COVID, Climate Change, and the Equitable Energy Transition

COVID, Climate Change, and the Equitable Energy Transition

It’s no secret that we are in truly historic times. As the world battles against health and racial injustice, it also faces serious climate injustice.  

This month alone, record-setting temperatures struck California’s Death Valley and massive wildfires in northern parts of the state have ravaged communities and threatened local wildlife. On the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Laura – one of the fastest-moving hurricanes on record – made landfall last Thursday, leaving widespread power outages and disrupting the nation’s energy-producing region.  

There is no doubt that the severity of these extreme and tragic weather events is being exacerbated by manmade climate change.  

But there is hope.  

People, corporations, and entire governments are talking, mobilizing, and taking action, working to build and enact forward-thinking businesses and policies that ensure an equitable energy transition.  

Major fossil fuel divestments by global hedge funds including recent moves by Storebrand and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), together with recent market movement in the Dow due to “the long rise of the tech giants and the abrupt collapse of the oil market,” are telltale signs that the clean energy transition is in full swing.   

Bill Gross, our CEO and founder (who was recently named to Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business 2020 list), recently told Barron’s that, “Solving climate change with technology is the single biggest investment opportunity in history.” 

Echoing this sentiment, Bill Gates, a Heliogen investor and backer, recently wrote in Gates Notes:   

The pandemic has also reminded us how much innovation is needed to prevent a climate disaster. The best numbers I have seen estimate that the economic slowdown due to COVID-19 reduced global emissions by around 8 percent. That’s not nothing, but the austerity that got us there obviously isn’t sustainable. If we’re going to address climate change, we need to find new ways to do things that don’t release greenhouse gases, including how we move around.   

The time to act is now, and Heliogen is among the companies and organizations leading the charge in creating breakthrough technology to answer the global call for innovation in the energy sector. 

We are developing and deploying cost-effective solar thermal technologies that eliminate the use of fossil fuels in hard to decarbonize sectors. That same technology will also be capable of creating green fuels at scale such as hydrogen.

As we continue ramping operationally for Heliogen deployments, we are working with companies around the world that are intent on reducing their historic dependence on fossil fuels. 

And we’re not alone.  

Energy Vault, Heliogen’s sister company, is creating renewable energy storage products that are transforming the world’s approach to long duration energy storage. Its first utility-scale, commercial demonstration unit is under final commissioning now in Switzerland and will be connected to the Swiss national grid in order to demonstrate full charging and continuous power discharging capabilities. In June, the World Economic Forum selected Energy Vault as one of the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers of 2020. 

Point Load Power, another sister company, is leading the advancement in commercial and industrial rooftop solar with its groundbreaking PV Booster™ solar tracking technology that adds up to 70 percent more revenue per solar panel

And it’s not just companies. It’s also people. 

We’re incredibly inspired by the younger generations stepping into the fight for health, racial, and climate justice. The future belongs to those who create it, and Heliogen is proud to be working towards a just future alongside the Greta Thunbergs and Vanessa Nakates of the world. 

We welcome you to join us in our pursuit of a greener planet.

Heliogen is hiring! Come help us transform sunlight into fuels and empower sustainable civilization.

Industry: Decarbonize your industrial process with pure, abundant sunlight made by Heliogen’s award-winning solar concentration technology. Let us evaluate your facility to determine your potential cost savings and reduction in carbon emissions.

Heliogen CEO Bill Gross Named to Fast Company Most Creative People in Business List for 2020

Heliogen CEO Bill Gross Named to Fast Company Most Creative People in Business List for 2020

Gross recognized as a catalyst for ideas that leverage the power of technology and bridge between vision and execution of the clean energy transition

PASADENA, Calif., August 4, 2020Heliogen, the clean energy company that is transforming sunlight to create and replace fuels, today announced that the company’s CEO and founder Bill Gross was selected by Fast Company for inclusion on the publication’s 11th annual list of Most Creative People in Business. The list honors an influential and diverse group of leaders from a vast range of global industries including technology, design, entertainment, healthcare, media, government, nonprofit, sports, food, and more. Gross joins a list of women and men from such companies as Netflix, Google, and Patagonia, as well as institutions such as Johns Hopkins University.

This news follows Heliogen’s recognition by Fast Company as a 2020 World Changing Idea, winning in the Energy category. In addition to his role at Heliogen, Gross is the founder and chairman of Idealab, the first and longest-running technology incubator. He is also the co-founder of Energy Vault, the creator of products that combine conventional physics with advanced machine vision software to provide utility-scale storage of clean energy, which also won the Energy category in Fast Company’s 2019 list of World Changing Ideas.

Heliogen Demonstration Facility, Lancaster, CA | Artwork by Matt Chinworth, Fast Company

Heliogen’s technology delivers carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat from an on-site concentrated solar power array. The system uses advanced computer vision software for unprecedented accuracy, efficiency and commercial scalability. It also replaces greenhouse gas-generating fuels with clean, solar heat in a wide range of industrial processes for the first time. The technology tackles the “75% problem,” which refers to the 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions that are from non-electricity sources. It provides a path to decarbonization for industries, including cement, mining, steel, and petrochemicals, which require high temperatures in their operations.

In November 2019, Heliogen announced generating solar heat at a record-breaking 1,000 degrees Celsius at its facility in Lancaster, California. In addition to industrial process heat, Heliogen’s technology roadmap calls for temperatures up to 1,500 degrees Celsius. At that temperature, Heliogen can perform CO2-splitting and water-splitting to make 100 percent fossil-free fuels such as hydrogen.

“I’m honored to be included by Fast Company in a group with so many distinguished and creative people,” said Bill Gross, CEO and founder, Heliogen. “I’ve always believed that entrepreneurship and creativity can unlock human potential and change the world, and, to that end, I’ve spent my professional career creating companies ranging from cleantech and robotics to AI and e-commerce. At a time when we face so many challenges, I hope – and believe – that creatively using transformative technology to face them can truly make the world a better, more sustainable place.”

Gross’s Idealab recently celebrated its 24th anniversary. Since its inception, Idealab has been home to more than 150 companies, created more than 10,000 jobs, and had more than 45 successful IPOs and acquisitions. Gross is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Technology and of the ArtCenter College of Design.

“Each year, we recognize artists and conventionally creative people making their mark on business and corporate executives deploying creativity and innovation to address some of the biggest challenges facing businesses and society,” says Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of Fast Company. “Individually and collectively, the Most Creative People are an inspiration.

The Most Creative People in Business list recognizes individuals who used their innovative thinking to make an impact on the world beyond financial success. These engineers, executives, choreographers, activists, designers, journalists, and founders have created something new this year within their field that’s never been done before in their industries. Many achieved these societal problem-solving accomplishments in one of the most contentious and erratic times in history. The people selected have all accomplished something truly innovative within the past 12 months or so that is having a measurable effect within their industries and beyond. Together, they represent the future of business.

The complete Most Creative People in Business list can be viewed here and Bill and Heliogen’s entry here.

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About Heliogen

Heliogen is a clean energy company focused on eliminating the need for fossil fuels in all sectors of the economy. Heliogen’s mission is to create the world’s first technology that can commercially replace fossil fuels in industrial processes with carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat from the sun and to transform sunlight into fuels, including hydrogen, at scale. Heliogen was created at Idealab, the leading technology incubator.

In April 2020, Fast Company selected Heliogen as a recipient of a 2020 World Changing Ideas Award for its technology. The company won the Energy category.

For more information about Heliogen, please visit or @heliogeninc.

Media Contact:

Leo Traub, Antenna Group for Heliogen



Fast Company is the only media brand fully dedicated to the vital intersection of business, innovation, and design, engaging the most influential leaders, companies, and thinkers on the future of business. The editor-in-chief is Stephanie Mehta and the publisher is Amanda Smith. Headquartered in New York City, Fast Company is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, along with our sister publication, Inc., and can be found online at

Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business issue (September 2020) is available online now here and on newsstands beginning August 11, 2020. Join the Most Creative People conversation using #FCMostCreative.