An Underground Network of Tunnels
Between running companies like Tesla, SpaceX, and X (formerly Twitter), Elon Musk is always making headlines.
But perhaps surprisingly, another of his ventures finds itself at the center of an increasingly important sector. That’s because Musk runs The Boring Company, a business that’s creating a network of tunnels. These tunnels will one day deliver electricity, high-speed internet, transportation services, and even packages from Amazon.
This company is already valued at nearly six billon dollars. And it’s attracted the attention and capital of venture-capital firms like Sequoia, Founders Fund, and Craft Ventures.
The only problem? Ordinary investors can’t invest in this company. So how about investing in a startup with a similar focus and technology that outperforms The Boring Company? That startup is called EarthGrid.
EarthGrid is a clean-energy infrastructure company. To enable our planet’s transition to renewable energy, it’s using plasma-powered robots to build a nationwide network of underground utility tunnels. Just like Musk and The Boring Company, these tunnels will deliver power, internet, packages, and much more.
Creating a network of underground tunnels is a huge undertaking. But EarthGrid’s Founder previously started and sold four startups in the clean-energy infrastructure sector. To increase his chances at success with this operation, he’s surrounded himself with advisors including a former Public Utilities Commissioner and the former Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
EarthGrid is creating this underground network in order to solve America’s infrastructure problem. Two years ago, the American Society of Civil Engineers issued a report card based on seventeen infrastructure categories including U.S. energy, roads, and wastewater. The U.S. earned a C- grade.
That’s why there’s an increasing push to take things like utilities and internet underground. And to do it, companies rely on tunnel-boring technology. Boring involves using large machines to create networks of underground tunnels. Like giant moles, these machines dig tube-like passages through the Earth.
A handful of companies are focused on tunnel boring. But most, including The Boring Company, rely on conventional tunnel-boring machines. These machines struggle with hard rock, and require regular maintenance to be most effective.
EarthGrid, in contrast, is developing a new way to tunnel, trench, and excavate using a plasma tunnel-boring machine.
Essentially, these machines use high-power plasma torches that can vaporize and break up rock, clay, and obstacles into small fragments. When compared to the competition, EarthGrid’s machines can create tunnels at one-tenth the cost and do so up to 100x faster.
To generate revenue, EarthGrid offers customer two options:
First, they can have EarthGrid build them a tunnel at a certain price per meter. Or second, customers can sign leases covering the commodities that flow through EarthGrid’s tunnels. EarthGrid will cover 100% of the development, construction, and operational costs. But it will collect a toll on everything that travels through its tunnels.
EarthGrid launched in 2016. In January 2023, the company completed a minimum viable product of its trenching system. And it’s since completed its first projects for customers. The company has been issued dozens of patents and was named a “Most Fundable Company” by Pepperdine University.
EarthGrid has raised more than twenty million dollars from venture-capital firms including Asymmetry Ventures, Interlock Capital, and Lateral Capital. And it projects to generate revenue of twenty-two million dollars in 2025.
Troy has extensive experience in clean-energy infrastructure. He’s founded and sold four different companies in this space, including two of the most successful renewable-energy companies in America. These companies have generated more than $10 billion in economic impact to date.
Early in his career, he Founded TeleTeam Consulting, a telecommunications company focused on fiber optics. TeleTeam became a cellular-service distributor for Nextel Wireless, and created fiber/cable runs underground for voice and data communications. TeleTeam was acquired.
From there, Troy founded Tradewind Energy, which became the No. 1 wind-power developer in the U.S. He raised millions of dollars in investor capital and grew the company to a value of more than one billion dollars. Tradewind was acquired by Enel Green Power (EGP), a deal that, in 2019, made EGP the largest wind and solar development on the globe.
More recently, Troy founded Krystal Energy corporation, a company selling renewable-energy products. He then founded KC Biofuels, a biodiesel refinery.
From there, he founded Pristine Sun, a developer of utility-scale and community solar-power plants. This company had more than 350 solar projects totaling one billion dollars in market value, including the largest floating-solar project award in North America.
Before starting EarthGrid, he was a principal with Industry Capital, a financial-services company. He assisted with solar- and clean-energy project development. He then founded Solarenewal, where he managed a portfolio of a dozen utility-scale solar-power plants. And as noted above, he’s also a co-founder at Petra.
In addition to his current role, Troy is an executive and advisor with Green Reach, an energy company. He’s also the author of a book called “The Clean Power Revolution.”
Troy earned his Bachelor’s degree from The University of Kansas.
Rachelle is a government and regulatory affairs expert with experience in key fields like telecommunications, renewable energy, public utilities, transportation, and broadband.
In the mid-90s, she was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). At the time, she worked as an attorney in San Francisco specializing in telecommunications law.
More recently, she was appointed by former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Public Utilities Commission. She became the point person for telecommunications, broadband, and internet policies and worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce and Department of Energy. While serving, she created a $100 million services fund to deliver broadband infrastructure to areas without adequate internet speeds.
Rachelle holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California Berkeley and a Law degree from the University of California Hastings.
Curt’s experience in the energy sector dates back to the 1990s, when he was nominated by then-President Bill Clinton to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In 2001, he was named Chairman of the FERC by President George W. Bush and became the youngest Chairman in the commission’s history.
Curt then joined the private sector, working for an energy company called Entergy. While there, he worked on gas-pipeline projects, gas-storage projects, electric-transmission generation and nuclear-energy projects.
In 2010, he left Entergy to start his own company, Lexicon Strategy Group, a legal business focused on energy-related projects. For the past eleven years, he’s been a partner at Brunini Grantham Grower & Hewes, a Mississippi-based law firm, focusing on environmental law and natural-gas transportation and storage.
Curt studied at MIT, earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Law degree from Mississippi College School of Law.
Scott has more than twenty-five years of experience in the renewable-energy and construction industries.
Most recently, he was Director of Implementation at Centauri Energy, a renewable-energy manufacturing business. Before that, he was Communications Manager with EDF Renewable Energy, a power-generation company.
Earlier, Scott was a program manager with Parsons Engineering, a technology company with ties to the security, defense, and infrastructure industries. Prior to that, he was a senior project manager with Alcoa Wireless, a communications company.
Before that, he was a regional manager with Delta Engineering Group, a civil-engineering company. And prior to that, he was President of Lane Enterprises, a self-owned construction business that specialized in infrastructure projects for the U.S. military.
Scott studied at Louisiana Christian University and Northwestern State University.
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