There are a number of excellent podcasts available online for those who are interested in the energy sector. If you are looking for some additions to your playlist for the commute this week, here are some shows and episodes that I would recommend:
- The Energy Gang by Greentech Media
This podcast focuses on all things energy – with emphasis on current events in the Untied States – and is consistently at the top of my weekly playlist. In their recent episode titled “Diversifying Cleantech: How Environmental Justice Is Influencing the Energy Transition (released January 14, 2016) the gang’s Stephen Lacey, Katherine Hamilton, and Jigar Shah discusses how environmental justice is focusing on “ensuring that the transition to clean energy is fair, inclusive and economically beneficial” with their guest Jacqueline Patterson of the NAACP. They go on to discuss an analysis of Vinod Khosla’s venture investments in biofuels, batteries, solar and materials. In the final part of this podcast, the gang discusses the natural-gas leak outside Los Angeles that has forced thousands of people from their homes.
- Adapt or Die? National Grid’s New Plan to Embrace Cutting-Edge Energy Offerings
- The Utility Relationship with Distributed Energy Is Changing Fast. But Fast Enough?
- Why Coal Companies are Collapsing in Such Spectacular Fashion
- Planet Money by National Public Radio (NPR)
This podcast is also consistently on my playlist. The focus isn’t solely on energy – but the topic comes up quite frequently (and the non-energy stories are fascinating as well). In Episode 681: The Oil Kingdom (released February 3, 2016), the Planet Money team discusses the impacts of cheap oil on Saudi Arabia. For years, Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth has given this country free healthcare, free education, and a life “free” from taxes.But, as the price of oil has plummeted, Saudi Arabia is being forced to adapt – leading to reductions in the energy subsidies that have fuelled the country’s more recent develop. What does this mean for the Saudi Arabia’s development moving forward?
While this podcast is probably the least energy-centric of those on this list, a few of their podcasts have really caught my eye over the past year. In “How Efficient is Energy Efficiency?” (released February 5, 2015), Freakonomics Radio explores the prominence of energy efficiency in our energy policy proposals – quite an interesting discussion for those who spent time looking atMcKinsey’s greenhouse gas abatement cost curves. This episode focuses on an analysis by Arik Levinson – an environmental economist at Georgetown who worked at the Council of Economic Advisors under President Obama – with discussions on:
- Why energy-efficiency mandates “have become the centerpiece of U.S. climate policy” and why that might not be a good thing.
- What the rebound effect is and why this leads some economists to believe that efficiency isn’t all its cracked up to be.
- How the California building codes may (not) have saved us as much energy as we thought they would.
To round out the discussion, the hosts also introduce criticism of Levinson’s methodology and analysis by Hal Harvey, the CEO of a clean energy form called Energy Innovation.
This podcast focuses on all things science – with quick bursts (hence the title) of information about the latest scientific discoveries and news. A number of these stories (in particular by David Biello) focus on the energy sector. For example – you can learn about the underground environments full of oil-eating microbes (here), discussions about raising the gas tax in the face of cheap oil (here), and the COP 21 climate talks in Paris late last year (here).
All of these podcasts are free for download at the links provided.
This article was originally published on February 22, 2016 on Scientific American’s Plugged In