Biden’s win and the future of energy innovation

Just after the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election, EFI Founder Ernest Moniz joined Michael Liebreich to discuss all things energy innovation and power on the podcast Cleaning Up. Over the course of an hour, Moniz and Liebreich discussed an array of important issues such as the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris agreement, and the importance of energy innovation.

The nation’s targets for net-zero emissions, Moniz says, will be incredibly difficult to accomplish and will require regionally based solutions. Every serious modeling attempt for a clean energy future will need to have some significant component of firm clean electricity (small modular nuclear, CCS, etc.). Wind and solar will have huge roles on the pathway to net-zero emissions, but they cannot be the sole solutions.

Shifting the discussion to carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), Moniz referred to EFI’s latest report with Stanford University: An Action Plan for Carbon Capture and Storage in California. The report focuses on California as a model for CCS with deep aquifer disposal and thousands of years of geological capacity. According to Moniz, CCS currently would have to be the technology of choice to meet California’s ambitious climate goals.

Most importantly, Moniz emphasized the dire need for coalitions in order to have a successful, aggressive climate action plan. The scale of change necessary requires partnerships that ‘reach across the table.’ Although coalitions may not satisfy every group, Moniz makes it clear that coalitions are the only choice we have to make substantive change.

Liebreich ends the podcast with a simple question for Moniz, “What would you say to the 16th Secretary of Energy who will be appointed in the coming months?” Moniz hopes that the future Secretary will be in a position to accomplish goals like accelerating energy efficiency missions and doing so in a way that leads the development of technological innovation.

Liebreich is the CEO of Liebreich Associates, which provides advisory services on clean energy, transportation, technology, and more. In 2004, Liebreich founded New Energy Finance, a leading provider of primary research, which was later acquired by Bloomberg.

Listen to the full episode with Moniz and Liebreich here.

— Claudia Prandoni

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