145 episodes

Longtime energy expert Chris Nelder interviews some of the smartest and most knowledgeable people in energy, exploring global infrastructure and markets during the ongoing transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewables. Designed to stimulate discussion about the difficult questions rather than reinforce preconceived answers, the Energy Transition Show covers oil, gas, coal, solar, wind, emerging renewables, nuclear, grid power, transportation systems, macroeconomics, and more, including the latest news and research, policy developments, and market events.

The Energy Transition Show with Chris Nelder XE Network

    • News
    • 4.8 • 139 Ratings

Longtime energy expert Chris Nelder interviews some of the smartest and most knowledgeable people in energy, exploring global infrastructure and markets during the ongoing transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewables. Designed to stimulate discussion about the difficult questions rather than reinforce preconceived answers, the Energy Transition Show covers oil, gas, coal, solar, wind, emerging renewables, nuclear, grid power, transportation systems, macroeconomics, and more, including the latest news and research, policy developments, and market events.

    Internalizing Climate Risk [abridged]

    Internalizing Climate Risk [abridged]

    Climate change poses a host of risks to the global economy. From ‘natural’ disasters causing property damage, to climate mitigation measures rendering fossil fuel assets unburnable, to potential impacts of climate change on agricultural production, energy, food, insurance, real estate, and other sectors, it’s clear that private sector companies and all kinds of investments stand to suffer significant losses as a consequence of climate change.

    Yet few regulations exist to require these risks to be recognized on balance sheets, or disclosed to investors, unlike many other everyday risks that are subject to such disclosure and protection. A home built in a floodplain and destroyed in a flood, or at a wildland interface and destroyed by a wildfire, has not seen its cost of insurance go up to reflect the rising risk of another loss due to climate change. Pension funds have not been required to evaluate the risk of their investments in oil, gas, and coal companies losing value due to future restrictions on carbon emissions. And entities like the U.S. Federal Reserve have been free to continue lending to fossil fuel producers even as they warn about the damage that climate change is doing to the global economy.

    Clearly, it is long past time to recognize the risk of climate change across all sectors of the economy. We must begin implementing ways of measuring those risks, testing portfolios for their risk tolerance, divesting public money from the fossil fuel sector, and start implementing economy-wide ways of pricing carbon emissions.

    To that end, in 2019 the U. S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) formed the Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee, and tasked it with producing a report to consider what climate-related risks might be; examine whether adequate information about climate risks is available; identify any impediments to evaluating and managing climate-related financial and market risks; ask whether the market can do a better job of integrating climate-related scenarios and use them to stress-test investments; incorporate disclosures of climate risk into financial and market risk assessments and reporting; identify how risks can be managed and disclosed in order to protect the stability of the financial system; and ensure that information about climate-related financial and market risks are internalized into the market.

    On September 9, 2020, that report was released. In this episode, we speak with the chairman of the subcommittee, Bob Litterman, founding partner and Risk Committee Chairman of Kepos Capital. Bob has had a decades-long career in risk management, and has been a champion of recognizing and integrating climate risk for many years. We’ll ask him about what the report says, why it’s important, and how its findings might be used to integrate awareness of climate risk into financial metrics and enterprise governance.

    • 30 min
    Storage Grows Up [abridged]

    Storage Grows Up [abridged]

    Battery storage in the US has grown ten-fold in just five years, and its growth is only accelerating. Just a single utility procurement announced in May of this year was for four times as much utility battery capacity as existed in the entire US five years ago.

    But battery storage isn’t just getting bigger. It’s also stretching well beyond utility-scale frequency control into new applications and market segments. In fact, fully one-third of the installed battery capacity in the US now is actually on the customer side of the meter, where it is being used to do things like mitigate demand charges and provide resilience—for example, allowing a microgrid to keep functioning when grid power is shut off in a wildfire event.

    And then there are all the other kinds of non-battery storage, which are finding new momentum as well. It’s an exciting time of rapid evolution in the storage sector. To help us understand it all, Jason Burwen, the Vice President of Policy at the Energy Storage Association who last joined us back in Episode #8, returns to the show for this very wonky but highly informative look at the changing market, policy environment, and technologies of storage.

    • 33 min
    Stranded Assets [abridged]

    Stranded Assets [abridged]

    A decade ago, it was very conventional for asset managers to have exposure to the oil and gas sector as part of a diversified portfolio. Calls for them to divest from carbon assets because climate policy could render fossil fuel reserves unburnable mostly fell on deaf ears. But now the oil & gas sector has turned in a decade of underperformance, vaporizing tens of billions of dollars and becoming the worst-performing sector in the world. Now banks, asset managers, and even oil operators have now joined the ranks of those worrying aloud about the increasing risk of stranded assets. Now, the warnings about stranded assets are converging with calls for companies and investors to apply ESG filters to their activities, and investors are demanding divestment from carbon-heavy assets.

    One think-tank saw all this coming: Carbon Tracker. In fact, they put the concept of stranded fossil fuel assets on the map over a decade ago. In this episode we speak with its founder, Mark Campanale, about what investors have learned from the experience of the past decade, what they still need to do going forward, and some of the more interesting efforts that are under way to encourage divestment from carbon and reorient capital toward energy transition solutions.

    • 33 min
    The Future of Solar [abridged]

    The Future of Solar [abridged]

    How did the solar industry grow up so quickly over the past 15 years, and what does its future look like? In this episode, we talk with the founder of the solar team at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, who’s had a front-row seat to the industry’s development, about the many booms and busts it has seen over the past 15 years, and about what we should expect from the sector going forward. Does solar need a big new innovation to keep growing and displacing fossil-fueled power plants, or does it just need to keep going on its existing trajectory? How much cheaper can solar get? For that matter, is continuing to get cheaper even desirable? And how much can solar do to help lift the developing world out of poverty? We answer these and many more questions in this episode.

    • 31 min
    Decarbonizing the US by 2050 [abridged]

    Decarbonizing the US by 2050 [abridged]

    Is it possible to decarbonize the economy of the United States, and get to net-zero emissions by 2050? A team of researchers from 15 countries who are part of the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project think so, based on their deep modeling of the US economy as part of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). We introduced this work at a high level in Episode #129, during our conversation with Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, the Director of the SDSN. In this episode, we take a deep dive into the modeling itself with one of the modelers involved in the project. We’ll look at the specific energy technologies, devices, and grid management strategies that will make decarbonization by 2050 possible, and see why they think that decarbonizing the US is not only achievable by 2050, but practical, and very, very affordable.

    • 29 min
    5-Year Anniversary Show [abridged]

    5-Year Anniversary Show [abridged]

    In this anniversary episode, we welcome back Jonathan Koomey to talk about some of the interesting developments and raucous debates we have seen over the past year. We’ll consider how expectations have changed for coal and gas-fired electricity generation; we’ll discuss the changed outlook for natural gas appliances; we’ll talk about the growing support for “just transition” strategies integrating climate and environmental justice objectives to ensure that energy transition leaves no one behind; we’ll summarize the latest developments in the ongoing debate over climate scenarios; we’ll discuss some of the new models around what an 80, 90, or 100% renewable energy system might look like; and we’ll review a slew of stories about corruption investigations into legacy energy companies, several of which we first covered two and three years ago.

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
139 Ratings

139 Ratings

Katya Entropy Karankevich ,

Be the most interesting guest at dinner parties

This podcast made me quit my cushy career and go back for a master’s degree. That is how powerful and well researched it is. The host interviews thoughtful guests who are cutting edge and prolific in their fields. His show can take you from a layman to an energy grid expert, after about 50-100 hours of listening, depending on how quickly you can pick up all of the acronyms.

I listen to this show when taking long steep hikes because it forces me to concentrate on the fascinating topics that range from basic concepts to the most far our technologies and complicated grid modeling or global fiscal planning of the grid. I download them for long drives in areas of no cell reception. I listen to it on flights. It’s my treat to myself when I want to learn, but can’t fathom to do the research myself.

It took me one whole year of free listening to the first 20 full podcasts and then abridged versions to subscribe. I’m so glad I did.

In the age of BS news and poor quality reporting in our sound byte culture, Chris Nelder gives listeners enough background and context to understand complex issues along with additional resources to take further dives.

If you are going to spend a few bucks on education this year, choose to learn about the complicated, bizarre and incredible world of energy and energy transition.

Tarzan 2018 ,

Best Podcast on Energy Transition

I’m an engineer but a novice to much of the content, so I need to look up some of the material to keep up, but boy; is it worth it! There isn’t another podcast with as much in-depth content about this subject as this one. Enjoy!

George Kopf ,

Into the weeds we go!

Want to get deep in the weeds on energy?

I mean *deep* into the weeds?

Like “tie a rope around your waist so you can find your back out” type deep dive?

Then buddy, you’ve found it.

I’m a seasoned energy pro (10+ years in efficiency) and I find myself rewinding and relistening to parts of these conversations to make sure I catch every nugget.

There’s so much good content here and, while I have to actively listen and really work to understand, I really enjoy the program.

(I love Chris’ seamless transition from intro to interview: “So let’s bring them into the conversation now...”. Brilliant. Podcast gold.)

I give a lot of credit to Chris for my deeper understanding of the energy industry, climate science and politics.

I only hope all of this great content actually speeds along the energy transition so, ya know, we are able to keep the planet inhabitable by our species.

Thanks Chris. Keep up the great work.

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