to the people who work with them or for them. The best entrepreneurs are, first and foremost, servants to their people, because I think, at the end of the day, in this day and age, pulling together great teams of people is what builds value in almost any industry. And if you, as a leader, aren’t really a servant to your people and really focused on that being the number one thing, it’s pretty much the most valuable thing you can do. And I don’t know, there’s a lot of people that’ll tell you how smart they are and how visionary they are and all of that, but I think, at the end of the day, I’ve found that creating an environment that is more caring and open and transparent is probably the best thing you can do as an entrepreneur.
[10:49] Sean: Couldn’t agree more. And when people say, “You get to be your own boss.” No, I’m not. My customers, my stakeholders, my investors, my employees, they’re all my boss. I’m working for them. That’s who we’re really working for.
[11:05] Severin: Sheldon, actually, since you’re on that, say a little bit more about when you left, when you started Intersect, I remember we had a breakfast and you said, “This company’s never going to have more than 30 employees.” Now, you’ve got a little past that, and I think still have pretty strong views of getting the absolute cream of folks and keeping it at a size where you can really know everyone.
[11:29] Sheldon: Yeah, was super adamant early on. Just that the one thing I wouldn’t lose control over, and Luke and I talked about this a lot in the founding values, founding business plan, the thing we focused on more than anything was, what are the things that cause people to lose control over culture, the business itself? And every bit of money we took early on, every investor, every partner, everything was focused on who are these people? What are their values? How are they different from ours? How will the rights that we give these people be able to change the way we do things?
So, we shielded all of our overhead budgets from our early investors. We did financings where we did JV financings, where we would basically control Intersect Power completely and bring money into a shared JV vehicle that we would develop our projects in, because we didn’t want folks to tell us how to spend our overhead. We didn’t want to have people telling us that we couldn’t give bonuses or we couldn’t take our people to Hawaii or those sorts of things. And so, we really created and shielded our people as much as we could from our investors and from some of the things that make business not fun.
And so, anyway, when we you’re focused on being really small, it was about that, it was about trying to retain control of the culture. And now, as we’ve grown, I think what we’ve realized is you don’t have to necessarily be 30 people. So, you can still retain control of the culture, so long as you’re, I think, lean relative to the business you’re undertaking. So, you can’t have a massive out-of-control overhead spend because then, yeah, your investors will want to be in the middle of it. And they will want to be controlling it. They will want to question you about it.
But I think, when you can prove that you’re able to do much, much more with less on the overhead side, people, they step back and let you get the results, which is what we want to do. I’d much rather have a small group of people who are the absolute best, the pinnacle of the industry, that are willing to work their tails off, but are expecting to get compensated pretty highly and are also, they’re used to being treated in a certain way, having information shared with them, having a clear and transparent view of the company’s strategy, being treated like peers and leaders and strategic thinkers. And I think I’d rather create that environment, attract fewer of those people. And that’s what we’ve done here. And I think, because you remain lean and can control your overhead, your investors usually go along with that because they’re seeing the results they need, because people—they’re happy, they’re plugged into the vision.
[14:03] Sean: Speaking of which, I do have to take a step back here, can you tell us the origin story of Intersect Power?
[14:08] Sheldon: Sure. So, Intersect was actually born out of two questions that, when I sat down after I’d had a little bit of time to focus on my health after Recurrent, I was obsessed with two questions. One was, it’s clear that renewables are just getting cheaper and cheaper. So, what happens when renewable power, at certain times of day in certain locations, is so cheap you just either can’t or shouldn’t put all of it on the grid, it’s just not necessary, it’s not needed, you can’t even get it to where it needs to go? That’s one question. And the second question was, how do I never wind up having a utility between me and my customer ever again? I didn’t necessarily solve that second one, but those were the two big problem statements or questions that I was most focused on. I actually wrote a business plan around the second one, which was about delivering batteries—pre-charged batteries—to people’s houses to disintermediate the utility, because rooftop solar is great and all that, but it’s got significant limitations, as I’m sure Severin get value of. But anyway. So, that one didn’t work out.
But anyway, piggybacking off the first question, that’s really where Intersect came out of, because from this question of, what happens when it’s so cheap and so abundant we don’t put it all on the grid, came a whole series of other options. What do we do with it? We can make fuels out of it. We can make green hydrogen. And by splitting water with electricity, we can turn that into aviation fuel if we add carbon from trees and biowaste and things like that. We can make ammonia. We can use it to do direct air capture and carbon sequestration. We can use it to desalinate water.
And I won’t go into it at length because I’m not going to give you the full sales pitch, but this whole thing has landed in what we call the nexus of deep decarbonization, which is Intersect’s vision for the future of the energy industry. And I’ve written a very lengthy, perhaps, overly wordy blog on the topic. But it’s really about, when that energy, when that high-capacity factor low-cost clean electricity is so abundant, it unlocks these other industries, so that being green hydrogen, what they call e-fuels or fuels made from electricity, thermal energy for industrials.
So, 20% of all carbon emissions come literally from boiling water in industrial uses. And you can even say, it’s really hot temperature. It’s high-temperature, high-pressure steam. It’s actually not true. A lot of it is actually just really junk steam. You don’t need a lot to make it. So, can you electrify that? There’s direct air capture of carbon itself, which is a very energy-intensive process. There’s EV charging, obviously, mass EV charging, and you start getting trucks and other fleet transportation. You’re going to have huge grid scale electrical problems, not just the cute little chargers that you put on the parking lots, but actual grid infrastructure that needs to be built. And then, finally, desalination. So, we call these the five inevitable industries.
And at their core, the center of it is that cheap clean electricity that is what we call the nexus of deep decarbonization. So, there’s a lot more about that on the Intersect website. But I think our vision is fundamentally differentiated from a lot of our competitors and most people like us in our industry, because most people will look at us and say, “You’re just a power company. You’re just generating electricity.” I think we see that as very much just the tip of the spear, that it’d be like calling Apple a software company or Google a software company. It’s a very generic generalized description that, when you start going into AI and the metaverse and all the rest of it, begins to fall down.
[17:52] Severin: And where is Intersect now in that business plan from the start when you were basically developing large-scale solar to the vision of actually going all the way down these five pathways? Where are you in the evolving vision of that?
[18:11] Sheldon: The beginning still [laughs]. It’s not actually true. It’s just, in our industry, it takes a long time. Sean, not to trivialize tech or startup or software or anything like that, I don’t know your background, but we still can be frustratingly slow at times.
And so, we developed about little over $2 billion worth of projects and sold them off to third parties. That was chapter one of Intersect, which was get the band back together, show that we can still develop, show that we can still make money, and that Recurrent wasn’t a fluke. Check that box, got done with that in about 2019. So, we did that in about the first two and a half years of Intersect.
And then the next phase was what’s wrapping up right now, which is show that we can not only develop the next big wave of projects—so, we’ve got about $3 billion worth of assets right now that are under construction—but also show that we can finance them in very innovative ways. So, we’ve actually—I won’t go into all the technical details, but we sell our power under very different structures than most people do. We don’t sign a lot of long-term contracts with utilities. So, we sell a lot of shorter-tenor contracts. That means we finance our projects in very different ways.
So, the story of the last two or three years of Intersect has been about proving that that model works. And we’ve done so, and we finance those assets being built. So, we’ll be running about $3 billion worth of solar and storage assets with the first of those coming on in the next few months, and the rest of those wrapping up next year. And that’ll make us one of the largest operators of solar and storage, battery storage, in the country, from a flat start. Our growth will have been, I think, very impressive, relative to an industry that moves slower.
And then our first hydrogen project, Severin, which I think would probably be more interesting part of your question, are in development right now. So, we actually are negotiating our first offtake agreements for four hydrogen in Texas, large industrial use right now. But that project is about 700 megawatts of renewables—wind and solar. So, we’re moving into developing wind with some partnerships. And then, because the electrolyzers, the hydrogen actually, it’s much more cost-effective to use both the wind and the solar because they generate at different times of day and you want to be generating as many hours of the day as you can. And so, that project, phases of that could come online by the end of ’25, but it’ll definitely be online in ’26. And to be quite honest, that seems like a long way as a way, but for a project of that scale, it’s almost certain that that will be one of the largest hydrogen projects in the country when it comes online, by a long shot, maybe one of the larger ones in the world.
And then we’ve got three other hydrogen projects under development that are named projects. And we control about 80,000 acres of various land positions that we’re developing with an eye toward hydrogen. Hydrogen is the next big chunk of what we’re doing. I think that’ll frankly make our current assets set look small by the 2026, ’27 timeframe. And then we have another Haas MBA, Nick Spicer, who came over from a pretty lengthy career at Chevron, to join us to run our hydrogen efforts. His team is looking next at some of this electrification of steam loads and the direct air capture of carbon. Those business plans are still evolving. I won’t say that we know exactly how we’re going to go to market on those.
But the one interesting thing is that a lot of the same land positions that are going to serve hydrogen will serve a lot of these opportunities. So, it is an interesting thing. It’s like saying I’m going to lock up all of the key off-ramps from a major interstate highway. I don’t know yet whether I’m going to put truck stops there or McDonald’s, but I do know that they’re very valuable. And so, I think we’re onto something early enough that there aren’t a lot of people buying the off-ramps.
[22:06] Sean: That’s very smart and ahead of your time.
[22:09] Sheldon: Yeah. I think, increasingly, what we’re seeing is that we’d like to tell people, the tagline, if you will, is platforms are the future. The future belongs to platforms. And in tech, you know what that means, right? Platform companies are, everybody, if you’re not a platform, what are you? You’re nothing. But in energy, it’s a little bit different. What we mean by that is a vertically integrated player, someone that can go from opening up a map of the country and deciding where a power plant should be to connect to the right infrastructure, to export its energy and make various products. The whole way through developing, building, financing, owning, operating that asset, and marketing its output long-term.
And so, our business, I think, innovates in two different ways. One, there’s hydrogen and all these other products we’ve talked about. But the second one, which we didn’t talk about much, was, because pretty technical was this notion that we don’t sell to a lot of utilities. We actually sell our power under shorter-term contracts to banks and other participants in the wholesale market. That means that our projects, they run out contracted. But we have to sell the power again starting in year six or seven or eight. And so, our projects are much more of an active management strategy. It used to be, for a lot of renewables developers, it’s kind of fire and forget. You go get a 20-year contract. You lever it up with the cheapest capital you can. You sell it to a pension fund. It’s like packaging bonds.
The actual energy industry, where gas fire guys and those guys live, it doesn’t work like that. You actually have to stay with your assets, manage them actively, all of that.
For hydrogen, it’s the same way. Severin, it’s like how many refineries do you know that have 20-year contracts for the entire output of every refined product that comes out of it? There’s none. And so, hydrogen is going to be a fuel like what comes out of refineries. So, you’re not going to get these big 20-year contracts. You’re going to have somebody might make ammonia with half of it. Then, you’re going to manage the “crack spread,” if you will, of what fuel or product you’re going to make that maximizes the value of that asset. And so, that’s why you got to own it, because you’re not packaging these dumb bonds and selling them to the lowest cost of capital anymore.
I think, as one of my first performance reviews read, “Sheldon cannot help himself.” It sucks. But there is an element, also, of just knowing that the company needs to grow, needs to build a balance sheet, needs to be a player. And to do that, you can’t always sell all your assets. But yeah, “Sheldon cannot help himself” should be a tattoo that I get. Very capital-intensive business. So, constantly selling off all your assets and not having a balance sheet, it makes things more challenging. Having your assets stick around and being able to financially engineer around them does provide a lot more optionality as you build and grow.
[24:58] Severin: Why do you think hydrogen is so important? And what key link it plays in decarbonizing the economy? And what are the alternatives? There are a lot of things you can do with a cheap renewable power. Why is hydrogen first? And why do you think it’s the most important?
[25:14] Sheldon: I think, actually, at the invitation of you and the very same institution that has invited me here today, I gave a speech in 2015. And I’ll go back and look at that. Actually, I’ve been talking to our PR people about it.
[25:30] Severin: I remember it.
[25:31] Sheldon: I harped on it was an underdeveloped version of what we’re talking about now with nexus. So, again, the blog and the podcasts I’ve done on it and things, we’ll do much more justice to it than I’m going to do right now. But some of the insight started with this notion that we’re not going to replace everything that is hot and spins in the next 10 years. We need to decarbonize faster than we can replace a lot of these things that require liquid and gaseous fuels. And so, this notion of retrofit is what I was harping on in that presentation. And how do you retrofit existing infrastructure to be cleaner? And a lot of that means you need drop-in replacements for liquid and gaseous fuels.
And so, what hydrogen does—I get into these arguments with people all the time. They’re like, “But when you look at the wheel efficiency, it’s highly inefficient. Why would you ever do that?” And I have to tell them like, well, it’s less efficient to rip out every bit of energy infrastructure in the world and replace it with a battery. So, if efficiency is all just defined by what the size of the frame you put on the picture is, what’s the scope you’re defining? And I get it, it’s really inefficient to make hydrogen from electricity, move it somewhere, and use it to burn it, or whatever you’re going to do with it. But at the same time, there are places where you’re just not going to decarbonize fast enough. And most of those are in heavy industrials. Steel in some of these applications that require really high temperature, process heat in aviation fuels. Shipping, actually, is a phenomenally large off-taker. They’re going to be one of the first to really move on green ammonia and green methanol at volume. And you’re going to see gigs and gigs of renewables fueling that.
There’s actually one other funny anecdote there. I think that post is still on my LinkedIn page. I’ll go back and double-check to make sure it is. In the presentation I gave, my favorite picture from that presentation was I think I had a picture that I posted of a single-piston outboard engine. And I actually went back and found this thing in the annals of industrial history or something close to it. And it turns out it was like—the closest I could find—it was like a Russian design from 1918 or something like that. It was crazy. But I found this thing in 2015 in Vietnam. I was in Halong Bay, and these guys were still using it. These fishermen had the single-piston engine, outboard engine, on the back of their boat. And it was like almost 100 years old. And my whole point was, this stuff is persistent. You’re not going to get rid of it. You’ve got to find ways to fuel it differently, because you’re never going to clean it up in time.
[28:10] Sean: How can Haasies listening help?
[28:13] Sheldon: For Haas folks, it’s important to understand the ties that Intersect has culturally to some of our roots at Haas. And so, when we talk about challenging the status quo and confidence without attitude, these are the types of values that are at the absolute core of Intersect. We are confident people. I do think we’re the best at what we do. And that’s important to believe that. But at the same time, exercising a certain level of humility to understand some of these new things, you have to go in. I had a meeting with a CEO of a wind company the other day. And I started by saying, “We’re getting into wind. I have no idea what that means, really. So, I first want you to know that there’s no pride here. Please, help me.”
So, I think, when you step back and look at the cultures of our organization versus the school, there are a lot of overlaps, a lot of similarities. And I think that makes Haas folks really good fit for us. And we have a lot of Haas folks already that work with us and a lot of Cal folks that work with us. We’re also just whip-smart. I do think we are the best. We’re confident about that. And I think that also matches up really well with Haas, because I think there’s a lot of really talented people looking to make a difference in the world. And we’re a great place to come to work, if that’s what you’re looking to do with your life.
So, I think that’s the core of it. The core of it is that Intersect Power is a really natural transition from Haas. So, if you’re interested in getting involved in clean energy, even if you have no background in energy at all, we’re hiring across the board. We’re growing like gangbusters. Check out our website. Read the blog and the vision. See if it’s something that interests you. And we are looking for people to come and build this thing with us.
[30:01] Sean: We’re going to include the links to the blog, the websites, your podcast, anything, the job board as well, all of it [laughs]. All right. Thank you so much, Sheldon, for coming on the podcast. It was a real pleasure having you today.
[30:13] Sheldon: Sean, thank you. That was a lot of fun.
[30:15] Sean: Hope to talk to you again soon.
[30:16] Sheldon: Okay, thanks.
[30:17] Outro: Thanks again for tuning in to this episode of the OneHaas Podcast. Enjoyed our show today? Please, remember to hit that Subscribe or Follow button on your favorite podcast player. We’d also really appreciate you giving us a five-star rating and review. You’re looking for more content? Please, check out our website at haas.fm. That’s spelled H-A-A-S.F-M. There, you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter and check out some of our other Berkeley Haas podcasts. And until next time. Go, Bears.