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The Energy Gang is a weekly digest on energy, cleantech and the environment produced by Greentech Media. The show features engaging discussion between energy futurist Jigar Shah, energy policy expert Katherine Hamilton and Greentech Editor Stephen Lacey. Join us as we delve into the technological, political and market forces driving energy and environmental issues.

The Energy Gang is a weekly digest on energy, cleantech and the environment produced by Greentech Media. The show features engaging discussion between energy futurist Jigar Shah, energy policy expert Katherine Hamilton and Greentech Editor Stephen Lacey. Join us as we delve into the technological, political and market forces driving energy and environmental issues.
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The Energy Gang is a weekly digest on energy, cleantech and the environment produced by Greentech Media. The show features engaging discussion between energy futurist Jigar Shah, energy policy expert Katherine Hamilton and Greentech Editor Stephen Lacey. Join us as we delve into the technological, political and market forces driving energy and environmental issues.




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Watt It Takes: How a NASA Roboticist Built a Groundbreaking Solar Tracker

Leila Madrone was constantly looking for creative ways to use robots. In the mid 2000's, she co-founded a music group called Ensemble Robot, which featured robots that played music. "I had this great passion to use robotics to have meaning in the world," said Madrone. Later, Madrone worked for NASA's intelligent robotics group. Then she caught the solar bug: "Solar seemed like where the most possibility was for the future." She teamed up with Saul Griffith, an expert in self-replicating...


Tesla's Layoffs: Musk Pushes for Profits

Elon Musk announced Monday that Tesla is laying off 9 percent of salaried employees at the company. This is not the first round of sweeping layoffs at Tesla — the most recent came after the SolarCity acquisition. But this appears to be the biggest so far. We'll discuss Elon's new quest for profitability. Then, we'll cover the never-ending saga in Washington over saving coal plants. The Trump Administration is now trying to invoke national security to prop up closing coal and nuke plants...


Your Questions Answered: The Politics Edition

What’s the optimal way to spend money raised by a carbon tax? How should climate play in Florida’s big toss-up Congressional race? What’s the best energy platform for gubernatorial candidates? This week: your questions answered. We got a bunch of queries from listeners about politics — so that’s the direction we’re headed. We'll discuss what these individual stories tell us about nationwide elections in 2018. The Energy Gang is brought to you by Sense. Sense installs in your home's...


Can We Electrify Everything?

There’s a new phrase bouncing around energy circles: Electrify Everything. This week, we talk to Nate Adams, a home performance expert whose personal mission is to rip gas meters out of homes and move us closer toward full electrification. As he’s learned from experience, it’s not easy. The electrification of homes may be getting easier in California, however. In the second half of the show, we’re going to tackle California’s new building codes. Starting in 2020, most new homes will...


Watt It Takes: Billy Parish, From Dropout Activist to Solar CEO

Billy Parish dropped out of college to pursue a career in climate activism. Today, he's the CEO of America's biggest rooftop solar loan company, Mosaic. In this edition of Watt It Takes, Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch interviews Parish about his transition from activist to executive. They'll talk about the many iterations of Mosaic, difficulties in raising money from VCs, and Parish's philosophy on building a successful team. Watt It Takes is a live interview series produced by Powerhouse...



We all fall victim to myths. But when they're deeply tied to our belief systems, they can be nearly impossible to break. On this week's show, we're busting some of the most common myths in clean energy: It depends on how it's usedRepublicans are buying solar more oftenU.S. electricity prices have fallenIn the second half of the program, we'll revisit the swampy politics of solar in Alabama, South Carolina and Florida. A battle over net metering wages in South Carolina; a dispute over...


For Taxis, It's Uber. For Utilities, Could It Be DERs?

How do we think about change in the electric utility industry caused by distributed resources? Is it like telecom? Internet-based retail? Sam Uyeno, senior manager in West Monroe Partners’ energy and utilities practice, says that it may be more like ride sharing. As distributed resources flourish, he argues that utilities will have to think about how to leverage new customers within its network — just as Uber came into the taxi market and allowed anyone to become operators. When you...


A New Era of Grid Planning: "Folks Are Frustrated"

Are we entering a new era of grid planning? In recent years, we've assumed that sweeping reforms are the best way to get distributed energy built. But in pockets of the country, a more localized approach to deploying these assets is taking hold – and it could be the sign of a much bigger shift to come. On this week's Energy Gang, we'll look at Washington, D.C.'s new proposal for an authority that would push PEPCO to consider distributed alternatives to infrastructure projects. Then, why...


Why SunPower Is Buying SolarWorld USA

SunPower couldn’t convince the Trump Administration to abandon tariffs on imported solar panels. So now it plans to buy one of the companies pushing tariffs in the first place. Yesterday, SunPower unveiled plans to acquire SolarWorld’s U.S. operations. Two months ago, CEO Tom Werner said SunPower was going to divest from America. But now he’s buying his way back in. In this week's episode, we'll explain how Trump's demands for tariffs are shifting the PV manufacturing landscape. Then,...


Statoil Bets on Floating Wind and Carbon Capture

Statoil is the largest operator of oil and gas rigs around the world. Consequently, the company's biggest low-carbon investments are offshore: floating wind farms and distributed carbon capture and storage. This week, we're talking to Stephen Bull, the VP in charge of Statoil's low-carbon business, about where he sees the most potential. We'll talk to him about the performance of floating wind, the economics of CCS, and whether oil companies are investing enough in their new energy...


Reality Check? Global Fossil Fuel Consumption Grows

After a multi-year decline, global carbon emissions are on the upswing. The International Energy Agency now says that emissions grew in 2017 -- caused by an increase oil, natural gas and coal demand. Nearly three-quarters of new energy demand across the globe was served by fossil fuels. At the same time, America saw another yearly drop in carbon emissions, which IEA says was assisted by renewables. But with more and more carbon-free nuclear plants slated for closure across the U.S., many...


Trouble at Silicon Valley Car Companies

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for two of Silicon Valley’s top car companies. After a pedestrian was killed by one of Uber’s autonomous cars in Arizona, the company’s AV operations were suspended. Other driverless car companies are now weighing the consequences to the technology, and regulators are asking if we need to slow down real-world testing. Tesla is dealing with two crashes of its own. The crash of a Model X is raising questions about autopilot mode, and its stock has crashed 25...


The SunEdison Origin Story

In the early 2000s, investors weren't very interested in SunEdison's business plan to finance solar with power purchase agreements. "No one wanted to hear about physical infrastructure," said Jigar Shah, who drafted the business plan and co-founded the company. It took until 2006 to raise venture capital. But soon after, PPA customers started rolling in: Staples, Ikea, then Whole Foods. "It was an idea who's time had come," said Shah. The PPA is now the backbone of solar. In this...


EVs, AVs and Sharing: Don't Screw Up the Transportation Revolution

There are three forces coming together in the transportation sector: vehicle autonomy, vehicle sharing, and vehicle electrification. On their own, app-based sharing and electric vehicles are powerful agents of change. Together with automation, "they're revolutionary," argues Dr. Dan Sperling, author of a new book on the subject. "It will change our lifestyles, it'll change the automobile industry, it'll change land use and cities, it'll change energy," he explains on this week's...


What Utilities Can Learn From Amazon

Amazon's analytical approach to understanding the customer allowed it to move beyond books and dominate the retail space. Entire industries are getting upended and transformed as a result. This story about disruption is a familiar one. We’ve seen how it plays time and time again – and it’s not pretty for the incumbents who fail to catch up with technology. It's a compelling narrative in the utility space, where we are smack in the middle of an Amazon moment. Electricity consumers want...


The Coal Boss, the Comedian and the Squirrel

Last June, comedian John Oliver devoted a long segment to the struggling coal industry on his HBO show Last Week Tonight. He turned his attention to Robert Murray, the CEO of Murray Energy, one of the most bombastic advocates of coal. And then Murray sued Oliver for defamation. That defamation lawsuit was thrown out by a judge last week. But the saga tells us a lot about Robert Murray, one of the most influential figures behind the Trump Administration's coal policies. In this week's...


A Historic Moment for Energy Storage

If storage is the Swiss Army Knife of the electric grid, then U.S. energy regulators are breaking out their tool belts. Last week brought a historic ruling at FERC. Commissioners told regional grid operators to create rules valuing the grid services of energy storage. Will it screw natural gas peakers – or maybe cut, saw, file, prune, hook, or crimp them? Later in the podcast, an infrastructure redux. The White House’s infrastructure plan is out. When it comes to energy, the Trump...


Are Trump's Solar Tariffs Working?

Since the White House slapped penalties on solar panels made outside America, a handful of companies say they’re likely to ramp up production in the U.S. In recent weeks, two Asian producers -- Jinko Solar and United Renewable Energy -- said they're planning to set up new module assembly plants. Other domestic producers are making plans to hire new employees. How should we interpret this activity? Does this mean the tariffs are working? On this week's Energy Gang, we're joined by GTM...


How We Perceive Wind Farms Near Our Homes

There are tens of thousands large-scale wind turbines scattered across America. That means over a million and a half households are located five miles from a turbine. And they’re actually inching closer to homes on average, according to government researchers. So how do those machines impact our property values, our soundscapes, and our quality of life? The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab has a slew of new data on the impact of wind turbines on our lives. In this week's podcast, we’re...


Trump Issues Solar Tariffs: We Answer Your Questions

The Trump Administration just imposed 30 percent tariffs on imported solar cells and modules. How much will it stunt solar growth in America? Will it spark a broader trade war? There are a lot of questions about the impact. In this podcast, we’re giving you the answers – or, as many answers we have, just a day after the decision. This week, we'll bring together our teams from The Interchange and The Energy Gang together to answer listener questions about the tariffs. We'll also talk with...