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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: Page 7
Jun 6, 2019
The U.S. natural gas industry is enjoying a burst of good fortune lately, with record production, a growing share of electric power markets and exports to other countries. But with increasingly dire reports of climate change, gas, like coal before it, is getting more scrutiny for its carbon and methane emissions.
 
In this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Karen Harbert, the President and CEO of the American Gas Association. Karen’s new to the job, having joined AGA in April after heading the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute. Before that, she was an Assistant Secretary for Policy and International affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy under President George W. Bush and a Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean at the U.S. Agency for International Development.
 
In the private sector, Karen worked to develop infrastructure in countries in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Her arrival at AGA comes as the gas industry like other energy sectors vies to establish its role in U.S. energy market amid growing concerns over climate change. Karen and Bill talked about that as well as the Green New Deal, methane, carbon taxes, carbon sequestration and more.
Jun 3, 2019

What are the legal pathways to reducing carbon emissions? On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Michael Gerrard, Founder and Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. Michael Gerrard is a professor of environmental law, climate change law, and energy regulation, and a member and former Chair of the Faculty of the Earth Institute at Columbia. He is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, two of which were named Best Law Book of the Year by the Association of American Publishers. His latest effort, “Legal Pathways to Decarbonization in the United States,” is an extensive policy encyclopedia that presents a menu of recommendations for policymakers, the legal community, and students to enable and accelerate decarbonization in the U.S.

In a wide-ranging conversation, they discuss the playbook of legal options available to cut emissions and tackle the challenge of climate change - from fuel-switching to carbon capture, carbon pricing and identifying emission reduction pathways in trade and tax policy, they dissect policy recommendations for moving the U.S. toward a 2-degree pathway in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

May 27, 2019

Wintershall DEA became the largest independent oil and gas group in Europe following a merger last month. It bridged the international exploration and production of oil and gas company, DEA, with the energy unit of the German chemical group BASF, which now has operations in Europe, Russia, Latin America, and the MENA region.

On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff talks to Maria Moræus Hanssen, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy CEO of Wintershall DEA. From 2018, she was Chairwoman of the Management Board and CEO of DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG. Maria Moræus joined DEA after serving as CEO of ENGIE E&P and has held numerous management roles at Aker, Statoil, and Hydro.

In an interview conducted prior to the Wintershall DEA merger, Jason sat down with Maria Moræus at CERAWeek in Houston, Texas. They discussed the potential merger, the future of off-shore oil drilling and exploration in Europe, the push for corporate responsibility on sustainability across the oil and gas sector, addressing the challenge of climate change and more.

May 20, 2019
The world has seen remarkable advances in clean energy technology in recent years, from increasingly cheaper ways to produce solar and wind energy to breakthroughs in energy storage that suggest even bigger advances soon. So, what will it take to keep that pace going?
 
In this episode, host Bill Loveless joins Arun Majumdar, a materials scientist and engineer whose distinguished career spans the classroom, the laboratory and Washington. Arun is now a member of the faculty at Stanford University’s Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering and the co-director of the Precourt Institute for Energy, which coordinates research and education across all seven schools and the Hoover Institution at Stanford.
 
In 2009, Arun was nominated by President Obama to become the founding director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) at the U.S. Department of Energy, and later served as an acting Under Secretary at DOE.
 
After leaving DOE and before joining Stanford he was Vice President for Energy at Google. And among other stops in his career, he taught at the University of California at Berkeley and worked as an associate director at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
 
Bill caught up with Arun outside the Center on Global Energy Policy’s recent Summit in New York to talk about advances in clean energy technology and the roles that government and the private sector have played in those developments. Along those lines, they looked specifically at ARPA-E, which he helped make a model of innovation and which the Trump administration would abolish.
 
They also talked about some of the new dynamics in energy policy in Washington, including the Green New Deal.
May 13, 2019
The U.S. Department of Energy is a powerhouse for energy research and development, serving as the lead government agency for fundamental scientific research and the nation’s biggest supporter of basic research in physical sciences. And that’s not all. Since its founding in 1977, DOE has also contributed significantly to breakthroughs in energy technologies like solar power and the production of oil and natural gas from shale formations.
 
In this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Paul Dabbar, the Under Secretary for Science at the Department of Energy. Paul is DOE’s principal adviser on fundamental energy research, energy technologies, and science, with oversight of programs that include nuclear and high-energy particle physics, basic energy, advanced computing, fusion, and biological and environmental management.
 
He also supervises most of DOE’s national laboratories, including technology commercialization activities at those crown jewels of innovation.
 
Bill and Paul sat down at the Columbia Global Energy Summit in New York to discuss the changing energy landscape and how the Trump administration prioritizes resources when it comes to energy research and science. They also talked about some of the technologies he finds most exciting now and how his previous experiences as an investment banker and a nuclear submarine officer influence his work at DOE.
 
Before his nomination by President Trump in 2017, Paul was managing director for mergers and acquisitions at J.P. Morgan, where he handled transactions involving power plants and utilities. All told, his experience at the bank involved more than $400 billion in investments across all energy sectors. 
 
Before that, he was a nuclear submarine officer, having graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and later earning an M.B.A. degree from Columbia University.
 
He’s had a hand at research, too, having done work at the North Pole while in the Navy and at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory after leaving the Navy. He’s also served on the DOE Energy Environmental Management Advisory Board and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
May 6, 2019

When it comes to the Green New Deal, Washington is still trying to sort out what the movement means and what steps can be taken to address the dangers posed by climate change. And a similar case is happening in some states, like New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a Green New Deal and bold steps he says are necessary to achieve it.

In this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Alicia Barton, the president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. NYSERDA is a public corporation dedicated to energy innovations that would improve New York’s economy and environment – and an agency that will play a big part in the state’s Green New Deal.

Bill sat down with Alicia outside the Center on Global Energy Policy’s summit in New York recently to talk about the governor’s energy agenda, including its call for an ambitious ramp-up in renewable energy deployments in New York as the state aims for 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040 and ultimately the elimination of its carbon footprint. It’s not without controversy; some state lawmakers and some interest groups say Cuomo’s Green New Deal doesn’t go far enough. But one way or another, the Empire State seems likely to follow through on a plan of this sort.

Alicia has held public and private sector leadership roles in clean energy for more than a decade, including serving as co-chair of the energy and clean tech practice at the law firm Foley Hoag, chief operations officer of the global utility business unit at SunEdison, and CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, a publicly supported agency in Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts, she was also the deputy commissioner for policy and planning at the Department of Environmental Protection and the deputy general counsel at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

During their conversation, Bill and Alicia talked about various elements of New York’s Green New Deal, like its ambitious goals for offshore wind power, distributed solar energy and energy storage, and what her agency and the rest of the state’s government, not to mention the private sector, can do to meet them. They also touched on the growing significance of states like New York acting on energy and climate change in the absence of policy in Washington.

Just as important was their discussion of women in energy and the gender imbalance still seen across much of the energy apparatus in the U.S.

Apr 29, 2019

Big changes are taking place in Chile when it comes to energy, with a strong push for renewable energy in recent years. And there’s more to come, according to the country’s president, Sebastián Piñera.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Susana Jiménez, Chile’s energy minister, who’s overseeing her government’s plan to change significantly the way the nation produces and uses energy. In the process, she aims to make her nation a model for not only South America but also the world.

The fifth largest consumer of energy in South America, Chile is only a minor producer of fossil fuels and therefore has relied heavily on energy imports. That’s changing, however, as Chile looks increasingly to solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy. In fact, renewable energy now accounts for about 18% of the nation’s electric power capacity, up from 5% just five years ago.

Minister Jiménez and Bill talked about this during her visit to the Center on Global Energy Policy in New York as well as her government’s plans to step up its transformation to cleaner forms of energy, all of which will require even more investment by the private sector and innovations in government regulation.
They also discussed Chile’s commitments to address climate change by reducing the carbon intensity of its economy. A good sign of that vow is her government’s agreement to host the next round of U.N. climate talks in December after Brazil reversed its plans to host the meeting.

Susana Jiménez holds a Business Degree and a Master's Degree in Economics from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She also obtained a Diploma in Free Markets from the same institution and a Master's Degree in Humanities from Universidad del Desarrollo. She has been a professor at Universidad de Chile, Universidad Central, Universidad Finis Terrae, and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Until 1997, Ms. Jiménez was an economist with the Research Division of the Central Bank of Chile and subsequently she served as economic assistant in the representative office of the Chilean Treasury Ministry in New York. From 2000 to 2002 she was head of research at consulting firm Zahler & Co. Subsequent to that, she was an associate economist with consulting firm P. Rojas y Asociados, where she became a partner in 2009.

In May 2010 she joined the thinktank Libertad y Desarrollo (LyD) as a senior economist in charge of research on energy, environment, regulation, and free markets and water resources. She was promoted to deputy director of LyD in January 2017, a post she served in until she was appointed government minister.

Apr 25, 2019

Neil Chatterjee, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, joins Phil Sharp, a former U.S. representative for the state of Indiana and a member of the advisory board at the Center on Global Energy Policy, on this special edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, recorded live at the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit.

They discuss the technological and market changes that have impacted the regulatory landscape of U.S. energy, the efficiencies of a competitive market, threats to the resilience and security of power-grids, and FERC’s role in addressing the threat of climate change.

Chairman Chatterjee was confirmed to the FERC by the Senate in 2017, serving as Chairman from August to December 2017 and from October 2018 to present. Prior to joining, he was energy policy advisor to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Before this, he worked as a Principal in Government Relations for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and as an aide to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce. He began his career in Washington, D.C. with the House Committee on Ways and Means.

On April 10, the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit in New York City hosted top politicians, business leaders, and academics for a variety of lively discussions on what to expect in changes to the oil and gas landscape, the latest research on powering the low-carbon transition, navigating U.S. political fields to advance climate solutions, how to assess risk and build grid resilience, and much more.

Apr 24, 2019

Vicki Hollub is the President and CEO of Occidental Petroleum -- one of the largest oil and gas exploration and production companies in the U.S. and a major player in the Permian Basin. She joins host Jason Bordoff at the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit to discuss carbon pricing, the battle for dominance in the Permian Basin, what’s next for LNG, and the business case for advancing a lower carbon future.

Vicki Hollub is the first woman to head a major American oil company, serving as an industry leader since she joined Occidental in 1982. In her 35 years with the company, she has held management and technical positions with responsibilities on three continents, including overseeing operations in the United States, Russia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. She is the chair of the U.S. Secretary of Energy Advisory Board and a member of the World Economic Forum and the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative.

On April 10, the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit in New York City hosted top politicians, business leaders, and academics for a variety of lively discussions on what to expect in changes to the oil and gas landscape, the latest research on powering the low-carbon transition, navigating U.S. political fields to advance climate solutions, how to assess risk and build grid resilience, and much more.

Apr 22, 2019

Heidi Heitkamp, former Senator of North Dakota, joins host Jason Bordoff at the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit to discuss the state’s oil and gas market growth that has made North Dakota the second leading oil-producing state behind Texas, how to create a friendly tax environment for more renewables, and the value of energy conservation for addressing climate change.

Heidi Heitkamp is a graduate of the University of North Dakota and Lewis & Clark College. She has held prominent positions in both the public and private sectors - first as an attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency, then as State Tax Commissioner of North Dakota, and as the state’s Attorney General in 1992. She also led the Dakota Gasification Company, a major private synthetic natural gas producer. In 2012, she was the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate in North Dakota. She is currently a visiting fellow at the Institute of Politics of the Harvard Kennedy School.

On April 10, the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit in New York City hosted top politicians, business leaders, and academics for a variety of lively discussions on what to expect in changes to the oil and gas landscape, the latest research on powering the low-carbon transition, navigating U.S. political fields to advance climate solutions, how to assess risk and build grid resilience, and much more.

Apr 22, 2019

In this Columbia Energy Exchange, Center on Global Energy Policy Inaugural Fellow David Sandalow is joined by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee at the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit for a conversation on how to bring clean energy lessons from Washington State to Washington, D.C., what the role of nuclear power and carbon capture sequestration should be in the U.S. energy landscape, and the value of perseverance and optimism for delivering on “a goal of a clean energy economy.”

Governor Inslee is a fifth-generation Washingtonian and graduate of the University of Washington and the Willamette University College of Law. He began his political career as a State Representative in 1989, then served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Washington’s 4th and 1st Districts until 2012. He has been Governor of Washington since 2013.

On April 10, the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit in New York City hosted top politicians, business leaders, and academics for a range of lively discussions on what to expect in changes to the oil and gas landscape, the latest research on powering the low-carbon transition, navigating U.S. political fields to advance climate solutions, how to assess risk and build grid resilience, and much more.

Columbia University does not support or oppose candidates for political office and any opinions expressed are not those of the University.

Apr 15, 2019

On this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by María Fernanda Suárez, Minister of Mines and Energy in Colombia, where she manages the country's efforts to boost oil production, promote sustainability, and diversify their power portfolio to promote energy security and meet growing demand. She leads Colombia’s efforts to diversify its electricity sector from its current, largely hydro-powered composition, which is threatened by El Niño conditions.

Recorded at CERAWeek, they discuss the future of Colombia’s oil and gas sector, particularly the role shale will play, its energy transition and added renewables to its electricity sector, and the impact of the crisis in neighboring Venezuela on Colombia.

CERAWeek is an annual event that brings together 4,000 industry leaders and policymakers from more than 75 countries.

Apr 8, 2019

Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat has had a rich career in government: working in four Democratic administrations over the course of 50 years, his most senior roles include Chief Domestic Policy Advisor for President Carter and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and Ambassador to the European Union for President Clinton.

Eizenstat advised President Carter through the 1979 oil crisis and through a period of substantial progress on energy and conservation - they doubled the size of the national park system, passed major federal policies that helped increase renewable fuel production and decrease dependence on foreign oil, and even symbolically installed a solar panel on the White House.

During the Clinton Administration, Eizenstat served as chief U.S. negotiator for the Kyoto Protocol, which created the international treaty to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. He also gave host Jason Bordoff his first job in government, straight out of grad school.

On this episode, Jason and "Stu" reunite to discuss his new book, titled "President Carter: The White House Years." They unpack Eizenstat's unique insights into President Carter's stamp on energy and environmental policy, including deregulating oil and gas markets, conservation efforts, the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, protecting Alaska's lands, and much, much more.

 

Apr 1, 2019

Climate change is gaining attention fast in Congress as the Green New Deal makes waves. It’s a top priority for Democrats, although they may differ over the exact approach for curbing carbon emissions. And even among Republicans there seems to be more talk about backing cleaner forms of energy.

In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Representative Paul Tonko, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, the place where legislation on climate change begins.

In fact, the New York Democrat is well on his way to crafting bills. He’s unveiled a set of principles that will guide his actions and laid out a two-part strategy for legislation, starting with relatively modest measures with potential for widespread support, and then moving on to greater challenges, like putting a price on carbon.

Bill met with Chairman Tonko in his office the other day, amid a flurry of activity over climate change at both ends of Congress. Senate Republicans had just voted to reject the Green New Deal even as a leading Republican announced legislation for a New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy. And in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was spotlighting a measure reaffirming the United States’ commitment to the Paris climate agreement.

Bill asked the chairman what he made of all this and how he intended to navigate his way forward on this controversial issue. They talked about the Green New Deal, his legislative intentions, his look back on past attempts by Congress to deal with climate change, and his very personal insights into the phenomena taking place.

Mar 25, 2019

Innovation, digitalization and distributed energy solutions are driving major shifts in the energy market, putting power in the hands of the consumer and fundamentally changing their relationship with energy. 
 
On this special edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Iain Conn, Chief Executive of Centrica, a multinational energy and services company supplying electricity and gas to businesses and consumers across the UK, Ireland and North America. Recorded at Innovation Agora at CERAWeek, they discuss the trajectory of the energy transition in relation to thoughtful policymaking and technological transformation.

Iain Conn served as chief executive of BP’s Downstream division from 2007 to 2014, overseeing production and sales for BP’s fuels, lubricants and petrochemicals businesses. Since being appointed CEO of Centrica in January 2015, he has helped the company navigate low oil prices, grow new business sectors and shift toward a more consumer-focused model.

Innovation Agora is an open marketplace for the exchange of ideas on energy innovation, emerging technologies and solutions to our energy challenges. It is a part of CERAWeek - an annual event that brings together 4,000 industry leaders and policymakers from more than 75 countries.

Mar 18, 2019

The U.S. economy kicked into high gear in 2018, and the results were evident in nearly every energy sector including overall demand, power generation, energy prices and carbon emissions. So, what does this mean for the movement to sustainable energy?

In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Lisa Jacobson, the president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a coalition of companies and trade associations representing the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors.

Every year, the council along with Bloomberg New Energy Finance puts out “Sustainable Energy in America Factbook,” providing annual information on key trends in the U.S. energy sectors. The 2019 edition of the report, the seventh compiled, illustrates the extent to which the U.S. energy picture is changing and what it indicates for the nation’s economy.

Lisa has headed the Business Council for Sustainable Energy for about 15 years, after having worked on Capitol Hill as a congressional aide. She is a member of the Department of Energy’s State Energy Efficiency Steering Committee, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee, and the Gas Technology Institute’s Public Interest Advisory Committee.

She has represented energy industries before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and testified before Congress. In fact, she had just appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee regarding the 2019 factbook when she and Bill spoke at her office in Washington.

They talked about the latest findings in the various energy sectors as well as a couple of questions the report raises about energy productivity in the U.S. and the absence of federal policy on climate change.

Mar 11, 2019
The U.S. is undergoing a boom in energy production as oil, natural gas and renewable energy set records for output, and electric utilities increasingly shift to cleaner fuels for power generation.
So, what does this mean for jobs in energy sectors that are flourishing as well as some that are not?
 
In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to David Foster, the author of the newly released “U.S.
Energy and Employment Report 2019.” It’s the product of the Energy Futures Initiative, a Washington-based think tank headed by former U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and the National Association of State Energy Officials.
 
The report, previously compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy, looks at employment in 2018 in five sectors: fuels; electric power generation; transmission, distribution and storage; energy
efficiency; and motor vehicles. And it compares those numbers with those of the previous year.
 
As Bill and David discuss, the findings are generally positive, showing, for example, that employment in the traditional energy sectors, like fuels, electric power, and transmission, distribution
and storage, as well as energy efficiency, increased 2.3% in 2018, adding almost 152,000 jobs, nearly 7% of all new jobs nationwide.
This comes as the U.S. energy system continues to experience an evolution in which market forces, new technology, tax policy, and declining federal regulation affect the changing profile of the
energy workforce.
 
David Foster is a distinguished associate at the Energy Futures Initiative, and previously was a senior adviser to Secretary Moniz from 2014 to 2017, where he designed the report when it was
done at DOE.
 
Before that, he was the founding executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance, a partnership of unions and environmental organizations, and director of a United Steelworkers district covering
13 states. Now, he also sits on the boards of Kaiser Aluminum and Oregon Steel Mills.
 
The talk is timely as Washington and the rest of the U.S. grapple over the best way to address climate change, with the Green New Deal attracting so much attention.
Mar 4, 2019

On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Lord Adair Turner, Senior Fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Chair of the Energy Transitions Commission, and former Chair of the UK Parliament's Climate Change Committee. In November 2018, the Energy Transitions Commission published a report entitled ‘Mission Possible: Reaching net-zero carbon emissions from harder-to-abate sectors by mid-century’. The report outlines the possible routes to fully decarbonize cement, steel, plastics, trucking, shipping, and aviation – which together represent 30% of energy emissions today and could increase to 60% by mid-century. Lord Adair Turner and Jason discuss the report in detail – its findings, recommendations, and implications for the energy transition. We also hear Lord Adair Turner's thoughts on an array of issues, including climate change, the proposed Green New Deal, and the broader role of government in the energy transition.

Feb 25, 2019

Freeing the world of poverty is the predominant goal of the World Bank, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. And one of the most important factors in achieving that objective is providing reliable and affordable electricity to the more than 1 billion people around the world who lack it now.

In this episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Riccardo Puliti, the top energy official at the World Bank. As a senior director and head of the Energy and Extractives Global Practice at the bank, Riccardo leads a team of 400 professionals who develop policies and financing in these industries, with a portfolio of some $40 billion.

Bill and Riccardo met recently at his office at World Bank headquarters in Washington, two years after their first conversation on the Columbia Energy Exchange, when Riccardo was still new to the job. They talked about what’s happened since then, including stepped-up efforts at the bank to promote access to renewable energy in remote regions like Africa and Southeast Asia and to address the threats of climate change.

Always an optimist, Riccardo finds satisfaction in the progress that’s been made to expand access to cleaner types of energy, though he acknowledges more needs to be done. And he’s keen on the potential of new technologies like energy storage. But he also makes clear the bank’s concerns over climate change, whose potential impact is of growing concern to nations around the world.

Of course, he and Bill were meeting as the World Bank awaits a new president, following the resignation of Jim Yong Kim earlier this year and the Trump administration’s nomination of David Malpass, an official at the U.S. Treasury Department, to replace him. Will energy and climate policies change under the bank’s new leadership? Not surprisingly, Riccardo responded carefully, saying, “We have to wait until the new president comes and then see what kind of dialogue takes place.”

Prior to joining the World Bank, Riccardo was the managing director in charge of energy and extractive industries at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He started his career at Istituto Mobiliare Italiano in 1987 before moving to Banque Indosuez and NM Rothschild where he worked in equity capital markets, always in the energy and infrastructure sectors. 

Feb 18, 2019

The debate in Congress over climate change has heightened now that Democrats control the House of Representatives and make the issue one of their top priorities in 2019. But how much can they accomplish in the face of resistance from the Trump Administration and a Republican-led Senate? And what specifically will they work on?

In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Bill Loveless sits down with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, one of the most outspoken advocates of policies to address climate change in Congress. He often addresses the topic on the Senate floor with speeches he calls “Time to Wake Up!” And he’s been a sponsor of legislation to put a price on carbon emissions, too.

But the Rhode Island Democrat is also known for reaching across the political aisle to work with Republicans on bills to promote nuclear energy and carbon-capture technologies.

Bill met with Senator Whitehouse in his office to talk about what Democratic control of the House might mean for the climate debate in Congress this year, including what he makes of the movement for a Green New Deal. Their talk took place a couple of days before one of his colleagues, Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., unveiled a resolution outlining goals of a Green New Deal. It also came as Senator Whitehouse and seven other Democrats and Republicans re-introduced legislation to help find profitable uses for captured carbon dioxide.

The conversation touched as well on his views on corporate spending on election campaigns and lobbying, and their impact on efforts to advance or block new climate policies in Congress.

Sen. Whitehouse is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law. He was Rhode Island’s director of business regulation before being nominated by President Bill Clinton to be Rhode Island’s U.S. attorney in 1994. He was elected attorney general of Rhode Island in 1998, a position he held until 2003. In 2006, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he is a member of the Budget Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Finance Committee.

He and his wife Sandra, a marine biologist and environmental advocate, live in Newport, R.I.

Feb 9, 2019

Since its debut last year, the Green New Deal has created quite a stir in Washington. Some have praised it as the most ambitious national project since Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, while others have dismissed it as a green dream. Earlier this week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) partnered to introduce a preview of this bold new effort to address both economic inequality and climate change.

In this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by one of the architects of the Green New Deal, Rhiana Gunn-Wright. Rhiana is the Policy Director for New Consensus, the progressive policy shop advancing the deal. She breaks down the thinking behind this sweeping plan, which calls for 100% clean energy as well as affordable housing and high-quality healthcare. They discuss the speed, scale and scope of the Green New Deal, and the collective spirit driving the new policy.

Feb 4, 2019

Venezuela's political crisis has reached a boiling point amid growing efforts to unseat authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro. The country has been caught in a downward spiral for years, with growing political discontent fueled by skyrocketing inflation, power cuts, and shortages of food and medicine. U.S. officials have been hesitant to apply sanctions on Venezuelan oil, fearing they would exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the country and potentially push up fuel prices in the U.S. But with Maduro and National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó locked in a struggle for control of the streets and the military, it seems they’ve decided it’s now worth the risk.

Media reports are conflicting, some presenting this as a total oil trade cut-off with the United States, but the government shut-down and the rapid nature of the decision-making on Venezuela leaves many experts questioning just how far the sanctions go, and what that might mean for oil markets.

On this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Center on Global Energy Policy experts Distinguished Visiting Fellow Minister Mauricio Cárdenas, Senior Research Scholar Antoine Halff, and Senior Research Scholar Richard Nephew to discuss what prompted the sanctions, and their impact on trade, fuel supply and prices.

Jan 28, 2019

On this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Francesco Starace, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Enel. Enel is a multinational manufacturer and distributor of electricity and gas, and one of Europe’s leading energy companies, serving more than 73 million end users in 35 countries across 5 continents.
 
Broadcasting from the 9th Annual International Renewable Energy Agency Assembly in Abu Dhabi, Jason and Francesco discussed Enel’s focus on innovation in renewable energy. Enel has made significant investments in technology and digitalization to respond to a rapidly changing energy market, creating the foundation for intelligent grids, smart cities, and electric transportation.
 
Jason and Francesco discussed the role of natural gas in the energy mix, and changes brought by the global clean energy transition - from the impact of electrification on energy demand and carbon emissions to workforce and labor impacts. Francesco also shared his thoughts on the outlook for renewables, innovation in the energy sector and the future of nuclear.

Jan 21, 2019

2019 is already shaping up as a tumultuous one in Washington, D.C., with divided government, a government shutdown and 2020 presidential campaigns already taking shape. And when it comes to energy and climate policy, there’s a lot of uncertainty, too, including what to make of calls for a Green New Deal.

In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with two of the most prominent energy and climate reporters in Washington: Steve Mufson of The Washington Post and Amy Harder of Axios. 

Steve has worked at The Post since 1989, covering the White House, China, economic policy and diplomacy, as well as energy. Earlier, he spent six years at the Wall Street Journal in New York, London and Johannesburg. Amy has been with Axios for two years, with her column, Harder Line, a regular feature of the news service. Previously, she worked for the Wall Street Journal and the National Journal. Amy is also the Inaugural Journalism Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute.

Bill, Steve and Amy discussed what lies in store for energy and climate policy and regulation in Washington in 2019, with Democrats now in control of the House of Representatives and making climate change a priority for action this year. They also delved into the emergence of the Green New Deal among Democrats and how that concept may complement mainstream policy objectives of the party or conflict with them. 

Among other topics, they explore legislation aimed at OPEC’s role in oil markets and bills meant to promote carbon-capture and nuclear technologies, as well as whether lawmakers or the Trump administration will take steps to temper the impact on fuel prices of new shipping emissions regulations in 2020.

There’s talk of regulation, too, and what tops the agendas at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Finally, Bill takes a few moments to talk about the Columbia Energy Journalism Initiative, a program at the Center on Global Energy Policy that helps energy journalists deepen their understanding of complex issues like markets, policy, science and geopolitics. And while at it, he asks Steve and Amy for their advice for budding energy journalists.

Jan 9, 2019

Concerns over the reliability and resilience of the U.S. electric grid have heightened over the past year or so, as policymakers, regulators and operators look closer at what it takes to assure adequate supplies of power at the least cost. And the issue is likely to remain one of the top energy priorities in Washington and state capitals in 2019.

On this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Bill Loveless sits down with Andy Ott, the president and CEO of PJM Interconnection, the largest power grid in North America. PJM coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest as well as in the District of Columbia. Andy joined PJM 21 years ago and has been responsible for the design and implementation of PJM wholesale power markets. He became CEO in 2015.

Bill and Andy got together in Washington, D.C. to talk about PJM, which is attracting close attention, given its size. Their discussion took place just after PJM released a study examining fuel security for the system in coming years and amid efforts in Washington, D.C. and some states to keep old nuclear and coal plants from shutting down.

They talked about that study, which included both good news and some warnings, as well as the challenges of accommodating new policies and regulations without disrupting the economic efficiency of the power market. They also looked at wholesale power markets in general and how they have weathered the passage of time since the U.S. government authorized their establishment some 20 years ago. After all, more than half the country is served by such markets. Can they still meet their original objectives of keeping the cost of electricity down while at the same time promoting innovation?

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