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.
Investing in Energy Transition [abridged]
We have a very special guest for you in this episode: Jeremy Grantham, the legendary investor who co-founded GMO, a Boston-based institutional money management firm, more than 40 years ago. With more than $60 billion in assets under management, GMO has produced steady returns for its investors through market booms and busts, largely thanks to the steady hand of Grantham and his investing philosophy, which holds that sooner or later, most valuations return to the mean.
In this interview, we talked about Grantham’s investing philosophy; the history of investment bubbles; how he values investments; what’s happening in the markets as new retail traders using the Robinhood app and participating in Reddit-based trading groups drive stocks like Game Stop wild; what the Fed should do as the world recovers from the pandemic; his views on the massive expansion of the US national debt; how the world’s governments are responding to the challenge of climate change; the role of venture capital in energy transition; and his outlook for energy transition in general.
Hydrogen Economy 2.0 Part 2 [abridged]
This is part two of our three-hour interview with Dr. Simon Evans of Carbon Brief about their extensive survey of the developing hydrogen economy.
In part one of this interview, which we featured in Episode #142, we discussed the current expectations for the hydrogen economy, the various projections for hydrogen production and use; the different methods of producing hydrogen and the names we use to refer to them; the state of the global hydrogen business today; the potential roles that hydrogen might play in tackling climate change; and the questions around what hydrogen costs today and may cost in the future.
In this second part, we’ll talk about the various potential applications of hydrogen sector by sector and by use, and attempt to start sorting out where hydrogen might really have an edge, and where it might be just a potential application that might never become a commercial reality.
Hydrogen Economy 2.0 Part 1 [abridged]
Everyone seems to be excited about hydrogen lately, pointing out its many potential applications and claiming that a global hydrogen economy is a key strategy in energy transition. But how much of what we’re hearing is real, and how much of it is hype? What are all the ways that hydrogen is being produced, what is the global capacity for producing it now, what kind of investment would be needed to its production up to the needed levels, and where does hydrogen have a clear and tangible edge over competing technologies or energy sources?
In this episode, we present part one of a two-part, three-hour interview with Dr. Simon Evans, the deputy editor and policy editor for Carbon Brief, in which he shares their findings from dozens of interviews they conducted with experts who are knowledgeable about hydrogen’s potential, as well as from dozens of research reports and other resources.
In this first part of the interview, we’ll talk about the expectations for Hydrogen Economy 2.0; the various projections for hydrogen production and use; the different methods of producing hydrogen and the names we use to refer to them; the state of the global hydrogen business today; the potential roles that hydrogen might play in tackling climate change; and the questions around what hydrogen costs today and may cost in the future.
In part 2 of this interview, which will run as Episode #143, we’ll talk about the various potential applications of hydrogen sector by sector and use by use, and attempt to start sorting out where hydrogen might really have an edge, and where it might be just a potential application that might never become a commercial reality. So stay tuned for that!
Making Climate Policy Work [abridged]
Why have nearly all attempts to price carbon failed, while targeted policies to achieve certain objectives, like phase out coal plants or increase wind and solar generation, succeeded? And how can we design climate policies that are truly effective?
In their new book, Making Climate Policy Work, Danny Cullenward and David Victor argue that policymakers and policy advocates rely too heavily on market forces to combat climate change, and instead should be focusing on smart, targeted industrial policy strategies aimed specifically at reducing greenhouse gases. Market-based climate policies are doing very little to reduce emissions today, they say, but with careful reforms, markets can be harnessed to help us make meaningful progress against the climate challenge.
In this episode we speak with one of the authors and try to distill a recipe for good climate policy from their book.
Methane Leakage [abridged]
Methane (natural gas) is a greenhouse gas with a much more powerful warming effect than carbon dioxide, so finding and eliminating gas leaks is an important part of addressing the climate challenge. But until now, we’ve had poor information about gas leakage within cities, as well as how to correctly attribute the leakage all along the chain from well to consumer.
In this episode we discuss a study, The Gas Index, with two of its authors. It is the first study that has provided granular estimates for life cycle methane leakage for a large number of cities, and the first to draw together recent assessments of leakage within cities, including leakage that occurs within buildings. It shows that cities’ gas systems are leaking about 72% more than had been previously estimated by the EPA.
We also consider the role of natural gas in the energy transition, and some of the tradeoffs we will have to consider as we deal with the problem of methane leakage.
In this lagniappe episode, we switch roles for the first time, with Chris as the guest and Utility Dive reporter Robert Walton as our guest host. Chris summarizes some of the insights he has gained from the past five years of research and writing about electric vehicles and vehicle-grid integration, including the various methods and speeds of charging, how we manage the loads of EV charging on utility grids, the roles that utilities can play in supporting transportation electrification, how fleet managers need to start preparing to electrify their own fleets, and what it all means for the future of utility grids.
Because it’s one of our lagniappe episodes, we’re running this show in its entirety in front of the paywall, so that non-subscribers can enjoy the whole thing as well. So listen in and learn how transportation electrification has the potential to make the largest impact of all on carbon emissions globally.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Educational and insightful
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!
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.
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!