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Clearing the red tape around renewables | Podcast
Will permitting reforms make it easier to build infrastructure projects?
A group called the REPEAT Project at Princeton University calculated last year that to unlock the full emissions reduction potential of the Inflation Reduction Act, the US needed to increase its total high-voltage transmission capacity by about 2.3% a year. That is more than double the pace achieved over the past decade. In Washington, reforms that could make it easier to build all kinds of energy infrastructure, including the grid connections vitally needed for wind, solar and storage, are back on the agenda. Attempts to build bipartisan support for reform in the last Congress failed, but with Republicans, who have control of the House of Representatives, now launching a plan of their own, a window for bipartisan agreement on permitting reform may be opening. Are these the steps needed that will unlock all the investment in renewable energy projects that the US needs?
Also on the show: the impact on energy markets from the war in Ukraine seems to be dissipating, but the concerns around energy security remain as strong as ever. Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of NATO, said this recently: “Not so long ago, many argued that importing Russian gas was purely an economic issue. It is not. It is a political issue. It is about our security. Because Europe’s dependency on Russian gas made us vulnerable. So, we should not make the same mistakes with China and other authoritarian regimes.” What lessons have we learned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? How concerned should we be about excessive reliance on China for low-carbon technologies?
Ed Crooks is joined by Dr. Melissa Lott, Director of Research at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and Emily Grubert, Associate Professor of Sustainable Energy Policy, at Notre Dame University, to unpack these topics. They also assess the latest innovations in battery chemistry. The availability of critical minerals including lithium, nickel and cobalt for batteries has long been an area for concern. But technological breakthroughs mean that batteries without nickel or cobalt are now a highly competitive option for electric vehicles. And meanwhile batteries without lithium are starting to emerge as viable possibilities. The gang discuss what these breakthroughs mean for the energy transition.
As always, please get in touch and let us know your thoughts. Check out our Twitter to suggest any future topics you want us to discuss. We’re @TheEnergyGang.