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Podcast

Podcast

Coal communities face fiscal ruin

The coal industry continues to tumble in the U.S. as electric power plants turn increasingly to natural gas and renewable energy as their fuels of choice. And that decline might only worsen for coal mining and the communities that rely on it if Washington someday adopts strong policies to reduce carbon emissions associated with climate change. In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, I pay a visit to Adele Morris, a senior fellow and policy director for climate and energy economics at Brookings Institution. Adele and Noah Kaufman, a research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy, and Siddhi Doshi, a senior research assistant at Brookings, have written a new paper from the center that looks at the danger of fiscal collapse in coal-reliant communities. What they tell us is that while climate risks to corporations have received scrutiny in…

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Podcast

Future brightens for Chile as energy leader

Big changes are taking place in Chile when it comes to energy, with a strong push for renewable energy in recent years. And there’s more to come, according to the country’s president, Sebastián Piñera. In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, I sit down with Susana Jiménez, Chile’s energy minister, who’s overseeing her government’s plan to change significantly the way the nation produces and uses energy. In the process, she aims to make her nation a model for not only South America but also the world. The fifth largest consumer of energy in South America, Chile is only a minor producer of fossil fuels and therefore has relied heavily on energy imports That’s changing, however, as Chile looks increasingly to solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy. In fact, renewable energy now accounts for about 18% of…

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Podcast, Uncategorized

Climate policy starts hereFeatured

The Green New Deal is one of the hottest topics in Washington right now, as it should be. But putting together legislation is a difficult task, especially amid the partisan politics taking place on Capitol Hill today. In a “Columbia Energy Exchange” podcast, I talk to the lawmaker at the start of this process: Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y. Tonko chairs the House Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee, the first start for making climate policy in Congress. Hear him describe what lies in store for climate policy making and the impact of the Green New Deal movement on this effort. You’ll find the podcast here https://bit.ly/2Gfu2Ll.

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International, Podcast

Outlook for Energy in Mexico

A new president took office in Mexico on December 1. Andrés 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…

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Podcast

Taking stock of ESG risks for U.S. utilities

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…

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Podcast

A Boston formula for clean tech success

Innovation has resulted in remarkable advances in clean energy technology, like solar and wind energy systems that are becoming increasingly competitive in the U.S. And more breakthroughs are coming, 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 wherewithal to design, build and test their inventions. That’s where institutions like Greentown Labs can play a big role. In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, I visit Greentown Labs in Somerville, Mass., and meet with its CEO, 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 a good head start. Greentown Labs bills itself as…

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Podcast

Restoring electricity in Puerto Rico-an inside look

Hurricane Maria was one of the most devastating storms to ever hit the United States, leaving a path of death and destruction across Puerto Rico last September. The electric grid faced extensive damage that put virtually the entire population without power for weeks and months. On this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Bill Loveless talks to Carlos Torres, a former official with Consolidated Edison in New York, and the man assigned by the Governor of Puerto Rico with the difficult task of coordinating the restoration of electricity for the island. Carlos spent more than 30 years at Con Ed managing emergency management and storm restoration efforts, including overseeing the utility’s response to major storms like Super Storm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, and emergencies like the September 11 attack at the World Trade Center and the 2003 Northeast…

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Climate, Podcast

Absent national policy, U.S. climate action takes many forms

Leaders from around the world will gather in San Francisco Sept. 12-14 to celebrate the achievements of states, regions, cities, corporations and others at the sub-national level with respect to climate action. Organizers of the Global Climate Action Summit say the meeting will also serve as a launch pad for deeper commitments to put the world on track to prevent dangerous climate change and realize the historic Paris agreement – even as the U.S. government under the Trump administration takes a different course. On this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, I talk to Carter Roberts, the president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the United States. WWF is one of the partners in the Global Climate Action Summit, along with other groups including C40Cities, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ceres and the United Nations Foundation. Among the topics we touched on are…

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Podcast

What lies in store for U.S. LNG exports?

The U.S. is becoming a leader in the global market for liquefied natural gas (LNG), amid record gas production at home and growing demand for the fuel abroad. What opportunities does that present for the U.S.? And what challenges follow from this changing global market? In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Meg Gentle, the president and CEO of Tellurian Inc. Bill and Meg got together outside the World Gas Conference in Washington, D.C., to talk about the emergence of the LNG export business in the U.S. and the opportunities for sales of gas in China, Europe and the rest of the world. They also discussed potential obstacles to growth in that business, including the prospect of trade wars between the U.S. and other nations. Finally, they touched on her status as one of…

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Podcast, Policy

“What’s the value of national security?”

The Trump administration continues to look for ways to keep old coal and nuclear power plants operating, as lower-cost natural gas and renewable energy offers cheaper alternatives for generating electricity. A new proposal under consideration at the U.S. Department of Energy takes a new tact on the topic, claiming ongoing retirements of coal and nuclear plants presents a national security risk to the U.S., given growing concerns over the vulnerability of the grid to cyber and even physical attacks. If nothing else, the thinking goes, coal and nuclear plants have the advantage of storing fuel on-site rather than relying on pipelines, as is the case with gas power plants, or intermittent supplies of solar and wind energy. Here, in a Columbia Energy Exchange podcast with me, DOE’s assistant secretary for electricity, Bruce Walker, speaks out on the national-security rationale for…

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