Reiner Kuhr worked in the electric power sector for more than 40 years and is the co-founder of the Center for Academic Collaboration Initiatives, a group that aims to increase the exchange of research among students and academic institutions. In his second appearance on the podcast (his first was on May 27, 2021) Kuhr talks about his recent paper on the problems and costs associated with integrating renewables into electric grids, why batteries are an expensive way to reduce emissions, and why you can “go nuclear, or go renewable, but you can’t do both.” (Recorded October 19, 2022.)
Robert Bryce 0:04
Hi, everyone. Welcome to the power hungry Podcast. I’m Robert Bryce. On this podcast we talk about energy, power, innovation and politics. And I’m pleased to welcome back for the second time, Reiner Coker. He is an energy technology economist and he is affiliated with a center for academic collaboration initiatives. Reiner, welcome back to the power hungry podcast.
Reiner Kuhr 0:24
Thanks. It’s a pleasure to be on your podcast, Robert.
Robert Bryce 0:28
So we talked back in May of 2021. And that was your first appearance. And we talked about nuclear. We talked about the blackouts in Texas, and a number of things, but you’ve been working on a new paper on energy issues or electricity grid issues in New England. But before we get to that, you know, the ground rules here. Guests introduce themselves. So if you don’t mind, please introduce yourself.
Reiner Kuhr 0:53
Sure. I was born in Germany, I emigrated to the US when I was young when my father joined the space program. After becoming a chemical engineer. I spent 25 years in the power 45 years in the power industry. First 25 involved with the engineering and developing new technologies and ultimately marketing and managing power projects. The last 20 years I got into advising on transactions, I was involved as technical advisor for over $70 billion worth of new projects and transactions and did a lot of business planning. With new technologies, including SMRs. And after retirement, I started teaching energy technology, Economics and Policy at grad school and I formed the center for academic collaboration initiatives to try to access a wider base of students and faculty.
Robert Bryce 1:53
And where do you live Reiner? Cape Cod.
Reiner Kuhr 1:55
It’s beautiful day on Cape Cod. today. I was in Austin.
Robert Bryce 1:58
It’s cool. Thankfully, we had a little rain earlier this week. And finally, it’s cooled off here because it’s been stinking hot. And I don’t want to get too technical, but stupid hot, maybe even. So let’s jump right in here. Reiner, because we’ve talked several times over the past few months about the work that you’ve been doing. And you’ve done a recent report on New England. And I think it’s really the reason I wanted to have you on is because you’re taking a one of a very bearish view on renewables in their ability to reduce carbon emissions at scale, but also on batteries. And the paper is called technical and economic limits for renewable power integration in New England. Can you summarize that report for us if you don’t mind?
Reiner Kuhr 2:40
Sure. The, the areas that I focused on were the higher costs if you look at unsubsidized cost, and you look at how much carbon is reduced, you can estimate carbon abatement cost as a figure of merit for deciding how much you should subsidize renewables. And those numbers came out very high. And the second issue has to do with the timing and flexibility. And right now, New England has enough inflexible clean generation, which includes nuclear, wind, solar, hydro imports from Canada, and some other generation that covers most of your lower loads. So when you have the lowest loads of the year, most of that generation comes from inflexible technology. And the plans are to double existing wind and solar and batteries and develop a lot of offshore wind, which will overload the grid with inflexible power. That’s what I was trying to illustrate in the report and evaluate how much that’s going to cost us and what we’re going to end up with for co2 emissions.
Robert Bryce 3:52
And you said, there’s one part here and two, because this is you use the social cost of carbon, which is a number. That’s frankly, it’s made up right about, well, what is what does co2 emissions cost society, right? This is the social cost of carbon. And I’m summarizing here you found I’m quoting, investments in grid connected solar and wind power generation cost two to six times the current social cost of carbon policy guidelines, investment in behind the meter distributed solar installations exceed social cost of carbon by a factor of 15. The cost of using battery storage to lower carbon emissions by reducing by reducing wasted surpluses is seven to 19 times the current social cost of carbon guideline. So you’re what you’re you found here is something that’s running against the the, the flavor of the moment, which is a lot of academics from elite university saying, Oh, well, of course, we can just integrate all these renewables. And so we’re going to be great, great, great, no problem. We’re gonna build lots of high voltage transmission, but you’re taking a tack that says, No, this is exactly the wrong way to go. Am I? Is that a fair summary?
Reiner Kuhr 4:57
Yeah, and that’s, that’s why I call myself an energy technology. Economists because there’s a lot of energy economists that haven’t fully understood the timing and grid, operational issues that they put limits on, on how much renewables you can put into effectively reduce co2. So that, you know, the whole point is to understand how far you can go economically before you’re doing more damage to the economy than you are potentially improving our future climate. And a lot of the state climate plans don’t address the costs of these plans and the economic effectiveness of them. So by doing these calculations, looking at carbon abatement costs, how much money are you spending? What are you getting in return for carbon reductions, shows us that a lot of these technologies like like rooftop solar, which I believe you have on your house, are very expensive, partly because of the economies of scale. And you know, the nature of the design, you were making power at several times, maybe 10 times the cost of wholesale power from the grid, if you take into account on subsidized costs, you strip away the tax credits, and the clean energy credits, net metering. That’s not a very productive investment. And, you know, you start planting in New England $60 billion of new investments to double existing wind and solar and to develop offshore wind. And you start applying some metrics to that, you know, how much co2 Are you really reducing for that money? And what do you do under the grid? You know, are you going to eliminate the chances that we’ll have affordable and reliable, reliable electricity in 10 or 20 years by pushing renewables too far? And that’s, that’s what we’re focused on?
Robert Bryce 7:07
Well, well, there are a lot of questions that popped into my mind. Reiner, and we’ve talked about these offline before, but one of the points that I think is really critical that you’re making and you made in other analyses is that the importance of keeping existing nuclear plants online, and you made this point and in your synopsis, you’ve you found that if wind and solar would, adding more wind and solar would reduce co2 emissions by up to 21 million metric tons per 21 million tons per year, but retiring the remaining nuclear plants in New England, because they would have insufficient revenue, their revenue would be impacted by this addition of wind and solar, could increase co2 emissions by 34 million tons per year. So you’re, you’re pointing out that if you add more renewables, you risk running the nuclear plants out of business. And if you do that, you’re actually going to increase co2, which is a I mean, there are several things in your report that I think are remarkably you know, worth worth talking about. But that seems to be one of the biggest ones right and you’ve made this point that keeping existing nuclear plants open and operating is the cheapest option. And yet if you if my understanding your your point here is that we go ahead wheeling it New England does willy nilly adding more solar and wind, you could kill the plants that are absolutely the cheapest way to go in terms of future abatement is if I’m if I got this, correct.
Reiner Kuhr 8:34
That’s exactly right. I mean, when we talked earlier about retiring Indian Point, or a pilgrim that had a huge impact on co2 emissions, which, you know, you’ve talked about in some of your other podcasts. So what happens when you put too much inflexible generation into the grid, you create surpluses. And in New England, if you are running a wind farm, and you’re getting a performance tax credit or clean energy credits, you only get those when you operate. So if somebody tells you to shut down, you can choose to bid negative into the grid give up, give back some of the subsidy in order to not be curtailed, somebody else gets Kirkdale that doesn’t bid as negative as you do. Right. So that’s a very awkward thing to happen in a competitive market. We think about any market. Sure, if the government comes in and pays somebody a lot of money, it gives somebody a huge subsidy to produce too much of a product. And what does that do to all the other suppliers, right? You’re, you’re interfering, you’re interfering with a competitive market by subsidizing surpluses. And in the power market, the victim is the nuclear plants and when we modelled out to 2030 and we added all of the wind and offshore wind and solar up to 30. For 30 to 40% of the time we’d, we’d have negative prices and three nukes and New England need about a billion a year to cover fuel and operating costs. And that’s why nuclear plants have to operate all the time to be economical if you can’t make money 30 or 40% of the time. And it might be worse than that in terms of how much revenue they make. You need to subsidize them by half a billion a year. And if you look at the new IRA, support for existing nuclear plants, it’s very small compared to that it’s intended to cover the effect of low gas prices, not the effect of competition from renewables. So but
Robert Bryce 10:41
isn’t that just incorrect? Well, it’s incredible, isn’t it that in the name of climate change, and that when really the the focus being that on renewables, right, but just for the sake of renewables, right, there’s a big church of renewables, that this is that wind and solar are the way to go? That by pushing too much renewables into the system, you actually make the system more fragile and more expensive for consumers? And co2 goes up as am I am I I’m trying to, I want to summarize your work, because it’s very, you know, a lot of what you’ve done is pretty technical. But that is that is that the main punch line here?
Reiner Kuhr 11:15
Yeah, you know, a lot of climate plans, assume nuclear plants will keep running, because they’re such an important part of reducing co2. And they don’t take a look at the effect of surpluses, and the revenue that nuclear plants need. So if you spend $60 billion, and reduce carbon emissions by 10, or 11 million tons per year, and then shut down three nukes that put 16 million tons a year back end, you’ve shot yourself in the foot, right, the best thing to do, would have just been to keep running the nuclear plants as long as you can maybe build nukes if they become economical, and limit the amount of renewables to the level where they don’t interfere substantially with with with the grid, and you know, the opposite is taking place. And this failure to recognize that you have to make a choice between the two. You can either go nuclear, or you can go renewable, but you can’t really do both, you know, if you if you go down the road for renewables, like New England is planning and New York is planning. You’re making it very difficult for nuclear to survive, when nuclear fails, your emissions go up more, and you haven’t gained anything, you come out, but you come out behind, you end up with higher emissions spent $60 billion, and you end up with more emissions by 2030 than you have right now. So so this, this relationship between keeping nuclear plants running to minimize co2 emissions and trying to replace them with wind and solar, just fundamentally doesn’t work. Right. It doesn’t work economically.
Robert Bryce 12:58
You know, it’s interesting, I like that line, you can go nuclear or go renewable, but you can’t do both. Or if you try to do both, I guess it just ends in tears is that it would be the other way to think about it, if you because otherwise, you’re gonna have to subsidize both of them heavily to make both of them kind of work. Is that fair?
Reiner Kuhr 13:15
Yeah. You know, people, I think people misunderstand the term. Baseload. Right, you hear baseload a lot. And
Robert Bryce 13:22
so define that, go ahead and define that. What does that mean then?
Reiner Kuhr 13:25
So to give you an example, I don’t know seven or eight years ago, we were talking to the guys out at solar reserve, in, you know, out west, they had these big solar thermal plants, 100 megawatt solar thermal plants, and they put in molten salt storage, right. So they run for eight hours, they charge up the hot storage tank, and then they put in a turbine generator that runs baseload. 24/7, right. So they got solar energy, eight hours stored in hot salt tanks, and they wanted to design a baseload plant. And I was telling them that, you know, baseload isn’t really a blessing. You know, baseload is a liability because you’re building a plant that has to run all the time. And when nuclear was first developed in the 70s, there are a lot of regions that didn’t need power all the time. Right. And so, TVA, and up in New England built a lot of pump storage units and the plant storage units work together with baseload units to give you the flexibility to make power when you need it and not make power when you don’t need so when they shut down a lot of the nukes in New England, pumped hydro plants aren’t making much money because now they’re charging when there’s combined cycle plants running at low loads and discharging when there’s combined site older combined cycle plants and they don’t make much money on arbitrage and they make some money on ancillary services. So the market for base load plant starts to disappear when your load shape is occupied more and more by wind and solar because if you think about that nuclear plant wants to run all the time, except for when it’s being refueled and maintained maybe a month, every at every year and a half or two years. Right, right. So it wants to run all the time, it doesn’t change load and response to demand. Nuclear and wind and solar tried to do the same thing. Right? A wind farm wants to run all the time, whenever wind is available, and a solar farm wants to run all the time, whenever sunlight is available, right, and they don’t care about loads, they don’t respond to changes in demand. So in that sense, nuclear is just as inflexible as wind and solar. And when you start piling these on top of each other, you got too much energy that doesn’t respond to changes in the power grid. Right?
Robert Bryce 15:50
I see. So now I see when you say inflexible, that’s what you because when you use that term before, I thought, I don’t quite understand what he’s saying there. But this is because they they want to run when they want to run, I guess.
Reiner Kuhr 16:01
So you know, certain, you know, there’s one of river hydro, you either runs or you spill the water, right. And there’s landfill gas. So there’s a lot of inflexible generation that’s not responsive to the grid, and the grid operator can’t use it to control the grid. Right?
Robert Bryce 16:20
Ideally, what you want is a gas fired generation or something else that has or, I mean, if you think about what’s the most dispatchable and most energy secure, it’d be a diesel fire genset, right, you got a big tank full of diesel, and you can run that thing whenever you want. Right, me because you got onsite fuel on you. And I mean, you could even say that I suppose of a coal plant, right? You know, the same would be true there. You have on site fuel, you can switch it on and off a little coal isn’t as fast ramping as diesel gensets. But is that fair, that you that that would be the ultimate and flexible, flexible generation,
Reiner Kuhr 16:49
right? So so you need flexibility just to be able to control the grid, just like any system, right? And, you know, you got your low loads at two in the morning or half as big as your high loads at 7pm. In the evening, right? And you’ve got to connect the two, the only thing that connects the two in New England most of the time is gas generation. Now, gas generation also makes most of the co2 in the grid. Right, right. So you’re trying to eliminate carbon emissions. And you go in after the only flexible generation in the system.
Robert Bryce 17:23
Going after the only flexible you so you’re saying going after gas fired generation.
Reiner Kuhr 17:28
So if you only flexibilities provided by gas and you want to get rid of gas to achieve zero, carbon zero or something, what’s going to take its place, how are you going to provide that flexibility, right? And, and you can visualize it, the timing, by looking at the daily average load curve, and you see that most of the generation is in the evenings, most of the co2 is produced, you know, between six and 9pm, in the evenings when the older gas plants run. And then all of the solar generation happens midday, right? More in the summer, very little in the winter in New England. And then the wind, you can think of it as running once every two or three days. Right? Wind runs 3040, maybe more percent of the time, but you can visualize it as one out of every two or three days you have wind, right, so if most of your say half of your co2 emissions are in the evening, and you don’t have any solar generation, other than the longest few days of the year that impact that, right, and you only have wind every two or three days, no matter how much wind you put in, or how much solar you put in, you’re not going to be able to do much with a good percentage of your co2 emissions, right? You keep making more energy,
Robert Bryce 18:53
concentrated in there concentrated and will remain concentrated at a certain window in the day in that 24 hour period.
Reiner Kuhr 19:01
And the evening, you know, when you get home and you turn on your air conditioner, and you start cooking and plug in your electric car, you know, all those things. Push the demand up during a time of day what that’s very difficult for renewables to to address, right. And then you start looking at batteries. And oh, well.
Robert Bryce 19:20
Good. But I want to talk about batteries. So let me again, I preface that because you talk about batteries. Oh, where’s the I got this? Yeah, you wrote that. Addition of book battery energy storage is extremely expensive and ineffective in reducing surpluses from further expansion of wind and solar. And then you put some numbers on it. I’m trying to find the numbers but why? Okay, well, here’s my bias. Batteries stink. They always stink. They’re better, but they’re kind of like Goldilocks, right? You can’t charge them too fast. You can’t charge them too slow. You can’t make it’s can’t be too hot. Can’t be too cold. And if it’s We’re gonna, we’re gonna have extreme weather like we did here in February of last year, I don’t want any batteries, I want a big honkin tank a kerosene or diesel fuel, I don’t want to rely on a battery when it’s cold, my sockets.
Reiner Kuhr 20:14
Alright, so typically a battery is designed for like a four hour discharge, right, right. And four hours, isn’t it four hours isn’t bad if you can do it every day. But the problem with surpluses is they happen unevenly. So you get a lot of surpluses, when you get a lot of solar in the spring, April and May, you know, you’re gonna have a lot of energy. Before noon, before the loads are high, a wind energy, you could end up with a lot of wind to in the morning when the loads are the lowest Right? And, and you can try to pick that up with batteries. To the extent you put in enough capacity. And the more capacity you put in, the less surpluses you pick up, but just statistical, right, right. And if you put in a lot of batteries to capture all those surpluses and 10 or 20% of the year, when they happen, then those batteries don’t run much the rest of the year, right, you’re putting a lot of capacity that’s not utilized. Anything that’s expensive, you want to utilize a lot or you got to pay off the capital. Sure. And the amount of energy you’re moving is small, you know, you’ve got to pay an enormous amount just to move that energy and you’re losing 15% of it, when you move it right, you got to charge discharge cycle efficiency. So when you run the numbers, you know, you can either put in a lot of batteries that are very expensive, and you can recover a significant amount of the surpluses, but then those batteries don’t run much. And they get very expensive to pay off, assuming you’re putting them in there to reduce co2 emissions, right. And the rest of the year, if you tried to charge and discharge a battery, you could be you could be increasing co2 emissions. Because if you’re running gas plants, when you’re charging the batteries, and you’re running gas plants, when you’re discharging the batteries, you right off the top, you’re losing 15% of that energy in increasing the co2 emissions by 15%. Although that’s offset, because sometimes you have higher emitting combined cycles, older combined cycles, or even peakers. And the only time that you can extend the use of solar and wind energy is when there’s surpluses.
Robert Bryce 22:28
And so you’re talking more about that, and not just daily shifting, but you’re talking about what it would be in terms of seasonal shifting, isn’t this what we’re I mean, is that was that the gist of where you’re going with this?
Reiner Kuhr 22:39
No, I was I was making the point that if you put in a battery to reduce co2 emissions, the only time at reducing co2 emissions is if you’re using high emitting peekers in the evening, or if you’ve got surplus solar and wind to charge it with. And that doesn’t happen very often.
Robert Bryce 23:00
Right AC so that so the batteries are only valuable if you have surplus wind and solar that you can then use to displace gas generation during those peak moments when they’re they would normally run.
Reiner Kuhr 23:11
Right? So if you got a lot of surpluses, like in California, I think California claims they only have 5% of their renewables is curtailed, but they’re paying Arizona and Nevada to take it you know, they’re paying people not to take power and stuff. So it’s, it’s, it’s what once you’re making too much, renewables, you’re already in trouble, right. And then the batteries give you a very limited ability to recover from that, you know, economically and from the standpoint of co2 emissions. Batteries have a new market now in Texas, they’re financing new battery projects, to provide ancillary services, which means that the power from inverter base generation lacks sufficient quality from a voltage control standpoint that they have to use batteries now to fix that. So you could kind of assign the cost of these battery projects to the wind industry because they’re creating unstable voltage conditions because the inverters aren’t doing a good job of matching grid voltages right so that’s kind of an interesting way to look at the new market for batteries it’s it there’s a new market there, because of the failure problems based technologies.
Robert Bryce 24:28
The problem is the power is quality the power quality of the problems created by asynchronous generation by the by the wind and solar which are not synchronous right by nature,
Reiner Kuhr 24:39
charge them charge them for the batteries that have to be put in to fix that right.
Robert Bryce 24:44
Well it’s interesting that you say that because there is a company that’s been operating in Texas and apparently making a good bit of money Jupiter power and I they Well, I’ve asked to talk to some of their people have not gotten a positive response yet, but so their battery companies that are operating in the ERCOT grid, you’re saying are making their money off of ancillary services, and they’re making that money because of the grid instability caused by renewables. Is that Is that what you’re saying? That’s
Reiner Kuhr 25:11
the way I understand it. You know, there’s some people you could talk to, to get more details on that. But, you know, the people that are following projects, are seeing these privately financed projects that are driven by revenue, from ancillary services, which the ERCOT goes out and contracts for to maintain power quality. And then that gets paid for by everybody. Right. So that’s kind of another subsidy, that you’re paying for these ancillary services as part of your electric bill. And some of it is unique to responding to what these inverter based what this inverter based generation does to the grid. So, you know, if you try to do some energy economics around the whole thing, and try to understand how much more money we’re paying for things to get the co2 emissions down, you know, you should take all of these into account. Now, just like transmission and distribution improvements, right? Those aren’t accounted for very clearly. And if you put too much distributed, Joel, distributed solar rooftop in a neighborhood, you got to rebuild the whole distribution system to allow two way flow of power and keep the system safe for workers. And a lot of that cost is is carried by regulated utilities, who just pass it along to ratepayers. And it’s not even clearly reported in your electric bill. How much of what you’re paying is happening to support renewables. Right? How much how many that big transmission corridor across Texas to bring more wind in from Western Texas to eastern Texas, right, you know, who paid for that? And is that really a subsidy? Or is that something that should have happened anyway, if you’re trying to justify subsidies for wind, and a greater role for wind, and solar, you have to take take all of these things into account, it’s very difficult to understand transmission and distribution investments and how much of that is being spent on strictly because you’re trying to expand solar and wind and the distribution companies are regulated utility. So the more work they’re allowed to do, the more money they put in the rate base, the more profitable their businesses, so they’re not going to stand up and say, You shouldn’t be doing this or it’s only due to your policy.
Robert Bryce 27:40
So let me just follow up on the batteries because I found the number here and this is from your paper again, and my guest is Reiner occur again, I’m just repeat he you can find him on LinkedIn, or at the center for academic collaboration initiatives, which is center a sci fi.com. Writers on the second parents on the podcast but you wrote in your paper about renewables in New England, you said that unsubsidized battery storage costs at 150 to $500 per megawatt hour, depending on their utilization when recovering surplus wind and solar generation. So to tie that back to the social cost of carbon, which under the Biden administration, you point out as $51 per tonne. So batteries, if you try and add in batteries, you’re going to be paying 3x 3x 210 x the Tesla
Reiner Kuhr 28:32
and that’s just the move the energy, you’re not creating any energy, that’s just to capture surplus energy and bring it back to when you can use it right. So it doesn’t make much sense that the social cost of carbon is worth talking about for a minute. Yeah, sure. Thanks. Do, you know there was a huge study done by the Office of Management and Budget, where they took climate models and predicted future effects, extreme weather floods, loss of agricultural production, deaths, you know, anything. And this was a massive study that was peer reviewed by people apparently that supported that approach. And there was a there are lawsuits filed against its use that are still pending. And so this is, if you stop, when I talk to my class about the social cost of carbon. People start to realize what’s happening, right? What is the cost of not doing anything? That’s what the social cost of carbon is supposed to represent. Right? Let’s keep running our gas plants. Let’s keep heating our homes with gas. Let’s keep driving our cars with gasoline. What is the penalty we’re going to pay for doing? Right? And if you try to do it in economic terms, it’s it’s really monetizing the environmental deterioration that will happen through climate change, right. And that goes back to the whole chain of logic of And what happens if we do a lot and the rest of the world doesn’t? Right? It’s the social class.
Robert Bryce 30:09
climate mitigation. Right. So,
Reiner Kuhr 30:11
I mean, okay, so some of your other podcasts had some excellent speakers that talk about how the rest of the world is expanding its use of fossil energy and increasing co2 emissions. And here we are in the wetland. And we think by spending $60 billion and reducing carbon emissions by 11 million tons a year, we’re going to be protecting our grandchildren from negative effects of climate change. But, you know, that’s not even considering that shutting down the nuclear plants increases the emissions in the first place. So sure, so I think there’s the social cost of carbon is worth even, even though it’s heavily disputed, you know, the whole idea of how much you should spend to get rid of a tonne of carbon is a very worthy topic, because it sets a policy basis. And without a policy basis, there’s no limit to how much you can spend, right? There’s no prioritization,
Robert Bryce 31:07
you’re saying, this is the benchmark, then if this is the and this is the benchmark set out by this administration, as what we think this is going to cost of not doing anything, then that becomes your metric by that you then compare other mitigation strategies against and that’s the nut of what you’re trying to do here.
Reiner Kuhr 31:24
And when you calculate the social cost of carbon of all the alternatives, the only one that fits within that criteria, and is extending the life of nuclear plants?
Robert Bryce 31:34
So the Okay, we’ll repeat that, because yeah, I think you made this point before, and I’ve quoted you in several articles, I think. But your point is that if $51 per tonne is the is the social cost of carbon, keeping existing nuclear plants online is the only thing that costs less than 100 than $51, or 10. Is that Is that what you say? Yeah,
Reiner Kuhr 31:53
so, you know, looking at it very simply like that, you know, we have a policy guideline that’s set by the federal government, and of course, it’s disputed, and some people are going to make it want to make it a lot higher, to justify a lot of these technologies. But, you know, where do you draw the line? Where do you say, We’re doing more economic damage than environmental benefit? Right. And to me, to me, that’s the dotted line, right? It may not be accurate number that people agree on, but it’s a policy directive, right? If you don’t know anything else, and you pick a number, and you say, go, go for it, spend that much money and don’t spend any more. Right. But that’s what policy is all about, you know, I try to teach my students where policy is, it’s very difficult to explain what policies right policy translates into money into economics. And based on the policy, people will build things or retire things or make investments, you people’s electric bills will go up to pay for things, you’re socializing the whole power industry, by causing the subsidies to be much larger than the whole value of the power market. If you play these numbers out. People are building and before I retired, I was looking at a lot of new projects. And they used to hire a market consultant and look at the cash flows. See what the the banks are going to get paid with the high level of certainty. And all the money would be based on market revenue. And then towards the end, when they were financing a lot of renewable utility scale projects. The money shifted the subsidies, right? You’re basically financing and building plants, where most of the money is coming from subsidies. Not not from the market. Right. So what does that tell you? It means you’re socializing? What we just considered a privatized power market, right? We just went through this massive painful shift that deregulation to allow competition. But now we’re through these subsidies, clean energy credits, operating tax credit, you know, performance tax credits, right, that’s driving the projects now, not not what the grid needs, you know, you’re not, you’re not responding to the fact that, gee, these plants are going to retire, so creates more of an opportunity to take over that market share. Oh, it’s, it’s, you know, we’re gonna get most of our money from these tax credits, they expire in five or 10 years, let’s build it make as much money as we can. And, and it’s, you know, private investment is a very short term thing, right? You’re looking at a very high cost of capital. You got to recover it five or 10 years. There’s no strategic planning there. Right. It comes out of the, the eight, the grid operator and they have very limited abilities to do that in a privatized market.
Robert Bryce 34:53
Right. Well, you make a key point here, right here and I want to pursue that because I completely agree with you and talking with people in Power business, it’s clear that the investment tax credit, mainly for solar and the production tax credit, mainly for wind, completely distorting the power markets. I mean, I see it here in Texas, but that by the end of next year, with this looming onslaught of new wind and solar coming into the ERCOT market, that by the end of 2023, there will be more wind and solar capacity in the Texas market than there is gas fired capacity, it’s going to not and won’t be close, there’s going to be something like 20 Well, not quite 20,000 megawatts, but something on the order of that I mean, as a huge, huge increase. But that the the investments that are being made in grid connected generation aren’t being driven by affordability, resilience and reliability, they’re instead they’re being driven by tax credit policy. And that to me, is just the you’ve got it exactly backwards. And it as I’m formulating these ideas, I’m talking to you, but I’ve been familiar with it for a while. Am I missing something here? Because that’s what I’m paraphrasing what you said, but combining it with what I see in ERCOT? Is that how you see it as well?
Reiner Kuhr 36:02
Yeah, I mean, I’m troubled by the concept of subsidized surpluses, right. And it’s maybe it’s a it’s a difficult term, but
Robert Bryce 36:10
troubled by subsidized surpluses to warehouse full of bread, but we’re gonna subsidize them making more bread, and we’re gonna,
Reiner Kuhr 36:18
we’re gonna, we’re gonna make too many shoes and give somebody five bucks for every pair of shoes that they come and pick up at the store, right? So. So it’s very wasteful. And it’s counterproductive because now you’re hurting the parts of the competitive market that aren’t subsidized, right, you’re picking technologies as winners. And if you don’t pick nuclear as a winner, nuclear becomes the loser. If you tried to subsidize both nuclear and wind and solar at the same time, now you got battling subsidies, right? And subsidize one more to keep it alive. And then the other one, you got a subsidy because they’re trying to do the same thing.
Robert Bryce 36:57
Right. And we’ve seen in several states in Illinois, right, they, they passed legislation to subsidize the nuclear plants. Well, why are some of the plants in trouble because they’re their profits are being undermined by the renewables. But let me on something, I guess, Reiner that, you know, it’s keeps recurring to me. And I’ve interviewed a lot of people in my career. And I’ve you know, and I’ve talked to people who are, you know, big promoters of renewables, and I’ve talked to politicians. Why is it? Well, I’ll ask you the question as directly as I can, Why do so few people understand the economics of electricity and the electricity business? Why it seems to be very few people really grasp the complexities of the grid as a thing? And as a machine? Why is it so hard to understand?
Reiner Kuhr 37:45
Well, I think there’s several things. One, there’s this pervasive ideology, that getting rid of fossil will improve our climate in the future, no matter how much you spend, or how, you know, just just do it, get rid of it all.
Robert Bryce 38:00
And no cost, there’s no cost is too high. You know,
Reiner Kuhr 38:03
the costs, you know, people will, people will figure out how to do it, economically, just tell them what to do, and they will work it out. Right. That’s kind of the philosophy that seems to dominate a lot of the state energy policy. And to me, it’s an IT. So as an educator, I see this as a challenge of education, because energy economics, I’m trying to redefine it more broadly, because, you know, a lot of the energy economists that you’ve talked to, very responsive to this ideology, that and the money that flows with it, you know, that you can, anytime you write a plan, help a state come up with a plan that gets you to net zero in 10 or 20 years. That’s what they’re trying to show. And that’s what they want. In the report, a lot of economists will figure out, you know, how do you model it to show how you can get there, right, you could put in tons and tons of batteries, and tons and tons of wind and solar. But you know, they don’t really get into the grid limitations, or the how the markets are affected. So there’s, to me there six disciplines. If you want to learn Energy Economics, and be effective at policy, there are six areas you have to understand and hopefully I’m working on online courses are an extension of, of how to teach and train on this. But the first is climate science, right? You got climate scientists that create fear and urgency, IPCC writes report saying that bad things are going to happen. We got to do them quickly. And then then that moves into policy. You know, you got politicians, lawyers, you pass legislation, big climate bills that require reductions and emissions, right. So that whole policy machine feeds off of the science and the IPCC reports, right? And then next to that, you get into the the the, the economists, right? The economists try to interpret the policy and come up with the overall cost and overall pathways to decarbonisation. And then they say it can be done. And then next, the fourth discipline is the grid operator, the energy systems operator, right? They’re the ones that have to figure out how to maintain a reliable, resilient, affordable grid in reaction to these new requirements. Right? So what are the technical limits of operating a grid and gas pipeline system, and all the other systems. And then the fifth one is implementation people that the businessmen that go out and build and operate plants, right. They’re the ones that really build things, they get private investment, that they make these plants work, and they, they operate them. And then there’s finally the technology side, the the energy companies, the oil companies, the Nuclear Suppliers, the solar and wind producers. They’re the ones that provide new technology, right, we got fusion coming around the corner, we’ve got net power has a combined cycle that captures all the co2 coming out of it, you’ve got the hydrogen powered, combined cycles, if you can figure out how to get hydrogen there. So you get all these great technologies that try to respond to all these other things. But until you take a look at all six, and put them next to each other, and get each one to understand what the other six parties need, and why and how they think, I think that’s what’s needed to really understand energy economics, and it’s very difficult to pull all those together. But you know, that’s what I tried to do when I started teaching at a graduate level in a survey course, and, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s incredibly difficult to make all those connections, but that’s my challenge. That’s what, you know, I’m retired, I’m 72, whatever I can do to push the educational side in the right direction, working with multiple universities, and figuring out how to do things online more effectively. So that’s what drives me right now, Robert, terms of what your comment was,
Robert Bryce 42:36
I got you well, so I’ll read it back to you. Because I think you’ve answered my question. And it took you a while. And I’m not saying not digging you for it, but it’s because it will. So Why do so few. So few people understand the grid and the workings of the grid, it’s because they have to understand all those six disciplines that the climate science, policy, economics, grid operations, implementation and technology, and you have to be conversant or even an expert in all of them. And maybe, maybe, okay, so if all of those, maybe those in my view, I think about well, the last, you know, do I have to be an expert on climate science? Well, maybe not. If the goal is to reduce co2, I can just say, Okay, we’ll accept that. But still, you’ve got to think well, okay, what’s the policy? What is going to work in the real world if I pass a law or some regulation? And then the economics? Well, what’s it going to cost? Because that’s gonna affect the policy. And then the last three, grid operations implementation technology, so is use my friend Lee coordinators line, which I’ve used many times now. Where are you going to put it? How are you going to connect it and how you’re going to pay for it? Right. So those are the things you know, those are the key drivers. But I think you’ve answered my question in a very robust way. Why does so few people understand God damn complicated? That’s why and it’s and it’s only and I’ll say this as well. In this is a bias that I’ve had on my on this podcast. I like interviewing older people rather than younger people, because they have more experience and have more ability to understand more disciplines. And I think that that’s part of it as well. Is it not that there aren’t that many gray heads? And I’ll say that word that really want to be engaged in these kinds of issues and have the enough experience to be able to say, No, this is the right way or this is the wrong way. Am I on track here?
Reiner Kuhr 44:22
Yeah, I mean, I think the understanding enough of all these areas, keeps you from getting carried away with one ideology are one set of objectives. You know, you can there’s a long history to environmental regulation in the US, right, we used to have a lot of coal plants and we gradually regulated the coal plants more and more to reduce air pollution and wastewater discharges and soon it became an economical, but the process of applying regulations and passing climate legislation and that environmental ledger isolation was a logical progression that considered economics and considered the technology, it considered how it would impact plants that operate that there was a good logical sequence there. And now, we’re not really doing that, right, we’re imposing restrictions, kept limits on co2 emissions that don’t, that don’t work their way around the the important disciplines that that have to factor into that part, part of it might be, might not be unintentional, right? I mean, you’ve got special interests promoting different technologies, you’ve got this ideology that might not want to consider economics, because it’s, you know, how do you get to net zero? If you consider economics, right? If your job is to develop policy to get you to net zero? And you come back and say, Well, geez, it’s not really academic, or feasible to get there anymore? What happens to your job, right? So it’s, there’s a lot of embedded motivations that aren’t just educational, it’s part of this whole. You know, we got what $14 billion a year of climate funding that filters its way into, into many different agencies and organizations with kind of a blind purpose, right?
Robert Bryce 46:23
I’m really glad that you laid out those six points right here, because it’s, you know, I’ve thought about these issues for a while. And I’ve had a lot of guests on the podcast, and I write a lot about it. But I haven’t had as clear a layout and outline for how all these have to come together. Because as you’re saying it to what I’m seeing over and over is a whole lot of policy specialists. And these are the ways I see it. These are the NGOs, the climate groups, I don’t call them green groups, and I don’t even call them environmental groups anymore. They’re NGO activist groups who they have one purpose, and it’s to push a specific policy, whether that’s natural gas bans, or more renewables or whatever. And so they have one focus and one focus only. And that’s the policy and getting the policy implemented. And all the rest of this is of no interest to them. And they’re and they measure their their success. By implementing policy and nothing else, right, we got this bill passed, or we got this regulation passed, we look see we got California to ban natural gas use in the home and commercial businesses beginning that’s a policy when everything else we don’t care about because it’s climate science, or I guess you could say it’s tied to the first one, right, but I’m just reflecting back, because I haven’t thought about it in these ways. But I think that that outline really helps me understand what this is all about, and what the different interest groups are, and so much of the money and the momentum, and the media is behind only the policy part and none of the rest.
Reiner Kuhr 47:45
Yeah, and if you look at those six disciplines I mentioned and you go back and review all your podcasts, Robert, you’ve done an excellent job at populating a lot of the different aspects of that right. You had Steve Koonin on to talk about interpretation of climate science, you’ve got people from different industries, talking about how the fossil markets are changing. And now the, your podcasts have done an excellent job of, of trying to capture those six areas. And I encourage you to, to keep looking and bringing in people from each of those areas to do that. And that’s one of the reasons I’m very interested in your podcasts because it it really carries the same areas of emphasis as the areas that I’m interested in.
Robert Bryce 48:34
Well, thank you. That’s a very kind compliment. Well, let’s talk about implementation, then, because you’re in New England, and like other parts of the country, it’s very constrained on in terms of topography in terms of geography, population, etc. So you’ve talked about the possibility, and I’m going to use that word here, very purposely the possibility of increased renewable energy deployment in New England. But here’s the question, is it even feasible? I mean, is it even possible that big given the land use constraints and the opposition to wind and solar which is happening all across the country, and this is an ongoing issue in my mind, one thing sticks in my craw with these policy analysts and elite universities. Oh, we’re just gonna build terawatts of new solar and wind. The fuck you are? Forgive me. It’s my podcast. I can use that word. But you’re not no, because the land use conflict. So the here’s the question, what is the even the possibility that New England could it with $60 billion, that they could build out the amount of wind and solar that is outlined and build the amount of high voltage transmission that would be required? Is it even possible in your view in New England, given the active nature of a lot of groups and local governments in New England opposing wind and solar you can’t build wind and new in Vermont isn’t even possible for New England. This question is even possible for New England to do a large scale build out of renewables. Given those land use constraints.
Reiner Kuhr 49:57
I attended a hearing Last week, where I testified a little bit on the economics of the New England, Massachusetts climate plan, but all the other, most of the other people that objected to the plan objected on the basis of land use and deforestation and, and the land impacts of extending wind farms and an even solar for I think, when was probably the biggest, one of the bigger issues. And I think it’d be very difficult to get anywhere near the doubling that they’re projecting for solar and wind just because of the public opposition to on the land on the basis of land use. And, you know, transmission requires new rights of way and everything that’s extremely difficult to develop. The easy part from the policy standpoint is offshore wind, right? If you think about it, they do this 100 miles from from the coastline, people can’t see it. The groups that object are probably the fishing industry, or, you know, if they’re shipping lanes or baby bird strikes. So the opposition is much smaller. And the way these projects are sold are through offtake agreements with the distribution company, so. And if you try to understand what’s going on, and you request all the documents, these contracts, you know, how much are they going to pay how much the prices go up? Or we pay in three or four times what the wholesale prices for this. It’s all redacted. Right? It’s a competitive process. So if you request a copy of proposals or agreements, you get it, you get one, that’s all blacked out, all the numbers are gone. So it’s very difficult for the public to participate in a full understanding of what they’re going to be paying for. But as a transaction, the utility regulator tells the distribution companies that they have to enter into these agreements, right. And it’s not, I’m not sure what kind of a public process is there to recognize what’s going on until it’s too late. Right. So so you get a policy home run? Because it’s a lot easier to develop these projects, I’ve sure, that are financed based on offtake agreements to distribution companies with Public Utility Commission approval, and limited public input, then to try to, to get 100 new wind farms built onshore. Right,
Robert Bryce 52:43
right. And there it is, where the economics part comes in and gets ignored. Purposely, I would say in many cases, because it doing, I just think offshore wind is a loser. I thought it’s a loser for a long time. We’ve heard lots of projections about oh, massive increases, this is going to happen. And I look at it, I think yeah, man, thanks. Not gonna happen. It’s too expensive. And building anything in salt water is a bad idea. I mean, it’s salt water is just a terrible environment. So you’re gonna put these massive machines out in the middle of the deep ocean, I just and then you have the problem of bringing that power on shore. But anyway, so but just to bring drive this point home. So you’re saying your you attended this hearing last week that most of the speakers are in opposition to the renewables plan? We’re talking about land use issues?
Reiner Kuhr 53:27
Yeah, I mean, that was several of the speakers were concerned about losing trees and adding big land use impacts in areas that that were undisturbed. You know, if you look at the footprint of a wind farm with access roads, and the foundation work and the transmission, it leaves a pretty big footprint. And I think most people don’t understand the economics, right? Because the state, the state energy offices are even saying, Oh, it’s gonna save you money. Right, right. And they’re not doing rate studies. And they should be asked to do a rate impact studies, because your electric bill could double or triple in the next 10 years to pay for these things, right? And they’re telling us that, oh, it’s it’s not going to cost very much, and solar and wind are getting cheaper and cheaper every year, and we should just build as much as we can. Right. So that’s, you’re getting the soft sell on the economics that avoids the primary costs and rate impacts, which no, I think that’s the next step is to really get the state energy offices to be honest about rate impacts, because that that that would create some public resistance very quickly against these, these big offshore wind farms. If people realize they’re spending, they’re going to pay, you know, three or four times as much for a significant portion of their electricity. You remember with public with regulated utilities, how difficult it was to get a rate increase? Hmm, right, the utility wanted to build a nuclear power plant. And there were, there was a decade of discussion on how much electric rates would go up to pay for that, and whether you really needed the power and, and now with a deregulated grid, and you don’t have central planning, you don’t have integrated resource planning that says, Well, wait a minute, offshore wind is going to be a very expensive way to do it. Plus, it’s going to make power at the same time that the nukes do. And we shouldn’t do this from a planning standpoint, that integrated resource planning isn’t there anymore. Right now you’ve got the wind industry coming in pushing lobbying, the policy people saying, Oh, this is a lot easier than onshore renewables development. It’s it happens. And, you know, it’s if you look at the New York and New England plans, they’re talking about 10s of gigawatts of offshore wind coming in very quickly over the next couple of decades. Right. So that’s what keeps me up. At early in the morning at four o’clock when the freight train rolls through my head with with all of the stuff that’s happening that keeps me working instead of just enjoying retirement. But
Robert Bryce 56:20
well, I think it’s so important no matter what you’re doing, because I think that this is because electricity bills touch everyone, right? And it’s and it’s going to be we’re seeing rates are going up all across the country, partly because of higher gas prices. But some of the other things we talked about, let me ask a specific question. Excuse me about nuclear, because it’s one that I think is important. And I’ve heard other people say this, that nuclear just can’t have nuclear power plants. Texas might be an exception. But in these deregulated, I would Ken Lay call them reorganized markets, or that wasn’t his term of art, but the deregulated markets, can nuclear power plants be successful in deregulated markets? Or do they need a regulated system because that will assure their return on investment?
Reiner Kuhr 57:07
I think I think for existing plants, as long as gas prices stay high, and they get some subsidies, they’re okay owned by unregulated subsidiaries. But if you’re going to build anything new, and, you know, if you start looking 2030 to 2040, and we’re looking at New York’s planned with very ambitious growth, and and you start doing electrification, right, you start putting in charging stations for cars and heat pumps, that’s, that’s going to require a huge amount of new capacity. Right, right. And the New York plan, it’s, it’s kind of funny, because it was written by the guys that I saw in New York who have to be very positive about everything when they write these things like, yeah, so they’re saying, well, it’s going to require an unprecedented level of development, you know, you got seven years to put in 50 gigawatts or something, you know, it’s there’s no way. Right. And, and then, when we’re trying to put this model together, or what, what is the new capacity going to be? Right? It has to be a clean, flexible, and reliable generation. So how can you do that? Right? It, if you left the market to its own devices, people would build more gas plants, because obviously, that’s the cheapest, you’d have to bring in more gas supply, which is difficult. Right? Now you got people saying, well, we can have hydrogen powered combined cycles, you put in a cavern, you put it in hydrolyzes. And you make electricity, you make hydrogen with electricity, put it in a cavern, and then you can run a combined cycle plant without any emissions. Right? That that’s kind of puzzling, because, you know, it takes a lot of energy to make the hydrogen is that gonna create co2? You know, there’s other technologies like net power, who are these a supercritical co2 cycle, and they produce high pressure co2 that you could pump into the ground. Or if there’s any place, you can do enhanced oil recovery, you can produce more oil without co2, there’s a lot of markets for that. But you know, they’re not really designed to operate as speakers, they want to run all the time, and trying to find something that matches. So the best thing that we came up with was advanced SMRs where you designed the nuclear SMR with a nuclear island that runs all the time, right? Most of your money is in the nuclear islands got to run 24/7 and you store the energy is hot salt, and then you design a power block that matches the market. Right? So you need peaking if you need cycling, the fill in between renewables, try to make it behave like a combined cycle plant. And most nuclear designs don’t lend themselves to that. Right. So So you know, I’m hoping to work and I’ve done a lot of work in the SMR industry before I retired, but you know, my message to them is is looking at your market. If you’re going to replace combined cycle plants after 2030, you’ve got to look at ACT and smell like a combined cycle plant from a performance standpoint. And some of them get that. And some of them are still using kind of a traditional design because nuclear reactors don’t like to change load. Right. So
Robert Bryce 1:00:23
if I can just interject one quick thing about the hydrogen, which I think is just worth noting, well, one, I’ve been driven fuel cell vehicles and and I drove in I wrote in the first 130 years ago, I haven’t seen any fuel cells lately. I haven’t seen any fuel cells in very long time. So I’m skeptical on hydrogen. But the thing about the alum cycle, like it’s interesting, right about this idea of being able to separate but it all depends on oxygen separation at the front end, right? I mean, you have to produce a tremendous amount of oxygen in the first place, right? So it’s not just as simple as this.
Reiner Kuhr 1:00:56
Yeah, they put in an air separation unit, it’s well known technology, right? You chill the air. And you can make all these gases as byproducts you can sell argon, and other precious gases to the point that there’s a market for them. Right? If you’re up in upstate New York, there might not be a lot of people buying Oregon from you or something. But you know, there’s a lot this is why you have to go back to the technology side, right? You got to understand where the technologies are going to fit where they don’t and a lot of estate planning, climate plans require a huge expansion of generation without having figured out what it’s going to be.
Robert Bryce 1:01:37
Well, then that’s key, I think your point on New York, and then I looked at some of the snippets from that that report, and it was it, you know, they essentially say, well, we need these firm dispatchable, zero carbon systems that don’t exist. They don’t say it quite that way. But that’s what they say. So that in fact, when in these six, the list of the six disciplines, then when it comes to this, the technology then suddenly shoots to the head of the line, right? Well, then, well, then, okay, we’ll start with the technology. Well, then how did the economics and the implementation and the policy then work after if that’s if this is the technology so I see what you know, this outline is very helpful to think about, okay, well, how’s this going to work? Right, and which, which thing has to come next? So we’ve been talking for for more than an hour now, Reiner, and I like to keep my podcasts at about that length. And this has been great. It’s been I’m really glad to get the update on what you’ve been doing. Again, my guest is Reiner Coker. He is based in Cape Cod lucky guy. He’s written a report about it’s called the technical and economic limits for renewable power integration in New England. You can find him on LinkedIn and also at the center for academic collaboration initiatives center aci.com. I don’t know if I asked you this question before Reiner. When you were on the podcast now more than a year ago? Who are your heroes who you look up to your ears? The guy has done a lot of work in science, engineering, technology, economics. Who are your heroes?
Reiner Kuhr 1:03:11
I don’t know. I guess the heroes are the people that are out there. Trying to improve how we understand things. LOMBORG is making a good case for the at the social cost of doing too much for decarbonisation. You’ve got people that are in the climate science side, linquist they had that lawsuit in information a lawsuit in Louisiana. Have you seen that movie? No. But they showed that the IPCC came up with a technical report saying that there was high uncertainty in connecting co2 emissions with with temperature rise, and then the report for policymakers flipped that around. So so I’ll send you a link to that. But that might be an interesting interview, right? So does the IPCC honestly interpret for policymakers? What the What the scientists came up with? So it’s very difficult to stand up to that and I my heroes are the guys that aren’t afraid of them, and aren’t afraid of the of the huge funding that is pushing this ideology that arbitrarily seeks elimination of fossil fuels. So I don’t know if that’s a good answer. But
Robert Bryce 1:04:39
no, that’s fine. So what are you reading? I’m two more questions. What are you reading these days? Any books on the top of your list there?
Reiner Kuhr 1:04:45
Well, you know, I’ve been saying I like to cycle between historical fiction and, and science fiction. I don’t have to read science fiction anymore because I get to read all these state implementation plans. But I have a I have a friend that writes, I
Robert Bryce 1:05:00
read science fiction, I have the New York ISO.
Reiner Kuhr 1:05:06
So the there’s a guy, William Walker, who has written a series of books about between World War One and World War Two. And the first one was Danzig and spy in Vienna. And I enjoy reading historical fiction, and he’s a good writer, I think it’s, it’s fun to go back and revisit other periods in history, when a lot of people were trying to do strange things, you know, him or was trying to take over Europe, Britain was a passive was promoting pacifism, you know, be nice to hit her and he won’t hurt anybody. And so he starts taking over parts of Europe. And, you know, we don’t always learn from our mistakes historically. And, you know, now with Putin and Russia and, and his energy war there, as some of your speakers have described, it’s interesting to go back and read about history. The other thing I’m reading a lot about, and it’s not really through books, but a nutrition, you know, if you there was a book, good calories, bad calories that started to talk about how the medical industry is very responsive to food industry, promoted research and pharmaceutical industry research. And there’s a lot of people talking about how your body operates with food and near your body as a power system, your body uses certain forms. So I’m very fascinated by that. And you know, I’m on a low carb diet, the Keto keto diets, really reflect some of this thinking that’s outside the current medical industry. So joining that, that kind of reading as well.
Robert Bryce 1:06:53
So I did, I didn’t neglect him, given your German heritage, I just neglected to ask you. So what’s your take? Very, just give me your quick take on what’s happening in Europe. My take is they drove themselves into the ditch, this was something that they use the policy, as my Bjorn, Bjorn Peters, who is the we just released a podcast with him. He said, This is a policy driven situation this the policy drove them to this what? What’s your quick take on the energy crisis in Europe?
Reiner Kuhr 1:07:22
Yeah, I mean, I actually watched a lot of your podcasts have learned from some of the speakers about the background and how, you know, there might have been influenced from Russia and China that discourage fracking and suggested shutting down the coal industry and exaggerating the risks of operating nuclear plants. So, you know, it sounds like it could have been a well orchestrated long term plan to support futons attempt to get get some property back, you know, I think the war is going to end soon, because it they’re almost at a stalemate, Putin is trying to hold on to whatever he can and threatened things that that could push to an earlier end of the war. So I hope there’s something that happens soon to ensure the politicians will step in and, and try to do something before, you know a lot of additional unnecessary damage is done. Putin is trying to take out a lot of the infrastructure now in, in the Ukraine, right. So it’s just trying to hurt them as much as he can to get them to the table and salvage some of what he’s got. And, and, you know, if the war does end, you know, what does that do to the world’s energy situation? That would be an interesting topic for one of your future interviews. Right.
Robert Bryce 1:08:41
So that’s a good idea. So my last question, then, and it will be the last one, right? Or what gives you hope?
Reiner Kuhr 1:08:48
Well, I think, you know, working with young people, at different colleges and universities and seeing that there’s a growing recognition of what the limitations to these policies are, I think there will be a strong response over the next. I don’t see it in this election, but maybe in the next election cycle, somebody will start taking energy more seriously as part of their candidacy and recognize the cost and inflationary implications of some of these policies. So I see the beginnings of some of that, you know, in terms of Hope related to a better understanding of energy economics, but I you know, I see it. I think there’s a lot of brilliant people out there and they just have to put the pieces together. And then it’ll happen.
Robert Bryce 1:09:51
Well, as a friend of mine said, from your lips to God’s ears is thick, the old phrase, so Let’s all hope for that. Well, listen, Reiner. It’s been great. We We’ve talked more for more than an hour so I want to call bring this to an end but again, my guest has been Reiner curry. You can find him on the interweb. He’s on LinkedIn and at center aci.com Reiner, thanks for being on the power hungry podcast. Great fun.
Reiner Kuhr 1:10:14
Thank you Robert. It was a pleasure.
Robert Bryce 1:10:16
And to all you in podcast land tune in for the next episode of the power hungry podcast until then, see you