[Episode #11] – India and Coal

Everyone knows that India is the second-largest coal importing nation in the world, after China, and that it is the fastest-growing source of global CO2 emissions thanks to its rapid adoption of coal. And it is widely believed that India will remain the world’s fastest-growing market for coal for years to come. But sometimes what “everybody knows” is wrong. Renewables are now hitting grid parity, and are poised to snatch the lead away from coal in India. Plus: We round up the cheapest solar projects ever in the US and the world.

Geek rating: 3

(more…)

[Episode #10] – Grid Architecture of the Future

What kind of grid architecture and markets will we need in order to actually operate the distributed, decentralized grid of the future? What sorts of regulatory models will be needed? And what does it all mean, from a philosophical point of view, about how human society is organized? How can mere mortals begin to understand these subjects? Never fear: We’ve got you covered, in this ultra-geeky yet accessible episode.

Geek rating: 11

(more…)

[Episode #9] – Macro Outlook for 2016

A full-spectrum romp through the macroeconomic context: Stock markets; oil and gas prices; coal's collapse; the difficult LNG export market; what commodities are telling us about the health of the global economy; trends in oil and electricity demand and electric vehicles; currency valuations and trends; the outlook for renewables; and much more!

Geek rating: 6

(more…)

[Episode #8] – Storage on the Grid

All about storage on the grid -- in front of the meter -- with a little bit about behind-the-meter storage.  How to value storage, how storage complements and replaces generation, and some geeky excursions into locational marginal pricing, PURPA, non-market uplift payments, and FERC Order 819! And in the news segment: Comments on the COP 21 United Nations Climate Change Conference and an update on carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Geek rating: 8.5

(more…)

[Episode #7] – EROI

All about EROI (Energy Return on Investment), the state of biophysical economics, the relationship between energy and ecology, and what EROI could and should tell us about the outlook for a fuel -- for example, can we run a society on renewables? And in the news segment: LNG's troubled future, how low oil prices are causing surging gasoline consumption, and the risk of the next oil price spike.

Geek rating: 6

(more…)

[Episode #6] – Transition from Oil

The recent history of oil production and prices, the future of the oil industry, the potential for transitioning away from oil and the opportunity for EVs, and ERCI - the Energy Returned on Capital Invested. And in the news segment: the oil industry's latest moves and announcements about climate change; three important trends we should recognize in the retirement of yet another US coal plant; and a new report from Carbon Tracker calls IEA and EIA on the carpet for consistently overestimating future demand for fossil fuels, and consistently underestimating the growth of renewables.

Geek rating: 4

(more…)

[Episode #5] – Winning the Carbon War

One man's sweeping ride through three decades of campaigning for action on climate and deploying solar from a veteran of the "carbon wars," plus his pithy observations on what our leaders in government and in the energy industry really think. And in the news segment: New studies are finding that renewables are getting cheaper than any other grid power; the continuing death of "baseload power" and the rise of flexible grids; more coal and nuclear power plants are being closed; and why deregulation and consumer choice isn’t necessarily the fastest path toward grid power transition.

Geek rating: 2

(more…)

[Episode #4] – Energiewende

All about Germany's famed energy transition effort, the Energiewende. What it is, what it isn't (with a strong dose of mythbusting), and what the future of grid power looks like from one of the countries on the leading edge. And in the news segment: US LNG export terminals could be in trouble; China's massive push for renewables; and the latest action in oil prices.

Guest: Craig Morris, editor of Renewables International and lead author of EnergyTransition.de

On Twitter: @PPChef

Geek rating: 4

(more…)

[Episode #3] – Limits on the Grid – Part 2

How energy markets need to change to level the playing field for renewables, how renewables should be valued, and whether wind and solar must "eat their own lunch" by virtue of having a free marginal cost, or whether markets can be adjusted to prevent that. And in the news segment: Shell gives up on the Arctic; the new premier of Alberta does an about-face on fossil fuels; and solar is even cheaper than most energy analysts think (because the data is old).

Geek rating: 7

(more…)