13: Building Stripe for energy or how your Tesla can earn money. Thomas Folker, co-founder of Leap
Updated: Jan 17
Thomas has developed and closed project financings for multiple utility-scale solar and offshore wind projects across Europe. He has advised several utilities and IPPs on their renewable energy strategies and was instrumental in the establishment of the first solar PPA offering for the UK residential market. Thomas’s finance and development work in Aruba and Curaçao helped spur the start of the clean energy renaissance in the Caribbean. His work for Enphase Energy introduced him to his next passion: creating a resilient and efficient electric grid for the decarbonized future.
Leap automates market access for smart energy technologies.
Our software platform makes it easy for distributed energy resource (DER) providers to get paid for supplying flexible support to the grid.
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In this episode we are addressing the following questions:
How did you see the difference between Clean 1.0 and Clean 2.0? (4.50)
Energy production and usage is almost responsible for 70% of all carbon emissions emitted every year. This is not only for electricity but also for using energy in production such as steel, etc. To reach a global Net Zero, the energy world needs to transition to “green” energy. Right now around 30% of the electricity is produced by renewable energy supplies, to reach Net zero emissions, we would need to increase this to 90%. However, renewable energy in general only accounts for 15%. Do you think it is possible to decarbonize the grid in that speed by 2050? (11.20)
What 3 things need to change to make the transition happen to achieve 95% renewable energy? (14:30)
If you take investor head, where would you invest currently in the energy market? (22.00)
What can a consumer do in this energy transition in Europe? What are the top 3 things? (32.00)
Can you please explain in a few sentences what kind of problem leap is solving? (36.00)
Can you please explain the energy value chain and participating stakeholders? (39.30)
What means flexibility / virtualized grid? (44.30)
How do you make sure that your tesla battery is not empty when the energy get's traded back? (46.00)
Can you get a kick-back as consumer? (50.10)
What is your expansion plan? (52.00)
How is it going with a full remote team? (56.45)
You received 33m in funding last year in Series B- congratulations! What is the biggest challenge in the next year to scale your company? (56.55)
Do you have competitors? (59.30)
What makes you unique? (1.00.00)
What makes you confident that we will solve the climate crisis? (1.02.00)
What is the impact of the current market situation on your sector and your company? (1.04.30)
The price for solar decreased massively in the last years:
Development of the renewable energy compared to other primary energy sources:
Great quotes from the episode by Thomas:
"Technology got us into this mess, it will help us to get out of it"
"the promise in running a continent on renewable energy is a mission what I was looking for"
"When I started, solar energy was known for illegal Marihuana growers who wanted to be off-grid."
"Economy is a downstream of policy"
"I am not a fan of Trump, but a broken clock is twice a day right. He said years ago that Germany is too dependent on Russia."
"The single platform you need to connect all energy markets. Like stripe for the energy sector."
"We try to be Switzerland off the energy markets. Super neutral. So our partners want to work with us."
"The grid is like a duct taped structure. Not perfectly designed, organically grown"
"Cheap energy creates cheap downstream."
Friedrich Hayek: Books on Liberalism
One of our blog posts unpacking how we're lowering the carbon intensity of the grid
A great overview of demand flexibility by Energize VC (who named Leap as a Top 30 Software Innovator pushing the "electrify everything" movement forward)
A recent byline in PowerGrid International by our manager of policy & regulatory affairs