Climate Positive

Lee Taylor | Measuring and maximizing the carbon impact of clean energy projects

Episode Summary

U.S. power markets are evolving. Three factors—(1) the increasing penetration of generation from more intermittent renewable resources; (2) an increasing number of extreme weather events; (3) and the influx of new, especially corporate, buyers and sellers into the market—together are driving the development and adoption of new contracted revenue structures, risk management strategies, and products to measure emissions at a granular level. Born and bred to be an environmentalist, Lee Taylor founded REsurety nine years ago to develop new critical data analytics and risk management products to address the challenges faced by buyers and sellers in these evolving power markets. In this episode, host Chad Reed dives deep with Lee into the shift of focus from commodity price risk faced by fossil generation to volumetric risk faced by renewable generation. Chad also speaks with Lee about REsurety’s innovative Locational Marginal Emissions (LME) Product, which, by measuring emissions at a localized level, seeks to drive investment to clean energy projects with the highest impact on reducing carbon. Note that Hannon Armstrong is a both client of and investor in Resurety. Episode recorded November 30, 2021

Episode Notes

U.S. power markets are evolving. Three factors—(1) the increasing penetration of generation from more intermittent renewable resources; (2) an increasing number of extreme weather events; (3) and the influx of new, especially corporate, buyers and sellers into the market—together are driving the development and adoption of new contracted revenue structures, risk management strategies, and products to measure emissions at a granular level. 

Born and bred to be an environmentalist, Lee Taylor founded REsurety nine years ago to develop new critical data analytics and risk management products to address the challenges faced by buyers and sellers in these evolving power markets. 

In this episode, host Chad Reed dives deep with Lee into the shift of focus from commodity price risk faced by fossil generation to volumetric risk faced by renewable generation. Chad also speaks with Lee about REsurety’s innovative Locational Marginal Emissions (LME) Product, which, by measuring emissions at a localized level, seeks to drive investment to clean energy projects with the highest impact on reducing carbon. 


Note: Hannon Armstrong is a both client of and investor in Resurety.

Episode recorded November 30, 2021

Episode Transcription

Lee Taylor: Projects that you can demonstrably show are- every incremental megawatt hour is causing a coal plant to shut down, have enormous carbon impacts. This gets back to your point of renewable energy is not an end. It is a means to the end. Our end goal is reduced carbon.

Chad Reed: Welcome to Climate Positive, a podcast produced by Hannon Armstrong, a leading investor in climate solutions. I'm Chad Reed. 

Hilary Langer: I’m Hilary Langer.

Gil Jenkins: I’m Gil Jenkins.

Chad: In this series, we host candid conversations with the leaders, innovators, and changemakers driving our climate positive future.

The US power markets are evolving. Three factors: one, the increasing penetration of generation from more intermittent, renewable resources; two, an increasing number of extreme weather events; and three, the influx of new especially corporate buyers and sellers into the market; together are driving the development and adoption of new contractor revenue structures, risk management strategies, and products to measure emissions at a much more granular level.

Born and bred to be an environmentalist, Lee Taylor founded REsurety nine years ago to develop new critical data analytics and risk management products to address these challenges faced by buyers and sellers in these markets. So in this episode, I dive deep with Lee into the shift of focus from commodity priced risk faced by fossil generation to volumetric risks faced by renewable generation.

I also speak with Lee about REsurety's exciting new locational marginal emissions product, which by measuring emissions at a localized level, seeks to drive investment to clean energy projects that have the highest impact on reducing carbon. Note that Hannon Armstrong is both a client of and investor in REsurety.

Chad: Lee, thank you very much for joining us here at Climate Positive.

Lee: Thanks very much for having me on.

Chad: Excellent. Well, I know you previously said that you were born and bred to be an environmentalist. Tell us a little bit about your childhood experiences and how that came to be.

Lee: Short answer is my parents. Growing up, my dad was a science and environment reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. My mom, particularly when I was younger, was a producer for National Geographic and then worked with a salmon restoration group called Long Live the Kings. Dinner table conversation was around the latest plight of the spotted owl or impact on Pacific Northwest ranching on salmon runs. I was born and raised to be thinking about those things and expectations were set that I was going to have to help do something about that. That was sort of my upbringing.

Chad: Excellent. Then your first jobs right out of undergrad were research and investment analyst. I think you previously said you really honed your data analytics skills there. How did these early career experiences solving problems using big data shape your eventual entry into the energy and climate spaces?

Lee: My first job, I did econometric forecasting most commonly for antitrust prosecution, which is a very long way from energy or climate, but it was huge data sets that needed to be crunched to get insight and tell stories that were not necessarily obvious. I think if you're in the energy industry, particularly today, you're in the data business. There's just an enormous amount of information being released every five minutes at locations all over the place. The ability to harness that volume of data to drive high-impact actions and support the workflows of what everybody working in the clean energy industry, in particular, today need to do, that was my training ground for working with lots of data.

Chad: Then you did go back to business school I believeto pivot your career specifically to the renew energy space. You spent a summer with the GE Renewable Energy Leadership Program. I actually also in a- I was at the TerraForm Renewable Energy Leadership Program that was modeled after that one. I have experience- I did stay with TerraForm after and was with the company for a few years, but you decided to leave that program and right out of business school launch your own entrepreneurial venture. Could you tell us why you made this rather big leap from a rotational leadership program in a large industrial company to a startup?

Lee: It was definitely not my plan. Applying to business school, a big part of it is you writing down what you want to do after business school and how business school helps you get there. My application said I either wanted to work in GE in their rotational program or PG&E in their renewables-focused rotational program. That was it. Those were two jobs I wanted coming out of school. It's basically the polar opposite of starting a company.

I was able lucky enough to get accepted to the GE program, which was great. I still have a lot of close contacts from my fellow intern class, as well as colleagues I worked with or worked for there. Really, the reason I didn't go back to GE was it seemed like a unique opportunity that had presented itself. I went to Tuck for business school, and in your first year, you have to have an independent study where you work with the group to solve a problem outside of the purely academic context. That was where I sort of started working on this concept of the fuel risk of energy markets changing.

It used to be that everybody was working to manage the spark spreads or the cost of the thing you were going to buy and then burn relative to the value of power to this new challenge of your fuel always being free, but when and how much of that fuel is going to show up. It's something that you don't control and is a new risk. That was not very well understood or managed, and so fell in love with that concept. Academically wrote a paper on it in my second year, and then started talking to some of the sponsors who supported that project, Nephila Climate in particular, and asked why this solution wasn't coming out of academic concepts. The view was that nobody was doing it yet, so that opportunity was there and jumped on it. It wasn't the plan, but opportunity knocked, so I gave it a shot.

Chad: How long did it take you to come up with the name REsurety? Sometimes businesses go through multiple names when they're getting started. Did you have a similar experience?

Lee: We started out named Westeva, started the company with the former CEO of 3TIER Kenneth Westrick. Westeva was coming partly out of his name, but we wanted to focus specifically on the concept of- this was renewable energy, risk management. The idea was we wrote down all of the words that were associated with risk management and combined them with renewable energy, and found the one where the website was still available. That's where REsurety came from. Renewable Energy Surety was the birth of that name.

Chad: Yes. Having your own .com name is very important to start a new venture.

Lee: Yes. I was a little shocked at how many names had been snatched off at the time, [chuckles] but REsurety serves us very well. It's been a good name.

Chad: To initially fund REsurety, you raised capital from friends and family, of course, and a program called Upstart. Can you tell us more about how Upstart works and how important it was or was not in your ability to get the business off the ground?

Lee: Upstart is still an active business. They changed their business model. They're more of a traditional lender today. At the time, they had basically a revenue-sharing agreement structure with individuals. Basically, you could securitize yourself, they would price you effectively and say, "Every 1% of your next decade's worth of personal income is worth X dollars today." You could then sell those shares in your future income. I did that program, it was either their first or second class. I think they only did two or three. Then that business model, I think, in part- because it was written up as being the tech version of indentured servitude, although I would disagree, that was how it worked and raised capital that way.

It was super important at the time of the company for two reasons. One, it was just cash in the door, and we were not spending a lot of money in the early days, but starting a business does take money. It was important from that perspective, but it was actually also a really important signal to prospective institutional investors. When you walk into a pitch for investment, I think most of the time, the party on the other side of the table is trying to decide which of two types of entrepreneurs you are.

One is like, "I'm here with an idea, and if you give me enough money to pay my salary out the gate, I will work on it." The other is, "Here's my idea and I'm going to do it with or without you. If you'd like to get on board and help me do it better or faster, great." Every investor with good reason is looking for the latter. This was a very good way for me to signal that I was in that camp. I was doing this with or without institutional capital so much so that I was willing to securitize myself to get it started. It was useful for capital and a signal. I've happily since then bought out from under that obligation. It was a great start for REsurety and a great program.

Chad: You mentioned basically the primary problem that your company initially, when it was found, was trying to solve, which was the move from commodity price risk, the price risk of the various fuels that went into fossil fuel generation, to resource or volume metric risk. You have free resources in wind and solar basically, but you don't know how much you're going to get with any particular certitude. Could you tell us about how you used that problem you're trying to solve and developed risk management solutions, I think you're calling them now, to the customers to address this issue?

Lee: It's sort of an evolution. We tracked the evolution of the renewables industry. When we started the business, weather risk really meant annual generation. The assumption was that every wind or solar project signs a PPA. At the time, that was 2010 to 2011, so mostly utilities, signing contracts. Signing them at the interconnection points, there's no congestion risk. Your main, and really your- outside of the operating cost of the plan, your primary residual unhedged risk is how much power you're going to generate in a given year. That's a function of both prediction accuracy, what is the average, the correct average output over the next decade or 20 years, and then also you have the interannual variability, month-to-month, and quarter-to-quarter variability, which can be quite significant.

The view was that there weren't yet tools to effectively manage that risk. If you said, "Yes, I'm going to build this project in my revenue if I hit my expected generation or my P-50, as we refer to it on wind and solar, then my revenue is 10 million. If I have a bad year, it might only be 7 million." There are also sorts of different reasons from a capital stack perspective that that level of financial volatility is not attractive. How do you solve that?

The starting point for us, which we only persisted in for a pretty short period of time, was weather risk or intermittency risk at the annual level. Right at the time we were starting REsurety, the renewal power markets, in particular, were going through this fairly significant change where the primary buyer of that power was shifting away from utilities and more towards some combination of sustainability or financially motivated buyers.

You had Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan and BP trading power. You had Microsoft and Google buying power from either physically or increasingly commonly financially through VPPAs. That shifted the weather risk to something that started to become more hourly because if you are a data center operator and you are trying to service that load with a wind farm, you're constantly buying more or less power than you need in any given hour because of the intermittent nature. Because of that, that VPPA can underperform effectively as a hedge on your energy cost because you're buying something that is different from the shape profile that you're consuming based off of hourly weather patterns.

Relatedly if you've sold your power in a fixed quantity basis, so you've committed to specific delivery per hour to a trading desk, which historically or at least prior to this year was the main way that people traded power, even in renewables with a commodity desk, you then had this risk that you had agreed to deliver 20 megawatt-hours to commodity desk X, Y, Z, and the wind dies or a cloud comes over and you haven't generated any, so you have to go buy that power in order to deliver it. Weather risk went from being annual to being hourly.

That just overnight really increased the risk profile of buyers and sellers of renewables and created this need for solutions to both quantify, predict, understand that from information perspective and then manage it. How do you have tools that give certainty of revenue or certainty of cost to folks who need it as buyers and sellers of an intermittent generation?

Chad: That's a great overview. You mentioned PPAs, power purchase agreements. Traditionally, especially renewal power projects, would sign long term, oftentimes even 30-year contracts. you have basically have a fixed price for whatever volume you can deliver, and it's often a take-or-pay sort of arrangement but contracts have evolved away from that, I think, more recently shorter-term PPAs and other sorts of contract structures, like a proxy revenue swap was one that I believe you're involved with. Can you talk a little bit about the evolution of those contract structures and how you're evolved in facilitating that?

Lee: Yes, happy to. The first product that we worked with in risk management was a proxy revenue swap, and it was basically a PPA with a hedge on annual generation. Back to the commentary I gave earlier about- we started with annual generation risk and then moved annual and hourly generation risk. When you sign a PPA, you still have that same risk we talked about earlier that if you have a good wind year or a bad wind year or your P50 estimate was off, you have the significant residual amount of revenue volatility even if you've locked in your price per megawatt-hour of power. The PPA, at least the majority that are signed today, virtual power purchase agreements are contract for differences on energy price. You lock in a price of energy, but how much of that energy you sell is uncertain.

A proxy revenue swap is a contract for difference on revenue. It hedges both your volume of generation over a given period sometimes they settle quarterly, sometimes they settle annually - as well as the price risk. A proxy revenue swap is like a PPA, but with additional risk reduction. We've got customers who prefer one versus the other. Some really are uncomfortable with holding the risk that they could have. Their P50 estimate could be off or that they could have a couple of years at the start of the project's life that had a low-end resource. They value the risk transfer of a proxy revenue swap and pay the premium to shed an increased amount of risk.

If you own a portfolio of assets or buying from portfolio or you just are comfortable with that volatility where you can self-diversify the weather risk, or you're comfortable holding that volatility, you say, "I really want to manage my hourly energy price and shape risk, but I'm comfortable holding my residual annual generation uncertainty risk," then a PPA is appropriate to you.

I think as an industry, we're seeing this transition to more of a menu of options as both buyer and seller. The traditional 30-year busbar-settled utility PPA was where we started. Everybody used the same contract effectively. Today you've got physical PPAs, virtual PPAs, proxy revenue swaps, and buyers of power will then sometimes manage their own risk with settlement guarantee agreements or volume firm agreements depending on whether they are trying to lock in PPA settlements or firm them into a block as a more effective hedge. Everybody in the ecosystem has a different risk tolerance, has a different goal. We're approaching a more sophisticated set of tools for the market to use depending on risk appetite, financial goals, et cetera.

Chad: In addition to differing risk appetites and the existing annual and hourly weather variation, we've had an increase in extreme weather in places, and in February actually of this year, Winter Storm Uri significantly impacted power markets especially in the Southeastern US. ERCOT, Texas was the most notable example of that. There were widespread power outages and power price spikes. Could you tell us a little bit about these impacts generally on the markets? Who lost money? Who made money, how they are really changing the types of products and risk management services that customers are looking for?

Lee: The short answer is it was a huge impact. Just the scale, I think the history of ERCOT, you had a handful of hours in the last 11 years, or certainly since they increased the cap to $9,000 where we were actually spent any time in $9,000, and then went from a handful of hours in the past decade to basically three and a half days straight of $9,000 power.

There was no precedent for what was experienced in February, and it had a huge impact. In terms of who won or lost financially, it really just comes down to, were you a net generator or net buyer of power during each hour in those three and a half days? If you were a net generator, you had a fantastic week. If you were a net consumer of energy, you were short, power prices, you had a pretty painful week.

I think the impact that has had on the industry is first and foremost, I think it's unified the industry as a whole around the risk of weather intermittency and the impact that has both on demand and supply and what that means for financial risk. When we go back to the years we spent offering risk management tools pre-February, it was really a mixed bag. Some people said, "Hey, I think that August of 2019 was a one-off heatwave that will never happen again. There's just not that much volatility. Why would I hedge a low level of volatility to people who were unwilling to ever touch weather-linked risk?" I think that post-February, it's uniform that there is real exposure to generating power at the right times or the wrong times and what that impact that has. I think that was the primary impact.

The secondary impact was just what tools, in particular, what settlement indices are viable for hedging going forward. I talked about the early days of hedging and renewables. Well, frankly, early days are up through January of this year. If you traded power with a bank, you were almost exclusively doing that on a fixed quantity basis. That meant that if the wind died, when prices were high, or if your generation was out because you shut your turbines down for icing, or there was snow on your panels. It was sunny, but you couldn't generate, you still had to deliver the power that you pre-sold. That we call shape risk of your generation not matching some fixed profile, really became untenable for folks to hold or cut in otherwise. Certainly unfinanceable if you're looking for tax equity.

That dramatically changed. I think the hedging market is deciding how they want to respond to that. Given that the fixed volume contracts are really off the table for most projects today. Relatedly, we used or used prior to February, a proxy generation index that eliminated a project's exposure to weather. If the wind died at the wrong time, or the sun went away at the wrong time, that was a risk born by an insurer. If your project wasn't operating, if the fuel was there, if the wind was there and the sun was there, but you just weren't producing power because of an operational issue, that was a risk that a project or-- I think post-February, some element of that will remain for purposes of aligning interest, incentivizing projects, to be resilient and to operate through high price events. There were exposures that came out of pure proxy generation settlement that are unlikely to be attractive post-February.

Lastly, a lot of the C&Is that we talked to, work with, I think similarly recognize that a pure traditional annual availability guarantee, which is more common in those sorts of contracts, it isn't great at aligning interest between buyer and seller of power or importantly on display in February in ERCOT, between the seller of power and the grid as a whole because if you've taken away the financial incentive and penalty to generate when power prices are high in specific hours, then there's no incentive to invest in weatherization or to operate when it might be not ideal for your project.

I think we see the markets converging a bit, and the financial parties finding ways to take risks that were more common in fixed-line swaps or proxy generation out of the project's exposure. While on the flip side, we're seeing the folks that traditionally bore all that risk without penalty, the C&Is, in particular, asking for more aligned incentives in their contract structure. Long-winded way of saying contract structures are changing. [chuckles]

Chad: [chuckles] That's a fantastic answer. In addition to the changing contracting structures, ERCOT is considering various reforms on the policy side too, its power markets. Do you have thoughts on the best reforms it could implement to prevent the types of outages and mitigate the types of price spikes that we saw during the Winter Storm Uri?

Lee: That's a tough question. It's tough to keep up with what ERCOT's plan of the day is around- consider a capacity market or consider a change in the cap to force certain levels of winterization. In general, I think that directing incentives as opposed to saying that everybody has to use this form of winterization, I think might not be the most effective use of capital overall, but making sure that there is, A, incentive for folks to be both- whether that's a carrot or stick, to be resilient, we're definitely supportive of, we see those as requirements for contracts that we support.

I think the opportunity for the grid operators to do that themselves, but also think and this relates more to things like bringing the cap down, you want to create those incentives, but you want to make sure that in the event that there's a stick, that it is a stick that is viable, that it's encouraging, but not taking the catastrophic financial risk out of non-operating events, I think is really important. Those are dropping the cap amount and things like that are important to that.

What I hope that the grid will do is fairly similar to what we hope contract structures will align around, which is protecting projects against catastrophic financial exposures, but ensuring they're financially incentivized to be resilient and as much as possible avoiding just direct mandate. That's the economist in me coming out.

Chad: Politicians aren't nearly as rational as economists would like them to be really.

Lee: Right. Don't ask me what I think about a carbon tax.

Chad: Well, that's what I want to jump into next at least. I think both you said, and we certainly believe here at Hannon Armstrong, that renewed energy is a means to an end. It's not an end of itself. The end that we actually want is a reduction in carbon emissions because that will obviously help mitigate the climate change that we're witnessing. To this end,

you've recently launched a product focused on providing more granular information on emissions, and you're calling it locational marginal emissions or LME. Could you first talk us through a little bit about what you mean by that and how you do it?

Lee: Locational marginal emissions is a data set at its core that is the per hour per electrical location. By that, I mean, a generation node, what the carbon impact of one incremental megawatt-hour generated or consumed at that location does. Whenever you produce power on the grid, the impact is that some other plant somewhere else on the grid shuts down for that incremental megawatt-hour, or if you increase your consumption at any location in the grid, somewhere else in the grid, a plant is ramping up to meet that.

There's demand and supply balancing constantly. The consequence of your actions, whether it's generation or consumption, is that some other plant is doing something. Based off of the grid topology, that can mean wildly different things at different locations at different times. As an example, there are locations that are constrained in ERCOT where when it's sunny, there's basically more power being generated by solar projects in that location than can get to market. One more megawatt-hour of solar at that location actually has no carbon impact. It just causes one other solar plant to ramp down.

At the same time, projects that you can demonstrably show are- every incremental megawatt hour is causing a coal plant to shut down, have enormous carbon impacts. This gets back to your point of renewable energy is not an end. It is a means to the end. Our end goal is reduced carbon. LMEs are a data set that provides the signal to do that as effectively as possible, when is it charging and discharging an energy storage asset, has the highest carbon impact. Storage sometimes gets a bad rap of being a carbon-increasing technology because retroefficiency is less than one. Therefore, it is effectively a netload, causes more electricity to be generated, therefore causes more emissions.

In some places, that's true. In other places, that's not because the ability, for example, to charge during those solar hours when curtailment is happening and discharge during hours when the sun is down and the coal plant is up, that can have huge positive impacts from a carbon reduction perspective that aren't known unless you have granular data. Carbon LMEs are our data sets to provide builders of renewable energy, buyers of renewable energy storage, anybody who is impacted by trying to measure their carbon footprint and maximize the impact of their future carbon motivated actions, have the tools needed to do that confidently and effectively.

Chad: Your LMEs specifically get to the nodal level, where the power is actually pumped onto the grid, so to speak.

Lee: That's correct. That's really the main benefit of it relative to what existed before. There have been lots of carbon datasets before LMEs, they were all regionals, of some variety. Some were national, some were ISO, some would get down-- The most accurate data that we saw before LMEs was from Rocky Mountain Institute's or RMI’sWattTime, they did those at the hubs or zone level. The more granularity, the better.

The challenge is, that example I gave you of the two solar projects, one is causing another solar plant to shut down, and one is causing a coal plant to shut down. Those are both in West Texas. Any other mechanism would look at those two projects as identical in their carbon value, when in reality, they're quite different and we should drive investment towards the highest impact opportunities there. The nodal level is really what-- We just built on the progression that a lot of others had started with of taking it from the national level now down to the point where you are generating or consuming your electricity itself.

Chad: How do you get buyers and sellers of power to care about this, and to pay money for this sort of information, which- I think we all realize it's very valuable from an environmental perspective and a climate change perspective? Who are the primary buyers of this information and how do you grow that market?

Lee: Yes, there's really a waterfall here. It's led by sustainability leaders. We co-launched this product in partnership with Microsoft. We've had other sustainability leaders. Akamai is another company from a C&I buyer perspective, Hannon Armstrong for your own investment decisions. The starting point is the folks that started using this first were basically saying, "Hey, we understand that under current carbon accounting rules, we don't have to use accurate data."

The problem that Microsoft brought to us in developing this data set was basically like, "We know that our carbon calculations today miss the underlying impact of what's happening because we don't have access to that data. We want to know what that residual carbon footprint is, which can be positive or negative, depending on where you are, so that we are accurately tracking that footprint, and then using that data to make the best possible decision. Where should we sign our next RFP? Should we invest in transmission or storage instead of the next wind or solar project?"

The starting point has been those groups who are using that to really be thought leaders in that landscape. We see a response to that. If you are building a project to sell, or you want to attract investment from Hannon Armstrong, for example, you're going to want to know whether your project is a high carbon abating or low carbon abating relative to your competition in the grid. If you're going to offer a C&I buyer a PPA, you're going to want to know whether you're a top quartile carbon impact or bottom quartile carbon impact.

The demand comes from the folks who are investing in buying the power. What follows on is how do you differentiate your asset that gets into your M&A strategy. If you're a developer, and you're going to take it across the finish line, you want to make sure that the projects you're next developing are high in that landscape. I think that's Phase 2. Phase 3, we hope, is that as a lot of ESG metrics have required to become more granular, where we start is not where we need to be.

I think that megawatt-hour accounting that was used to drive RE100 and renewable generation overall has been extremely successful in its goal of bringing corporate buyers into renewable energy, but particularly now that we have a high penetration of renewables in many markets, it's not sufficient anymore. Some combination of that "emissionality" concept of how do you measure emissions accurately, as well as the load matching 24/7, 100/100/0. There's lots of different names for it. How do you make sure that, in your own grid, you're matching up? Those are the tools we're trying to provide today, really, the sustainability thought leaders. We hope tomorrow, everybody.

Chad: We here at Hannon Armstrong, we report the avoided emissions, basically, with every single one of the investments that we make and that's why we care about your tool because we want to measure that and we want to measure the efficiency by which our capital is used to avoid carbon emissions. It certainly would be a lot more effective if we had a price on carbon, wouldn't it? Wouldn't that really drive folks to this product and this data set?

Lee: Yes. If you were to put a price on carbon, it's LMEs, or location margin emissions is how you would measure that in the same way that if you're trading power, you use locational marginal price. We built locational marginal emissions to be the environmental equivalent of LMPs specifically because that's the backbone of the financial industry in energy, and we think LMEs can do the same on the environmental backbone of power markets. Yes, you have my vote. I think it would be, by far, the most efficient way to drive decarbonization. In lieu of that, I'll take whatever the Biden administration can do as the [unintelligible 00:29:56]. [chuckles]

Chad: We need you guys to sit down with Senator Joe Manchin. Maybe then we can [chuckles] move forward on that, but-

Lee: I don't think he'd take my invite, but I'm ready to go. I'll be on the next flight to West Virginia.

Chad: Excellent. Well, we're almost done, but first, we want to move to the hot seat. Fill in the blank for the following statements. The most important advice I've ever followed is-

Lee: Do work that you're proud of other than your bank account.

Chad: Success is-

Lee: Doing what you love while meeting your financial obligations to your family.

Chad: Aside from Climate Positive, my favorite podcast is-

Lee: Well, it was The Interchange, but they shut that down. They started a new one. I have to go to the new one and decide whether it's my new favorite but it was The Interchange.

Chad: The new one Catalyst is also very good. It's probably my favorite too, aside from this. [chuckles] The most insightful book or article I've read recently is-

Lee: The Advantage, it's a book on the role of company culture.

Chad: You are a Bostonian, so I have to ask. Bill Belichick or Tom Brady?

Lee: [laughs] Well, I'm not originally from Boston, so I don't know if I have the right credentials for this, but Tony who leads our product team will kill me if I don't say Tom Brady. I'm going to go with Tom Brady for my personal safety.

Chad: [laughs] Excellent. If I weren't the CEO of REsurety, I would be-

Lee: A marine biologist.

Chad: I'm sure your parents will love that too.

Lee: [chuckles] That was my first career, but had to abandon it.

Chad: Finally to me, climate positive means-

Lee: Leaving this earth better than how I arrived on it.

Chad: Excellent. Well, this has been really fun, Lee. We got deep in the weeds, but it was really insightful. Thanks for joining us.

Lee: Thank you. Much appreciated.

Chad:Climate Positive is produced by Hannon Armstrong and David Benjamin Sound. If you like what you heard today, please share the show with friend and leave us a comment and a rating on our show page. 

You can send us show and guest suggestions by tweeting at us @HannonArmstrong or reach us via email at

I'm Chad Reed 

And this is Climate Positive.