Energy Tradeoffs

A weekly podcast
Good podcast? Give it some love!

Episodes of Energy Tradeoffs

Mark All
Search Episodes...
Another Thursday, another EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode: This week, Eric Orts from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and David Spence talk about Eric’s research on “Climate Change and the Ethical Obligations of Business.” Eric argues that major fossil fuel companies—the “carbon majors”—face a dilemma: they face an ethical imperative to address climate change but they also face a market imperative to maximize their profits. He argues that one way to address this dilemma is for the carbon majors to push governments to adopt stricter greenhouse gas regulations. If governments adopted a legal framework that adequately reduced carbon emissions, then energy companies could compete within this framework without violating their ethical imperative. Eric also argues that the investment community must accept that it is ethically bound to reduce carbon emissions and can no longer focus solely on maximizing economic returns. The conversation builds on a working paper that Eric has written with Brian Berkey, which is titled “The Climate Imperative for Management.” The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
This week’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode features Indiana University’s David Konisky talking with Shelley Welton about his research on “Public Attitudes on Energy & Climate.” David and Shelley discuss David’s research on what Americans believe about different sources of power. David finds that people mostly judge power sources based on their local environmental harms and their cost. They tend to be very favorable toward renewable sources, less favorable toward fossil fuels, and conflicted about nuclear power. David explains that many are more comfortable with traditional regulation such as emissions standards rather than market-based approaches to limiting carbon emissions. The discussion relates to a 2016 book that David wrote with Stephen Ansolabe, Cheap and Clean: How Americans Think About Energy in the Age of Global Warming. Shelley and David also discuss a newer article that David coauthored with Sanya Carley and Stephen Ansolabe, “Are all electrons the same? Evaluating support for local transmission lines through an experiment.” In the paper, they examine local opposition to new energy infrastructure projects and find that it may be possible to provide information to landowners that would make them more favorable to new transmission lines designed to enable more renewable power. The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
For this week’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast interview, we have David Spence interviewing Sheila Olmstead his colleague at the University of Texas, about Sheila’s research on “Carbon Taxes: The Evolving Conventional Wisdom.” Sheila responds to the concern that a carbon tax would have a regressive impact on lower-income households by raising the price of energy. She explains that a carbon tax is actually less likely to have a net regressive impact on low-income households than other climate policies. Nearly all climate policies place disproportionate burdens on low-income households that spend a larger share of their income on energy. But a carbon tax produces revenue that can be used to offset or eliminate the costs it imposes on vulnerable populations. (And, of course, as I argue here on Greg Mankiw’s blog, it imposes more transparent burdens than other climate policies, which means that policymakers will be more likely to address those burdens on low-income households.) Sheila also argues that a carbon tax would not have a major negative impact on the economy. And she argues that the negative impact of the tax on some fossil fuel sectors is a feature not a bug of a policy designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Sheila also argues that even if a carbon tax starts at $40 per ton, new research suggests that it should rise well beyond that. Finally, Sheila explains the controversy over whether governments that impose a carbon price should consider rolling back other climate regulations. Sheila and David reference the Climate Leadership Council’s “Economist Statement on Carbon Dividends,” which was signed by all four former Chairs of the Federal Reserve, 27 Nobel Laureate economists, and 3,500 economists, including Sheila.  The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
This Thursday’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast is our 40th episode! It features Yale Law School’s Doug Kysar talking with University of Colorado’s Sharon Jacobs about his research on “Tort Law & Climate Litigation.” Sharon and Doug first discuss the different types of climate litigation, including causes of action based on nuisance, arguments that the government holds the climate in trust for future generation, and claims that fossil fuel companies have misled investors and the public about the dangers of climate change. They go on to discuss the challenges of holding companies liable when greenhouse gas emissions were also caused by consumers around the world, and how that may prevent or dissuade judges from allowing these suits to go forward. Finally, they discuss the remedies that the various plaintiffs are looking for to protect them from climate harm. The conversation builds on a 2017 article that Doug and Henry Weaver published in the Notre Dame Law Review, which was titled “Courting Disaster:  Climate Change and the Adjudication of Catastrophe.” The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
For this week’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast interview, we have David Spence interviewing my friend and co-author Hannah Wiseman, now at Penn State Law – University Park, about her research on “Balancing the Local Costs and Wider Benefits of Energy Development.” Hannah and David discuss her research on how to address energy projects that have concentrated costs in local communities but broader benefits to the economy and energy system—such as natural gas fracking and solar and wind farms. At times, states have responded to local opposition by stripping communities of local control over energy development, but that can leave important externalities unregulated. Hannah suggests that taxation might be a better way to address these externalities. Hannah has a forthcoming paper titled “Taxing Local Energy Externalities” forthcoming in the Notre Dame Law Review. And along with Tara Righetti, we have just published a paper in the Yale Law Journal Forum on “The New Oil & Gas Governance.” Hannah also cites Kristen van de Biezenbos‘s important argument on oil company negotiations with local communities, “Contracted Fracking.“ The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
In this Thursday’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode, I talk with Caroline Cecot of GMU’s Scalia Law School about her research on “Regulating the Risks of Fracking to Water.” Caroline describes her empirical research on how New York towns approached fracking in the years before it was banned across the State. She finds that towns that were more vulnerable to water pollution and those that were less accustomed to oil and gas development were more likely to ban fracking. As a result, she argues that fracking might win more widespread support if better water contamination regulation could assure local communities of its safety. She also describes some of her ideas for improving insurance and regulation of fracking risks to water. The discussion builds on two of Caroline’s recent articles: “Regulatory Fracture Plugging: Managing Risks to Water from Shale Development,” which was published in the Texas A&M Law Review in 2018, and “No Fracking Way: An Empirical Investigation of Local Shale Development Bans in New York,”which was published in Environmental Law in 2019. The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
Another week, another EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode. This week, the University of California at Berkeley’s Eric Biber talks with David Spence about his research on “How Law Must Change in the Anthropocene.” Eric explains his argument that as humans change the global environment, legal doctrines will have to change to accommodate regulatory responses as well as to address wider problems triggered by environmental harm. Eric describes the comprehensive challenges that will arise from climate change and other global environmental challenges and how they are caused by the “full range of human activity.” As a result, he argues that these challenges will require, in David’s words, “fundamental changes in the relationship between governments and individuals.” Eric describes how governments might be forced to rethink traditional approaches to legal rules for tort causation, federalism, and state coercion. The conversation builds on Eric’s 2017 article on “Law in the Anthropocene Epoch” , which was published in the Georgetown Law Journal. The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
This week’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode features David Spence interviewing MIT’s Scott Burger about his research on “How to Value Distributed Energy Resources.” David and Scott discuss the problems that can arise if rooftop solar is overcompensated through net metering when rooftop solar is mostly installed by wealthier customers. Scott and his colleagues “simulated rooftop solar adoption across single family homes [in] the Chicago, Illinois area” and found that bills dropped for rooftop solar adopters and rose for those who didn’t adopt. This tended to increase costs for low-income consumers “[b]ecause adopters are (on average) wealthier than non-adopters.” The discussion builds on one of Scott’s recent articles: “Why Distributed? A Critical Review of the Tradeoffs Between Centralized and Decentralized Resources,” which was published last year. The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
This week’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode is Part II of Michael Wara‘s discussion with David Spence about his research on California’s wildfire policies. This two-part series focuses on “PG&E’s Wildfire Liability and Bankruptcy: Who Pays?” Today’s 19-minute podcast episode starts where the last one left off; it focuses on “Bankruptcy & the Future.” Michael explains why PG&E’s bankruptcy is co complex, noting: “It’s a mess. It’s not just in one court. It’s in seven.” And he explains how some of the important stakeholders and issues are not well represented in the bankruptcy proceedings. For example, he notes that ratepayers are not directly represented. He also highlights the danger that the results of the bankruptcy may make it even harder to address California’s affordable housing shortage. As noted last week, Michael is frequently quoted in the media as an expert on PG&E, wildfires, and liability. The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
This Thursday’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast features Stanford University’s Michael Wara talking with David Spence about his research on California’s wildfire policies. This week’s podcast episode is the first part of a two-part series on “PG&E’s Wildfire Liability and Bankruptcy: Who Pays?” This episode focused on wildfire causes, liability, and victims. David and Michael talk about why Northern California has been so vulnerable to fires in recent years, including how fire prevention practices have differed from those in Southern California. They also discuss why utilities have been shutting off power to avoid fires and how customers have responded to the risk that their power supply will be cut off. Michael appears frequently in the media as an expert on PG&E, wildfires, and liability. Just last week he released a new NBER working paper on “The Changing Risk and Burden of Wildfire in the US.” If you’d like more background on wildfire law and policy, I can recommend two articles by Karen Bradshaw of Arizona State: a 2010 piece titled “A Modern Overview of Wildfire Law” and a 2015 piece on stakeholder collaborations in wildfire policy. The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
Another week, another EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode. This week, Michael Burger of Columbia University talks with the University of Texas’s David Spence about Michael’s work on “Climate Litigation & the Green Transition.” Michael and David talk about the variety of lawsuits that have been brought to try and hold fossil fuel companies responsible for the costs of climate change. (A chart collecting and organizing the wide variety of these cases can be found here.) Michael and David discuss the difficulty of finding just some companies liable for global climate change caused by many companies around the world. They also describe the possibility that climate change could be attributed to the consumers that burn fossil fuels rather than the companies that sell the fuels and how plaintiffs could draw analogies to lawsuits over tobacco, opioids, and guns. The conversation builds on some of Michael’s recently published research including co-authored papers titled “The Status of Climate Change Litigation: A Global Review,” and “The Law and Science of Climate Change Attribution.” The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
This Thursday’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode features features the University of Texas’s David Spence interviewing Vanderbilt Law School’s Jim Rossi and Chris Serkin about their proposal for “Energy Exactions“. Jim and Chris describe this proposal, which would have local governments impose “a fee on development … that is designed to avoid strains on the energy grid.” It would build on existing negotiations between developers and local governments that often require developers to pay for some of the local services they will require. To comply with an energy exaction, a developer could either pay for the new burden it would place on the energy grid or even pay for energy-saving technologies that would eliminate this burden. This discussion explores Jim and Chris’s recent paper, which was published in the Cornell Law Review and is also titled “Energy Exactions“. The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
Today’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode features Yael Lifshitz, from King’s College London, talking with me about her research on “Private Energy, Private Law, & the Green Transition.” Yael describes her research on how private law interacts with our public policy goals for an energy transition. As one example, she describes how private leases for housing often are roadblocks to installing rooftop solar on rental units. As more people rely on rentals, this can seriously limit rooftop solar. Yael proposes private law solutions that could remove these roadblocks. Yael also explains her research on conflicts between neighboring landowners over wind power. She describes how extraction of wind power by one landowner can have both local and area-wide impacts. Yael suggests how policymakers can look to water law and oil and gas law for possible solutions to these conflicts. The discussion builds on two of Yael’s recent articles: “Private Energy,” which was published in the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, and “Winds of Change: Drawing on Water Doctrines to Establish Wind Law,” which was published in the NYU Environmental Law Journal. The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
This week’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode features David Spence interviewing Joshua Rhodes & Colin Meehan about their research on “Keeping the Lights on in a High Renewables Grid.” Josh & Colin explain the concept of grid “inertia” and why it is so important for grid stability. The grid must always maintain the same frequency and inertia steadies this frequency when a power plant suddenly goes offline. They explain that wind and solar power do not provide the same inertia as conventional plants but describe ways of making the grid flexible to accommodate high levels of renewable power nevertheless. Josh & Colin also describes how renewable power sources can provide “fast frequency response” as a substitute for inertia. But they explain that doing so would require reducing power output from these sources, which might require modifying markets to pay for ancillary services that maintain the grid’s frequency. The discussion builds on one of Josh’s recent articles: “Evaluating rotational inertia as a component of grid reliability with high penetrations of variable renewable energy,” which was published last year in the journal Energy. The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
Today’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode has me interviewing the University of Oklahoma’s Monika Ehrman about her research on “Energy Realism & Fossil Fuels.” Monika describes and criticizes the “keep it in the ground” movement–a coalition that is looking to stop production of oil and gas on federal lands and has now gained support from all of the remaining Democratic candidates for President. She argues that the keep-it-in-the-ground movement is ignoring the economic and geopolitical impacts of cutting off oil and gas production and lays out her theory of energy realism: she argues that the energy industry and the keep-it-in-the ground movement could both benefit from more careful assessment of the science and math supporting both the economic necessity and climate risks of fossil fuel production. My recent op-ed supporting sustainable oil development rather than simple bans also supports this vision of energy policy. The discussion builds on Monika’s recent article, “A Call for Energy Realism:  When Immanual Kant Met the ‘Keep It In the Ground’ Movement,” which was published last year in the Utah Law Review, and Monika described earlier in a guest blog here at EnergyLawProf.com. The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
In this week’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode, the University of Colorado’s Sharon Jacobs interviews Sanya Carley of Indiana University about Sanya’s work on Alternatives talks with about Sanya’s work on “Energy Justice.” Sanya explains her efforts to identify communities that are particularly likely to be harmed as the country moves to cleaner energy sources. She describes steps that the government can take to address these disparate impacts and how to allow affected communities to participate in developing solutions. This conversation relates to a number of Sanya’s recent publications, including a paper titled “A framework for evaluating geographic disparities in energy transition vulnerability,” that was published in Nature Energy in 2018. The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
This Thursday’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode features me talking with the University of Calgary Faculty of Law’s Kristen van de Biezenbos about her research on “Social License & Fossil Fuels.” Kristen describes how the term “social license” has become so important in Canadian energy policy and shows the different ways it has been used and misused by provincial and federal politicians. Kristen explains the origins of the term and explains what she thinks it should mean: she argues that local communities should not have a veto over linear infrastructure such as pipelines and power-lines, but that they should have some buy-in through consultation and a share in some of the benefits of these projects. This discussion explores Kristen’s recent paper, which was published in the McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law and is titled, “Rebirth of Social License.”  The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
This week’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode features Columbia’s Mike Gerrard talking with Shelley Welton about his research on “Deep Decarbonization: Legal Impediments to a Massive Renewables Build-Out.” In the interview, Mike explains why dramatic cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions will require a massive build out of new zero-carbon power sources to 1) replace coal and gas power plants and 2) electrify the other parts of the energy system that currently depend on fossil fuels, such as gasoline for cars and natural gas for heating. Mike and Shelley explore how federal environmental statutes, especially the National Environmental Policy Act, are holding up new investment in renewable energy. The discussion relates to a larger project, known as “Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonizaton” and Mike’s 2017 article in the Environmental Law Reporter, “Legal Pathways for a Massive Increase in Utility-Scale Renewable Generation Capacity.” The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
Another week, another EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode. This week, Victoria Mandell of GRID Alternatives talks with the University of Colorado’s  Sharon Jacobs about Victoria’s work on “Energy Poverty, Energy Burden and Rooftop Solar.” Victoria and Sharon talk about why some policies that favor rooftop solar are regressive: “You have low income customers paying for high income customers to have solar on their roofs.” Victoria explains the complex interactions between equity, efficiency, and environmental goals in adding more solar energy to the grid. Victoria has published some of her thoughts on energy poverty, rooftop solar, and the Colorado Public Utility Commission in this brief post: “Environmental and Economic Justice in Distributed Solar Energy Investment.” The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
This week’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode is Part II of Arne Olson‘s discussion with David Spence on “Modeling Decarbonization in the West.” This two-part series covers Arne’s research on achieving a reliable transition to low-carbon energy on the West Coast. Today’s 15-minute podcast episode starts where the last one left off, focusing on California. Arne describes why California may need to maintain some natural gas power to address wintertime shortages, unless it is able to develop significant nuclear power or long-term energy storage. The interview builds on another of Arne’s recent papers, “Long-Run Resource Adequacy under Deep Decarbonization Pathways for California.” The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
This Thursday’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode features Arne Olson talking with David Spence about his research on achieving a reliable transition to low-carbon energy on the West Coast. This week’s 18-minute podcast is the first part of a two-part series on “Modeling Decarbonization in the West,” and it focuses on the Pacific Northwest. Arne and David’s discussion focuses on the reasons that natural gas may play a continuing useful role in the grid as it moves to lower and lower carbon emissions. Arne explains why the grid can decarbonize while maintaining natural gas power to ensure reliability during emergencies. The interview builds on Arne’s recent paper, “Resource Adequacy in the Pacific Northwest.” The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
Happy new year! For this week’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast interview, we have David Spence interviewing Leah Stokes, from the University of California – Santa Barbara about her research on “The Politics of Technology Transitions.” Leah and David discuss politically sustainable methods of accomplishing an energy transition, focusing on Leah’s research on the history of policies supporting renewable and zero-carbon technologies. She traces a trajectory for transition that begins with subsidies to nurture new technologies until they are politically potent enough to take on incumbent industries. Leah and David also discuss Texas’s support for solar and wind power. The discussion builds on three papers that Leah has recently published with co-authors: “The political logics of clean energy transitions,” “Politics in the U.S. energy transition: Case studies of solar, wind biofuels and electric vehicles policy,” and “Renewable Energy Policy Design and Framing Influence Public Support in the United States.” The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
This week’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode features Cornell’s Joshua Macey talking with David Spence about his research on “Renewables and Reliability in Competitive Wholesale Electricity Markets.” In the interview, Joshua explains why electric power providers in competitive markets are relying more and more on capacity markets, which pay them just for being available to provide power, and less on energy markets, which pay them only when they are actually providing power. He critiques the way that interstate grid operators and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have implemented these capacity markets, arguing that current rules discriminate against renewable resources such as wind and solar power. The discussion builds on Joshua’s forthcoming University of Pennsylvania Law Review article with Jackson Salovaara, “Rate Regulation Redux.” The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
Today’s EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode features David Spence interviewing Carey King, his colleague at the University of Texas, about Carey’s research on “Economic Growth, Inequality & Decarbonization.” Carey and David discuss several ways that transitioning to cleaner energy sources will change the economy. In particular, Carey notes that “lower carbon infrastructure tends to be higher capital cost relative to operating cost, implying less labor and lower employment” and explains how this could affect economic growth and inequality. NB: This increased emphasis on capital investment means that the cost of cleaner energy will increasingly depend on reducing the cost of capital, a challenging task in a time of legal uncertainty. I have recently published two pieces on this topic: “Energy Market and Policy Revolutions: Regulatory Process and the Cost of Capital” and “Pipelines & Power-Lines: Building the Energy Transport Future.” The discussion builds on two of Carey’s recent articles: “Modeling the point of use EROI and its implications for economic growth in China” & “Delusions of grandeur in building a low-carbon future.” The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
Our new EnergyTradeoffs.com podcast episode features Resources for the Future’s Daniel Raimi talking with David Spence about his research on “Fossil Fuels and the Risk Profile of Fracking.” Daniel talks about his recent book, which evaluates common concerns about fracking, including polluted water supplies, diesel emissions, increased risks of earthquakes, and greenhouse gas emissions. Daniel explains how recent studies support or do not support these concerns. Daniel also explains how these risks can be addressed, noting how shale gas can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in some circumstance but can raise emissions in other circumstances. Daniel’s 2018 book is titled “The Fracking Debate: The Risks, Benefits, and Uncertainties of the Shale Revolution.” The interview also builds on Daniel’s 2019 paper on “The Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Increased US Oil and Gas Production.” The Energy Tradeoffs Podcast can be found at the following links: Apple | Google
Rate Podcast

Share This Podcast

Recommendation sent

Join Podchaser to...

  • Rate podcasts and episodes
  • Follow podcasts and creators
  • Create podcast and episode lists
  • & much more

Podcast Details

Created by
Energy Tradeoffs
Podcast Status
Hiatus/Finished
Started
Jun 30th, 2019
Latest Episode
Sep 3rd, 2020
Release Period
Weekly
Episodes
43
Avg. Episode Length
20 minutes
Explicit
No
Order
Episodic
Language
English

Podcast Tags

Do you host or manage this podcast?
Claim and edit this page to your liking.
Are we missing an episode or update?
Use this to check the RSS feed immediately.