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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: general
Aug 8, 2023

The steel and cement industries are enormous and vital components of the global economy. Together, they account for roughly 16% of global greenhouse gas emissions. If the cement and steel industry were a country, it would be the third largest emitter. Both industries are referred to as “hard-to-abate” sectors because of the perceived challenges in reducing their carbon emissions. 

But innovations in technology and policy are changing the way experts look at these industries, opening new doors to decarbonization strategies. They’re also causing new rifts in global trade relations, as countries vie for dominance over emerging low-carbon solutions. 

What are the best strategies for decarbonizing the steel and cement industries? How much progress have we made? And how is the emerging low-carbon steel and cement trade reshaping international relations?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Chris Bataille about the prospects for decarbonizing the steel and cement industries. 

Chris is an adjunct research fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy, where he studies technology and policy pathways to net zero, with a focus on industrial decarbonization. He is an associate researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations and an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University. He was also a contributing author to the IPCC 6th Assessment Report.

Aug 1, 2023

It’s been nearly a year and a half since Russia invaded Ukraine, plunging Europe and the world into a protracted energy crisis. Since then, the brutal fighting in Ukraine has turned into a war of attrition, and energy prices have fallen from the staggering heights they reached in mid-2022. 

While the immediate crisis has faded from the headlines, Europe’s energy challenges remain. Electricity and natural gas prices are higher than normal. Policymakers face the challenge of turning the loss of Russian gas supplies into a long-term strategy for energy security and decarbonization. The ripple effects of this crisis have left emerging markets and developing countries struggling to afford energy. 

How has Europe’s energy outlook evolved over the past year and a half? How are policymakers trying to secure the continent’s fuel supplies? And what does all this mean for the global energy transition?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Anne-Sophie Corbeau and Tatiana Mitrova about how Europe’s energy outlook has changed since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Anne-Sophie is a global research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy, where she studies low-carbon fuels and natural gas. Her career in the energy industry spans over 20 years, including stints as the head of gas analysis at BP, senior gas analyst at the International Energy Agency, and research fellow at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center. 

Tatiana is a research fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy. She is an expert on Russian energy policy, having previously served as executive director of the Energy Centre of the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, and as head of research in the oil and gas department in the Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. She currently serves on the board of directors at Schlumberger Limited.

Jul 25, 2023

The Advanced Research Project Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) recently announced $100 million for its SCALEUP program, which funds start-ups and emerging companies that need support commercializing products.  

The agency serves as a research and development group for the Department of Energy. ARPA-E is often described as a venture capital fund, because of its focus on getting new technologies to market. Crucially, it garners support from both political parties because of its emphasis on innovation and national security through transformative energy tech.

Still, ARPA-E’s $450 million budget is much smaller than other research and development agencies. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), part of the Department of Defense, has a $4 billion budget this year.

So, what technologies will ARPA-E focus on this year? How will it make the most of its budget? And will it continue to see bi-partisan support in the current political environment? 

This week host Bill Loveless talks with Evelyn Wang and Laurent Pilon about ARPA-E’s unique approach to developing and launching high-risk energy projects. 

Evelyn Wang is the director of ARPA-E. Prior to joining ARPA-E in 2022, she served as the Ford professor of engineering and head of the department of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Laurent Pilon is a program director at ARPA-E. His research focuses on solar, thermal, and electrical energy storage. He was previously a professor in the mechanical and aerospace engineering department at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Jul 18, 2023

To meet net zero 2050 goals, the U.S. needs to quadruple wind and solar capacity, double the size of the grid, and increase the electric vehicle fleet 100-fold. 

Under the existing permitting process, growth at this pace and scale is nearly impossible. It takes years to secure permits for new plants, transmission lines, and mines. That’s why accelerating the regulatory permitting process is critical. 

But doing so may weaken 50 years worth of protections for communities, land, and wildlife in the United States.

What are the implications of the recent proposals for permitting reform? How should clean energy advocates navigate these tradeoffs? And how can policymakers protect American communities and ecosystems as they rush to build out clean energy?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Christy Goldfuss about the recent permitting reform proposals and the balance between expanding clean energy and protecting communities and ecosystems.

Christy is the chief policy impact officer for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) a U.S.-based environmental advocacy nonprofit. Prior to joining NRDC, she was the senior vice president for energy and environmental policy at the Center for American Progress. Christy also served in multiple senior positions during the Obama Administration, first as the deputy director of the National Parks Service, and then as the managing director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Jul 11, 2023

July 4th 2023 was the hottest day on earth ever recorded.

The prevalence of extreme heat, which dramatically impacts quality of life and the built environment, highlights the urgency of tackling the climate crisis. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions known to exacerbate global warming.

The EPA’s new regulations aim to further limit pollution from power plants and vehicles and avoid hundreds of millions of metric tons of C02 emissions. These regulations  would also prevent health issues and deaths. 

Even with the upsides, the EPA still faces obstacles to these proposals. Most significantly, the Supreme Courts’ West Virginia vs. EPA ruling limits the agency’s ability to impose new emissions standards. Additionally, some professionals and legislators worry the technology standards on the power sector could impact grid reliability. 

So, how will the new regulations play out in practice? Will the EPA be able to implement its agenda? And what will the impact be on industry and communities?

This week host Bill Loveless talks with Michael Regan about the EPA’s proposed regulations to reduce vehicle and power plants emissions, and how the agency plans to deal with pushback. 

Michael Regan is the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Over the past two years, he has overseen the agency’s effort to curb emissions from U.S. industry and fight climate change. Prior to his nomination as administrator, he served as the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. He has also held positions at the Environmental Defense Fund, including associate vice president of U.S. Climate and Energy.

Jul 4, 2023

Excitement is brewing over an Atlantic offshore wind project 15 miles east of Massachusetts. Developers of the first utility-scale project in the country have begun laying the foundations for 62 planned turbines.  

Vineyard Wind, the nation’s first commercial scale offshore wind farm, is expected to generate 800 MW of electricity. A joint venture of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables, Vineyard Wind would power 400,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts annually. State officials are confident this project, and others coming down the pike, will play a critical role in meeting net zero by 2050 goals. 

But challenges remain for offshore wind. Inflation is driving up costs. Complicated logistics for groundbreaking projects could cause delays. And opposition from the commercial fishing industry, which has deep roots in the area, is still strong.

So, what role will public policy play in getting this and other offshore projects across the finish line? And how will it impact the rest of the industry?

This week host Bill Loveless talks with Lars Thaaning Pedersen about the Vineyard Wind project and the policy support that has kept it moving forward. They also discuss the challenges of developing offshore wind projects in the U.S. 

Lars is co-CEO of Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP) and CEO of Vineyard Offshore. Both organizations are engaged in offshore wind development and the energy transition around the world. Prior to founding Copenhagen Offshore Partners in 2015, Lars held executive positions at DONG Energy, which is now Ørsted. He has been involved in more than 10 offshore wind projects in Europe since 2008, and is now focusing his attention on the U.S. as well as other areas of the world.

Jun 27, 2023

The global energy transition is unfolding in an increasingly fragmented world. The rise of green industrial policies aimed at bolstering domestic clean energy industries is heightening trade tensions and threatening to fracture global markets. 

Meanwhile, power struggles are amping up on the world stage. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and simmering tensions between China and the West, have underscored the complexities of the post-Cold War global order.

All of this is happening against the backdrop of a rapidly escalating climate crisis that requires a concerted global effort to address. 

What do broad trends of deglobalization mean for the clean energy transition? What would a retreat from the norms of free trade mean for the pace of clean energy deployment? And how can policymakers reconcile domestic economic priorities with the urgency of the climate crisis?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Pascal Lamy about the role of international trade in meeting climate goals.

Pascal is the chair of the Climate Overshoot Commission, an organization created to address the consequences of current and past greenhouse gas emissions. Previously, he was president of the Paris Peace Forum, a French nonprofit that convenes leaders to pursue global cooperation and collective action. Prior to that, he served as the director-general of the World Trade Organization from 2005 to 2013. He has also served in a variety of roles at Crédit Lyonnais, the European Commission, and the French government.

Jun 20, 2023

Clean energy technology deployment will play a major role in meeting the Biden administration’s “net zero by 2050” goal. To stay on target, America will need to shore up clean energy supply chains, reduce the cost of existing technologies, and fund innovation for up and coming solutions – like carbon capture and storage and fusion energy

The Energy Team at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is a driving force behind these efforts. With its expertise in policy and science, the team helps develop innovation priorities that facilitate a swift, equitable energy transition. 

So what is the strategy for deploying the clean energy technology needed to meet net zero goals? What is the timeline for emerging technologies? And how does the OSTP’s Energy Team plan to make the transition equitable? 

This week host Bill Loveless talks with Sally Benson about the OSTP’s history as an innovation engine, and its current role in meeting net zero by 2050 goals.

Sally is the deputy director for energy and the chief strategist for the energy transition at OSTP. She helps oversee the Net Zero Game Changers Initiative, which funds innovation in clean energy technologies for building heating and cooling, aviation, nuclear fusion, and other areas. Sally joined the Biden administration as the Precourt Family Professor of Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford University. She has also held various positions at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Jun 13, 2023

The oil and gas industry is at a crossroads. With the impacts of climate change becoming more severe every year, it’s clear that fossil fuel consumption must decline to prevent global warming from crossing a dangerous threshold. 

Yet oil and gas companies posted record returns in 2022, driven by volatility in the global market. Many are making more investments in clean energy technologies, but it’s still a small share of their total capital expenditures. As the transition to clean energy gains momentum, these firms are balancing the requirements of the energy transition and the realities of today’s fossil fuel-dependent economy. 

How can oil and gas majors reduce emissions while continuing to meet the global demand for fossil fuels? What role do they have in a clean energy transition? And how do their leaders see their position in an increasingly fractious and volatile global energy system?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Patrick Pouyanné.  

Patrick is the Chairman and CEO of Total Energies, a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the world’s seven supermajors. He has served in this role since 2014. 

Since his appointment, Patrick has overseen a diversification of his company’s portfolio, signified by its name change from Total to Total Energies in 2021. He has continued to expand Total Energies’ oil and gas business, pursuing new projects in Qatar, Mozambique, Uganda, and elsewhere. In the process, Patrick has emerged as a highly influential– and sometimes controversial– voice in the industry. 

This episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange is a recording of a live, in-person conversation that took place on April 12th during the Columbia Global Energy Summit 2023.

Jun 6, 2023

Governments around the world are increasingly turning to “industrial policy” in pursuit of stronger climate action such as the Inflation Reduction Act. These targeted economic measures can build domestic clean energy industries and increase security and resilience. But there are risks to this approach, including higher costs and trade tensions. In the years ahead, policymakers will face a difficult balancing act as they work to expand the availability of low-cost clean energy while boosting their own domestic economies. 

What does the shift towards green industrial policy mean for the energy transition? How has this shift manifested in the Biden administration’s approach to climate action? And what new climate policies might be on the horizon?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Jason Furman about the rise of green industrial policy, the outlook for the Inflation Reduction Act, and how economists think about climate change.

Furman is the Aetna professor of the practice of economic policy at Harvard University. He is a former colleague of Jason Bordoff in two different capacities, both in the Obama White House and at the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project. Prior to his appointment at Harvard, Furman served as a key economic advisor to President Obama, including as the chair of the Council of Economic Advisors. He played a key role in implementing the major economic policy initiatives of the Obama Administration, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Affordable Care Act. 

May 30, 2023

2022 was a landmark year for the energy transition. The world added a record amount of renewable energy, expanding the global installed capacity by nearly 10%. Electric vehicles also had a record year, reaching 10 million sales worldwide, a stunning 55% increase over the previous year. Yet despite this tremendous progress, the world is still not on track to meet its climate goals, with oil and gas demand predicted to be higher in 2030 than today.

Meanwhile, volatility in global energy markets is continuing to drive uncertainty over the future of the energy transition. Imbalances between supply and demand drove energy prices to dizzying heights last year, and 75 million people around the world lost access to electricity as a result.

What will it take to bring clean energy deployment in line with climate goals? What does the energy transition mean for the future of fossil fuels? And how can world leaders protect energy reliability in the transition to net zero?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Fatih Birol. 

Fatih is the executive director of the International Energy Agency, the intergovernmental organization tasked with providing data and policy analysis regarding the global energy sector. He spent more than 20 years at the IEA prior to becoming executive director. Most recently, he served as chief economist, in charge of the organization’s flagship publication, the World Energy Outlook. Before joining the IEA, Fatih worked for OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

This episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange is a recording of a live, in-person conversation that took place on April 12th during the Columbia Global Energy Summit 2023. 

May 23, 2023

As the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, the UK has long played a special role in the evolution of today’s modern energy system. But current sky-high energy prices are contributing to a modern-day “cost-of-living crisis” for British households–leading the government to spend tens of billions of pounds to protect consumers.

At the same time, climate change remains a key policy concern. While the UK has implemented meaningful climate policies and made progress in reducing emissions, the UK is not yet on track to meet its target of net-zero by 2050. 

How can the UK’s government make progress on climate against the backdrop of an energy affordability crisis? What is the role of industrial policy? And what lessons are policymakers taking away from other countries facing similar challenges?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Ed Miliband about the UK’s cost-of-living crisis, the role for oil and gas companies, and the country’s net-zero strategy.

Ed is the United Kingdom’s shadow secretary of state of Climate Change and Net Zero, as well as a member of Parliament representing Doncaster North. He was the leader of the Labour Party from 2010 to 2015 and, before that, the secretary of state for Energy and Climate Change, where he oversaw the introduction of the Climate Change Act. Outside of his work in Parliament, Ed is the co-host of the current affairs podcast “Reasons to be Cheerful.”

 

May 16, 2023

If 2022 were an earthquake for the global energy system, Europe was the epicenter. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine  – on top of a persistent mismatch in supply and demand – sent energy prices skyrocketing. Consumers across the continent struggled to pay their bills. In the year that followed, European governments spent more than €800 billion shielding consumers from these high prices, even as they scrambled to find alternatives to Russian energy.

Prices have now returned to their pre-invasion baseline, but the continent’s energy system remains precarious. Emergency measures must now give way to a longer-term strategy to secure Europe’s energy system, reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, and scale clean energy technology. 

What’s the outlook for European energy security? How can Europe meet its ambitious clean energy targets? And what technologies are needed to make this possible?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Ann Mettler about Europe’s response to the energy crisis, its plans for decarbonizing its energy system, and the outlook for energy security.

Ann is the vice president for Europe at Breakthrough Energy, a network of investment funds, philanthropies, and nonprofits dedicated to scaling low-carbon technologies. She previously served as director-general at the European Commission, where she ran an in-house think tank called the European Political Strategy Centre. Prior to that, she was the executive director of the Lisbon Council, an economic policy think tank she founded in 2003.

May 9, 2023

Last month, India surpassed China to become the world’s most populous country. With its large population, growing workforce, and fast-growing GDP, India is on the cusp of asserting major economic power on the world stage. 

But there are major energy-related challenges still to overcome. Persistent electricity shortages continue to weigh on the country’s manufacturing sector. And despite tremendous growth in renewables, India still relies heavily on coal and imported oil. 

India’s government has made addressing these challenges a priority, seeking to nearly triple its clean energy capacity by 2030. It is also investing heavily in new technologies like battery storage and hydrogen. At the same time, it continues to expand its fossil fuel sector, which it sees as vital to the country’s economic growth. 

What does the next decade have in store for India’s energy sector? What are the major obstacles to growth? And how is the government balancing its climate goals with meeting the country’s rapidly expanding energy demands?

This week, host Jason Bordoff talks with Suman Bery about the uncertainties facing India’s energy sector, from supply shortages to geopolitical risks. 

Suman is the vice chairperson of NITI Aayog, an Indian think tank. He conducts research and advises policymakers on matters of economics and public policy. Prior to his appointment, he was a senior visiting fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, and a global fellow in the Asia Programme of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. He was also the chief economist at Shell from 2012 to 2016.

May 2, 2023

The energy transition is going to require a lot of investment. In fact, the International Energy Agency estimates that getting on the path to net zero by 2050 will require over $4 trillion of annual clean energy investment by the end of the decade. That’s more than triple what is spent today, and reaching that level will involve both public and private spending.

A smooth transition involves more than just spending on clean energy. In the wake of last year’s energy shortages, many countries are clamoring for more investment in oil and gas supply. At the same time, the volatile geopolitics of energy – and the tricky domestic politics of climate action – make today an especially challenging moment for those investing in the energy system. 

How are investors and asset managers navigating the rapidly-changing outlook for the energy sector? What economic headwinds are they facing in the first half of 2023? And how can they balance the need for investing in today’s energy system along with tomorrow’s clean energy economy?

This week, host Jason Bordoff talks with Larry Fink about financing the energy transition.  

Larry is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock – the world’s largest asset manager. Larry founded the company in 1988, and the value of its assets reached a total of $10 trillion in 2022. In addition to his leadership at BlackRock, Larry serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum. 

This episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange is a recording of a live, in-person conversation that took place on April 12th during the Columbia Global Energy Summit 2023.

Apr 25, 2023

Gulf Arab states are looking to build economic bridges with countries in the Middle East and Africa.    

Last year, the International Monetary Fund announced that major energy producers – like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – are expected to collect $1.3 trillion in profits from high oil prices over the next four years. These profits are expected to fund Gulf Arab states’ investments abroad. 

At home, they aim to diversify their economies and invest in the energy transition although they anticipate oil demand to rise in the next few years. 

What does the move toward economic cooperation in the Middle East and Africa mean for the global world order? What does it mean for relationships with the U.S. and China? And to what extent will the energy transition be a focus for investment?   

This week, host Bill Loveless talks with Karen Young about her book “The Economic Statecraft of the Gulf Arab States” which came out earlier this year. They discuss how the rise of authoritarian or state capitalism in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, and West Asia could impact the global energy transition. 

Karen is an author and political economist focusing on the Gulf, the broader Middle East and North Africa region, and the intersection of energy, finance, and security. She was a senior fellow and founding director of the Program on Economics and Energy at the Middle East Institute. She is currently a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, SIPA.

Apr 18, 2023

The past two years have been a watershed for American energy policy. A series of new laws – most notably the Inflation Reduction Act – have invigorated the domestic clean energy industry. At the same time, the war in Ukraine and the volatility in energy markets have stressed the importance of energy security. 

In the midst of all this, the US Department of Energy has the difficult task of responding to the urgency of climate change and implementing the United States’ new climate policies. 

What are the major opportunities and challenges afforded by the IRA? What is the role of American energy in a time of global upheaval? And what is the Biden administration doing to bring about a more just and secure energy transition?

This week, host Jason Bordoff talks with United States Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. They discuss the American energy sector, the Inflation Reduction Act, and how the Department of Energy is using its executive authority to address the climate crisis. 

Secretary Granholm has overseen the Department of Energy and its nearly $50 billion budget since February 2021. She previously served as governor of Michigan from 2003 to 2011 and as Michigan’s attorney general from 1999 to 2003. Secretary Granholm was also a distinguished professor of practice at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Law.

This episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange is a recording of a live, in-person conversation that took place last week during the Columbia Global Energy Summit 2023.

Apr 11, 2023

On April 12th, the Center on Global Energy Policy will celebrate its 10th anniversary. 

Jason Bordoff founded the Center after serving in the Obama White House. During his time in the administration, he recognized a need for unbiased, evidence-based research that examined energy issues across multiple dimensions – economics, national security, climate, and the environment. 

In 2013, with the help of a few friends and colleagues, Jason launched the  Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs to fill that void.

Ten years later, the institution is thriving in its mission to help address the world’s most challenging energy and climate problems through research, education, and dialogue.  

This week, host Bill Loveless talks with Jason about his journey to start CGEP, and why he chose Columbia University as its home. They discuss publishing actionable research that is useful to policy makers, and the role of education in responding to climate change.

From 2009 to 2013, Jason served as special assistant to President Obama, and as senior director for energy and climate change on the staff of the National Security Council. Prior to that, he held senior policy positions on the White House’s National Economic Council and Council on Environmental Quality. He is also co-founding dean of the Columbia Climate School.

Apr 4, 2023

This past year has reminded all of us that the energy transition, energy markets, and geopolitics are inextricably linked. In the last five years alone, extreme volatility in energy prices has created uncertainty for consumers and producers alike. 

For Wall Street in particular, an uncertain energy outlook brings up important questions about risk and strategy. Aligning energy investment with expected demand is hard, especially in the midst of an energy transition that’s happening in fits and starts. Yet, effective investment is vital for both energy access and climate progress.

How should investors address the tension between energy and climate needs? What do the coming years hold for oil and gas markets? And is the term “energy transition” even the right one? 

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Arjun Murti about how Wall Street views the energy transition and how the turbulence has wracked energy markets over the past several years. Arjun shares the lessons he’s learned in his years as an energy markets analyst, and how his experiences inform his view of the path ahead. 

Arjun has spent more than 30 years analyzing the global energy sector on Wall Street. He spent 15 years as a partner at Goldman Sachs and recently served as senior advisor and now partner for Veriten. Has also had stints as director at ConocoPhillips and as senior advisor for Warburg Pincus. Arjun is also on the Center on Global Energy Policy’s advisory board.

Mar 28, 2023

Almost 30% of electricity in the western United States comes from hydroelectric dams. But what happens when the water in the rivers dries up?

The Western Area Power Administration – or WAPA – provides electricity to more than 40 million Americans. It relies heavily on the 57 dams in its service territory for supply. 

But over the past 20 years, the drought ravaging the West has been drying up reservoirs. Even the recent wave of snow and rain that dumped on western states like California won’t be enough to fill them back up.

New transmission projects, which WAPA can help build, could provide more connection from the western power grid to the east. And that would help stabilize the electricity supply. 

So, how is WAPA planning to serve its customers in the face of a changing climate? And what role does transmission infrastructure play in meeting their needs? 

This week, host Bill Loveless talks with Tracey LeBeau about how drought has affected WAPA’s operations in the past few years. They also discuss how the power generation will change moving forward and how transmission needs of the West might be met.

Tracey is the administrator and chief executive officer of the Western Area Power Administration. She joined the organization in 2014 as manager of the Transmission Infrastructure Program, where she oversaw WAPA’s $3.2 billion borrowing authority. Tracey has also served as senior vice president at WAPA and was responsible for managing transmission system operations and maintenance.

 

Mar 21, 2023

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

Mar 14, 2023

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.

Mar 7, 2023

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.

Feb 28, 2023

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.

 

Feb 21, 2023

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.

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