The most underappreciated tool for scaling climatetech

How insurance could unlock a new deployment wave of climate solutions.

We buy insurance for everything — our cars, our houses, our health. But climatetech insurance? That’s a new one. 

When Jeff McAulay was working in solar, he discovered one major roadblock to scaling up climatetech: Solar developers didn’t have access to the right kind of insurance to cover their risks. So Jeff co-founded Energetic Insurance.

It turns out that insurance solves problems beyond just solar. Jeff says there are unaddressed risks associated with many new climate technologies that can prevent developers from accessing affordable capital. In essence, Jeff sees insurance as part of the larger capital stack, alongside better-understood tools such as venture capital and debt.

In this episode, guest co-host Lara Pierpoint speaks with Jeff about innovative insurance models and their applications in areas such as heat pumps, fuel cells, geothermal, advanced nuclear and more. They also discuss the limits of private insurance and the role governments can play in addressing uncertainty, technological complexity and regulatory hurdles. 

Then, they cover the topics of moral hazard and how insurance companies could change the market. Will insurance companies continue to offer catastrophic insurance in wildfire-prone areas or coastal areas likely to be in the path of hurricanes? Will they continue to insure coal mines and coal-fired power plants? Will insurance companies be able to adapt their models to the evolving risks of climate change?

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Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more.

Catalyst is supported by Nextracker. Nextracker’s technology platform has delivered more than 50 gigawatts of zero-emissions solar power plants across the globe. Nextracker is developing a data-driven framework to become the most sustainable solar tracker company in the world, with a focus on a truly transparent supply chain. Visit nextracker.com/sustainability to learn more.