🌎 CERAweek in Review #190

Takeaways from the ‘Super Bowl of the energy sector’


Happy Monday! 

March Madness is underway, but the “Super Bowl of the energy sector,” aka CERAweek, just wrapped up. 

Last week, big names from oil and gas, finance, government, and technology converged in Houston to discuss the most pressing challenges and opportunities across the global energy sector at the annual CERAweek conference. Top of mind was rising energy demand, and how the industry can meet it while still reducing emissions.

In other news, a (water-down version of) Biden’s landmark EV policy passed; Microsoft, Google, and Nucor are partnering to buy clean energy for data centers; and the first corporate nuclear green bond from Constellation Energy.

In deals this week, $1bn for a new fund that invests in energy transition infrastructure, $52m for carbon accounting for SMEs, and $38m for laser confinement fusion technology.

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CERAweek in, CERAweek out

David Yeh, Dan Goldman (Clean Energy Ventures) , Rachel Slaybaugh (DCVC), and Barbara Burger (Lazard) on scaling climate tech from pilots to projects

The energy was high at CERAweek, the annual gathering of power players in the global energy sector, which took place in Houston last week. Big names across oil and gas, finance, government, and even tech flocked to Texas to discuss the future of the sector, the transition, and emerging technologies that will get us there.

And the big topics at this year’s CERAweek showed that the future’s not what it used to be. This year, in the shadow of the US presidential election (even if that part does feel like 2020 again), conversations skirted around politics and a new major theme emerged: newly increasing energy demand, and how best to meet it. You may have seen the headlines that Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser made when he dismissed the idea of transitioning away from fossil fuels as a “fantasy.” 

Indeed, the energy transition has been marked by fits and starts — US power demand is on the rise for the first time in nearly two decades, while demand is also growing in the Global South. There's an increasing urgency to reduce emissions, competing priorities like economic growth, technological readiness, energy security, accessibility, and affordability won’t make it easy. 

CERAweek 2024 at a glance

  • Who attended. O&G companies like Petronas, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Occidental Petroleum, Saudi Aramco, and more were in attendance, as were financiers like BlackRock, HSBC, BeyondNetZero, and even Bill Gates. Politicians from around the world, like US Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, and head of the EU Energy Commission also attended. And notably, big tech players like Amazon and Microsoft made a notable splash for the first time at the energy conference.
  • Record-setter. An estimated 10,000 people came to CERAweek this year, up from 7,000 last year.
  • Newcomers. While most attendees were still corporates this year, newcomers like innovators, project developers, and investors flocked to the innovation side of the conference (Innovation Agora). More tech companies than previous years had booths and demos as they got in on the conversation — signaling the importance of energy in big tech, as these companies increasingly need to ensure they have sufficient energy supply for their data centers and AI programs.

6 Key Themes

  • AI everywhere all at once. The rise of energy-hungry AI means we’ll need more electricity-hungry data centers, powered by low-carbon sources. The feasibility of this undertaking dominated discussions. Meanwhile, others presented AI as the solution to several problems in the energy space, from materials science discovery for chemical companies to workforce training and more.
  • Climate tech for O&G. Despite the strong fossil fuel narrative, O&G companies are continuing to pursue climate tech areas that leverage O&G skill sets, like hydrogen and CCS projects. The “Hydrogen Hub” was the center of discussions on the emerging blue hydrogen market, and the infrastructure and incentives needed to make it successful.
Andrei Utkin (S&P), John Redfern (Eavor), Tim Latimer (Fervo), Barbara Harrison (Chevron), and Terra Rogers (CATF) on what's new in geothermal
  • Geothermal heats up. Geothermal was put on the main stage this time around, featuring the CEOs of Fervo and Eavor. Plus, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced the release of the report for next-generation geothermal, “Pathways to Commercial Liftoff” (which Sightline Climate was cited in).
  • Unblocking transmission. As the energy mix shifts but demand powers ahead, companies are expected to fiercely compete for the necessary electrical power to run their operations — and they’re feeling the pressure. Project developers are working to expand grid capacity, but they still face complex planning and permitting processes, cost issues, regulation, as well as lengthy interconnection queues.
  • FOAK in focus. Securing funding for first-of-a-kind projects continues to be difficult, but the lending landscape is slowly changing. More corporations and utilities are raising their hands to participate, through capital or purchase orders that can give startups proof points and access to more capital. Notably, the startups getting FOAK going have access to blended capital and are partnered up to the hilt. 
  • Flexing the business models. Capital alone isn’t the issue — de-risking costs are. Corporates can serve as strategic partners for early-stage innovators, but look for business models incorporating modularity or possible licensing options. Meanwhile, startups discussed the most viable exit strategies, with many open to acquisitions instead of IPOs.

What’s Next 

  • De-risking FOAK projects. As we said last year, “Climate tech is going through a sort of awkward puberty. It no longer has the early safety of the lab, and is starting to face the tween growing pains—going through its “firsts” when it comes to deploying projects.” It’s grown up a little — and now, developers who want to pursue FOAK projects can learn from the few who have. You can read more about how to approach FOAK from our series, here, here, and here.
  • Everything could change depending on who’s elected in November. After everything that was said at CERAweek, there was a lot left unsaid. Companies can expect different regulatory landscapes from either Biden or Trump. This political uncertainty has the potential to impact the strategies of energy companies, from investing in alternative energy sources or permitting for projects.

Deals of the Week (3/18 - 3/24)

Late-Stage / Growth

🌱 Greenly, a Paris, France-based carbon accounting for SMEs platform, raised $52m in Series B funding from Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, BGV, Energy Impact Partners, HSBC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and other investors.

🚢 Candela, a Lidingö, Sweden-based electric hydrofoil boats developer, raised $27m in Growth funding from Groupe Beneteau, EQT Ventures, Kan Dela AB, and Ocean Zero.

🏠 e-peas, a Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium-based power management solutions platform, raised $19m in Growth funding from European Innovation Council, KBC Focus Fund, Nomainvest, and Otrium Capital.

🐄 Poseidon Ocean Systems, a Campbell River, Canada-based aquaculture technology platform, raised $21m in Series B funding from Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Export Development Canada, and InBC Investment Corp.


Blue Laser Fusion, a Palo Alto, CA-based laser confinement fusion technology developer, raised $38m in Seed funding from ITOCHU Corporation, Maezawa Fund, and SoftBank.

💨 Mission Zero, a London, England-based direct air capture (DAC) technology platform, raised $28m in Series A funding from 2150, Breakthrough, Fortescue, Siemens Financial Services, and World Fund.

🧱 CemVision, a Nybro, Sweden-based sustainable cement production platform, raised $11m in Seed funding from BackingMinds, Polar Structure, and Zacua Ventures.

💨 AirMyne, a Berkeley, CA-based direct air capture (DAC) technology platform, raised $7m in Seed funding from Alumni Ventures, Another Brain, EMLES, Impact Science Ventures, Liquid 2 Ventures, and other investors.

🥩 Cauldron, an Orange, Australia-based ferma-facturing for new foods and fibers platform, raised $6m in Series A funding from Horizons Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Main Sequence Ventures, and SOSV.

Blixt, a Kista, Sweden-based solid state circuit breakers developer, raised $5m in Seed funding from Energy Revolution Ventures and Union Square Ventures.

Buzz Solutions, a Palo Alto, CA-based predictive analytics for grid infrastructure platform, raised $5m in Seed funding from GoPoint Ventures, Blackhorn Ventures, and MaC Venture Capital.

🏠 Monaire, a Madison, WI-based AI-enabled building management systems platform, raised $4m in Seed funding from Construct Capital and Workshop Ventures.

Enapi, a Berlin, Germany-based EV connectivity platform, raised $3m in Pre-Seed funding from Project A Ventures, Helloworld.vc, and Seedcamp.

📦 Blitz, a Jakarta, Indonesia-based electric vehicle-based logistics service platform, raised $2m in Seed funding from ADB Ventures, Bansea, Satvik Investment PTE, and Third Derivative.

🥩 Poseidona, a Barcelona, Spain-based seaweed-based protein production platform, raised $1m in Pre-Seed funding from Faber, Dozen Investments, ProVeg International, Sprout and About Ventures, and WA4STEAM.

🏠 Fuchs & Eule, a Potsdam, Germany-based energy efficiency consulting platform, raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding from SET Ventures, Picus Capital, and Realyze Ventures.


Enpal, a Berlin, Germany-based residential solar and heat pump installation platform, raised $1bn in Debt funding from Bank of America, Barclays, and Credit Agricole.

💨 Novocarbo, a Hamburg, Germany-based carbon removal parks developer, raised $27m in funding from Swen Capital Partners.

🛰 Dryad Networks, a Berlin, Germany-based wildfire risk analytics platform, raised $6m in Convertible Note funding from Data Tech Fund, STIHL Digital, Semtech, Time Ventures, and other investors.

Crosstown H2R, a Stuttgart, Germany-based gas turbine decarbonization platform, raised $2m in Grant funding from the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.


Talos Low Carbon Solutions, a Houston, TX-based carbon capture & sequestration developer, was acquired by TotalEnergies for an undisclosed amount. 

New Funds

Morgan Stanley, New York, NY-based investment firm, announced a $1bn target for a new fund that invests in infrastructure for the energy transition. 

World Fund, a Berlin, Germany-based investment firm, held a final close of its $325m fund that invests in late-stage climate tech companies. 

Acre Venture Partners, a Santa Monica, CA-based investment firm, held a $140m close for its third fund that invests across food and agtech companies. 

Silence VC, a New York, NY-based investment firm, raised $35m for their new fund that invests in early-stage climate tech companies.   

Can’t get enough deals? See full listings and deal analytics on Sightline Climate

In the News

Biden’s landmark EV policy passed this past week, albeit a watered-down version. The EV adoption target was dropped from 67% to 35% after backlash from industry workers, with a technology-neutral regulatory scheme that accounts for hybrids.

Constellation Energy issued a 30-year $900m green bond directed at nuclear power last week, after a downturn for green bonds in 2023. This is the first corporate nuclear green bond issuance in the US, and a hopeful sign for a comeback in the market.

Microsoft, Google, and Nucor are partnering to aggregate demand as clean energy buyers, in preparation for the forecasted growth of demand due to data centers. The two tech giants say they’re developing new business models that aggregates their demand for clean energy to accelerate first-of-a-kind (FOAK) and other early commercial projects.

Britain’s national grid operator will spend nearly $80bn at home and across the pond on renewables, according to a new plan. It’s earmarking $73bn to build infrastructure between northwest England and northeast Scotland to connect the onshore wind farms, and investing over $4bn to upgrade infrastructure in New York to accelerate the state’s energy transition.

NextEra Energy said it expects an 81% spike in the growth rate of electricity demand within five years, due to increased usage of AI and data centers. The sharp growth rates are expected to strain the grid, even as renewable generation is expected to grow three-fold over the same time.

Total Energies, a French oil company, committed to cutting methane emissions from oil and gas operations to 0.1% by 2030. This initiative is even more ambitious than the agreement fifty oil and gas companies made to reduce methane emissions to 0.2% during COP 28 last year.

Infinium’s Pathfinder, the world’s first commercial e-fuels facility, commenced operations in Texas last week. The plant creates e-diesel from green hydrogen sourced from wind energy and captured CO2 that existing Amazon trucks can use, although the fuel is more expensive than existing diesel alternatives.

The Biden-Harris administration announced $475m in funding for five clean energy projects on former mine land in battleground states. The initiative is expected to create 3,000 clean jobs, while also accelerating affordable, clean energy solutions.


2023 stats blew in with record wind deals, still breezing through Q4, but offshore missed out.

Turns out American electricity is mostly used to control temperature.

Shutting down nuclear sites spawns spikes in greenhouse gases.

Say hello to bioluminescent house plants.

Companies are finding creative and seemingly festive ways to store energy.

AI models meteorological marvels at 2-km scale.

Florida is set to criminalize fake meat.

Scientists say the Anthropocene didn’t start in 1952 … it just sort of happened.

Next-gen geothermal is approaching commercialization.

Opportunities & Events

💡 Climate Challenge: Apply to the THRIVE Climate Challenge by March 29th for a chance to receive a $100k investment from THRIVE and join their 2025 global accelerator for startups advancing the biofuels value chain, on-farm energy, and water stewardship.

💡ClimateTech Innovation Challenge: Apply to the 2024 Venture for ClimateTech Global Innovation Challenge by April 3rd for a chance to win up to a $10,000 prize and receive tailored one-on-one feedback from experts for your equitable early-stage climate tech startup.

📅 Greentown Labs Energy Bar: Register to attend the Energy Bar at Greentown Labs on April 4th to meet and hear pitches from seven new startup companies as well as network with other industry professionals.

📅 UKIFDA EXPO: Register to attend the UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA) EXPO, ‘Working Together In Changing Times’, on April 10-11th for valuable learning and networking opportunities.

💡Airminers Launchpad: Apply to the 2024 Airminers Launchpad program by August 15th for an opportunity to spend 6 weeks developing a better understanding of carbon markets, efficient product development, and entrepreneurial finance for your early-stage carbon removal startup.


Backend Engineer; Revenue Operations Manager; Research Intern @Sightline Climate

Founder, Enteric Methane (Microbiome Scientist); Founder in Residence, Geothermal @Marble

Community Engagement Lead; Controller; VP Project Development @Planetary Technologies

Program Manager @Evergreen Climate Innovations

Summer Associate - Seed Stage Fund @VSC Ventures 

Head of Project Management; People/HR Intern @Remora Carbon

Coordinator Ops & Finance @United Nations Foundation

Associate - Industrial Decarbonization; Chief of Staff, Investor Ops @LowerCarbon Capital

Associate Program @Collaborative Fund

📩 Feel free to send us deals, announcements, or anything else at [email protected]. Have a great week ahead! 

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