I wanted to share with you my speech from our launch of Project Better Place in Denmark. I will have another post on why and how we got to choose Denmark as the second country, but in the mean time - this should be fairly self explanatory. You can actually see the launch itself as we archived the webcast on the ProjectBetterPlace.com site. The launch was part of the closing event for the Copenhagen Climate council and included the deputy prime minister of Denmark, DONG's CEO Anders Eldrup, and others.
Mike Granoff and I wrote different parts of this speech. Mike figured out my "voice" better than I have myself. Joe Paluska put it together an hour before the event...
"How do you run all cars in Denmark without gasoline? How do you build a virtual oil field big enough to drive an entire country?
Some people say about me that I dream big. well, as much as I would like to be called a dreamer, I will share with you today a very pragmatic, down to earth solution to one of our biggest challenges in the global fight to stop climate change - moving our transportation systems to zero emissions.
Cars are a way of living - we are emotional about them, we don’t like to share them, and we like them to go fast and far, even though these days we can’t go too fast and can’t afford to go too far. Yet, while we would not let our kids burn fuel in their bedrooms, we collectively burn up their living room - our planet. The price of driving cars in our cities comes in the form of smog leading to deaths and respiratory problems. The price of extracting fossil fuels from deep in our planet and burning up the carbon into the atmosphere is a change to the planet’s delicate atmosphere which regulates life on our planet. We may be able to afford 2 Euro per liter of gasoline, but we cannot afford to kill people or lose our only planet.
Project Better Place declared only 2 months ago in Israel a groundbreaking new framework for electric transportation at country scale. In a simple way of describing our model, we are a new mobile company. Applying the same model as mobile phones to electric vehicles, we set a ubiquitous infrastructure that makes electric vehicles convenient, affordable, having long-range and appealing to consumers. We connect clean generation sources, through the grid, with car batteries - providing drivers with a better alternative to burning gasoline. Zero emission vehicles all the way from generation to drive at a scale that can move an entire country is the creation of a virtual oil field - one that will never run dry, and will not kill us in the process. We always said that this solution framework is not confined to Israel alone, and Denmark was a perfect country to bring .
Denmark has always led the way in environmental policy, demonstrating the commitment of the people to lead the world in well designed solutions. The current policy set by the Danish government demonstrates a true commitment to pushing the country away from gasoline consumption. I want to thank the Danish government for appealing to Project Better Place, through the ongoing work of Invest in Denmark and multiple ministries across government. Eliminating car emissions alone will reduce carbon emissions at the level of our Kyoto commitments. Yet, on the eve of COP15, it might be time for leadership on policy and solutions that can answer the big questions of our time - stop using percentages reduction in 2050 and start using the number zero more often - such as how can we run an entire country with zero car emissions; How do generate all of our electricity needs while having zero carbon footprint.
Denmark is also a world leader in clean electricity generation. Wind, which accounts for 20% of installed capacity, is strong at night - a time when most cars are parked and charging. Utilizing wind capacity for electric vehicles can drive every car without any emissions not only in Denmark but across all of Scandinavia. Leveraging the batteries as a distributed storage device for electricity can make wind and other intermittent electricity sources a convenient source of energy for other needs as well.
We have found a great partner here in Denmark to work with us on launching Better Place Denmark - in DONG energy. Throughout the last months we have shared our framework and exchanged information with DONG’s teams in a detailed due diligence process. I am glad to share with you that Anders and I signed a memorandum of understanding today which will lead to DONG becoming a founding partner in Better Place Denmark. I believe that DONG is demonstrating true leadership in what will become the model for the next generation energy company across Europe. Anders, I am looking forward to a great partnership together.
Over the next 100 days we will finalize our agreements and provide details for the way Better Place Denmark will be formed and managed. The local company will enjoy the benefits of our global research and development program, and connect Danish companies into our supply chain network around the world. Denmark will enjoy the cars our partner Renault - Nissan is developing - a great electric car which in the words of Carlos Ghosn -”will be fun to drive”. We will bring capital from our investment partners into Denmark and generate jobs in the country. We will set up a Danish company that will be part of a bigger idea - Doing the right thing for the environment can be the best thing for business.
In closing, I Want to thank Erik for his great vision and leadership with the climate council. He was instrumental in getting all parties together from my first meeting here in Copenhagen 6 months ago. I want to thank Anders and his team for trusting Better Place in setting this partnership. and I want to thank the Danish Government and invest in Denmark for the support we got so far.
Thank you all."