The Energy Gang

The Energy Gang

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Looking to understand the fast-changing world of energy? This isn’t your ordinary energy business show. Every week, we debate and discuss the latest trends in energy, cleantech, renewables, and the environment. Join us as we explore the forces transforming energy markets in America and around the world.


The Era of ‘Super Hybrid’ Renewables?
Aug 7 • 66 min
On this week’s episode of The Energy Gang: big energy companies are putting together bids for multi- renewable power — and it’s merchant. Global investment in offshore wind more than quadrupled in the first half of this year. More new wind farms were…
Watt It Takes: Opower’s Dan Yates on the Origins of Behavioral Efficiency
Jul 29 • 53 min
Dan Yates and his co-founder Alex Laskey built Opower, an efficiency company that saves more energy every year than the hoover dam can generate. It was based on cutting-edge behavioral science — but it wasn’t always clear how the science would play out.…
Biden’s Trillion-Dollar Climate Ambitions
Jul 24 • 61 min
Joe Biden just released a plan to address climate change on a trillion-dollar scale. Along with focusing on rapid deployment of renewables, it also devotes resources to environmental justice, sustainable housing, clean transportation, and networking. What…
The Most Complete Climate Policy Plan Ever?
Jul 17 • 64 min
A group of House lawmakers recently released a 547-page report on climate change. Reporters at E&E News call it “arguably the most comprehensive climate policy plan in American politics.” The report spells out in great detail how to use Congressional…
Nikola vs Tesla: The Future of Trucking?
Jun 26 • 57 min
A rivalry is emerging between two companies trying to clean up the trucking industry: Nikola Motor versus Tesla Motors. Tesla thinks battery-electric semi models are superior. Nikola thinks hydrogen is the best choice. Neither company actually has a semi…
An Anxious Accountant’s Journey to the Top [Special Content]
Jun 25 • 13 min
This is an original, branded podcast from GTM Creative Strategies, produced in collaboration with CohnReznick. In 2004, Ted Gunther started a new job at a big accounting firm. He led the team overseeing transactions in newly-deregulated electricity…
A 90% Clean Grid Is Possible Quickly
Jun 19 • 64 min
Most decarbonization proposals play out over 30 years, aiming toward 2050. But a new roadmap from researchers at UC Berkeley and the policy firm Energy Innovation shows the grid can get 90% clean in just 15 years. No new fossil fuel plants. Lower rates…
Europe Invests Big in Green Recovery, While US Keeps the Status Quo
Jun 11 • 62 min
We’re back with another live show from quarantine. Europe is crafting a €750 billion recovery package in response to the economic impact of coronavirus. It will devote more than €200 billion directly to low-carbon infrastructure projects. That could…
Breathing While Black in America
Jun 4 • 55 min
This week: as anger over police brutality explodes into the once-empty streets, we tackle an equally oppressive force for black Americans: environmental racism. Coronavirus has exposed an unsettling reality for black and brown people, who are dying at…
Watt It Takes: Building Distributed, ‘Restorative’ Hydropower
May 28 • 52 min
Gia Schneider and her brother Abe started Natel Energy based on a hydropower turbine their father designed. And after more than a decade of R&D, pilots, software development and a project for Apple, Natel is preparing for the next level of scale. “Our…
The Battery Boom Continues
May 22 • 50 min
This week, we cover some hopeful signs amidst the economic destruction. First, we’ll look at the record-breaking activity in battery storage. A coal plant in North Dakota will be replaced in part with a one-acre battery array from Form Energy that uses a…
Layoffs Surge in Clean Energy
May 15 • 55 min
This week, we look at sky-high layoffs in clean energy. How do we get people back to work? The first major analysis of unemployment in the clean energy sector has been released for April. According to E2 and BW Research, nearly 600,000 jobs were lost in…
Trump’s Deregulation Push + Michael Moore’s Bad-Faith Movie
May 8 • 60 min
This week: while the country is distracted by infection rates, deaths and protests, what else have we been missing? We peek out from behind the quarantine curtain to see what the Trump administration has been up to on the energy front. The Trump…
Watt It Takes: From Self-Replicating Machines to Decarbonization
Apr 30 • 67 min
This week on Watt It Takes: Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch sits down with Saul Griffith, the founder and chief scientist at Other Lab. Saul Griffith has a PhD in materials science and information theory. He’s co-founded over a dozen companies. And now he’s…
Live From Our Homes to Yours, Literally
Apr 23 • 83 min
This week, we bring you a joint episode of The Energy Gang and The Interchange, recorded in front of a live audience from our quarantine quarters around the country. When we started making our podcasts seven years ago, it was clear that the energy…
Reckoning With Utilities’ Dirty Past
Apr 18 • 64 min
We’re doing a free live show from our homes! Sign up here to join us on Wednesday April 22nd. You can watch a behind-the-scenes recording with The Energy Gang and The Interchange. This week: The many ways that dirty energy has controlled the politics of…
Will Pollution Pauses Have a Lasting Impact?
Apr 10 • 46 min
The world is experiencing a sudden, dramatic drop in all kinds of air pollution. The skies are dramatically different. People can hear birds they didn’t even know were there, and see landscapes that have been shrouded for decades. It’s saved thousands of…
Does the Economic Crisis Shift the Clean Energy Calculus?
Apr 2 • 58 min
This week: The coronavirus shockwave brings staggering losses of lives, jobs, and money. So many applied for unemployment last week – 5 times more than ever before – that it was hard for graphic artists to draw a Y-axis that would fit them in historical…
Election Special: Coronavirus and Climate Collide
Mar 27 • 63 min
This is a special crossover episode between The Energy Gang and Climate 2020. Coronavirus brought the 2020 election to a screeching halt. Climate was once a top issue in the Democratic primary, but it’s been overtaken by a virus and a looming economic…
The Vast Potential of Networked EV Chargers [Content From Enel X]
Mar 25 • 12 min
This is an original, branded podcast produced in partnership with Enel X and GTM Creative Strategies. Electric vehicle chargers now outnumber gas stations in some countries. They’re getting easier to find. They’re easier to install in homes. And they’re…
The Coronavirus Fallout
Mar 19 • 57 min
This week: how coronavirus could accelerate or decelerate the energy transition. We’re facing an oil shock amid a pandemic, supply chains are still in disarray, economic gears are grinding to a near halt, and countries are scrambling to put stimulus…
Watt It Takes: Turning Real Estate Into Clean-Power Assets
Mar 12 • 66 min
This week on Watt It Takes: Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch sits down with Robyn Beavers, the co-founder and CEO of Blueprint Power. Blueprint works with real estate companies to turn their buildings into clean energy power plants. Blueprint developed…
We Spend Jeff Bezos’ Climate Money
Mar 5 • 45 min
What to do with all this climate money moving around? The richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, says he is going to channel $10 billion of his own dollars into climate solutions. Is this the biggest climate philanthropy ever? And where should he be…
Is BP’s Shift for Real?
Feb 21 • 57 min
Just weeks after taking over as CEO of BP, Bernard Looney unveiled a series of climate targets. This isn’t the first time BP has tried to make a push into clean energy and decarbonization — is this time different? In this week’s episode, we’ll look at the…
The State of Off-Grid Energy Access
Feb 14 • 57 min
This week: The cutting-edge business of bringing power to the last billion people on Earth without it. We’ll follow the money, the markets, the business models and ask whether distributed renewables are providing a real alternative to slow grid…
Watt It Takes: Bringing Printable Batteries From Lab to Market
Feb 8 • 66 min
This week on Watt It Takes: Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch sits down with Dr. Christine Ho, the co-founder and CEO of Imprint Energy. Imprint Energy is the company created to commercialize Christine’s invention: a tiny, zinc-based solid-state battery that…
Arizona Public Service’s Historic Shift
Jan 31 • 57 min
This week: The largest utility in one of the West’s reddest states will go carbon-free by 2050. The power company that has poured tens of millions of dollars into electing friendly regulators and fighting renewable energy says it’s all in for zero carbon…
Microsoft’s Carbon-Negative Gambit
Jan 24 • 38 min
This week: Microsoft is setting a new standard for corporate climate targets. The technology company promised to remove all of the carbon that it’s ever put in the atmosphere — going back to when it was founded in an Albuquerque garage in 1975. That…
The World’s Biggest Capitalist Says Climate Is ‘Reshaping Finance’
Jan 17 • 49 min
The world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, is suddenly putting sustainability and climate risk at the center of its investment strategy. “Investors are increasingly…recognizing that climate risk is investment risk. These questions are driving a…
Will Australia’s Hellish Fires Influence Climate Politics?
Jan 11 • 49 min
This week, a look at the bushfires in Australia — their impact to the country, to the grid, and to politics of climate. Then, a big change could be coming to a foundational federal policy in America. Are the proposed changes to PURPA a thoughtful response…
Presenting: The Deep Decarbonization Draft
Dec 26, 2019 • 45 min
We have some bonus listening as we close out the year! We present one of our most popular episodes of The Interchange: The Deep Decarbonization Draft. It’s like fantasy sports for energy nerds. The premise is simple: Shayle and Stephen choose their teams…
Reflections on the Last 10 Years, Projections for the Next 10
Dec 23, 2019 • 61 min
We’re closing out the decade this week with a retrospective. We have been doing this show since 2013. So we are going to share some of our top story lines in energy and cleantech of the last 10 years — many of which played out while we were doing this…
Watt It Takes: The Founder-Engineer Turning CO2 Into Usable Stuff
Dec 13, 2019 • 57 min
This week on Watt It Takes: Emily Kirsch sits down with Dr. Etosha Cave, the co-founder and chief science officer of Opus 12. Opus 12 is a team of engineers, electrochemists and materials scientists working on a technology that converts carbon dioxide…
This Clean-Energy Tax Pro Knows Your Deepest Secrets [Special Content]
Dec 10, 2019 • 17 min
This is a branded podcast made in collaboration between CohnReznick Capital and GTM Creative Strategies. Sheslie Royster is the person that big companies turn to when making an acquisition, investing in real estate, or finding a creative way to use tax…
Tesla’s Cybertruck: Win or Fail?
Dec 7, 2019 • 50 min
Truck buyers are historically some of the most brand-loyal auto consumers But recent surveys suggest that loyalty is loosening. Into the picture steps Elon Musk, who dropped the Tesla Cybertruck last month. This space-age truck concept is truly putting…
New Candidates, ‘Climategate’ Redux, & Top Turkeys of 2019
Nov 22, 2019 • 51 min
This week: our pre-thanksgiving intellectual feast. It’s a four-course meal as usual. For the hors d’oeuvres, we’re serving up something new: a roundup of the new entrants into the presidential race, and how they stack up on environmental issues. For the…
Is Big Tech Fueling the Climate Disinformation War?
Nov 15, 2019 • 62 min
As we reckon with the dark side of Silicon Valley’s tech giants, there’s more scrutiny into how these companies are assisting climate denial and obfuscation. We’ll look at a few different stories: Climate and clean energy are getting disadvantaged by…
Watt It Takes: A Tesla Veteran’s Mission to Build Long-Duration Batteries
Nov 8, 2019 • 59 min
This week on Watt It Takes: how a would-be priest made it his mission to spread the gospel of battery storage. In this episode, Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch sits down with Mateo Jaramillo, the CEO and co-founder of Form Energy. Form is working on a new…
The Scariest Stories of the Year
Oct 31, 2019 • 41 min
We recorded this episode on Halloween morning. We woke up and felt like celebrating the theme of the holiday. If you’re listening after Halloween, don’t fret. There’s still plenty of newsworthy stuff in here. First up, we’re choosing the story from 2019…
Who’s Trying to Re-Kill the Electric Car?
Oct 26, 2019 • 63 min
Could you do us a favor? Take our listener survey so we can give you more relevant content: bit.ly/gtmpodcast This week: it’s the oil industry versus the world. We’re examining two legal battles for oil majors playing out in states. One involves electric…
We Didn’t Start the Fire
Oct 18, 2019 • 51 min
Could you do us a favor? Take our listener survey so we can give you more relevant content: bit.ly/gtmpodcast The world’s fifth-largest economy looked more like a developing country last week, as PG&E purposefully cut power to millions of people in…
Are Ancient Bugs the Key to Storing Wind and Solar? [Special Content From NREL]
Oct 15, 2019 • 29 min
This is a branded podcast made in collaboration between the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and GTM Creative Strategies. As grids get saturated with wind and solar electricity, there’s pressure to find new ways to store that energy across daily,…
Watt It Takes: The Startup Making Solar-Storage Better Than the African Grid
Oct 2, 2019 • 64 min
Could you do us a favor? Take our listener survey so we can give you more relevant content: bit.ly/gtmpodcast This week on Watt It Takes: how a computer nerd who loved assembling electronics became obsessed with designing a solar-storage system to light…
Clean Energy’s Ever-Changing Policy Risk [Special Content From CohnReznick]
Sep 29, 2019 • 19 min
This is a branded podcast made in collaboration between CohnReznick Capital and GTM Creative Strategies. Britta Von Oesen knows risk. As an intern in Lehman Brothers’ global energy unit in 2008, she watched the collapse of the investment bank in real…
Turmoil at an Iconic American Hydropower Giant
Sep 27, 2019 • 57 min
The Bonneville Power Administration, the government-owned “power marketing agency” that serves the Pacific Northwest, is facing a strong current of problems. As cheap renewables make hydro less competitive in the region, BPA is now bleeding money. There’s…
Does Climate Change Make Good Political TV?
Sep 17, 2019 • 54 min
This week: We’ve gone from drought to flood. People who care about climate change have spent the last three presidential election cycles cajoling, prodding and begging television news outlets to cover the issue. But the more pressure mounted, the more…
How America Thwarted a Giant ‘Extension Cord’ for Renewables
Sep 13, 2019 • 54 min
America is a place where if you can dream something — no matter how big or ambitious — you can do it. Unless you’re trying to string 700 miles of high-voltage transmission lines to bring wind power from Oklahoma to Tennessee. Our guest this week is…
Watt It Takes: The Startup Reshaping Mobility Planning With Data
Sep 5, 2019 • 66 min
This week on Watt It Takes: How an energy researcher obsessed with electric vehicles stumbled upon a vast trove of transportation data and built a company that is reshaping infrastructure planning for mobility. Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch sits down with…
The Problem With Carbon Offsets
Aug 30, 2019 • 52 min
With flight shame growing in popularity, extreme weather intensifying, and the Amazon burning, there’s more demand than ever for carbon offsets to assuage our guilt and make us feel like we’re doing something. But those credits many not be doing what you…
The New Normal for the Grid: Batteries
Aug 23, 2019 • 43 min
In nearly every corner of the country, energy storage projects are finding their way onto the grid — they’re getting bigger, cheaper, more diverse, and even a little bit weirder. Most of all, they’re just becoming normal. This week, we’re talking about…
How Electric Cars and Renewables Could Beat Oil
Aug 16, 2019 • 48 min
Solar and wind sent European utilities into financial disarray, and U.S. utilities are facing a similar fate. Are global oil companies next? A new report from one of the world’s biggest banks, BNP Paribas, says that solar and wind paired with electric…
Watt It Takes: Nest Co-Founder Matt Rogers
Aug 2, 2019 • 65 min
This week on Watt It Takes: How a former Apple engineer applied design principles from the iPod and the iPad to smart thermostats — jolting an industry badly in need of change. Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch sits down with Matt Rogers, the co-founder and…
Why Is Trump Suddenly Talking About the Environment?
Jul 14, 2019 • 48 min
Note: after this episode, we will be on hiatus for a few weeks while Stephen Lacey goes on paternity leave. We’ll be back soon! On July 8, Donald Trump stood in the East Room of the White House and delivered a speech on his “environmental leadership.”…
Greening the Cannabis Industry [Special Content From CohnReznick]
Jul 9, 2019 • 20 min
This week, we present a special episode produced on behalf of CohnReznick. There’s a bonanza sweeping across North America: cannabis. As more states legalize marijuana, the industry is attracting high-profile investors and bringing in $6.5 billion in…
The Trump-Branded Version of the Clean Power Plan
Jul 1, 2019 • 44 min
This week: we examine the Trump alternative to the Clean Power Plan, look at the gap between red and blue states on climate change, and review the presidential debates. Up first: how Trump’s EPA is replacing Obama’s major climate rule. Then, the red-blue…
Watt It Takes: Creating a Battery Unicorn
Jun 23, 2019 • 58 min
This week on Watt It Takes: How a Ukrainian immigrant quietly toiled away on a new battery chemistry and created a billion-dollar unicorn. Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch sits down with Gene Berdichevsky, the CEO of Sila Nanotechnologies. Sila is developing a…
Will Geothermal Ever Boom Like Fracking?
Jun 13, 2019 • 38 min
It’s been a decade since the fracking boom reshaped U.S. energy markets — so when will we ever use our drilling prowess to create a similar geothermal boom? That’s the hope. The Department of Energy just released a massive new report revisiting America’s…
Comparing Presidential Candidates on Climate and Cleantech
Jun 3, 2019 • 39 min
It may be a couple election cycles late, but we’re finally getting a wave of climate plans from presidential candidates. The issue is now front and center in the Democratic primaries. We’ve spent the last week collecting the plans from leading candidates,…
Breaking Down Global Subsidies for Fossil Fuels
May 23, 2019 • 56 min
A new report from the International Monetary Fund shows that the world spent $5.2 trillion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2017. That’s half a trillion dollars more than in 2015. But it also shows that fossil fuel subsidy spending is down by half since 2012.…
America Has 2 Million Solar Systems. How’d We Get Here?
May 16, 2019 • 51 min
It took four decades for America to install a million solar systems. And it took just three years to install the second million. From here on out, the U.S. market will likely see a million systems every couple of years, according to the latest data from…
How Much Do Renewable Energy Mandates Really Cost?
May 3, 2019 • 46 min
For well over a decade, researchers have been modeling the cost of state renewable energy mandates. The results break down in predictable ways: conservative and progressive groups often come to very different conclusions based about costs and benefits. An…
Watt It Takes: Why This Founder Dug Into Home Geothermal
Apr 24, 2019 • 32 min
This week on Watt It Takes: How a product manager at Google saw promise in geothermal heat pumps — and applied the lessons of solar to an underserved market. In this episode, Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch sits down with Kathy Hannun, the co-founder of…
The Art of Closing Billions in Wind and Solar Deals [Special Content From CohnReznick]
Apr 23, 2019 • 22 min
This week, we present a special episode produced in collaboration with CohnReznick Capital. How do you broker billions of dollars worth of renewable energy deals — and do it again and again? It takes grit, sure. But it also requires empathy. And that,…
Amazon Cozies Up to Fossil Fuels
Apr 18, 2019 • 39 min
The tech giants are all going long on renewables, but Amazon seems to be going long on oil and gas. A new story details Amazon’s budding romance with the fossil fuel industry, while also lagging behind its peers in buying clean energy for its operations.…
Interpreting GOP Responses to the Green New Deal
Apr 12, 2019 • 42 min
This week, the Green New Deal ripples through Washington. A few leading Republicans are responding to the progressive climate plan with some ideas of their own: the New Manhattan Project and the Green Real Deal. They’ve gotten a mostly cold response from…
Live at MIT: The 2040 Grid
Apr 7, 2019 • 46 min
This past week, we recorded a live show at the MIT Energy Conference. The theme of the show: what the grid may look like by 2040. As a topical show, we usually don’t know what we’re going to be discussing until a day or two in advance. But the theme of…
What Does Lyft’s IPO Signal for the Future of Mobility?
Mar 28, 2019 • 63 min
Lyft is set for an IPO on Friday; Uber is driving up to the IPO window soon. Investors seem enthusiastic, but skeptics see a lot of risks and a bumpy path to profitability. In 2018, transportation network companies — pretty much Lyft and Uber — gave 2.6…
Replay: The Story Behind Greentech Media’s Founding
Mar 24, 2019 • 53 min
We’re on spring break this week. We’ll be back on Thursday with our regular show. To get you through the next few days, we’re offering up an earlier episode of Watt It Takes about the origin story of Greentech Media. In this edition of Watt It Takes,…
The Battery Storage Market Kicks Into High Gear
Mar 14, 2019 • 55 min
The latest numbers for U.S. energy storage activity are out. They show a surge of activity coming over the next five years, leading to 6x market growth. By 2024, the storage market will be worth $4.7 billion dollars, driven evenly by utility-scale and…
Watt It Takes: Terry Jester Brings 40 Years of Solar Experience to Startups
Mar 6, 2019 • 49 min
This week on Watt It Takes: Terry Jester has seen it all in her four-decade career in solar and electronics. As both an engineer and an executive, she’s learned that timing is everything in the energy business. “I think as I’ve gotten older, I understand…
Risks and Rewards of Latin America’s Solar Boom [Special Content From NEXTracker]
Mar 5, 2019 • 24 min
This week, we’ve got a bonus episode produced in collaboration with NEXTracker. It’s all about the risks and rewards of doing business in the roaring Latin American solar market. We are speaking with two of the most in-the-know people on the subject.…
Is Climate Delayism the New Denialism?
Feb 28, 2019 • 43 min
We weren’t planning on making the Green New Deal a weekly item on the show. Then a video of Senator Dianne Feinstein dropped over the weekend, where she appears to lecture climate-protesting kids. It set off a chain reaction of outrage. The social media…
How Trump’s Tariffs Hit US Solar, One Year On
Feb 21, 2019 • 55 min
It’s been one year since the Trump White House slapped 30 percent tariffs on solar cells and modules imported into the US. What happened since? The solar industry said tariffs would destroy tens of thousands of jobs and set the market back years. Turns…
Parsing the Green New Deal
Feb 14, 2019 • 59 min
The Green New Deal plan is out, and we’re suddenly having a national conversation about climate change again. It’s also injecting some early drama into the presidential primaries. This week, we’re digging into the plan. We’ll tell you what’s in it, assess…
Watt It Takes: How David Crane Jolted the Power Sector
Feb 8, 2019 • 77 min
This week on Watt It Takes: How David Crane worked his way up in the power business to become CEO of NRG Energy — only to get tossed out of the job for his bold stance on climate. In this episode, Emily Kirsch talks with Crane about taking risks in the…
The Interchange: Utilities vs Oil Majors vs Mobility Providers vs Big Tech
Feb 5, 2019 • 44 min
This week: a battle Royale for energy dominance. We’re cross-posting an episode from our other Greentech Media podcast, The Interchange. The competitors: utilities, oil & gas majors, mobility providers and big tech. We’re pitting them against each other…
The Debate Over America’s 2050 Energy Mix
Jan 31, 2019 • 49 min
What will the U.S. grid mix look like in 2050? It depends on which models you follow. The future according to the Energy Information Administration’s latest report: wind will stop growing, coal will stop declining, demand for electricity will keep going…
A New Paradigm for Energy Efficiency
Jan 24, 2019 • 46 min
What is energy efficiency? That sounds like a pretty simple question. But it’s not. Defining efficiency used to be pretty straightforward: weatherize, upgrade equipment and lighting, use a bit of social science to cut consumption. But now efficiency is…
PG&E’s Looming Historic Bankruptcy
Jan 17, 2019 • 58 min
A look at the consequences of one of the biggest bankruptcies in energy history.
Government Shuts Down, Pollution Ramps Up
Jan 9, 2019 • 44 min
The political insanity in Washington can feel disconnected from reality. But two years into the Trump presidency, Americans all over the country are feeling it in the form of higher pollution. In this week’s episode, we’re starting off with a look at how…
2018 Reflections and Prognostications
Dec 21, 2018 • 51 min
This week, it’s our year-ender episode. And you know what that means: we’re going round the horn with our assessment of 2018. First, we’ll discuss the top trends of the year. Then, a roundup of the best energy journalism of 2018. And finally, some…
Watt It Takes: The Origin Story of Wunder Capital
Dec 6, 2018 • 62 min
This week on Watt It Takes: Wunder Capital CEO Bryan Birsic on why he wants to solve the commercial solar financing challenge, when so many others couldn’t. “That is what a startup is to me. It’s 50 or 100 people who can move a multi-billion-dollar…
Can Geothermal Scale?
Nov 28, 2018 • 47 min
Back in 2008, there was a lot of excitement about geothermal. Many major banks were backing large-scale geothermal projects around the world; a wide range of startups were promising to unlock new resources; and wind and solar hadn’t shown their explosive…
What if Utilities Are to Blame for Wildfires?
Nov 21, 2018 • 39 min
California has seen a million and a half acres of forest burned this year. As the state recovers from the devastating Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire, residents are looking for someone to blame. Now attention turns to utilities. Both Southern California Edison…
Watt It Takes: The Origin Story of Sunrun
Nov 15, 2018 • 57 min
This week on Watt It Takes: How Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich convinced homeowners and banks to invest millions into third-party rooftop solar during the great recession. “Everybody said it won’t work. We took it as a challenge,” says Jurich. “And so we just…
Post-Election Punditry
Nov 8, 2018 • 45 min
This week: we make sense of America’s midterm elections. Will Democrats do anything on energy in the House? Why did so many ballot initiatives fail? What does the score tell us about the value of running as a climate hawk? First, we’ll look at what…
How the 2008 Financial Crisis Shaped Clean Energy
Oct 26, 2018 • 61 min
Ten years ago this week, stock markets around the world cratered as fears grew that the global economy was headed into a deep, dark recession. Alan Greenspan called it “a once-in-a-century credit tsunami.” Today, we are still feeling the economic and…
Trump’s Coal Bailout Stalls; Brexit Looms Large for Energy
Oct 18, 2018 • 42 min
This week: the White House abandons a plan to save coal plants. Did Trump read the IPCC’s latest report and have a change of heart? Turns out, the legally-flimsy effort caved under its own weight. We’ll explain. Then, failing Brexit talks weigh heavily on…
Debating the New IPCC Report: Hellish or Hopeful?
Oct 11, 2018 • 50 min
For two years, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been working on a new analysis about global emissions pathways. The report was released this week — and the conclusion is pretty dire. Or is it actually more hopeful than it appears? This…
Live in NYC: Are We Making Progress?
Oct 8, 2018 • 95 min
This week, we’re live in New York City. Our theme: are we making progress? We’re joined by special guest Eric Roston, the sustainability editor at Bloomberg. A big thanks to the Urban Future Lab, ACRE and Solar One for organizing the show as part of Clean…
Watt It Takes: How to Fly a Solar Airplane Around the World
Sep 25, 2018 • 48 min
For all our East Coast fans of The Energy Gang: make sure to get your tickets for our live show on October 4 in New York City! Find them here. This week on Watt It Takes: Why one man spent 15 years of his life obsessed with flying a solar airplane around…
Hurricane Redux: Toxic Sludge, Climate Denial and Battery Storage
Sep 21, 2018 • 44 min
Before you do anything else, buy tickets to our live show on October 4 in New York City. It sells out fast, so get your tickets now! One year after Hurricanes Harvey and Maria crushed Texas and Puerto Rico, Florence became one of the ten costliest…
Watt It Takes: How Sunnova’s John Berger Convinced Oil & Gas Investors to Believe in Solar
Sep 13, 2018 • 60 min
This week on Watt It Takes: How a Texas entrepreneur with fossil fuel roots came to see solar and storage as the future of energy. We feature a conversation with John Berger, the CEO of the residential solar-and-storage firm Sunnova, about his mission to…
California’s 100% Clean Energy Gambit
Sep 6, 2018 • 52 min
This week: California passes a bill to source 100% clean electricity by 2045. What does that actually mean? And more importantly, how will the target be met? Then, writing in the New York Times this weekend, journalist Bethany McLean warned about…
1979-1989: The Decade We Almost Saved the Planet
Aug 30, 2018 • 47 min
This week, we’re using an entire episode to discuss an ambitious piece of reporting on climate change. Earlier this month, the New York Times Magazine devoted an entire issue to a specific period of time in modern history: 1979 and 1989. It was a time…
Watt It Takes: The Promise of Electric Buses With Proterra CEO Ryan Popple
Aug 22, 2018 • 63 min
This week on Watt It Takes: How Ryan Popple’s experience in the military, Tesla and venture capital helped him lead electric bus maker Proterra. “It’s good for the ‘keep calm and carry on mentality’ when people tend to bring me a box of broken parts. So…
One Trillion Watts of Wind and Solar
Aug 16, 2018 • 48 min
There are now one trillion watts of wind and solar installed around the world, according to new figures from BNEF. It took a few decades to get here, but it’ll only take five years to do it again — and nearly 50 percent cheaper. Now that we’ve reached the…
Introducing Political Climate
Aug 8, 2018 • 46 min
The Gang is on summer vacation this week. We’ll be back soon with our regular analysis and debate on the stories in energy. Meanwhile, we’d like to introduce you to Political Climate, GTM’s newest podcast hosted by Senior Editor Julia Pyper. The show…
Watt It Takes: How Schwarzenegger’s Chief of Staff Built a Battery Company
Jul 30, 2018 • 60 min
This week on Watt It Takes: We’ll hear from Susan Kennedy, the CEO of Advanced Microgrid Solutions, about her transition from politics to behind-the-meter energy storage. Kennedy was an important player in California environmental politics. She influenced…
A Grab Bag With Vox’s David Roberts
Jul 27, 2018 • 62 min
This week, David Roberts, a staff writer at Vox, joins the gang to talk about a wide range of topics in the news. How would a good carbon tax work? Are we fooling ourselves thinking Republicans will ever support one? In the absence of a carbon price, is…
Trump, Putin and European Gas
Jul 18, 2018 • 39 min
The Billion-Dollar Crash of Better Place
Jul 12, 2018 • 58 min
Dozens of companies across solar, batteries and biofuels have imploded over the years. But it’s hard to match the spectacular implosion of Better Place five years ago. Better Place rose to fame in 2007, pulling in nearly $1 billion of venture capital by…
Fantasy Sports for Energy Nerds
Jul 5, 2018 • 44 min
Like fantasy sports? Listen to our deep decarbonization draft. The Energy Gang is break this week for the July 4 holiday. We’ll be back next week. In the meantime, we’re offering up a re-run from The Interchange. In this episode, Shayle and Stephen choose…
We Have a Gas Problem
Jun 28, 2018 • 41 min
A new peer-reviewed study in the journal Science gives us a clearer picture of the climate impact of natural gas. According to researchers, methane leakage across oil and gas operations in the U.S. are 60 percent higher than government estimates. Put…
Watt It Takes: How a NASA Roboticist Built a Groundbreaking Solar Tracker
Jun 18, 2018 • 46 min
Leila Madrone was constantly looking for creative ways to use robots. In the mid 2000’s, she co-founded a music group called Ensemble Robot, which featured robots that played music. “I had this great passion to use robotics to have meaning in the world,”…
Tesla’s Layoffs: Musk Pushes for Profits
Jun 14, 2018 • 47 min
Elon Musk announced Monday that Tesla is laying off 9 percent of salaried employees at the company. This is not the first round of sweeping layoffs at Tesla — the most recent came after the SolarCity acquisition. But this appears to be the biggest so far.…
Your Questions Answered: The Politics Edition
May 24, 2018 • 43 min
What’s the optimal way to spend money raised by a carbon tax? How should climate play in Florida’s big toss-up Congressional race? What’s the best energy platform for gubernatorial candidates? This week: your questions answered. We got a bunch of queries…
Electrify Everything: Rethinking Home Performance
May 17, 2018 • 47 min
There’s a new phrase bouncing around energy circles: Electrify Everything. This week, we talk to Nate Adams, a home performance expert whose personal mission is to rip gas meters out of homes and move us closer toward full electrification. As he’s learned…
Watt It Takes: Billy Parish, From Dropout Activist to Solar CEO
May 9, 2018 • 40 min
Billy Parish dropped out of college to pursue a career in climate activism. Today, he’s the CEO of America’s biggest rooftop solar loan company, Mosaic. In this edition of Watt It Takes, Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch interviews Parish about his transition…
Mythbusting
May 4, 2018 • 46 min
We all fall victim to myths. But when they’re deeply tied to our belief systems, they can be nearly impossible to break. On this week’s show, we’re busting some of the most common myths in clean energy:No, storage doesn’t necessarily increase emissions.…
For Taxis, It’s Uber. For Utilities, Could It Be DERs? [Original Content]
May 2, 2018 • 26 min
This podcast episode sponsored by West Monroe Partners, and brought to you by creative strategies. How do we think about change in the electric utility industry caused by distributed resources? Is it like telecom? Internet-based retail? Sam Uyeno, senior…
A New Era of Grid Planning: “Folks Are Frustrated”
Apr 27, 2018 • 48 min
Are we entering a new era of grid planning? In recent years, we’ve assumed that sweeping reforms are the best way to get distributed energy built. But in pockets of the country, a more localized approach to deploying these assets is taking hold – and it…
Why SunPower Is Buying SolarWorld USA
Apr 19, 2018 • 48 min
SunPower couldn’t convince the Trump Administration to abandon tariffs on imported solar panels. So now it plans to buy one of the companies pushing tariffs in the first place. Yesterday, SunPower unveiled plans to acquire SolarWorld’s U.S. operations.…
Statoil Bets on Floating Wind and Carbon Capture
Apr 13, 2018 • 40 min
Statoil is the largest operator of oil and gas rigs around the world. Consequently, the company’s biggest low-carbon investments are offshore: floating wind farms and distributed carbon capture and storage. This week, we’re talking to Stephen Bull, the VP…
Reality Check? Global Fossil Fuel Consumption Grows
Apr 5, 2018 • 48 min
After a multi-year decline, global carbon emissions are on the upswing. The International Energy Agency now says that emissions grew in 2017 — caused by an increase oil, natural gas and coal demand. Nearly three-quarters of new energy demand across the…
Trouble at Silicon Valley Car Companies
Mar 29, 2018 • 35 min
It’s been a bad couple of weeks for two of Silicon Valley’s top car companies. After a pedestrian was killed by one of Uber’s autonomous cars in Arizona, the company’s AV operations were suspended. Other driverless car companies are now weighing the…
The SunEdison Origin Story
Mar 26, 2018 • 55 min
In the early 2000s, investors weren’t very interested in SunEdison’s business plan to finance solar with power purchase agreements. “No one wanted to hear about physical infrastructure,” said Jigar Shah, who drafted the business plan and co-founded the…
EVs, AVs and Sharing: Don’t Screw Up the Transportation Revolution
Mar 16, 2018 • 58 min
There are three forces coming together in the transportation sector: vehicle autonomy, vehicle sharing, and vehicle electrification. On their own, app-based sharing and electric vehicles are powerful agents of change. Together with automation, “they’re…
What Utilities Can Learn From Amazon [Original Content From Tendril]
Mar 6, 2018 • 37 min
Amazon’s analytical approach to understanding the customer allowed it to move beyond books and dominate the retail space. Entire industries are getting upended and transformed as a result. This story about disruption is a familiar one. We’ve seen how it…
The Coal Boss, the Comedian and the Squirrel
Mar 1, 2018 • 48 min
Last June, comedian John Oliver devoted a long segment to the struggling coal industry on his HBO show Last Week Tonight. He turned his attention to Robert Murray, the CEO of Murray Energy, one of the most bombastic advocates of coal. And then Murray sued…
A Historic Moment for Energy Storage
Feb 23, 2018 • 47 min
If storage is the Swiss Army Knife of the electric grid, then U.S. energy regulators are breaking out their tool belts. Last week brought a historic ruling at FERC. Commissioners told regional grid operators to create rules valuing the grid services of…
Are Trump’s Solar Tariffs Working?
Feb 7, 2018 • 45 min
Since the White House slapped penalties on solar panels made outside America, a handful of companies say they’re likely to ramp up production in the U.S. In recent weeks, two Asian producers — Jinko Solar and United Renewable Energy — said they’re…
How We Perceive Wind Farms Near Our Homes
Feb 1, 2018 • 41 min
There are tens of thousands large-scale wind turbines scattered across America. That means over a million and a half households are located five miles from a turbine. And they’re actually inching closer to homes on average, according to government…
Trump Issues Solar Tariffs: We Answer Your Questions
Jan 23, 2018 • 43 min
The Trump Administration just imposed 30 percent tariffs on imported solar cells and modules. How much will it stunt solar growth in America? Will it spark a broader trade war? There are a lot of questions about the impact. In this podcast, we’re giving…
Electric Airplanes Are the Future of Aviation
Jan 19, 2018 • 47 min
The next sector ripe for electrification: aviation. Electric airplanes could completely make over the regional airline sector — fundamentally changing the way we move around the country and creating new economic opportunities. On this week’s Energy Gang,…
Trump’s Washington: Year One
Jan 11, 2018 • 52 min
Nearly one year after President Trump was sworn into office, we’re re-examining the state of energy politics in Washington. Our post-election episodes were some of our most popular shows of last year. This week, we’re returning to the subject now that…
The Dismantling of EPA
Jan 5, 2018 • 58 min
What’s it like inside the Environmental Protection Agency as the Trump Administration dismantles it from the top down? This week, ProPublica’s Talia Buford joins us on The Energy Gang to talk about how Scott Pruitt’s aggressive regulatory rollback agenda…
Watt It Takes: The Origin Story of Greentech Media
Jan 2, 2018 • 57 min
We spend most of our time talking about other companies. For our first podcast of the year, we’re turning the tables and reflecting on GTM. In this edition of Watt It Takes, Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch interviews GTM Co-Founder Scott Clavenna about the…
How Utilities Blew $40 Billion on Failed Power Plants
Dec 22, 2017 • 61 min
Good journalism is more important than ever. In our last episode of the year, we’re choosing our favorite energy reporting of 2017. We’ll start off with a conversation about a damning investigative piece on how U.S. utilities put ratepayers on the hook…
Energy Storage Has Arrived
Dec 14, 2017 • 79 min
Energy storage has arrived. This year brought numerous record-breaking battery projects, dozens of acquisitions and partnerships, and over a dozen utility integrated resource plans that factor storage. Within a decade, the U.S. storage market could be 25…
The Hidden History of Quebec’s Hydropower
Dec 8, 2017 • 53 min
Southern New England is hungry for more clean energy, and states like Connecticut and Massachusetts are turning to Hydro-Quebec for its excess hydropower. There’s one sticking point: they need a new transmission line to get all that power from Northern…
Startup Stories of 2017: Blockchain, Batteries and Acquisitions
Dec 1, 2017 • 61 min
We’ve reached a new stage in cleantech. Years after the VC bubble popped, startups are pursuing new approaches to scaling, finding customers, partnering, and raising money. Those new approaches to scaling early-stage cleantech were crystallized this year.…
Watt It Takes: Dan Shugar, the King Midas of Solar
Nov 22, 2017 • 58 min
Dan Shugar lives, breathes and bleeds solar. “If you cut my wrist, pure silicon comes out,” he exclaimed in an interview with Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch, as part of the Watt It Takes interview series. This week, Shugar steps behind the microphone to talk…
Tax Reform and Tesla’s Semi-Truck
Nov 17, 2017 • 48 min
The House passed its tax reform bill yesterday that includes cuts to renewable energy tax credits. The package is already having a chilling effect as developers stall projects because of a potential change to the tax code. What will happen when the Senate…
Sungevity CEO Andrew Birch
Nov 7, 2017 • 53 min
This week: a conversation with Andrew Birch, the co-founder and CEO of Sungevity. For those who’ve been following the wild ride in solar, you’re going to want to listen to this conversation. Sungevity was once one of the biggest residential solar…
EPA’s Science Purge
Nov 3, 2017 • 50 min
Since taking over as administrator of the EPA, Scott Pruitt’s meeting calendar has been filled almost exclusively with industry interests. Now he’s opening the door even wider for industry. On Tuesday, the Administrator issued a new decree: any scientist…
Rick Perry Picks Winners and Losers
Oct 27, 2017 • 58 min
“Don’t let government pick winners and losers.” That was Rick Perry’s mantra as Texas governor and a presidential candidate. But it didn’t take him long to abandon it as energy secretary. This week, we’ll revisit the rare, bizarre request from Perry…
Dick Swanson, Founder of SunPower
Oct 9, 2017 • 66 min
This week, we’re unveiling a new podcast collaboration between Greentech Media and Powerhouse, called “Watt it Takes.” Watt It Takes is produced and recorded live at Powerhouse, a cleantech incubator and seed fund in Oakland, CA. Each month, a founder of…
Episode 200: We Reflect on the Biggest Changes in Energy
Sep 29, 2017 • 50 min
When we first hit the record button four years ago, the energy landscape looked very different. Oil prices were above $90 per barrel. Utilities were only just starting to take distributed resources seriously as grid assets. Coal was still on the upswing…
Live From New York: Local Climate Policy in the Trump Era
Sep 21, 2017 • 108 min
Donald Trump was in New York City this week. We left him some tickets for our live podcast at the box office, but he never showed up. Still, we had a blast taping our latest episode at WNYC’s performance space in Manhattan. And this week, we’ve got that…
Inside India’s Solar and Wind Boom
Sep 18, 2017 • 44 min
India has blossomed into one of the most important renewable energy markets in the world. It currently has the fourth-most cumulative wind capacity installed, and will become the third-biggest solar market globally by 2022. The country also has plans to…
The Fall’s Top Energy Stories
Sep 8, 2017 • 46 min
We made it. We finished summer without nuclear war or an international catastrophe — and now we can calm our nerves with pumpkin spice everything. This week, as we close out summer and prepare for a busy fall news cycle, we’re checking in on the stories…
Painful Lessons From Hurricane Harvey
Sep 1, 2017 • 67 min
While Texans start the painful process of rebuilding their lives after Hurricane Harvey, many are asking: could anything have been done to lessen the impact? In this week’s podcast, we’re going to discuss the storm through the lens of climate, urban…
From the Vault: Elon Musk and Grid Fan Fiction
Aug 22, 2017 • 57 min
What makes Elon Musk tick? What will the grid look like in 2030? This week, we (re)answer both of those questions. We’re featuring a couple of our favorite podcast segments for your summer listening enjoyment. First up, a 2015 Energy Gang interview with…
Did Steve Bannon Hint at a Solar Trade War?
Aug 17, 2017 • 44 min
White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon (unwittingly) gave an interview this week, saying America is locked in “an economic war with China.” Bannon mentioned arcane sections of the 1974 Trade Act to penalize China for alleged steel and aluminum dumping.…
South Carolina’s Nuclear Disaster
Aug 10, 2017 • 35 min
What happens when lawmakers and industry craft a large, complicated bill and then rush it through the legislature without reading it? We saw the consequences in South Carolina. That’s where two utilities in the state walked away from a nuclear plant they…
So You Want to Build a Cleantech Startup?
Aug 3, 2017 • 56 min
While venture capitalists swoon over startups devoted to making people click on ads and stare at their phones longer, they’re decidedly less interested in solving more difficult real-world problems — like transforming the energy sector. Yes, we’ve been…
Al Gore, Michael Lewis and Rick Perry Walk Into a Bar…
Jul 27, 2017 • 42 min
Al Gore is back in the climate spotlight with the release of “An Inconvenient Sequel.” This week, we’ll revisit his role as the unofficial spokesman for climate action. There’s still an active debate over how effective Gore has been in that role…
California’s Cap-and-Trade Win
Jul 21, 2017 • 36 min
After numerous attempts, a desperate plea from the governor, and some pot sweeteners to industry, legislators in California finally passed an extension of cap-and-trade to 2030. It’s a big deal. California is the world’s seventh-largest economy. With…
The Inconvenient Truth About Cities and Sustainability
Jul 13, 2017 • 57 min
With America now a climate pariah on the global stage, cities around the country are stepping up their commitments to action. But are they just cheerleading, rather than actually leading? This week, guest Sam Brooks tells the hard truth about why cities…
Live: Can Oil Majors Dominate in an Era of Electrification?
Jun 29, 2017 • 43 min
This week, we’re coming to you live from Grid Edge World Forum. We kick off the show with a look at oil majors. Oil companies have toyed with renewables over the decades with mixed success — but is it time to take them seriously in the era of…
The Fight Over 100% Renewables
Jun 22, 2017 • 52 min
A bitter dispute. A clash. A battle royale. Those are just a few descriptions of a new study countering Mark Jacobson’s 2015 report showing that we can source 100 percent of America’s energy from wind, solar and water. Jacobson’s study is controversial.…
Inside the Minds of Top Utility Executives
Jun 16, 2017 • 60 min
Utility executives poured into Boston from across the country this week for the Edison Electric Institute’s annual conference. They talked about everything from crazy national politics to rate design to artificial intelligence and the future of workers.…
Covering America’s Climate Troll-in-Chief
Jun 8, 2017 • 47 min
We’ve had a week to let the media digest Trump’s climate trolling. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has been all over the airwaves defending the decision to withdraw from Paris, and journalists have been all over the administration for its loose…
Trump’s Paris Ruse
Jun 2, 2017 • 27 min
We all just became actors in Donald Trump’s reality TV show. After an elaborate tease over the Paris climate deal in recent weeks, the president finally revealed that he’s walking away from the historic agreement. Soon after Trump’s speech, world leaders…
California’s Grid Is Facing an Existential Crisis
May 25, 2017 • 58 min
California released a white paper last week documenting the stunning decline of the customer base for investor-owned utilities in the state. Meanwhile, the state is facing more and more curtailments, negative electricity pricing, and, on top of it all, a…
Is Tesla’s Solar Roof a Good Deal?
May 11, 2017 • 41 min
Now that Tesla has unveiled pricing details for its solar roof, everyone is trying to figure out if it’s a good deal. Depending on what your assumptions are — what kind of roof you’re replacing, what kind of market you live in, how much in subsidies…
Bringing the Smart City to Life [SPONSORED CONTENT]
May 8, 2017 • 23 min
In this show, sponsored by Itron, we discuss the emergence of the smart city. Itron has been at the forefront of developing smart city infrastructure. We speak with Sharelynn Moore, the VP of Marketing at Itron, about how the company is using sensors and…
Tesla’s Grid Storage Architect
May 4, 2017 • 61 min
Since the day Tesla was founded, executives saw stationary storage as a compliment to the electric car business. That was Martin Eberhard’s plan when he co-founded the company and envisioned the Tesla Energy Group. Years later, after launching the…
France’s Presidential Election and the Future of Nuclear
Apr 27, 2017 • 46 min
To many, France’s ongoing elections are the latest showdown between the liberal world order and a new brand of right-wing populism. That narrative follows a similar path in energy. France’s elections are pitting nuclear versus renewables, closed markets…
Is Cheap Offshore Wind Coming to America?
Apr 20, 2017 • 49 min
We’ve heard a lot about record low prices in utility-scale solar. Get ready for more records in offshore wind. In the last two months, we’ve seen offshore project developers in Europe bidding for pennies per kilowatt-hour — easily beating 2020 price…
The Complexity of a Zero-Carbon Grid
Apr 14, 2017 • 50 min
What will it take to slash carbon emissions in the electric sector by 100 percent? We’re already making immense progress. And we could use wind, solar and storage to cost-effectively cut grid emissions in half. But to go from 50 percent reductions to 100…
Westinghouse’s Bankruptcy Threatens the Nuclear Revival
Apr 6, 2017 • 43 min
Westinghouse, of the most important players in nuclear, filed for bankruptcy protection last week. It’s a potential blow to the global industry. After all, half of the world’s nuclear reactors use Westinghouse technology. The company has been working on…
Sungevity’s Bankruptcy: What It Says About Residential Solar
Mar 31, 2017 • 55 min
Sungevity was founded in 2007 with a promise of revolutionize solar sales through software. It sparked a move toward the “platform” approach to customer acquisition and sales. Sungevity eventually built up its sales, procurement and financing in-house —…
Coal Is Losing
Mar 23, 2017 • 54 min
The headwinds for coal are coming from every direction. Since 2010, More than 250 coal plants in America have been shuttered, or are set to close. Meanwhile, in the most energy-hungry regions of the world, thousands of megawatts of new coal plants have…
An Uncertain Future for Electric Cars in America
Mar 16, 2017 • 48 min
America’s electric car market is entering an uncertain period. States are rolling back their support for EVs, the federal government is revisiting fuel standards designed to support EVs, and consumers are still not electric in the numbers that many people…
Week 7: Trump Dumps the Environment
Mar 9, 2017 • 54 min
We’re on week seven of the Trump Presidency. In the months since the election, we’ve been stalwart in our view that things are not as bad as they seem — despite the contradictions and confrontations, clean energy will emerge largely unscathed. That may be…
Cleantech Career Advice
Mar 2, 2017 • 42 min
There are now more than 100,000 people working in the clean energy sector across Massachusetts. What is the state doing right? This week, we’re talking about workforce development in cleantech. In recent months, we’ve seen a sharp increase in requests…
Is Retail Electricity Choice Coming to California?
Mar 1, 2017 • 24 min
As if California’s electric grid isn’t already changing fast enough, the state’s leading regulator says it’s probably time to change even faster. In an interview on this week’s Interchange podcast, Michael Picker, president of the California Public…
What’s in Scott Pruitt’s Emails?
Feb 23, 2017 • 49 min
The scope of the Environmental Protection Agency expanded dramatically under President Obama. Now under President Trump and new administrator Scott Pruitt, the agency is likely to be scaled way back. How far back? No one knows. But there are a lot of…
A Republican Carbon Tax?
Feb 16, 2017 • 42 min
Last week, a group of highly respected Republicans released a plan for a $40-per-ton carbon tax on point-of-source emissions from coal, oil and gas. Why now? With a Republican White House and Congress, they argued, now is the perfect time to show America…
Will Electric Buses Take Over the Transit World?
Feb 10, 2017 • 58 min
By 2020, one-third of new fleet bus purchases will be electric. By 2025, electric buses will make up half of new sales to transit agencies. By 2030, every single transit bus sold will run on electricity. That’s what Ryan Popple, the CEO of electric bus…
Making Sense of Donald Trump
Feb 4, 2017 • 73 min
This week, we’re live from Columbia University’s Energy Symposium in New York City. The Gang was joined by former NRG CEO David Crane for a lively conversation about Trumpland. We start the conversation off with a look at the turbulent first weeks of the…
The Grid as a Digital Lab
Jan 20, 2017 • 41 min
America’s first power plant was built in Manhattan. The first transmission of electricity occurred between Niagara Falls and Buffalo. And the first public power organization was founded in New York State. Today, that power provider, the New York Power…
Autonomous Car Fleets: A Dystopian or Utopian Future?
Jan 12, 2017 • 62 min
For years, researchers have been working behind the scenes to improve autonomous vehicles. And all of a sudden that work is playing out in a very public way. Top tech companies and automakers are testing new models on the streets, talking bullishly about…
2016 Year-End Extravaganza
Dec 14, 2016 • 47 min
There are just two weeks left of 2016. And you know what? We’re tapping out early. This is the last podcast of the year. It’s been such a crazy 12 months for news that we’re packing it up and saving our energy for 2017. Throughout the year, we’ve…
Marijuana Legalization and Microgrids
Nov 30, 2016 • 61 min
It’s often said that electric vehicles are the key to bringing back load growth for utilities in the U.S. But maybe there’s another way: Marijuana. After the November election, seven states and the district of Columbia have now legalized marijuana for…
Chasing Donald Trump
Nov 22, 2016 • 38 min
Two weeks after the election, we have more clues about how president-elect Donald Trump may form a domestic energy policy and position America against the rest of the world on climate. But mostly we’re dealing with speculation — bits of insider…
Art of the Deal: How Corporates Are Investing in Renewables
Nov 18, 2016 • 45 min
This week, we’re coming to you live from General Motors’ world headquarters, where we’ll talk about how corporate renewable energy deals are structured, and what’s motivating companies to keep investing. GTM’s Stephen Lacey and Shayle Kann are joined by…
President Trump’s Energy Policy
Nov 10, 2016 • 44 min
Whether or not you agreed with the top-down, government-centric, executive-level strategy of the Obama Administration — it was, arguably, America’s only federal political path forward on decarbonization. President-Elect Donald Trump plans to rip up that…
Tesla’s Solar Roof: A Guide for Skeptics
Nov 1, 2016 • 29 min
This is a free version of the Interchange. For more on how to access all our premium content, visit GTM Squared: https://www.greentechmedia.com/squared Back in August, Elon Musk broke into SolarCity’s earnings call to make a surprise announcement: Tesla…
Making Stuff Is Hard
Oct 31, 2016 • 58 min
Dreaming, designing, building and deploying new kinds of hardware is tough in any business. But in the energy business, where change comes particularly slow, developing new tech is an especially hellacious undertaking. All of our segments tie into this…
A Civil War Over Carbon Taxes
Oct 20, 2016 • 53 min
In November, Washington State voters have the chance to pass the most ambitious carbon tax ever proposed in the U.S. But there’s one problem: Virtually every major green group in the state is against it, or afraid to support it. What is going on? We’ll…
How Should We Pay for the Grid?
Oct 19, 2016 • 43 min
We are at the beginning of one of the greatest economic and consumer behavior experiments ever seen in the energy sector. How do we refine pricing in order to rapidly transition our aging, centralized grid to a clean, decentralized one? And can we do it…
Live From SXSW Eco
Oct 14, 2016 • 63 min
This week, we present our live conversation from SXSW Eco. We’re really sorry for the audio quality. There were some technical difficulties, and we did our best to clean up what we had. We’ll be back with a normal show next week.
Inside the Minds of Solar Consumers
Oct 7, 2016 • 54 min
With over 1 million residential solar systems in the U.S., photovoltaics are entering mainstream. But how do installers sell the next 10 million systems while giving consumers a good experience? This week, we’re talking about what consumers are looking…
Donald Trump’s Energy Delusion
Sep 27, 2016 • 52 min
Last night, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton squared off on the presidential debate stage — coming face-to-face for the first time in the campaign. Almost immediately, the candidates debated over energy and climate change. Clinton started the debate with…
Breaking Diesel Dependence on Small Island Nations
Sep 23, 2016 • 54 min
Renewables like wind and solar are largely not linked to oil prices. But there are markets where the success of renewables is more closely tied to oil: islands. Or, more specifically, small island developing states, which make up 20 percent of UN member…
America’s Local Solar Politics
Sep 13, 2016 • 36 min
This week, we hop around to a few U.S. states where there’s been a lot of action: Nevada, California and Florida. Julia Pyper, GTM’s senior reporter, joins us for the discussion. In Nevada, we’ll look at the continued fallout after the decision to end net…
Are We Making Global Energy Poverty Worse?
Sep 1, 2016 • 49 min
Big development banks are pouring billions in energy projects in developing countries. Between 2000 and 2014, the World Bank Group alone invested $63.5 billion in electricity access. But we still have more than 1.5 billion people without access to energy…
Is an Offshore Wind Boom Coming for America?
Aug 26, 2016 • 48 min
America’s first offshore wind project, the 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island, is almost complete. The developer, Deepwater Wind, is already eyeing much bigger projects off the Atlantic coast. Meanwhile, following the federal…
Extra: Wind Technology Trends
Aug 23, 2016 • 30 min
Wind keeps getting cheaper and cheaper. According to the latest wind technologies report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, the average price of new U.S. wind contracts came in at 2 cents per kilowatt-hour last year. That coincided with record…
Extra: The Commercial Storage Market Is Getting Interesting
Aug 11, 2016 • 29 min
A growing number of businesses are using behind-the-meter batteries to cut utility fees. In the U.S., the commercial storage market is still small (36 megawatts in 2015) but it is growing quickly for demand charge management. And it is now starting to…
A Brief History of Solar Research With SunPower Founder Dick Swanson
Aug 9, 2016 • 38 min
SunPower founder Dick Swanson is an icon in the American solar industry –- an elder statesman, if you will. Swanson led groundbreaking solar research in the 70s, experimented with all kinds of solar cell types, broke efficiency records, and helped make…
Cleantech VC Is Dead! Long Live Cleantech VC!
Aug 2, 2016 • 38 min
Enjoy this free episode of The Interchange from GTM Squared. If you like what you hear, make sure to become a member: http://www.greentechmedia.com/squared We’re more than a decade on from the beginning of the cleantech gold rush — and a lot of venture…
Elon Musk’s Master Plan for Tesla
Jul 27, 2016 • 46 min
Last week, Tesla Motors dropped “motors” from its name, and is now calling itself just Tesla. This is an indication that the electric car company is thinking about much more than cars. And Elon Musk went way beyond indicating a shift – he explicitly…
Does ‘Clean’ Coal Have a Future?
Jul 20, 2016 • 34 min
At this week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the GOP doubled down on its commitment to coal — calling it “an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource.” Coal can get cleaned up. But it comes at a steep price. And that…
Imagining the Future of Transportation: How Optimistic Should We Be?
Jul 15, 2016 • 48 min
As the world awaits Elon Musk’s master plan for Tesla, we provide a glimpse into America’s master plan for transportation on this week’s podcast. Reuben Sarkar, the deputy assistant secretary for transportation at the Department of Energy, joins us to…
What If We Redesigned the Grid From Scratch?
Jun 30, 2016 • 55 min
What would the electric grid look like if we redesigned it from scratch using today’s vast array of new technologies and rate designs? Would utilities, regulators and distributed energy providers agree on the design? They might agree on more than you…
Debating Tesla’s Plan To Acquire SolarCity
Jun 22, 2016 • 48 min
Will Tesla acquire SolarCity? Yesterday, news broke that Tesla’s board offered to buy SolarCity for roughly $2.5 billion. While shareholders and financial analysts don’t seem to like the proposed deal, Elon Musk says it’s a pivotal part of his long term…
The Climate Crisis Worsens
Jun 17, 2016 • 38 min
Thirty years ago, a Congressional committee held a two-day hearing on climate change. In June of 1986, scientists didn’t have the sophisticated measurement tools and supercomputer models that they do today. But they did have a lot of data showing that…
Getting Subsidies Right for Renewable Energy
Jun 9, 2016 • 51 min
Renewables are getting really cheap. But does that mean we need to get rid of all subsidies to support them? Many experts argue that we just need to retarget government support in a smarter way. In this week’s show, we’ll explain how that might be done…
How One of the Most Successful Wind Tycoons Stayed Ahead of the Energy Markets
Jun 3, 2016 • 47 min
Two years after Michael Polsky moved from Soviet Ukraine to the U.S. in 1976, America passed a law allowing independent developers to own power plants. He knew he needed to get in on the action. Polsky eventually became one of the most successful energy…
A Sign of the Utility Death Spiral?
May 26, 2016 • 46 min
Nevada Power is likely doing a lot of soul searching. Last week, two of the biggest Las Vegas casino companies — MGM Resorts and Wynn – filed to leave Nevada Power and set off to buy wholesale electricity on their own. MGM has particularly strong…
The Solar Coaster: Troubles at Yingli Solar and the Flatlining Global PV Market
May 19, 2016 • 52 min
This year, GTM Research is forecasting that 66 gigawatts of PV capacity will be installed around the world — a 21 percent increase over last year. But next year, capacity will only expand by 4 percent. In fact, without some of the top markets like India,…
Live From New York: Making America Great Again
May 10, 2016 • 76 min
In this live episode from New York City, the Energy Gang is joined by two prominent energy journalists — Yuliya Chernova of the Wall Street Journal and Chris Martin of Bloomberg — to talk about the hottest stories in energy and cleantech. We’ll talk about…
From Shell to SolarWorld: The Technology Stages of Solar
Apr 21, 2016 • 51 min
Terry Jester started her solar career in 1979 as the VP of engineering at ARCO Solar, one of the early oil companies investing in photovoltaics. Over the years, the company was sold to Siemens, Shell and SolarWorld — and Jester stayed through it all.…
Beyond Bitcoin: How Blockchain Could Transform the Energy Sector
Apr 14, 2016 • 51 min
The cryptocurrency Bitcoin is changing the way people think about operating financial markets and banking systems. Meanwhile, distributed energy is changing the way people think about running grids. Can the two influence one another? Many experts believe…
Tesla’s Model 3: The iPhone or Blackberry of the Auto Sector?
Apr 7, 2016 • 50 min
Many are billing Tesla’s Model 3 launch as an iPhone moment. If the hype and pre-orders are any indication, the boutique electric vehicle manufacturer has indeed taken another step toward transforming the auto industry. But could the Model 3 also be a…
Inside Amazon’s Drone-Based Solar Installation Service
Apr 1, 2016 • 19 min
Amazon upended book publishers and brick-and-mortar retailers. Is it about to upend solar installers too? Two months ago, GTM researchers stumbled upon a patent filed by Amazon for a drone-based solar installation system. After an extended investigation,…
The Utility Industry Is Rebranding Itself
Mar 31, 2016 • 40 min
Utilities are often criticized for not connecting deeply enough with their customers. In a world where choice is becoming more important — turning ratepayers into dynamic consumers — power companies need to offer a wider range of services and…
The Libertarian View On The Distributed Energy Transition
Mar 17, 2016 • 43 min
It wasn’t just science that got Eli Lehrer to accept the reality of climate change. It was insurance markets. As a free-market expert on insurance policy, Lehrer realized many years ago where the industry models were headed. “Every modeling firm used by…
The Second Coming Of Storage In America
Mar 10, 2016 • 41 min
America is undergoing a second wave of storage growth. The first wave came between 2011 and 2013, when grid-scale projects backed by the government stimulus came online. The second wave is based largely on two applications for lithium-on batteries:…
The Latest Technology Trends at the Grid Edge
Mar 3, 2016 • 41 min
ARPA-E, the government agency founded in 2007 to support R&D in cutting-edge energy technologies, has invested $1.3 billion into power electronics, new solar materials and novel battery chemistries over the years. According to the agency, the private…
Troubles at Google-Owned Nest?
Feb 25, 2016 • 34 min
Nest, the smart home company acquired by Google in 2014, is under scrutiny. In the wake of multiple glitches that screwed with Nest thermostats this winter, there are now reports of unrest within the company. But are these issues really that big of a deal…
Silicon Valley’s Conflicted Relationship With Cleantech
Feb 18, 2016 • 52 min
In 2012, Wired magazine ran a prominent feature on why “the cleantech boom went bust.” A couple years later, after a slew of venture investment failures in the industry, 60 Minutes ran a major story on “the cleantech crash.” The stories were widely…
Adapt or Die? National Grid’s Plan to Embrace the Future of Energy
Feb 11, 2016 • 48 min
What does it take to truly change a large utility? Not just cosmetic changes to branding — but true structural changes around distributed energy deployment and customized offerings for customers. In this week’s show, we’ll talk with an industry veteran…
Is Rooftop Solar Screwed in Nevada?
Feb 4, 2016 • 37 min
Nevada’s sweeping changes to net metering last December shook the solar industry. And the drama continues in 2016. Our GTM editorial and research team has been consumed by the situation in the state. Will consumers start defaulting on their PPAs? Will…
Hawaii’s Unique Approach to Funding Cleantech Startups
Jan 21, 2016 • 42 min
Many states prioritize tech incubators for a variety of economic reasons. The Energy Excelerator in Hawaii has a much more specific mission: tie support for startups to a 100% renewable energy target set by the state last year. That mission guides the way…
Diversifying Cleantech: Race and Class in the Energy Transition
Jan 14, 2016 • 46 min
In 2012, an NAACP analysis found that Americans living within three miles of a coal plant are disproportionately low-income and disproportionately non-white. The report echoed government studies from the 1980s showing how toxic waste facilities and power…
Should We Be Optimistic or Pessimistic About the Future?
Jan 7, 2016 • 51 min
The final month of 2015 was one of the best in recent memory for climate action. The world’s carbon emissions dipped for the first time during a period of economic growth. The Paris climate talks ended with a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gases.…
2015: The Year In Review
Dec 22, 2015 • 39 min
For our last podcast of the year, we offer up our picks for the top stories from the last 12 months. In the first segment, we’ll get Katherine’s take on policy developments for climate and clean energy. In the second segment, Jigar will describe why he…
Autonomous Cars and the Future of Mobility
Dec 17, 2015 • 60 min
The world’s biggest automakers are suddenly under threat from consumer technology companies in Silicon Valley. Are they up to the threat? This week, we talk with Anand Shah, the leader of the autonomous mobility unit at Albright Stonebridge Group. Anand…
Get a Job in Cleantech
Dec 11, 2015 • 45 min
There are roughly 8 million jobs globally in the renewable energy sector. A lot of people — both young students and those with established careers — want to know how they can be one of them. In this week’s podcast, we’ll talk with Dawn Dzurilla, founder…
Will Global Climate Talks Succeed?
Dec 3, 2015 • 51 min
Will developing countries sign on to binding carbon reduction targets? Will rich and poor countries agree to a financing package for climate adaptation? Will anyone pay attention to Republican climate deniers posturing on the global stage? Those are the…
Will Residential Storage Thrive? Will Solar Survive After The ITC? We Discuss.
Nov 24, 2015 • 33 min
This week, we’re serving up a couple of our favorite Interchange podcasts from this fall. In our first segment, we talk with Ravi Manghani, a senior storage analyst at GTM Research, about where residential storage makes sense economically. In our second…
Live: The Changing Utility-Solar Relationship
Nov 17, 2015 • 51 min
This week, we have a live podcast from the Solar Focus conference in Washington, DC, hosted MDV-SEIA. The theme of the discussion: what role utilities play in implementing solar and other distributed resources. We’ll start with a conceptual framework in…
We Need a Fuel Sticker for Buildings
Nov 9, 2015 • 51 min
We use labels to advertise fuel economy of automobiles and the efficiency of appliances. Why don’t we do the same thing for our buildings? There are now 16 cities around the U.S. with building energy disclosure laws in place. Early data shows the laws are…
Can Opower Keep Utilities in Control of the Distributed Grid?
Oct 29, 2015 • 49 min
Opower has evolved a lot over the years. The software provider started with a simple efficiency solution for utilities, and has since deepened its analytics and moved into demand response, billing, segmentation and customer care. One thing has stayed the…
Elon Musk: the Man Behind the Hype
Oct 22, 2015 • 53 min
At a time when Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are criticized for their lack of ambition to create world-changing ideas, Elon Musk has emerged as a hero to many. Like Steve Jobs, Musk is both loved and reviled for his unwavering commitment to his vision.…
YieldCos: Understanding the Renewables Financing Bubble
Oct 18, 2015 • 39 min
When a slew of leading developers started forming YieldCos in 2013, they were hailed as a revolution in renewable energy financing. Not so much anymore. After enjoying a long surge in stock pricing, YieldCos have come crashing down — some falling as far…
Are Climate Goals Doomed Without Nuclear?
Oct 15, 2015 • 48 min
When the Obama Administration released its carbon rule this summer, it was hailed as a “historic step” to cutting carbon pollution. But is it really? Lots of supporters and analysts think the targets are too weak. Many now worry that the government…
Creating the Next Billion-Dollar Solar Firm
Oct 14, 2015 • 31 min
Solar has been around for decades. But it’s only in the last 10 years when the billion-dollar companies have emerged. With solar business models still so new, there a lot more room for many more startups to emerge as the next behemoths in the industry.…
Winning Strategies In Home Energy Management
Oct 12, 2015 • 44 min
After a few years of struggles, tech providers are finally getting traction in home energy management. This is partly due to the rapid adoption of smart phones, which give companies cheap ways to interact with customers and monitor their energy…
Can SunEdison Recover From Its Slump?
Oct 8, 2015 • 43 min
It’s been a tough summer and fall for the world’s biggest renewable energy developer. Since SunEdison announced its acquisition of Vivint Solar in July, the company’s stock price has fallen by 70 percent. Just this week, executives announced they are…
How Cheap Can Solar Get?
Sep 29, 2015 • 48 min
This week, we present a special episode from our new podcast series, called “The Interchange.” The Interchange is a brand-new podcast available to GTM Squared subscribers. For one month, we’re giving away the show for free. Visit gtmsquared.com to find…
Exxon’s Hidden Past
Sep 22, 2015 • 53 min
In the mid 1970s, Exxon invested millions of dollars into sophisticated climate research and determined that greenhouse gas emissions would warm the planet to dangerous levels if left unchecked. But then something changed. In the mid 1980s and into the…
Shell’s Arctic Drilling Gamble
Sep 11, 2015 • 39 min
In 2012, Shell ventured up to the Arctic to drill exploratory offshore oil wells. A lot went wrong. Its containment dome failed, a ship ran aground, another vessel was threatened by ice, one of its contractors was fined for safety violations — and after…
Distributed Batteries Are Following Solar’s Success
Sep 3, 2015 • 51 min
Behind-the meter battery storage is experiencing strong growth in the U.S. But with only 6.4 megawatts of capacity installed in 2014, companies have barely touched the market’s potential. Stem is one of a handful of companies leading the deployment of…
How Activists Killed a $6.9 Billion Utility Acquisition
Aug 28, 2015 • 51 min
Until this week, most people thought Exelon’s planned $6.9 billion acquisition of Pepco was a sure bet. But in a blow to both companies, regulators in the District of Columbia rejected the deal.What happened? The story is not just about a business deal…
The Most Important Energy Bill You’ve Never Heard Of
Aug 20, 2015 • 59 min
If there’s any concept that can cut through politics of distributed energy, it’s “personal energy independence.” Some utilities may not like the idea, but many supporters believe it’s a helpful way to frame policies supporting solar, storage and…
Is Obama’s Big Climate Plan Really That Ambitious?
Aug 5, 2015 • 53 min
The Obama Administration finally completed its landmark climate rule that will require states to cut power plant carbon emissions. It’s been hailed by supporters as historic, and demonized by opponents as an economic threat. But is it really all that big…
Why Coal Companies Are Collapsing in Spectacular Fashion
Jul 30, 2015 • 48 min
Pretty much everything bad that could happen to the coal industry is happening. Global coal demand is slumping; low natural gas prices and competitive renewables are shifting the energy mix in America; and a slew of regulations are causing plants to close…
Inside SunEdison’s Acquisition Bonanza
Jul 23, 2015 • 48 min
SunEdison is on a mission to become one of the biggest energy companies in the world – built entirely on renewables. It still has a ways to go. SunEdison has a $9 billion market capitalization. The two biggest oil companies, PetroChina and ExxonMobil, are…
Political Turmoil for Renewables in Australia and Spain
Jul 15, 2015 • 51 min
Two countries with some of the richest renewable energy resources in the world – Australia and Spain – are also two of the most hostile to the industry’s growth. Last week, Australia abruptly changed its national policies for renewables, upsetting project…
Why Global Solar Demand Will Be Off The Charts
Jul 1, 2015 • 43 min
By the end of the decade, the solar industry could be installing 135 gigawatts yearly – more capacity in 12 months than all cumulative installations over the last four decades. The 2020 solar market will look much different today. It will be defined by…
A Top Utility Engineer Talks Distributed Energy Integration
Jun 29, 2015 • 50 min
This week, we have a taping of the Energy Gang from GTM’s Grid Edge Live conference in San Diego. We’ll talk with Tom Bialek, the chief engineer at San Diego Gas & Electric, about the utility’s landmark microgrid project, its new distributed resource…
Is the Republican Party Incapable of Addressing Climate Change?
Jun 19, 2015 • 44 min
After Pope Francis issued his strongly worded encyclical on climate change and the environment, many wondered how it would influence skeptical conservatives. It didn’t take long to get an answer. “I don’t think we should politicize our faith,” said…
New York’s Energy Czar on Transforming the Electricity System
Jun 12, 2015 • 40 min
Richard Kauffman has a lot of responsibilities as New York’s “energy czar.” He oversees multiple agencies and utilities, advises the governor on energy issues, and works closely with regulators in their attempt to build a new electricity market based on…
Are We Measuring Energy Use All Wrong?
Jun 5, 2015 • 48 min
We measure energy use with a commodity-based approach — monitoring electrons, therms and gallons. But is there a better way to gauge the efficiency of the economy? Energy Economist Skip Laitner has been exploring a new method based on measuring “exergy,”…
Should Utilities Own the Solar Panels on Your Roof?
May 26, 2015 • 30 min
Whether the solar industry likes it or not, more regulated utilities in America are going to propose owning residential PV systems themselves. It’s a controversial development. At our recent Solar Summit in Phoenix, GTM’s Stephen Lacey and Shayle Kann…
The 21st-Century Power System May Be Closer Than You Think
May 21, 2015 • 50 min
Discussion about changing utility business models has always been abstract. But with large utilities now getting hit financially by distributed energy, “Utility 2.0” is starting to seem much more real. This week, we’ll look at the progress that’s been…
Peak Oil in an Era of Fossil Fuel Abundance
May 14, 2015 • 50 min
Over the last few years, analysts and academics worried about peak oil have been on the defensive. The fracking revolution has brought an abundance of oil and gas that no one thought possible a decade ago. So we can declare peak oil dead, right? Chris…
Tesla’s New Battery: Is the Market Ready?
May 7, 2015 • 47 min
Tesla’s new storage unit has everyone talking about distributed batteries. But is the U.S. market ready for them? This week, we’ll talk about what needs to happen on a regulatory level to take distributed storage beyond limited applications. Sky…
SunEdison’s CEO Talks Clean Energy Megatrends
May 4, 2015 • 33 min
Ahmad Chatila worked in the chip industry for 18 years before taking over as CEO of the semiconductor manufacturer MEMC in 2009. As a veteran of the industry, Chatila well understood the difficulties of the silicon wafer business. Semiconductors are a…
Can the US Wind Industry Get Beyond Its Boom-Bust Cycle?
Apr 30, 2015 • 41 min
Wind has become a favorite target for politicians and conservative action groups looking end energy subsidies. But industry leaders are hitting back, saying they’ll only consider dropping the production tax credit when oil and gas lose their tax benefits.…
Why Renewables Can’t Be Stopped
Apr 23, 2015 • 52 min
In 2014, after a two-year dip in global clean energy spending, investors poured $310 billion into solar, wind, storage and energy efficiency. Although yearly investment levels are below what IEA estimates are needed to address climate change, the increase…
Debate: Can America Get to 100% Renewable Energy?
Apr 14, 2015 • 44 min
In 2008, when Al Gore called for America to get 100 percent from its electricity from renewables in 10 years, he was widely mocked by opponents. Even supporters who understood it was a rhetorical point quietly knew how difficult it would be to achieve.…
Can NRG Become the Apple or Google of Electricity Delivery?
Apr 9, 2015 • 49 min
Last March, NRG CEO David Crane wrote a passionate letter to investors. “There is no Amazon, Apple, Facebook or Google in the American energy industry today,” lamented Crane. His plan, he said, was to make NRG the company “that enables the consumer to…
Is Nuclear 2.0 Possible?
Apr 4, 2015 • 57 min
Small modular nuclear reactors are hailed as the savior of the struggling nuclear industry. They’re cheaper, safer and more flexible than traditional light-water reactors. But many small modular reactor designs are also not fully proven on a commercial…
Does the US Solar Industry Need the Federal Tax Credit?
Mar 26, 2015 • 49 min
The federal investment tax credit has enabled dramatic growth in the U.S. solar industry. But its looming expiration in 2017 is causing some within the solar business to ask: will it still be needed to continue that growth? The industry’s national…
Insight From One of Cleantech’s Most Successful Venture Capitalists
Mar 19, 2015 • 59 min
Nancy Pfund, the founder of DBL Investors, has supported some of the most successful modern clean energy companies, including Tesla, SolarCity, Powerlight and BrightSource. And unlike many other venture capital firms, DBL isn’t backing down from some of…
A Journalist’s Guide to Congressional Energy Politics
Mar 6, 2015 • 44 min
When the 114th Congress assembled for the first time in January, a bill approving Keystone XL was first on the agenda. By passing that bill with numerous amendments stuff in, Americans got a hint of what energy issues the Republican-controlled House and…
Tribal Warfare and Energy Liberty: A Republican Take on the Energy Transition
Feb 26, 2015 • 43 min
Former Congressman Bob Inglis has a tough job. As one of the only prominent Republicans talking about climate change, he’s been trying to give the rest of his party the courage to offer conservative solutions to the challenge. Three years after founding…
The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels
Feb 12, 2015 • 46 min
The case against fossil fuels is simple. Oil, coal and gas have been an extraordinary gift of nature that allowed modern society to flourish. But now, because of extreme climate risk and the competitiveness of renewable energy, we can (and must) leave…
Why the Tea Party Is Getting Behind Solar
Feb 5, 2015 • 36 min
For some conservatives, solar is a big green boondoggle promoted by a liberal president to benefit rich environmentalists. But for a growing number of libertarians and conservatives, solar is also seen as a tool for promoting competition in electricity…
The Solar-Utility Battle Is Getting Ugly
Jan 28, 2015 • 48 min
If the war of words between SolarCity and Arizona Public Service is any indication, this year will likely see an escalation in tension between the solar industry and utilities throughout the U.S. Earlier this month, it was revealed that APS was behind a…
Solar Loans: Should PV Be More Like Car Sales or Cable Television?
Jan 22, 2015 • 49 min
Last year, 200,000 residential solar systems were installed in the U.S. More than two-thirds of those systems were third-party financed through leases or power purchase agreements. But third-party financing is peaking. As solar costs come down, more…
Is it Time to End Subsidies for Wave and Tidal Energy?
Jan 14, 2015 • 36 min
Progress in wave and tidal energy hasn’t been slow – it’s been nonexistent. Despite media attention, strategic investments from large energy companies and strong support from national governments, the marine renewables industry has seen mostly technical…
Will Low Oil Prices Hurt Clean Energy?
Jan 7, 2015 • 43 min
With oil prices dropping to five-year lows, pundits are pushing conspiracy theories about OPEC, public investors are acting irrationally, oil companies are going deeper into debt and political leaders are considering previously untouchable ideas like a…
The Most Important and Overblown Energy Stories of 2014
Dec 24, 2014 • 43 min
This week, we stray from the week’s top news and instead focus on the top news of the entire year. We’ll give our picks for most important news item of the year, the most overblown story of the year and our story to watch in 2015. The Energy Gang is…
Solyndra? Solyndra! The Legacy of Government Loan Guarantees Beyond Politics
Dec 18, 2014 • 48 min
Three years after the political posturing around the Department of Energy’s clean energy loan guarantee program, some lawmakers still haven’t moved on. “What we have seen is incredible mismanagement, and it’s become the poster child for crony capitalism,”…
Tesla’s Battery Storage Strategy Beyond Electric Cars
Dec 11, 2014 • 47 min
As Tesla builds out its Giga factory in Nevada, the company expects that roughly one-quarter of batteries will be used for stationary storage applications beyond automobiles. Tesla is just beginning to expand beyond EVs and move deeper into grid-scale…
Germany’s Largest Utility Is Divesting From Centralized Power Plants
Dec 4, 2014 • 45 min
Earlier this week, Germany’s biggest power company, E.ON, announced that it would spin off its centralized power assets in order to make itself a distributed utility and embrace the “new world” of energy. E.ON and other European utilities have been…
How Big Data (and Little Data) Is Transforming Energy Efficiency
Nov 19, 2014 • 43 min
After years of very little change, the energy efficiency industry is getting a makeover. The growth in connected, learning devices — and the data access enabled by them — is creating a new paradigm that many call “intelligent efficiency.” In this podcast,…
The Biggest Financing Traps for Cleantech Startups
Nov 14, 2014 • 46 min
Every decision for a startup is a financial decision. From hiring decisions to supply agreements, investors evaluate an entire company through a financial lens. But some entrepreneurs muddling along through challenges often fail to think about the growth…
Election Special: What the Republican Takeover Means for Energy
Nov 6, 2014 • 47 min
This week, the U.S. turned a deep shade of red after Republicans pulled off commanding wins in national, state and local races. The results will influence a broad range of issues, including renewable energy tax policy, oil & gas exports, state renewable…
Millennials: The Core of the Clean Economy? Or Overhyped as the Green Generation?
Oct 31, 2014 • 44 min
Depending on your perspective, Millenials are either the most globally aware, technologically savvy generation or the most distracted, dependent, self-obsessed generation. For many, those feelings about Millenials extend to the environment. Some criticize…
Can America Ever Become a Solar Manufacturing Superpower?
Oct 26, 2014 • 52 min
Five years ago, a new wave of startups promised a manufacturing renaissance driven by American solar. Today, after the collapse of dozens of those companies, many are skeptical that the U.S. can ever lead in solar production. But can America rise once…
What Happens to Solar Power Plants After They’re Installed?
Oct 17, 2014 • 40 min
By 2017, there will be more than 150 gigawatts of solar plants that need to be maintained globally. In order for solar to keep growing as an asset class, those plants need to be in top shape. Who’s going to take care of them all? As operations and…
SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive Defends His Company’s Long-Term Business Strategy
Oct 10, 2014 • 51 min
SolarCity is a much different company than it was before it went public. It has made numerous acquisitions in an attempt to control nearly every part of the value chain – from hardware to customer acquisition – making it a fully vertically integrated…
Should You Believe Claims About the Coming End of Fracking?
Oct 1, 2014 • 49 min
In mid-September, the U.S. government revised its estimates for U.S. oil production upward once again. Boosted by increases in tight oil from shale formations in North Dakota and Texas, America could soon surpass its previous domestic production peak hit…
Why New York Is Trying to Create the Most Innovative Grid in the World
Sep 24, 2014 • 55 min
New York is taking a hard look at how to reform the distribution grid and encourage more distributed energy resources. But it’s not doing it through mandates. Instead, New York regulators are developing flexible market structures to encourage utilities to…
Your Building Is Dumb. Here’s a Way to Make it Smarter
Sep 9, 2014 • 51 min
Large commercial buildings are the fastest growing energy consumers in the U.S. Why? Because most of them are not very energy aware. Utilities and city planners understand this problem and have targeted the commercial building sector by providing rebates…
How America’s Biggest Energy Consumer, the Government, Is Greening Itself
Sep 4, 2014 • 49 min
In December of last year, President Obama issued an order requiring the government to get 20 percent of electricity from renewables by 2020 – up from about 7 percent today. That’s not an easy goal to achieve. The General Services Administration owns or…
Why Bill Gates Is Wrong About Renewable Energy
Aug 28, 2014 • 46 min
Bill Gates is a very influential guy — not just because he founded Microsoft, but because of his powerful foundation. With $40 billion in trust assets, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one the biggest charitable organizations in the world focusing…
Amory Lovins: As Economists Argue, Renewables Keep Getting Cheaper
Aug 21, 2014 • 53 min
In the academic world, there’s lots of debate about how expensive or cheap renewables are compared to fossil fuels. But do they actually match what’s happening on the ground? In this week’s podcast, we’ll talk with Amory Lovins, the founder and chief…
Nest Thermostats Just Got ‘Hacked.’ Should You Be Worried?
Aug 14, 2014 • 46 min
Last week, hackers at the Black Hat conference showed how to jailbreak a Nest learning thermostat and override the firmware, taking it under their control. The hack itself cannot be done without physical access to the device, and Nest said no devices have…
This Data on Consumer Energy Use May Surprise You
Aug 7, 2014 • 52 min
Are your solar panels facing the wrong way? Is your utility focusing on the wrong types of energy efficiency? These are the questions that Pecan Street Inc. has attempted to answer through its data collection from smart grid projects. The findings may…
We Argue About the True Cost of Wind and Solar: How Cheap Are They Really?
Jul 31, 2014 • 42 min
How do we calculate the true cost of intermittent renewables? The levelized cost of wind and solar are falling by the day. But how cheap are they really? A recent study from the Brookings Institution concludes that they are higher than presumed when using…
We Are at the Start of a Revolution in Clean Energy Finance
Jul 23, 2014 • 44 min
The biggest investors in the world are pouring their money into renewable energy projects. Want to join them? Now you can. Up until recently, it was nearly impossible for most investors to directly support solar, wind and other projects that offer stable…
As More Nuclear Plants Shut Down, Can Distributed Energy Fill the Gap?
Jul 17, 2014 • 47 min
In the last couple of years, five nuclear power plants in the U.S. have been put on the list for closure. These plants are getting challenged from two sides: competitive natural gas and renewables are eroding the economics of merchant projects, while…
What Was He Smoking? How a Solar Pioneer’s Big Dreams Came True
Jul 10, 2014 • 42 min
Today, solar’s dominance feels inevitable. But in 1979, when Neville Williams started promoting the industry at the Department of Energy, it felt like a far-off dream. That didn’t stop the early pioneers from thinking big and pushing the government to…
The Climate Bubble: Why Famous Capitalists Are So Focused on Climate Risks
Jul 2, 2014 • 45 min
Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson recently made a bold comparison between the financial risks that led to the 2008 economic collapse and emerging climate risks: “We’re staring down a climate bubble that poses enormous risks to both our environment…
Is SolarCity’s Move Into Manufacturing Smart or Unrealistic?
Jun 18, 2014 • 39 min
This week, SolarCity shocked the solar industry by announcing its intentions to acquire Silevo, and move quickly into cell and module manufacturing. America’s largest solar installer now wants to be one of the most powerful producers of solar products.…
How Much Have Utilities Changed Since Superstorm Sandy?
Jun 11, 2014 • 49 min
It’s been a year and a half since Sandy destroyed the East Coast electric grid and left more than 8 million people without power. So has anything materially changed in the utility sector since October of 2012? In this week’s podcast, we feature a…
Are Solar Companies Just as Sexist and Exclusive as Everyone Else?
May 30, 2014 • 45 min
In theory, solar PV is the ultimate democratized energy technology. But is it living up to its potential? Historically, solar has been accessible to wealthy environmentalists, utilities and large corporations. But it has been less available to low-income…
Chinese Gov’t Hackers Want Your Clean Energy Technologies
May 23, 2014 • 41 min
This week, the U.S. government indicted five hackers working for the Chinese military who allegedly stole trade secrets from six major energy and industrial companies operating in America. One of those companies was the solar manufacturer SolarWorld. The…
The Dirty Politics That Killed the Shaheen-Portman Efficiency Bill
May 15, 2014 • 36 min
How could a bipartisan energy efficiency bill described as “innocuous” fail so many times in Congress? Once again, the Senate failed to pass the Shaheen-Portman bill, a piece of legislation that would have created new standards and financing mechanisms…
Are Corporate Sustainability Efforts Working?
May 9, 2014 • 50 min
Nine years ago, Walmart announced its landmark initiative to reduce waste and cut greenhouse gas emissions. But today its emissions are 14 percent higher. That sounds like the initiative was a failure, right? Maybe not. In this week’s podcast, the Gang…
Inside New York’s Historic Move to Remake the Utility Business Model
May 1, 2014 • 40 min
Earlier this week, New York officials issued a report calling for structural changes to the way utilities are regulated. The proposal would make distribution utilities into Distributed System Platform Providers that get compensated for their ability to…
Executive Roundtable: Has Solar Reached the Mainstream?
Apr 23, 2014 • 52 min
In this week’s podcast, we have a conversation with leading solar executives on whether solar has reached the point of no return. We’ll talk about vertical integration, evolving business models, international markets and the economics of projects. The…
Solar Plus Storage: Could a ‘Utility in a Box’ Cause Massive Grid Defection?
Apr 11, 2014 • 46 min
Could solar paired with battery storage make utilities obsolete? That’s the question analysts are asking as the economics of the technologies improve. The short answer is “no.” Utilities operate an extremely valuable set of infrastructure and still…
Thinking Big About the Future of Building Design
Apr 2, 2014 • 46 min
This week, the Gang is live from the Building Energy Summit in Washington, DC. In this episode, we talk with some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in sustainable design and get their thoughts on how our built environment is evolving. The Energy…
No, Renewables Aren’t Going to Blow Up the Grid
Mar 18, 2014 • 36 min
A new study from PJM, America’s largest wholesale competitive energy market, once again shows that high amounts of renewables can be integrated without harming the grid or raising energy prices. In this week’s show, we’ll look at the real-world challenges…
Are US Natural Gas Exports An Effective Way To Counter Russia?
Mar 12, 2014 • 35 min
U.S. Natural Gas is being touted as a tool to weaken Russian President Vladimir Putin’s influence in Europe. But how effective would an export strategy really be? In this week’s show, we’ll look at the reality of using American natural gas as a…
Anatomy of a Solar Power Boom: Can the Industry Keep it Going?
Mar 6, 2014 • 43 min
As expected, 2013 was yet another record year for solar in the U.S. With 5.1 gigawatts of PV and CSP coming online, the solar industry was the second largest provider of electricity capacity behind natural gas. But how long will it continue? With a tax…
Will the US-China Trade War Destroy the American Solar Market?
Feb 27, 2014 • 44 min
This month, the U.S. government agreed to take up another case against China for its solar trade practices. The complaint was filed by German solar producer SolarWorld, but most of the solar industry agrees that the case could be terrible for the U.S.…
Can ARPA-E Create The Internet Of Energy?
Feb 13, 2014 • 37 min
ARPA-E was modeled after a successful defense research agency called DARPA, which helped create the foundation of the internet. So can the government’s energy innovation agency do something equally groundbreaking for clean energy? This week, we’ll talk…
Can Transportation Reach Zero Emissions By 2050?
Feb 7, 2014 • 38 min
The electricity sector in the U.S. is nearing a tipping point for clean energy. But transportation isn’t seeing the same level of change. In this week’s podcast — recorded live at the Department of Transportation — we’ll look at where the tipping points…
Natural Gas: A Bridge to the Future or Bridge to Nowhere?
Jan 31, 2014 • 40 min
In his latest State of the Union address, President Obama once again called natural gas a “bridge” to the clean energy future. But is the resource really all the industry claims? We’ll take a nuanced look at dynamics in the natural gas market, and ask…
The Taxman Cometh: Does Clean Energy Need to Face Up to Tax Reform?
Jan 23, 2014 • 35 min
The clean energy industry may soon face some hard choices about tax incentives. Should it continue to push for short-term extensions of the production and investment tax credits, or does it need to lead the conversation on tax reform? It may look to do…
Dissecting Google’s Clean Energy Investment Strategy
Jan 20, 2014 • 35 min
Google has invested billions of dollars in clean energy projects and startups. Is the internet giant positioning itself to be the next energy giant? In this week’s show, we’ll look at Google’s cleantech investment strategy and ask what the end game may…
What Can Small Wind Learn From Solar’s Success?
Jan 11, 2014 • 45 min
In 2006, the small wind industry was poised to take off in the U.S. But then solar surged ahead, leaving small wind in the dust. What happened? In this week’s show, we’ll look at how the small wind industry can regain its footing and live up to its…
A Cleantech Crash? Probing 60 Minutes’ Claim That Clean Energy Is on ‘Life Support’
Jan 6, 2014 • 36 min
On Sunday, the popular CBS news magazine “60 Minutes” aired a story on a supposed “cleantech crash.” Reporter Lesley Stahl looked at the troubles in venture capital, and used them to declare government cleantech investments a virtual failure. In this…
Year in Review: A Look at the Biggest Clean Energy Stories of 2013
Dec 20, 2013 • 41 min
We may not have been able to predict Time Magazine’s person of the year, or Google’s most searched term of 2013. But the Energy Gang was on top of the big happenings in cleantech this year. In our year-end podcast, we’ll outline our favorite stories of…
Distributed Storage: The Killer App for Solar?
Dec 16, 2013 • 42 min
There convergence of solar and distributed batteries is underway. Although the use of storage is still very limited in the solar sector, more companies are looking to bring new value to customers by pairing the two technologies. In this week’s podcast,…
Germany: A Clean Energy Success Story Or Cautionary Tale?
Dec 6, 2013 • 50 min
Everyone agrees Germany is a renewable energy powerhouse. But not everyone agrees on how that’s benefitted the country. The web is littered with conflicting opinion pieces on the German experience – some claiming the country’s aggressive promotion of…
A Look Inside the Minds of Electricity Regulators
Nov 21, 2013 • 47 min
State electricity regulators are as diverse as the regions they come from. So their thinking on the future of energy varies wildly. With worries about the disruptive threat of efficiency and distributed generation growing, how are these regulators…
How Distributed Generation Will Cause ‘Creative Destruction’ in Power Markets
Nov 13, 2013 • 44 min
What does the nation’s top energy regulator, FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, think about the future of solar? “I think we’re seeing the Moore’s Law cost curve together with the entrepreneurial spirit coming into an industry in a way that is going to…
Is the Wind Industry Prepared for an Expiration of Its Tax Credit?
Nov 7, 2013 • 46 min
The wind industry is facing another expiration of the production tax credit at the end of the year, and this time it likely won’t get extended quickly. So is the wind industry prepared for a post-PTC future? This week, the Energy Gang will debate the…
Are Big Banks Botching One of the Greatest Cleantech Opportunities of All Time?
Oct 31, 2013 • 44 min
The largest international development banks have made it a priority to deliver energy to the 1.3 billion people without access to the modern grid. But are they approaching a 21st-century market with 20th-century solutions? In this week’s show, the gang…
40 Years After the Arab Oil Embargo, Is America Much Better Off?
Oct 24, 2013 • 40 min
It’s been four decades since Arab oil producers shut off the oil spigot to America, creating price shocks, gas lines and economic hardship. It also spawned the modern political definitions for “energy security” and “energy independence.” So 40 years…
How Worried Should We Be About the Decline in Clean Energy Investment?
Oct 18, 2013 • 40 min
The clean energy industry is headed for yet another dip in global investment. Meanwhile, venture investors are shifting their money toward more “capital-lite” businesses. Should we be worried? The Energy Gang looks at the complex picture behind the…
Real Talk: Has the Geothermal Industry Failed in Its Messaging?
Oct 11, 2013 • 41 min
No one denies the immense potential of geothermal. Despite that potential, the industry has grown incrementally over the years and failed to attract strong investment flow, particularly in the U.S. So what’s keeping growth so low? In this week’s podcast,…
To Hell With the Gov’t Shutdown, Let’s Create Some Cleantech Wealth
Oct 3, 2013 • 34 min
This week, we’ll forget the political train wreck in Washington (for a little while) and instead turn our attention to the business leaders helping build new wealth opportunities in clean energy. Energy Gang co-host and SunEdison Founder Jigar Shah is out…
How To Save the Power Companies From Themselves
Sep 20, 2013 • 34 min
Almost everyone admits it: utilities are going to be in for some serious trouble if they don’t start thinking about how to properly manage the coming surge in distributed energy. But we can’t entirely blame the utilities for moving slowly; regulators play…
Will the Emerging Climate Movement Help Cleantech?
Sep 13, 2013 • 43 min
After failing to pass a climate bill in 2010, the environmental movement has seen a new surge of activism mobilized by the fight against Keystone XL. So what are the implications for the clean energy sector? And are advocates and business leaders learning…
Is Solar About to Get Screwed or Saved in California?
Sep 5, 2013 • 46 min
California is a bellwether for the solar industry, which is why a new bill being considered in the state could have wide-ranging impacts around the country. The state is currently considering a bill that would make significant changes to electricity…
Why Have Venture Capitalists Flopped in Cleantech?
Aug 30, 2013 • 34 min
Venture investments in cleantech have taken a nosedive after bringing in poor returns. But the problem isn’t in cleantech — it’s in the investment strategy. On this week’s podcast, The Gang will talk with Rob Day of Black Coral Capital about how the “next…
Are Utilities Ready for the Coming Death Spiral?
Aug 15, 2013 • 41 min
Utilities are on the verge of a “death spiral” as more customers leave the grid and implement distributed energy technologies like solar. The same thing happened in Telecom as the rise of mobile phones made copper lines nearly obsolete. We’ll ask what…
Reviewing Gasland 2: What the Frack Is Happening With Natural Gas?
Jul 25, 2013 • 42 min
Filmmaker and activist Josh Fox has just released his new film on the U.S. natural gas fracking industry, Gasland 2. As expected, environmental activists are holding it up as gospel and the natural gas industry is frantically trying to discredit Fox’s…
It’s Hot as Hell and the Grid’s Not Gonna Take it Anymore!
Jul 18, 2013 • 40 min
With a heat wave gripping the central and eastern U.S., concerns about the impact of water supplies on the power sector are growing. This week, the Gang will discuss a detailed new report looking at how to break the nexus between power generation and…
Will America Get Its Act Together on Energy Efficiency?
Jul 11, 2013 • 39 min
America is kicking butt at energy efficiency. Well, sort of. It depends on which way you look at the issue. In this week’s show, the Energy Gang will discuss the economic, technology and policy trends helping — and hurting — America’s efficiency. Then,…
Are Renewables Ready to Address the Climate Threat?
Jul 2, 2013 • 39 min
The International Energy Agency has once again revised its figures for renewable energy upward, showing that the industry continues to outperform previous projections. But is the industry truly ready to address climate change? This week, the Energy Gang…
Breaking Down President Obama’s New Climate Plan
Jun 25, 2013 • 35 min
After promising to deal with climate change in his second term, President Obama unveiled a comprehensive climate plan this week. But how comprehensive is it? We’ll take a look at the details and debate its effectiveness. We’ll also take a look at the…
The Energy Gang: The Grid Resiliency Edition
Jun 13, 2013 • 33 min
In this week’s show, the Energy Gang talks about the strong growth in U.S. solar PV, debates the future of offshore wind, and asks whether utilities are prepared for true “grid resiliency” in the face of extreme weather. (Ironically, the episode was…
The Energy Gang: Inaugural Episode
Jun 7, 2013 • 49 min
Welcome to the first episode of the Energy Gang — an energy digest hosted by cleantech journalist Stephen Lacey, energy policy expert Katherine Hamilton and energy futurist Jigar Shah. In this week’s show we’ll talk about leadership changes in Washington,…