(Ep. 58) The 1600 TWh Challenge: Innovating our way to zero carbon — Gerard Reid
This week we speak with Gerard Reid, who has put out 'The 1,600 TWh Challenge: How Europe can survive without Russian Gas'. Besides outlining other routes for gas to be imported into Europe, this deeper thinking on this, is a fundamental shift for energy-intensive businesses and support for households. As you'll hear in this interview, Gerard is both practical from his financial perspective and forward-leaning on innovation and the benefits for rapid deployment of renewables.
Gerard is a Co-founder and Partner at Alexa Capital. He is also a Fellow at the Institute of the Environment at the University of Minnesota. He is also a podcaster. Gerard is the co-host of the “REDEFINING ENERGY” podcast. Along with his blog posts, Alexa Capital also publishes forward leaning analysis of innovation in the energy sector. I've been a fan since a 2012 report that was risky in its thinking of how the energy system will evolve with a mix of smart systems, distributed generation and a reworking of the power grid.
What stood out to me most in this interview, was how we delve into the topics he raised in the 1,600 TWh Challenge8. Alexa Capital acts as a middleman in consultancy and financial transactions in the energy space. As you'll hear, this provides a voice that emphasizes the ability for industry to roll out new technologies to meet our demand for cleaner energy. BUT the incumbents and the current highly regulatory structure of the energy system is preventing the deployment of innovative solutions to the current dysfunctional energy market. We get into why it is dysfunctional - a reflection on the current prices indicates the tip of the iceberg.
Gerard delivers a well-articulated call for a holistic change to the energy system. From his perspective, Russia's war in Ukraine demonstrates the risks of relying on fossil fuels - and this was long in the making. Politicians and businesses failed to do their job to reduce their energy risks.
Where does this leave us? Industry must become better managed (not giving subsidies to inefficient companies). As Gerard describes, the well-operated companies will survive the price hikes because they were cautious, so the current energy crisis should be used to reform our energy regulations and market to incentives and enable new energy technology to come into the market.
Listen in, and you'll hear how Jerard's 1600 TWh Challenge can be done.
And just a final note, until the end of May 2022, I'll be an Open Society University Network Senior Fellow, at Chatham House, at The Royal Institute of International Affairs. So the episodes between now and then will be part of my research on the shifting energy landscape in Europe.