The Inflation Reduction Act, passed last year, aims to accelerate the clean energy transition, and benefit American workers, communities, and manufacturers. It does so by providing large amounts of funding to the domestic clean energy sector, paired with certain requirements for materials and technologies to be produced in the U.S.. But accelerating climate action is a big task, to say nothing of fostering economic fairness and opportunity in the process.
How can the Biden administration move forward on all these different priorities simultaneously? How will its domestic climate agenda impact the U.S. economy? And what is the role of industrial policy in a world undergoing an energy transition?
This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Heather Boushey about the nuances of the Biden administration’s domestic climate policy and how it fits into their broader economic plans. They also discuss what it means to use industrial policy in furtherance of the energy transition.
Heather is currently a member of the Council of Economic Advisors for the Biden administration and chief economist to the Biden administration’s “Invest in America” cabinet. Heather works on domestic investment and implementation of infrastructure and clean energy laws. She previously co-founded the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, where she served as chief economist, president and CEO. She has also held the position of chief economist for the Center for American Progress.
States’ net zero and clean-energy goals are requiring the electricity sector to reduce emissions. Getting there means building new renewable energy projects and then connecting them to cities. But the grid is congested and needs more capacity for renewables and secure power supplies. New transmission lines could solve that problem.
Private transmission developers are looking to build high-voltage, direct-current lines across multiple states. Among them is Michael Skelly. A decade ago, his company Clean Line Energy attempted to do this. Now he’s back with another venture, Grid United.
More cross-country connections would boost reliability and help get more renewable energy online. However, addressing different regulatory environments, stakeholder interests, and landowners—an important part of the process—make interstate transmission hard to build. Even with these challenges, long distance projects have been making headway.
So, why is it important to build transmission across the country? Why are private developers taking on the task? And what’s causing these projects to gain momentum in recent months?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with Michael Skelly about the nation’s transmission needs and how the development landscape has changed over the years. They discuss why momentum is growing to build more multi-state lines.
Michael is the founder and CEO of Grid United. The company is currently involved in the North Plains Corridor project, which would be the first transmission connection between three regional U.S. electric energy markets in the Midwest, West, and Southwest.
With Russian oil and gas deliveries a fraction of what they were before the war in Ukraine, Norway has emerged as a key source of energy. The state-owned energy company, Equinor, has helped expand oil and gas production to fill the gap left by Russia.
Meanwhile, the urgency of acting on climate change continues to grow. In the wake of Russia’s invasion, European governments and others are strengthening their renewable energy targets in a bid to tackle climate change and enhance their energy security.
Equinor, with a strong renewables business, wants to be a leader in the energy transition.
What does the road ahead look like for a company like Equinor? And what does it tell us about where Europe is headed?
This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Anders Opedal about Equinor’s response to the war in Ukraine and the subsequent European energy crisis. They also discuss the company’s goal to reach net-zero by 2050.
Anders has been the president and CEO of Equinor since August 2020. The energy company is responsible for 70% of oil and gas production in Norway and was instrumental in Norway becoming Europe’s largest source of natural gas.
When President Jimmy Carter addressed the nation on April 18, 1977, the U.S. was in a crisis. The Arab oil embargo of 1973 sent energy prices soaring, and four years later, the impacts were still rippling through the economy.
In his speech, President Carter called the crisis “the moral equivalent of war” and called on Americans to conserve energy. He outlined a plan to tackle the crisis, focusing on conservation, efficiency, and domestic technologies to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
President Carter signed energy legislation that created the U.S. Department of Energy, provided incentives for renewables and coal, deregulated oil and natural gas prices, and banned new power plants from using gas or oil. Some of these policies have had a lasting effect. Others drew criticism and were ultimately repealed.
So what is President Carter’s energy policy legacy? And how do the lessons of the ’70s help address energy challenges today?
This week, host Bill Loveless talks with Jay Hakes about how the energy crisis shaped Jimmy Carter’s presidency and the policies his administration enacted.
Jay is a scholar and author on U.S. energy policy. From 2000-2013 he served as the director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. He also served in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, including a stint as director of the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Jay is the author of the book Energy Crises: Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Hard Choices in the 1970s.
Western countries are once again trying to reduce their reliance on Russian resources. This time it’s nuclear fuel.
Russia accounts for a substantial share of both conversion and enrichment services worldwide. These two processes turn uranium into usable fuel. The war in Ukraine has raised concerns about supply disruptions – like shipping and payment, and government actions that could ban fuel imports.
Still, the West has struggled to sever ties with Russia’s nuclear industry. Attempts at sanctions have faltered because of limited domestic capabilities to process uranium in the U.S and Europe. But as the war continues, the U.S., Europe and other nations are weighing options to make them less dependent on Russia's nuclear industry.
So what are the alternatives to Russian conversion and enrichment services? How will changing supply chains impact the stability of the global nuclear fuel market?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with Jonathan Hinze and Bill Freebairn.
Jonathan is the president of UxC LLC, a market research and analysis company covering the nuclear industry. He has nearly two decades of experience working in the U.S. and Japan on technology development, international markets, and government policies.
Bill is a senior managing editor for S&P Global Commodity Insights, where he writes about nuclear plant construction and operation, regulatory developments, financial issues and uranium markets. He leads the Nucleonics Week publication, which is a source of global news for the commercial nuclear power business.
Both guests talk with Bill about how Russia came to dominate global nuclear fuel production and why it’s so difficult for other countries to find alternative supplies.
A push for stronger climate policy should unite Americans and Europeans. It might be raising trade tensions instead.
The Inflation Reduction Act was a signal that America is a serious player in global climate negotiations. European countries, however, worried the bill would be a threat to their domestic manufacturers and took their complaints directly to the Biden Administration.
The EU responded by proposing a Green Deal Industrial Plan, which will match American subsidies to clean-energy manufacturers. European officials are also pursuing a green tariff in 2026, which would tax imports of carbon-intensive goods.
How will this transatlantic industrial arms race play out? And will it cause trade disputes between the U.S. and EU to escalate?
This week, host Bill Loveless talks with Noah Kaufman and Sagatom Saha.
Noah is an economist and research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy. He served as a senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisers under President Biden. He also served as the deputy associate director of energy and climate change at the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Obama.
Sagatom is an adjunct research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy and is an expert on the global energy transition and America’s competitiveness in clean energy technologies. He previously worked on cleantech competitiveness at the International Trade Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce, and served as an adviser to John Kerry, the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate.
Noah, Sagatom, and two of their colleagues, Chris Bataille and Gautum Jain, recently published an article in The Conversation about how conflicting carbon tariffs could undermine climate efforts. Bill talks with them about the details of the U.S. and EU's domestic industrial policies, and why tensions are flaring between them.
Federal funding for environmental justice is beginning to flow.
The Biden administration came into office in 2021 determined to make environmental justice a major priority. President Biden jump started his agenda with a slew of executive orders and the Justice40 Initiative, an effort to address historical underinvestment in disadvantaged communities most impacted by climate change, pollution, and environmental hazards.
Now, with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, Washington has the money and programs to act on environmental justice. Just last month, the Environmental Protection Agency announced $100 million in grants for state and community organizations to address local environmental and public health issues.
How does the federal government decide what projects qualify for environmental justice funding? And how can environmental activists ensure the money is well spent?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with Bob Bullard and Maria Lopez-Nunez.
Bob is a pioneering figure in environmental justice. He is the founding director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice and distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University. He serves on the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council.
Maria is the deputy director of organizing and advocacy of Ironbound Community Corporation. She was part of a team that fought for New Jersey to pass landmark environmental justice legislation. Maria also serves on the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council.
Together, they discuss the momentum building behind the environmental justice movement and how a new influx of money could shape energy infrastructure projects.
The U.S has used sanctions to influence geopolitics for decades, including measures targeting the oil and gas trade. Most recently, the U.S. and other G7 nations put a price cap on Russian oil as punishment for its invasion of Ukraine.
In the past, sanctions focused on trade embargos—like the grain embargo against the Soviet Union in 1980 and much broader restrictions against Cuba in 1960. Today, they focus on financial impacts. It’s an effective strategy for a country with significant global financial clout like the U.S., but unilateral sanctions can fuel tensions with allies and result in unintended consequences.
So how does the U.S. use financial pressure to address conflicts with other nations? What are the geopolitical and economic impacts of current sanctions? And how could they affect America’s standing in the global order?
Today on the show, Bill talks with Agathe Demarais, global forecasting director of the Economist Intelligence Unit and former economic advisor for the diplomatic corps of the French Treasury.
Agathe is the author of Backfire: How Sanctions Reshape the World Against U.S. Interests. The book explores how sanctions affect multinational companies, governments, and millions of people around the world. It’s part of the Center on Global Energy Policy’s book series published by the Columbia University Press.
Bill speaks with Agathe about what’s in the U.S sanctions arsenal and why they’ve become so popular in the past two decades. They also discuss the use of sanctions as a foreign policy tool in the past, present, and future.
Innovation in clean energy is accelerating. Batteries are getting denser and cheaper; wind turbines are getting bigger and better, and new solar projects often generate the cheapest electricity in the world.
Meanwhile, cutting-edge technologies like hydrogen electrolysis and direct-air carbon capture keep improving.
Most of the world’s major economies – the US, EU, India, Japan, and China – are racing to capture the economic benefits of this tech innovation through deployment incentives and support of domestic manufacturing.
But bottlenecks for critical minerals, supply chain constraints from Covid, and fierce competition among countries are all potential hurdles for this new industrial age.
Where is clean energy innovation advancing the fastest? And how will competition over manufacturing shake out in the decade ahead?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with Timur Gül.
Timur is head of the Energy Technology Policy Division at the International Energy Agency and leads the Energy Technology Perspectives report. The flagship series serves as the world’s first global guidebook for the clean technology industries of the future. The 2023 version was just released earlier this month.
Timur gives us an insider’s look into the report. He and Bill discuss how the key findings fit into the current geopolitical atmosphere of energy markets. They also talk about the major opportunities both globally and domestically for technology innovation.
After years of political pressure, Democrats in Congress narrowly passed an historic climate bill at the end of 2022. Now, it’s time to implement it.
The Departments of Energy, Interior, Treasury, IRS, EPA, and state governments are set to deploy hundreds of billions of dollars for clean energy technologies. That means hiring lots of people into government, structuring new programs, and distributing dollars efficiently.
But the politics aren't over. With a Republican-controlled House, other pressures are emerging. The House Energy Committee has plans to investigate President Biden’s energy and climate actions. The DOE’s Loan Programs Office is under attack for its spending, which was recently increased by the Inflation Reduction Act. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will only have four commissioners instead of five because of objections over re-nominating Chairman Richard Glick.
How will these conflicts play out? And how will the actual work of implementing the Inflation Reduction Act get done?
This week Jennifer Dlouhy and Stephen Mufson join host Bill Loveless to discuss what to expect out of Washington D.C. this year.
Jennifer has been an energy and environment reporter for Bloomberg in Washington, D.C. since 2015. She has more than fifteen years of experience covering energy policy.
Stephen covers the business of climate change for the Washington Post. In his 30 years at the Post, he’s covered economic policy, China, diplomacy, energy and the White House.
With seemingly low possibilities to pass major climate and energy legislation, Bill, Jennifer, and Stephen discuss what the Biden administration and Republicans could focus on this year. They also talk about the role federal agencies will play.
Clean electrons are vital to the net-zero economy. What about molecules?
There is a global race to expand hydrogen production for industry and heavy transportation – using wind, solar and biomass as a feedstock.
North American countries are taking hydrogen innovation seriously, passing policy to spur innovation. The United States’ Inflation Reduction Act and Canada’s Fall Economic Statement both offer production tax credits for clean hydrogen.
China is the global leader in production. But the country primarily uses coal as a feedstock. To make it clean, they’ll need to invest heavily in renewables and carbon capture technology.
With so much attention now on the industry, will it finally live up to the hype? How have recent developments in geopolitics and policy changed the outlook for the hydrogen industry? And what sectors will it help decarbonize?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with Daryl Wilson, the executive director of the Hydrogen Council.
Before joining the Hydrogen Council in 2020, Daryl served as CEO of Hydrogenics, a fuel cell and electrolysis technologies provider. During his time there, he oversaw the world’s largest new electrolysis project and the world’s first hydrogen powered public train service.
In 2017 the Hydrogen Council released its first report – an outlook through 2050. Bill talks to Daryl about whether that outlook has changed with the recent instability of global energy markets and the war in Ukraine. They also discuss how new policy developments could spur innovation.
Developing countries face the dual challenge of meeting rapidly growing energy demand while also scaling clean energy to avoid dramatic increases in carbon emissions. But financing all of those clean energy projects can be tough.
Emerging and developing economies need clean energy investments. Researchers estimate that they will need anywhere between $1-2 trillion per year for the next 30 years to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Most of that capital will need to come from the private sector. Multilateral development banks are working to fill the gap and catalyze private finance. But they still have to work through unique financial, policy, and technical challenges in emerging and developing economies.
So what are these barriers? And how do we overcome them to mobilize more capital for clean energy projects across the developing world?
This week, we’re re-running host Jason Bordoff’s interview with Mafalda Duarte. Mafalda is the CEO of Climate Investment Funds, one of the most ambitious efforts to finance clean energy projects in developing and middle-income countries.
In September, Jason and Mafalda discussed opportunities for financing the clean energy transition in emerging economies—including an ambitious new effort to phase out coal in parts of Africa and Asia.