Category

Podcast

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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Climate, Podcast, Policy

Columbia Energy Exchange: Senator Maria Cantwell

With the UN climate summit underway in Germany, the latest developments in climate change are receiving fresh attention, including the extent to which global warming contributes to the severity of hurricanes, wild fires and other natural disasters. Heaven knows, we’ve had plenty of reminders recently with the devastating hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, and widespread fires in western states. In this new episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, I talk to Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, about a new report she and Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, just received from the U.S. Government Accountability Office tabulating the astonishing costs of natural disasters in this country, costs which will only escalate sharply if current patterns persist. Tune in, and let me know what you think. And, if you haven’t done so yet, subscribe to this podcast from the Columbia University…

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cyber security, Electricity, Infrastructure, NERC, Podcast

Cyber attacks on U.S grid: How likely?

In the latest Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, I talk with Marcus Sachs, the chief security officer at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, about recent incidents and what they tell us about the vulnerability of the U.S. grid to cyber attacks. Marc describes as well as anyone I know the risks that computer hacks pose for the electricity infrastructure and the steps being taken by the power industry and the government to guard against such attacks. Not surprisingly for someone from the industry, he’s confident in its ability to keep the lights on. But just as significantly, he also makes clear that dealing with such intrusions is no easy task, and one that demands constant vigilance. Please take a listen to our 30-minute discussion, and let me know what you think.

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Blog, Podcast

Columbia Energy Exchange: Jay Faison

With the devastation from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the repercussions of climate change are getting more attention, especially the extent to which global warming may intensify the impact of storms. From a policy standpoint, the question is whether climate change will receive broader consideration in Washington as hurricanes, wild fires and other natural calamities wreak havoc in the U.S. and neighboring nations. In the latest Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, I talk with Jay Faison, the founder and CEO of the ClearPath Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting conservative support for clean energy. Granted, our conversation took place before Harvey and Irma. But even then, Jay claimed growing interest among Republicans in weighing the implications of climate change and eyeing solutions. “We’ve got 20, 30 Republicans out on different caucuses stating the problem,” he told me. “I can tell you behind…

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Electricity, Infrastructure, Podcast

Columbia Energy Exchange: Barry Perry

Barry Perry is a chief executive from a remote region of Canada whose company is gradually becoming a major player in North America’s electric power industry. We sat down recently for a discussion on the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast. From St. John’s, Newfoundland, the oldest city in North America, Perry runs Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned utility in Canada. Since 2004, the company’s assets in Canada, the U.S. and the Caribbean have grown ten-fold to $48 billion. Fortis’ most recent acquisition, one that really put it on the map in the U.S., was ITC, the biggest electric transmission company in America, at a price of $11.3 billion. We visited with each other during one of his visits to Washington to talk about the electric and natural gas business in the U.S. and Canada, the different energy policies of the two…

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Podcast, Policy

Columbia Energy Exchange: Bill Richardson

Few people in public service can tote up the career resume of Bill Richardson, especially when it comes to energy policy. So, I thought it just made sense to invite him on the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast to discuss what he thinks of the Trump administration and its approach to energy policy. Richardson’s 40 years of experience include stints as a member of the House of Representatives from New Mexico, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and energy secretary during the Clinton administration, and governor of New Mexico. He’s also been a Democratic candidate for president and the negotiator of difficult talks with North Korea, Cuba, Iraq and Sudan that resulted in the release of hostages and American servicemen. Oh, and need I mention his four nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize and his three books, including one called “How to…

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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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Natural Gas, Oil, Podcast, Policy

Columbia Energy Exchange: Tommy Beaudreau

President Trump has ordered the Department of the Interior to consider sweeping changes in the government’s plan for offshore oil and natural gas drilling, including opening areas in the Arctic and off the Atlantic Coast where exploration and production was prohibited by President Obama before he left office. What will it take to implement Trump’s plan, and how likely is it to happen? In this episode of the “Columbia Energy Exchange,” host Bill Loveless looks for answers from a man who ran the offshore oil and gas program for Obama, Tommy Beaudreau. Beaudreau is now a partner with the law firm Latham & Watkins in Washington and a non-resident fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. He and Jason Bordoff, the founding director of the center, have just completed a paper on the topic: “What’s Next…

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Podcast, Policy, Sustainable Energy

Columbia Energy Exchange: Bloomberg’s Ethan Zindler

Sustainable energy in the form of natural gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency, is gaining ground in the U.S. and around the world, as concerns over climate change increase. And sustainable energy isn’t just cleaner, it’s cheaper, as well, as Ethan Zindler, the head of policy analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, tells host Bill Loveless in this episode of the “Columbia Energy Exchange.” Their conversation took place just after BNEF and the Business Council for Sustainability released their 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.

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