Solar energy has enjoyed extraordinary growth in recent years, thanks largely to declining costs and commercial investments, but public policy has played a big role, too. So, what lies in store for solar in 2019, amid increasingly ominous reports about climate change and ongoing debates over the role of federal and state policies?
In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Abigail Ross Hopper, the president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the U.S. trade group for solar energy. Abby joined SEIA in 2017 after having run the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management at U.S. Department of the Interior during the Obama administration. Before that, she served as director of the Maryland Energy Administration, energy adviser to then Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and deputy general counsel with the Maryland Public Service Commission. As such she’s learned firsthand how policy is made at the state and federal levels, and now represents the US solar industry.
Bill and Abby sat down at her office in Washington to discuss the condition of solar energy in the U-S today, the prospects for federal and state policies governing this sector, and the opportunities and challenges for leaders in this field like Abby.
Cybersecurity is becoming a bigger focus for the United States as it strives to protect critical infrastructure from foreign adversaries and other intruders, and no infrastructure is more vital than that involving the delivery of electricity and other forms of energy.
In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Karen S. Evans, a recently confirmed assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Evans heads DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response, which was established earlier this year by Energy Secretary Rick Perry to place more accountability at the agency for these critical responsibilities.
Bill stopped by DOE headquarters in Washington this fall to discuss with Evans what the establishment of her new office means for DOE’s responsibilities in cybersecurity and what she will focus on in the days ahead. They also talked about the type of risks facing the U.S. electric grid, how the government and industry are responding to them.
They also discussed the relationship between Evans' cybersecurity responsibilities and a broader effort at DOE to promote resiliency throughout the U.S. grid, including coal, nuclear and other types of electric power generation.
As DOE’s highest official for cybersecurity, Evans brings a long record of experience in information technology, having served as Administrator of the Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology (IT) at the Office of Management and Budget during the administration of George W. Bush. More recently, she was national director of the U.S. Cyber Challenge, a public-private program to help address the skills gap in the cybersecurity field.
The recent passing of President George H.W. Bush has spurred an interest in his energy and environmental policy and its legacy. In the latest Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Jason Bordoff sat down with William Reilly, who was the EPA Administrator during President George H.W. Bush’s Administration.
Bill recounts the significance of the environment in Bush’s presidential campaign, which led to landmark environmental policies, and discusses the challenges, opportunities, and significance of the Clean Air Act of 1990. He describes what it was like working for the Administration, including internal divisions on the environment. Jason and Bill discuss other notable milestones like the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Global Change Research Act of 1990, and the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Jason and Bill also cover carbon pricing, climate policy, and what needs to happen to encourage both sides of the aisle to work together in solving these pressing issues.
In addition to his time with the Bush administration, Bill served as a senior staff member at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, under President Nixon. President Clinton appointed him as a founding Trustee of the Presidio Trust of San Francisco. President Obama appointed him co-chair of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the Future of Offshore Drilling. Bill served as president of World Wildlife Fund and later chairman of the board. He has also served in the U.S. Army. He’s currently on a number of private sector and non-profit boards. Bill holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Yale University, a Law Degree from Harvard, and a Master’s Degree from Columbia University.
The Trump Administration’s approach to energy, climate change and environmental policy shows a marked departure from the path put forward by the previous administration. On this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sat down in Washington to discuss the outlook for federal energy and environmental policy with Michael Catanzaro, the former Special Assistant to President Trump for Domestic Energy and Environmental Policy at the National Economic Council. He is now a Partner at CGCN Group, an issue advocacy and lobbying firm in Washington, D.C.
Jason and Michael discuss the current and future policy outlook and the potential impact of the recent U.S. midterm election, in which the Democrats took over the majority in the House of Representatives. Michael and Jason also discuss the Trump administration’s policy priorities, approach to climate change, whether opportunities exist for bipartisan cooperation, and the changing impact of falling oil prices on the U.S. economy as the nation has become a net energy exporter.
Michael also shared his thoughts on the respective roles of states and federal government in shaping energy and environmental policy, the future of the electricity grid and the implications of renewables on other power generation sources.
OPEC and non-OPEC countries will meet in Vienna this week to decide whether to cut oil production to prop up tumbling prices. This comes amid high output from Saudi Arabia, Russia and the U.S. and slowing demand for oil in several non-OECD countries.
On this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff talks to Paul Horsnell, global head of commodities at Standard Chartered Plc, a multinational banking and financial services company based in London. Previously, Paul was managing director and head of commodities research at Barclays Capital, head of energy research at JPMorgan and assistant director for research at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.
Paul and Jason got together in Vienna ahead of the OPEC meeting to discuss the decline in oil prices over the past few months, the impact of rising U.S. shale oil production, President Trump’s pressure on Saudi Arabia for lower prices, Russia’s role in decisions on oil production and other market developments. They addressed, too, what might be expected of this significant meeting.