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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 8
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?

Jan 4, 2019

The challenges facing nuclear energy in the United States are mounting. Just a decade ago there were predictions that nuclear power was poised for a renaissance, but the sector is struggling to stave off decline. Plants are closing and there are no plans for any large-scale new projects. 

In this episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Maria Korsnick, the president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry’s trade association in Washington, D.C. A nuclear engineer by training, Maria joined NEI two years ago from Exelon Corp., where she was senior vice president for Northeast Operations, responsible for nuclear plants in Maryland and New York. Before that, she was the chief nuclear officer and acting CEO at Constellation Energy Nuclear Group.

Maria and Bill talked about the early retirements of nuclear power plants and the efforts by states and the Trump administration to prevent more reactors from going off-line. They also explored the extent to which nuclear power’s reputation for carbon-free emissions could become a bigger rallying cry for the industry as the outlook for addressing climate change darkens. The discussion also touched upon whether Republicans and Democrats in Congress might put aside partisan differences in 2019 to agree on steps to promote nuclear power, including the development of small modular reactors, given the results of the midterm elections. 

Dec 31, 2018

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.

Dec 24, 2018

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.

Dec 17, 2018

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.  

Dec 10, 2018

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.

Dec 3, 2018

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.

Nov 26, 2018

A new president takes office in Mexico on December 1. Andrés Manuel López Obrador easily won Mexico’s presidential election on July 1 as a populist representing a party he founded four years ago. His nation’s energy future is among the critical issues he will face.

On this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless interviews Amb. Carlos Pascual, a senior vice president at IHS Markit, where he concentrates on worldwide energy issues and international affairs. Carlos served as U.S. ambassador to Mexico from 2009 to 2011 and to Ukraine from 2000 to 2003. At the U.S. State Department, he established and directed the agency’s Energy Resources Bureau as a special envoy and coordinator for international affairs from 2011 to 2014. He is also a non-resident fellow at CGEP.

Bill caught up with Carlos recently during a trip Carlos made to Washington, D.C., from his home base in Mexico City. They discussed, among other topics:

  1. This significant change in Mexico’s leadership and its serious implications for the nation’s energy future, especially its proud but troubled history as an oil producer;
  2. The election campaign of President-elect López Obrador and his political party, the National Regeneration Movement, or MORENA, as its known, and particularly his views on energy reforms implemented under his predecessor, President Enrique Peña Nieto;
  3. Whether López Obrador will continue to make Mexico’s oil and natural gas activities open to foreign participation and what steps the new leader thinks are necessary to revive Mexico’s national oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex; and,
  4. Energy trade between the U.S. and Mexico and what may lie in store.
Nov 19, 2018

Back on November 4, a raft of U.S. sanctions on Iran snapped back into force, six months after the Trump Administration withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal. How Iran, U.S. allies, and U.S. competitors react to the stresses brought about by Trump’s decision will have far-reaching impacts for geopolitics, global energy markets and security, and financial markets.

On the latest episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Jason Bordoff discusses the guideposts to watch out for in this space over the next year with Richard Nephew, a senior research scholar at CGEP and the former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the Department of State. In his prior role Richard was instrumental in designing the sanctions regime against Iran as well as the deal that lifted them, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Jason and Richard recently sat down in New York to discuss the current state of sanctions policy against Iran, the practical aspects of enforcement given today's landscape, the role that India and China will play in determining the effectiveness of sanctions implementation, and many other issues. 

Nov 12, 2018

Energy and the environment may not have been leading national issues in the U.S. mid-terms elections, but the results will nevertheless influence public policy in Washington, D.C. and states across the nation. 

On this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Kevin Book, a managing director of the consulting firm ClearView Energy Partners, to talk about the election results, including what they mean for energy and environmental policies and regulations during the next two years of the Trump administration.

As well as heading the research team at ClearView, Kevin is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Petroleum Council, as well as a non-resident senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Prior to co-founding ClearView, Kevin worked as a senior energy analyst for a national investment bank.

In addition to discussing the federal policy landscape looking out to 2020, when Bill and Kevin got together in Washington, D.C. they also looked at key referenda at the state level, including measures calling for a carbon fee in Washington state, higher renewable energy standards in Arizona and Nevada, and restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling in Colorado.

Nov 5, 2018

From economic sanctions, to geopolitical concerns over cross-border infrastructure projects, to an evolving global market for natural gas, a set of shifting dynamics are having a substantial impact on Russia's energy sector. 

To discuss these issues and more, host Jason Bordoff recently sat down with Dr. Tatiana Mitrova, Director of the SKOLKOVO Energy Centre in Moscow and a Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy, on the latest episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange. Tatiana has over twenty years of experience in dealing with Russian and global energy markets, including production, transportation, demand, policy, pricing and market restructuring.

During their conversation, Tatiana and Jason discussed Russia's oil and gas sector, including Russia’s export policies and its relationship with other producer countries. Tatiana also discussed the economic and geopolitical consequences of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. Other topics in their conversation included Gazprom's response to the changing global gas market, Russian gas market liberalization efforts, and the future of Russia's relationship with Saudi Arabia.

Oct 29, 2018

On this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Bill Loveless is joined by Dr. Marcia McNutt, the president of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Bill visited Dr. McNutt, not long after the release of the recent report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to learn more about the latest findings in climate science and the challenges of conveying that message to the public. The mission of the Academy is to promote the use of science to benefit society and inform policy debates.

Dr. McNutt was named president of the Academy in 2016, becoming the first women to hold the position. Previously, she was the editor in chief of the journal Science, director of the U.S. Geological Survey during the Obama administration, and president and CEO of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. She holds a BA in physics from Colorado College and a Ph.D. in earth sciences from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Dr. McNutt and Bill discussed the new UN report as well as the overall state of climate science. They also touched on the public response to warnings about climate change and new steps the Academy is planning to inform the debate. Finally, they addressed one of Dr. McNutt’s top priorities: diversity at NAS. In short, she wants to change the face of this renowned institution.

Oct 22, 2018

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently produced a report showing that the world needs to cut carbon pollution far more quickly than current rates to avoid severe consequences. But how can the global community achieve its climate goals when the conversation around climate change is often hyper-polarized?

To discuss this question and other issues, on the latest episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange host Jason Bordoff sat down with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist, professor of political science, and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. Dr. Hayhoe has been a recipient of numerous awards, including TIME’s 100 Most Influential People and Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers.

Over the course of the conversation Jason and Dr. Hayhoe discussed how she merges her faith as an evangelical Christian and her scientific professional work, what needs to be done to win hearts and minds on the issue of climate change, and the role that renewables and policy can play in addressing this global challenge. 

Oct 12, 2018

During the recent Climate Week in New York City, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), a collection of global energy companies, made several announcements. First, OGCI added three new US-based members -- Exxon, Chevron, and Occidental Petroleum -- bringing the total number of companies in the group to 13. Second, OGCI announced its first collective methane reduction target for member companies, a 0.25 percent leakage rate.

To discuss these issues and more, host Jason Bordoff sat down with Dr. Pratima Rangarajan, CEO of OGCI Climate Investments, on the latest episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange. OGCI Climate Investments is the arm of the organization that is investing more than $1 billion in what they describe as innovative startups to lower the carbon footprints of the energy and industrial sectors. Pratima has previously held various senior positions in the renewable energy field, including roles at GE and Vestas Wind Systems.

During their conversation Pratima and Jason discussed the history of OGCI and the goals of the Climate Investments portfolio. Pratima shared her view on what is needed to achieve deep decarbonization, the role for renewable energy and energy efficiency in that process, and the role of policy in driving down greenhouse gas emissions. 

Other topics discussed include what improvements are necessary to scale carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies, the use of satellites to continuously measure methane emissions, and what the future global energy system will look like if we successfully get on track to meet the necessary emissions reductions targets. 

Oct 8, 2018

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks are becoming increasingly important to judging the credit worthiness of electric utilities, especially as climate change makes their work more challenging. 

On this episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Jim Hempstead, a managing director in Moody’s Global Project and Infrastructure Finance Group. In his role at Moody's, one of the largest credit ratings firms in the world, Jim helps oversee the North American Regulated Utility and Power Team. He also heads Moody’s working group in charge of ESG issues in the Americas.

In the conversation with Bill, Jim makes clear that defining ESG standards is still very much a work in progress for the credit rating firms and the companies they assess for credit worthiness. Nevertheless, ESG metrics are an important means of evaluating the utility sector where shifts are occurring not only due to climate change but also from public policies, market forces, and public attitudes about how electricity is produced and used.  

Jim and Bill also talk about the relevance of government policy and regulation as it relates to ESG and the power sector, including recent developments in Washington D.C. and the enactment of an historic climate law in California. 

Sep 29, 2018

In recent years, renewable energy has seen dramatic cost declines and large annual growth rates. While the share of renewable energy in the global fuel mix has grown, the total volume of energy produced from fossil fuels has increased as well. Are downward trends in cost enough on their own to spur more rapid growth of clean energy? What is the role for public policy, financing models, and innovation efforts across the renewable energy landscape?
 
On a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Adnan Amin, the Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency, to discuss these and other questions. IRENA supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future and serves as a platform for international cooperation. Adnan has more than 25 years of experience in renewable energy, sustainable development, and environmental policy. He joined the Agency in 2010 as Interim Director General and in 2011 was elected as IRENA’s first Director General.
 
Adnan and Jason caught up to discuss IRENA’s mission and the future of renewables on the global market. Adnan discusses why policy still has an important role to play in the energy transition and provides his thoughts on 100% clean energy, EVs, and the role that renewables can play in emerging markets.
 
Other topics discussed include the continued threat of geopolitics, how utilities will need to adapt their business models to a low-cost electricity world, and the sustainability of China’s growth model.

Sep 24, 2018

Innovation has resulted in remarkable advances in clean energy technology with solar and wind energy systems becoming increasingly competitive in the U.S. And more breakthroughs are in the pipeline, as ambitious scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs make headway on products and services that will change the way we produce, use and save energy.

But getting a good head start on innovation is challenging for pioneers, who often lack the execution capacity to design, build and test their inventions on their own. That’s where institutions like Greentown Labs can play a big role.

On this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless visits Greentown Labs in Somerville, MA, and meets with its CEO, Dr. Emily Reichert, to talk about the outlook for clean technology in the U.S. and what programs like hers can do to help entrepreneurs get off the ground. They discuss the pace and scale of clean energy innovation today as well as the investment climate for clean tech and some government programs that aim to help stimulate breakthroughs.

Greentown Labs bills itself as the largest clean tech incubator in the U.S., with 100,000 square feet of space and more than 70 startup companies housed in a renovated century-old industrial complex just outside Boston. There, budding companies are building prototypes, developing business plans and taking other steps necessary for commercial success. Areas of focus among the companies include energy generation, distribution and storage; energy-efficient buildings; transportation, agriculture and robotics.

Sep 14, 2018

Since the discovery of rich oil and gas deposits in the North Sea over 50 year ago, Norway has become one of the leading producers and exporters of petroleum products. A company that has been central to the development of Norway’s natural resources is Equinor, formally known as Statoil.
 
On a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff talks with Eldar Saetre, President and CEO of Equinor. They spoke in Stavanger, Norway, on the sidelines of the recent ONS Conference. Eldar joined Equinor nearly forty years ago and has held numerous roles including CFO and Executive Vice President for Marketing, Processing & Renewable Energy.
 
Jason and Eldar discuss a range of topics including the key innovations and trends impacting the energy industry and the clean energy transition. Other topics include Eldar’s thoughts on global oil and gas markets, the role of geopolitics, and how Equinor thinks about risk. They also discuss the company’s recent name change and the motivations behind that decision. 

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