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The energy system is changing fast. Come explore the future with journalist Stephen Lacey and venture capitalist Shayle Kann. Each week, they'll take you on a tour of the global energy transformation, providing provide insight into technology trends, markets, and companies -- making for wonky and entertaining listening.
 
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This week, Shayle Kann talks with Kiran Bhatraju, the CEO of Arcadia, about who's buying clean energy. Every pathway toward economy-wide decarbonization drives straight through a dramatic transformation in the electricity sector. But so much of the discussion in that sector focuses on the supply side: how fast will wind and solar displace fossil fu…
 
For all the hype around autonomous vehicles, we're still in the very early stages of a rollout. While most of the attention is being paid to the Waymos and Zooxs of the world, trying to build fully autonomous passenger vehicles on public roads, there's an entirely separate category being created: off-road. These are similarly autonomous vehicles th…
 
This is a sponsored episode produced by GTM Creative Strategies in collaboration with Wärtsilä. In August, California’s grid operators shut off power for millions of residents during an historic heat wave. The blackouts caused confusion and outrage in the state. People were looking for someone to blame: an agency, a utility, or a technology like re…
 
Need a distraction from the election? Shayle Kann and Adam James have you covered, with an energy-themed version of the game show "Would I Lie to You?" Rules: Each person selects three energy related facts or stories. Any number of the three can be lies, and at least one has to be a lie. They have to be clear lies, not slight adjustments of the tru…
 
Net-zero carbon pledges are heating up. Japan just committed to reaching net zero, just four weeks after China did the same. In total, seven of the 10 largest economies in the world (not including America, India and Brazil) have made such commitments. And that's on top of all the subnational players, the corporates, and others. It has become increa…
 
When we talk about climate change on this show, and what causes it, we are usually talking about gases that come from vehicles or from the electricity sector. But what about the built environment? This week: we’re talking about the embedded emissions in our buildings. There’s the natural gas that gets burned in them, and there’s all the electricity…
 
This week: consolidation and cooperation in the distributed energy market. Just as federal regulators in the U.S. are making batteries, solar systems, electric cars, generators and other similar resources more valuable in wholesale markets, we’re seeing a new wave of business activity. Wood Mackenzie predicts that U.S. distributed energy resource c…
 
California plans to ban new internal-combustion vehicles by 2035. But are electric vehicles ready to take their place? We know that there are dozens and dozens more models of electric cars on the market. Ranges are increasing. Consumers like the driving experience. And total costs are creeping downward. But America’s electric vehicle market is anem…
 
In recent weeks, five million acres have burned across California, Oregon and Washington State -- killing dozens, displacing tens of thousands of people, and causing untold damage. In California, over three million acres have burned since the start of the year. At the height of the current wildfire outbreak, western cities had the worst air polluti…
 
The market for initial public offerings dropped way down this year. Or did it? There is a surge in activity in a different kind of IPO: a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. It’s also known as a reverse merger. These are shell companies listed on exchanges with a mission to buy private companies and convert them into public ones. Accordin…
 
There are still questions about what exactly caused California’s blackouts during last month’s heat wave. We know that imports were down, natural gas plants tripped off line, and wind generation fell. But what about all those air conditioners, batteries and industrial loads that are supposed to support the grid? What role did they play -- or didn’t…
 
This week: how an innocuous grid-modeling project became a threat to Trump’s efforts to save coal -- and then languished inside the Department of Energy. It’s one of many pieces of research that have been suppressed by the current administration. What is the study? What does it tell us about the systematic dismantling of government under Trump? Wha…
 
Before the pandemic, one of the biggest news stories of the year was BlackRock’s decision to make climate risk a central part of its investment strategy. This isn’t your average family office; this is BlackRock, a company with $7 trillion under management. It brought more mainstream attention to ESG, or environmental, social, governance. ESG is a s…
 
We’re constantly going through waves of hype in different energy sectors: flexible solar panels, vertical-axis wind, electric planes, vehicle-to-grid, the smart home, blockchain. Some are real, some are not. Some just need to mature. So what phase are we in now? In this episode, Shayle and Stephen are digging into different sectors and trends at va…
 
We may be facing one of the worst economic downturns in American history, but it hasn’t stopped the surge in battery storage development. We’re constantly hearing the phrase “world’s largest” or “record breaking” as new gigawatt-scale projects are unveiled weekly. Small-scale batteries are being attached to more than one-third of residential solar …
 
The world looked bleak for startups in the spring. According to figures from Crunchbase, venture capital deals were down 44 percent from March to June compared with last year. Seed-stage deals took the biggest hit, down nearly 60 percent. But series B deals also took a hit. It was difficult at any stage of funding. Deals are finally coming back. Ob…
 
Coronavirus is reshaping the way we move around. Will we emerge from this pandemic with smarter planning? Or will it dismantle already-weakened public transportation systems? When economies across the world shut down all at once in March, the impact on transportation systems was immediate. According to the International Energy Agency, activity on r…
 
Earlier this month, Sunrun, the largest residential solar company in the U.S., declared its intent to acquire Vivint Solar, the second largest installer. It’s an all-stock transaction that would value the combined entity at over $9 billion. It's a big deal -- literally. The enterprise value attached to Vivint is $3.2 billion, which makes it the lar…
 
This week: is carbon transparency finally coming? Electronics maker Logitech became the most recent company to offer carbon labels on its products. Logitech CEO Bracken Darrell called carbon “the new calorie.” It’s one of many attempts by food and consumer goods producers to make the lifecycle emissions of their products clearer to consumers. In th…
 
There is a widely-held perception that data centers -- the giant facilities that hold networks of society’s supercomputers -- are an out-of-control energy suck. We’ve all seen headlines like this: “Your Netflix binge may be frying the planet” “Cut back on email if you want to save the environment” “Every Google search you do contributes to climate …
 
A boisterous CEO who brags of “out-Eloning” Elon Musk; a reverse merger that makes a little-known fuel cell trucking company as valuable as Ford; and no actual cars or trucks in production. This week, we try to make sense of Nikola Motor. Nikola Motor went public last week through a reverse merger, achieving a ~$13 billion valuation. As the markets…
 
We use the term “energy transition” to define markets, technology, business models. But what about people? The transition away from fossil fuels isn’t a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have. The hardest part isn’t building the clean resources. It’s shutting down the dirty stuff at a pace the science demands. And that means disrupting entire classes of em…
 
Greed is good. At least, it’s good for decarbonization. This week on The Interchange podcast, we have a new edition of the fantasy decarbonization draft -- this one focused on acquiring and restructuring public companies. We’re joining the ranks of corporate raiders like Carl Icahn, T. Boone Pickens and Gordon Gekko by taking over public companies …
 
This week, we’re talking about the new wave of carbon offsets. Will startups and corporates be able to solve accountability problems? Right up until the global economy stopped working in March, the carbon offset market was surging. In 2019, offset sellers saw a 5-fold increase in purchases, after years of low demand in the wake of the financial cri…
 
This week: where does the COVID detour take us as we map the energy transition? We’re once again thinking through the practical and theoretical consequences of the pandemic, in the near-term and well into the future. Shayle and Stephen talk with Ramez Naam, a futurist, science-fiction author and energy expert. Ramez joined us last August to talk ab…
 
Electricity grids can handle a lot of wind, solar and water resources. But what will help us get from 80% renewable energy to 100% renewable energy? The missing piece may be renewable synthetic fuels. “When we really want to decarbonize the whole electricity system, absolutely synthetic fuels will play a key role,” says Matti Rautkivi, the director…
 
Destruction. Dislocation. Collapse. A permanent reset. Read any news about oil markets, and these are the vivid descriptions you’ll encounter. We are now deep into an historic pause for oil demand across the globe -- shutting down oil fields, causing negative pricing, overwhelming our storage abilities, and forcing up to a million job losses this y…
 
Famed software pioneer and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen is out with a new piece, called “It’s time to build,” that is making the rounds among the thinkfluencer crowd. It’s part call-to-arms and part flogging over America’s inability to build. “Every step of the way, to everyone around us, we should be asking the question, what are you buildin…
 
This week, we bring you a joint episode of The Interchange and The Energy Gang 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 transition would be a difficult one. Both shows were designed as a forum to grapple with tough issues i…
 
We have a live show coming up on Wednesday, April 22. It's free! Sign up here. And submit questions here. What will be the “new normal” in the energy economy when coronavirus starts to dissipate? The longer this goes on, the more dramatically it will alter how we make things, where we make them, what kind of companies grow or fail, and who suffers …
 
This week: coronavirus is rewriting the cleantech startup survival guide. The implosion for early-stage companies has been swift. According to a New York Times analysis, 6,000 people at 50 startups have lost their jobs since the middle of March. Once fast-growing companies are losing their revenue overnight, laying off or furloughing up to 50 perce…
 
We were feeling a little stir crazy this week, so we hopped behind the microphone with Chris Nelder, host of The Energy Transition Show for some wonkery while in quarantine. In this episode we are exploring two simple questions: What was an unknown about the energy transition five years ago that we now know? And what is a question that has emerged …
 
This week, we're coming to you from our home isolation, partially frozen in time. We're wondering how long things will be this way. How we will work? How he will keep healthy? How we will run our companies? How will we move forward? It can feel like each day those answers are only further away. This week on The interchange, Shayle Kann and Stephen …
 
This week: What does the load curve look like in a time of pandemic? We are in the middle of a sudden, jarring economic shift. Store fronts, arenas and office buildings are dark in many cities. Homes are becoming the center of our activity -- and for many of us, our work. That is causing sudden shifts in the way we consume energy. We’ve seen it pla…
 
This week: What can meal kits tell us about the energy intensity of the food system? When you get meal-kits delivered to your home -- are they a net benefit to the environment? Or are these time savers carbon-heavy? Since 2012, there’s been a surge in meal-kit delivery options. Online buying and delivery is now the norm. There’s a surge in interest…
 
This week: what one entrepreneur's story tells us about the migration of talent from tech to climate. Jason Jacobs is the founder of My Climate Journey, a podcast, newsletter, and slack room that brings together a high-level group of people who are dedicating their careers to addressing climate change. Co-host Shayle Kann talks with Jason about his…
 
The 100% renewable energy future doesn’t start with a country, state or region. It starts with a city. One power plant in a city, in fact. In Glendale, California. Glendale is a city of 200,000 people just north of Los Angeles. And in 2014, the was in a tricky spot. The city’s natural gas plant was old. The City Council faced a decision that would …
 
This week, we are talking about artificial intelligence, machine learning, and many ways they can decarbonize the economy. From optimizing buildings to modeling new industrial processes to better managing the grid, AI and machine learning are core to many technology strategies for addressing climate change. So how, exactly, will they be implemented…
 
This week: predictions for the future of home solar and batteries. Big rooftop solar installers are competing with the largest utility-scale plants in terms of yearly deployed capacity. Batteries are making their way onto more installations, opening up new advancements in software and power electronics. Tesla finally says it’s making progress on th…
 
A lot of companies and governments are committing to 100% renewable energy. But a target of that scope without considering time of use isn’t technically or economically optimal. So how do we get 24/7 renewables for offices, data centers, municipal buildings, cities, and eventually countries? Calculating renewables consumption on an annual basis isn…
 
“Climatetech” is suddenly the hot new thing in venture capital. For years now, venture investors have stayed away from the cleantech category, a hangover from the Solyndra days that we have thoroughly documented on The Interchange. But we appear to be in a new phase of interest. Prominent investors are publicly declaring their push into the space. …
 
Less than one percent of all hydrogen produced today comes from renewables. Is that about to change? The vice president of Siemens Middle East just called green hydrogen the “new oil” in the coming decades. A lot of big industrial companies and oil majors are taking another serious look at hydrogen. Why? In an era of extremely cheap renewables that…
 
We’re undergoing some great changes here on The Interchange! We’re bringing on a new producer and we’re going to be featuring new voices that will help us tackle the energy transition in new and compelling ways. So while we reorient ourselves, we are bringing you an episode from 2018 called “8 bets about the future.” We debated and bet on a bunch o…
 
We’re now in the 2020s. Many of the tropes about this era from films and literature may not have come true, but there’s a lot happening around us that does feel futuristic. And this week, we are offering up proof that we are living in the energy future — right now. Shayle and Stephen are each going to pick a use of technology that once seemed futur…
 
This show has a very simple mission: break down the complexity of the global energy transition in a clear way. Whether that’s digging through reports, concepts, acronyms, business deals, or trends, we are constantly trying to make these topics accessible, yet wonky. Some of our most popular episodes of 2019 featured guests who were particularly goo…
 
Countries, states, cities, utilities and corporations are all setting increasingly ambitious targets for clean energy. There are lots of variations on the theme: 100% renewable energy, 100% clean energy, 100% carbon-free energy. They all require ambition -- and lots of planning. In this episode, the first in a three-part series from Wartsila, we ar…
 
It’s our last episode of the decade! We’re looking back over the last 10 years and making our choices for: The most important statistic The most impactful piece of research The top buzz phrase The most unexpected twist The most pivotal deal And the dark horse trend of the 2020s Thanks to everyone who’s been listening to this show since 2014. We app…
 
America’s physical infrastructure is in the dumps. The American Society of Civil Engineers regularly gives the country’s infrastructure a near-failing grade. We need to rebuild a lot of stuff. Hardening our roads, grids, buildings, transit systems has a climate context to it: we need to do it better and we need to do it cleaner. This week, we are e…
 
This week, we have a special addendum to our deep decarbonization draft. We’re talking with Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, the vice president of communication and engagement at Project Drawdown. Katharine is one of the minds behind the Project Drawdown solutions list that we used as the basis for our draft. We chose the list because it spans so many diff…
 
This week, we offer our second installment of the Deep Decarbonization Draft — our fantasy sports event for energy and climate nerds. Last year’s draft inspired similar versions at conferences and in the classroom. We’re bringing the game back by popular demand. The premise is simple: Shayle and Stephen choose their teams of decarbonization technol…
 
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