Wildfire season is upon us. With nearly 80% of the Western US in extreme drought, fires have already scorched more than five and a half million acres this year – double the number of acres compared to this time last year.
Those fires pose an increasing risk to electric utilities. And no utility feels the urgency of that risk more than PG&E.
In 2018, PG&E equipment sparked the most devastating wildfire in California history – and it forced one of America’s largest utilities into bankruptcy protection.
The story isn’t likely to be an anomaly. As journalist Katherine Blunt writes in her new book, California Burning, the story is “a harbinger of challenges to come” as climate change threatens the grid built for a different era.
Katherine joins Bill Loveless on the show this week. She’s a Wall Street Journal reporter who covers the power industry. Her team’s reporting on PG&E was honored with multiple awards for business investigative journalism.
Bill spoke with her about the PG&E saga – and what it tells us about the risks facing utilities and the power grid in a rapidly-warming world.
Even as prices decline, the tight oil market is once again raising economic and political worries in Washington.
In July, President Biden traveled to the Middle East to meet with several Arab leaders – including Saudi Arabia’s King and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Expanding oil supply was high on the list of the administration’s diplomatic objectives.
Saudi Arabia says it has limited ability to add extra oil to the market, and it’s not clear whether OPEC+ countries agree on the path forward for oil output. All of this comes at a time of enormous uncertainty in the global outlook for oil, due to fears of a recession and concerns over Russian supply.
Now all eyes are on OPEC+ in early August. Will Biden’s overtures have any consequential impact on production?
This week, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Dr. Karen Young and Bob McNally to discuss what’s next for oil markets.
Dr. Young is the newest Senior Research Scholar at the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy. She was a Senior Fellow and Founding Director of the Program on Economics and Energy at the Middle East Institute.
Bob McNally is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy. He’s the author of Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices, published by Columbia University Press. In his full-time capacity he is the founder and President of Rapidan Energy Group, an independent energy consulting and market advisory firm based in the Washington DC area.
In the wake of Biden’s controversial trip to the Middle East, Jason spoke with Karen and Bob about what it tells us about the state of the global oil market in the months ahead.