The National Academy of Engineering has called the American power grid the “supreme engineering achievement of the 20th century.” A network of generation, transmission and distribution, the grid brings reliable and affordable electricity virtually all the time to virtually all Americans, providing a service essential to the nation’s economy, security and wellbeing. But the structure and management of the grid are both changing rapidly. Information technology and increasingly networked systems, distributed generation and more intermittent energy sources, smart grids and new technologies that link our appliances, cars, and smartphones to the grid, provide great benefits but also pose potential risks. Threats of cybersecurity, physical security, natural disasters must be addressed, as well as local opposition to new infrastructure and simply aging infrastructure and limited resources. All of these make maintaining the reliability and affordability of electricity services a daunting challenge.
On this episode of Columbia energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Cheryl LaFleur, Commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the grid today. Among the topics of they address:
This conversation was originally recorded on July 1, 2016.
One year ago, the United States and its partners concluded their negotiations with Iran on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement intended to reduce the threat from Iran's nuclear program in exchange for economic sanctions relief. Implementation of the agreement began in January 2016. Richard Nephew, program director for economic statecraft, sanctions and energy markets at the Center on Global Energy Policy, who was the lead sanctions negotiator for the United States from 2013-2014, has written a report on six months' implementation of the nuclear deal, particularly with respect to sanctions relief. He concludes that sanctions relief has been stalled as much by concerns over residual sanctions as domestic regulatory factors and low oil prices globally.
On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Nephew to discuss his report and the status of the Iran agreement's implementation at 6 months. Among the topics they discuss are:
U.S. energy policy has gone through many twists and turns over the past 40 years, as the nation transitioned from gasoline lines to an abundance of oil, natural gas and renewable energy. No one has been more involved in shaping and analyzing energy policy than Phil Sharp, having spent 20 years as one of the leading lawmakers on the topic and the last 11 as the President of Resources for the Future, Washington D.C.’s oldest think tank devoted exclusively to analysis of energy and the environment. Sharp recently joined the Center on Global Energy Policy as a Fellow.
On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Sharp about his time as a lawmaker in D.C., when Congress worked on a bipartisan basis to enact policies addressing concerns over the production of energy and how we consume it. During the conversation Sharp recalls some of the biggest battles over energy policy on Capitol Hill, the dramatic changes in U.S. energy fortunes, and what we can learn from these experiences, including:
Global energy markets are in the midst of a historic transition, from the Paris climate agreement and rapidly falling renewable energy costs to the collapse of oil prices and the US shale boom. The changing dynamics highlight why collecting and analyzing the fundamentals of the global energy market is critical for developing sound energy and economic policy. This task has only become more difficult with the pace of technological change in the energy sector, growing climate policy efforts, and the shifting dynamics of geopolitics.
On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Adam Sieminski, Administrator of the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), to discuss future trends in energy and the way EIA collects and analyzes data. Among the topics they discussed:
This podcast was originally recorded on June 9, 2016.