Entrepreneurs Are the Solution to the European Energy Crisis. It’s Time For Startups and Governments to Band Together.

Energy

By Karolina Attspodina

Here’s Why Entrepreneurs Will Be More Successful Than Governments In Fighting The Energy Crisis

The European energy markets are in permanent crisis mode.

At the beginning of 2022, short-term gas prices on the most prominent European exchange were already five times higher than the 2021 average. On top of that, the Ukraine conflict, global post-COVID demand surge and shifting investor sentiments are all converging to create skyrocketing energy costs. 

According to McKinsey, these rising costs are expected to last for at least another three years, which severely impacts production costs and capabilities for many industries.

People are calling on governments for assistance and solutions for the energy transition. However, the truth is that the only way forward is for governments and entrepreneurs to develop close working relationships. 

Entrepreneurs Can Go Where Governments Can’t

Governments are bound to their long lists of policies and procedures. While this is necessary, it also means they’re not as agile and flexible as entrepreneurs. In a best-case scenario, governing bodies still take anywhere from 12-24 months to draft, approve and implement new policies. In most cases, it takes much longer for everyone to agree on anything, further slowing the process. 

Startups are not bound by this democratic red tape, so they have certain freedoms when it comes to developing “out of the box” solutions to the energy crisis. 

However, the government is still responsible for handing out grants and other critical funding as well as granting the necessary licensing and permissions. This means that successful entrepreneurs must develop and maintain a good working relationship with lawmakers. 

The solution to the energy crisis can be put into action if governments and startups help each other out. 

Green Tech is the Best Solution, but the EU Can’t React Fast Enough. 

The global community has focused on renewable energy and green alternatives for years. Unfortunately, the development and implementation of these technologies are challenging on a national level. In fact, Europe is not expected to achieve its target of 32 percent renewable energy until 2030 if it stays on pace with its targets under the EU Renewable Energy Directive

This means that Europeans are left in a state of uncertainty. The EU has directed its members to be prepared with contingency plans for a prolonged gas crisis. Again, this still causes massive supply chain issues and does little to mitigate production disruptions and soaring energy costs. 

Here’s where entrepreneurs can step in. 

Startups Aren’t Waiting Around to Find Solutions, but the Government Disconnect is Killing Great Ideas.

We see news reports all the time about how tech startups are discovering and testing alternative technologies. The lack of bureaucratic restriction means entrepreneurs have the flexibility to develop, test and refine ideas through unconventional methods.

Enapter is a perfect example of this. The company offers electrolysers that use a new hardware-software hybrid solution to more quickly and easily provide green, hydrogen fuel for factories as an alternative to fossil fuel. The company created, tested and implemented its product before the government even moved past the “discussion” phase of making renewable hydrogen fuel available to the public. This saved countless businesses from the struggles of production delays and skyrocketing costs.

WeDoSolar offers everyone sustainable solar energy production capabilities, rather than just building owners and wealthy people who can afford complex industrial field solar solutions. With this lightweight balcony solar solution, people can reduce annual carbon emissions by 600kg and lower their energy costs by as much as 25 percent. 

While companies like Enapter and WeDoSolar are fighting for this transition to succeed, many startups are still struggling with  funding. The sad truth is that the energy sector is often an insurmountable hurdle for many other startups. 

Yes, governments provide grants and subsidies, but this money comes with substantial oversight and restrictions attached, which can slow development too much. This is why most startups wait years before seeking state assistance. By that time, many startups have folded before reaching a point where government funding could help. 

Cooperation is the Key to Unlocking a Sustainable Future

The other problem created by this disconnect between entrepreneurs and the government is a lack of knowledge. Even when entrepreneurs do receive government support, they don’t always know how to effectively maintain a working relationship with local governing bodies. 

There’s currently no practical mentorship, engagement or knowledge sharing, despite the fact that both sides would benefit. 

This is why it’s essential to establish a coalition between governments and entrepreneurs. Recognizing that businesses and governments have a common goal can help foster cooperation and streamline the tedious bureaucracy that can often kill off promising B2B and B2C startups before they get on their feet.

Creating this foundation for cooperation is a simple solution that will facilitate the rapid discovery and implementation of affordable, accessible solutions to the European energy transition. I believe it will also strengthen Europe’s energy independence in the long term, giving the economy a more stable footing to weather future problems.

About the Author

Karolina AttspodinaKarolina Attspodina is a Ukrainian-born serial entrepreneur with over 12 years of experience in the Tech industry. She has 10 years of experience in business management and technology sales for SaaS and hardware companies. She was also the co-founder of the TargetSummit conference, which was focused on mobile app technology and bringing desktop services to mobile first experience.

Karolina has worked for a number of global SaaS companies that lead the way in innovation technologies and has been mentoring a number of startups around the globe. In September 2021, together with Qian Qin, a serial entrepreneur and ex-Managing Director of BSH Digital Ventures GmbH, she founded a greentech startup WeDoSolar. Their smart  balcony solar solution enables the users to lower their dependence on grid energy while also reducing CO2 footprint by up to 600kg (that’s 1000m2 of forest ) and saving up to 25% of annual electricity costs.

Karolina is a passionate supporter of sustainable green innovations that help fight climate change and pollution.

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