Tim McGowen: We’re joined today by Mona Dajani, who is the Global Co-Head of Energy, Infrastructure, Mobility, Renewables and Water for global law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. She’s also an ambassador for the Clean Energy Education Empowerment Initiative run by the US Department of Energy. And of course, she’s also a Director of Magnus Energy Technologies (ASX:MNS). Mona, thanks for your time. Welcome to Sydney.
Mona Dajani: Thank you, Tim. I’m very excited to be here. Thank you.
Tim McGowen: Now, you’re on the record of saying oil, natural gas and nuclear energy have a key part to play in this clean energy transition. Can we talk to this to begin with?
Mona Dajani: With respect to oil and gas energy giants, they’re the biggest pivoters in the space, in terms of, yes, they have, obviously, been doing oil and gas for a very long time, but they know that they have to pivot to the clean energy space and not get rid of what their core business is, but they’re pivoting. They are the biggest instigators of clean energy technologies and hydrogen, and in many other clean energy technologies, wind and solar are just an energy storage. With respect to nuclear, same thing. But nuclear also has a lot to offer for the clean energy. It is clean energy. It’s about the carbon intensity, and it’s low carbon. I’m not against oil and gas. I’m not against nuclear. A lot of people in the clean energy space are, and I think that’s a wrong view to take.
Tim McGowen: And if we look at electric vehicles…
Mona Dajani: Yes.
Tim McGowen: ..we’re seeing some massive growth globally…
Mona Dajani: Yes.
Tim McGowen: ..as we execute on that clean energy transition. Can you give us your insights into what you’re actually seeing within the US?
Mona Dajani: Sure. Yeah, that’s a great question, Tim. The Biden administration passed this IRA, the Inflation Reduction Act, and it is a game-changer on a number of different levels. Probably the biggest change that it did was it recognised all these different technologies that are going to contribute to the clean energy economy. And then they implemented, among other things, tax incentives to really spur development of clean energy in the United States. That’s in solar, it’s in wind, it’s in storage, it’s in hydrogen, it’s in manufacturing in the US, anything for clean energy. And then, if you dive into the specifics for EV, part of what was… you know, that I wasn’t happy with… is that the United States is a global leader. And yet, with EVs, electric vehicles, we’re behind, we were behind. And now, for example, Norway has 82 per cent EV adoption rate. The United States is about at 8 per cent. With this new IRA bill, this law that was passed, we are going to see the floodgates open in the US with EVs. Now, it also is not just for EVs, but it’s also going to create, and this is a cornerstone for the Biden administration, some major jobs, big jobs. That’s what this is about, too. It’s about job creation, and it’s about saving our planet.
Tim McGowen: Now, of course, you’re a Director of Magnus.
Mona Dajani: Yes.
Tim McGowen: And Magnus has a partial ownership of iM3NY…
Mona Dajani: That’s correct.
Tim McGowen: ..which is a battery factory, which kind of has first mover advantage in the States.
Mona Dajani: Yes.
Tim McGowen: Given your expertise, can you give us some insights into what you think of the technology being used there?
Mona Dajani: They’re going to be first to have this technology — it’s proprietary — in the United States. It positions them to leverage that technology to enter into a lot of different exciting strategic partnerships that I’m very excited to hopefully announce soon. And they are given a lot of different opportunities once they are fully operational, which they will be. And it’s not just in the EV space, not just in the energy storage space, but also with offshore wind, with energy storage with high-risers. So, there’s many different… This is just examples, but there’s many different opportunities that I see.
Tim McGowen: What role are you going to play, moving forward, with Magnus?
Mona Dajani: I want to help Magnus really succeed. A lot of my clients are institutional investors and they’re looking for safe investments that… Of course they want to make money off of them. But at the same time, I am with the Department of Energy, I have access to politicians in DC, and so it helps to marry those together to help with deal-making. And I’ve been identifying opportunities, and not just with counterparties, but also with funding. There’s also, because I’m based in New York, a lot of different investors — most of them are institutional — that are very interested to either have equity or to actually be a partner in some of these projects that we’re doing. I love the people that I’m working with also at Magnus, too, and they really believe in it, and I believe in it, and it’s just so exciting.
Tim McGowen: Mona Dajani, thanks for your time.
Mona Dajani: Tim, thank you so much, I really enjoyed talking with you today, and I look forward to coming back, hopefully.
Tim McGowen: Love to see you again.
Mona Dajani: Okay, great. Thank you.
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