Discussions of the pros and cons of clean energy often fall into tired, well-worn ruts. So it is incredible to see a technology that promises to entirely reshape our understanding of what a clean energy future might look like. Quaise Energy is that technology, and the Quaise website does an excellent job of presenting that future in spare, clean prose.
First, consider the typical shopworn arguments against clean energy: “Clean energy isn’t so clean! Think of the rare metals that need to be mined in Congo, the batteries that will end up in a landfill, the millions of acres of solar panels that must be built, and the new transmission lines you’ll need to get the energy to customers. Fossil fuels also produce baseload power—no need for fancy technology to balance intermittencies. And what’s going to happen to all the workers in industries that extract, process, transfer, and burn fossil fuels?”
All of this is true, by the way. And the pro-clean energy crowd is just as accurate when they describe the stupendous dead-end that fossil fuels represent, and the promise and progress of clean energy.
So here comes Quaise with an intriguing pitch. There’s a sun beneath our feet, and with Quaise’s technology we can tap into it anywhere using existing drilling companies to power existing power plants and run the energy through existing power lines. Oh, and it doesn’t use up land, require rare metals, emit carbon, or ruin your oceanside view. And that’s why we can transition the world to renewables at the speed the climate demands.
“The scale of the energy transition challenge is so enormous that it is measured in terawatts, not megawatts nor gigawatts,” says Carlos Araque, co-founder and CEO of Quaise. “Deep geothermal is not another option. It is a necessity. It is the path forward.”
The website does a very good job of balancing wide-eyed technofuturist enthusiasm with nerdy factualism. The drawings that look like they come from patent applications underscore this. It prioritizes the benefits of its technology well. The site also includes some clever phrases, such as the double meaning in the line that “deep geothermal energy is at the core of an energy-independent world.”
We have some quibbles with the site. Where is the Call to Action? Websites should always aim to get visitors to do something, even if it’s just to sign up for a newsletter. And is their energy “equitable” in a way that other clean energy isn’t? The world’s current electric grid is pretty inequitable, and while changing the way that grid is powered is obviously amazing, that doesn’t inherently eliminate inequity more effectively than, say, expanding solar power in the developing world. There are better ways to phrase the revolutionary effects of their technology.
Also, energy costs are a moving target, but emphasizing the potential of at least cost parity with other energy forms would be important. Estimating the true cost of energy is difficult, particularly when the playing field is so tilted towards incumbents who conveniently ignore externalities, and new technology is developing quickly—but that’s the point of a pitch, right? Sell the vision of what the world will look like when Quaise is the world’s biggest energy company.
This is a website that will certainly be updated as their technology matures and more resources are spent on marketing. But it is a very strong early-stage site, easily achieving what it needs to achieve today.
In a world where the shift to renewable energy has run into hardened political and rhetorical battle lines, Quaise burns bright—and clean!—as a new approach.