In this #Solar100 question, Richard Matsui, founder and CEO of kWh Analytics, spoke with Nat Bullard, Chief Content Officer of BloombergNEF.
Nat Bullard is known for his research and reports in the clean energy industry. He spent nearly 15 years analyzing the market and let everyone from executives to the general public understand the development of the industry. For example, H.G. Wells is an outstanding thought leader with foresight. He is committed to promoting one of the most critical undertakings of our time: the development of clean energy.
In this Solar100, Nat discusses his experience in industry research, how solar technology has evolved over time, his predictions for hydrogen and battery storage, and his advice to young professionals.

RICHARD MATSUI: From the beginning, I know that you are studying art history and architecture at the undergraduate level, and then you go on to pursue a graduate degree in international studies. Can you explain that career to me and how did you come to BNEF?
NAT BULLARD:
Yes, I studied art history as a student. I chose that specialization because it is a small department and I can have a lot of face-to-face time with the professors. The specialty also focuses on what they call “formal analysis,” which is a structured approach to research. I realize that it sounds like an unusual way of thinking about business, but it’s actually very useful – a structured way of looking at things, thinking about them, and describing them. For management consultants, this would have been a good experience (some students in my department did just that). But I finally decided that I didnt want to be a business or management consultant, so I got a teaching job at the American International School in Cairo.
After returning from Cairo, I thought about studying international affairs or developing international relations, but I also realized that I wanted to focus my research on something measurable. In my case, this is ultimately the growth of the energy trade, and this is where I ended up in graduate school.
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When I graduated, I was looking for a job, but I did not have the traditional technical skills that people need at work. . Most people come from engineering, physics, or financial backgrounds. However, I am one of the few people with a background in development economics and climate science, which is very helpful in the rapidly changing part of the global energy sector, so I asked Ethan Zindler and Michael Liebreich to hire me. This is the so-called “New Energy Finance”, headquartered in London (I work in Washington).
My journey with our research company followed a family arc: I focused on solar energy, we were acquired, and we became part of the larger company Bloomberg. That was when I moved to San Francisco, and from there I continued to expand my research: more content management roles, overseeing some of our custom work, and then lived and worked in Asia for four years before returning to the United States
MATSUI: Really ? Where is your focus today?
BULLARD: I want to say that my role is divided into three equal parts. The first is our management committee. Our group has a small management committee, and the entire company has about 250 people. We support the business of the research group BloombergNEF. Another third is external, which includes work to provide relevant materials to senior clients, such as board briefings or Bloomberg events. Finally, the last third is my weekly writing.
I developed the last part about seven years ago. We are discussing a new project and my team asked me what I want to do. I said I want to write an email to people, but I want to send it to them on the weekend, I don’t want to send it to everyone; I want to send it to the boss of the person we usually work with. Therefore, we prepare a weekly briefing for the executives that I sent out on Saturday. At first I assigned about 175 people, and now it has grown to 160,000 people.
Nat Bullard of Solar100
Nat Bullard of Solar100 NAT BULLARD
It’s hard to keep the good information limited, so we opened it up by subscribing and finally drawing on Bloomberg’s input. About two years ago, Bloomberg started a new publishing vertical called Green, and the editors asked me if I would join this vertical. That’s where we’ve been ever since. Today this email still has my name on it, but it contains a broader range of topics we’ve written about, including transportation, weather, finance, and climate science.
Lessons learned and current trends in the field of solar energy
MATSUI: Over the years, you have written many articles on solar energy from different perspectives. What’s your take on how far we’ve come as an industry and the latest trends you see?
BULLARD: I’ve been trying to determine how far our journey is. I often try to consider the US power sector as a whole and how renewable energy fits into this story. In terms of renewable energy, especially wind and solar energy, we represent around 10% of total energy generation. Therefore, in a linear way, the remaining 90% of the capacity can be converted into wind or solar energy.
Now, we can find a limit on the amount of this capacity that is converted into renewable energy, because it is not necessarily 100%. Finding out how much capacity is converted to renewable energy depends in part on whether we have already laid the groundwork for a substantial decarbonization of the global economy through other means.

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