Global Leaders Tackle Energy and Climate Change Challenges at a Pivotal CERAWeek

Bloom Energy Shares its Expertise at First CERA Week

The future of energy was thrust into the spotlight at the recent CERAWeek 2022, as thousands of industry and policy leaders convened in Houston to discuss viable pathways to net zero while increasing energy security amidst geopolitical crisis.

A consensus emerged behind Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm’s assertion at the event that “we can walk and chew gum at the same time” while confronting this dilemma. Record-breaking oil and gas prices resulting from the current geopolitical crisis are hurting everyday people around the world, especially those in underprivileged communities. These hardships require action as government leaders seek to increase the supply of oil and gas in the short term to meet current demand, calling natural gas a critical fuel source in the energy transition. However, confronted by what Columbia Climate School Dean Jason Bordoff called the worst energy crisis since the 1970s, energy industry leaders also paid close attention to viable renewable pathways like hydrogen and “waste to energy.”

Participating in the conference for the first time, Bloom Energy made a splash on entry by highlighting its record of following exactly the approach both Secretary Granholm and U.S. climate envoy John Kerry exhorted companies to pursue. While Bloom creates and scales biomass fuel, hydrogen technology, and carbon capture, we are utilizing a mix of fuels available today, including non-combusted natural gas, to ensure our communities and businesses have a secure, reliable source of power. Joining the list of luminaries to share their insights at the 12,000-person conference were three of our Bloom Energy executives. While chief marketing officer Sharelynn Moore addressed an exclusive dinner event on hydrogen, Chuck Moesta, our vice president for gas development, headlined an Agora Studios discussion and Rick Beuttel, our vice president for hydrogen development, anchored a Hydrogen Hub session.

Their points all fit well in the context of a conference dominated by discussions of how to meet today’s critical energy needs amid crisis while also investing in the technology that will advance decarbonization and net zero goals. Meeting with and listening to policymakers and thought leaders in energy highlighted the high stakes of this historic crossroads in our energy transition and the pivotal role Bloom Energy is poised to play.

If this energy crisis shows us anything, it’s that a deliberate transition to clean energy has never been more necessary. Clean energy promises an escape from the price volatility and shortages that flummox the global fossil fuel market. Energy independence and sustainability go hand in hand.

As attendees signaled their common commitment to the energy transition, few prospects elicited the same excitement at CERAWeek as hydrogen. Speakers posited that hydrogen can play a similar role in the clean energy mix of the future that natural gas plays today, taking over much of the latter’s existing transportation infrastructure and market share. Secretary Granholm emphasized that the Department of Energy has $8 billion from the recent bipartisan infrastructure bill allocated specifically to create hydrogen hubs.

Amid the hydrogen hoopla, Rick Beuttel expertly explored the potential for hydrogen to power data centers, spotlighting the advantages that uniquely situate Bloom to lead in that arena. Rick emphasized key aspects of Bloom’s value proposition, as we provide power that is both reliable and clean. He elucidated how our future-proof platform can start with biogas and natural gas today, blend hydrogen in the near term, and then pivot to green hydrogen as it becomes more abundant and its cost curve comes down.

Meanwhile, Chuck Moesta highlighted the vast potential of another source of molecules to power the energy transition: biomass fuels. He walked through Bloom Energy’s role in leveraging them, working with customers through the energy transition, starting where they are today and transitioning to both renewable natural gas and hydrogen in the future. As he pointed out, we have the capability develop this area now, transforming it from an opportunity into an imperative.

There is still a long way to go to bridge the gap between where the world stands today and where we need to be to clinch our collective end goal of net zero carbon emissions. Varun Sivaram, senior director for clean energy and innovation in John Kerry’s office, stressed that companies today don’t face a simple choice between good, clean fuels and bad, dirty fuels. Instead, Sivaram said, the choice is between conventional fuel options and transitional options while truly clean options are developed and scaled. However, he implored companies to invest in moving from conventional options to transitional options today rather than wait around until the truly clean option become available in the future.

Bloom Energy’s first CERAWeek made clear that our company is well-situated to meet the demands of this challenging moment for the energy industry. While the event left lasting impressions on all of us who attended, we are also confident that we left an impression on the conference. We look forward to returning next year to continue to both participate in and shape the evolving discourse as we deliver on the world’s energy needs.

Learn more about the power of solid oxide fuel cells for energy security and sustainability.

Matt Wigler at CERAWEEK