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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: Category: News and Politics
Oct 14, 2019

China is the world leader in emissions of heat-trapping gases, and the Chinese government is taking many steps to reduce emissions, including policies that have made China the world's leader in renewable energy and electric vehicles. But other Chinese policies are working in the opposite direction, including support for coal-fired power plants. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by David Sandalow, the inaugural fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy and the author of the 2019 edition of the Center’s Guide to Chinese Climate Policy, a book that helps readers navigate the complexities of China’s response to climate change.

David is the founder and director of the Center’s U.S.- China program and co-director of the Energy and Environment Concentration at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. He’s also been a distinguished visiting professor in the Schwarzman Scholars Program at Tsinghua University.

Before that, he held several senior positions at the White House and the U.S. Departments of State and Energy.

David and Bill got together to talk about the guide, the original version of which was published in 2018. Among the topics they discussed were major commitments that China has made in response to climate change and how the nation is following through on them. They also talked about some contradictory trends in China, such as its simultaneous construction of coal and renewable energy power plants.

And at a time when putting a price on carbon is a hot topic in the U.S. and other countries, David explains what China is doing about it.

Oct 7, 2019

Iraq is one of the world’s largest energy producers, but its people and its economy are hampered by pressures of electricity shortfalls and rising demand. The reliability of electricity services has long been an issue for the country, with violent protests breaking out last summer in the south due to blackouts from high demand. The disruption cost the old electricity minister his job.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Iraq’s new Minister of Electricity, Luay al-Khatteeb, the man responsible for addressing these problems and who, it has been said, has perhaps the toughest job in the Iraqi government, considering the history of challenges in the electricity sector. 

Luay al-Khatteeb was a former non-resident fellow at CGEP as well as the Founder and Director of the Iraq Energy Institute. He’s had a vast career in business and in public policy, with positions at various international oil companies, as well as commercial banks and management consulting firms. He’s been a contributor to the Brookings Institution, Chatham House, the Kennedy School at Harvard, and other organizations. 

Today, questions remain about how to manage power demand and supply, and whether new plans to rehabilitate transmission lines and build up resilience of the grid will pan out in light of security challenges, financing challenges, and international pressures. Jason sat down with Luay in Abu Dhabi at the World Energy Congress to discuss these challenges and much more.

Sep 30, 2019

Today’s unprecedented rate of change leaves many questions about the benefits and risks of new technologies, and how we can best leverage innovation to address our biggest challenges.     

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Lord John Browne to discuss his latest book, Make, Think, Imagine: Engineering the Future of Civilization -- which serves up an optimistic look at the benefits engineering, technology, and innovation can bring in solving some of humanity’s greatest challenges, such as disease, climate change, and artificial intelligence.  

Anyone who studies or works in the energy industry knows Lord John Browne. He has been one of the legendary and visionary leaders in the sector for decades. He’s the former Chief Executive of BP, with a career spanning more than 40 years in the company. He rose from apprentice to heading the British multinational oil and gas company, where he notably engineered a merger with rival Amoco, and was a strong proponent of renewables, famously rebranding the BP initials to “Beyond Petroleum.” 

Jason and Lord Browne also discussed his latest endeavor, a merger of Dea and Wintershall to create one of the world’s largest oil and gas independents and other developments in global energy markets and in policy.  

Sep 23, 2019

We know climate change is real. It’s caused by human activity, and primarily by emissions from energy use. But there is a lot of uncertainty and a lot of misunderstanding about just how bad its effects will be. An op-ed last month by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio suggested South Florida should become more resilient and just adapt. On the other hand, maps of the world at 2100 show coastal cities submerged, not to mention a range of other calamities that scientists say may be caused by climate change. Scientists who study climate change often have trouble communicating the risks in ways the public can broadly understand. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by journalist David Wallace-Wells, a fellow at the New America Foundation and a columnist and deputy editor of New York Magazine. He is also the author of a new book, The Uninhabitable Earth, which depicts in meticulous and terrifying detail a future that may await should we continue to add greenhouse gases into the atmosphere unabated. 

As the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit gathers in New York City today, kicking off Climate Week, Jason and David’s conversation about adequately communicating the worst effects of climate change, and what motivates action -- as well as what kind of action is needed to address the crisis -- is timely.   

Sep 16, 2019

Climate change is an urgent challenge. We are nowhere on track to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement in countries around the world. Action depends not just on reducing emissions here at home, but meeting rapid economic growth around the world – China, India, Southeast Asia – while decarbonizing the global energy mix far more quickly than we are today. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Jonathan Pershing. Jonathan has been a key architect of the world’s landmark climate change deals, including securing the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. He served as Special Envoy for Climate Change at the U.S. State Department, was lead U.S. negotiator to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and was a senior advisor to the Secretary of Energy, Secretary of State, and the White House. He’s also worked at leading organizations like the World Resources Institute and the International Energy Agency. 

Jonathan holds a PhD in geology and geophysics; and is now doing innovative work putting the resources of the Hewlett Foundation to work addressing our global environmental and climate challenges. 

Jonathan and Jason sat down to discuss the role of government policy to send market signals, various approaches for addressing the variability of renewables, the practical impact of the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, and much more.

Sep 9, 2019

U.S. waters off the Atlantic coast are shaping up as a bonanza for offshore wind power, with the federal government having approved 15 tracks of water for development and investment flowing in from overseas. But some say projects may be facing a crosswind as the U.S. government takes a closer look at their impact.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Jeff Grybowski, until recently the co-CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind and previously the CEO of Deepwater Wind, the Rhode Island-based company that completed the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., a five-turbine project off Block Island in 2016. Jeff joined Ørsted when the Danish company, a global leader in offshore wind energy, bought Deepwater Wind last year.

Jeff shepherded the Block Island project to completion, drawing on his experience not only in business and law but also as a former state policymaker in Rhode Island. Alex Kuffner, a reporter for the Providence Journal, wrote that Jeff, “by proving that an offshore wind farm could be built in the United States, is arguably more responsible than anyone for ushering in the current rush of development.”

Likewise, Thomas Brostrom, the CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind, told the Journal that Jeff is “one of the pioneers of the offshore wind industry in the U.S.”

Bill and Jeff last met two years ago, when the Block Island turbines had been spinning energy for less than a year. Here, they get together again at Jeff's North Kingston, R.I., home to catch up on this emerging industry, the proliferation of projects and the outlook its expansion in the U.S. 

They also discuss a controversial decision by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to take more time to examine the impact of a project called Vineyard Wind, an 84-turbine project planned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables that would be the first large-scale wind farm in the U.S. That government inquiry has implications not only for Vineyard Wind but also projects planned by Ørsted and other developers off the Atlantic coast.

They touch, too, on the significance of state policies for offshore wind energy as well as federal policies, like a soon-to-expire investment tax credit.

Aug 26, 2019

As we prepare for a busy fall and exciting new episodes, the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast will be on hiatus for the next two weeks. Now is a great time to listen or re-listen to some of our favorite episodes, which we have pulled together on a special #CEEFavorites playlist. Take a listen to Rhiana Gunn-Wright, policy director for New Consensus and one of the architects of the Green New Deal, talk to host Jason Bordoff about the thinking behind the ambitious plan; or Senator Lisa Murkowski talk to host Bill Loveless about the role of regulation in energy development; or Maarten Wetselaar, the Integrated Gas & New Energies Director and Member of the Executive Committee at Royal Dutch Shell, talk to host Jason Bordoff about the outlook for global gas demand.

#CEEFavorites playlist

We encourage you to explore all of our Columbia Energy Exchange episodes and subscribe here today!

Aug 19, 2019

How we communicate about climate change and climate science has been a challenge and a growing concern for decades. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by one of the pioneers of climate-change reporting, Andy Revkin. Andy is an award-winning science and environmental journalist and one of the most recognized and experienced environmental journalists in the United States. He was one of the first to tackle the issue of climate change in journalism with reporting dating back three decades. 

Andy wrote for the New York Times for more than two decades, was a Strategic Advisor for Science and Journalism at the National Geographic Society, and was a senior reporter for ProPublica. He recently joined Columbia University to launch and head a new initiative on communication and sustainability at the Earth Institute. 

Jason and Andy sat down to discuss how Andy became a climate-change reporter, the current state of climate reporting, what he hopes to achieve with his new initiative at the Earth Institute, and much more.

Aug 12, 2019

For more than three decades, the word Chernobyl has become synonymous with catastrophic failure and with disaster. Its legacy weighed on popular perceptions of nuclear power for years, and it came to symbolize Soviet decline. Chernobyl is now attracting renewed attention these days, with a popular HBO miniseries and a tremendous new book, Midnight in Chernobyl, written by Adam Higginbotham.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Adam Higginbotham to discuss his new book, a thrilling, chilling, and gripping account of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The book holds lessons today, too, as we contemplate the role of nuclear power in trying to achieve a decarbonized world to address the threat of climate change. 

Adam has written extensively on a variety of topics for The New YorkerNew York Times Magazine, Wired, GQ, and many more publications. He’s also the former U.S. correspondent for The Sunday Telegraph.

Jason and Adam sat down to discuss Midnight in Chernobyl, the causes and consequences of the Chernobyl disaster, the future of nuclear power, and much more.

Aug 5, 2019

The introduction of a flurry of bills calling for a carbon tax in the U.S. Congress is breathing some new life into a topic that has long been popular among economists but shunned by politicians.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Noah Kaufman, a Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy and economist specializing in carbon pricing, about this burst of activity on Capitol Hill and its implications for policymaking.

Before joining CGEP in 2018, Noah was a Deputy Associate Director of Energy and Climate Change at the White House Council on Environmental Quality during the Obama administration. He also worked at the World Resources Institute, where he led projects on carbon pricing, the economic impacts of climate policies and long-term decarbonization strategies.

Previously, he was a senior consultant in the environment practice at NERA Economic Consulting.

Noah and Bill discuss elements of the carbon-tax bills introduced by Democrats and even some Republicans in Congress and the circumstances under which they have cropped up now, as well as whether any of them stand a chance of much consideration as the U.S. approaches the 2020 presidential election year.

Noah also breaks down the thinking behind putting a price on carbon emissions, including the level to set it at and distribution of the revenue a carbon tax would raise.

How other climate policies – like incentives for renewable energy – match up with a federal carbon tax also comes up in the conversation, which Noah and Bill carried out by phone from their locations in New York and Washington, respectively.

A handy complement to this discussion is a new online resource from the Center on Global Energy Policy that illustrates what you need to know about a federal carbon tax in the United States.

Jul 29, 2019

With the next U.S. election just 15 months away, advocates of action on climate change are gearing up with fresh plans to address the issue and bring them to the attention of the American electorate. Among the biggest such efforts is the Beyond Carbon campaign launched recently by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable-giving arm of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Carl Pope, the senior climate advisor to Michael Bloomberg who has played a major role in developing the strategy behind the Beyond Carbon campaign. Bloomberg Philanthropies has put $500 million behind the campaign, which it calls the largest ever effort in the U.S. to fight climate change.

Carl is well known in environmental circles, having led Sierra Club for more than 30 years before stepping down in 2010. He is also a founder of the BlueGreen Alliance and has served on the boards of the California League of Conservation Voters and the National Clean Air Coalition. He’s written three books as well, including one in 2017 with Michael Bloomberg called “Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses and Citizens Can Save the Planet.”

Bill reached Carl by phone the other day at his office in San Francisco, where he is a Principal Advisor at Inside Straight Strategies.

Among the topics they discuss are the goals of the Beyond Carbon campaign and why Bloomberg and Pope are now targeting natural gas, as well as other fossil fuels, for elimination in order to put the U.S. on a path to a 100% clean-energy economy. 

Bill probes Carl, too, regarding the timing of Beyond Carbon ahead of the 2020 elections, his views on renewable energy and nuclear energy, whether putting a price on carbon makes sense, and how the media is covering climate change.

Of course, with another round of debates for Democratic candidates for president about to take place, Bill also gets Carl's take on their positions on energy and climate issues.

Jul 22, 2019

Global energy markets are in flux, from the rapid growth in renewable energy production and falling technology costs to talk of peak demand and calls for urgent action on climate change. At the same time, greenhouse gas emissions went up last year at the fastest rate they have since 2011, and we saw growth in coal, oil and gas production and consumption. When it comes to energy and climate issues, there’s tension between the rhetoric, our ambition, and the reality of the facts on the ground.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Dr. Christof Rühl, an internationally renowned economist specializing in macroeconomics and energy economics. Christof served as Chief Economist at BP for nearly a decade, and most recently, was the Head of Research at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. 

Jason and Christof discuss how energy markets are impacting geopolitical risk and the global economy -- from sanctions to trade wars and the escalating tensions in the Straits of Hormuz. They discuss the shale revolution, and its global implications as the U.S. becomes a major exporter of both natural gas and crude oil. They also discuss plastics, electric vehicles and new technologies from advanced nuclear to battery storage and hydrogen, and the role they might play in the energy transition.

Jul 15, 2019

The coal industry continues to tumble in the U.S. as electric power plants turn increasingly to natural gas and renewable energy as their fuels of choice. And that decline might only worsen for coal mining and the communities that rely on it if Washington someday adopts strong policies to reduce carbon emissions associated with climate change.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless pays a visit to Adele Morris, a senior fellow and policy director for climate and energy economics at Brookings Institution. Adele and Noah Kaufman, a research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy, and Siddhi Doshi, a senior research assistant at Brookings, have written a new paper from the center that looks at the danger of fiscal collapse in coal-reliant communities.

What they tell us is that while climate risks to corporations have received scrutiny in recent years, local governments, including coal-reliant counties, have yet to grapple with the implications of climate policies for their financial health. 
Bill and Adele talk about some of the communities hard hit by shutdowns of coal-mining operations, the implications for tax revenues and bonds that support schools, roads, hospitals and other critical programs, and the difficulty of tracking that information for research like this report.

They also examine the implications for policymakers as they search for options to address climate change while also focusing on the needs of communities impacted by those policies.

Adele joined Brookings in 2008 from the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, where she advised lawmakers and staff on economic, energy and environmental policy. Before that, she was the lead natural resource economist for the U.S. Treasury Department for nine years and also did stints earlier at the President’s Council on Economic Advisers and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Jul 8, 2019

A key initiative at the Center on Global Energy Policy is our Energy Journalism Initiative, which provides aspiring young reporters with a bootcamp to better understand the deeply complex issues of energy and the environment. This initiative is important because when journalism is at its best, the public’s understanding of these deeply complex issues is elevated. Few reporters meet that standard for excellence time and again the way this week’s guest does. 

In this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by the award-winning investigative reporter for energy at The Wall Street Journal, Russell Gold. Some might remember reading his work during the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in 2010, which was honored with a Gerald Loeb Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His recent work has shed light on the bankruptcy of PG&E, which he calls the “first climate change related bankruptcy in history.” And he wrote the go-to resource for understanding the transformational shale revolution with his first book, The Boom

Russell has now followed that up with Superpower: One Man's Quest to Transform American Energy. It captures the country’s ever-more urgent quest for renewable energy, and it tells the story of one pioneer who tried to make it happen. It takes us beyond renewable generation to the critical but often overlooked part of the grid: transmission. 

Jason and Russell sat down to talk about Superpower, efforts to tie electricity grids together across the panhandle of the United States, and much more.

Jul 1, 2019

Nuclear energy is increasingly seen as a solution to climate change, thanks to its carbon-free characteristics. But harnessing the atom more for peaceful purposes like electric power also requires assurances that it will be done safely and economically, and won’t fall into the hands of those who would use it as a weapon.

In this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Dan Poneman, the author of a new book from The MIT Press called “Double Jeopardy: Combating Nuclear Terror and Climate Change.” Based on his decades of experience in nuclear issues, Dan writes that nuclear power is essential to decarbonizing the environment and can be relied upon more even as we reduce the risks of nuclear.

Their conversation is timely, happening as headlines over nuclear threats in Iran and North Korea compete for attention with those over climate change, and raise questions over whether those two characteristics of nuclear energy can really be reconciled today.

Dan and Bill talk about that as well as what Dan considers to be good policymaking in nuclear energy and nuclear nonproliferation, and what’s taking place along those lines in Washington today. And he tells us what advances in technology he thinks are needed to make nuclear energy an option again for new generating capacity in the U.S.

Dan is the president and CEO of Centrus Energy Corporation, a Maryland-based firm which sells enrichment, fuel and fuel services to utilities with nuclear reactors around the world. Previously, he was Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy during the Obama administration and a member of the National Security Council staff responsible for nonproliferation and export controls during the Clinton administration.

On a lighter note, Dan and Bill also talk about his off-hours activities as a rock musician over the years, including a band named "Yellow Cake," a humorous reference to an ingredient in the nuclear fuel-making process. It gives us a look at another side of a man known primarily for his work on a rather sober topic.

Jun 24, 2019

When it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., the private sector is playing a bigger role than ever before, and that goes for some energy providers, too. Among them is Xcel Energy, the first major U.S. utility to pledge to go entirely carbon-free.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Ben Fowke, the chairman, President and CEO of Xcel Energy, which in December announced a bold commitment to provide 100% carbon-free electricity to its customers by 2050. Not only that, but Xcel also set a goal of cutting the company’s carbon emissions by 80% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

Since then, other utilities have also unveiled major carbon-cutting initiatives. Among them Idaho Power and Public Service Company of New Mexico, with goals of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045 and 2040, respectively.

Ben doesn’t pretend that achieving Xcel Energy’s goals will be easy and he tells Bill why. Nevertheless, he’s confident that the Minneapolis-based company, with 3.6 million customers in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas and four other states, is off to a good start.

Bill caught up with Ben while he was in Washington to testify on energy storage before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. They talked about his company’s ambitious carbon agenda, including its growing reliance on renewable energy and its movement away from coal for electric generation.

They also discussed the role that natural gas and nuclear energy will play in Xcel’s resource plans and the challenges of finding the technologies necessary to make carbon-free electricity a reality for Xcel and other utilities.  

Not surprisingly, the Green New Deal came up in their talk as did proposals for a carbon tax and other options for policymakers to consider in addressing climate change.

Jun 17, 2019

For the past 68 years, BP has published its Annual Statistical Review of World Energy, an impressive collection of global energy data that offers a retrospective view of what has happened in the world of energy production, consumption, trade, and related issues.

This week, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Spencer Dale, BP’s Chief Economist. He is responsible for advising BP’s board and executive team, and manages BP’s global economics team, providing economic input into the firm’s commercial decisions.

Jason and Spencer discuss trends, key findings and insights from this year’s report, including the fact that as global energy consumption grew rapidly in 2018, carbon emissions rose at their highest rate in seven years. Jason and Spencer discuss the mismatch between growing calls to act on climate change, growing energy demand, and increasing global carbon emissions. They discuss the unique double-firsts in the U.S. last year, recording the single largest-ever annual increases by any country in both oil and gas production. They discuss how an unusually large number of hot and cold days in the U.S., China and Russia drove strong growth in energy consumption in 2018, and the importance of decarbonizing the power sector to meet our global climate goals. They also discussed BP’s role in fighting climate change.

Jun 6, 2019
The U.S. natural gas industry is enjoying a burst of good fortune lately, with record production, a growing share of electric power markets and exports to other countries. But with increasingly dire reports of climate change, gas, like coal before it, is getting more scrutiny for its carbon and methane emissions.
 
In this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Karen Harbert, the President and CEO of the American Gas Association. Karen’s new to the job, having joined AGA in April after heading the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute. Before that, she was an Assistant Secretary for Policy and International affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy under President George W. Bush and a Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean at the U.S. Agency for International Development.
 
In the private sector, Karen worked to develop infrastructure in countries in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Her arrival at AGA comes as the gas industry like other energy sectors vies to establish its role in U.S. energy market amid growing concerns over climate change. Karen and Bill talked about that as well as the Green New Deal, methane, carbon taxes, carbon sequestration and more.
Jun 3, 2019

What are the legal pathways to reducing carbon emissions? On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Michael Gerrard, Founder and Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. Michael Gerrard is a professor of environmental law, climate change law, and energy regulation, and a member and former Chair of the Faculty of the Earth Institute at Columbia. He is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, two of which were named Best Law Book of the Year by the Association of American Publishers. His latest effort, “Legal Pathways to Decarbonization in the United States,” is an extensive policy encyclopedia that presents a menu of recommendations for policymakers, the legal community, and students to enable and accelerate decarbonization in the U.S.

In a wide-ranging conversation, they discuss the playbook of legal options available to cut emissions and tackle the challenge of climate change - from fuel-switching to carbon capture, carbon pricing and identifying emission reduction pathways in trade and tax policy, they dissect policy recommendations for moving the U.S. toward a 2-degree pathway in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

May 27, 2019

Wintershall DEA became the largest independent oil and gas group in Europe following a merger last month. It bridged the international exploration and production of oil and gas company, DEA, with the energy unit of the German chemical group BASF, which now has operations in Europe, Russia, Latin America, and the MENA region.

On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff talks to Maria Moræus Hanssen, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy CEO of Wintershall DEA. From 2018, she was Chairwoman of the Management Board and CEO of DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG. Maria Moræus joined DEA after serving as CEO of ENGIE E&P and has held numerous management roles at Aker, Statoil, and Hydro.

In an interview conducted prior to the Wintershall DEA merger, Jason sat down with Maria Moræus at CERAWeek in Houston, Texas. They discussed the potential merger, the future of off-shore oil drilling and exploration in Europe, the push for corporate responsibility on sustainability across the oil and gas sector, addressing the challenge of climate change and more.

May 20, 2019
The world has seen remarkable advances in clean energy technology in recent years, from increasingly cheaper ways to produce solar and wind energy to breakthroughs in energy storage that suggest even bigger advances soon. So, what will it take to keep that pace going?
 
In this episode, host Bill Loveless joins Arun Majumdar, a materials scientist and engineer whose distinguished career spans the classroom, the laboratory and Washington. Arun is now a member of the faculty at Stanford University’s Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering and the co-director of the Precourt Institute for Energy, which coordinates research and education across all seven schools and the Hoover Institution at Stanford.
 
In 2009, Arun was nominated by President Obama to become the founding director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) at the U.S. Department of Energy, and later served as an acting Under Secretary at DOE.
 
After leaving DOE and before joining Stanford he was Vice President for Energy at Google. And among other stops in his career, he taught at the University of California at Berkeley and worked as an associate director at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
 
Bill caught up with Arun outside the Center on Global Energy Policy’s recent Summit in New York to talk about advances in clean energy technology and the roles that government and the private sector have played in those developments. Along those lines, they looked specifically at ARPA-E, which he helped make a model of innovation and which the Trump administration would abolish.
 
They also talked about some of the new dynamics in energy policy in Washington, including the Green New Deal.
May 13, 2019
The U.S. Department of Energy is a powerhouse for energy research and development, serving as the lead government agency for fundamental scientific research and the nation’s biggest supporter of basic research in physical sciences. And that’s not all. Since its founding in 1977, DOE has also contributed significantly to breakthroughs in energy technologies like solar power and the production of oil and natural gas from shale formations.
 
In this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Paul Dabbar, the Under Secretary for Science at the Department of Energy. Paul is DOE’s principal adviser on fundamental energy research, energy technologies, and science, with oversight of programs that include nuclear and high-energy particle physics, basic energy, advanced computing, fusion, and biological and environmental management.
 
He also supervises most of DOE’s national laboratories, including technology commercialization activities at those crown jewels of innovation.
 
Bill and Paul sat down at the Columbia Global Energy Summit in New York to discuss the changing energy landscape and how the Trump administration prioritizes resources when it comes to energy research and science. They also talked about some of the technologies he finds most exciting now and how his previous experiences as an investment banker and a nuclear submarine officer influence his work at DOE.
 
Before his nomination by President Trump in 2017, Paul was managing director for mergers and acquisitions at J.P. Morgan, where he handled transactions involving power plants and utilities. All told, his experience at the bank involved more than $400 billion in investments across all energy sectors. 
 
Before that, he was a nuclear submarine officer, having graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and later earning an M.B.A. degree from Columbia University.
 
He’s had a hand at research, too, having done work at the North Pole while in the Navy and at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory after leaving the Navy. He’s also served on the DOE Energy Environmental Management Advisory Board and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Apr 25, 2019

Neil Chatterjee, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, joins Phil Sharp, a former U.S. representative for the state of Indiana and a member of the advisory board at the Center on Global Energy Policy, on this special edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, recorded live at the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit.

They discuss the technological and market changes that have impacted the regulatory landscape of U.S. energy, the efficiencies of a competitive market, threats to the resilience and security of power-grids, and FERC’s role in addressing the threat of climate change.

Chairman Chatterjee was confirmed to the FERC by the Senate in 2017, serving as Chairman from August to December 2017 and from October 2018 to present. Prior to joining, he was energy policy advisor to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Before this, he worked as a Principal in Government Relations for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and as an aide to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce. He began his career in Washington, D.C. with the House Committee on Ways and Means.

On April 10, the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit in New York City hosted top politicians, business leaders, and academics for a variety of lively discussions on what to expect in changes to the oil and gas landscape, the latest research on powering the low-carbon transition, navigating U.S. political fields to advance climate solutions, how to assess risk and build grid resilience, and much more.

Apr 22, 2019

Heidi Heitkamp, former Senator of North Dakota, joins host Jason Bordoff at the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit to discuss the state’s oil and gas market growth that has made North Dakota the second leading oil-producing state behind Texas, how to create a friendly tax environment for more renewables, and the value of energy conservation for addressing climate change.

Heidi Heitkamp is a graduate of the University of North Dakota and Lewis & Clark College. She has held prominent positions in both the public and private sectors - first as an attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency, then as State Tax Commissioner of North Dakota, and as the state’s Attorney General in 1992. She also led the Dakota Gasification Company, a major private synthetic natural gas producer. In 2012, she was the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate in North Dakota. She is currently a visiting fellow at the Institute of Politics of the Harvard Kennedy School.

On April 10, the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit in New York City hosted top politicians, business leaders, and academics for a variety of lively discussions on what to expect in changes to the oil and gas landscape, the latest research on powering the low-carbon transition, navigating U.S. political fields to advance climate solutions, how to assess risk and build grid resilience, and much more.

Mar 25, 2019

Innovation, digitalization and distributed energy solutions are driving major shifts in the energy market, putting power in the hands of the consumer and fundamentally changing their relationship with energy. 
 
On this special edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Iain Conn, Chief Executive of Centrica, a multinational energy and services company supplying electricity and gas to businesses and consumers across the UK, Ireland and North America. Recorded at Innovation Agora at CERAWeek, they discuss the trajectory of the energy transition in relation to thoughtful policymaking and technological transformation.

Iain Conn served as chief executive of BP’s Downstream division from 2007 to 2014, overseeing production and sales for BP’s fuels, lubricants and petrochemicals businesses. Since being appointed CEO of Centrica in January 2015, he has helped the company navigate low oil prices, grow new business sectors and shift toward a more consumer-focused model.

Innovation Agora is an open marketplace for the exchange of ideas on energy innovation, emerging technologies and solutions to our energy challenges. It is a part of CERAWeek - an annual event that brings together 4,000 industry leaders and policymakers from more than 75 countries.

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