111 episodes

Energy Policy Now offers clear talk on the policy issues that define our relationship to energy and its impact on society and the environment. The series is produced by the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and hosted by energy journalist Andy Stone. Join Andy in conversation with leaders from industry, government, and academia as they shed light on today's pressing energy policy debates.

Energy Policy Now Kleinman Center for Energy Policy

    • Government
    • 4.7 • 59 Ratings

Energy Policy Now offers clear talk on the policy issues that define our relationship to energy and its impact on society and the environment. The series is produced by the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and hosted by energy journalist Andy Stone. Join Andy in conversation with leaders from industry, government, and academia as they shed light on today's pressing energy policy debates.

    Can Americans Afford to Fully Electrify Their Homes?

    Can Americans Afford to Fully Electrify Their Homes?

    A leading energy economist explores the cost of electrifying home heating, the top source of energy demand and carbon emissions in American homes.
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    Residential homes account for one fifth of America’s energy consumption, with the largest part of that consumption going toward home heating. In the U.S., more homes are heated with natural gas than any other fuel, a fact that has drawn the attention of policymakers as momentum builds to reduce fossil fuel consumption.  
    Recently, a number of cities have sought to curtail residential gas use by introducing policies to promote home electrification and, more controversially, through bans that prohibit gas hookups in new homes. While it’s still too early to tell how politically viable, and ultimately effective these efforts will be, what is clear is that the urgency to electrify everything will only intensify as more municipalities, states, and the federal government set ambitious decarbonization goals for the years to come.
    Lucas Davis, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, offers a look at the drive to electrify home heating. His recent research examines what motivates households to choose to electrify, how much Americans may be willing to pay in the process, and how this understanding could be used to focus policies that drive rapid and equitable electrification of American homes.   
    Lucas Davis is an economist at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and a visiting scholar at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. His research focuses on energy and environmental markets.  
    Related Content 
    Electricity Storage and Renewables: How Investments Change as Technology Improves https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/electricity-storage-and-renewables-how-investments-change-as-technology-improves/ 
    Climate Tech for Real Estate: The Elephant in the Room  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/climate-tech-for-real-estate-the-elephant-in-the-room/

    • 29 min
    Rare Earth Elements Raise Environmental, Economic Risks for Clean Energy

    Rare Earth Elements Raise Environmental, Economic Risks for Clean Energy

    Rare earth elements are essential to many clean energy technologies, yet their production can bring severe environmental impacts. A new report grapples with rare earths' environmental negatives and efforts to diversify supply beyond China.
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     In 2010 China withheld shipment of rare earth elements to Japan during a territorial dispute between the two countries. Rare earths, a grouping of 17 difficult to mine elements, are essential in the manufacture of goods such as cell phones and computer hard drives. They’re also a critical element in wind turbines and electric vehicle motors.
      
     Today, China is the source of 85% of the world’s supply of refined rare earths, a fact that has raised concern in the United States given the growth of Chinese-American diplomatic tensions and rising demand for clean energy technologies. Any future disruption in the supply of the metals, similar to that experienced by Japan a decade ago, could have a crippling effect on clean energy development in the U.S. and elsewhere.
      
     In the podcast, authors of the recent Kleinman Center report, Rare Earth Elements: A Resource Constraint of the Energy Transition, discuss the market for rare earths, explain why they are so important to clean energy, and examine growing calls to diversify global supply.  The authors, Amy Chu of Mills College, and Oscar Serpell of the Kleinman Center, also talk about the high environmental impact of rare earths production, a reality that is at odds with the environmental promise of clean energy.
      
     Amy Chu is an assistant professor of chemistry at Mills College.  Oscar Serpell is Associate Director of Academic Programming here at the Kleinman Center. Their report, Rare Earth Elements: A Resource Constraint of the Energy Transition, was funded by the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy.
      
    Related Content
    Rare Earth Elements: A Resource Constraint of the Energy Transition  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/rare-earth-elements-a-resource-constraint-of-the-energy-transition/  
      
    Electricity Storage and Renewables: How Investments Change as Technology Improves. https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/electricity-storage-and-renewables-how-investments-change-as-technology-improves/ 
      
    Electric Vehicles in the City  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/electric-vehicles-in-the-city-the-relationship-of-ev-infrastructure-and-spatial-development-in-beijing/ 

    • 44 min
    As Climate Concerns Rise, What Role Will Natural Gas Play?

    As Climate Concerns Rise, What Role Will Natural Gas Play?

    The head of the International Energy Agency’s gas division discusses the outlook for natural gas as global efforts to address carbon emissions intensify.
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    Natural gas may be the most controversial of all fossil fuels. It has been heralded as a lower carbon alternative to coal as a fuel for electricity generation. At the same time, natural gas-fired generators have proven themselves to be a reliable backup for intermittent wind and solar power, and gas is viewed as an enabler of an increasingly renewables-based electric grid.   
    Yet natural gas is nonetheless a fossil fuel whose global consumption is on the rise even as a growing number of countries have set out to zero out carbon emissions from their energy systems within the coming two decades.  
    Peter Fraser, head of the Gas, Coal and Power Markets Division at the International Energy Agency, examines present and future demand for natural gas, and the growing perception of risk that accompanies investment in major natural gas infrastructure projects should demand for gas soften. He also discusses the technologies that must be developed to ensure the cleanest possible gas supply, and to enable a shift to non-gas alternatives.  
    Peter Fraser heads the Gas, Coal and Power Markets Division at the International Energy Agency. His work includes the IEA Outlooks used by governments and industry to understand the direction of the global energy sector.
    Related Content
    The Opportunities and Limitations of Seasonal Energy Storagehttps://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/the-opportunities-and-limitations-of-seasonal-energy-storage/
    Have We Reached Peak Carbon Emissions? https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/have-we-reached-peak-carbon-emissions/
    The Essential Role of Negative Emissions in Getting to Carbon Neutral https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/the-essential-role-of-negative-emissions-in-getting-to-carbon-neutral/

    • 29 min
    Why Is it So Hard to Build the Electric Grid of the Future?

    Why Is it So Hard to Build the Electric Grid of the Future?

    America’s electric grid is ill-equipped to enable the low carbon energy system of the future.  A grid policy expert explores the policy and economic changes that will be needed to bring the grid up to date. 
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    There is little doubt that the electricity system of the future will look very different from the system that we have today. In the U.S., a growing number of states and the federal government have set 100% clean energy goals for the middle of this century or earlier. The growing demand for clean energy is already evident in fact that wind and solar power now account for the overwhelming majority of new additions to the nation’s power generation fleet.   
    Yet building an electricity grid to accommodate large amounts of renewable energy raises a host of challenges. The most important of these will be to manage the intermittent nature of wind and solar energy to ensure that reliable power is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
    Rob Gramlich, President of Grid Strategies and a former economic advisor to the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, discusses strategies to manage all that clean energy, and the hurdles that will need to be overcome to expand the nation’s electric grid and allow wind and solar power to be reliably transmitted, often over hundreds of miles of power lines, to markets throughout the country. To reach this goal, existing frameworks used to plan and pay for electric transmission may need to be fundamentally reworked. 
    Rob Gramlich is President of Grid Strategies, which provides engineering, economic, and policy analysis for the electric power system. Rob is also Director of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid, the Watt Coalition, and he is a former economic advisor to the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 
    Related Content

    Electricity Storage and Renewables: How Investments Change as Technology Improves  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/electricity-storage-and-renewables-how-investments-change-as-technology-improves/
    Have We Reached Peak Carbon Emissions?https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/have-we-reached-peak-carbon-emissions/
    The Opportunities and Limitations of Seasonal Energy Storage  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/the-opportunities-and-limitations-of-seasonal-energy-storage/

    • 51 min
    Can the FERC Be Made Accountable to Communities and the Environment?

    Can the FERC Be Made Accountable to Communities and the Environment?

    Congress has directed the nation’s regulator for natural gas and electricity infrastructure to be more responsive to community and environmental concerns. Will FERC’s new Office of Public Participation deliver on the promise of public inclusion?
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    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission increasingly finds itself at the center of controversy as momentum in the United States builds for a cleaner and more sustainable energy system. 
    As the regulator of the nation’s natural gas and electricity networks, the FERC’s job includes the review of applications for new gas pipelines and electric transmission, and FERC commissioners spend a great deal of time assessing the arguments of energy industry legal teams in favor of a given project.
    Yet, some argue that the FERC has lost sight of what may be its most important role, which is to guard the public interest, including that of communities and landowners who are most directly affected by the development of energy infrastructure. In fact, community and environmental concerns often find it frustratingly complex, and expensive, to navigate the highly technocratic agency, with the result that public voices may not be adequately heard before the agency.
    In response, in December Congress mandated that the FERC present a plan to establish an Office of Public Participation, with the goal to assist the public in taking part in complex FERC proceedings and ensuring that community and landowner concerns are taken into full account. Details of the plan are due to lawmakers by the end of June.
    In the podcast Shelly Welton, associate professor at the University of South Carolina Law School, discusses the mandate of the Office of Public Participation, and the challenge of designing the office in a way that ensures that public views are not just voiced, but actively taken into FERC’s decision making process. She also explores why the public can find the FERC such a difficult agency to engage.
    Shelley Welton is an associate professor of Law at the University of South Carolina Law School. Her work focuses on the impact of climate change on energy and environmental law.
    Related Content
    Balancing Renewable Energy Goals with Community Interests https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/balancing-renewable-energy-goals-with-community-interests/
    U.S. Electricity Regulator Takes A Hard Look at Carbon Pricing https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/podcast/u-s-electricity-regulator-takes-a-hard-look-at-carbon-pricing/
    What’s the FERC, and How is it Shaping Our Energy Future?  https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/podcast/whats-the-ferc-and-how-is-it-shaping-our-energy-future-part-1/
     

    • 42 min
    Coal Communities Seek Their Post-Coal Future

    Coal Communities Seek Their Post-Coal Future

    Heidi Binko, Executive Director of the Just Transition Fund, discusses the challenges coal communities face in adapting to a post-coal future, and strategies for economic transition.
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    Over the past decade the number of workers directly employed in the U.S. coal industry has fallen by half, as coal has been replaced by cheaper sources of energy such as natural gas and renewable power. From the Appalachian mountains in the East, to the Powder River Basin and tribal communities in the West, the continued decline of the coal industry has been devastating, depriving workers of livelihoods, and towns of revenue to support essential services.
    Yet coal communities often have a deep sense of place, and the drive to remain, reinvent, and rebuild is strong.
    Heidi Binko, Executive Director of the Just Transition Fund, discusses the impact on coal-dependent communities when the industries that sustain them leave, and looks at efforts of the same communities to find new paths of development and create economically diverse and sustainable futures. She also offers a view of strategies that may help communities facing transition.
    Heidi Binko is Executive Director of the Just Transition Fund, an organization that provides access to funding and technical assistance for coal communities.
    Related Content
    Efficiency and Diversification: A Framework for Sustainably Transitioning to a Carbon-Neutral Economy https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/efficiency-and-diversification-a-framework-for-sustainably-transitioning-to-a-carbon-neutral-economy/
    Rebalancing Renewable Energy Goals with Community Interests https://kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu/research/publications/balancing-renewable-energy-goals-with-community-interests/

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
59 Ratings

59 Ratings

fishyrainn ,

Absolutely love this podcast

The perfect podcast for new learners in the sector as well as more experienced people as well in order to grasp the current conversations in the industry!

incognito82 ,

What the FERC

I love the episode about FERC.

Uber Music addict ,

David Case

This is a fantastic podcast. Host Andy Stone is an agile, knowledgeable interviewer, and his guests include an array of well-placed sources plugged-in to the energy and environment scene — including the former mayor of a troubled coal town, an air transportation expert, and a lawyer who can tell you why lithium ion batteries hold the key to the future. Energy policy affects all of us, more than ever. If you want to better understand today’s world (and tomorrow's), here's your podcast! Please keep them coming!

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