Season 1 Episode 11: Dario Hernandez, Next Energy Capital, on Energy Storage for the Energy Transition

This week, Dario Hernandez, Head of Energy Storage at Next Energy Capital (NEC), joins the Hypercube podcast to share his take on the role of storage to enable the energy transition.

The episode takes a deep dive into the challenges and opportunities surrounding energy storage. From the issue of slow grid connection times to the underutilization of existing data assets, Dario shares his perspective on how the industry needs to evolve to take full advantage of energy storage, particularly to deal with the supply and demand imbalance of renewables. Based on his role at NEC, Dario is also able to give particular insight into investor priorities in the sector and shares his take on the innovations that will shape the industry over the next 5-10 years.

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S1E11 Dario Hernandez

In this episode, we covered:

  • The role of energy storage in enabling the ‘flexibility revolution’
  • The importance of ‘optionality’ in the sector for investors
  • Storage as the missing link for decarbonization
  • The benefits of piggybacking the EV industry to accelerate energy storage innovation
  • How data from existing assets can be used to improve the efficiency of the grid

The weekly Hypercube podcast sits down with leaders in the energy and utilities sectors to explore how data analytics can help businesses make smarter decisions and accelerate business growth.

CHAPTER MARKERS

[0:49] Dario makes a quick introduction and gives an overview of his role at Next Energy Capital.

[1:44] Dario explains the role of energy storage in the energy transition and as an enabler for greater renewable energy penetration.

[4:19] Dario discusses where the UK sits on energy storage innovation in comparison to other regions.

[5:19] Dario shares his insight into how NEC approaches investments in the energy storage space.

[8:14] Dario highlights some of the considerations informing investor strategies in the energy sector.

[12:27] Dario explains how investment in the electric vehicle space is expediting battery development for energy storage.

[16:09] Dario emphasizes the challenge of connecting energy storage solutions to the grid.

[18:55] Dario discusses the role of data in managing supply and demand imbalance in the national grid.

[22:08] Dario gives an overview of some of the success stories he has seen at NEC.

[24:38] Adam asks Dario to share his take on the big innovative technologies of the next 5-10 years.

TRANSCRIPT

Hypercube Podcast Transcript

Title: Dario Hernandez, Next Energy Capital, on Energy Storage for the Energy Transition

Host: Adam Sroka
Guest: Dario Hernandez

Intro: Welcome to the Hypercube podcast, where we explore how companies in the energy and utility sector leverage data analytics to make smarter decisions and accelerate business growth. I’m Adam Sroka, founder of Hypercube, a strategic consultancy that supports asset owner-operators, traders, route-to-market providers, and energy services companies to unlock the power of data.

If you’re interested in hearing real-world examples of how data and AI are advancing the energy sector, this is the show for you. 

Adam Sroka: Welcome back to the Hypercube podcast. I’m joined today by Dario Hernandez. Hello and welcome.
Dario Hernandez: Hi Adam, thanks for having me. 

Adam Sroka: So Dario is Head of Energy Storage at Next Energy Capital. Would you like to, yeah, tell the audience a little bit about what does that mean and how does that work?
Dario Hernandez: Right, so hello, my name is Dario, so I work as Head of Energy Storage. Next Energy Capital is part of the Next Energy Group and we really cover the whole value chain of solar storage. We develop projects, we finance, we We build it, operate them, take it to the market, and that’s across solar and batteries at the moment. Within storage, batteries are really the dominant technology. And my role is really everything related to storage. So I cover and manage all the activities in that whole value chain, especially with regards to advising on the strategy, what type of projects we’re going to develop, how we can bring them to the market, what is the right valuation and what is the right technology to develop and so on and so forth.

Adam Sroka: Very cool. So how do you see, and like, how does Next Energy Capital see the role of energy storage contributing to, yeah, I guess the wider transition? Is that the goal to really do like something you would move the needle a bit? 


Dario Hernandez: Yeah, so I think the way we see storage is really, storage is the enabler of the energy transition. So what we’re seeing in the market, right, is that huge penetration of renewables, wind and solar. And it’s getting to a level, uh, where you need that piece in the centre, which is managing that demand and supply. In my opinion, those fundamentals, in terms of additional penetration of renewables and so on and so forth, are going to continue. But on the other side, on the demand side, what we’re saying is, You know, we’re fundamentally still going to have those peaks of demand in the morning and the peaks in the evening. So how do you put those two things together is what we call the flexibility gap, right? So the difference between the renewables and the demand, is that there is a gap on flexible technology that is missing.

So to me, the only technology at the moment that can do that efficiently and net zero with free of emission is really a storage, either pump hydro batteries or other technologies, because sometimes that gap is an excess, right? Sometimes you have a lot more renewables than demand, but sometimes you have a deficit, you have, sometimes you have more demand than generation.

So I think that batteries, so I always keep talking about batteries because this was dominant at the moment. But storage in general sits at the center of that energy transition, right? Very trendy. And it really is that we are at the beginning. So the way I see it is that we’re barely starting, even though in the UK it seems that we’re quite far ahead of other countries, we’re barely starting that journey.

So, but that’s only one small piece, right? There’s all sorts of other things that storage is doing. So for example, as we’re retiring thermal generation, you have all these different services that provide the stability to the network that was done by thermal assets. Well, that’s lost, and obviously that puts into risk the stability of the grid, things like frequency, voltage, and lots of other technical stuff, so storage and batteries in particular can fill those gaps.

And we’re seeing how all those services are now being replaced from, or being transitioned from being provided by thermal generators to storage. So it really sits at the, you know, in summary, it really sits at the centre of that transition and it cannot happen. You, you cannot have an energy transition without a storage.

So for us, it’s a perfect compliment because the company we’ve been doing solar for many years, Now the next step and the next revolution is that flexibility revolution, right? It’s adding flexibility to the system to handle those up and downs and, and shortages in, and, or excess of supply when it happens. 

Adam Sroka: It’s a bulk of your investments in storage in the UK because, yeah, I think we like to think we’re  quite far ahead, but I’m aware that there’s a lot going on all over Europe and in the States as well. 


Dario Hernandez: Yeah, primarily, I think the way I see it is the UK is quite advanced in terms of the regulation and the liberalization of those markets where storage can participate, right? So, because of that, well, I mean, and a number of other reasons in terms of regulation and permitting and so on and so forth, it has allowed us to, obviously, to deploy quite a lot more capacity of storage in the UK. And this has been a learning journey, right? So at the beginning, you store storage and you do certain services like frequency response.

And then you evolve into a much more sophisticated strategy. So it takes time, right? It’s not you just come into place and put some batteries and, and walk away and give the keys to someone. So it takes a lot of active management in the market, in optimization, understanding the technology. So I think the idea is we kind of deploy in the UK and I mean, and we’ve done it already.

We’ve learned from that. We’ve shown that it can be done and that we deploy that capability also elsewhere. But yes, we’re developing projects in various other countries in Europe and North America as well. 

Adam Sroka: Very interesting. Okay. So how do you like, because it seems that technology is changing at a really fast rate and we’re not just talking about batteries. Do you take like a spread sort of portfolio view with your investments on technologies? Like how do you, how does NEC approach investments in this area? Do you have like a, could you share any insights or is that all the secret sauce? 


Dario Hernandez: No, I can steer some. So I think it’s a good question because, and it’s actually where I spend most of my time in my job.

We’re in a situation where the technology, as you described, is changing really fast. So, Is, uh, lithium-ion a technology that’s going to be dominant in five years time? Is it going to be, uh, I don’t know, there’s all sorts of other batteries with Oxflow or sodium ion. I don’t know. You name it. You know, people talk about compressors or liquids.

There are lots and lots of technologies, and each one has its different characteristics. And the way I approach this, right, is first understanding where are the needs from the market. So is it, for example, round trip efficiency? Is it a speed of response? Is it long duration? Is it short duration? So, trying to have a view of what are the needs for them on the market, but also on the technology side, it needs to be proven, right? It needs to be when you’re deploying the capital of investors into the market and trying to generate returns and obviously trying to provide a service to the national grid. It needs to be a proven technology, so we work with the technology providers to understand what is that road map.

So how are we going to get from a product and a concept all the way to a product and a technology that is. bankable, let’s say. So the current situation where we are is really, it’s all about optionality. So. What you want to have is you don’t want to get a stack into the previous technology and deploy all your projects with, you know, with an old technology.

So it’s, as I say, it’s all about optionality. For example, when developing a project, leaving additional space for the additional duration, if we think the long-term plan is the additional duration of storage, obviously monitor the market to understand when the price point could be, you know, could enable certain changes of technology and, or certain different characteristics.

So for example, one of the projects that we just commissioned is what is quite interesting is that we left the space and we built infrastructure for a future augmentation of additional duration, right? To add additional components. So I think that’s quite interesting, right? Because of the price on the, and this is a lithium-ion project, right?

So the price of batteries and lithium is very volatile.  So if you locked yourself in at the very beginning, you know, and then the price drop, obviously your competitors are going to get ahead of you in that regard, right? They can deploy those batteries in a much cheaper way. But if you invest too early in a, say a four hour batteries, but then under use it is quite suboptimal as well.

So it’s all about the way I say, it’s all about optionality in a world that is changing so quickly, you want to have options that are ready. So at the time of the opportunity comes, you deploy it quickly. I mean, this is obviously easier said than done. But that’s the aim, I guess. 

Adam Sroka: So that optionality comes from forward-thinking, experience, like expertise in the space. What sort of data sources are you looking at and like processing to kind of make those decisions and do that analysis? Is there anything we didn’t wonder for, is it? That kind of wider market trends and the direction of travel of the technology. 


Dario Hernandez: Yes. I mean, it’s the beauty of it because it’s quite complex. It’s, that’s the way I see my job is putting together the technology with the market, with the investment community. So all three things need to align. So on the, for example, on the technology side, we understand, and it’s all very interlinked by the way. So it’s all very hardly linked between those two, you know, so for example, let’s take a battery again.

If you’re running a bit harder, then obviously you’re going to generate more revenues, but at the same time, you’re going to kill the battery or kill the life of the battery much earlier. So we’re trying to understand, obviously, from the degradation point of view, the different modelling and how that different operations could affect the life of the battery.

But how is that related to the revenue? So we then need to analyze. All the different revenue streams in the different markets is a, you know, the wholesale market is the intraday trading is all the different ancillary services that I described below. And all of these can be combined. You could also have optimization between those services. But then that goes back to the technology, right? How those services and how those combinations affect the technology. And then obviously we need to translate that story to the investors. We need to tell this story and convince them that, you know, this is really worth putting your money into that.

This is, there’s a solid case that there is a future, uh, you know, there’s a fundamental. You know, a story behind it for investing. So yeah, the amount of data is quite significant because this is really interlinked with the technology with the market, with investors and putting all that together into a model.

Adam Sroka: That was going to be my next question because even if you live and breathe this stuff and like you work in the space, it’s really complicated. Like the chain of technology and financial instruments and the way it’s all plumbed together, it’s hard to get your head around going from there. To communicate it to an investor that’s like one or two more steps removed and has options about what they could invest in like they’re not going to invest in stuff they don’t think they understand or have a good feeling of. So I guess a large part of your job must be like communication and storytelling and crafting a narrative around how to shape your decision-making process into something that’s consumable. 


Dario Hernandez: Yeah. So I think the way I see it, right, the way I picture it and the way I see it is the, We do believe there’s going to be up and down, right?

And it’s going to be volatile, but it’s not just for batteries. It’s not just for storage. It’s for all the technologies. We’re in a situation where, you know, international commodity prices are very volatile. Regulation is volatile and it’s a difficult place to navigate, but fundamentally you have to believe.

That the end goal is the decarbonization of the energy system. And I think we’re in an on-return situation in that regard. Like I don’t see, you know, any country pulling back from that. It could happen as lower, it could happen faster. It might take us 20 years or 80 years, but there is a clear path of direction.

And that’s where also we need the regulators to be. You know, on board and not making false steps or a step backs, we need to consistently move into that direction. And when you look at the fundamentals, this is about, you know, principles and fundamentals. When you see that system, how that system is going to look like in 20 40 years with lots of renewal, lots of solar, lots of wind that missing link.

It is the storage and you can do all this sophisticated modeling in between and all these variations, etc. But the ultimate end result is that you want to have, if you’re an investor in this space, you want to have a certain proportion in your storage because that’s going to be needed. And therefore, how you get there is all about optionality, as I was describing.

It’s all about monitoring the different technologies, and jumping into the right one at the right time. And so on so forth. And obviously, you know, it needs to be make sense financially when you do it, but you need to be on that space if you believe in the energy transition. I don’t see anyone that at this point, you know, thinks that is going to happen any other way than in a full renewable energy system.

Adam Sroka: Okay, that’s really interesting. Let’s change gears a little bit. You’ve got a lot of experience with solar, right? And now we’re looking at energy storage. Do you have like specific types of energy storage technology or like innovation either currently or in the not-too-distant future that you think will be like significant game changers for solar energy production? 


Dario Hernandez: I really see storage as, you know, whether it’s co-located or combined with solar or not. Fundamentally, it’s the same. Obviously, there are some benefits on colocating and hybridization of solar and storage, but the technology itself is, it is the same. I mean, in terms of innovation, I think the good thing that we have in this sector when it comes to batteries, is that we’re leveraging absolutely, you know, billions and billions of investment from the electric vehicle industry.

So we’re really, really lucky because if it was just down to the energy industry to deliver that, it would be much more complicated, but we are actually piggybacking on. Everything that the electric vehicle industry is doing, pumping all this money to develop products, making them cheaper and more energy efficiency.

more energy dense and so forth. So for example, clear example has been the case of lithium-ion phosphate batteries. So when I started doing batteries, the first few projects, everything was a type of lithium-ion battery called nickel manganese cobalt or NMC. This battery contains nickel, which is relatively scarce, contains cobalt, which has some complexities and some, I guess, yeah, difficulties when it comes to mining and conditions in which that’s mined, obviously, and some issues with regards to that.

And, uh, the cost, the price tag is a little bit higher. So what we’ve seen, for example, is the switch from NMC to LFP batteries, which is, uh, which doesn’t contain nickel, doesn’t contain cobalt. And obviously the development in terms of energy density efficiency. But now we’re seeing, for example, a new technology coming into sodium ion.

Now, again, that has been developed on the back of the electric vehicle industry, but it’s actually perfect for stationary.  It does have less energy density, but in a stationary storage is not a big issue. Like, you know, we have sufficient land normally and we don’t have a problem having a 40 ton container on site as opposed to your car.

And it has so much better properties with regards to cycling in temperature. And for example, number of cycles, degradation, temperature, et cetera. But the amount of, for example, the first batteries that, you know, we were selling a few years ago. Maybe in a 20-foot container, you will have less than a megawatt hour.

Today, latest products have more than 6 megawatt-hours, so that the energy density increases significantly, but then the performance has improved so much, like the life of those batteries has doubled, or more than doubled, and also manufacturers are getting more sophisticated. For example, initially, degradation models were quite simplistic.

Now they’re giving us more flexible degradation models to, you know, tailor Uh, where operations in the market and I think that is going to improve because from a battery, you get,  I don’t know, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of data points of each individual cell temperature, voltage, you name it.

So once they’re able to collect all that and learn from the different operations and combine it, I think we will get to a much more sophisticated models and learn a lot from those batteries and extract a lot more. So I think we’ve gone a long way in the last. I don’t know, 10 years or so, but I feel we’re still at the beginning.

Like, you know, what we’re going to see is just astonishing in the next five to 10 years, really. 

Adam Sroka: So what about the actual, like, in the weeds of a project and delivery then, what are like the biggest sort of challenges you face integrating energy storage solutions with like existing solar projects? Have you bumped into much of that?

Dario Hernandez: Yes. I mean, I think the biggest issue is the same issue that everyone is having in the country and probably not just in the UK. We’re having a a significant problem when it comes to connecting to the grid. Yeah, you gotta say it. Every, yeah, everyone says it. It’s, uh, yeah, actually, yeah. It’s a bit boring, but it’s always the same issue.

But it is critical, and even though we talk about it, it’s just, it cannot be understated. It’s absolutely brutal. Like you have to wait 10, 15 years for a great connection. You know, the pace at which we’re developing projects, it is much faster. And to be honest, it’s quite frustrating because we do have like a significant fleet of solar already operating where we could put batteries behind it.

You don’t need any additional infrastructure. Everything can be shared. The country will benefit from that, right? We don’t need to install more transformers, more lines, more everything. We’re just plugging batteries behind. We need to have additional import capacity to import sometimes, right? Because during the days or during the nights that there is less solar, we need to be able to do that.

And we’re just not being able to connect as soon as we want. But I think it comes down also, to be honest, a lot comes down to data. It comes down to digitalization of those grids. Because it’s understanding from the, you know, up to today and even today great operators are looking at this in a very static way.

They say, okay, well, Battery, you know, is going to import. So, you know, they need 50 megawatts. So I cannot provide you this, you know, so they look at like a 24, seven flat out. Everyone important at the same time. Well, actually, you know, you can extract a lot of data from actually our assets combined with data from users, substations.

You name it, and actually run the system in a much more efficient way. So sometimes the solution is not really add more transformer, more cables, more lines, it’s actually use what you have in there and use it in a much smarter way, because this is really underutilized in many cases. I’m not saying every, every case, we do have to build lines.

And transformers, but we do have to get to the next step is as much as we talk about digitization, a data is incredibly, you know, in that one, we’re definitely doing on the first baby steps when it comes to this, but then there is another element when it is a lot around the business case. So when you have solar and batteries combined and you’re sharing the same export, right?

So you need to actually model very well how that whole system is going to operate. So I’m not saying this is a challenge, but I don’t think many people have spent enough time thinking Where is the right ratio? How do I size my grid connection versus the solar plant versus the battery and how’s the whole component gonna play right in the market?

Because they respond to different signals And we did spend quite a lot of time thinking about it and, you know, some projects are suitable to do that. Some solar projects can adopt storage, but some cannot for a number of reasons. So yeah, I would say that these are the two definitely elements, the great connections of fertility we spend most of our time.

Adam Sroka: It’s funny actually, yeah, because I’ve not heard many people talking about how to resolve it. The digitalization and bits. of a deeper look at the analytics of like, how can we optimize this is an interesting take from a kind of helicopter view of the whole system, not just like on a project-by-project basis as well.

Because it’s one of those things that like, how do we get faster at it? How do we get better? Because are we going to be creating 15 years, like queues in 15 years time, or How do we drive the number down? It’s an interesting challenge that affects both like commercial organizations, but also just everything like the public.

And yeah, like, yeah, it’s a really sticky problem.  

Dario Hernandez: Yeah, I mean, there is a good, there is a very good example, for example, within the UK in something called the balancing mechanism. So balancing mechanism is something that National Grid uses. On real time, right? So I’m going to simplify this a little bit, but in real time, obviously, demand and supply is not always exactly the same. So obviously national grid can contract any of the generators or demand in the system to turn up or turn down slightly to. You know, to get the system in balance. So up to December last year, barely, they couldn’t manage the amount of batteries in the system and the amount of data that those batteries have, and they can provide, and they didn’t fully understand how to operate them.

So we had a situation where many times, and this is still happening today, so by no means it’s solved, but obviously we’re going in the right direction, but it’s taking a long time. So we’re having a situation where many, many days, and this is probably happening right now, you got a lot of wins. That has to be curtailed because they cannot be transported all the way to the point of where the demand is happening, right?

Let’s say in the South and you have to pay them to turn them down. And then on the other side, in the South of England, then you have to turn up the gas generation, which you have to pay for. So you have to pay twice, right? To compensate for that demand that you cannot serve. So batteries can do both things, right?

First of all, batteries in the North can share charge. And absorb that wind energy. And batteries in the south can turn up and provide energy, which is, again, it would be green energy because it’s been charged previously. So it would be so much more efficient. Now, Australia has now introduced, Some tools that they can, you know, and some parameters to manage the batteries.

But again, we’re still in that infancy of that journey. It’s only done for a small amount of volume. I think in a few years time and not very far away, all that operation of balancing batteries can take over pretty much an entire volume, if not the entire volume. And you don’t need gas generation with emissions, with additional cost, et cetera, et cetera, to do that.

It is amazing that we in this country have already four gigawatts of batteries operating and it has taken all this time to start introducing some of those digital tools. And even now, you know, sometimes on those conversations, it’s like, what data can you send us? They will say, it’s like, well, we could send you hundreds of thousands of data points.

You name it, you know, it’s about operating the system. And that’s only battery, right? If you start putting it together. additional data from all these different generators. So I think a lot, of course, don’t get me wrong, right? For structures still need it, but I think a lot can be done in terms of managing the system much better with a holistic strategy about data management, optimization, and so forth.

Adam Sroka: Yeah. It’s such an interesting problem for me, like, cause that, our background was optimization and I can see. As we get, again, we’re just on the start of the journey, right? As we’re learning like the ropes and getting used to it, I think as more and more people get in, it will get even that optimization piece becomes more competitive and we’ll see different strategies emerge.

And it’s a really. Like exciting, emerging kind of problem space that’s quite sort of fun to play in, I think. What about success stories then? Like, have you seen any big wins you want to boast about? Do you want to kind of brag about things where you’ve seen integrating energies actually had a huge impact on the project value or anything like that?

Dario Hernandez: Well, all the projects that we’re developing in Solr now come with storage, as I mentioned before, and I think the value is significant. I mean, it cannot be understated. So in those projects, we don’t have to double in terms of energy grid connection. So we need less transformers, we need less switchgear, we need less mobilization and so forth.

So to me, it’s an absolute no-brainer. So the cycle of solar, right, you have the predictable pattern of six, eight hours or whatever of production or now during summer, much more. And that combines very well with these four, six, eight-hour batteries that we cannot see a lot in the market. So. It is, you’re firming also renewal capacity at the point of connection.

You’re also providing a stability services at the point of connection. To me, that’s absolutely the way to go. It needs to be done properly. It cannot be done, you know, any different, any random ratio. It cannot be done in any random way. And depending on the location, it makes sense in a different way or another.

So there’s quite a lot of thinking that goes into that. All our new projects come in, in this way, whenever grid connection allows it.  As I mentioned, the project that we just commissioned, I think that’s a very interesting story where we have prebuilt the whole infrastructure to give us the optionality to upgrade at the right time.

So we will be following what the market needs at the right time. So everything is in place. We just need to create connection, everything, all the infrastructure is in place, we just go and deploy it. That’s much quicker, much faster, and allows us to capture, you know, those deep prices on lithium. Or whatever in terms of the technology and there’s some new stuff that is coming through like, you know, new technologies where inverters can provide really fast inertia and other set of stability services.

So we will be implemented all of those as well as the market requires it. I think what we just need is really a bit more forward thinking from regulation to say, look, the technology is there, let’s just remove any barriers that may exist. 

Adam Sroka:   You mentioned inverters there, is that your like hot take your big bet for innovative technologies of the next five, 10 years?

Dario Hernandez: Well, I think on the battery side, I think the improvement on LFP, obviously you dunno what you don’t know. So who knows what other chemistry is gonna come in is this is the exciting thing. So I would then bet that you know, there might be something else around the corner. I come in, I think sodium mine is gonna be very interesting. The question is always. Even though sometimes the technology is interesting, it’s all about mass manufacturing. So again, can we piggyback on the EV to deploy sodium ions? So there are great technologies out there. They’re not taking off because of the mass manufacturing isn’t there. On the inverted technology, yes, there’s lots of great innovation as said on the, on the, there’s something called grid forming converters, inverters.

So they behave like thermal generators in the sense that they,  uh, create the voltage signal. That means that they provide stability to the network before a deviation on the frequency happens. So there is a lot of smart stuff happening with the electronics of the inverters, which could potentially replace, you know, all these unserviced services provided by thermal generators.

Because sometimes in the system, you still need to run thermal generators just for the need of stability. So if we can, with inverters and electronics, replace that need, Then we can essentially go completely carbon-free, and that’s exciting, I think. 

Adam Sroka: Okay, last one from me, I guess. Are there anything that NEC you think are doing that are really innovative in the energy, storage, solar space? Like, anything you’re really proud of in that space? 

Dario Hernandez: I mean, we’re sitting in between the technology providers and the market, so we’re bringing, you know, I think what we’re proud of is, is understanding the markets pretty well, and communicating that to the manufacturers to guide them in the direction. And I think we’re doing pretty well. I think where we proud ourselves is that it’s energy transition, but not at any cost in the sense of environmental and biodiversity. So when it comes to solar, and I’m not an expert in solar, so we have a big team dedicated to this, but where I can see their passion is always on going above and beyond when it comes to planning, permitting and biodiversity net gain.

So it’s really, it’s not just deploying. We’re not a developer that sits there and deploys the solar and walks away. Okay. We’ve been part of the communities for many, many years. So having that extra biodiversity gains is, I think it’s important. Otherwise, you get a pushback on the energy transition. And then we have another platform, I will call it called next step where we invest on startups like Venture Capital, and Incubator. Obviously, that’s, that’s starting now, so, you know, more details to follow in the next few weeks. There has been some very early investments on a few startups, but I think putting some of that capital to work with some of these innovations at small scale is still quite, you know, given the amount of innovation you can never, you have to be in that space, that’s interesting.

And I think the other one that I’m particularly like, I don’t know if an innovation, is we have something called Next Energy Foundation or Next Foundation. So we put part of the profits to work in a charity, and this is all related to energy projects. So for example, projects in certain parts of Africa and Zimbabwe or Malawi, where, you know, we use solar technology, so it’s all about carbon-free, but enable opportunities for locals for having electricity, you know, that improves obviously the life conditions of.

those communities. So I think it’s quite interesting that it’s not just developing projects, it’s developing projects with the purpose, but also being part of those innovations and putting back profits into good service. So it’s quite good to be part of that team.

Dario Hernandez: That is something to be proud of. Yeah, that’s really cool.

Dario Hernandez: Well, yeah, look, thank you very much. 

Adam Sroka: That’s been a great conversation. 

Dario Hernandez: Yeah, it was, it’s been a fantastic conversation. I really enjoyed that. Adam, 

Adam Sroka: yeah, no, thank you very much.  

Outro: And that’s it for this episode of the Hypercube podcast. Thanks for tuning in today.

If you have any questions about the topics we covered, you can reach out to us on LinkedIn or check out our website at  wearehypercube.com. You can also join Beyond Energy, our Slack community of data leaders from the sector. There’s a link to sign up in the episode description. We’re just getting this show off the ground, so if you like today’s episode, please leave us a rating, review, or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

It all really helps. See you next time.