Hurricane Maria was one of the most devastating storms to ever hit the United States, leaving a path of death and destruction across Puerto Rico last September. The electric grid faced extensive damage that put virtually the entire population without power for weeks and months.
On this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Bill Loveless talks to Carlos Torres, a former official with Consolidated Edison in New York, and the man assigned by the Governor of Puerto Rico with the difficult task of coordinating the restoration of electricity for the island. Carlos spent more than 30 years at Con Ed managing emergency management and storm restoration efforts, including overseeing the utility’s response to major storms like Super Storm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, and emergencies like the September 11 attack at the World Trade Center and the 2003 Northeast Blackout.
But putting the lights back on in Puerto Rico was the most challenging mission of his career, Carlos says. In fact, he told a congressional committee that the damage caused by Hurricane Maria on the island was unlike anything he and others in the industry had ever seen on the U.S mainland.
Bill and Carlos met recently in Washington, D.C. at the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association for investor-owned utilities in the United States where Carlos has worked as a consultant since October. With electricity now nearly restored in Puerto Rico after a year, Carlos talks about the difficulties of achieving that goal, and lessons learned regarding making electric grids resilient to Mother Nature in Puerto Rico and other parts of the United States. He and Bill also touched on the role public policy plays in promoting such resilience, especially now as we find ourselves in the midst of another hurricane season.
Leaders from around the world will gather in San Francisco soon to celebrate the achievements of states, regions, cities, corporations and others at the sub-national level with respect to climate action. Organizers of the Sept. 12-14 Global Climate Action Summit say the meeting will also serve as a launch pad for deeper commitments to put the world on track to prevent dangerous climate change and realize the historic Paris agreement – even as the U.S. government under the Trump administration takes a different course.
On this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Carter Roberts, the president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the United States. WWF is one of the partners in the Global Climate Action Summit, along with other groups including C40Cities, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ceres and the United Nations Foundation.
Bill and Carter recently sat down at Carter’s office in Washington, D.C. as he prepared for the Summit. Among the topics they touched on were how this meeting, with its emphasis on the roles of sub-national entities in reducing carbon emissions, will differ from other major gatherings on climate change. They also talked about whether D.C. is getting any closer to having a bipartisan discussion on climate change, including the potential impact of a recent bill by a Republican lawmaker to establish a carbon tax in the U.S. Finally, Carter elaborated on the importance of land conservation to a sustainable environment, which will be one of the focal points of the San Francisco summit.
Carter earned his MBA from Harvard Business School following a BA from Princeton University, and subsequently held marketing management positions with Proctor & Gamble and Gillette. He went on to lead international conservation and science programs for 15 years with The Nature Conservancy before joining WWF in 2004.
On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless speaks with Paula Gold Williams, the President and CEO of CPS Energy in San Antonio, Texas, the largest public electric and gas utility in the U.S. Bill and Paula talk about the changes taking place in the utility sector, with new technology and new expectations making the business more dynamic than ever. One of these areas that Bill and Paula tackle is the emergence of Smart Cities, where the grid will play a central role.
Bill and Paula also discuss how the changes in the industry are opening new career opportunities and creating a more diverse work force. They specifically focus on the growing role of women in the energy sector, a topic Paula regularly speaks on.
Paula Gold Williams joined CPS in 2004 and held a number of top positions at the utility, including Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, before being named President and CEO in 2016.
As the energy world becomes more integrated, more dynamic and more complex, the need to try and better understand the outlook for the industry only grows. One publication that helps us to do this is the Bloomberg New Energy Outlook Report, an annual long-term economic forecast of the world’s power sector.
On a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Amy Grace, Head of North American Research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Amy leads the team responsible for producing the New Energy Outlook and communicating analysis on economics, policy, and the strategic dynamics of the North American power sector.
Amy and Jason caught up in New York to discuss the 2018 outlook Report. Amy explains what differentiates Bloomberg’s Report from other energy publications, BNEF's global outlook for renewables, fossil fuels, and the energy transition as a whole. She also explains why, according to BNEF, solar and wind have already won the race for cheap bulk electricity generation. Jason and Amy also discuss the role of policy for renewables and the likely impact of President Trump’s solar tariffs.
Other topics discussed on this episode include the challenges and the opportunities for electric vehicles and how the transition in the transportation sector will impact oil demand, the electricity sector, and global emissions. Finally, Amy highlights a few key energy technologies we should pay attention to moving forward.
What does it take to move the needle on our energy and climate challenges? How can government, civil society, individuals, and businesses work together so our collective action is greater than the sum of individual contributions? To help shed light on these and other issues, Jason Bordoff recently sat down with Andy Karsner, a Managing Partner at Emerson Collective, an organization focused on spurring change and promoting equality.
Jason and Andy discussed Emerson Collective's theory of change, how the organization measures impact, and how those factors lead to a holistic engagement strategy across technology, policy, finance and network building. Their conversation touched on the benefits and the limits of markets as a source of solutions to our climate challenges and the need to transition from static to dynamic policy structures. They also discussed the changing role of utilities and electricity market regulation as well as the privacy and security considerations of internet-enabled clean technology and distributed generation. Finally, Jason and Andy talked about the need for leadership and national strategies and stretch-goals to achieve ambitious outcomes and maintain US competitiveness.
In addition to his role at the Emerson Collective, Andy is a Senior Strategist and Space Cowboy at Google X, and Founder and Executive Chairman of Manifest Energy. From 2005 to 2008, he served as Assistant Secretary of Energy for Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the US Department of Energy, managing an annual budget of nearly $2 billion across a portfolio focused on applied science, research and development.
From climate policy to geopolitical tensions and sanctions to technological innovation, the energy world is facing enormous change, complexity and uncertainty. To discuss some of today’s most timely issues across the energy landscape, Jason Bordoff recently sat down with Dr. Ernest Moniz, the former U.S. Secretary of Energy.
As Secretary, Dr. Moniz worked across a range of issues from nuclear security and strategic stability to technological innovation and renewable energy to energy efficiency and climate policy. He also served in government as the Energy Department's Under Secretary from 1997-2001 and is the Founding Director of the MIT Energy Initiative and Director of the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. Dr. Moniz is currently CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a Distinguished Fellow at the Emerson Collective, and CEO of the Energy Futures Initiative.
On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, Dr. Moniz and Jason discussed the status of the global transition to a lower carbon future and what will be needed to not simply meet, but exceed, the goals of the Paris Agreement. Dr. Moniz spoke about the intersections between technological progress, policy frameworks, and business model innovation to drive decarbonization. Dr. Moniz discussed the state of nuclear power technology and the potential for escalating proliferation risks in light of current US-Russia tensions. Dr. Moniz and Jason also discussed the outlook for the Iran nuclear agreement, and what the implications may be for energy markets, following the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw from the deal.
The global natural gas market is undergoing dramatic changes, with additional LNG supplies set to hit the market in coming years, price competition between natural gas and renewables becoming fiercer, supply security concerns across Europe, and fugitive methane emissions as an increasingly large climate concern.
On a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Maarten Wetselaar, the Integrated Gas & New Energies Director and Member of the Executive Committee at Royal Dutch Shell, to talk about these issues and more. Maarten joined Shell straight out of university and has held numerous roles across the downstream, trading, and upstream businesses.
Maarten and Jason discussed Shell’s Gas and New Energy Portfolio, one of Shell’s largest businesses. Maarten provided his view of the outlook for global gas demand and also gave his thoughts on the way in which gas and renewables can work together as the world transitions towards a lower carbon future.
Other topics discussed include the integration of BG Group into Shell, Shell's goal to become an integrated power provider, the role that Shell can play to reduce its own carbon footprint -- particularly with respect to methane leakage -- and the role that policy can play in tackling this critical issue.
As energy and climate policy seem to become increasingly polarized at the national level, its often illuminating to look at states that have navigated the balance between oil and gas development and accelerating a transition to a clean energy future. One of those states is Colorado, which has significant oil and gas production but also is a very large renewable energy producer and home to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
On a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with U.S. Senator Mike Bennet (D-CO) to discuss energy and climate policy in Washington, D.C. and his home state of Colorado. They talk about what ‘working across the aisle’ entails in politics, the impacts of climate change on Senator Bennet's home state, and how Colorado is balancing environmental protection with all forms of energy production.
Other topics discussed include Senator Bennet’s thoughts on the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal; the expansion of oil and gas drilling across the U.S.; trade tariffs in the context of renewable energy; and the need for young people to participate in U.S. politics.
The U.S. is becoming a leader in the global market for liquefied natural gas (LNG), amid record gas production at home and growing demand for the fuel abroad. What opportunities does that present for the U.S.? And what challenges follow from this changing global market?
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Meg Gentle, the president and CEO of Tellurian Inc. Bill and Meg got together outside the World Gas Conference in Washington, D.C. to talk about the emergence of the LNG export business in the U.S. and the opportunities for sales of gas in China, Europe and the rest of the world. They also discussed potential obstacles to growth in that business, including the prospect of trade wars between the U.S. and other nations. Finally, they touched on her status as one of the relatively few women at the top of the corporate ladder in the oil and gas business, and whether she thinks that will change any time soon.
Oklahoma is an important state for the US oil and gas industry. Excluding federal offshore areas, Oklahoma was the nation's fifth largest crude oil producing state in 2016. It is one of the top natural gas producing states in the nation, accounting for 7.6% of U.S. gross production and 8.7% of marketed production in 2016. Over the last ten years crude oil production has more than doubled to 533,000 barrels per day. However, the ramp up in oil and gas production has also brought environmental concerns. In 2017, Oklahoma became the second largest producer of wind energy in the U.S., generating around 30% of its net electricity.
On a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Mike Teague, Oklahoma’s Secretary of Energy, and Environment. Mike Teague, who was appointedto this role in 2013, is responsible for coordinating over 30 state agencies, boards, compacts, and commissions in advancing policies that encourage energy production and environmental stewardship throughout Oklahoma. Prior to his appointment, Mike served in the US Army for 30 years.
Mike and Jason caught up recently to talk about the outlook for the oil & gas industry in Oklahoma and the important role that renewables could play in meeting energy demand in the state in the coming years. Mike also touches on his career transition from being a Colonel in the Army to leading Oklahoma’s Office of Energy & Environment. Other topics include environmental issues associated with shale production in Oklahoma, notably seismic activity.
Private equity groups have been increasingly active in financing energy projects in the US. KKR, a US investment firm, launched its Real Asset’s Energy Platform in 2012. The platform has since become a major player in asset-based oil and gas investing and today manages over $8.5 billion in energy and infrastructure related assets.
On a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Claire Farley, who serves as Vice Chair of Energy, advising KKR's Energy Group. Prior to joining KKR in 2011, Ms. Farley was Co-Founder and Co-CEO of RPM Energy LLC, a privately-owned oil and natural gas exploration and development company, which partnered with KKR. Throughout her career, Claire has held numerous roles in the oil and gas industry and started her career at Texaco.
Claire and Jason caught up in Houston to discuss her views on the outlook for the energy industry, particularly shale oil and gas, and how private equity investors work around the cyclical nature of the industry.
Other topics include the underrepresentation of women in the oil and gas industry; the role that private capital can play in investing in clean energy and ‘impact investing’, the role that technology can play in the industry (e.g. artificial intelligence and re-fracking), and the growing demand for low carbon energy sources.
For the past 67 years, BP has published its Annual Statistical Review of World Energy, a consolidated data set that spans primary energy, countries, and regions. On a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Spencer Dale, who serves as Group Chief Economist at BP, to discuss the key themes and insights from the recently released 2018 report. Prior to joining BP in 2014, Spencer was with the Bank of England, where he was Chief Economist and a Member of the Monetary Policy Committee.
One of Spencer’s key takeaways from the report was that while last year (2017) was an exceptional year for renewables, little progress has been made to reduce coal consumption. In fact, coal continues to demand 38% of the total fuel share mix, the same percentage as 30 years go. As a result, Spencer highlights the importance of targeting efficiencies in the power sector to reduce the consumption of high-carbon energy sources. Spencer and Jason also discussed interesting trends such as the fall in energy intensity and the pivotal roles that China and India will continue to play in the global energy market in the years ahead.
Other topics discussed include Spencer’s thoughts on peak oil demand and what peak oil means for oil majors like BP; the role that EV’s will play in the transportation sector; and the role of sources like natural gas and nuclear power in the energy transition.
The resilience of the U.S. electric grid in the face of threats from cyber and physical attacks, not to mention natural disasters, continues to stir up concerns in Washington, D.C. and across the country. Among the questions is how big of a role the government should play in responding to these risks.
In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Bill Loveless interviews Bruce Walker, the assistant secretary for electricity at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), whose office is responsible for developing electricity policy, including that pertaining to the reliability and resilience of the grid.
Bill met Bruce at DOE headquarters to talk about the Trump Administration’s rationale in addressing the grid’s ability to recover from a disaster, and how its approach differs from past policies. Among other topics, they discuss: steps DOE has already taken on behalf of grid resilience, including a new office to better respond to cyber, physical and natural threats to electric infrastructure; lessons learned from the devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico; and a recent Administration memo reported in the press that lays out a plan some view as unnecessary support for coal and nuclear plants.
On a special episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, guest host Dan Yergin and Ryan Lance discuss the state of the oil and gas industry. Dan is the Vice Chair of IHS Markit. He is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Prize and a member of the Center on Global Energy Policy's advisory board. Ryan is the Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips and has more than 32 years of experience in the oil and natural gas industry. Ryan is a petroleum engineer and has served across a wide range of executive assignments at ConocoPhillips including responsibility for international exploration and production, technology, downstream strategy, integration, and regional responsibilities in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and North America.
Dan and Ryan sat down in front of a live audience in April at CGEP's 5th annual Global Energy Summit. They discussed opportunities and challenges facing the oil and gas industry including, the outlook for global oil supply, regulation in the U.S., climate change and geopolitical risk across the world.
India is one of the most compelling and complex stories in the world when it comes to energy and the environment. With an economy that has doubled in size since 2010 and a population on track to overtake China’s in the next 10 years, India is challenged to meet its growing demand for energy, and to do so in a sustainable way.
On a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Ajay Mathur, the director general of The Energy & Resources Institute, a New Delhi-based think tank, and a member of the Indian Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change. Ajay served as director general of India’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency, and head of the climate change team at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. He has been a key climate change negotiator for India, and was the nation's spokesperson at the climate negotiations in Paris in 2015.
Ajay and Bill caught up outside the Center on Global Energy Policy’s recent 2018 summit in New York to talk about the outlook for energy supply and demand in India, including the critical role that a combination of solar energy and storage could play in his country in coming years.
They also touched on some of the striking energy contrasts in India, a country where many go without access to affordable electricity despite the nation’s abundant installed electric capacity. Among other topics, they discussed India’s ongoing heavy dependence on coal for electricity, the outlook for nuclear energy, and India’s goals for reducing emissions under the Paris agreement.
On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Richard Rhodes, a Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author, and author of newly released book, Energy: A Human History, to discuss what history can tell us about our current energy transition.
In the book, Richard takes us on a journey through the history behind energy transitions over time—from wood to coal to oil to electricity and beyond – by looking back on five centuries of progress, through such influential figures as Queen Elizabeth I, Benjamin Franklin, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, and others.
Richard and Jason discuss this history and more, including the successes and failures that led to various energy innovations, the threat of climate change, and how to provide affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for a growing global population.
The list of controversial energy issues in Washington is a long one. But none may be as complicated to understand and difficult to resolve as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a U.S. mandate that gasoline and diesel fuel contain specified amounts of ethanol and other biofuels.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Dr. Jim Stock to discuss this complex policy and its future. Jim is the Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy at Harvard University, a former chair of the Harvard Economics Department and a non-resident fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy. Jim also served on the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2013 to 2014, where his portfolio included the RFS.
Bill and Jim spoke just days after a May 8 meeting at the White House where President Trump, senators from Iowa, Texas and Pennsylvania, and the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture reached a tentative deal that would resolve a longstanding dispute between oil refiners and the biofuels industry, especially producers of corn-based ethanol. But the devil’s in the details, as Jim says on the podcast. And as Bill and Jim met, the Trump administration had not yet explained how it would follow up on the meeting.
For related reading, we invite you to check out Jim's recent paper, “Reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard”, published in February 2018 with the Center on Global Energy Policy.
On a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), to discuss key issues influencing the global energy sector.
Dr. Birol previously served as Chief Economist and Director of Global Energy Economics at IEA. He also spent the early part of his career as an oil market analyst at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna. He is the Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s (Davos) Energy Advisory Board and serves as a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on ‘Sustainable Energy for All.’ Forbes Magazine has named him one of the most powerful people influencing the world’s energy scene today.
Fatih and Jason spoke in front of a live audience at CGEP's 5th annual Global Energy Summit in New York City. Among many topics they discuss, several include:
On a special episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, Jason Bordoff and Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, Dan Brouillette, discuss energy policy under the Trump Administration. This conversation took place in front of a live audience at the Center on Global Energy Policy's fifth annual Global Energy Summit in April.
Deputy Secretary Brouillette has three decades of experience in the public and private sectors. He served as Senior Vice President and head of public policy for USAA, and Vice President at Ford Motor Company where he led the automaker’s domestic policy teams and served on its North American Operating Committee. He served as Chief of Staff to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, and he was Assistant Secretary of Energy for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs in the George W. Bush administration. He is also an Army veteran.
Jason and Deputy Secretary Brouillette covered a range of topics including the outlook for nuclear energy, shifts in natural gas markets and U.S. energy exports, as well as what "energy dominance" and "energy realism" mean to this administration and how they are guiding policy.
U.S. oil production from shale will reach nearly 7 million barrels a day in May – roughly the same amount as the entire U.S. production of oil five years ago. Nearly half of this shale output will come from the Permian Basin, the stretch of shale in west Texas and southeast New Mexico.
To understand how the shale revolution is impacting the U.S. energy industry and what's in store for the future, host Bill Loveless sits down with Scott Sheffield on a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange. Scott is the chairman and former CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, a Texas-based independent and a leader in shale development in the Permian Basin. He is also an advisory board member at the Center on Global Energy Policy.
Scott and Bill discuss the phenomenal growth in the Permian and other shale regions, capital discipline among independent producers, and the challenges they face in terms of insufficient pipeline capacity and rising costs. They also touch on U.S. energy policy, including the Trump administration’s efforts to deregulate aspects of the oil industry and efforts to expand production offshore and on federal lands.
Last week, in a move that took some by surprise, a leading designer and maker of solar products, SunPower, announced plans to buy SolarWorld Americas and its factory in Oregon, and build a domestic manufacturing presence. This move came after the Trump administration's decision earlier this year to impose a 30% tariff on most solar imports into the United States.
To discuss whether the Trump Administration's trade policy is working when it comes to solar manufacturing, and what an acquisition of SolarWorld would mean for the industry, host Bill Loveless speaks with Tom Werner, president and CEO of SunPower, on a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange.
Tom and Bill discuss whether the tariffs are likely to trigger a revival in U.S.-based production, the outlook for solar power in the U.S. and government policies that support it.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics are just a few of the digital trends that are poised to disrupt the energy system in the coming decades. These developments have the potential to improve productivity, safety and sustainability, but they also raise important questions about privacy and security.
To understand how digitalization is re-shaping the energy system and what this means for policy, markets, business, consumers, and the environment, host Jason Bordoff sits down with David Turk on a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange. Dave is Acting Director for the Sustainability, Technology and Outlooks Directorate and the Head of the Energy Environment Division at the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Prior to his time at IEA, Dave served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Climate and Technology at the U.S. Department of Energy where he helped coordinate international climate change and clean energy efforts. He served as Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change at the U.S. Department of State, and he was Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and the Senior Director for Congressional Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council.
Among many topics Dave and Jason discuss, several include: the impact of digital innovation on the transport sector and decarbonization efforts; the opportunities and challenges of digital technology to energy deployment in the developing world; and the role of privacy, cyber security and economic disruption in the energy sector.
Energy efficiency is one important component in the larger playbook to reduce carbon emissions and ward off the damaging effects of climate change. It is also an essential element of a reliable and affordable energy system.
On a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Kateri Callahan, the president of the Alliance to Save Energy, one of the leading advocates of policies that promote energy efficiency in the U.S.
The Alliance, founded by Senators Charles Percy and Hubert Humphrey in 1977 following the oil embargo of that decade, has supported various programs to save energy, including efficiency standards for appliances and motor vehicles, building codes for construction, and government funding for energy-saving technologies.
Bill met with Kateri days before she stepped down as president of the Alliance after heading the organization for 14 years. They talked about the past year in Washington – one that Kateri said was like no other in her tenure at the alliance – and how energy efficient the U.S. has become over the past 40 years.
They also discussed the political climate for energy efficiency now with the Trump administration and Congress; new campaigns by the Alliance to promote energy efficiency in transportation and electric power; and public awareness of the potential for saving energy.
To address the threat of climate change and reduce carbon emissions, many business leaders, economists, and policymakers--including prominent Republicans--have pushed for a carbon tax in the United States.
On a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Glenn Hubbard, the Dean of Columbia Business School, to understand how a carbon tax might be designed and what effects it would have on the U.S. economy and business. Glenn and Jason also discuss the outlook for the U.S. economy, President Trump's tax reforms and tariffs on solar, steel and aluminum, as well as the role of business to mitigate climate change and how companies will address their exposure to climate risk.
Glenn has been a Columbia faculty member since 1988. In addition to his role as Dean, he currently serves as Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics. He was previously Chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush where he was instrumental in drafting President Bush’s tax plan. Glenn has also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and he chaired the Economic Policy Committee of the OECD.