The Power Hungry Podcast

By Robert Bryce

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The Power Hungry podcast spotlights energy, power, innovation, and politics. Author and journalist Robert Bryce talks with top thinkers, writers, and influencers.

Episode Date
Lee Cordner: Consulting Electric Engineer on the Texas and California Blackouts

The Texas Blackouts prove that our electric grid is getting more fragile and blackouts are becoming more common. In this episode, Robert talks, for the second time, with Lee Cordner, an electrical engineer who has 50 years of experience in the power sector, about the causes of the blackouts in Texas and California, how close the Texas grid came to collapse, the importance of baseload power plants like nuclear reactors, and why schemes that aim to power our society solely with renewable energy are doomed to fail.

Feb 23, 2021
Meredith Angwin: Author of Shorting the Grid, on the Blizzard Blackouts

Meredith Angwin is a chemist and author, most recently, of Shorting the Grid: The Hidden Fragility of Our Electric Grid. In her second appearance on the podcast, Angwin explains why the blackouts in Texas and elsewhere are happening, the “fatal trifecta” (over-reliance on renewables, natural gas, and imported electricity), why economic incentives are needed to assure reliability, and why the grid needs power plants that have on-site fuel storage.

Feb 17, 2021
Todd Moss: Executive Director of the Energy for Growth Hub

Todd Moss is the executive director of the Energy for Growth Hub, a non-profit group that aims to help “All countries achieve the high-energy future they need to become prosperous, competitive, and climate resilient.” In this episode, Robert talks to Moss about the challenges of electrification in Africa, the fuels that will likely play the biggest roles in that effort, the “modern energy minimum,” and his parallel career as a writer of spy novels.

Feb 09, 2021
Thomas Gryta: Lights Out: Pride, Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric

Thomas Gryta is a reporter at the Wall Street Journal and the co-author, with Ted Mann, of Lights Out: Pride, Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric. In this episode, Robert talks with Gryta about the book, how GE soared in value under its charismatic leader, Jack Welch, and how hubris, excessive financial leverage, and the company’s dependence on profits from GE Capital, nearly forced America’s most famous industrial company into bankruptcy.  

Feb 02, 2021
Bernadette Johnson: Vice President of Strategic Analytics at Enverus

Bernadette Johnson is an energy economist at Austin-based Enverus, an energy-data analytics firm. In this episode, Robert talks to Johnson about the recent spike in Asian LNG prices,  the future of oil, the resource curse, and what she calls “the fundamental disconnect” between what many people like to believe about renewables and the reality of our hydrocarbon-dependent world.

Jan 26, 2021
Diane Fitch: County Supervisor in Madison County, Iowa

Diane Fitch is a county supervisor in Madison County, Iowa, who was elected in 2019 on an anti-wind-energy platform. In this episode, Robert talks to Fitch about the ordinance that was approved by county supervisors in December 2020 that effectively bans new wind projects, why wind energy is facing increasing friction in Iowa, the famous bridges in Madison County, and the growing divide between urban Americans and their rural counterparts.

Jan 19, 2021
Jennifer Hernandez: Lead Attorney for The 200

Jennifer Hernandez is a San Francisco-based partner at Holland & Knight, and a lead attorney for The 200, a coalition of California’s Latino leaders who are suing the state over its energy and housing policies. Robert talked with Hernandez about the litigation, California’s housing crisis, the importance of homeownership, and what she calls the “fundamentally racist” policies that are exacerbating poverty and inequality in her home state.

Jan 12, 2021
Coilín ÓhAiseadha & Ronan Connolly: Co-authors of a new paper: Energy and Climate Policy

 Coilín ÓhAiseadha and Ronan Connolly are Dublin-based researchers and co-authors of a recent academic paper that found global spending on climate change projects totaled nearly $3.7 trillion between 2011 and 2018. Robert talks with them about why more than half of climate-related spending is being garnered by solar and wind, the merits – and problems -- of various energy sources, why more spending should be directed toward climate adaptation, and why there is no panacea when it comes to our energy and power needs.

Jan 05, 2021
Brad Rockwell: Kauai Island Utility Cooperative

Brad Rockwell is the executive manager of operations at the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative in Hawaii. In this episode, Robert talks to Rockwell about how his co-op has achieved high penetration of renewable electricity – it now gets about 60% of its electricity from biomass, hydropower and solar – his grid’s use of battery storage, why it will still need oil-fired generators, and the future of renewable electricity on the other Hawaiian islands. 

Dec 29, 2020
John Mackey: Conscious Leadership

John Mackey is the CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods Market and the co-author of Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business. Robert talks to Mackey about the dearth of leadership in America, why leaders must have integrity, Whole Foods’ merger with Amazon, socialism, capitalism, veganism, animal rights, and why he sees Texas-based grocer H-E-B as his company’s fiercest competitor.

Dec 22, 2020
Jim Cooper: California's Natural Gas Bans

California Assemblyman Jim Cooper, a Democrat from Elk Grove, has become a harsh critic of his state’s energy and climate policies. In this episode, Robert talks to Cooper (who was a guest on the podcast in September) about the regressive nature of California’s decarbonization efforts, the Sierra Club’s campaign to ban the use of  natural gas, and what he calls the “deliberate indifference” of climate activists to the needs of low- and middle-income Americans.  

Dec 15, 2020
Anas Alhajji: Editorial Advisor of Attaqa

Anas Alhajji is among the world’s top oil market analysts as well as the editorial advisor of Attaqa, the first Arabic-language energy media and research platform. In this episode, Robert talks with Alhajji about the future of oil, why the U.S. is not energy independent, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and why the shale revolution, as he put it, “flipped everything upside down.”

Dec 08, 2020
Rod Adams: Atomic Insights and the Atomic Show Podcast

Rod Adams is a retired commander in the US Navy, as well as the publisher of and host of the Atomic Show Podcast. In this episode, Robert talks to Adams about the “magical power source,” which companies and reactor designs he believes have the quickest path to commercial deployment, his experience aboard nuclear submarines, and the seemingly intractable problem of what to do with used nuclear fuel.

Dec 01, 2020
Carey King: The Economic Superorganism

Carey King is a research scientist and assistant director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas. In this episode, Robert talks with King about his new book, The Economic Superorganism: Beyond the Competing Narratives on Energy, Growth, and Policy, what he sees as the “hollow narratives” about energy and power systems, Thomas Malthus, why King  calls himself a “finite earther,” the relationship among GDP, energy, and human well-being, and why the global economy should be viewed as a “superorganism.”

Nov 24, 2020
Geraldine Thomas: Director of the Chernobyl Tissue Bank

Geraldine Thomas is the director of the Chernobyl Tissue Bank and one of the world’s foremost experts on radiation and its health effects. In this episode, Robert talks with Thomas about why people are excessively fearful of radiation, how fear of radiation can be more dangerous than radiation itself, her many visits to Fukushima, and why we must have more nuclear energy if we are to have any hope of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Nov 17, 2020
Bjorn Lomborg: False Alarm

Bjorn Lomborg is the president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a think tank that “researches the smartest ways to do good.” In this episode, Robert talks to Lomborg about his new book-- False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet including his views on why climate policies are “often worse than ineffective,” why we need to spend more money on adapting to a changing climate, the prospects for a carbon tax, the need for innovation in nuclear, and yes, why he always wears a black T-shirt.

Nov 10, 2020
Meredith Angwin: Shorting The Grid

Meredith Angwin is an author, chemist, and former project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute. In this episode, Robert talks with Angwin about her new book, Shorting the Grid: The Hidden Fragility of Our Electric Grid, why the grid is becoming less reliable at the same time that electric vehicles and bans on natural gas are likely to increase electricity demand, how our increasing reliance on renewables and natural gas will exacerbate the reliability challenge, and why we need to pay more attention to how the electric grid is managed.

Nov 03, 2020
Eric Meyer: Generation Atomic

Eric Meyer is the founder and executive director of Generation Atomic, a non-profit based in Minneapolis that aims to “energize and empower today’s generations to advocate for a nuclear future.” In this episode, Robert talks to Meyer about how he went from aspiring professional opera singer to pro-nuclear activist, the “stigma” and “dogma” used by nuclear opponents, the environmental sacrifices required to scale up renewables, and why the late nuclear physicist Alvin Weinberg is among his personal heroes.  

Oct 27, 2020
Judith Curry: Climate Forecast Applications Network

Judith A. Curry is a climatologist, entrepreneur, and former academic who has broken with much of the political orthodoxy about climate change. In this episode, Robert talks with Curry, the president of Climate Forecast Applications Network, about why she left academia, why she believes climate science “has become a political party with totalitarian tendencies,” the limits of models, the role of heretics in society, and why nuclear energy and adaptation to a changing climate are the best paths forward.

Oct 20, 2020
Robert Apodaca: United Latinos Vote

On September 24, United Latinos Vote published an “Open Letter to the Sierra Club” in the Los Angeles Times that declared, “your world is not our world,” and that “yours feels hypocritical and socially divisive and would disproportionately burden those who you claim to support the most.” In this episode, Robert talks to Robert Apodaca, the executive director of United Latinos Vote about what led his group to publish the letter, the lawsuits that Latino groups in California have filed against the state’s climate policies, and why he believes that the state must rethink its efforts to ban hydrocarbons.

Oct 13, 2020
Ted Nordhaus: The Breakthrough Institute

Ted Nordhaus is the co-founder of the Oakland-based Breakthrough Institute and an original signer of the Ecomodernist Manifesto. In this episode, Robert talks to Ted about the ecomodernist movement, the future of nuclear energy, why he disagrees with his uncle (Nobel Prize-winner William Nordhaus) about climate policy, why he believes atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide will not drop any time soon, why adaptation to changes in the climate will be essential, and what California will look like in 10 years.

Oct 06, 2020
David French: Divided We Fall

David French is an American author, journalist, and senior editor at The Dispatch. In this episode, David and Robert talk about his new book -- Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation – as well as the many cultural, political, and geographic divides in America, why, in French’s view, the GOP has “become a party of rage,”  his role as one of America’s most prominent evangelical Christian journalists, basketball, the NBA, LeBron James, and why “we need to view people with grace.”

Sep 29, 2020
Chris Wright: CEO and Chairman of Liberty Oilfield Services

Chris Wright is the CEO and chairman of Liberty Oilfield Services, a Denver-based company that provides hydraulic fracturing services to drillers. In this episode, Wright talks with Robert about his pioneering work on micro-seismic technology during the earliest days of the shale revolution, Liberty’s recent acquisition of some of Schlumberger’s assets and how that acquisition will make Liberty into one of the biggest oilfield service companies in the country, and why, in his words, “human liberty and abundant energy...changed the world, created the modern world, enabled the modern world.”

Sep 22, 2020
Daniel Yergin: The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations

Daniel Yergin is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Vice Chairman of IHSMarkit, a research and consulting firm. In this episode, Robert talks with Dan about his new book The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations, how gas pipelines are redefining geopolitics, how a map drawn by Chinese “cartographic combatant” Bai Meichu in the 1930s helps explain the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea, why the world won’t quit using oil anytime soon, and about his first car (it was a Volkswagon station wagon). 

Sep 15, 2020
Jim Cooper: An Open Letter On Environmental Racism

In an August 3 open letter, California Assemblyman Jim Cooper, a Democrat from Elk Grove, called out the state’s environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council, saying that they promote policies that “systematically drive racial economic inequities and fuel environmental racism.” In this episode, Robert talks with Cooper about what motivated him to write the letter, why he wants to eliminate California’s EV rebate program, and why the state’s energy and climate policies should be overhauled. 

Sep 08, 2020
Scott Tinker: Switch Energy Alliance on Energy Poverty and the Transition

The Switch Energy Alliance is an Austin-based non-profit that’s “dedicated to inspiring an energy-educated future that is objective, nonpartisan, and sensible.” In this episode, Robert talks with SEA chairman and Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, Scott Tinker, about the alliance’s new energy-focused curriculum, and his compelling new documentary, Switch On, which takes viewers to Ethiopia, Kenya, Colombia, Vietnam, and Nepal, to show how people all over the world are struggling to overcome energy poverty.    

Sep 01, 2020
Lee Cordner, former Pacific Gas & Electric engineer and long-time energy consultant, on the California blackouts.

During a mid-August heatwave, California utilities were forced to shut off electricity to several hundred thousand customers. In this episode, Robert talks to Lee Cordner, a former Pacific Gas & Electric engineer and long-time energy consultant, about the cause of the blackouts, the myriad problems facing the California electric grid, and why the state needs to keep its nuclear and natural gas-fired power plants operating if it wants to keep the lights on.

Aug 25, 2020
Caroline Cochran: Oklo Inc. and the Future of Small Nuclear Reactors

In March 2020, Oklo Inc. submitted an application to federal regulators that could allow it to build and operate an advanced type of nuclear reactor. In this episode, Robert Bryce talks to Caroline Cochran, the co-founder and COO of Oklo, about her company’s design – a liquid-metal fast reactor with 1.5 megawatts of capacity -- the hurdles it faces in getting to market, why small reactors may have advantages in the market, and when and where it might be deployed.

Aug 18, 2020
Joel Kotkin: The Coming of NeoFeudalism

If you believe that the term “oligarchs” only applies to Russian billionaires, author and demographer Joel Kotkin has some news for you. In this episode, Robert Bryce talks to Joel about his latest book, The Coming of NeoFeudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class, as well as a wide variety of topics, including the rise of the technocratic elite, the importance of homeownership, suburbs in the time of Covid-19, California’s regressive energy policies, and what he calls “the betrayal of the middle and working class” by policymakers.

Aug 11, 2020
Avik Roy: Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity

Whether the issue is climate, energy, or the response to Covid-19, the use of the word “science” has become -- in the words of Avik Roy, president of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity -- a “cloak of virtue.” In this episode, Robert Bryce talks to Avik about the need to view scientific evidence dispassionately, the limits of models, the American health care system, why his mother is a Democrat, and why, even in the midst of the pandemic, he is hopeful about our future.

Aug 04, 2020
Jessica Lovering: Good Energy Collective

Small modular reactors have the potential to transform the nuclear-energy sector and expand the amount of carbon-free electricity available to consumers. In this episode, Robert Bryce talks with Jessica Lovering -- the co-founder of the Good Energy Collective, a new organization working on progressive nuclear policy -- about the challenges facing the nuclear sector, why she is working to engage young climate activists, the advantages of SMRs, and why they have the potential to be, as she put it, the “iPhone of nuclear reactors.”

Jul 28, 2020
Roger Pielke, Jr.: The Rightful Place of Science

Roger Pielke Jr., a professor at the University of Colorado, is an expert on climate change, sports governance, and what he calls the “messy interface” between science and government. In this episode, we discuss his eighth and most-recent book -- The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change -- as well as governance failures in sports and politics, cancel culture, the slow pace of energy transitions, and the possibility that college sports will be canceled this fall.

Jul 20, 2020
Joyashree Roy: IPCC Author

In the fourth edition of the Power Hungry Podcast, Robert Bryce talks with economist Joyashree Roy, who was among the members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who, in 2007, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Joyashree and Robert discuss her upbringing in eastern India, why developing countries like India will continue burning coal to produce electricity, and how the pandemic has underscored the need to provide more electricity to people in the developing world.

Jul 14, 2020
Matt Ridley: How Innovation Works

In the third edition of the Power Hungry podcast, Robert Bryce talks with author Matt Ridley about his new book, How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom. They discuss why innovation is needed to find a vaccine for the coronavirus, why China faces a difficult future, birdwatching, and Brexit.  

Jul 07, 2020
Michael Shellenberger: Apocalypse Never

In the second edition of the Power Hungry podcast, Robert Bryce talks with Michael Shellenberger about his new book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All. Michael is one of the most famous environmentalists in America as well as a former candidate for governor of California. He and Robert discuss a myriad of topics including liberation theology, the roots of apocalyptic environmentalism, and why nuclear reactors, not wind turbines and solar panels, are the only viable path forward if we are going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preserve natural areas for people and wildlife.

Jun 29, 2020
Tyson Culver: How Electricity Explains The World

In the inaugural Power Hungry podcast, Robert Bryce discusses his recent film, Juice: How Electricity Explains The World, with director Tyson Culver.

Jun 22, 2020