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Columbia Energy Exchange

Columbia Energy Exchange features in-depth conversations with the world’s top energy and climate leaders from government, business, academia and civil society. The program explores today’s most pressing opportunities and challenges across energy sources, financial markets, geopolitics and climate change as well as their implications for both the U.S. and the world.
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Now displaying: February, 2022
Feb 22, 2022

Silicon Valley is giving greater attention to potential business opportunities in clean energy and climate. It’s also seeing enormous potential for growth when it comes to battery storage, geothermal, electric vehicles, solar, and more. 

But there are still questions about how the private sector can effectively fund these new technologies and ventures.

For a look into how to scale climate solutions with the speed that’s needed, host Jason Bordoff sits down with John Doerr, chairman of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. John is known for his early investments in clean technology and outside of the investment world, he’s a social entrepreneur with a track record for tackling climate. 

And now, he has laid out his plan in a new book: “Speed & Scale: An Action Plan For Solving Our Climate Crisis Now.”

In this conversation, John outlines his vision for transitioning the economy to clean energy and reflects on his legacy of green investments.

Feb 15, 2022
The conflict between Ukraine and Russia is intensifying and President Biden has warned that Putin could send troops into Ukraine any day.

NATO countries, including the US, are sending military equipment to Ukraine in preparation for the worst. But Germany is holding back. With gas prices at an all-time high, the future of Nord Stream 2 in limbo and the recent shutdown of nuclear plants: Can Europe be self-sufficient without Russian gas?  

In this week’s episode, Jason Bordoff is joined by Stephen Lacey, host of The Carbon Copy podcast, to look at how we got here. Turns out a lot of it has to do with the geopolitics of the energy transition. 

Together, they break down the tricky dynamics between Russia and the rest of Europe. Countries like Germany have invested vast amounts of money in renewables in the hopes of cutting dependence on imported fossil fuels, but how long will it take to get there? 

Check out the Foreign Affairs article on this topic that Jason co-authored with policy expert Meghan O’Sullivan.

Feb 8, 2022

In February 2021, Winter Storm Uri pushed the Texas power grid to its limit, leading to widespread blackouts across the state. At its peak, the storm left 4.5 million homes and businesses without power, causing an estimated 250 deaths and $90 billion in damages.

As extreme weather worsens, experts worry that the current regulatory system is not enough to address the vulnerabilities in Texas’s electric system, making future outages more common and destructive. 

This February, another devastating winter storm hit Texas. In this week's episode, host Bill Loveless sits down with Michael Webber, an energy resources professor at the University of Texas, Austin and an expert on Texas’ unique grid, to discuss what has (or hasn’t) changed since Winter Storm Uri.  

What has Texas taught us about building a reliable grid in the face of extreme weather?

Michael is also the chief technology officer of Energy Impact Partners, a $2 billion cleantech venture fund. 

His book, Power Trip: the Story of Energy, was published in 2019 with an award-winning six-part companion series that aired on PBS and other networks.

Feb 1, 2022

Elevated ocean temperatures are rising sea levels, inundating coastlines, sinking island nations, bleaching coral, and creating more dangerous hurricanes. But oceans also act as a buffer against global warming.

Climate scientists are increasingly turning their attention to oceans. For a deep dive into the science shaping our understanding of the Earth’s watery depths, host Bill Loveless spoke with Peter de Menocal, president and director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

Peter is a marine geologist and paleoclimatologist by training, and the founding director of Columbia University’s Center For Climate And Life – a research accelerator that supports and trains the next generation of Earth scientists.

They discussed how oceans are changing, the capacity of oceans to take up carbon and the need for policy-relevant research on the seas. They also talked about what led Peter to a career studying and exploring oceans.

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