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Power Plays

Business & Economics Podcasts

Welcome to Power Plays, a podcast series dedicated to the U.S. power and energy sector. Hosted by Teri Viswanath, lead energy economist with CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange division, Power Plays connects you with top energy and environmental innovators, policy makers and rural electric cooperative executives for timely insights and in-depth market analysis.

Location:

United States

Description:

Welcome to Power Plays, a podcast series dedicated to the U.S. power and energy sector. Hosted by Teri Viswanath, lead energy economist with CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange division, Power Plays connects you with top energy and environmental innovators, policy makers and rural electric cooperative executives for timely insights and in-depth market analysis.

Twitter:

@cobank

Language:

English


Episodes
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How NRECA’s Microgrid Consortium is Creating ‘Wired Resilience’

3/27/2024
After demonstrating clean energy projects can succeed in rural areas, NRECA is putting more partnerships into practice. Its CARED project is creating a consortium of seven rural co-ops ops — including Minnesota Valley Electric — to deploy microgrids. In this episode of Power Plays, NRECA’s Tolu Omotoso explains how the DOE-funded project will create solutions hundreds of co-ops can scale and replicate.

Duration:00:21:41

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Watt's Up with AI? The Role of Artificial Intelligence in the Future Grid

2/28/2024
Artificial intelligence is poised to revolutionize the power utility space, enhancing efficiency, reliability, and environmental impact. In this episode, power utility AI experts from NVIDIA, EPRI and Utilidata explore emerging opportunities, from predictive maintenance and optimized energy generation to boosting grid management and developing smart grids.

Duration:00:24:10

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For Electric Utilities, 2024 Means Evaluating New Supply Strategies, Nimble Financing

1/31/2024
Climbing electricity demand is forcing utilities to make weighty investment decisions – at the same time interest rates and inflation have hit 50-year highs. In this episode of Power Plays, CoBank thought leaders JT Parker, Matt Hale and Justin Merkowitz give their 2024 outlook, from balancing new demand to the changing nature of assets and new approaches to managing interest rate risk.

Duration:00:22:56

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How Did Energy Policy Become a Key Risk to Grid Reliability?

12/13/2023
Winter storms and cyber attacks are commonly thought of as the risks to electric reliability. But now joining that list is energy policy. In this episode of Power Plays, Jim Matheson, the CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, delves into how the aggressive timeline for EPA’s proposed rules to reduce power plant emissions threatens electric system reliability, especially for co-ops.

Duration:00:22:15

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What the Turning Point in Global Trade Means for Rural America

11/15/2023
The world is entering a new age of clean technology manufacturing, and global industrial strategies will pave the way for this evolution. Leading nations are retooling their industrial policies, reshaping supply chains to ensure national security while addressing a host of complex issues. In this episode of Power Plays, geopolitical strategist Reva Goujon of Rhodium Group explores how international policy changes could impact local rural economies.

Duration:00:25:34

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Rural Businesses Bet Big on the Emerging Data Economy

10/25/2023
Data center energy demand is expected to double within the decade – and the convergence of rural telecom and energy industries are driving the data center economy. In honor of National Co-op Month, this episode of Power Plays outlines how Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative, the electric co-op serving the most data centers in the U.S., is meeting the challenge. Join us for an in-depth conversation with Jeff Johnston, CoBank’s lead communications economist, and Dave Schleicher, president and CEO of NOVEC.

Duration:00:23:15

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A Three-Part Solution to U.S. Transmission Challenges

9/27/2023
To meet growing demand for zero-carbon electricity and deliver it to far-flung customers, the U.S. will need up to 91,000 miles of new transmission by 2035. Last year, the U.S. completed about 700 miles. In this episode of Power Plays, grid energy experts say that ensuring local communities have reliable electricity means it’s time to consider all options—including grid enhancement technologies, customer-side distributed energy resources, and existing right of ways.

Duration:00:26:13

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When Natural Disasters Strike

8/23/2023
Every day, staggering natural disasters are hitting the news – and electric utilities. Hurricanes and wildfires are taking an especially tough toll. In this episode of Power Plays, Mark Phillips of DEMCO in Louisiana and Pam Feuerstein of CORE Electric in Colorado share the details of planning for the unthinkable, and their respective co-ops’ recoveries from Hurricane Ida and the Hayman fire.

Duration:00:24:53

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A Conversation With Neil Chatterjee About U.S. Energy Regulation

7/26/2023
Neil Chatterjee’s five-year journey with the powerful Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was punctuated by periods of high drama — from his meteoric rise to lead the agency to his surprise demotion. In this episode of Power Plays, the former FERC chair reflects on his ground-breaking policy moves and why he’s optimistic about energy jobs in rural areas. He also addresses the recent role of politics, arguing that it might be time to “make energy policy boring again.”

Duration:00:20:20

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How Co-ops Can Get Ahead of Cyber Attacks and Other Threats

6/28/2023
Ransomware and physical attacks have become an unfortunate reality for electric utilities. While co-ops can’t prevent bad actors, they can prepare with agile threat prevention and containment. Hear first-hand accounts and lessons learned from Les Moreland, the CEO for Wiregrass Electric Co-op, and Amadou Fall, the COO at North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation, as they walk through their systems’ responses to recent attacks.

Duration:00:24:46

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The Trouble with Transformers and Other Tales of Supply Chain Woes

5/24/2023
Transformers of all types are now harder for utilities to source, delaying everything from infrastructure for electric vehicles to building new homes. In response, buyers and sellers are both changing the way they do business. Hear more from buyer Peter Muhoro of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, the nation’s third largest electric co-op, and seller Tim Mills, the president and CEO of ERMCO, a transformer manufacturer.

Duration:00:12:31

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The Role of Partnerships in Accelerating Rural Broadband

4/26/2023
COVID‐19 intensified rural areas’ challenges that come with the lack of internet access. So when electric co-op members spoke up, management teams listened. How did they accelerate access? Two neighboring Georgia electric co-ops found solutions as unique as their communities: Tri-County EMC became its own internet service provider; Central Georgia EMC contracted a company to operate its fiber network and deliver broadband service. Their CEOs explain why these were the right choices for their co-ops.

Duration:00:18:03

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How Member Voices Guided Their Electric Co-ops’ Investments

3/29/2023
From becoming a trusted energy advisor on EVs in Tennessee, to evolving from energy provider to partner in Arizona, to blazing the broadband trail in Arkansas, electric co-ops are leading in very innovative ways, leaving no one behind. Recorded on the exhibit hall floor of NRECA’s TechAdvantage conference in Nashville, three electric co-ops describe how hearing their members’ experiences put the co-ops on new paths.

Duration:00:23:45

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Why Electrification Matters: Florida Co-op Linemen Change Lives in Guatemala

2/22/2023
In celebration of the 60th anniversary of NRECA International, this episode of Power Plays features Florida co-op employees who helped the program to electrify a small village in Guatemala. Steve Rhodes, CEO from CHELCO, outlines the project’s origins and stunning logistics. Jason Price with CHELCO and David Lambert with Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative Inc. describe how they managed volcanic rock, rudimentary tools and a language barrier to complete a life-changing mission.

Duration:00:26:50

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Nuclear Power 2.0: Is a Renaissance on the Horizon?

1/25/2023
An evolving energy landscape and significant federal incentives are not only changing the economics of nuclear power, it’s radically changing how utilities look at investments to meet decarbonization targets. In this episode, Dairyland Power executives talk about their decision to add advanced nuclear technology to their energy portfolio. They are joined by experts from TerraPower and the Nuclear Energy Institute to explore the potential of smaller, modular reactors to deliver reliable, cost-effective energy.

Duration:00:29:56

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The Lithium Supply Crunch Doesn’t Have to Stall Battery Storage

12/14/2022
For our end-of-year podcast, we looked into the notable issues with the power equipment supply chain in a discussion with Exawatt’s CEO Simon Price and battery research scientists at the firm. While some warehousing challenges might ease in 2023, competition for battery materials will probably only intensify. Our interview explores long-term solutions such as efficient material use and recycling opportunities, and how storage technologies will likely evolve.

Duration:00:18:38

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Rising Natural Gas Prices Prompt Utilities to Think Globally, Act Locally

11/30/2022
When Russia invaded Ukraine, Europe scrambled to line up U.S. LNG. Now gas exports are driving up fuel and electricity prices at home. Mark Finley, energy economist and Baker Institute fellow, and Charles Blanchard, author of “The Extraction State: A History of Natural Gas in America,” weigh in on this new era of globalization. Leaders at affiliated Texas utilities CoServ Gas and CoServ Electric, Charley Harrell and Gary Franzen, share their fuel hedging strategies.

Duration:00:21:13

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A Tribute to Co-ops: Leaders Weigh in on ESG Principles as Part of Their DNA

10/31/2022
U.S. cooperatives have successfully run for more than a century by adhering to key principles and core values that stand the test of time. Now with ESG on the radar of consumers and investors, co-ops are well positioned to show how their fundamental values align with ESG philosophies. We catch up with the leaders of Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative, GreenPoint Ag, and Blue Diamond Growers to hear about their ESG journey.

Duration:00:24:04

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Money Matters — Financial Feasibility for Broadband Projects

9/28/2022
As many rural communities are looking to their electric co-ops to provide broadband, co-ops are scoping out what it means to enter, invest, and operate in this unfamiliar business. CoBank’s Tamra Reynolds and Doran Dennis talk due diligence and financial feasibility with Jeffrey Connor, the chief operating officer at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and hear what co-ops should know before becoming broadband providers.

Duration:00:23:08

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Back to School in an Electric Bus

8/24/2022
In the next five years, EPA’s new Clean School Bus program will give communities $5 billion to replace diesel school buses. CoBank’s Teri Viswanath and Tamra Reynolds go to the head of the class with those already putting electric buses on the road: Albert Burleigh, executive director of EV sales at Blue Bird Corporation; Keith Dennis, president of the Beneficial Electrification League; and Chris Michalowski with Mountain Parks Electric in Colorado.

Duration:00:22:38