How America Thwarted a Giant Extension Cord for Renewables

The Energy Gang


This week is author of a new book about the saga that unfolded when a wind energy pioneer tried just that we're we're. GonNa talk with Russell Gold of the Wall Street Journal about the transmission bottleneck in America's energy transition then to top presidential candidates are calling for day one ban on fracking racking and promising to phase out nuclear. What would be the consequences if Democrat actually put those promises into Action Russell wrote a great book on the fracking boom a few years years back so he's going to help us out with that topic as well and finally were digging into that Jonathan Franzen piece in the New Yorker that everyone is up in arms about we'll look at why it got so many people including thing myself so hot and bothered in Washington DC it is our co-host Catherine Hamilton Chair of thirty nor solutions. Hello Catherine how are you. I'm great. Congress came back act today so now I have to start wearing shoes. Although you are coming to us from home today so you have the option whether or not to wear shoes that's right in New Mexico this week traveling for some kind of speaking gig. It's Jigger Shah the president of generate capital. What about New Mexico for I'm here with my friends friends. The Energy Foundation and I'm not wearing shoes in Austin Texas. It is our guest. Russell gold a senior energy reporter at the Wall Street Street Journal Russell Welcome. Are you wearing shoes absolutely not I work from home. I bet he's wearing bunnies libbers. I am also not wearing shoes so look at this guys. We are We're all getting as comfortable as possible so nestling kick your feet up. Let's have a long conversation about transmission. Russell is a longtime newspaper reporter. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist analyst for his reporting on the deepwater horizon oil spill. He's got two books under his belt. One on fracking called the boom and the latest is super power. It's all about this guy named Michael Skelly in his harrowing attempt to build one of the most ambitious energy infrastructure projects in recent history a series of high-voltage transmission lines essentially renewable energy the extension cords running from Oklahoma to the southeast and this book is about Skelly Journey and what it tells us about the difficulties of the clean energy transition so russell. You've covered a lot of different energy stories in your day. Why did you zero in on this one. I actually didn't really set out to write a book about transmission I I I looked around and I wanted to write about the people who were doing something big and ambitious about energy and climate and you know it didn't really matter what they were doing. I just will sort of wanted to understand what it took to throw yourself into a giant project because my sense was that the energy trends transition was going to require are these big ambitious ideas and projects and you know. I've sort of been reading a bunch of David McCullough box on the building the Brooklyn Bridge and the Panama Canal and I I wondered what was the equivalent equivalent today and I looked around and talk to people and people said Oh you gotta get down to Houston and talk to this guy named skelly because what he's trying to do with his company you know that that's that's the modern equivalent of building the Brooklyn Bridge. This is a big ambitious project and I went down and met him and you know his personal story. Worry sort of takes you from the the beginning of the modern renewable movement here in the United States late nineteen nineties up until today and I thought you know this is a fascinating story so oh I threw myself into transit transmission and how did skelly get so obsessed with transmission himself well you know he

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