On this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Francesco Starace, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Enel. Enel is a multinational manufacturer and distributor of electricity and gas, and one of Europe’s leading energy companies, serving more than 73 million end users in 35 countries across 5 continents.
Broadcasting from the 9th Annual International Renewable Energy Agency Assembly in Abu Dhabi, Jason and Francesco discussed Enel’s focus on innovation in renewable energy. Enel has made significant investments in technology and digitalization to respond to a rapidly changing energy market, creating the foundation for intelligent grids, smart cities, and electric transportation.
Jason and Francesco discussed the role of natural gas in the energy mix, and changes brought by the global clean energy transition - from the impact of electrification on energy demand and carbon emissions to workforce and labor impacts. Francesco also shared his thoughts on the outlook for renewables, innovation in the energy sector and the future of nuclear.
2019 is already shaping up as a tumultuous one in Washington, D.C., with divided government, a government shutdown and 2020 presidential campaigns already taking shape. And when it comes to energy and climate policy, there’s a lot of uncertainty, too, including what to make of calls for a Green New Deal.
In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with two of the most prominent energy and climate reporters in Washington: Steve Mufson of The Washington Post and Amy Harder of Axios.
Steve has worked at The Post since 1989, covering the White House, China, economic policy and diplomacy, as well as energy. Earlier, he spent six years at the Wall Street Journal in New York, London and Johannesburg. Amy has been with Axios for two years, with her column, Harder Line, a regular feature of the news service. Previously, she worked for the Wall Street Journal and the National Journal. Amy is also the Inaugural Journalism Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute.
Bill, Steve and Amy discussed what lies in store for energy and climate policy and regulation in Washington in 2019, with Democrats now in control of the House of Representatives and making climate change a priority for action this year. They also delved into the emergence of the Green New Deal among Democrats and how that concept may complement mainstream policy objectives of the party or conflict with them.
Among other topics, they explore legislation aimed at OPEC’s role in oil markets and bills meant to promote carbon-capture and nuclear technologies, as well as whether lawmakers or the Trump administration will take steps to temper the impact on fuel prices of new shipping emissions regulations in 2020.
There’s talk of regulation, too, and what tops the agendas at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Finally, Bill takes a few moments to talk about the Columbia Energy Journalism Initiative, a program at the Center on Global Energy Policy that helps energy journalists deepen their understanding of complex issues like markets, policy, science and geopolitics. And while at it, he asks Steve and Amy for their advice for budding energy journalists.
Concerns over the reliability and resilience of the U.S. electric grid have heightened over the past year or so, as policymakers, regulators and operators look closer at what it takes to assure adequate supplies of power at the least cost. And the issue is likely to remain one of the top energy priorities in Washington and state capitals in 2019.
On this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Bill Loveless sits down with Andy Ott, the president and CEO of PJM Interconnection, the largest power grid in North America. PJM coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest as well as in the District of Columbia. Andy joined PJM 21 years ago and has been responsible for the design and implementation of PJM wholesale power markets. He became CEO in 2015.
Bill and Andy got together in Washington, D.C. to talk about PJM, which is attracting close attention, given its size. Their discussion took place just after PJM released a study examining fuel security for the system in coming years and amid efforts in Washington, D.C. and some states to keep old nuclear and coal plants from shutting down.
They talked about that study, which included both good news and some warnings, as well as the challenges of accommodating new policies and regulations without disrupting the economic efficiency of the power market. They also looked at wholesale power markets in general and how they have weathered the passage of time since the U.S. government authorized their establishment some 20 years ago. After all, more than half the country is served by such markets. Can they still meet their original objectives of keeping the cost of electricity down while at the same time promoting innovation?
The challenges facing nuclear energy in the United States are mounting. Just a decade ago there were predictions that nuclear power was poised for a renaissance, but the sector is struggling to stave off decline. Plants are closing and there are no plans for any large-scale new projects.
In this episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Maria Korsnick, the president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry’s trade association in Washington, D.C. A nuclear engineer by training, Maria joined NEI two years ago from Exelon Corp., where she was senior vice president for Northeast Operations, responsible for nuclear plants in Maryland and New York. Before that, she was the chief nuclear officer and acting CEO at Constellation Energy Nuclear Group.
Maria and Bill talked about the early retirements of nuclear power plants and the efforts by states and the Trump administration to prevent more reactors from going off-line. They also explored the extent to which nuclear power’s reputation for carbon-free emissions could become a bigger rallying cry for the industry as the outlook for addressing climate change darkens. The discussion also touched upon whether Republicans and Democrats in Congress might put aside partisan differences in 2019 to agree on steps to promote nuclear power, including the development of small modular reactors, given the results of the midterm elections.