A Partner’s Perspective by Co-Founder Phil Coupe
What do the world’s first electric snowmobile and cruise ship tell us about the transition to renewable energy? It tells everyone in favor of abandoning fossil fuels that anything is possible, including the heretofore unimaginable ability to charge your snowmobile with solar power and then go ripping through the snow in sub-freezing temperatures:
Perhaps even more incredible is Norwegian Cruise Lines’ newest ship, the Roald Amundsen, which has two large battery packs that reduce fuel consumption by 20% and carbon pollution by 6,400 metric tons per year compared to conventional ships of the same size.
In September 2019 the Roald Amundsen became the first hybrid cruise ship to traverse the Northwest Passage on its way to Antarctica. It won’t be long before the first all-electric cruise ship sets sail considering that Norway has already launched the zero-emission Future of the Fjords and its sister ferry, Vision of the Fjords.
As the cost of solar and battery storage technology continue to decline, the vision of 100% renewable energy is rapidly becoming attainable across all sectors of the global economy. While electric boats and snowmobiles are intriguing harbingers of what’s to come, the biggest clean energy news of 2020 so far has come from Larry Fink, the founder and CEO of BlackRock, an investment firm with $7 trillion in assets.
In a recent letter to clients, Fink wrote that “climate risk is investment risk” and “our investment conviction is that sustainability- and climate-integrated portfolios can provide better risk-adjusted returns to investors. And with the impact of sustainability on investment returns increasing, we believe that sustainable investing is the strongest foundation for client portfolios going forward.” In a nutshell, BlackRock will begin screening all of its investments based on sustainability metrics and will move away from industries and companies tied to fossil fuels and carbon pollution.
When global financial juggernauts put their full weight and measure into the clean energy transition, we all gain confidence that a 100% renewable energy future is as inevitable as the sun coming up tomorrow.