Check out The Valley Girl Show a new take on the business interview. In this video we interview John Woolard from BrightSource.
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BrightSource Interview - Part 2
Link: Hi. I’m Link the valley girl, I live in Silicon Valley, the heart of innovative technology. I know where all these awesome companies are but how the heck did they get here? That is what I am here to find out, I am Link the valley girl, what do you do?
Welcome back to the valley girl. We are here with John Woolard, CEO of BrightSource Energy. So okay tell me about SDEC and Ivanpah? I may be pronouncing that completely wrong.
John Woolard: BrightSource is built in Israel, a very large power tower called the Solar Energy Development Center.
John Woolard: Right there, we produce the highest quality of steam, highest temperature, and highest pressure steam anywhere in the world.
John Woolard: What is important about that is the hotter your steam, the cheaper you can produce green power. So, it is all about temperature— really hot stuff.
Link: Heat equals cheap, kind of?
John Woolard: Yeah.
John Woolard: The hottest is the cheapest. So, the hottest steam and the most efficient conversion of that steam to electricity really provide the least expensive green or clean or solar energy.
John Woolard: And so now we have taken that, we have demonstrated it and now we are getting ready to build some plans in California.
Link: So, you basically look for places that are very, very hot. Do they have to be a desert or some sort so probably you will have lots of land?
John Woolard: Yeah. What you want is you want a good hot sun and you want flat land that is already disrupted or benign or you can build stuff on.
Link: I bet people are like walking through the desert and you know people all came over and their like it is an oasis.
John Woolard: It is. When you get you up to them, two things about it; one is that it looks sort of like a lake.
John Woolard: It got mirrors out there.
Link: Oh, right.
John Woolard: And it is— looking even from up high when you are flying over, it looks a—
John Woolard: Kind of a like in the air.
Link: You could see the plane probably?
John Woolard: Yeah. You know what you can see yourself out of there. And another— there is a group in Spain. He has built a tower like ours. It has a glow at the top. And they find people come in to the tower and putting down their prayer mats and praying near the tower. There literally people who will go praying there because it has got this really heavenly sort of interesting glow to it.
Link: And so what operates them?
John Woolard: So, we have all these mirrors out there.
John Woolard: All they do is they just move a little bit every ten seconds or so to track the sun.
Link: So it is automatically kind of—
John Woolard: Automatically.
Link: Built in.
John Woolard: Each mirror has its own—
Link: Sun detector.
John Woolard: Way of tracking the sun, in a way yeah.
So okay, the sun is obviously a very, very important part of this whole operation. So, do you guys ever do any sort of like sun dances, like a rain dance? You know to, you just— do you pray to your sun?
John Woolard: Everybody in the company does things their own way. So there are probably some people that you know pray to the sun. There are some sun dancers and then there are some people who just try get the plants built, the Engineering guys. So there is a lot of— it is the full spectrum.
Link: Yeah. Do you want to do the sun dance?
John Woolard: Oh no. I am not really the best sun dancer.
Link: We could sing a sun song like “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine” you know that song?
John Woolard: That is good, yeah!
Link: You want to sing it with me?
John Woolard: No. I am not going to be very good at that.
Link: So, what is your kind of like ten year plan for BrightSource Energy?
John Woolard: So, ten years is a long time for an entrepreneur to think about. So, we try to think— but we actually do think forward all the way up to about 2015, 2016 and we have – in Southern California. There;s some fairly large utilities have agreed to buy our first 15 to 16 power plants.
We then are going to start looking out at other countries, other areas in the world. Australia is a pretty hot place. It has some good sun and India is also interesting and possible China as well.
Link: I did not know there was like a desert in China?
John Woolard: There is.
Link: There is?
John Woolard: They have got everything in China. Near the Tibetan plateau, there is a world class desert and sun. That is a great place to build solar power plants.
Link: I have a little activity for you. It is called the Fab cup, short for fabulous. The Fab cup is full of fabulous terms that I would like you to just define as fast as you possibly can. And if you defined all of the terms in one minute, then you get a present.
John Woolard: All right.
Link: Are you ready?
John Woolard: I am ready.
Link: Okay, go!
John Woolard: All right, solar energy, energy that comes from the sun turns into electricity. Mirrors, the way what bright source uses to create steam. Heliostat, that’s a name for a mirror. Kayak, what I use to paddle when I had a life. Silicon Energy, that was the company that I started in the late 90’s. It helps people use less energy and use it more efficiently. Sunshine, it comes from the sun, out of the sky, we turn it into electricity. Global warming, is a big problem where it is heating up. Obama, god—I cannot remember, oh president of the United States. And Ivanpaw, I think this is the last one. This is where we are building our solar energy with plants.
Link: Awesome! Hold on.
For that, we have a bright source to give you. We have a flashlight that you power it like this.
John Woolard: Oh, cool.
Link: We are trying to spread green as well as the pink, you know?
John Woolard: Yeah.
Link: That will be a business for you.
John Woolard: That is cool. Thank you, all right.
Link: Well John Woolard, thank you—
John Woolard: Excellent.
Link: So, so much for coming on The Valley Girl Show. I really appreciated and this was a lot of fun.
John Woolard: I am sure. It was my pleasure.
Link: I am Link the valley girl.
John Woolard: And I am like, John Woolard.
Link: Thanks for watching. We will see you next time.