In his second appearance on the podcast (the first was in February 2022,) Brent Bennett, policy director for Life:Powered, an initiative of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, talks about his recent report on electric vehicles and the challenges facing the Texas electric grid, three years after Winter Storm Uri. Bennett explains why climate activists have an almost religious attachment to EVs, why wind and solar are “holy fuels,” the problems with batteries, and why policymakers should think of electricity not as a commodity, but a service. (Recorded January 30, 2024.)

Episode Transcript

0:00 – Robert Bryce

Hi everyone welcome to the Power Hungry Podcast. I’m Robert Bryce. On this podcast we talk about energy, power, innovation and And politics. And I think we’re to touch on all of those today. My guest, Brent Bennett, is back for his second appearance on the Power Hungry Podcast.



0:04 – Brent Bennett

Thank you, Robert. Thanks for coming to me on again.


0:14 – Robert Bryce

I didn’t introduce you. You are, if I’m correct, you are the policy director for Life:Powered at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.


0:20 – Robert Bryce

Correct? You were last on the podcast,  , in early 2022. So you’ve been on the podcast. I think you’ve listened to it a couple of times. You know that guests on the Introduce themselves. So if you don’t mind, please introduce. You arrive somewhere, you don’t. Anyone, and you have about 60 seconds. Go.


:27 – Brent Bennett

Anyway, born and raised in Texas, son of an oil and gas entrepreneur. Energy is in my blood. Grew up in Midland. But wanted to do something different in college. So I actually in college in grad school, I studied materials science. I went to work after college with a battery company primarily building hybrid vehicle batteries. Through a circuitous route, I ended up taking this job in policy, mostly because I just didn’t want to leave Austin. I’m sure you know how that is, right? You get stuck here.


1:41 – Brent Bennett

And, but after five years, I’m still doing it. So, it’s been a great ride. And, you know, now here we are after five years, I finally published a paper on EVs and it gets more press than anything we’ve ever done. So, You know, it’s kind of I guess the battery, the battery world is coming back to back into my life in a certain way. So great to great to get to, you know, do that and talk to folks like you about it. And you’ve done so much great work on EVs yourself writing about it that, you know, I want to you know, really wanted to come on here and talk about that. So. A lot of fun to do.


2:13 – Robert Bryce

Sure, And when we’ve talked about material science and batteries before when we’ve, you know, chatted here in Austin over lunch, and I think we talked about them the last time you’re on the podcast. And Your new report is called overcharged expectations. You co-wrote it with Jason Isaac, “Overcharged expectations: unmasking the true costs of electric vehicles.” I’ve read the report, but I’ll let you, I mean, what are the, if you had 60 seconds again, not that we are going to talk for an hour, but what was, what did you find in this report? What did you find that most surprised you? Because this report has been attacked by, EV supporters, of course, it’s gotten some track, you know, good traction, but what did you find that surprised you?


3:22 – Brent Bennett

Regard to You know how the regulatory scheme of the fuel economy regulations, how that’s benefit used to benefit electric vehicles and subsidize them, and the utility costs but I think it just surprises to. To what degree those costs exceed the $7,500 tax credit. That’s the smallest piece of the pie, in a sense, in what we’re paying to support EV production and also the charging of EVs.


3:49 – Robert Bryce

As I looked at it, you arrived a couple of different ways, but the total cost. You. Said adding the cost of Subsidies to the true cost of fueling an EV equates to an for an EV owner paying $17.33 per gallon of gasoline. And you also calculated it at $16.12. You know, those are big numbers. I think was what got one of the reasons why the paper got the attention that it did. Walk us through why those numbers are so high, because they are the attention grabbers, aren’t they?


4:59 – Brent Bennett

That’s about 20% of that, 20 to 25% of that. A number is actually subsidies for fueling it, right? The kind of the socialized cost of infrastructure on the grid and the direct subsidies for fueling infrastructure, things like that, right? But it just, you know, again, what we really wanted to do is kind of put it in terms of a lifetime cost of owning an EV, right? Because that’s what so much of the people promoting EV say is like, well, it’s more expensive to buy but it’s cheaper to fuel, it’s cheaper to maintain.


5:33 – Brent Bennett

So over the course of a lifetime of an EV, and it’s kind of comes out even, right? And we cite a study that basically to that effect in the paper, but we kind of wanted to say, well, yeah, but if you were to, you know, socialize cost right? And add that to, you could add it to just the production cost, right? And say, okay, it’s $50,000 more, but what if we just said, well, what if you were to, take this and make it a lifetime fueling cost, right? And that’s where we got the $17 per gallon number from, right?


6:05 – Brent Bennett

Is to basically say, well, if you wrap all these subsidies into just like a fueling subsidy, they’re not, right? Some of them are subsidies for producing the cars, right? The regulatory favors is a production subsidy, basically. But if you just put it all in terms of, in terms of fueling costs, just to get a single number that’s, you know, kind of people can relate to, right? It’s the equivalent of like saying you’re charging your, you know, if you were to pay for all the costs, it’s like you’re charging your EV at $17 a gallon, right?


6:34 – Brent Bennett

And they say, you know, and they say that it’s more like, you know, $1.50 a gallon, right? But that’s not, A, that’s not true in and of itself, and B, if you add all the socialized costs, then you’re talking about a lot more than that. So that’s kind of how we put it in those terms. And I think people, based on the reaction to the paper, I think both positive and negative people can relate to that. They can relate to just how big that cost is when you put it in those terms.


7:03 – Robert Bryce

Especially what the national average of gasoline today is what’s you know three bucks and change or something like that you know it’s. In. The neighborhood. I. Today it. Was. Two. Hundred. Seventy. Or something you know you see. Those. Prices. Posted all the Time. One. Of the other things that seems. To me. In this. Paper came out now last. Year. It was october of Last. Year if. I’m. Remembering. Correctly. Since then, the EV hype seems like it’s just starting to really subside. I mean, I’m looking at the stock price chart for.


7:34 – Robert Bryce

Charge Point holdings, which is one of the companies that went public and claimed they’re going to make a lot of money building EV chargers over the last year. Their. Price. Stock price has gone from Twelve. Dollars. To. Now it’s $2 flat, Two dollars. Even right today, down 83% over the past year. So. I’ll ask the question this way. So is the media hype around EVs really starting to collide with reality? Is this what is it all the confluence of all these issues around insurance, around higher cost of ownership?


8:06 – Robert Bryce

Hertz just announced it’s dumping 20,000 EVs. Ford, of course, is getting killed on their EV business, losing between $60,000 and $70,000 per vehicle they sell. Is the collision of all these things,


7:08 – Brent Bennett

And of Course. No one’s. Written more, Better. About. It, I think, Than you have. But Yeah, I think it’s, It’s. Just all those things you said, It’s. Really. What’s. Happening, You know. Traditionally. We. Want. Good. Public. Policy. Comes. Those were. Designed. We’re. Only going to. Going. To use. To. Try. Enforce. Technology, Re not using. Subsidies. Enforce technology. And The Mentality, In the federal. Government, in the last 20 years. And


8:21 – Robert Bryce

To use an automotive term, that’s causing this fallout in the EV space?


9:20 – Brent Bennett

Subsidies to try and drive technology adoption or creation. There’s this idea that the government can somehow do that. But the problem, especially in energy, is that you run into basic physics and economics, right? You have the physics of EVs, the materials it takes to build them. Even as you, you know, gain economies of scale, there’s still underlying, you know, costs of the batteries and materials, and it’s hard for automakers to overcome that. And then you have the economics of, you know, consumer behavior, what consumers want, how much they’re willing to pay for things, right?


9:58 – Brent Bennett

So that, those two things, you can’t, there’s no policy can influence that unless you just have the government go and purchase all the EVs, right? I guess you could give them away for free, but then you create a problem of, you know, immense debt, right? So there’s always economics and physics always govern what happens in the energy sector, right? As you know very well. And so I think that’s just what’s happening. Is.


10:20 – Robert Bryce

Well well I like that what you said about the tech if I’m going to rephrase what you just said, and correct me if I’m. Misapprehended. But I like that idea of technology. Should be leading the policy instead of the other way around. Instead, we’ve got the policy trying to force. The Technology into the marketplace. And What I see at this moment now in early twenty twenty four. Consumer that the automakers are. Looking around and saying, huh. Maybe consumers don’t want these vehicles.


10:47 – Robert Bryce

And So they’re. Back. Pedaling. In. A Big way and taking big losses.


10:26 – Brent Bennett

No, That’s a great question. About that same question. And I was. Actually. A podcast on Vis. I was. And the point I made was that. The point I made. Market for Rev is going. For if. Gm says, Okay, I want to. Go out and try. And Capture.


10:52 – Robert Bryce

But a lot of those losses are going to be absorbed by taxpayers now, but the part that just leaves me stunned. It seems like they didn’t understand the market very well.


11:04 – Brent Bennett

And they’re. Have a big market.


11:07 – Robert Bryce

Now I’m setting aside all the issues in your paper,


11:10 – Robert Bryce

But Why didn’t they understand that the market for EVs is going to be very limited?


11:15 – Robert Bryce

Because that’s what it looks like to me.


11:17 – Robert Bryce

Is that the hype is colliding with reality and the automakers are looking around and saying,


11:21 – Robert Bryce

Oh, not everybody wants one. And so has that occurred to you or have you given much thought to that about what the automakers themselves as business people thinking, oh, well, we’ll just force feed these into the market or it was because they were told by government? How do you how do you see the automakers role in this?


12:33 – Brent Bennett

Long distance travel hauling, you know, like the guys that come and, you know, mow your lawn and having to haul a trailer right that’s not a very good application for an EV right I mean yeah Ford has their F-150 Lightning. They can do that, but the cost of the battery for that gets more and more expensive the bigger it gets, right? So it’s just there’s fundamental limitations as to how big that market’s going to get. So I think that’s really the problem is that I think the executives are not looking at the whole market and they also have to cater to investors who are demanding, you know, that they virtue signal and do the right thing with regard to EVs, right?


13:12 – Brent Bennett

They’ve all got to have their net zero plans now, right? Everyone has to have that. Well, how do you, you’re not going to get net zero with just hybrids, right? So you’ve got to go all in with EVs. And I think that mentality, again, that mentality was just that, well, we’re going to figure it out, you know, some way the technology is going to come and we’ll make this happen. And they’re realizing now like, oh, Like maybe it’ll come eventually, but not in the next 10 years, right? And so now they’re starting to backpedal.


13:40 – Brent Bennett

So I think it’s executives in the same, in some way, and I saw this in the, you know, the executive that I was opposite to in this last podcast, I think they had the same problem as policymakers are thinking, well, we can drive the technology adoption. Like we can, and it’s just, that’s not how, as a PhD scientist or former one, at least, Like, that’s not how it works. You know, if the process of technology creation, adoption is very, we have a word stochastic, meaning random, you know,


14:12 – Brent Bennett

You come across things and it takes time. Developing new battery technologies and bringing them to market takes at least 10 years, usually. That’s how it was true for the lithium ion battery in the one thousand nine hundred eighty seconds and ninety seconds and it’s still true today. So I think that’s, that’s what we’re coming into.


14:28 – Robert Bryce

Yeah, sure. Well, let’s talk about batteries some because, you know, I say about batteries, they’re kind of like Goldilocks,


14:35 – Robert Bryce

Right? Can’t be too hot. Can’t be too cold. Can’t charge them too fast. Can’t do. Everything has to be just right. So, so, but it also it’s just they’re finicky. Right. And I thought one of the funniest things was in January was several weeks ago when it was super cold in Chicago. And there were news stories about people with Tesla’s finding, oh, my car doesn’t work when it’s really cold and they are having trouble charging them. And I thought, well, who would have thought about this?


15:03 – Robert Bryce

I mean, gee, imagine, you know, the doesn’t work as well in cold temperatures. So you’ve worked in the battery space, which gives you a different perspective on this. And we both know, uh, uh, David Sadoway, right? Is that right? Or, uh, no, um, Donald Sadoway, Donald Sadoway at MIT,


15:20 – Robert Bryce

Who I met. 15. Or 20 years ago.


15:20 – Brent Bennett

One of the best out. There. In my opinion,


15:23 – Robert Bryce

And I’ve followed his work since then.


15:24 – Robert Bryce

Right. He had the, the nickel, the hot molten metal battery that never was commercialized.


15:29 – Brent Bennett

A great point I. Mean yeah. Twenty years, Of history, I mean, you know, there was a time back in Edison’s days when people thought that cars were going to be electric, right? That electric was the future. And It turns out. That. The Gasoline makes for a much better fuel than electricity.


15:29 – Robert Bryce

And We talked about batteries. And And all of his effort, he still has a commercialized. A battery, I mean just. For all of that work, right? And he’s a very. Smart. What is the problem with batteries, what, why? Why. Don’t. Better. Now why haven’t we had this. Moment in a hundred years and more now one. Hundred. And twenty years. Of ev history why do. Batteries. Still suck.


15:48 – Brent Bennett

And I. Think that’s the problem. Is that. The energy density of gasoline, You. Know, the portability. Of it, The Resiliency. Of it, right? You know it doesn’t boil off or freeze at anywhere close to room temperature. So you have a wide temperature range for it. And I can just go on and on about how good of a fuel it is, right? Now, the flip side is that gasoline.


16:53 – Brent Bennett

Engines are not nearly as efficient at converting that gasoline energy into movement as electric engines are.


17:00 – Brent Bennett

Electric engines are very efficient, right?


17:02 – Brent Bennett

And they have certain advantages to them. They work really good at low speeds, right? Really efficient and have a lot of torque at low speeds. I mean, if you’ve ever driven a Tesla, I imagine you have, I mean, the acceleration is incredible, right?


17:14 – Brent Bennett

So yeah, but again, the, the, the problem of trying to store electricity, you know, as a, in, in, in, in give and do that in a way that is comparable to the way that energy stored in gasoline is just really difficult. You know, physically we’ll never quite reach the energy density of gasoline in a battery. It’s just not possible. Unless we invent new elements in the periodic table, it’s not going to happen. So that’s, we’re limited there. The charging time is something that is, you know, limited by physics, right?


17:47 – Brent Bennett

So that’s, I guess that’s why it’s like we’re, you know, we’re running up against, over time we’re running closer and closer to these limits these hard physical limits on what batteries can do. And so each increment of improvement gets harder and harder. That’s why, you know, it’s still, you know, like I said, took 10 years to develop the first lithium ion battery. And every new iteration of the lithium ion battery since then still takes 10 years to develop, because each iteration gets harder and harder as we get up close to those physical limits, you know, so that’s why it’s, it’s, it’s so batteries are getting better, but there’s just limits to how good they can be, right.


18:20 – Robert Bryce

But what are those limits? I mean, you’re a material science guy. So tell my mom,


18:26 – Robert Bryce

Tell me.


18:26 – Brent Bennett

About power density. I know you have a whole talk about that, But really. It s two things. One is how much energy can you get into the battery, right?

So that’s limited by the materials that you can use, right? There’s only so. Electricity. Can pump into a battery and store it there in the form of chemical bonds, Right? And so that’s the limit of energy. Right? Right? I mean, and lithium is the lightest metal in the periodic table, so we’re not going to get any lighter than that now. We might, can.


19:00 – Robert Bryce

And there are only a few. And to follow up on your idea on the periodic table, there are only a few metals that are efficient at that or that are useful for the process, right? So as Sadoway says, you’ve got a, what do you call it, an assay, right? You can assay the periodic table to see which ones are the ones that are likely to be good. So you have a limited number of elements that you can work with to make the thing, to make the battery, right? And it’s very few specific metals and lithium is one of them, right?


19:25 – Robert Bryce

So that’s.


19:32 – Brent Bennett

Use like sodium or aluminum that have some other properties that make them better. They’re more stable and particularly aluminum. You can maybe charge your battery faster, but you’re not going to get any lighter or more energy dense than what you get from lithium. Like that’s it.


19:48 – Brent Bennett

It’s the lightest element out there. And so, yeah, there’s only so many electrons that you can store in a lithium compound, right? So that’s the energy density limit. And then also the power density limit is how fast can you pull those out, right? So you can only break bonds so quickly and pull electricity out so quickly or put it in, right? Right. And oftentimes those two things are counter to each other if you can store more energy in a battery, but a lot of times in order to do that you have to give up charging time because you have to make the battery thicker you have to, you know, change the design.


20:24 – Brent Bennett

There’s just, you know, those two things kind of energy density and power density kind of work against each other. And yeah, and so that’s, and so again, like we can make nowadays batteries that are more energy dense than what exists in commercial developed, right? I can go in the lab and make one, right? But it’s not gonna charge, it’s gonna have to charge really slow. Or I can make a battery that charge really fast. Heck, a capacitor, which is just two metal plates, basically, that hold charge between them.


20:53 – Brent Bennett

We use capacitors in electric cars nowadays to help accelerate, to get that real quick charge out of them, right? Those are really good at charging and discharging really quick, but again, they don’t hold a lot of energy. So it’s those two,


21:09 – Robert Bryce

  1. Like the Way you. Talked. About that.


21:09 – Brent Bennett

That. Y. And That yang, You know, is about to be balanced. And we’re improving.


21:15 – Robert Bryce

So it’s that, that, Well, I was going to say yin and yang,


21:18 – Robert Bryce

The choreography or the,


21:19 – Brent Bennett

At a very.


21:19 – Robert Bryce

The balance between energy density and power density, and you’re going to have trade. Offs. If you go too far one way.


21:22 – Brent Bennett

Harder. And harder. Up against, there’s physical limits to how much energy you can store.


21:27 – Brent Bennett

There’s physical limits to how fast you can pull it out, right? So that’s, you know, I think we’re improving those things, but each step of improvement gets harder than the last one. And so it’s fundamentally just a slow process, and it always will be.


21:53 – Robert Bryce

And that is due, as you talked about before, about the just the limits of the physics and breaking the chemical bonds and putting them back and the charge recharge, all those things that are colliding in a now in a battery pack that for an automobile weighs 1000 pounds.


22:08 – Robert Bryce

And it doesn’t matter. That’s. The other. Part that. Jesse A Bell calls. Them Soviet cars, Right? And He had a funny idea about it. It’s a And he made that point because he said, well, look, whether they’re full or empty, they weigh the same, Right? So. It. Doesn’t matter. Oh, well, they’re fully charged. It weighs 1,000 pounds. They’re empty. They weigh. A Thousand. Pounds.


22:26 – Brent Bennett

He has a way with words.


22:45 – Robert Bryce

Whereas with jet fuel or gasoline, you’re burning it, right? The vehicle, the plane is getting lighter the further you go, right? It’s not in the overall weight of given, you know, yeah, it’s what six and a half pounds a gallon, something like that for gasoline. But, you know, the equivalent weight for in batteries of that gallon of gasoline is massive. I don’t know what the multiple is, what volume matter on a gravimetric density basis with 40 x, something like that.


23:51 – Brent Bennett

Making the battery in the car, right? That there’s a lot of emissions that go into that and energy that goes into that. But then also, you know, yes, you’re, you know, you’re using emission, you’re using electricity, right? So there’s no emissions at the vehicle, And in your electric motor is very efficient, but on the back end, but you’re having to, you’re hauling a lot of weight around, you know, and so that takes a lot of energy, that energy is coming from a power plant somewhere else that is likely burning fossil fuels.


24:21 – Brent Bennett

Unless you’re in like the Pacific Northwest where you have hydro, that’s likely burning fossil fuels. So there’s a lot of emissions there. And actually your energy benefit from the efficiency of your electric motor is somewhat lost from the fact that you’re hauling a lot of weight around and you’re having to burn some kind of fuel back here and transmit it into the car. You know, before it actually before you actually turn that into motion, right? So there’s not really a lot of efficiency gain in the whole system.


24:50 – Brent Bennett

Right, right. Even though electric motors are very efficient. And so the environmental impact is basically a wash. In the end, you look at carbon emissions, you look at, you know, particulate emissions and other things. It’s, it’s it’s it’s sort of a wash. And that’s, yeah, There,


25:07 – Robert Bryce

Well, and as. I looked. At your. Pa. Looked at your paper, and I thought, okay, well, so I’ve written about, you know, EVs now for 15 years or so, and, you know, just way longer than I have been a skeptic all the way, right? Because of one, the long history, and I, I published it on my. Sub. Stack. And I think you saw it, but it was just and testified before the Senate. Look. You know. The The Los Angeles Times was talking about this. In. Nineteen. O. One right. This. There’s. Nothing. New under the Sun.


25:32 – Robert Bryce

But As I read your paper. And I don’t I don’t this is just an observation not a criticism you don’t even. Mention. China. So. You know we. Have. The Chinese supply chains. You’re talking about. The subsidies. And the Cost societal. Cost socialized. Costs. Mills work is on mining and upstream issues around. The metals and the inputs, right?


25:07 – Brent Bennett

Way. Longer. Than I have. The Way. That. There’s. The data. That’s. Out there that, In. Terms. Of Achieving. The net. Zero goals, Right, Which is ostensibly. The Purpose, Right, Of Evs. They probably. Aren’t. Going to make a huge. Den. I mean, You’re. Only. Talking, You know, You know, probably. Passenger. Cars. Make up, You know, roughly. Ten to 15 %. If we can electrify.


25:51 – Robert Bryce

So there are all these different facets of the EV, the network system, the network of networks, right, that is required to produce them and then deliver them and so on. And it’s an incredibly complex set of issues that are colliding right there within this one kind of iconic now idea around, oh, well, we’re just going to electrify transportation. We’re going to electrify everything. As you look back at this now and you look at the media coverage of your report and your history in batteries and dealing with this, why has there been so much media hype around this?


26:26 – Robert Bryce

And second, why do, I’m going to say the Democrats in this administration, why are they so in love with this idea of the EV? What is it about the thing that they’re so attracted to?


27:12 – Brent Bennett

Darn near miracle. You know, not to mention heavy duty transportation, trains, airplanes, ships, you know, all the other stuff. So yeah, that’s a great question that I’ve never really thought about. As like, why is like with wind and solar, I think we could talk about that as kind of the religious fascination behind that, which is that there’s this, you know, there’s the renewable nature of it, right? There’s a very strong ideology going back to the early part of the 20th century and the start of the industrial, even the start of the industrial revolution, that somehow there’s something unnatural about our use of fossil fuels.


27:51 – Brent Bennett

And because we’re burning them and we have to constantly replenish them, we’re eventually going to run out. And so therefore, they have, in the long run, they’re bad for the environment because of that, right? That was long before climate change became an issue. Climate change is, in a way, I think, an issue that was created to feed the ideology that already existed, right? Once we solve the problems of particulate pollution and things like that, then climate change became a big issue.


28:19 – Brent Bennett

So wind and solar kind of have that, you know, nature with again, because they, even though the materials to create them aren’t renewable, Because the fuel is renewable, therefore they may have a, you know, they’re, they’re fundamentally better. Right. I’ve never been able to figure that with EVs except just to just the fact that EVs run on electricity,


28:38 – Brent Bennett

Right. That, you know, so therefore EVs are better because they run on electricity and you can power that electricity from wind and solar which is the, you know, the holy fuels right. That’s, yeah, because it’s, you know, there’s nothing. Again, there’s not there’s nothing renewable about electric vehicle compared to a gas vehicle except that it uses electricity instead of gasoline, right. Otherwise the components are mostly the same, except for, you know, the engine and the battery right.


29:09 – Brent Bennett

And nobody fools themselves that batteries are renewable, right? I mean, we can recycle. You know, granted, I think we’re gonna get a lot better at recycling them. I mean, lead-acid batteries, your car starter battery, 95% of that is recycled. The plastic, the lead, everything. I think we’ll get there with lithium-ion batteries eventually. It’s a lot harder problem to solve than lead-acid. You can’t just melt the plates down. You know, and then reform them the way you do with lead acid,


29:35 – Brent Bennett

But I think we’ll get there eventually. I actually had a conversation recently with a guy in Indiana who’s working on this right now. He’s got a really cool technology for taking lithium and other metals out of batteries and all kinds of stuff. Magnets, they recycle rare earth magnets. But it’s still gonna take a ton of mining to do this. So yeah, my long-winded answer there is to say that I don’t really have an answer for why just the religious attachment to EVs versus, for example, if we went to hybrids, suppose we had a policy of subsidizing hybrids to the degree that we subsidize EVs these days.


30:14 – Brent Bennett

I mean, hybrids get you know twenty five hundred dollars tax credit roughly. That’s about it. You know they don’t get they don’t get fueling subsidies the way that EVs get charging subsidies. They don’t benefit that much from the fuel economy regulations the way the fuel EVs do, right? But we’re still selling more hybrids than EVs in this country. And you can make a hybrid battery using 150th to 100th of the materials that it takes to you to make an EV battery. It’s that much smaller.


30:44 – Brent Bennett

And you get a 50 to 100% bump in your fuel efficiency of your vehicle by doing that. So if you want to talk about what’s best for reducing emissions, hybrids went out by a long shot. You know, and there was a time, and there was a time, you know, when they were the more popular item, I on the environmental left, I think, I think, because even then EVs were not were so far fetched, right, that, right, you know, Tesla hadn’t come around yet right. The prius.


30:19 – Robert Bryce

Yeah. And the Prius. Became kind of that iconic vehicle for.


31:19 – Brent Bennett

You know, the Tesla Model S before Tesla existed, right.


31:23 – Brent Bennett

It was the it car to have if you wanted to virtue signal, right? But the funny thing is that there are real advantages to hybrids. Like I said, I worked on building hybrid batteries. So I’m very aware of that. So yeah, it’s interesting how the, again, that religious kind of fascination attachment to EVs has now taken over to where even hybrids are considered, you know, no, they’re not really, you know, they’re not really that clean, even though they’re actually cleaner.


31:50 – Robert Bryce

Well, and it’s interesting. And I saw in your report. Cited. The Work from Toyota,


31:52 – Brent Bennett

That you. Mean they’ve been. Doing. Ten. Years yeah. It’s.


31:54 – Robert Bryce

Which I thought was key. That. You. Know, here’s toyota, which is a very successful automobile company, right? And just there’s no arguing their long term success.


32:03 – Robert Bryce

And they’ve been skeptical about full on,


32:06 – Robert Bryce

You know, fully electric vehicles. For. Decades.


32:07 – Brent Bennett

Because that’s. Certainly,


32:08 – Robert Bryce

And they have,


32:09 – Brent Bennett

It’s been done. Already.


32:10 – Robert Bryce

And I. Was at a meeting in Dallas last year where they said,


32:12 – Robert Bryce

Yeah, that we could build 90, Hybrids for the amount of rare earth elements that are in one.


32:15 – Brent Bennett

  1. Bev.


32:19 – Robert Bryce

And so why are we doing this? And they’re making these points fully a year ago. Now they’ve, they published on that. So it’s So yeah, they’ve been on this split in among the automakers in this, this belief, oh, we have to chase Tesla. And Toyota said, we’re not going to chase Tesla, we know, we know who our customers are. And we’re not going to do this. Whereas Mary Barra, I will point out, you said you were debating the guy at GM, and, you know, she makes this big pronouncement, the stock gets a big bump.


32:55 – Robert Bryce

And but you know, she’s only there for a little while. So I, I guess, you know, back to the idea why the automakers did this, I think it’s partly well, their CEOs know they’re only there for a little while and they’re gonna, they have to make a bump somehow they have to talk about the talk, the walk, or walk the talk or whatever it is they have to hype up their new products. And maybe they get a stock bump for if they do so but I mean, What do you see if you look at GM, and this is not your report, You know your report very much.


33:23 – Robert Bryce

Your report is very much focused on the subsidy side. What’s going to happen with Ford and GM, the last of the big three that are the iconic American automakers? Are they going to have to write their investments down? What do you think is going to win the future for them? Sure.


33:54 – Brent Bennett

Setting that aside, I think that they’re, you know, ultimately, Ultimately, they will have to bow to physics and economics and find their niche within the space. You’ve got to give Tesla credit. They really out-engineered the other auto companies. I mean, they built a better system for basically taking the limitations of the battery and working around that, right? Now, there’s still things they haven’t solved, which is charging time, cold and hot weather operation, et cetera.


34:28 – Brent Bennett

But they solved a lot of the problems that the other automakers could not solve initially. And built a better mousetrap. And so they, I think, I think what happened is- this. Yeah, I. Think.


34:36 – Robert Bryce

And Was that because they had a clean sheet of paper?


34:38 – Brent Bennett

Because they didn’t. The legacy.


34:38 – Robert Bryce

Have. Systems that they had. Adapt. Them?


34:41 – Brent Bennett

To. To. The ground up. And they weren’t burdened by, and they had better engineers, I think, that’s really a lot of it. And they just out, like I said, they out-engineered them. And they also, I think the other thing they did was they saw that the luxury segment was ripe for the kind of performance benefits of EVs and also the virtue signaling. Right you know, and so that I I think, I think that they very smartly went after that first. Now they’re trying to dip down now because they’re running out of room too, right?


35:19 – Brent Bennett

Their sales growth is slowing. They’ve got to dip into the larger market segments now, start cutting their prices, get the Model 3 and more mass market EVs, but it’s tough. I mean, they’re running into that problem too. And I think the other automakers, I think what happened was is they incorrectly kind of, and I think a lot of investors too. I mean, the reason Tesla’s worth so much, the market cap is so enormous, is everyone still thinks that EVs are gonna be able to capture all these other market segments.


35:51 – Brent Bennett

And I think what you and I as students of, more students of physics and economics, and who have, you know, even though we’re not in the car business, we’ve been at this a long time, longer than some people in the car business have been at it. Can see the trends and say, yeah, there’s gonna be limits to this. And I don’t think, you know, a lot of people still understand that, right? That there’s limits to what the usefulness of EBs. So I think that’s just where they’ve gotten. So I think they’ll eventually have to, again, they’ll eventually have to bow to physical economics and can they do that soon enough and readjust their businesses in a way that they can survive and doesn’t, you know, require us to bail them out, you know?


36:28 – Brent Bennett

And will public policy also, I mean, that’s the other thing too. I mean, public policy could, that’s kind of the premise of my paper is that our policies are going to force them to bankruptcy if they, you know, if we don’t adjust, right? If we, if we go along the path that fuel economy regulations are setting us now, if you look at 2027 and beyond, I don’t, I can’t think of any automaker outside of Tesla that’s gonna survive that. Anyone making gas vehicles is gonna, to try and get to where, you know, 50, 60% of our vehicles are EVs by the end of this decade, that’s gonna send everyone into bankruptcy.


37:05 – Brent Bennett

And that’s what I fear. So I hope that we can tamp that back. That’s the hope with this paper is that we can reel some of that back and get some realism back into this and get, again, get back to where the policy is following the technology instead of the other way around, you know? And a And I.


37:24 – Brent Bennett

Think. That s. A reflection of the fact that. There are some Tesla investors who still believe. That. It should be. Four hundred. Dollars. And that four. Hundred. Dollars. Is based on Tesla dominating the market, you know, and becoming the number one automaker in the world, supplanting Toyota, right? And, but then that’s being balanced now by people who realize like, no, that might not happen, you know, so that’s dragging their price down, right?


37:24 – Robert Bryce

Framing that. Too. You know the technology. I’m just looking at the stock price. Chart. Tesla. Here. In. Let me. See late. Twenty.


37:58 – Robert Bryce

But their market cap is nearly six d.


38:01 – Brent Bennett

Well, and


38:08 – Robert Bryce

Their stock price or their market cap is nearly $600 billion. Dollars Toyota is three hundred twenty eight billion. Ford, I think, is well less than $100 billion. Yeah, it’s $47 billion. And Ford has the most popular vehicle in America, the Ford f one five zero you know but but it’s just, I think, a sad story that Ford made such massive miscalculations in the market. And I’ve made the point in my Senate testimony, and we’ve talked about that before, but that half of the EVs in America are going into a handful of heavily Democratic counties.


38:40 – Robert Bryce

And it’s in locations that it’s a, it’s an identity vehicle as much as yes, it’s a performance vehicle, and it’s a luxury vehicle and so on. But it’s about that was the other part that to me leaves me gobsmacked is that the automakers didn’t look at this and think and understand the market and realize, oh, it’s really only democrats who are going to buy this car and that’s the cal berkeley report that came out last year that’s oh who’s going to buy this well it’s almost all democrats right republicans by and large don’t want them which is amazing to me that the automakers wouldn’t understand the marketplace to understand well we can’t just cater to this one segment of the market that is in heaven in very liberal democratic counties that’s not a business plan but I digress.


39:26 – Robert Bryce

Okay, so let me play devil’s advocate for just a minute. How do you respond? I’m just throw this in there. So, oh, here’s Brent. Here’s Brent Bennett. You know, he’s TPPF, you know, they get money from the oil and gas industry. Of course, they’re crapping all over EVs. You know, this is no surprise because that was of course some of the you know Ive read some of the press criticism well oh yes here’s TPPF you know texas public policy foundation in texas right you know a bunch of oil and gas guys what a surprise, they’ve written a report critical of electric vehicles how do you respond to something like that?


40:00 – Brent Bennett

That’s why I focus on the subsidies. We have no problem with EVs. We have problems with government trying to force policy through regulation and try to force people to buy products through regulations and subsidies, right? That’s against our core principles, right? If the government was doing the same thing with gasoline vehicles, then we’d be equally opposed to that, right? If it was, if we were trying, they were trying to force everyone to buy a certain kind of gas vehicle. So I think that’s fundamentally what it is.


40:31 – Brent Bennett

And again, I mean, I’m a battery guy. I love the technology. I love working on batteries. I might do it again sometime in the future. So I think it’s not about the technology. And I think part of the problem is that The subsidies and all the favoritism from the government toward EVs is what’s made it politicized, right? And also kind of the religious nature of the progressive left’s attachment to electric vehicles is what’s made it so politicized, right? And if you could take that away and just look at EVs as a really cool luxury option, you know, that some people wanna buy, I think that’s great.


41:11 – Brent Bennett

It’s a great thing that batteries have gotten good enough now to where they’re worthwhile for some people to put them in a car, right? It’s the fact that the government is trying to force this on everyone that I think has created the political divide and is also the reason why we’re writing about it and making a big stink about it.


41:32 – Robert Bryce

Gotcha. So,


41:33 – Brent Bennett

That’s right, right?


41:33 – Robert Bryce

In short, I would.


41:34 – Robert Bryce

How I’d paraphrase. That.


41:35 – Brent Bennett

We should. Be free,


41:35 – Brent Bennett

We should be free to choose what we. Buy.


41:37 – Robert Bryce

It. Should be consumer pull,


41:37 – Brent Bennett

Should be telling us what to buy,


41:38 – Robert Bryce

Government. Push.


41:39 – Brent Bennett

You. Know,


41:39 – Robert Bryce

I guesss would be another way to think about it.


41:43 – Brent Bennett

That’s. Right,


41:43 – Robert Bryce

So. We talked. About Evs and


41:44 – Brent Bennett

Yeah. In some ways yes, in some ways no. I would say,


41:49 – Robert Bryce

And Yet here’s but it’s. In. California.


41:49 – Brent Bennett

Have. Lot of the things. That went.


41:51 – Robert Bryce

It’s the carb.


41:52 – Robert Bryce

The administrative state is the one that’s mandating electric vehicles here in the u.s. Now,


41:55 – Brent Bennett



41:55 – Brent Bennett

It was two weeks ago now.


41:57 – Robert Bryce

It’s not congress who’s saying you you know limiting or ordering the automakers This is a proposed rule from the epa that would could lead or could force automakers by 2032 right to sell two-thirds of their vehicles as That’s right Well,


42:12 – Robert Bryce

So let’s shift gears a little bit because we’re talking about electricity and we haven’t talked about the grid. And I know you’ve been very focused on that. And we’re both in Texas. And I was blacked out in 2021. So we’re coming on right about the three year anniversary of Winter Storm Uri. And I know TPPF has been involved in trying to get legislation passed and reform to make the grid more resilient. Is the Texas grid in better shape now than it was three years ago? Yep.


42:59 – Brent Bennett

We had great performance from the gas and coal fleet. Of course, it helped we didn’t have any ice. So we also had. Wind and solar were fine because we didn’t have any ice. But we had, you know, basically as good a performance two weeks ago, as we, as we do out of the fleet during the summer. And so that’s a really good sign. Now, granted it was, again, it was 10 degrees warmer than during winter storm Yuri, and we didn’t have any snow or ice to speak of Now my flight through Houston got canceled on that Monday because they closed the airport, but that’s just Texas being Texas.


43:36 – Brent Bennett

The power plants, the power plants are running fine, you know, So I think a lot of that, I think, is being solved. And that’s credit to everyone in the industry for working on that and doing it. But the market is still broken. And we haven’t really, we’ve barely added any net new dispatchable capacity. And by dispatchable, I mean, you know, gas, coal, and, you know, to some extent, batteries are dispatchable. Barely any since the storm. Meanwhile, we’ve had winter demand growth. I mean, we’re, you know, we’re probably at least seven, 8% higher demand than we were 10 years, three years ago.


44:22 – Brent Bennett

It’s growing at like, winter demand is growing faster than summer demand, really. It’s growing at a rate of like three to 4% a year.


44:29 – Robert Bryce

So, because of the, the heavy reliance on electric heating in Texas,

Right, versus.


44:33 – Brent Bennett

Yeah. I was. Just.


44:35 – Robert Bryce



44:35 – Brent Bennett

How heat pumps are becoming more efficient.


44:37 – Brent Bennett

And I sure hope they are because you know, we’re basically most of the new houses in Texas are being built using electric heat pumps. My old 40 year old house has gas and I’m happy for that. But, you know, such as it is, we’re moving toward electrifying of the oil and gas industry here is is electrifying so many things and demand out in West Texas is growing dramatically, right? So that demand growth. So if we didn’t have demand growth, I’d say, okay, we can kind of live with what we’ve got. But the fact is we’ve got demand growth, dramatic demand growth. And all we’re doing is adding wind and solar. So guess what happens? This summer, and just two weeks ago, we had what the key metric is what we call net demand or net load, which is to say what your total demand is minus your wind and solar output. We set a new summer record back in September, well, actually in August and in September, compared to what the old record was set in 2019, which was the last time we had an energy emergency, except for Yuri, was in 2019, was in August 2019.


45:49 – Brent Bennett

So in that four years, we had 10 gigawatts of wind and 15 of solar added. And yet that net demand, which is the key metric to determine how much gas and coal you need, right? Because that’s basically how you balance the rest of the system. That was higher in 2023 than it was four years prior, right. So despite this massive addition of wind and solar, we still need more dispatchable capacity than what we had f a and again this past week we almost broke that record again, two weeks ago. And it was in the winter.


46:21 – Brent Bennett

And I think the record will again be broken in the winter because all the solar we’re adding doesn’t help in the winter, right? So that record, the last two weeks ago, it was at 8 a.m., there was no sun, basically. The sun was just coming up. So I think that-. Was about seventy. Seven. Had. About. Or nine of wind. And so we were just below 70 and no solar.


46:38 – Robert Bryce

And we were at about 75 gigawatts. Of Demand, right? It was something like, That seventy. Five seventy seven something like,


46:46 – Brent Bennett

So we’re just below 70 net demand. And that 70 gigawatt mark is kind of where our dispatchable fleet can operate at. And so if we start to go above that consistently, then we’re going to run into trouble. And again, I think because of how fast winter demand is growing, because we’re not doing anything other than really building solar and some wind, that’s going to be a bigger and bigger problem. So again, we fixed a lot of the things that went wrong in Yuri, but we didn’t fix the market.


47:20 – Brent Bennett

And the market is eventually going to catch up to us to where even a storm like last week is going to result in pretty big outages just because we don’t have enough capacity. It’s not that the capacity we have isn’t working, it’s that we just don’t have enough. And so I think Yuri, in a way, was kind of the ghost of Christmas future. And this storm a couple weeks ago is also a sign that unless we fix that problem, then it’s gonna come back to bite us a few years down the road. So, you know,


47:50 – Robert Bryce

Well, I. Me.


47:51 – Brent Bennett

Maybe, Maybe not need to buy a generator right now, but put it on your list three years from now, start saving for one. And lett let’s s hope can, in the meantime we hope that in the meantime we can get some more real market reform. I mean, the PUC just put out a document last week talking about how, you know, all the things that they’ve done since winter storm URI. And it’s like, yeah, okay, these are all good things, but I don’t see market reform on there at all. I don’t see anything to counteract the impact of the federal subsidies on our market.


48:19 – Robert Bryce

Is. That. Is so.


48:19 – Brent Bennett

So. That. We. Have to address. That.


48:20 – Robert Bryce

The Market. Reform, Well,


48:21 – Brent Bennett



48:22 – Robert Bryce

So, briefly, what do you mean when you say market reform? What are the things that need to be fixed there? Because. We’ve talked before and you’ve mentioned the federal subsidies,


48:27 – Brent Bennett

And I think the And proposed for the most part,


48:30 – Robert Bryce

The investment tax credit, the production tax credit.


48:33 – Brent Bennett

Even from the


48:34 – Robert Bryce

Those are the reasons that so much solar and wind is being built,


48:37 – Robert Bryce

Right? I mean, follow the money.


48:38 – Robert Bryce

Why would you build anything else if you’re going to get so much federal. Federal. Money to build solar and wind?


48:41 – Brent Bennett



48:41 – Brent Bennett

Not having enough. Dispatchable. Thinks of The problem.


48:44 – Robert Bryce

You’d be. You. Know, maybe not an idiot,


48:46 – Robert Bryce

But not a very sharp guy if you’re going to build. A gas or something else that’s not going to give you those same kind of


48:48 – Brent Bennett

About it,


48:48 – Brent Bennett

Right? People do think of it that way because they see like,


48:54 – Brent Bennett

Oh hey we need more dispatchable generation like, Let. S go subsidize gas to try and solve that problem basically. Right. But the reason, the reason that that problem exists is because we’re over building wind and solar because of the subsidies right. So that people need to make that leap of saying, look, there’s so much money, there’s only so much money in the market, right? We’re paying, you know, you pay your electric bill every month, that goes out to all the resources that are providing that electricity, right?


49:56 – Brent Bennett

And if you’re subsidizing wind and solar, that’s basically giving them a bigger piece of that pie than what they ordinarily would have, right, without the subsidies. And so I’m not saying the pie would be zero without the subsidies, but it would not be nearly as big as it is now. Until we basically solve that problem of overbuilding wind and solar, then we’re always going to be chasing our tail with having to subsidize dispatchable generation to keep up, right, we’re already doing it in a lot of indirect ways I could, we’re running out of time I could go on forever about.


50:29 – Brent Bennett

All the extra costs that are being imposed on the system right now. You know, talk about why your electric bill is going up, you know, these days, right? But the fact is that that’s the fundamental problem is that we’re subsidizing these resources that provide very little capacity value. And so then we still have to find other ways to subsidize the gas generation that’s needed to back them up, right? We’re building two systems in a way. And unfortunately, because we’re not addressing the subsidies by essentially making wind and solar provide dispatchable capacity and correcting for the subsidies, we’re falling into the same trap as California is of, again, by failing to address that problem,


48:56 – Robert Bryce

Needs. To happen.


51:11 – Brent Bennett

Then we need to pour money into this other side of the equation to keep the lights on. And so, unfortunately, our future is either more blackouts or a lot higher bills until we get that the wind and solar fleet right sized and get it to function in a way that actually helps the grid instead of just kind of riding on the whole system and not providing any real capacity value. And the other things that gas and coal provide, fuel security, right? So that’s, yeah, that’s really, that’s what I mean by market reform.


51:44 – Robert Bryce

Well, it’s interesting, you know, we’re talking about market reform, because when I back when I wrote my first book, it was on Enron. And I remember interviewing a guy who was a former Houston natural gas guy, and he was looking at the electricity restructuring, as Ken Lay called it at that time. And he said, Let’s see how this this restructuring how this deregulation of electricity is going to help. Consumer.


52:04 – Brent Bennett

The Is that people tend to view it as a commodity, but Not. Electrons.


52:07 – Robert Bryce

Is. A whole. Other hour. Here,


52:08 – Brent Bennett

Not all electrons are the same,


52:09 – Robert Bryce

But you. Talk. About the market.


52:10 – Brent Bennett

You. Know. Your gas and coal electrons, You can count on those. Well into the future. So, there’s capacity. Value, right? Because you can say, I know how much I’m going to get from these resources, roughly speaking, within a few percent, On the hottest summer day five years from now, right? The variance in wind and solar is huge. It’s not 2% or 3%, it’s like twenty thirty percentage That s what I.


52:13 – Robert Bryce

Or wrote a Recent. For the Center for. The Center for the American. It on Subs. Stack. Is it a service or is the commodity?


52:34 – Brent Bennett

So when I say capacity value, that’s what I mean is that ability to count on that capacity. You know, there’s the inertia, the ability to maintain a stable frequency in the grid, right? That the gas and coal generators can adjust to that when the solar can’t do that, right? So that, yeah, I think so we have to look at electricity as a service more than a commodity. And not price it as a commodity, which is what we do. We have a single market clearing price, effectively a commodity price.


53:28 – Brent Bennett

Now, it varies by location in Texas, but at each of those locations, there’s a single price and we have to somehow get away from that. Yeah, and ultimately it’s, I think competition is great. But the problem with competition is that no one is responsible for a liability, really, I mean ultimately the Public Utility Commission is, but no one in the market is, right, because the, so therefore that makes the Public Utility Commission responsible because they have to organize the market in such a way as to ensure the lights stay on.


54:02 – Brent Bennett

The benefit of monopolies, even though they’re inefficient compared to competition, is that you have a single entity responsible for planning the system and ensuring the lights stay on. So it’s the synchronous nature of the grid, the fact that it all has to work together, is why it’s impossible to create a true market in the sense of even in other energy commodities like oil and gas, for example, you know, the market’s more fungible because it doesn’t have to be synchronized at every minute.


54:30 – Brent Bennett

You can store gas, you can store oil. Gas is hard to store, but you can store it.


54:35 – Brent Bennett

You can certainly store oil. You know, there’s ways to make the market more fungible. So yeah, that’s ultimately what, you know, I think the fact that, you know, the fact that we have competition in Texas, I think is a good thing and we can make it work. I still believe we can make it work. But we have to have a reliability standard and we have to understand that there’s always going to be some form of regulation. So let’s make sure that that regulation provides the best service to rate payers.


55:05 – Brent Bennett

You know, that’s organized around that premise of providing the best service for rate payers. And that hopefully over time will create the best system. Right now it’s broken. There’s no, we’re not, we don’t know who we’re trying to serve in terms of the progressive left wants us to serve the goal of reducing emissions and the attachment to wind and solar. Right? You know, there’s the there’s the industrial consumers that you know, kind of looking out for themselves and they consume almost half the state’s electricity.


55:40 – Brent Bennett

So they’re a huge part of the market, right? But they have different needs than you and me as residential rate payers, right? So there’s all these different entities and we’ve got to, you know, get our policy focused on serving the people who need to be served the most, right? So that’s, you know, yeah, providing cheap electricity for our industry, but also providing reliability for the rest of us, right?


56:04 – Robert Bryce

No, as you’re saying, I’m agreeing, I’m nodding my head. Yes, you know, it’s a service. We treat it like a commodity in this restructuring that happened. In. Enron. Led. This. Right enron. Led this, right? Twenty four. Years. Ago. And oh, You know. We’re. Going. To allow this competition, it’s going to be great. And so there was conservatives can say, Oh, yeah, well, competition, you know, we’re all for that. And the and the liberals could say,


56:11 – Brent Bennett

And the Public. Utility. Commission. Need. To, You know, Enron led 20, you know, 24 years. Need. To like, You know, we’re. Going. To. All.


56:25 – Robert Bryce

Oh, yeah, wind and solar, you know, we’re gonna we love Enron. And so it was just a confluence of a very interesting coalition. But now, here 20 plus years later in Texas, of all places, we’re still now litigating what this should look like and how this new system, we’re calling it a market, but the more regulation you put in, the less and less it looks like a market. And instead you’ve got to test it. So you’ve got to put your thumb on the scale for one form or another in order to make sure the thing works in terms of reliability.


56:58 – Robert Bryce

And I think you’re exactly right that here still three years after winter storm, Yuri, No one is responsible for reliability. The buck doesn’t stop anywhere if the system fails.


57:28 – Brent Bennett

It’s not about being fair to fossil fuels or to, um, you know, wind and solar, it’s about serving rate payers, you know, um, and providing the best service for rate payers. So we have to have that as our organizing principle,


57:41 – Robert Bryce

Brother. Amen. The pairs, the forgotten person.


57:45 – Brent Bennett

If I can, if I can change anything, I would hope that, you know, we can be a voice for preaching that being an organizing principle and form our policy recommendations and research around that so we can try and get that back in the system. We’ll see, it’s tough because.


58:03 – Brent Bennett

Everyone has, there’s money to be made in all parts of the market. And people are rent seeking everywhere. And there’s really no one looking out for the rate payers except for the folks up there at the Capitol who need to hear from the rate payers and serve them ultimately.


58:20 – Brent Bennett

So I think there are plenty of legislators who have that in their minds, but it just it s hard. It’s easy to forget. It’s easy to forget that when you’re hearing from so many different lobbying entities. And yeah, like you said,


58:37 – Brent Bennett

It’s not. A market. A market naturally serves its customers, right? That’s what you’re talking about. It’s like markets are built around consumer demand, you know? It’s just not quite that way in electricity. And so we have to regulate in such a way as to create the right conditions for that.


58:55 – Robert Bryce

Well, and it’s become such a complex system. I mean, it’s just the complexity of it is just, it is truly staggering. And in Texas, of course, it’s even more complex, because it’s such a big state. And You know, the electricity market in the US retail, retail sales are about $500 billion. Dollars. A Year, Texas is what, 10, well, Fifteen. Fifteen percentage. Of that. Something like that. So. It’s an enormous chunk, you. Know. Seventy. Five. Seventy. Five. Billion, or something like, That.


59:22 – Robert Bryce



59:05 – Brent Bennett

Books, So you know, the Yeah, Cat. And All. That, Yeah, So. I’ve. Memorized. A lott. Of kids books. Pap Patrol. Yeah, I read. Those. Every night. To. The kids. But For my personal reading actually,


59:22 – Robert Bryce

Brent, you know, you’ve been on the podcast. Before.


59:23 – Brent Bennett

You gave me a Next. To. My. Reading.


59:24 – Robert Bryce

So, you know, I have two final questions I ask everybody. And I. Know. You have a new baby.


59:29 – Robert Bryce

But nevertheless, what are you reading? What’s on the top of your book pile these days? Yeah.


1:00:01 – Brent Bennett

I’m hoping to get to that soon. I’m reading a book about emotional fitness right now from a Christian writer and kind of therapist about how to become more emotionally fit, right, to be able to read other people’s emotions and also control your own. As a kind of nerdy scientist guy, it’s not something I’ve ever done much of, but when you have kids and you’re trying to relate to them and you’re in a job like this that, you know, you got to relate to people every day. It’s important to, you know, be emotionally, have a good high emotional IQ, right?


1:00:31 – Brent Bennett

So, but yeah, but I’m really excited to read your book next. I’m going to get to it here soon.


1:00:36 – Robert Bryce

Well, thanks for the plug.


1:00:38 – Brent Bennett

Yeah, I know we just spend. An hour complaining.


1:00:38 – Robert Bryce

So. What gives you hope then,


1:00:40 – Robert Bryce

Brent? Last question. You look around the world,


1:00:43 – Robert Bryce

There are a lot of things. You can be pessimistic about.


1:00:44 – Brent Bennett



1:00:47 – Robert Bryce

What gives you hope?


1:00:47 – Brent Bennett

Freedom and people still want cheap,


1:00:50 – Brent Bennett

Affordable energy, affordable, liable energy. And that in spite of the forces that are arrayed against freedom and affordable, liable energy, people ultimately resist that. You know, and and people don’t. People don’t for long accept authoritarianism. Eventually it does give way to freedom over time. And we’ve seen it throughout the course of human history. And I think, you know, even as freedom might ebb and flow in our country, that people are ultimately going to lean toward that.


1:01:31 – Brent Bennett

You’re seeing in Europe now the backlash against net zero and globalism now in Europe is starting to come to bear. And I think I think that will you know, I have a lot of faith in people always desiring those things. And that ultimately is going to, you know, in our own haphazard way, lead us toward, you know, making things better for our children and grandchildren than than it was for us. So.


1:01:55 – Robert Bryce

Well, that’s a good place to stop.


1:01:59 – Brent Bennett



1:01:59 – Robert Bryce

Guest has been Brent Bennett.


1:02:00 – Robert Bryce

He is a policy director for Life Powered, which is an initiative of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.


1:02:06 – Robert Bryce

You can find his report that he wrote with Jason Isaac called Overcharged Expectations, Unmasking the True Costs of Electric Vehicles on the Texas Public Policy Foundation website. Brent, thanks for coming on the podcast again. This has been great fun. And thanks to all of you out there in podcast land for tuning into this episode of the Power Hungry Podcast. Tune out for the next one. It might be as good as this one. And if you’re so inclined, give us a five-star rating, recommend us, all that stuff on your favorite podcast channel.


1:02:37 – Robert Bryce

Okay. Until then, see you next time.

Contact Robert

For information on speaking engagements or other interviews.