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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: News and Politics
Sep 6, 2016

In 1976, Amory Lovins wrote a 10,000-word essay in Foreign Affairs that proposed a radically different path for America's energy future. Rather than continuing to rely on nuclear and fossil fuels, Lovins suggested what he called the “soft energy path” – one of efficiency and renewable energy. It has been 40 years since Lovins, now Co-founder & Chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, wrote his seminal article. CGEP Director Jason Bordoff sits down with Amory to discuss the evolution of hard and soft energy paths and the choices now facing the US and the world. 

Aug 16, 2016

The changes in U.S. oil and natural gas markets over the past 10 years have been among the most dramatic in the energy world. The development of technologies that have allowed U.S. companies to produce oil and gas directly from source rocks transformed the energy narrative of the U.S. from a major importer to, increasingly, an energy exporter. Along the way the shale boom provided a boost to the domestic economy, altered geopolitical relationships and raised serious and important environmental and climate questions. 

On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange our guest is Rusty Braziel, President and Principle Energy Markets Consultant for RBN Energy, LLC and author of The Domino Effect: How the Shale Revolution Is Transforming Energy Markets, Industries, and Economies. Almost two years into an oil price collapse that has hit the U.S. shale industry hard, Braziel and host Jason Bordoff discuss the current state of oil and gas markets in the U.S. as well as future expectations for domestic production, transportation, storage and demand and their influence on physical markets. Among the items they discuss:  

  • The response of U.S. shale production to the global oil price collapse, including factors that have dramatically improved well productivity;
  • What the future holds for oil and gas prices and the factors that will drive price movements;
  • How global geopolitical events, such as a supply contraction in Venezuela or the Middle East, might impact the oil market;
  • The relative market influence of U.S. shale production compared to the Middle East;
  • The impact that electric vehicles might have on the oil market and demand growth in the long term;
  • And many more.
Aug 8, 2016

Electric power companies across the U.S. are going through a period of unprecedented change. Low-cost natural gas, new technology, rapid expansion of renewables, and initiatives to reduce carbon emissions are some of the major factors shaking up the electricity sector. Moreover, for some power companies, keeping their nuclear power plants alive is another big challenge.

On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, we welcome Chris Crane, the president and CEO of Exelon Corp., a Fortune 100 energy company with the most utility customers in the U.S., and the nation’s leading operator of nuclear reactors.

Crane talks with host Bill Loveless about the ways in which he is piloting his company through this transformation. And on a timely note, they discuss a new clean energy standard in New York that would keep Exelon's nuclear plants in the Empire State running, and perhaps set a standard for other states to follow. Other topics include:

  • How Exelon distinguishes between trends and fads in a changing market;
  • Whether more acquisitions of regulated utility companies are on Exelon’s agenda;
  • The future of Exelon’s nuclear fleet and what it would take for Exelon to build another nuclear plant;
  • Efforts by state regulators to balance the interests of rooftop solar homes and power companies;
  • And many more. 
Aug 1, 2016

Turning on a light or filling a glass with water from the kitchen tap are two of the simple conveniences we often take for granted. While energy and water are essential resources, the ways in which they are interconnected is generally not well understood. If a country or region lacks one of these resources, that can limit its ability to access supplies of the other. Producing energy can impact water supply and quality. And producing useable water where its needed takes a lot of energy. Population and economic growth, climate change, government policies, and much more can all further strain access to water and energy, which is becoming ever more critical as developing economies seek access to them for their citizens. 
 
On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Dr. Michael Webber, Deputy Director of the Energy Institute and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, to discuss the energy-water nexus, which is the topic of his recent book, Thirst for Power: Energy, Water, and Human Survival.  Among the topics of they cover: 

  1. How are our energy and water systems connected? In what ways is water used in energy production, transportation and consumption? And how is energy used in the lifecycle of water used by society?
  2. What role does policy play in the energy-water nexus? What should policy do to address potential vulnerabilities--from energy production to climate impacts to aging infrastructure?
  3. Are there parallels to be drawn from designs for carbon pricing? How should we differentiate between water used for basic survival vs. luxury purposes?
  4. How can we manage the impacts of energy production on water quality and supply, specifically from shale oil and gas production?
  5. How can new technologies enhance protection of water quality, improve efficiency of water use in energy systems, and reduce energy intensity of water systems?
  6. How will the impacts of climate change affect the energy-water nexus?
  7. And many more.
Jul 25, 2016

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: 

  1. What is the state of the US electric grid today?
  2. What is the role of FERC and the federal system in terms of electricity regulation?
  3. How do changes in information technology and networked systems impact cybersecurity risks? What role is FERC playing to improve the security of a digital grid?
  4. How is the penetration of renewable energy in the resource mix changing the economics of electricity?
  5. Are there new or different reliability issues as a result of the increased use of natural gas in the power sector?
  6. What role can or should the Federal government play to mitigate physical risks to the grid, whether from natural disasters, extreme weather or simply aging infrastructure?
  7. And many more.

 

Jul 18, 2016
China is the world’s largest energy producer, energy consumer and greenhouse gas emitter. Many analysts believe that this year, China will surpass the US to become the world’s largest oil importer. China has the world’s largest shale gas resource and leads the world in the deployment of solar panels. 
 
On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host David Sandalow sits down with Fu Chengdu, who recently retired as Chair of Sinopec, a Chinese state-owned oil and gas company and the second largest company in the world according to Fortune Magazine. Among the topics they discussed: 
  • What impact will China have on global oil markets in the months ahead?
  • Can China develop its enormous shale gas resource?
  • What steps is China taking to clean the air in its cities and address climate change?
  • And many more.

 

This conversation was originally recorded on July 1, 2016.

Jul 14, 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:

  • Is the agreement delivering to all sides the benefits it provided for?
  • How has Iran’s oil sector responded to the lifting of nuclear sanctions?
  • What impediments face oil companies looking for business opportunities in Iran?
  • What’s in store for the next president when it comes to the Iran agreement?

 

 

Jul 11, 2016

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:

  • The oil shortages of the 1970s, and how they drove the development of legislation;
  • The politics of energy, and how regions, more than party identify, influenced votes;
  • His close relationship with former Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), one of the most powerful figures in energy policy; and
  • How the landscape for energy has changed in the U.S., with less concern over supply and more focus on the environment.
  • And more.
Jul 5, 2016

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:

  1. What will oil and gas production and price volatility look like in the short- and medium-term? What is the role of the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve in terms of energy security concerns in the oil market today?
  2. Why hasn't the US experienced a significant economic benefit from low oil prices?
  3. Has the alleged “golden age of gas” been stalled and does it make sense to consider natural gas as a bridge toward a cleaner energy system?
  4. How does EIA incorporate technological innovation and changing cost structures in its projections?
  5. How important is policy – e.g. the Clean Power Plan — to the outlook of the US energy mix compared to market fundamentals?
  6. What are the key highlights of EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2016?
  7. And many more.

 

This podcast was originally recorded on June 9, 2016. 

Jun 28, 2016

Since the 1930’s when oil was first discovered in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) -- Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain -- have been key players in the global oil market. While their vast endowment of oil resources has enhanced the region's economic and geopolitical importance, it has also linked its fate to the cycle of oil prices. The rapid pace of change in the energy sector today, from the rise of US shale and the historic collapse in oil prices to the growing international commitment to address climate change, poses key challenges for the GCC. How the countries deal with these issues will have profound implications for them and the world as a whole.
 
On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, Jason Bordoff, the director of the Center on Global Energy Policy, sat down with Nader Sultan, the former CEO of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, who is now a Senior Partner in the company F&N Consultancy as well as the Director of the Oxford Energy Seminar. The discussion touched on a range of topics, including:  

  1. How are GCC countries adapting to the lower oil price environment? 
  2. What are the implications of Saudi Arabia's ambitious National Transformation Program?
  3. How has the Paris climate agreement affected GCC business plans and long-term energy strategies?
  4. Does OPEC still matter for the world in terms of oil production decisions? Is Saudi Arabia still a swing producer? 
  5. How do geopolitics weigh on OPEC relations and decisions, especially given the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia?

 

This conversation was originally recorded on June 14, 2016.

Jun 20, 2016

Seven years ago, David Sandalow pitched an idea that’s turned into one of the biggest international gatherings on clean energy. While an assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy, Sandalow proposed to then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu an annual meeting of energy ministers from around the world to help accelerate the transition to clean energy technologies. The first Clean Energy Ministerial was held in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2010.

Recently, the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial took place in San Francisco.  Delegates from 23 governments and the European Union participated.  Thousands of business leaders, NGO leaders and members of the public attended the public meetings and trade show at the Ministerial. Sandalow, the Inaugural Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy, was in San Francisco and, not long after returning, joined Bill Loveless on the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast. Among their topics:

  • What new steps did U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and other ministers take to give more momentum to clean energy?
  • How did December’s historic climate agreement in Paris influence this meeting?
  • Bill Gates and other investors in the Breakthrough Energy Coalition attended the ministerial and met separately. What did they do?
  • What should we look forward to when the ministers meet next year, in Beijing?
Jun 13, 2016
Ever since the industrial revolution, energy has been fundamental to national security, geopolitics, and positions of power in the world. Today is no exception. Russian adventurism in Ukraine; the fight against ISIS and the conflict in Syria; changing dynamics in the Middle East; the COP21 climate agreement—these and many more examples show the complexity in the nexus between geopolitics, energy and global financial markets. On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff discusses the geopolitics of energy with Sir John Scarlett, Former Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).  Their conversation can be found here. Among the topics discussed: 
  1. What is president Vladimir Putin trying to achieve with his foreign policy agenda? Does Russia use natural gas as a weapon?
  2. How might the economic reform underway in Saudi Arabia unfold? What opportunities and risks does it present to energy markets?
  3. What does the future hold for the Middle East given ISIS actions, the return of Iran to the global market, the ongoing conflict in Syria, and instability in Iraq? What security concerns has the collapse in oil prices brought about to producing and importing countries? 
  4. From a security and geopolitical perspective, how will the Paris climate agreement shift key risk considerations, if at all?
  5. What are the most significant implications of a potential Brexit?
  6. And many more.
May 31, 2016

Breakthrough technologies can transform the way that energy is produced and consumed. But pursuing them is often beyond the means of the private sector for a host of reasons. Enter the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy, a program at the US Department of Energy founded in 2009 that supports high-potential, high-impact technologies with funding, technical assistance and market preparedness. On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Dr. Ellen Williams, Director of ARPA-E, to discuss the future of energy technology.

 

This conversation was originally recorded on May 26, 2016.

May 24, 2016

When it comes to energy, Colorado has it all, with an abundance of oil, natural gas and coal, as well as solar and wind power. With all of those options to choose from, the Rocky Mountain state has seen its share of both controversy and compromise, and may offer a lesson for other states responding to new energy and climate challenges.

On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Bill Ritter, a former Democratic governor of Colorado, about his new book: “Powering Forward: What Everyone Should Know About America’s Energy Revolution.” Governor Ritter joined the podcast from the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, which he launched in 2011.

 

This interview was originally recorded on May 20, 2016.

May 9, 2016

The Center on Global Energy Policy hosted the 2016 Columbia Global Energy Summit on April 27. Structured as a half-day forum, the Summit included keynote remarks, interviews and plenary conversations with senior energy and climate leaders focused on key issues and questions at the intersection of energy policy, financial markets, the environment and geopolitics.  

On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sat down with three of our Summit participants: (0:48) Bill Reilly, a former head of the US Environmental Protection Agency; (17:12) Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund; and (35:29) Ralph Izzo, CEO of the Public Service Enterprise Group, owner of the largest utility in New Jersey.

 

 

These interviews originally took place on April 27, 2016.

May 2, 2016

The electric utility business in the USis undergoing fundamental changes, with new forms ofcompetition, new technologies and new demands to provide powerthat's cleaner than ever before while maintainingreliability and keeping costs down. For utility executives,that means different ways of doing business. 

On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host BillLoveless sits down with Mary Powell, President and CEO ofGreen Mountain Power, who since assuming her role in 2008 hasbeen shifting the Vermont utility from simplyproviding electricity to offering a broader rangeof services, including saving energy. She joined the programfrom New York after spending time with studentsfrom the Center's Women in Energy Program.

 

This interview was originally recorded on April 21, 2016.

Apr 25, 2016

Japan ranks as the world's largest liquified natural gas importer, second largest coal importer and third largest net importer of oil. In the years immediately after its nuclear fleet was shutdown, Japan's imported fuel costs swelled, raising concerns that its environmental ambitions might be scaled back. Market dynamics have now shifted again, however, with the collapse of oil prices, the global LNG market looking to be glutted in the years to come and international attention shifting to climate change after the Paris COP21 agreement. On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Dr. Ken Koyama, Managing Director, Chief Economist, Strategy Research Unit, for the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, to discuss these and other aspects of Japan's energy and climate landscape.

 

This interview was originally recorded on April 7, 2016.

Apr 20, 2016

Around the world energy markets are in flux. Laszlo Varro, the new Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency, has the job of making sense of it all, from the historic oil price collapse and outlook for coal to sharply declining renewable costs and the historic Paris climate agreement. On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Mr. Varro to discuss these and other transformations happening across the global energy system.

 

This podcast was originally recorded on April 14, 2016.

Apr 11, 2016

What's happening in China? Its a question top of mind for everyone trying to make sense of the energy and climate outlook. Has Chinese coal demand really peaked? How soon might we see peak carbon emissions? What is China doing on climate policy and how will it ramp up those policies post-Paris? Will China continue to be the great driver of global energy demand? The news coming out of China often raises as many questions as it answers. On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Dr. Sun Xiansheng who just stepped down as President of the Economics and Technology Research Institute, the in-house research arm for China National Petroleum Corporation, the state energy giant.

 

This interview was originally recorded on April 1, 2016.

Apr 4, 2016

On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Victor Abate, Chief Technology Office and Senior Vice President at GE, to discuss how technology is changing the ways we produce and use energy -- "from dinosaurs to dining room tables."

 

This podcast was originally recorded on April 1, 2016.

Mar 28, 2016

Energy markets are in transition. The oil market is in the midst of one of its steepest price collapses in history, the first-ever shipment of US LNG from the lower 48 recently set sail, renewable costs are falling dramatically and nearly 200 nations came together in Paris to agree to change the energy mix as we know it. On top of these changes the global economic outlook is as uncertain as ever. How are we to make sense of all these changes and what they mean for the future of the energy landscape? To help answer that question, host Jason Bordoff sat down with Christof Ruhl, Global Head of Research at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, on the latest episode of Columbia Energy Exchange. 

 

This interview was originally recorded on February 21, 2016.

Mar 21, 2016

The 2014-2015 oil price collapse may have reached its bottom with the recent price rally. Myriad factors will shape the outlook, from talk of an OPEC production “freeze” and geopolitical risk to the resilience of US shale output and demand uncertainty. On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sat down with Bobby Tudor, CEO of Tudor Pickering Holt & Co., to discuss the critical issues facing the US oil patch and global oil markets right now.



This podcast was originally recorded on February 25, 2016.

Mar 14, 2016

The evolving energy landscape is raising many questions about how best to build energy infrastructure across the United States to transport electricity via power lines and oil and gas through pipelines. On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, Tony Clark, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), sat down with host Bill Loveless to discuss the future of energy transmission.

 

This interview was originally recorded on March 10, 2016

Mar 1, 2016

Iranian elections on February 26, 2016 appear to have empowered reformist and moderate-leaning candidates, notwithstanding attempts on the part of hardline members of the Iranian government to steer the elections decisively in their own favor. On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, Richard Nephew, Director of the Economic Statecraft, Sanctions, and Energy Markets program at the Center on Global Energy Policy, joins us to discuss the implications of the elections for Iranian domestic politics, Iran's return to the oil market, and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).



This podcast was originally recorded on February 29, 2016.

Feb 24, 2016

On February 22, 2016 the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its Medium Term Oil Market Report, projecting how global oil supply, demand and trade will evolve over the next five years at a time of historic upheaval in the global oil market. And oil is just one of the ways the global energy system is being transformed by new technologies, shifts in traditional supply and demand dynamics and growing concerns about climate change and energy poverty. On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, sat down with host Jason Bordoff to discuss these and other changes shaping the global energy outlook.

 

This podcast was originally recorded on February 23, 2016.

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