Category

Energy

Energy, Podcast, Policy

Columbia Energy Exchange: Spencer Abraham

America’s energy fortunes have certainly changed over the past dozen years or so. Just that recently, the nation’s ability to satisfy its oil and natural gas appetite at home was uncertain, and reliance on foreign supplies seemed likely to increase. How times have changed! Today, the U.S. is once again a world leader in oil and gas production, even exporting oil for the first time in decades and gas for the first time ever. This turnabout has happened as solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy gain ground in the U.S., as their costs decline. And combined with gas, they are forcing old coal and nuclear power plants to go out of business. What have we learned from this shift in energy fortunes? And has U.S. energy policy kept pace with the changes? In a new Columbia Energy Exchange…

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Corporations, Energy, Podcast

Columbia Energy Exchange: Centrica CEO Iain Conn

Disruption is widespread in energy industries around the world today, and success or failure in dealing with that change often depends on who’s running a company. In this episode of the “Columbia Energy Exchange,” I talk with Iain Conn, the chief executive of  Centrica, a multi-national company based in the United Kingdom, whose roots go back as far as 1812. Conn, who joined Centrica in 2015 after spending 29 years at the oil major BP, is repositioning Centrica from exploration and production and central power generation to what he calls “customer-facing” businesses, a move he says makes sense given fluctuations taking place in energy markets. We talked about that transformation during one of his visits to Washington as well as about world oil markets, Brexit, climate change and Donald Trump.      

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Energy, Podcast, Policy

Columbia Energy Exchange: Rep. Fred Upton

Amid the political upheaval in Washington, is there an opportunity to legislate on something relatively routine but still critical to the U.S. like energy policy? The top energy lawmaker in the U.S. House, Fred Upton, says “yes.” Now, the Michigan Republican is an optimist by nature, noting, for example, “I’m a Cubs fan!” And he finds reason for hope when it comes to energy legislation, recalling bills on pipeline safety and other energy measures that he initiated and former President Obama signed. Perhaps the best opportunity for energy action on Capitol Hill is promoting infrastructure, especially steps to further protect electricity transmission and oil and natural gas pipelines from cyber attacks, he tells me in this edition of the “Columbia Energy Exchange” podcast. And Upton, the chairman of the House Energy Subcommittee, isn’t necessarily toeing the line when it comes…

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Climate, Energy, Government and Politics, Podcast, Policy

Columbia Energy Exchange: Minister Catherine McKenna

Host Bill Loveless sits down with Hon. Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to get an inside look at environmental policy in the nation. Catherine and Bill discuss: Canada’s approach to climate change and linkages between the environment and economic policy; different approaches to environmental and climate policy between the U.S. and Canada under President Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; and the realities of a national carbon pricing plan in Canada. (Listen)

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Climate, Energy, Podcast, Policy

Columbia Energy Exchange: Steve Mufson, Amy Harder

New markets dynamics, technological innovation, and evolving climate and geopolitical issues have made the energy sector incredibly dynamic and increasingly complicated to understand for policymakers, business leaders, academia and the general public alike. To help decode and explain these issues and their significance within a greater global context, journalists covering the energy beat have never been more important. On this episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange host Bill Loveless sits down with veteran energy reporters Steve Mufson from the Washington Post and Amy Harder, who has recently moved from the Wall Street Journal to a new startup called Axios, to discuss the importance of energy literacy and how the energy beat has dramatically changed in the last decade. Among many topics Bill, Steve and Amy discussed, several include: The importance of energy literacy and key challenges journalists face when covering the energy beat;…

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Climate, Energy, Government and Politics, Podcast, Policy, Regulations

Columbia Energy Exchange: Robert Powelson

Host Bill Loveless speaks with Robert Powelson, the new President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). Robert is a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, he has chaired the NARUC Committee on Water and he formerly served as the President of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry. Bill and Robert discussed: what state utility regulators expect to see from the Trump Administration and how it will differ from regulation under President Obama; the future of the Clean Power Plan and state approaches to decarbonization; nuclear waste and the future of Yucca Mountain; the need for a renaissance in energy infrastructure; and energy innovation. (Listen)

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Energy, Podcast

Columbia Energy Exchange: Riccardo Puliti

Host Bill Loveless talks to Riccardo Puliti, the Head of the Energy and Extractives Global Practice at the World Bank Group who oversees $52 billion in loans. They discussed: the World Bank’s energy portfolio, financing targets, and its role in the fight against global poverty; the need for private sector partnerships to finance World Bank projects; the variety of instruments used to energy access and climate change issues; regional differences and needs, with respect to energy; and the role of a carbon price in aligning incentives. (Listen)

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Article, Energy, Government and Politics

Trump may not be able to reverse coal industry’s slump. Here’s why

Coal may make a political comeback in Washington, where President Trump is eager to make good on his promise to revive the sagging industry. But politics aside, it’s the greener forms of energy that are changing substantially the way the USA produces, uses and even saves energy, particularly when it comes to electricity. The trends are detailed in a new report from the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) that provides 163 pages of data on the impact of renewable energy, natural gas and energy efficiency on the U.S. economy. (read more)

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Article, Economy / Finance, Energy, Government and Politics

Carbon tax chances slim under Trump, though Tillerson supports idea

With the Trump Administration poised to reverse U.S. policies on climate change, the head of a major oil and natural gas company is calling again for governments around the world to put a price on carbon emissions once and for all. BP CEO Bob Dudley reiterated his company’s longstanding position in releasing its annual report on global energy trends. “In BP, we continue to believe that carbon pricing has an important part to play as it provides incentives for everyone — producers and consumers alike — to play their part,” Dudley said at a news conference in London last week. (read more).

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Article, Defense, Energy, Government and Politics

Compact, pre-fab reactors may revive nuclear option

The prospect of a U.S. renaissance in nuclear energy has lost its luster in recent years. Yes, four reactors are under construction at two sites in Georgia and South Carolina, the first ones to be built in 30 years. And last year, the Tennessee Valley Authority completed a plant that had lain unfinished for more than three decades. Beyond that, no electricity providers in the USA plan to build another reactor any time soon. Instead, some have closed reactors. Six units have been shut down since 2013 in the face of competition from natural gas, solar power and wind energy. Nevertheless, an Oregon-based company is taking a big step toward eventually rekindling the nuclear option in the USA. (Read More)

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