Energy Transition Show: Why Local Solar Costs Less – Conventional wisdom in the energy transition has long held that public investment should be directed toward utility-scale projects, because they’re cheaper than rooftop solar systems, kilowatt for kilowatt. Being cheaper, utility-scale systems would clearly deliver more bang for the buck. Our returning guest in this episode, energy modeler Christopher Clack, says according to his recent modeling, the opposite is actually true — that investing more into local solar will deliver more public benefits than investing in utility-scale projects. And even more surprisingly, he says that building rooftop solar and distributed storage systems will actually result in more utility-scale solar as well, plus bring greater societal benefits such as more jobs, increased economic development, increased resilience, and more equitable access to the benefits of renewables. By modeling a dizzying set of factors simultaneously, Clack is able to show that combining many factors leads to synergistic effects that have been heretofore undiscovered in the literature… factors that we will attempt to describe in this extremely deep dive into energy modeling.
Columbia Energy Exchange: Lessons from Colonial Pipeline – The recent cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline system forced the shutdown of one of the nation’s most critical pieces of energy infrastructure, spurring price spikes and panicked buying to fill up tanks. While the pipeline is back up and running, the lasting significance of the Colonial outage–the largest attack on the US energy system in history–should not be overlooked. In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Bob McNally and Adam Segal, leading experts on energy and cybersecurity, respectively, to examine what happened with the Colonial Pipeline system and what lessons should be drawn about the vulnerability and resilience of critical energy infrastructure.
Energy Gang: A Wartime Plan for Electrifying America – Saul Griffith is our guest co-host. He’s the founder and chief scientist of Rewiring America. He’s also the author of the upcoming book “Electrify,” from MIT Press. If we are on a wartime footing for decarbonizing the economy, Saul could be considered a 5-star general of the “electrify everything” movement. He founded or co-founded around a dozen companies and organizations. And he has a PhD from MIT in materials science and information theory. Saul is now trying to marshal the world around his “a defensible and believable” pathway for decarbonizing America with clean electricity.
Interchange: Jigar Shah discussed DOE’s $40B plan: The US Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office might be the most talked about — and yet least understood — part of the federal government’s efforts to support climate tech. It has already invested more than $35 billion in everything from Tesla’s first big factory to the first two nuclear reactors to begin construction in the U.S. in more than 30 years. It was crucial in getting the first multi-hundred-megawatt solar projects ever developed off the ground. Today it has more than $40 billion of available loan capacity to throw at the next wave of climate technologies to scale.