[Episode #26] – Geoengineering

As the world continues to struggle with the effects of climate change, energy transition is more important than ever as a key pathway to stopping global warming. But will it be enough? Many serious climate researchers think it won’t be, and urge deliberate attempts to directly alter the Earth’s climate by using a number of technologies, loosely grouped under the heading of geoengineering. But geoengineering has not won much support from the climate and environmental communities, and still struggles to gain enough legitimacy to attract sufficient research funding to attempt serious pilot projects that might tell us whether geoengineering holds real promise as a safe, cost-effective, and powerful tool in a portfolio of climate change mitigation strategies.

So what is the real potential of geoengineering to address climate change? How much would it cost? How risky is it, and what justification might there be for taking that risk? And what sorts of attitudinal shifts might be needed within the climate and environmental communities to embrace geoengineering as one of a portfolio of strategies? We attempt to answer all of those questions and more in this interview with a veteran science journalist and author of a recent book on geoengineering.

Geek rating: 5

Guest: Oliver Morton is a senior editor for Essays and Briefings at The Economist. He was previously the Chief News and Features Editor at Nature and editor of Wired UK. He is the author of The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change The World (2015), Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination and the Birth of a World (2002), which was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award; and Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet (2007). His work has been published in New Yorker, National Geographic, Discover, Time, American Scholar, New Scientist, New York Times, Financial Times, Guardian and Wall Street Journal. He has a degree in the history and philosophy of science from Cambridge University and lives with his wife in Greenwich, England. Asteroid 10716 Olivermorton is named in his honour.

On the Web: Oliver Morton’s blog, Heliophage

Recording date: September 9, 2016

Air date: September 21, 2016

Links

Planetary Engineering topic and Briefings section in The Economist

Kari Lydersen, Midwest Energy News, “Amid climate concerns, nuclear plants feel the heat of warming water” (Sep 9, 2016)

Tom Philips, Fiona Harvey and Alan Yuhas, The Guardian, Breakthrough as US and China agree to ratify Paris climate deal” (Sep 3, 2016)

Joe Sandler Clarke, Greenpeace, “Data: All China’s new power demand met by wind and solar last year” (Sep 8, 2016)

Reuters, “Britain to miss its 2020 renewable energy targets – lawmakers” (Sep 9, 2016)

Daniel Fleischmann, Renewable Energy World, “23 States to Rely on Geothermal, Solar, or Wind Power as a Primary Source of Electric Generation in 2016” (Sept 8, 2016)

[Episode #25] – The Energy-Water Nexus

Energy and water are inextricably linked: It takes energy to supply water, and it takes water to supply energy. And those processes consume vast amounts of both. Yet we have only really begun to study the energy-water nexus and gather the data that policymakers will need to understand the risk that climate change poses to both power and water. As rainfall and temperatures continue to depart from historical norms, forcing conventional power plants to throttle back or shut down, we may need to invest more heavily in wind and solar PV just to keep the lights on. Even more radical solutions may become necessary, like switching to more dry-cooled power plants, and desalinating brackish groundwater. Ideally, we would treat the challenges of the energy-water nexus in an integrated way, deliberately reducing our energy and water demands simultaneously as part of our energy transition strategies, but our governments aren’t typically set up for that, and much more basic research and analytical work is needed.

Geek rating: 6

Guest: Jordan Macknick is an Energy and Environmental Analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Jordan leads NREL analysis research on the interface of energy, water, and land issues in policy planning.  In addition, his research addresses energy deployment in developing countries, technology characterizations, and global energy and carbon systems. Prior to joining NREL in 2009, he worked as a research associate at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria. He holds a BA in mathematics and environmental studies from Hamline University and a Master’s of Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

On the Web: NREL: The Energy-Water Nexus

Recording date: August 29, 2016

Air date: September 7, 2016

Links

Jordan Macknick speaking at Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES): The Energy Water Nexus (Mar 15, 2016)

Macknick, et al.,Water Constraints in an Electric Sector Capacity Expansion Model,” NREL/TP-6A20-64270 (Jul 2015)

Cohen and J. Macknick, et al.,Modeling Climate-Water Impacts on Electricity Sector Capacity Expansion,” NREL/CP-6A20-61435, (May 2014)

Macknick, et al., “Transitioning to zero freshwater withdrawal in the U.S. for thermoelectric generation,” Applied Energy, DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.11.028 (Oct 2014)

Macknick, et al., “Operational water consumption and withdrawal factors for electricity generating technologies: a review of existing literature,” Environmental Research Letters, Volume 7, Number 4, (Dec 20, 2012)

Macknick, et al., “The water implications of generating electricity: water use across the United States based on different electricity pathways through 2050,” Environmental Research Letters, Volume 7, Number 4, (Dec 20, 2012)

All Things Considered, NPR, “Nuclear Plant May Be In Hot Water Over Its Cooling System” (Jul 23, 2014)

Chris Nelder, “The energy-water nexus, 2012 edition” (Aug 22, 2012)

Chris Nelder: “The Vulnerabilities of Complex Systems” (Nov 6, 2009)

Joon Hun Seong, PolicyMatters Journal, “New California Emissions Targets Spell Next Step in the State’s Fight against Climate Change” (Sep 1, 2016)

Brad Plumer, Vox, “California is about to find out what a truly radical climate policy looks like” (Aug 29, 2016)

Peter Maloney, Utility Dive, “After tariff changes, storage to play larger role in CAISO demand management” (Sep 6, 2016)

Julian Spector, Greentech Media, “How Much Energy Storage Would Be Needed for California to Reach 50 Percent Solar?” (Aug 24, 2016)

Paul Denholm and Robert Margolis, NREL, “Energy Storage Requirements for Achieving 50% Solar Photovoltaic Energy Penetration in California” (Aug 2016)

Aaron Bloom, et al., NREL, “Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study” (Aug 2016)

 

[Episode #24] – Starting Over

What if we didn’t have to work around the grid we have today, with all of its inertia and incumbents and inflexibility? If we could start over and design the grid from scratch, what would it look like? And once we understood that, how might it change the way we are going about energy transition now, in order to reach that goal more quickly and directly? If what we really want is a grid that is fair, equitable, reliable, efficient, resilient, sustainable, and which serves our climate and social goals, what are the first principles we might work from, and what mechanisms might get us where we want to go? This freewheeling conversation aims to help all of us “think outside the box” a bit more, and imagine what the possibilities might be if we could just start over.

Geek rating: 9

Guest: Jim Kennerly is a Principal Analyst with Sustainable Energy Advantage in Massachusetts, a consulting firm specializing in renewable energy markets and policy, where he focuses on solar and distributed energy markets and policy. Formerly, he was a Senior Policy Analyst at the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center at NC State University, where he researched distributed energy economics, utility regulation and rate design with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, and also worked on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) project. Jim also served as a regulatory analyst to the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and a consultant to the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR program at ICF International.

On Twitter: @kennerlyJ1

On the Web: Jim Kennerly’s LinkedIn profile

Recording date: July 28, 2016

Air date: August 24, 2016

Links

Jim Kennerly and Karl R. Rábago, 51st State, “The ‘Sharing Utility’ – Enabling & Rewarding Utility Performance, Service & Value in a Distributed Energy Age” (Feb 27, 2015)

Gavin Bade, Utility Dive: “How Wellinghoff, Rabago, and other grid reformers would design their own electricity markets” (Apr 9, 2015)

The 51st State

Jeff McMahon, Forbes: “SolarCity And ComEd Discover Shared Vision For Utilities’ Future” (Aug 9, 2016)

Peter Maloney, Utility Dive: “PURPA’s puzzle: FERC workshop revisits 1978 law, embattled as ever” (Jul 28, 2016)

EIA, “Energy-related CO2 emissions from natural gas surpass coal as fuel use patterns change” (Aug 17, 2016)

EIA Short-Term Energy Outlook, August 2016

@DeepwaterWind announcement | Block Island Wind Farm details

Jon Weiner, LBNL, “Annual Wind Power Market Report Confirms Technology Advancements, Improved Project Performance, and Low Wind Energy Prices” (Aug 17, 2016)

Maria Sarado (translated by Christian Roselund), PV Magazine, “Renewables sweep Chile’s electricity market and set historic low prices” (Aug 17, 2016)

Vanessa Dezem, Bloomberg, “Solar Sold in Chile at Lowest Ever, Half Price of Coal” (Aug 19, 2016)

[Episode #23] – Facts and Falsehoods in Energy Transition

Should we tweak our markets to keep nuclear plants alive, or forget about markets and pay for them another way… and do we really need them at all to keep the grid functioning? Is nuclear power really declining because of overzealous environmentalists, or are there other reasons? Is it possible to balance a grid with a high amount of variable renewables and no traditional baseload plants? Is cost-benefit analysis the right way to approach energy transition? How much “decoupling” can we do between the economy and energy consumption, and how can we correctly measure it? Why are we so bad at forecasting energy and economic growth, and how can we do it better? How will energy transition affect the economy?

We explore all of these questions and more, and try to separate fact from falsehoods in this wide-ranging interview. It might even change your mind about a few things.

Geek rating: 8

Guest: Dr. Jonathan Koomey is a Research Fellow at the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University. He is a scholar on a wide range of topics, including energy and environmental issues, and incorporating engineering, economics, public policy, and environmental science.

On Twitter: @jgkoomey

On the Web: http://www.koomey.com/

Recording date: July 14, 2016

Air date: August 10, 2016

Links

Jonathan Koomey: “My webinar for DOE + EPA today: Why we can’t accurately forecast the future” (May 18, 2016)

Jonathan Koomey: “A reply to ‘Historical construction costs of global nuclear power reactors’” (Apr 14, 2016)

Chris Nelder, Quartz: “The real reason to fight nuclear power has nothing to do with health risks” (Jun 17, 2013)

Jonathan Koomey, Energy Policy: “Was the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 the main cause of US nuclear power’s woes?” (Jun 24, 2011)

Alex Gilbert, “Addressing the Plight of Existing Nuclear, Part 1” (July 14, 2016)

Jonathan Koomey: “Moving beyond benefit–cost analysis of climate change” (Dec 2, 2013)

Hirsh, Richard F., and Jonathan G. Koomey. 2015. “Electricity Consumption and Economic Growth: A New Relationship with Significant Consequences?”  The Electricity Journal.  vol. 28, no. 9. November. pp. 72-84.

Koomey, Jonathan, and Samuel Naffziger. 2015. “Efficiency’s brief reprieve:  Moore’s Law slowdown hits performance more than energy efficiency.” In IEEE Spectrum. April.

Koomey, Jonathan G. 2012. Cold Cash, Cool Climate:  Science-Based Advice for Ecological Entrepreneurs. Burlingame, CA: Analytics Press.

James Hamilton: “Why no economic boost from lower oil prices?” (Apr 10, 2016)

James Hamilton: “Oil shocks and economic recessions” (Jan 15, 2011)

Chris Nelder: “Economic Theory and the Real Great Contraction” (Oct 12, 2011)

Paul Krugman: “Notes on the Floating Crap Game (Economics Inside Baseball)” (Nov 30, 2014)

Chris Nelder: “Coming soon: 100% renewable power” (Dec 12, 2012) [On overbuilding RE as a strategy]

Chris Nelder: “The Worst Way to Measure Energy Efficiency” (Mar 21, 2013)

World Coal: “Renewable generation overtakes coal in UK mix” (Aug 2, 2016)

Sophia Yan, CNN Money: “530,000 steel and coal workers are now driving for China’s Uber rival” (Jul 29, 2016)

Ian Urbina, New York Times: “Piles of Dirty Secrets Behind a Model ‘Clean Coal’ Project” (Jul 5, 2016)

Chris Nelder: “Why carbon capture and storage will never pay off” (Mar 2013)

Matt Foster, Civil Service World: “Two perm secs for merged Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy” (Jul 27, 2016)

Tim Knauss, The Post-Standard: NY approves ratepayer subsidy to save Upstate nukes” (Aug 1, 2016)

Brad Plumer, Vox: Nuclear power and renewables don’t have to be enemies. New York just showed how.” (Aug 2, 2016)

Joe Romm, Climate Progress: Nuclear Power Is Losing Money At An Astonishing Rate” (Aug 4, 2016)

Mark Chediak and Jim Polson, Chicago Tribune: “Exelon finds a nuclear ally in New York after Illinois snub” (Aug 3, 2016)

 

[Episode #22] – Can Economics Guide the Energy Transition?

Is conventional, free-market economic theory really up to the task of energy transition and combating climate change? Can we let the so-called invisible hand of the market guide us through the troubled waters ahead, or will we need firm policy direction and deliberate, top-down planning to secure the best outcomes? How useful can free markets be, in transitioning us away from coal, and meeting our climate targets and securing enough carbon-free power to run our societies? Will they be any help at all in supporting technologies like carbon capture and sequestration, or geoengineering? Can negative discount rates help us pay for climate change mitigation projects? And what does the future hold for oil? We discuss all of these questions and more with veteran energy editor Ed Crooks of the Financial Times.

Geek rating: 6

Guest: Ed Crooks is the US industry and energy editor at the Financial Times

On Twitter: @Ed_Crooks

On the Web: Ed Crooks articles at FT

Recording date: June 27, 2016

Air date: July 27, 2016

Links

The Ed Crooks – Chris Nelder oil bet of August 2013

Chris Nelder: “Economic Theory and the Real Great Contraction” (Oct 12, 2011)

Chris Nelder: “Why carbon capture and storage will never pay off” (Mar 6, 2013)

Chris Nelder: “Rethinking Climate Policy: Incentivize, Don’t Penalize” (Jul 13, 2009)

Chris Nelder: “Stranded asset risks are larger than anyone thinks” (Jun 13, 2014)

Naomi Jagoda, The Hill: “Norquist: Backing carbon tax may cost Dems the presidency” (Jul 26, 2016)

David Giambusso, Politico: “Cuomo’s announcement of offshore wind farm takes many by surprise” (Jul 14, 2016)

4COffshore: “LIPA defers decision on Deepwater One” (Jul 20, 2016)

Joshua Hill, ReNew Economy: “Dong Energy to build world’s lowest cost offshore wind farm” (Jul 7, 2016)

Sierra Club: “Great River Energy’s Stanton Station Plant To Retire After 50 Years Of Burning Coal” (Jul 15, 2016)

Gavid Bade, Utility Dive: “With CPP on ice, utilities seek organized market reforms to save baseload plants” (Jun 14, 2016)

[Episode #21] – The Role of Development Banks in Energy Transition

Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) like the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank are publicly committed to ending energy poverty and enabling energy access to the developing world. But their conventional processes and approaches to risk management make it difficult for them to invest in the decentralized renewable energy solutions that have the best chance of lifting people out of energy poverty. So what can be done about it? To find out, we talk with a pioneer in the energy investment and energy access space and ask her some pointed questions about how development bank funding works, and how it needs to be changed.

Geek rating: 5

Guest: Christine Eibs-Singer is the Director of Global Advocacy at Power for All, an organization that advances renewable, decentralized electrification solutions as the fastest, most cost-effective and sustainable approach to universal energy access. She also serves as Senior Advisor to the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, with a focus on energy access finance. Christine has been in the energy access space for 20+ years, starting as the co-founder of E+Co in the mid-90s, the pioneer energy enterprise investment company.

On Twitter: @Power4All2025

On the Web: www.powerforall.org

Recording date: June 15, 2016

Air date: July 13, 2016

Links

Christine Eibs Singer et al., Power for All: “Decentralized Renewables: The Fast Track to Universal Energy Access” (May 2016)

Kristina Skierka, Christine Eibs Singer, Power for All: “’New Deal for Energy a Big Deal for Africa, Off-Grid” (Jan 25, 2016)

William Brent, Decentralized Energy: “Energy Access: It’s the Policy, Stupid” (Jun 14, 2016)

Justin Guay, Huffington Post: “Who will serve the world’s missing middle?” (May 25, 2016)

Sierra Club and Oil Change International: “Still Failing to Solve Energy Poverty, International Public Finance for Distributed Clean Energy Access Gets another F” (Apr 2016)

Giorgio Gualberti, Christine Eibs Singer, Morgan Bazilian, Utilities Policy: “The capacity to spend development funds in the energy sector” (May 2013)

Lighting Global and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2016” (Mar 3, 2016)

Neha Rai, Sara Best and Marek Soanes, IIED, Hivos: “Unlocking climate finance for decentralised energy access”  (Jun 2016)

Women in Clean Energy Symposium, C3E 2013: Advancements for the Developing World Panel Discussion

Jigar Shah, The Huffington Post: “How Solar Investment Can Light Up India” (Jun 14, 2016)

Marc Gunther: “Clean Energy for the global poor” (Jan 20, 2011)

Bella Genga, Bloomberg: “Lumos Plans East Africa Mobile-Power Rollout After Nigeria” (Jun 9, 2016)

Toby Shapshak, Forbes: “New Solar Products To Boost Small Businesses In Africa” (Jun 22, 2016)

Xavier Helgesen, Medium: “Want to End Poverty? Start with Electricity” (Jun 24, 2016)

Jason Deign, Greentech Media: “India Gets Serious About Microgrids” (Jun 23, 2016)

World Bank press release: “New Financing to Bring 2.5 Million Tanzanian Households to the Electricity Grid” (Jun 21, 2016)
World Bank program document for Tanzania grid expansion
Justin Guay’s response

World Bank press release: “World Bank, India Sign Deal to Boost Solar Globally” (June 30, 2016)

[Episode #20] – Grid evolution

Utilities face a host of rapid changes in a what used to be a staid business: new business models, changing supply and demand forecasts, new distributed architectures, new types of resources, new participants in the power grid that they don’t control…yet they still must maintain a highly reliable power grid that operates within fairly narrow parameters.

Meanwhile, difficult questions remain to be solved, about how we’re going to manage our grid power transition, who the winners and losers will be, what destination we’re headed for, what role consumers and “prosumers” will play in the future, and what our reasons are for executing transition the way we do.

We tackle all of these issues in this wide-ranging, very geeky conversation about the “blocks and squiggles” of the grid of the future. Grid power transition, the rebound effect, energy efficiency, utility business models, cutting-edge grid power management considerations, regulation and rate design, electric vehicles as distributed energy resources… they’re all here.

Geek rating: 10

Guest: Eric Gimon is an active researcher and policy adviser on the power sector transformation to a clean, reliable and affordable low-carbon future. His career path has spanned 15 years of researching quantum gravity and high energy physics at some of the world’s top research institutions, to work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley, to an AAAS fellowship with the Department of Energy, and finally to a personal transition to climate and energy policy. Eric is currently a Senior Fellow with Energy Innovation: an energy and environmental consulting NGO. His interests and writing cover everything from residential energy management systems to large grids and wholesale electricity markets.

On Twitter: : @EricGimon

On the Web: Eric’s writing on power sector transformation at Energy Innovation

Recording date: May 27, 2016

Air date: June 29, 2016

Links

Eric Gimon, Greentech Media: “Texas Regulators Saved Customers Billions by Avoiding a Traditional Capacity Market” (June 10, 2016)

Eric Gimon, Greentech Media: “Is the Transmission Grid Ready for Aggregated Distributed Energy Resources?” (Apr 6, 2016)

Eric Gimon and Sonia Aggarwal, Greentech Media: “2016 Is the Year for Wholesale Power Market Reform” (Jan 27, 2016)

Eric Gimon and Michael O’Boyle, America’s Power Plan: “The Future of Demand Response” (Oct 23, 2015)

Eric Gimon and Sonia Aggarwal, America’s Power Plan: “Are Policymakers Driving Blind with Yesterday’s Cost Numbers?” (Jun 1, 2015)

Eric Gimon, Robbie Orvis, Sonia Aggarwal et al., America’s Power Plan: “What Can We Learn From Evolving Renewable Contracts and Grid Operations?” (Mar 23, 2015)

Tim Buckley, IEEFA: “15.5% Drop in China Coal Production Shows Transition Gaining Speed” (Jun 13, 2016)

Chris Nelder, James Newcomb, Garrett Fitzgerald, RMI: “Electric Vehicles as Distributed Energy Resources” (Jun 15, 2016)

Chris Nelder, RMI: “It’s Time to Plan for Electric Vehicles on the Grid” (Jun 15, 2016)

Chris Nelder, RMI: “EVs Charge Ahead with New Technologies and Business Models” (Jun 21, 2016)

Paul Denholm, Erik Ela, Brendan Kirby and Michael Milligan, NREL: “The Role of Energy Storage with Renewable Electricity Generation” (Jan 2010)

Liam Denning, Bloomberg: “Tesla’s SolarCity Eclipse” (Jun 21, 2016)

Liam Denning, Bloomberg: “The Tesla-SolarCity Vision Collision” (Jun 22, 2016)

Brad Plumer, Vox: “California is on the verge of closing its last nuclear plant. Is that really a good idea?” (Jun 21, 2016)

Amory Lovins, Forbes: “Closing Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Will Save Money And Carbon” (Jun 22, 2016)

Chris Nelder, Quartz: “The real reason to fight nuclear power has nothing to do with health risks” (Jun 17, 2013)

Chris Nelder, SmartPlanet: “Nuclear’s swan SONGS” (Jun 12, 2013)

[Episode #19] – Distributed renewables in Latin America and beyond

Finance geeks, this episode is for you! Latin America has had one of the fastest-growing renewable energy markets on the planet for the past several years, but nobody ever talks about it. We aim to correct that in this wide-ranging interview with Adam James, Deputy Director of Global Strategy and Policy with SolarCity.  Who’s got the hottest auction design? Who’s growing at eye-popping rates?  Who screwed up their incentive program so badly that nobody wants to invest there anymore? And what are some outside-the-box ideas about how to get capital flowing into distributed energy systems in the developing world? Plus: oblique Prince references! (RIP)

Geek rating: 8

Guest: Adam James, Deputy Director of Global Strategy and Policy at SolarCity, former global demand analyst for Greentech Media, and the founder and CEO of the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI), an organization devoted to providing young people with the tools they need to impact clean energy policy.

On Twitter:  @Adam_S_James

On the Web: Articles by Adam James at Greentech Media

Recording date: May 6, 2016

Air date: June 15, 2016

Links

Adam James: Article archive at Greentech Media

Clean Energy Leadership Institute

Chris Nelder: “Wind to Double and Solar to Triple in 6 Years, Says IEA” (July 10, 2013)

The Times of India: “India won’t need extra power plants for next three years, says government report” (Jun 2, 2016)

Gavin Bade, Utility Dive: “Exelon to shut Clinton, Quad Cities nuclear plants after Illinois bill stalls” (June 2, 2016)

Peter Maloney, Utility Dive: “‘Straight uphill’: Power sector reforms face tough path in gridlocked Illinois legislature” (Apr 12, 2016)

Jamie Johnson and Laurie Guevara-Stone, RMI: “Fannie Mae’s Financing for Solar: A Game Changer for the Solar Industry” (Jun 1, 2016)

Shreya Jai, Business Standard: “India-US to forge $1 bn alliance for renewable energy” (Jun 7, 2016)

[Episode #18] – The Collapse of Coal

The last of the big-time U.S. coal companies has gone bankrupt, and in the hills of Appalachia, they’re looking for their next move. How will the former coal miners find new careers and build new industries? How will the liabilities of coal companies ever get paid? And how did we get into this situation in the first place? We talk with one of the best coal reporters in the business (and a West Virginian native) to find out.

Geek rating: 5

Guest: Taylor Kuykendall, coal reporter based in Charlottesville, Virginia for S&P Global Market Intelligence

On Twitter: @taykuy

On the Web: S&P Global Market Intelligence articles by Taylor Kuykendall

Recording date: April 18, 2016

Air date: June 1, 2016

Links

Taylor Kuykendall and Hira Fawad, S&P Global Market Intelligence: “Central Appalachia coal production cut in half in past 5 years” (Apr 18, 2016)

Taylor Kuykendall, S&P Global Market Intelligence: “Ahead of bankruptcy, Peabody cut production at nation’s largest coal mine by a third” (Apr 15, 2016)

Taylor Kuykendall and Ashleigh Cotting, S&P Global Market Intelligence: “Companies recently filing bankruptcy produce more than 2/3 of PRB coal” (Apr 13, 2016)

Taylor Kuykendall, S&P Global Market Intelligence: “Replacing Coal, part 1: ‘Great Depression’ grips pockets of Mountain State” (Apr 12, 2016)

Taylor Kuykendall, S&P Global Market Intelligence: “Replacing Coal, part 2: ‘Starting now’ — a new narrative ‘by us, not about us’” (Apr 13, 2016)

Taylor Kuykendall, S&P Global Market Intelligence: “Replacing Coal, part 3: ‘The Clean Power Plan is the battle, not the war’” (Apr 14, 2016)

S&P Global Market Intelligence  Energy’s 14-part Future of Coal series

Taylor Kuykendall, S&P Global Market Intelligence: “Murray says ‘zombies’ of bankruptcy should stop ‘chasing ghosts’ of coal markets” (Jan 28, 2016)

Taylor Kuykendall, S&P Global Market Intelligence: “‘End of an Era’: Arch joins list of nearly 50 coal bankruptcies since 2012” (Jan 11, 2016)

Taylor Kuykendall, S&P Global Market Intelligence: “Climate activists look past Clean Power Plan in tussle with wounded coal sector” (Mar 28, 2016)

Taylor Kuykendall, S&P Global Market Intelligence: “‘Look for pockets of value’: Investors share tips on betting with coal” (Jan 29, 2016)

John Raby, AP: “Appalachian counties hit by coal layoffs losing population” (Mar 24, 2016)

Anders Hove, Paulson Institute: “A New Opening for Clean Energy in China” (April 22, 2016)

Regulatory Assistance Project: “Obama-Xi Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change Promises Much-Needed Reform of Generator Dispatch in China” (September 25, 2015)

Tom Kenning, PV Tech: “India’s Karnataka plans to triple solar targets to 6GW” (May 11, 2016)

Carbon Pulse: Germany launches €17 billion campaign to boost energy efficiency” (May 12, 2016)

Galen Barbose et al., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: “The Future of Utility Customer Funded Energy Efficiency Programs in the United States: Projected Spending and Savings to 2025” (January 2013)

Reuters: “China to boost energy storage 10-fold to cut power waste” (May 13, 2016)

Bernd Radowitz, Recharge: “One out of two German small PV plants built with storage in 2015” (May 24, 2016)

Mike Stone, Greentech Media: “Report: Batteries Will Not Be the Future of Grid Balancing in Germany” (Apr 26, 2016)

[Episode #17] – Denmark’s Energy Transition

In percentage terms, Denmark is the world leader in energy transition, as well as the king of wind power. Wind now supplies 42% of all Denmark’s electricity, and by 2020, the country plants to get fully half of its power from wind. It’s also the only developed country in the world with a serious plan to achieve 100% of its energy – just not electricity, but all energy – from renewables, and plans to do it by 2050. In this episode we talk with energy journalist Justin Gerdes about his new e-book on Denmark’s energy transition, Quitting Carbon: How Denmark Is Leading the Clean Energy Transition and Winning the Race to the Low-Carbon Future.

Geek rating: 2

Guest: Justin Gerdes, independent journalist specializing in energy issues based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work has appeared at Forbes.com, the Guardian, Yale Environment 360, MotherJones.com, Smithsonian.com, and Ensia, among others.

On Twitter: @JustinGerdes

On the Web:
Forbes

Recording date: April 15, 2016

Air date: May 18, 2016

Links

Justin Gerdes: Copenhagen’s Ambitious Push To Be Carbon Neutral by 2025,” Yale Environment 360 (April 11, 2013)

Justin Gerdes: What Copenhagen Can Teach Cities About Adapting To Climate Change,” Forbes.com (October 31, 2012)

Justin Gerdes: Copenhagen Shows How Cities Can Become Clean Tech Leaders,” Forbes.com (October 30, 2012)

Justin Gerdes: Project Zero: A Roadmap For Local Energy Security And Carbon Neutrality In Southern Denmark,” Forbes.com (October 29, 2012)

Justin Gerdes: Copenhagen’s Seawater Cooling Delivers Energy And Carbon Savings,” Forbes.com (October 24, 2012)

Justin Gerdes: Community Wind Projects Poised To Take Off In Denmark,” Forbes.com (October 22, 2012)

Justin Gerdes: Denmark Pushes Through First-Ever EU Energy Efficiency Law,” Forbes.com (June 18, 2012)

Justin Gerdes: Denmark To Double Wind Power By 2020, Be Fossil Fuel-Free By 2050,” Forbes.com (March 31, 2012)

Justin Gerdes: Copenhagen’s Green Sheen: It’s Not Just About the Bikes,” Forbes.com (January 23, 2012)

State of Green: The Political Framework (State of Green is a public-private partnership founded by the Danish Government and various industry groups.)

Renewables Grid Initiative (Berlin-based NGO working on a European supergrid)

Dong Energy: “Survey Reveals High Danish Climate Aspirations” (May 11, 2016)

Sustainable Brands:This Company Accounts for More Than Half of Denmark’s CO2 Reduction” (Mar 16, 2016)

Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker: “The Island in the Wind” (Jul 7, 2008)

Laurie Guevara-Stone, RMI: “A Small Country Goes Big with Renewables: Denmark’s goal to be fossil fuel free” (Mar 2, 2016)

John Perlin: Let It Shine: The 6,000 Year Story of Solar Energy

 

[Episode #16] – Energy Efficiency Markets

Improving efficiency is almost always easier and cheaper than generating new power, so efficiency should be our first target in energy transition. But it’s usually the last. And while there are very effective incentives for renewable energy, the incentives and programs for efficiency have been far less effective. In this episode we talk with efficiency guru and innovator Matt Golden about how to get away from efficiency incentive programs, and switch to performance-based markets for energy efficiency, plus how to standardize efficiency projects so that they are easier to understand, trust, and finance. Thanks to ideas like these, energy efficiency may be about to hit the big time.

Geek rating: 9

Guest: Matt Golden, CEO of Open Energy Efficiency, and Director of the Investor Confidence Project

On Twitter: @GoldenMatt

On the Web:
http://www.openeemeter.org/
http://www.eeperformance.org/

Recording date: April 4, 2016

Air date: May 4, 2016

Links

Matt Golden, Greentech Media: “Let’s Get Real: The Energy Efficiency Industry Can Do Better” (Mar 2, 2015)

Matt Golden, Greentech Media: “From Programs to Markets: How to Make Efficiency a Valuable Real-Time Resource” (May 21, 2015)

Investor Confidence Project (ICP)

European Commission, ICP Europe: “Making energy retrofits a standardised product for the finance industry” (Apr 8, 2016)

PG&E: Advice letter to CPUC, “Submission of High Opportunity Projects and Programs (HOPPs) Proposal – Residential Pay-for-Performance Program” (Mar 25, 2016)

Reuters: Israel to cut carbon emissions, sees $8 billion economic boost” (Apr 10, 2016)

Environmental Defense Fund: New EPA Stats Confirm: Oil & Gas Methane Emissions Far Exceed Prior Estimates” (Apr 15, 2016)

EPA:Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990 – 2014” (Apr 15, 2016)

Taylor Kuykendall, SNL: “Ahead of bankruptcy, Peabody cut production at nation’s largest coal mine by a third” (Apr 15, 2016)

 

[Episode #15] – The Outlook for Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles are all the rage right now, and hopes are high that we might finally be able to transition off of oil and on to electric cars…preferably, cars powered by clean renewable electricity and not by coal-fired grid power. But they’re still less than 1% of the new vehicle market, and they still face real challenges in consumer acceptance, a lack of charging infrastructure, and a dearth of options at the dealership. So what should we really expect from EVs in the near- and medium-term, and how realistic are the high hopes for switching a nation like the US, with nearly 260 million conventional light vehicles on the road today, over to EVs? We talk to EV expert Matthew Klippenstein to find out.

Geek rating: 2

Guest: Matthew Klippenstein, an engineer with a renewable energy consultancy, a writer for Green Car Reports and co-host of the EV-centric Cleantech Talk podcast.

On Twitter: @EclecticLip

On the Web:
tinyurl.com/CanadaEVSales
greencarreports.com/writer/10039832_matthew-klippenstein

Recording date: April 1, 2016

Air date: April 20, 2016

Links

Cleantech Talk podcast

Matthew Klippenstein, Green Car Reports: “Ontario, Canada, Boosts Electric-Car Purchase Rebate Amounts” (Feb 23, 2016)

Matthew Klippenstein, Green Car Reports: “Two-Thirds of Earliest Tesla Drivetrains To Need Replacement In 60,000 Miles, Owner Data Suggest” (Dec 9, 2015)

Matthew Klippenstein, Green Car Reports: “Canadian Plug-in Electric Vehicle Study: 1 Percent To 30 Percent Is The Challenge” (Jul 21, 2015)

Matthew Klippenstein, Green Car Reports: “When Electric Car Incentives Expire: A Case Study In Canada” (Sep 2014)

Matthew Klippenstein, Green Car Reports: “One Percent Of Norway’s Cars Are Already Plug-In Electrics” (Apr 8, 2014)

Matthew Klippenstein, Green Car Reports: “Does Toyota’s Hybrid Leadership Blind It To Electric Cars?” (Aug 22, 2013)

Liam Denning, Bloomberg: “Big Hopes Ride on Tesla’s Model 3” (Mar 31, 2016)

Liam Denning, Bloomberg: “If You Liked Palladium, You’ll Love Lithium” (Feb 26, 2016)

Chris Nelder: Hydrogen Hype” (Jul 27, 2007)

Joseph White, Reuters: “GM buys Cruise Automation to speed self-driving car strategy” (Mar 11, 2016)

Kathy Chen, Retuers: “China pushes for mandatory integration of renewable power” (Mar 28, 2016)

Zachary Davies Boren, Greenpeace: “China to suspend new coal power plant approvals”  (Apr 13, 2016)

John Micklethwait, Bloomberg: “Saudi Arabia Plans $2 Trillion Megafund for Post-Oil Era: Deputy Crown Prince” (Apr 1, 2016)

Ivan Penn, LA Times, “‘This is a threat. This is not a report.’ Critics call blackout warnings a scare tactic to keep Aliso Canyon open” (Apr 12, 2016)

Chris Nelder: “Nuclear’s swan SONGS” (Jun 17, 2013)

[Episode #14] – China’s Energy Future

China is always a bit of an enigma to the West: It is the world’s largest user of coal and the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide; the world’s largest car market; it has the world’s largest shale gas resources; and it has been building entire “ghost cities” with no one living in them. But it is also the world leader in energy transition, with more wind and solar deployment than any other nation; it has a massive grid construction program and the world’s largest and most rapid high-speed rail construction program; and before long, it will probably have the world’s largest market for electric vehicles.

To understand the trajectory of the world’s energy transition effort, we have to understand what’s happening in China. But its official data are unreliable, and official statements can vary wildly from the facts on the ground. That’s why in this episode we talk with James West, a senior digital editor for Mother Jones and former senior producer for Climate Desk, who has traveled to China to get those stories firsthand.

Geek rating: 2

Guest: James West, senior digital editor for Mother Jones, former senior producer for Climate Desk, and the author of Beijing Blur.

On Twitter: @jameswest2010

On the Web:
http://www.motherjones.com/authors/james-west
http://www.james-west.net/

Recording date: March 23, 2016

Air date: April 6, 2016

Links

Jaeah Lee and James West, Mother Jones: The Great Frack Forward – Deep Inside the Wild World of China’s Fracking Boom (Sep 2014)

James West, Mother Jones: “Good News: China’s Greenhouse Emissions Might Already Have Peaked” (Mar 7, 2016)

Craig Morris, Energy Transition: “Wind and solar power boom worldwide” (Feb 4, 2016)

Brad Plumer, Vox: “The real war on coal is happening in China right now” (Mar 6, 2016)

VICE: Season 1 Episode 6 Segment 1: “China’s Ghost Towns” (Feb 5, 2014)

Under the Dome – English translation (Mar 9, 2016)

Xinhua:Lagarde backs China’s 13th Five-Year Plan” (Mar 20, 2016)

The Economist:Deep in a pit” (Mar 19, 2016)

Ye Xie, Bloomberg: “China Has a $590 Billion Problem With Unpaid Bills” (Mar 20, 2016)

Greenpeace: China begins to suspend coal-fired power plant approvals, Greenpeace response” (Mar 24, 2016)

The Economic Times of India:India aims to become 100% e-vehicle nation by 2030: Piyush Goyal” (Mar 25, 2016)

Alejandro Davila Fragoso, Think Progress: “After 115 Years, Scotland is Coal-Free” (Mar 24, 2016)

Cleantech Canada:Ontario to convert largest coal plant in North America to solar farm” (Mar 11, 2016)

Alexis Hosticka, Arkansas Business: “Department of Energy Gives Approval for Clean Line Project” (Mar 25, 2016)

Diane Cardwell, New York Times: “Wind Power Transmission Project in Plains Earns U.S. Approval” (Mar 25, 2016)

[Episode #13] – The Oracle of Oil


Many have heard of peak oil, but few seem to understand what it really means, and fewer still know much of anything about the father of the idea, M. King Hubbert. In this episode we interview science journalist Mason Inman, who has written the first biography of Hubbert: The Oracle of Oil: A Maverick Geologist’s Quest for a Sustainable Future, which hits the shelves April 11. Deeply researched and rich with detail about the debates over our energy future (and energy transition) from the 1940s through the 1980s, the book is a terrific read for anyone interested in peak oil theory, what it is about, and what it is not about (for example, oil prices!). Today’s debates about the future of energy aren’t too dissimilar from the debates of 60-70 years ago…and that should make us think hard about where we’re going.

Check out the interview that critics are calling “way too long!” with the author of the book that Publisher’s Weekly called “tedious!”

No, seriously: Check it out. It just may be the best material you’ll ever find on what “peak oil” really is.

Plus: I explain why I’m skeptical about IEA’s new report on the decoupling of carbon emissions and economic growth.

Geek rating: 8

Guest: Mason Inman

On Twitter: @masoninman

On the Web:
http://www.oracleofoil.com/
https://www.beaconreader.com/projects/the-frack-lab

Recording date: March 6, 2016

Air date: March 23, 2016

Links

Mason Inman: The Oracle of Oil: A Maverick Geologist’s Quest for a Sustainable Future (Apr 2016)

Mason Inman: Frack Lab

Mason Inman, Nature: “Natural Gas: The fracking fallacy” (Dec 03, 2014)

Chris Nelder: Profit from the Peak (2008)

Chris Nelder: Peak oil isn’t dead; it just smells that way” (Jul 25, 2013)

Bloomberg New Energy Finance:Electric Vehicles to be 35% of Global New Car Sales by 2040” (Feb 25, 2016)

Kurt Cobb: Oregon says yes to coal-free electricity” (Mar 20, 2016)

Seeking Alpha: “Peabody Energy: Bankruptcy Bound” (Mar 17, 2016)

David Roberts, Vox, “How your taxes ended up enriching coal executives who are betraying their workers” (Mar 18, 2016)

Jacqueline Palank, Wall Street Journal, “Arch Coal Paid $29M to Insiders in Year Before Bankruptcy” (Mar 11, 2016)

IEA:Decoupling of global emissions and economic growth confirmed” (Mar 16, 2016)

Robert F. Kennedy: Remarks at the University of Kansas (Mar 18, 1968) Transcript | Video

[Episode #12] – Energy Access for the Developing World

What’s the best way to bring energy to those in the developing world who lack it? Why do forecasts by agencies like IEA always seem to overstate the cost of solutions in the developing world? Why do big expensive programs run by NGOs and the World Bank so often fail to achieve their aims of alleviating energy poverty? Why do those programs always seem to favor big coal plants, nuclear plants, CCS projects, and other big-ticket items that never seem to get built? And what’s actually getting the job done, right now, in places like sub-Saharan Africa? What are the prospects for those efforts in the future? We answer these questions and more…like where Bill Gates goes wrong with his zero-carbon equation.

Geek rating: 2

Guest: Justin Guay, Program Officer on Climate for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation

On Twitter: @Guay_JG

On the Web: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/justin-guay/

Recording date: February 28, 2016

Links

Justin Guay, Huffington Post: “Who will be the Amazon, Netflix of East Africa?” (Feb 29, 2016)

Justin Guay, Huffington Post: “Will Data Unlock Billions in Solar Investment for the Poor?” (Dec 16, 2015)

Justin Guay, Huffington Post: “Will Silicon Valley Take On Clean Energy Access?” (May 28, 2015)

Justin Guay, et al., Sierra Club:Expanding Energy Access Beyond the Grid” (Aug 2014)

Justin Guay, et al., Sierra Club:Clean Energy Services for All: Financing Universal Electrification” (Jun 2014)

Morgan Bazilian, Foreign Affairs: “Power to the Poor” (Mar/Apr 2015)

The World Bank: “Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Global Tracking Framework” (May 2013)

Eric Wesoff, Greentech Media: “Off Grid Electric Raises $45M in Debt for African Micro-Solar Leasing Platform” (Dec 17, 2016)

Kevin Watkins: DfID’s new Energy Africa campaign is right to look to off-grid solar power” (Oct 29, 2015)

M-KOPA press release: “M-KOPA Launches Solar-Powered TV” (Feb 17, 2016)

Jacob Winiecki:Four Ways Energy Access Can Propel Financial Inclusion” (May 26, 2015)

Laura Geggel, Yahoo! News: “Bill Gates ‘Discovers’ 14-Year-Old Formula on Climate Change” (Feb 29, 2016)

Chris Nelder:Watts Up, Vaclav? — My critique of Vaclav Smil” (Jun 6, 2013)

GlobalLEAP.org: “The State of the Global Off-Grid Appliance Market” (Feb 29, 2016)

Herman Trabish, Utility Dive: “Taming the Wild West: CAISO begins study of a full regional electricity market” (Feb 22, 2016)

Liam Denning, Bloomberg: “Buffett’s Cash Overshadows Solar” (Mar 3, 2016)

[Episode #11] – India and Coal

Everyone knows that India is the second-largest coal importing nation in the world, after China, and that it is the fastest-growing source of global CO2 emissions thanks to its rapid adoption of coal. And it is widely believed that India will remain the world’s fastest-growing market for coal for years to come. But sometimes what “everybody knows” is wrong. Renewables are now hitting grid parity, and are poised to snatch the lead away from coal in India. Plus: We round up the cheapest solar projects ever in the US and the world.

Geek rating: 3

Guest: Ashish Fernandes, Campaigner, Greenpeace

On Twitter: @ashishfernandes
On the Web: www.greenpeace.org/india

Recording date: February 20, 2016

Links

Ashish Fernandes:Is solar killing coal in India?” (Dec 1, 2015)

Giles Parkinson: India energy minister says solar power now cheaper than coal” (Jan 21, 2016)

Ajoy K Das, Mining Weekly: “India’s coal appetite dwindles” (Feb 8, 2016)

Powerless, a documentary film about the “Robin Hood of Electricity” in northern India. (2014)

Tim Buckley, IEEFA.org: “The World’s 3 Biggest Coal Importers Are Importing Less Coal” (Oct 13, 2015)

Tim Buckley, IEEFA.org: “India’s Electricity-Sector Transformation” (Aug 10, 2015)

Tim Buckley, IEEFA.org: “India’s Electricity-Sector Transformation: Global Capacity Building” (Nov, 2015)

BP: Energy Outlook to 2035 (Feb 2016)

FERC, Docket No. RM16-6-000: “Essential Reliability Services and the Evolving Bulk-Power System—Primary Frequency Response” (Feb 18, 2016)

Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Weekly: “City snags cheapest-ever solar-power contract” (Feb 18, 2016)

Blanca Diaz Lopez, PV Magazine: “Peru awards 185 MW of solar PV at US$48/MWh” (Feb 17, 2016)

Herman Trabish, Utility Dive: “8 trends shaping the grid of the future” (Feb 11, 2016)

Chris Nelder: The clean energy transition is unstoppable” (Apr 18, 2014)

Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone: “The Koch Brothers’ Dirty War on Solar Power” (Feb 11, 2016)

Peter Stone, Huffington Post: “The Kochs Are Plotting A Multimillion-Dollar Assault On Electric Vehicles” (Feb 18, 2016)

Solar City: “New report: solar rooftops can strengthen an aging power grid and save Californians $1.4 billion every year” (Feb 4, 2016)

[Episode #10] – Grid Architecture of the Future

What kind of grid architecture and markets will we need in order to actually operate the distributed, decentralized grid of the future? What sorts of regulatory models will be needed? And what does it all mean, from a philosophical point of view, about how human society is organized? How can mere mortals begin to understand these subjects? Never fear: We’ve got you covered, in this ultra-geeky yet accessible episode.

Geek rating: 11

Guest: Lorenzo Kristov, Principal, Market and Infrastructure Policy with the California Independent System Operator, or CAISO

On the Web: LinkedIn

Taping date: February 5, 2016

Links

Lorenzo Kristov, Paul De Martini, Jeffrey D. Taft, IEEE Power and Energy Magazine: “Two Visions of a Transactive Electric System” (Jan 15, 2016)

Paul De Martini, Lorenzo Kristov, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory:Distribution Systems in a High Distributed Energy Resources Future” (October 2015)

Lorenzo Kristov:The Future History of Tomorrow’s Energy Network” (May 2015)

Christopher Clack, et al.: “Future cost-competitive electricity systems and their impact on US CO2 emissions?” (January 25, 2016)

Christopher Clack: “The cheapest way to scale up wind and solar energy? High-tech power lines” (January 27, 2016)

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph: “Oil market spiral threatens to prick global debt bubble, warns BIS” (February 5, 2016)

Herman Trabish, Utility Dive: “Kauai co-op integrates over 70% solar, 90% renewables four times in January” (February 4, 2016)

Ben Geman, National Journal: “The Importance of Obama’s Doomed Oil-Tax Plan” February 5, 2016

Christian Roselund, PV Magazine: “U.S. Senators move to preserve solar net metering through energy bill amendment” February 3, 2016

Younicos press release: “Younicos: Europe’s First Commercial Battery Will Also Provide Black Start Capability” (January 27, 2016)

Chris Nelder:Why baseload power is doomed” (March 28, 2012)

Chris Nelder: Designing the grid for renewables” (October 3, 2012)

Chris Nelder: The next big utility transformation” (April 17, 2013)

Mark Lakeman:Badass democracy – reclaiming the public commons” (May 18, 2014)

[Episode #9] – Macro Outlook for 2016

A full-spectrum romp through the macroeconomic context: Stock markets; oil and gas prices; coal’s collapse; the difficult LNG export market; what commodities are telling us about the health of the global economy; trends in oil and electricity demand and electric vehicles; currency valuations and trends; the outlook for renewables; and much more!

Geek rating: 6

Guest: Gregor Macdonald, Independent energy analyst and publisher of the TerraJoule newsletter

On Twitter: @GregorMacdonald
On the Web: TerraJoule.us and Gregor.us

Taping date: January 13, 2016

Links

Gregor Macdonald: After Great Pain a Formal Feeling Comes for Coal  (Dec 15, 2015)

Gregor Macdonald: Energy Constructors, January issue of TerraJoule.us (Jan 2, 2015)

Jeremy Grantham, GMO: The race of our lives (April 26, 2013)

Taylor Kuykendall, SNL: ‘End of an Era’: Arch joins list of nearly 50 coal bankruptcies since 2012 (Jan 11, 2016)

Matt Piotrowski, The Fuse: All Is Bearish In The Oil Markets To Start 2016 (Jan 7, 2016)

Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.com: 27 Billion Barrels Worth of Oil Projects Now Cancelled (Jan 14, 2016)

Jeremy Leggett: Act de Triumph (Dec 14, 2015)

Chris Nelder & Market Dyson, RMI: Nevada, Previously a Solar Leader, Shutters its Residential Rooftop Market (Jan 15, 2016)

Chris Nelder & Mark Silberg, RMI: Congress Just Extended the PTC and ITC: What You Need to Know (Dec 22, 2015)

Chris Nelder: Economic Theory and the Real Great Contraction (Oct 2011)

[Episode #8] – Storage on the Grid

All about storage on the grid — in front of the meter — with a little bit about behind-the-meter storage.  How to value storage, how storage complements and replaces generation, and some geeky excursions into locational marginal pricing, PURPA, non-market uplift payments, and FERC Order 819! And in the news segment: Comments on the COP 21 United Nations Climate Change Conference and an update on carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Geek rating: 8.5

Guest: Jason Burwen, Policy and Advocacy Director of the Energy Storage Association

On Twitter: @jburwen
On the Web: energystorage.org

Taping date: November 24, 2015

Links

Herman Trabish: What’s the value of energy storage? It’s complicated

RMI: The Economics of Battery Energy Storage: How multi-use, customer-sited batteries deliver the most services and value to customers and the grid

NREL: The Relative Economic Merits of Storage and Combustion Turbines for Meeting Peak Capacity Requirements under Increased Penetration of Solar Photovoltaics (Sept 2015)

Damian Carrington, The Guardian: UK cancels pioneering £1bn carbon capture and storage competition (Nov 25, 2015)

FERC:
Order 819: Third-Party Provision of Primary Frequency Response Service
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking RM15-24-000
PJM Comments on Proposed Rulemaking RM15-24-000
SNL summary of ISO and RTO energy and ancillary services price formation processes

Nelder: U.S. grid power storage charges up (Oct 2013)

Nelder: Saving the sun’s shine: Storage technology could revolutionize the power grid (Nov 2012)

Nelder: Why carbon capture and storage will never pay off (Mar 2013)

 

[Episode #7] – EROI

All about EROI (Energy Return on Investment), the state of biophysical economics, the relationship between energy and ecology, and what EROI could and should tell us about the outlook for a fuel — for example, can we run a society on renewables? And in the news segment: LNG’s troubled future, how low oil prices are causing surging gasoline consumption, and the risk of the next oil price spike.

Geek rating: 6

Guest: Dave Murphy, Assistant Professor, St. Lawrence University

On Twitter: @djmurphy04
On the web: https://www.stlawu.edu/people/david-murphy

Taping date: November 15, 2015

Links

Murphy: The implications of the declining energy return on investment of oil production (Dec 2013)

Murphy: Archive of EROI publications

Nelder: What EROI tells us about ROI (Sep 2012)

Nelder: Has vehicle efficiency really curbed U.S. oil demand? (Feb 2012)

Jenny Hsu (WSJ): Hopes for ‘Golden Age of Gas’ Evaporate (Nov 2015)

 

[Episode #6] – Transition from Oil

The recent history of oil production and prices, the future of the oil industry, the potential for transitioning away from oil and the opportunity for EVs, and ERCI – the Energy Returned on Capital Invested. And in the news segment: the oil industry’s latest moves and announcements about climate change; three important trends we should recognize in the retirement of yet another US coal plant; and a new report from Carbon Tracker calls IEA and EIA on the carpet for consistently overestimating future demand for fossil fuels, and consistently underestimating the growth of renewables.

Geek rating: 4

Guest: Mark Lewis, Former senior analyst for energy, climate, and sustainability research, Kepler Cheuvreux; former head of energy commodities research, Deutsche Bank.

On Twitter: @MCL1965

Taping date: September 5, 2015

Links

Lewis: Toil for Oil Spells Danger for Majors (Sep 2014)

Nelder: The straight dope on oil prices (Dec 2014)

Nelder: The future of oil prices (Jun 2012)

Carbon Tracker: Why baseload power is doomed (Oct 2015)

 

[Episode #5] – Winning the Carbon War

One man’s sweeping ride through three decades of campaigning for action on climate and deploying solar from a veteran of the “carbon wars,” plus his pithy observations on what our leaders in government and in the energy industry really think. And in the news segment: New studies are finding that renewables are getting cheaper than any other grid power; the continuing death of “baseload power” and the rise of flexible grids; more coal and nuclear power plants are being closed; and why deregulation and consumer choice isn’t necessarily the fastest path toward grid power transition.

Geek rating: 2

Guest: Jeremy Leggett, Founder of Solarcentury and SolarAid, Chair of Carbon Tracker, and author of five books on energy transition.

On Twitter: @JeremyLeggett

Taping date: August 28, 2015

Links

Jeremy Leggett: The Winning of the Carbon War

Chris Nelder: Stranded asset risks are larger than anyone thinks (2014)

Chris Nelder: The energy transition tipping point is here (2014)

Chris Nelder: Why baseload power is doomed (2012)

Energy Post: Steve Holliday, CEO National Grid: “The idea of large power stations for baseload is outdated” (2015)

 

[Episode #4] – Energiewende

All about Germany’s famed energy transition effort, the Energiewende. What it is, what it isn’t (with a strong dose of mythbusting), and what the future of grid power looks like from one of the countries on the leading edge. And in the news segment: US LNG export terminals could be in trouble; China’s massive push for renewables; and the latest action in oil prices.

Guest: Craig Morris, editor of Renewables International and lead author of EnergyTransition.de

On Twitter: @PPChef

Geek rating: 4

Taping date: August 27, 2015

Links

Craig Morris: Did German renewables just peak above 80% of demand? (Aug 27, 2015)

Craig Morris: German utilities want to shut down more power plants (Aug 25, 2015)

Chris Nelder: Myth-busting Germany’s Energy Transition (2013)

Chris Nelder: Why America needs a feed-in tariff (2011)

 

[Episode #3] – Limits on the Grid – Part 2

How energy markets need to change to level the playing field for renewables, how renewables should be valued, and whether wind and solar must “eat their own lunch” by virtue of having a free marginal cost, or whether markets can be adjusted to prevent that. And in the news segment: Shell gives up on the Arctic; the new premier of Alberta does an about-face on fossil fuels; and solar is even cheaper than most energy analysts think (because the data is old).

Geek rating: 7

Guest: Bentham Paulos, Principal of Paulos Analysis and Director of the Power Markets Project

On Twitter: @benpaulos
On the Web: www.paulosanalysis.com  | www.powermarkets.org

Taping date: August 20, 2015

Links

Bentham Paulos: How Wind and Solar Will Blow Up Power Markets (2015)

Mills and Wiser: Strategies for Mitigating the Reduction in Economic Value of Variable Generation with Increasing Penetration Levels (2014)

Chris Nelder: The next big utility transformation (2013)

Chris Nelder: Designing the grid for renewables (2012)

 

[Episode #2] – Limits on the Grid – Part 1

What the modeling work of our national renewable energy lab tells us about how far renewables can go on the grid under various scenarios, and their real technical limits.

Geek rating: 7

Guest: Mackay Miller, Senior Research Analyst at NREL. @mackaymiller

Taping date: August 19, 2015

Links

NREL: Renewable Electricity Futures Study (RE Futures) (2012)

NREL: Power Systems of the Future (May 2015)

Nelder: Designing the grid for renewables (2012)

Nelder: Wind to Double and Solar to Triple in 6 Years, Says IEA (2013)

 

[Episode #1] – The Real War on Coal

How the real war on coal is about economics, geology, and little skirmishes in local courts, not a national or presidential campaign; and the tragic failing of politics to address the phasing-out of coal that has been going on in the US for many years. And in the news segment: More calls to kill the UK’s planned Hinkley Point C nuclear plant; shale drillers’ dirty little debt secret; the latest in the battle over the US oil export ban; and what the Fed’s inaction says about energy transition.

Geek rating: 1

Guest: Michael Grunwald, senior writer at POLITICO and author of The New New Deal – The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era and The Swamp – The Everglades Florida and the Politics of Paradise.

On Twitter: @MikeGrunwald

Taping date: August 13, 2015

Links

Grunwald: Inside the war on coal

Nelder: Regulation and the decline of coal power

Nelder: Why baseload power is doomed

Nelder: The energy transition tipping point is here