by Stephen Lacey
January 24, 2017

Stephen Lacey: From Greentech Media, this is The Energy Gang, a weekly digest on energy, cleantech and the environment. I'm Stephen Lacey in Boston.

America's first power plant was built in Manhattan. The first transmission of electricity occurred between Niagara Falls and Buffalo. The first public power organization was founded in New York state. Today, that power provider, the New York Power Authority, or NYPA, is working to digitize the state's grid end-to-end. We'll talk with NYPA's CEO about his push to create a digital foundry, where the next generation of electricity inventors and innovators can reimagine the grid.

In the second half of the show, our very own Katherine Hamilton gives us an update from the World Economic Forum, where thinkers from all across the globe are also re-imagining the energy system. Katherine joins us this week from the forum in Davos, Switzerland, where she is educating the global elite about energy storage and grid modernization. How are things in Davos, Katherine?

Katherine Hamilton: It's great. It's really exciting, but it's really, really cold; and I probably shouldn't complain.

Stephen Lacey: Well, we're looking forward to getting some of your updates. I've been following the media coverage and some of the speeches, so a lot to dissect there. Jigar Shah is in his usual perch in New York City, and Jigar, you've been busy, too. This week, your firm Generate Capital unveiled a partnership with Clean Capital, and plans to invest up to $300 million in various projects, mostly in distributed solar. You actually co-wrote a series on the underserved small commercial solar market with our very own senior analyst, Nicole Litvak. Are those the kinds of projects you're pursuing?

Jigar Shah: Yeah! I think that there's just a tremendous opportunity in this sector. We're just the humble servant to the entrepreneurs that are busting their butt trying to figure out the business model innovation to unlock them.

Stephen Lacey: Well, I got to say, in introducing the both of you, I'm feeling a bit inadequate this week. Katherine's rubbing elbows with the biggest names in the world. Jigar's helping broker hundreds of millions of dollars for solar projects. To top it all off, we have Gil Quiniones here, who is the president and CEO of the New York Power Authority, who is a powerhouse in his own right.

Gil was previously co-chairman of New York's energy highway task force. He served in the Bloomberg administration as Senior VP of Energy and Telecommunications, is Chairman of the Board at the Electric Power Research Institute, and Vice Chairman of the Board of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. I could go on, but let me introduce Gil. Gil, welcome to the show. Thanks for joining us.

Gil Quiniones: Thanks for having me, really excited to be with you.

Stephen Lacey: This is a crazy time for New York's energy system. The state has a 50 percent renewable electricity goal. It's undertaking this incredibly complicated task of reforming utilities. It just announced the controversial closure of the Indian Point nuclear plant, with plans to replace a lot of the generation with off-shore wind. It's trying to support manufacturing in a big way, including Tesla, and Solar City's Buffalo facility. It also needs to manage and build transmission lines to bring remote renewables to load centers. It's hard to fathom how much is going on at once in New York state. For those who may not know, explain the scope of NYPA's operations and how it's uniquely impacted by all these moving pieces.

Gil Quiniones: Yeah. Well, NYPA is the largest public power utility in the United States. We produce about 25 percent of all electricity in New York state, 70 percent of that from renewable hydroelectric power. We also own a third of the large power transmission grid. If you look at the configuration of our transmission system, we are really the backbone of this state's power grid.

NYPA, to us, the common thread is digital. We are looking at creating what we call 'digital twins' of our power plants and substations, and transmission systems. We're doing the same all the way to the customers' side. Right now, we have 3,400 buildings connected to our network operations center, called New York Energy Manager. 1,200 of those are streaming real-time data. We are putting deep sub-metering sensors, data acquisition devices, gateways, to really understand the disaggregated load profiles of buildings so that we can help optimize their use.

Also, as you had mentioned at the beginning of your introduction, create digital foundries. What that means is that this open database of all this information that we have, with standard application program interfaces, can be used by technology companies, hardware, software, to develop new products and services. It could be used by utilities once they have their distribution service platform provider set up to help in the planning and operation of the distribution grid. It can be used by the New York ISO, the manager of the big grid, the transmission system. It could be used by researchers and students to help understand how the new world of integrated grid system has to exist. We're very, very excited with that.

On the power plant side, we're doing the same. We're going to create a system, an open system, in partnership with GE's Predix platform, to invite partners to develop what I would call "apps" so that we can have a smarter grid, a cleaner grid, and an optimized grid.

Stephen Lacey: I love this concept of the digital foundry. I think it illustrates why NYPA is unique as a public power organization, because you have all these public goals linked up to the services that you're providing. The goal is to provide this platform for utilities, the researchers, the students, the analytics companies to be able to come in, for you to make money, and to also provide this broader economic service so that you can attract new businesses to this state. That's what makes it different from traditional investor-owned utilities, for example.

Gil Quiniones: Absolutely. Our role and goal here in New York is to help power the economic development of our state by providing low cost energy. You talked about we were the first state where the power plant was created by Thomas Edison, and the transmission system, our current from Niagara Falls to Buffalo by Nikola Tesla. We are excited and prepared to lead once again in the next generation of transformation of the electric industry.

Katherine Hamilton: Gil, how are third party innovators who are coming up with new models for consumer engagement and really, I'm sure, are looking at the public building sector as a really good market. How are they able or are they able to engage in this energy management platform that you have?

Gil Quiniones: Well, we have our New York Energy Manager operations center in Albany. We will have a very, very specific space, where we will invite the technology companies and their researchers to be there and to work alongside each other. It could be an open source R&D, for a lack of a better term. It could be a tailored collaboration. Or, some companies may want to do proprietary application development using our data. All of the above, we all accommodate, because we think that that's what going to really leverage the transformations that need it in our industry.

Jigar Shah: Gil, I know that you've been working hard on getting all of the state buildings on this Energy Manager. You guys also provide electricity to many other public authorities like the New York Housing Authority, or New York City, or municipalities across the state. What luck have you had getting those folks to conform to the system, and bring their assets online?

Gil Quiniones: It's been a great relationship. We are now putting smart meters and sensors all across the port. For example, the Port Authority airports and all of their facilities across the city. Everybody's been really excited with what we're doing and are fully participating. I wouldn't be surprised, over the next three to four years, that we'll have 20,000 buildings connected; and we have digital twins of those 20,000 buildings of various types. I think that will be a powerful set of information that technology companies, and utilities, and ISOs, and researchers, they can do whatever they need to do. I believe that new products and services are going to be developed that we haven't even thought about today.

Now, we're going to be doing that also on the power plant side. We are creating a digital twin of our 18 power plants, 1,400 circuit miles of transmission, 24 substations. The big and smaller companies involved in that area, whether it's GE, ABB, Alstom, Siemens, I'm sure are going to be coming in and leaving their data scientists and data analytics people, and engineers. We are creating the same hub here in our White Plains office, where all of that data will be streaming in, and all the visualization tools. We will have spaces and computers, and other tools that the third party providers can come in and use, and work with our team.

Jigar Shah: Right, but just to push you a little bit on this. I mean 20,000 buildings is a lot, don't get me wrong. Ultimately, it's not every building. One of the challenges, and you're on the Board of the Alliance to Save Energy, that the energy efficiency has had is this opt-in system just never seems to be good enough to get everything on board; that the only way you really reach goals is through mandates like building codes, or compliance standards. Then how easy or hard is it for NYPA to actually just mandate that all their customers get onto Energy Manager?

Stephen Lacey: But doesn't the state have a mandate of 20 percent efficient buildings for public buildings, right?

Jigar Shah: The state does, but not necessarily the municipalities that they serve.

Gil Quiniones: Yeah, so the state has a mandate. The municipalities are starting to come in just on their own, Jigar, because they're seeing so much value to it. Now the costs of sensors, the costs of bringing the data back, the cost of storage, is not really that much anymore.

Katherine Hamilton: Well, Gil, you know what makes music to my ears is the fact that you guys can bridge the gap between the distributed side and the system operator, and getting that data. One of the frustrations with New York REV with the third party innovation community, is that the utilities are so risk-averse, and they haven't had a lot of learnings yet. If you all have data based on learnings, they can use that to help develop what is the best business model? What are the technologies we're willing to take a risk on? It seems like it's going to help everybody and help the utilities just as much, and certainly help those folks that I work with in the REV.

Gil Quiniones: Absolutely. Think of NYPA as that entity that can be a first mover on a lot of this innovative ideas. For example, we put in a smart grid system on our transmission line from Albany to the Lower Hudson Valley, without changing the line itself. We increased the transfer capability by 440 megawatts. We can bring more power from upstate to down state. Other utilities can do that, too, because we've proven we can do it at a very minimal cost.

Things like that, NYPA can take the risk and be an example. We don't have to go to the Public Service Commission and get approval on an 11 month rate case. We can go to our board, go try this, because we believe it's in the benefit of the public. We've done a lot of those through the years at the Power Authority.

Stephen Lacey: In our last episode, we talked about data sharing among transportation providers like Uber, and local and state governments. We've also talked about data sharing and the problems associated with data sharing between utilities and distributed energy companies when it comes to privacy and security concerns, and just general competitiveness concerns. How is your mandate different in terms of data sharing from, again, an investor-owned utility? What concerns do you have when you talk about opening up all this information to third parties as part of this digital foundry? I'm sure plenty of sticky issues that you need to deal with as well.

Gil Quiniones: Yes. We have not figured everything. In our case, if we could anonymize different building types, for example, at different locations, that will be fine. Let's just make an example, a storage company wants to do a software in the loop testing of their product with our system. They'd say, "Okay, we want to target all the hospitals with this kind of load profile in the Con Ed service territory. Just by simulation, put their batteries in those location, and see what the impacts, cost/benefit will be depending on the various tariffs. That's one that could be done. I think there are ways of handling the privacy issue, but we haven't figured everything out at this point. Just like in cyber, we need to really focus on how to do that properly.

Stephen Lacey: And you've got to make money off it, too.

Gil Quiniones: Absolutely. NYPA being a not-for-profit entity, we would like to recover our costs plus our costs of capital. We're not a private equity looking for private equity-type returns. From that perspective, we're a little different. Our goal really is hopefully to create this ecosystem of innovation so that those companies will then set up shop, invest in New York, create jobs in New York. That's kind of more of our play.

Jigar Shah: Gil, obviously, we're colleagues on the NYSERDA board and I have the utmost respect for what you and NYPA are doing, but just to push you a little bit for our listeners. I think the REV really hasn't turned out as well as we had hoped. I think it's sort of devolved into these high profile projects, like BQDM. The real goal of it was these DERs.

Like NYPA, for instance, supplies a lot of power to municipalities. They have caps on the total amount of demand that they're supposed to be able to pull at any one time. A lot of these advanced tools from smart grid to Energy Manager could be used by these municipalities to actually manage their power consumption and their peek demand, and all of these other pieces. NYPA really could be a more active player in testing out REV solutions as opposed to hardware-based solutions for these intractable problems on the grid.

Stephen Lacey: Well I think it's important to have a more detailed REV conversation because you have worked in every high profile position dealing with energy in New York state in some way. You understand the policy and politics throughout in New York state, and I'd like to figure out what you think about the REV process so far. No one believed that this would happen over night, but I think a couple years on, people are starting to realize that this is going to take way longer. There is still plenty of fighting between the distributed energy companies, the utilities, and the regulators, and people are disagreeing on a heck of a lot more than they're agreeing on.

Gil Quiniones: Yeah, well there's a lot of players involved. I would argue that a lot has already happened. If you look at, I've been in this industry now more than 26 years, working for utility, large utility, Con Edison, then working for Mayor Bloomberg, and now at the state level of NYPA. If you look at just the amount of time that has evolved under REV, a lot has happened already. If you compare it to the past 25, 26 years. It's very complicated. Innovation has to happen on every sector, not just technology, not just operations, not just utilities, but in regulation. I think that New York has been leading on that, pushing the envelope on regulatory innovation; but it will take time. It's a complicated business.

I like to joke with my friends who talk about how complicated the airline business is, and I keep telling them, "Well, at least you can park the airplane inside a hanger and upgrade it's electronics. I can't do that with my substation. I have to upgrade my substation while it's working 24/7, 365! We can't shut down the system, and then upgrade it." It's a very, very complicated system, but we're making progress. A lot more progress can happen.

Katherine Hamilton: It's really hard to animate a market and create a whole new business model structure in a very regulated system.

Gil Quiniones: Absolutely, or to figure out what remains regulated and what should be competitive. That will, I think, take some time, take some trial and error. One thing that we're not good in the utility business, and not just in New York, but across the US, is we're not really rewarded for trying and then failing. Jigar would know this in the world where you really want to innovate, and innovate fast, failing has to be part of the equation.

Jigar Shah: Well, I certainly agree. The failing part is the part that I think makes the most people nervous. I don't mean failing in terms of grid reliability. I think that we've got a lot of places where that's not really at risk. It's really the failing in using the next generation grid edge technologies. My sense is is that we often times lean too heavily on tried and true technologies. Technology is 90 percent cheaper to meet the task, but they're just not as well-known or well-respected.

Stephen Lacey: You have been at Con Edison. You are now at NYPA, and you have played various roles in state government. You are on the board of every single meaningful energy organization in this country. How optimistic are you about the ability of the utility industry to embrace change and to come up with fundamentally new business models to accommodate new players on the grid, and make money for themselves while doing so?

Gil Quiniones: I'm optimistic. I'm optimistic because the trends in technology, the cost curves that are happening there, the trends in people's behavior, and choices, I think will continue. The utilities will have to go, maybe kicking and screaming, but we have no choice. It's incumbent among entities like NYPA to try things out, to be a leader. We may fail from time-to-time, but I think we will have a lot more successes than failures. Hopefully by doing so, and by doing it in New York. Our governor always says that when we try something in New York and it works, all the other states tend to follow. That's what I'm hopeful for, that's what I'm optimistic about.

Stephen Lacey: Gil Quiniones is the President and CEO of the New York Power Authority, who joined us from White Plains, New York. Gil, thanks for coming on the show and giving us your time.

Gil Quiniones: Thank you very much, Stephen. Katherine, safe travels back from Davos. Jigar, I look forward to see you soon at our board meeting.

The Energy Gang is sponsored by KACO New Energy, the fastest-growing inverter company in the Americas. Thanks for their support.

All right, on to the second half of the show. We are taking a direct flight from New York to Davos where Katherine is going to guide us through some of what she's seeing and hearing at the World Economic Forum. I've been scanning the headlines for updates from the summit, and I'm seeing a lot of reporting on how the balance of power on climate is shifting from the U.S. to China. In fact, Chinese President Xi Jinping was there on Tuesday, where he delivered a wide-ranging speech on globalization and wagged his finger at Trump about his threats to walk away from the global deal. Let's start there. How did that speech go over and how does it feed into this narrative that China is now got this diplomatic higher ground?

Katherine Hamilton: First, let me just say why I'm here. I'm not a head of state. I'm not a Fortune 500 CEO. I'm not a movie star, no matter what people tell us about the podcast. I am here as co-chair of the Future of Energy Council, so it's part of the World Economic Forum. We basically serve as a think tank to the whole forum, so I'm here doing a bunch of meetings, and participating on panels, moderating panels, et cetera.

Yes, when President Xi spoke, that was huge news. If you just read what he said, the transcript, he sounded like an American president. He talked about free trade, and he talked about not having a trade war, and about globalization. That was really the biggest news to come out.

We also had Secretary Kerry come. We had Vice President Biden here. Then, we also had a member of the Trump team coming to try to explain a little bit about Trump's thinking. There were a lot of large political issues at play. I think the theme that I have taken away is really disruption, and it's political disruption, but also technology disruption, which can actually be a really good thing. What I'm focused on are things that are really, really interesting, decentralization, digitization, a lot of what Gil was talking about, we've been talking here. Nanotechnology, artificial intelligence. Storage and distributed energy resources, those were really big here.

All of this is in the service of what are we going to do about Paris? Everybody is still on board with Paris, and nobody thinks that whether the U.S. backs out or not is going to make that much difference to others moving forward. Others are committed. The pace could slow, the scale could slow, depending upon what the U.S. does; but everyone here is saying clean energy is irreversible. The climate solutions are here and they're going to continue to come, and everybody else is still committed to meeting the goals.

Stephen Lacey: I saw that 60 CEOs of some of the largest corporations in the world are reportedly gathering together in a session to address climate change. I guess this probably already happened, this meeting. Have you heard anything about that? Then again, how does that play into this broader narrative that corporations are doing this stuff no matter what, policy be damned?

Katherine Hamilton: Yeah. It's pretty interesting because there really are two major sectors here. I went to a session this afternoon on the future of energy, the global future of energy, and I thought it was going to be about what I do every day, what we do. It was about oil, and oil prices. OPEC was there. There are the CEOs of the majors, and then there are all the people working on climate. I think there is going to need to be some way to pull all of those together, and hearing in some of the more private meetings, the oil and gas folks talking about how they are really trying to move their investments, too, and how they're trying to think about transitioning. I think that's happening with everybody. The corporations really are stepping up. They're investing a lot of money in solutions, and they're trying to figure out what's our role moving forward with climate?

Stephen Lacey: I'm pretty interested in this tech piece because all of a sudden, policy makers and now, global thinkers, are having to really deal with artificial intelligence. You mentioned block chain when we were chatting through email about this. Distributed resources, of course, robotics, energy storage, your favorite topic in the world. Is there a cohesive narrative about all these technologies coming together there, do you feel like? Or, are they being talked about individually?

Katherine Hamilton: I think everybody's trying to get their heads around what they are. What's really interesting is I was on this other council in the WEF called the Future of Electricity two and a half years ago. I walked in and I said, "Storage is the next big thing." People looked at me like I had a second head.

They said, "Like, what is it? Is that a thing?" Now storage is just like regular stuff that they talk about. That's not even the cool stuff anymore. I don't know that there's a cohesive narrative relative to what the technologies are. Everything is really in the service of this fourth industrial revolution that Klaus Schwab, the head of the WEF, talks about, which is focusing on systems rather than technologies, empowering societies, developing our future by design rather than by default, and then also, making everything very value-based. Those are the things that everything is build on here. If there is a narrative, it's about how does this all feed into the way the fourth industrial revolution is going to move forward?

Jigar Shah: The one concern I have, Katherine, which you kind of brought up with the session that you talked about is that my own experience in this is that people love solar because it feels very isolated. It feels like it's on the roof, it feels like energy efficiency because the building just uses less power from the grid's perspective. But the interplay between renewable energy and gas and oil is something that I don't think people have really yet got hit in the face with. My own sense is that within the next few years, renewable energy will be providing 100 percent of all new incremental energy needs for the entire world. That means that oil and gas is no longer needed to provide the incremental energy need for the world. I don't think people are actually viewing it that way.

Katherine Hamilton: Well, it's interesting, it does depend. There are some people who are, and this whole systems approach, people are starting to think about that. During the panel today that was on CNN, and the CEO of Engie was there. She said "We are investing in gas, and in solar, and in distribution," distributed generation, or distributed energy resources, which also includes storage. She was definitely connecting the dots and trying to make sure that we're really thinking about this holistically and in a systems way, and in a way that they move their investments forward. There are people talking about it. I don't know that it's proliferated everywhere, so I think you're right about that. While people are fully on board with solar, they also understand that it's solar plus a lot of other stuff.

Jigar Shah: But I'd love your take on how this happens. When fracking just tiny back in 2008, people were like, "This is going to change the new world order."

Then Wall Street Journal was saying "We're going to be the largest oil producer," which has never been true, by the way. All of this BS about us being the largest world oil producer is really about us counting natural gas liquids as oil, which isn't.

Stephen Lacey: Yeah, it's liquid fuels, all liquid fuels.

Jigar Shah: Yeah, which is complete and utter horse shit. The narrative went really fast. Suddenly Davos was like, "The new world order's changing, OPEC is in the toilet," da-da-da, and whatever else. We can't seem to create that kind of buzz. We're just a tech thing, we're like an iPhone. We're not like earth shattering in the energy world.

Katherine Hamilton: The thing is I think everybody does agree here and there are people from all over the world, obviously, that come here. They're in agreement that we need to get to a zero carbon world. With that in mind, gas is not going to be the long-term solution. They're realizing that if it's going to be gas, it's going to be the kind of uses that you have with gas, but with say, hydrogen, or bio-gas. They realize that that is a short-term solution. They also understand that gas has replaced coal and lowered emissions greatly in a lot of places, including the United States. There really is an understanding that we have to move to solutions that you and I agree are the ones that we have to go to, which are renewables.

Stephen Lacey: See, I disagree with you, Jigar, and I'm going to play armchair quarterback here because of course I'm not in Davos having those conversations. I've seen enough of the presentations, and I think we need to step back here and realize what are remarkable moment this is that now pretty much everyone agrees, business leaders and policy makers like, that it doesn't matter what the U.S. does over the next four years. That everyone's going to act on their own, and that the Chinese president is coming in and saying that environmental issues. and renewable energy development, and energy access are the fundamental issues of our time. That they're going to go ahead and meet the Paris climate agreements, and invest in renewables, no matter what. That is so completely different than the conversation we were having just a few years ago. That to me is an indication that people are taking this very seriously, and not just treating it like an iPhone.

Jigar Shah: Yeah, but here's the thing, Stephen, is that that feels like a lot incremental "Well this is great, this is interesting." I talk to investors all day. The number of high net worth family offices that I know of that bought fracking junk bonds in 2010, but still have not bought the Clean Capital shares, and Wunder Capital shares, and things in the solar and wind industry, is gargantuan.

I just think that when you think about pension funds, the number of pension funds that have $200 billion into fracking bonds that are junk bonds, that are never going to pay themselves back, compared to our bonds? Just a wide, wide gulf. We have been writing reports for Mercer and all these other investment councils, and all these people are at Davos. I'm not suggesting they don't see the future; but what I'm suggesting is that when you see how fast capital flows changed around fracking, that is not happening at the same speed and scale. We are getting our money from completely different sources of capital.

Katherine Hamilton: Yeah, I do think there's a recognition that there's a lot left on the table from private wealth. That has been a topic here. I think that could change. I'm not saying it will change over night, or at the same speed, but there is a lot of buzz around that here.

Jigar Shah: Just to give you an example of this, Stephen, if you take Bloomberg, Michael Dell, Gates, they own ten times more fossil fuel assets than renewable energy assets in their own portfolio while championing climate change.

Katherine Hamilton: I am hearing a lot about Gates, because some folks in our cohort are funded by him. Mission Innovation and his whole team are in very close alliance with World Economic Forum. They're trying to partner and make sure that the investments are impactful, and do what they need to do, and are focused not just on energy but sustainability at large so it looks at all the ecosystems. I think that has definitely been, there's been a lot of talk around that, and a lot of talk about it being one of the tools that we can use to really move things quickly.

Stephen Lacey: Okay, so I know that we have to scatter here. We've got to let Katherine go catch up on the events in Davos. Let's tell our listeners something they do not know, to wrap up. Jigar, what's your story this week?

Jigar Shah: Well, I'm going to do a bit of log rolling as we talked about, at the beginning of the show. We did this $300 million deal with Clean Capital. I don't know if people know the Clean Capital story that well, but John Powers leads the team there, and fought tours in Iraq, and then was at the White House. He supported the renewable energy roll-out at the department of the Army. I just can't say enough about how important I think that the partnership that we struck there is, and really what they're doing is offering an off-ramp for real estate investors.

There's over 10,000 plus projects that were funded with 1603 grant program dollars that are stuck in real estate investors' hands that want to off-load them. There's really no good place to sell them, because there's like five million dollar portfolios. These guys have figured out a systematic way of figuring out how to sell those, and liquidity is one of the key things a lot of these family offices are looking for. They don't want to be stuck in 20 year investments, necessarily.

Katherine Hamilton: Yeah, I love that, Jigar. They're doing really cool stuff, and it's really creative secondary market.

Stephen Lacey: Well, congrats on the partnership.

Jigar Shah: Thanks.

Stephen Lacey: Katherine, what's your story?

Katherine Hamilton: One of the things that came out of these meetings was this hydrogen council, which has 13 members. They just announced this big partnership of funds they're trying to raise, 10.7 billion dollars in five years to invest in hydrogen infrastructure. Toyota, BMW, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai, Total. It's car companies, oil and gas majors, and then also mining company Anglo American, Alstom, Kawasaki, all these folks have gotten together to say we want to really invest in hydrogen, which is not something the U.S. has taken a big position on. It's really interesting to see that they're doing that here. They're taking a big commitment here.

Jigar Shah: I love hydrogen, I have to say. I honestly think it's the easiest way to do energy storage, because it's seasonal energy storage. I have nobody else who agrees with me.

Katherine Hamilton: You would love it here, then. That's all they're talking about.

Stephen Lacey: All right, well as we speak, I think Rick Perry is on Capitol Hill getting grilled, as of course, the nominee for to head the Energy Department. It is the last day for Ernst Moniz and his team. Just this morning, the Hill reported that the White House was working with various groups in DC, including the Heritage Foundation, to come up with a proposed budget that would slash funding for nuclear physics, and advanced computing, would eliminate the Office of Electricity, kill the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and kill the Office of Fossil Energy, which promotes both fossil fuels and also efficient use of fossil fuels to reduce emissions. Then of course, there's all this question about funding the climate fund under the State Department, and funding OPEC to invest in overseas renewable energy ventures. That all looks like it's going to get slashed.

Meanwhile, Rick Perry was on Capitol Hill saying that he believes in very strong investments in research and development, and in cleantech. Not a surprise that we're getting major conflicts between the nominee and the Trump administration. Even though we're well into this, and we're on the eve of President Trump taking office, we have no idea what this administration is going to do.

Jigar Shah: You know, another example of the split between environmental groups and cleantech is that AWEA has endorsed Rick Perry.

Stephen Lacey: That's right. This morning, or maybe yesterday, they sent out their endorsement letter to Congress.

Jigar Shah: I think that's going to be the real interesting thing to watch during this administration is how much cleantech pivots towards the incoming administration.

Stephen Lacey: They have no choice. They're going to pivot toward the administration, of course they are. I think there's going to be a much bigger split.

Katherine Hamilton: Yeah, we'll have to see, though, because a lot of things are really popular in Congress that aren't popular with the incoming administration or with the Heritage Foundation. We don't really know how literally they're going to take this report, but it's Congress that's going to decide where the funding goes. We're going to see how shakes out.

Stephen Lacey: Exactly. Hey, you decide to listen to this show every week, so thank you for that. Pass this along to your friends, your family, your colleagues, anybody, your students. We have professors who have their students listen to this show. We really appreciate your support, and if you can spread the word by both passing a link or providing a rating, or a review on iTunes, it would greatly help us out. You can also send us show ideas to podcasts@greentechmedia.com.

I'm Stephen Lacey, I'm joined by Katherine Hamilton and Jigar Shah, and we are The Energy Gang, a production of greentechmedia.com. We will catch you from New York City in our next show. Thanks for joining us.