The City of Los Angeles has set its sights to transform the city’s electricity supply towards a 100% renewable energy power system by 2045, with some even saying that 2035 may be even more realistic; The goal experts say is achievable and will entail rapid deployment of wind, solar, and storage technologies this decade.
At the direction of the Los Angeles City Council, Los Angeles embarked on a plan to modernize its electricity system infrastructure, aiming for a 100% renewable energy supply by 2045, along with aggressive electrification targets for buildings and vehicles.
And with great ambition comes a great need for actionable data and analysis, which the Tribune went digging for with the help of Teague Egan, the CEO of EnergyX here in California who has a focus on commercializing the LiTAS™ technology for direct lithium extraction and the getting out there the company’s SoLiS™ solid state battery electrolytes. Egan himself has been on the forefront as well, inventing and innovating new ways for our planet to create and live off renewable energy sources/products.
So Teague, be blunt with us, the City of Los Angeles has set ambitious goals to transform LA’s electricity supply for a 100% renewable energy power system by 2045. Do you feel this is doable?
Absolutely doable. The first and most important thing to consider here is that 2045 is a whole 24 years away. If you reverse that and think 24 years ago, there was barely even the Internet. I was literally 8 years old learning cursive handwriting in 3rd grade. So to think what is possible (or impossible) 24 years from now, I think almost anything is possible. What Los Angeles – and the world at large – needs are scalable solutions, cooperation between local, federal, and international governments as well as finding ways to secure the innovative technology needed. To a certain extent, we know how to reach that target: overhauling and modernizing the electrical grid using smart technology and large-scale lithium-ion batteries and energy storage systems to maximize the usage of renewable energy generation sources such as wind and solar. We also know that there is high demand from the general public to reach these targets – what will limit us is how quickly it takes for us to implement the required solutions. Los Angeles can be a big success story, but it needs investment, good regulation, and education.
So, what can people do everyday to speed this up or start working towards renewable energy individually?
There are many ways we as individuals can practice sustainability. Consider your individual or household energy usage, how much energy you are using, and where you are getting it from. Where does your utility company source their energy from? Is it a renewable source, and should you switch? It might be a larger up front investment, but eventually the payback is greater. Simple things like being more conscious about how you interact with energy – are you leaving the lights or air-conditioner on when it isn’t needed? Choosing sustainable utility companies, or even installing solar panels on your home go a very long way. If you are able to invest in an electric vehicle (EV), do so! Transportation is one of the largest sources of CO2 emissions, and a rising demand for EVs can help push infrastructure towards more renewable-based solutions. Consideration, education, and proactive efforts are the best ways that society can help with sustainability practices and they can start at home – be part of the solution!
What has your company, EnergyX, been doing in Los Angeles and across California to contribute?
Fresh off a successful financing round, EnergyX will be expanding its team and looking to launch our Energy Innovation Labs in one of four U.S. cities – Silicon Valley being one of them. A strong contender due to its position as a globally-renowned tech hub, the Valley could be home to some of the 100+ new jobs we are currently recruiting, and would join the research labs we already have within the area.
What products/ideas are you working on that will be “game changers”?
EnergyX has a long-term strategy aimed at creating a sustainable world for future generations. Currently, we are working on more efficient and environmentally-friendly ways of extracting lithium for the batteries that will help power our energy grids and vehicles. The technology we’ve developed for this purpose is set to change the entire lithium market and supply chain for the better, and we will soon be deploying it on a large scale. Our other projects revolve around the production of solid-state batteries that are more efficient than the batteries currently on the market, as well as improving our understanding of nanotechnology and how it can help lead a clean energy transition. EnergyX has been working – and will continue to work – on finding the right, workable sustainable solutions for a low-carbon future.
What economic benefits would you like to see put into place by the government to have more people switching towards renewable energy?
Renewable power is already a very cheap energy alternative, which you would expect to be an already very enticing selling point for consumers. That being said, creating rebates for personal power installations, such as solar or wind as well as achieving certain home energy ratings would certainly encourage more individuals to embrace renewables and sustainability. Additionally, incentives for utilities and businesses to transition faster would not go amiss. On a larger scale, implementing a vehicle trade-in scheme could also be very interesting. Imagine people wanting to purchase an EV at a cheaper price could trade in their combustion engine car.
What do you feel is the biggest hurdle right now for the United States overall?
The United States’ targets and goals for sustainability and renewables will require us to have a strong presence within the material supply chain. However, at the moment we haven’t made any commitments to entering the international lithium market and aren’t positioned to be an integral industrial or technological player within the clean energy sector. Meanwhile, China is moving into every country with large lithium resources and other battery materials, and executing multi-billion dollar deals. The US is far behind in the critical supply chain. Not only would continued inaction make it harder for the United States to secure the materials integral to its transition at a reasonable price, but it would also mean relinquishing our role as a global leader in sustainable solutions. Russia and China have actively pursued the opportunities we have ignored, including some in our own back-yard, and missing out on having a foothold within emerging markets like lithium will only hurt us in the long-run. I would like to see great recognition from the US government on the importance of lithium for our future energy security.
How can people here in Los Angeles be a part of what EnergyX is doing?
At EnergyX we believe that people can lead the change they want to see in the world, as such we have opened up for equity crowd-funding and the public can now invest directly in EnergyX. This provides the public with an opportunity to participate directly in our growth, but also to invest in something they believe in that has the capacity to change the world.
And to finish off, we need to ask, why are you so passionate about energy and saving the planet?
I want future generations to have the same opportunities and experiences that I have. We as a society should strive to create a better future and each individual has the capacity to do that on some level. Sustainability shouldn’t be a foreign concept, but rather one we should embrace – it ensures that we can continue to develop and thrive without harming the planet. When you consider how important energy is in our day-to-day lives and contrast it against the role it plays in exacerbating climate change, it becomes obvious that this sector holds the largest capacity to have a positive impact. Producing clean energy to feed into a sustainable power grid can provide far-reaching benefits for the entire planet. We are on the verge of that being a reality, and being a part of that transition is something that brings me a lot of joy.