Todd Moss is the executive director of the Energy for Growth Hub, a non-profit group that aims to help “All countries achieve the high-energy future they need to become prosperous, competitive, and climate resilient.” In this episode, Robert talks to Moss about the challenges of electrification in Africa, the fuels that will likely play the biggest roles in that effort, the “modern energy minimum,” and his parallel career as a writer of spy novels.
Robert Bryce 0:04
Hi, welcome to the power hungry podcast. I’m Robert Bryce. I’m the host of this podcast and where we talk about energy, power, innovation and politics. And my guest today is Todd moss, the executive director of the energy for growth hub. Todd, welcome.
Unknown Speaker 0:19
Good to be with you.
Robert Bryce 0:22
Todd, we have a tradition. I have a tradition. I’m using the PayPal we this morning, I guess, that guests introduce themselves. I know you’re the executive director of energy for growth hub, you’ve been in DC and politics for a long time. But assume you have just arrived at a at an event dinner party, say and you have 30 or 45 seconds to introduce yourself. Go.
Todd Moss 0:47
Alright, so look, I’m a lifetime lifelong Africa policy junkie. You know, a couple days after I graduated college, I got on a plane and went to Zimbabwe, spent about a year backpacking around Africa was completely hooked. And then I was bouncing between London and Washington DC for for most of my career. And for more than the last decade, I’ve been in Washington, working first for the World Bank, then for the Center for Global Development, then I worked for the State Department as Condoleezza Rice’s senior West Africa, diplomat. And for the last two years, I’ve been running the energy for growth hub, which is a nonprofit global network dedicated to building a high energy future for everyone. So that’s, that’s me.
Robert Bryce 1:35
That’s good. I didn’t time it. But 46 or 47? seconds, you covered a lot of ground there. Good. Well, so you’ve you’ve explained energy for growth hub succinctly? Why are there no low energy, high income countries?
Todd Moss 1:53
Well, if we think about everything, and first of all, Robert, thank you for putting that quote, as the opening to your book. I thought that was terrific. So if we look, historically, there’s just there are no examples of countries becoming rich without consuming a ton more energy. Even if we go back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, a lot of it was you know, because of the steam engine and coal. And that’s just held true forever. For us to become more wealthy and more productive, we have to use a lot of energy to do so. And there’s just no escaping that. And, and, and that’s why, even today, you know, the poor countries of the world just consume very little energy. And every single rich country consumes a lot of energy. And it’s, it’s built into everything. So you know, we we think about it as lights, right? We think about it as lighting, maybe charging our phone, running our laptops, but actually most of the energy and then the electricity that we consume is actually out there. Invisible out in the wider economy, in the data centers. It’s embedded in everything that we use, it’s behind everything, and we don’t really even notice it, until it’s out. Like think the panic that happens when the power goes out, even for an hour, much less for days or weeks, we would not be able to function in a normal way and our economy would grind to a halt. And that’s effectively what’s happening in in a lot of low energy context is that the economy that should be churning out jobs and create creative ideas and higher incomes. It’s not because it’s being killed by in part by lots of things, but one of them is a lack of reliable affordable energy.
Robert Bryce 3:50
So but let me follow up on that, because you stated that case very well, and I’ve written about this, there are a lot of people have written about it. But energy is a broad term. I’ve focused on electricity, and much of your work lately has been on electricity as well. So let’s segregate those out if you don’t mind. So there’s been a big body of work. Oh, what was his name that the Cal Berkeley his last name was Kurt Smith looked at smoke inhalation in in India and other countries and correlated that with mortality among women and girls. So let’s break it up into into and I want to talk about industrial use of energy versus residential because that’s one of your key areas that I think is quite interesting. But let’s just look at the home for a moment and talk about cooking fuels and electricity. And and so what do we need more energy but why do women need more more and better cooking fuel?
Todd Moss 4:54
So yeah, so you’re right in every context in the home, we we need more than Just we don’t actually care. That’s the thing, we don’t care. In a practical sense, where where we get the electrons from, right, so I actually could take a hot shower. And it’s an I don’t even need to know if it’s a if it’s a gas heater or electric heater, it doesn’t matter, I don’t need to know where it comes from. Same with now with vehicles, you can get in a car and drive somewhere. And it doesn’t really matter if it’s gas or diesel or electricity. We care about the services and energies
Robert Bryce 5:35
we care about.
Todd Moss 5:36
We care about the services and energy can provide, right? Yeah, but I do think in the among the residential energy services we need cooking is so fundamental I mean, eating is it’s obviously fundamental to, to life. But also food is just so much a part of everyone’s culture, I probably think about food about 100 times a day. It’s just so embedded in who we are as people and who are what our societies are. And it also happens to consume. A lot of the energy that we use in a normal day happens to be in cooking and food production. And in poor contexts, people use really inefficient, really dirty fuels. And there are you mentioned, India, large parts of Africa, people are still using biofuel, they’re burning wood or charcoal inside their home to cook. And that obviously very inefficient, it’s a very inefficient use of women’s time to go collect this stuff. But it also creates all kinds of indoor health issues, indoor health issues, you would never your I would never think of cooking on a wood stove inside a house without proper ventilation, you would just never do that. But a lot of people unfortunately, this is common. It’s the reality that people live with
Robert Bryce 6:59
in developing countries. If I can just interrupt you there because as you you’re saying this, I remember vividly It was a few years ago, it was Anderson Cooper, who was in near virgin Congo and near Virunga National Park, talking about the issue of deforestation and the protection of the gorillas in the park. And the I remember he interviewed it was he was interviewing I think it was a German conservation guy. And he said, Well, how do we solve this? And I recall vividly the guy saying, You give me enough butane and F butane stoves, and I’ll solve this tomorrow. Right? So it’s not that that issue of availability of energy goes beyond the human aspects, which are incredibly important, but it’s also about the preservation of wild lands in Africa. Is that Is that a fair assessment?
Todd Moss 7:41
Oh, sure. And, you know, I mean, this is the thing is that every every energy source has some kind of trade off. And I think that we should just be, you know, we should be honest about what those trade offs are, nothing comes at no cost. And we want to try to balance off those trade offs and deliver energy in the most efficient, cost effective manner to get people the services that they need to allow people to live better lives and allow poor people to become richer so that their children can live better lives than they did. But every source even you know, pick your favorite it has it has some kind of costs associated with it needs to be managed.
Robert Bryce 8:23
So now let’s talk about electricity. And I’ll ask this question specifically, why is why does electricity matter so much for women and girls?
Todd Moss 8:33
I, so I The short answer is I don’t really know. I can speculate, of course, that, you know, a lot of it has to do with, with labor roles and the use of time and time efficiency. And we certainly saw in the United States. And there’s actually a wonderful little TED talk by Hans Rosling, called the magic washing machine about I think about his grandmother,
Robert Bryce 9:00
I’m familiar with his where his grandmother came over to watch his mother wash clothes and their new washing machine. And she sat in front of it for the entire cycle. Because exactly excited about that, that revolution in clothes washing,
Todd Moss 9:16
right, so so stories like that, and people may know, you know, I remember, you know, my grandmother talking about the first time they got a television and the first vacuum cleaner in their house. So these kinds of stories resonate with people where they can relate to them from their own lives, and see that, that modern electricity can help deliver modern appliances, which make our lives much more efficient and allow us to do other things. And I think probably because of the gender labor division that’s had a disproportionately positive effect on women.
Robert Bryce 9:54
And that’s true in Africa. It’s true all around the world. So what are they? Well, let me step back because I’m just curious. I know that you worked as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. And I know you’ve written some spy novels that feed on or follow on some of your history in the in the diplomatic corps. So you work with Condoleezza Rice? Well, just, you know, we’re gonna come back and talk about it. What was that? What was the State Department? What does that? What does that experience like for you?
Todd Moss 10:22
Well, first of all, you know, I, I wound up in that position through a series of complete accidents that I could never have planned in a million years. So sometimes life throws the biggest lessons that sometimes life throws random things that you, you just got to roll with it. But seeing our government work from the inside was both intensely frustrating and intensely enlightening. And, you know, our government has incredible capacity to do lots of things that can be very influential, it can rally resources on like, very few institutions in the world. And but it’s also such a big behemoth that it sets it’s set up to, it’s not set up to be to operate very efficiently. And so I found myself in a position of, you know, I was, what was I 38 at the time, and being able to meet with heads of state and represent my government and my country, incredibly lucky and powerful thing to be able to do. The same time I found that day to day, most of my time was spent was spent kind of in fighting and bickering with other parts of the state department or other other federal agencies, about what about how the United States should respond and how we should balance trade offs. And come back to our theme here that balancing trade offs is, what policymaking is really all about. And that that was, that was a big lesson I learned.
Robert Bryce 11:53
What’s the most important skill for a diplomat?
Todd Moss 11:56
skill, most important skill for a diplomat? Well, you would think it would be able, you would think that it would be able to lie with a straight face, but I actually don’t think that’s true. So an effective diplomat
Robert Bryce 12:12
with a straight face,
Todd Moss 12:14
yeah. An effective diplomat and he needs to be able to work with our allies to help try to solve common problems. So we’re not gonna you know, the American official and a Nigerian official are not going to look at a particular problem, democracy Coronavirus, counterterrorism, we’re not going to look at that problem in the same in the same way. But we have mutual interest in solving that those problems together, and trying to find that common ground and have practical steps that we can take together and do that in a respectful way. And I think maybe it’s particularly sensitive working in Africa, where most African officials have had decades of, of Westerners telling them what to do. And that just is not work that does not work. In this world, you have to it has to be built a relationship on mutual respect and mutual interests. And that I think is is you know, that the most important, the most important skill for an American diplomat for the next decade
Robert Bryce 13:27
is so if I, if I’m hearing you, right, if I repeat that back, the most important skill is humility.
Unknown Speaker 13:32
Robert Bryce 13:35
Is that a common? Is that a common commodity in Washington, DC?
Todd Moss 13:39
I, you know, I think I think the last four years have been chastening for a lot of people. And I think if you’re an American diplomat, and you were assigned to go out and rebuild a relationship with an important ally, right now, I think humility is probably what you should be wearing on your shirt sleeve right now.
Robert Bryce 14:01
So So I heard one guy in politics, it was in the Texas State House A long time ago, there are no permanent allies, no permanent enemies, but there are permanent interests. So is that instead of
Unknown Speaker 14:13
Todd Moss 14:16
I think even our interests shift over time. But I do think that we have some fundamental values and some fundamental interests that the United States is always going to want to pursue. And these are going to be complicated, and it’s not, you know, single issue. advocacy, it can be very powerful domestically, but when you’re trying to balance complicated relationships, it can be pretty difficult. And that, you know, it doesn’t matter what the issue is, but trying to see the big picture, I think is is is vitally important, because that’s what politicians are trying to balance. Well, so
Robert Bryce 14:55
let me just last question on that because I’m sure we’ve seen this the For years of the Trump presidency where a lot of American interests were, let’s say shifted, or or blurred? Is it gonna come? How long will it take to repair those relationships as well? I mean, what was your view? I mean, looking back, I know, there’s a lot of unrest in the State Department in particular. I mean, what if you could summarize what you think, you know, was there damaged permanent damage in America’s foreign relations sub ships under the Trump administration? And if so, how does it how does that gonna play out in the next few years?
Todd Moss 15:37
Oh, I mean, I don’t think that there, it’s remotely controversial to say that America standing in the world took a, a very serious and lasting blow from the last four years, you know, withdrawing from the who, you know, I am eyes wide open on problems of UN agencies, but withdrawing from the who was just such a terrible signal during a pandemic. And that’s just one among many examples. So some of that damage can be quickly repaired, we can rejoin the who we can rebuild some of the relationships that were strained. And the damage within the State Department is going to take a little bit longer, a lot of highly qualified people left, morale inside the building was terrible. Not just the State Department, but some of our other federal agencies. And that that I think, will be slower to recover. And I think it will, we will see if there’s permanent damage to our standing visa v. Other regions that have increased their influence in in in the vacuum that we created, and most obviously, China. But there are lots of countries that were very glad to see the United States step back from the world and become inward looking. And they took advantage of that very aggressively. And I don’t know how long it’s going to take for us to get that back, or if we ever well.
Robert Bryce 17:10
Okay, so let’s go back. Thanks. Well, I mean, I don’t know many people who’ve worked at that level of the State Department. And so I, those are things that as I was reading, you know, preparing for this, I thought, yeah, those are things I’m quite interested in. But let’s let’s go back to energy, what is the modern, the modern energy, minimum?
Todd Moss 17:30
modern energy minimum, okay, so there. So there’s a wonderful goal that we have for the world, it’s sustainable Goal number seven, which is to provide reliable, affordable, sustainable modern energy for every person on the planet by 2030. It’s a wonderful goal, we absolutely should do everything we can to achieve that. The problem is that the way we are measuring success is by basic household at basic household electricity. So they’re looking at the rate of, of residences, the rate of people that live in a home that has some kind of modern electricity, and they set the bar at 50 kilowatt hours per person per year. And that’s the minimum.
Robert Bryce 18:20
Now that is just to be clear. So yeah, global average is about 4000 kilowatt hours per capita per year.
Todd Moss 18:26
Right, probably something around there in the United States, it’s 13,012 or 13. You know, and there, there is no country, there’s no wealthy country in the world where it’s less than, like three or 4000. Right. But we’ve set the bar at 50. For the world, to define that
Robert Bryce 18:47
here. And this is what this is an IE number International Energy Agency numbers that not right?
Todd Moss 18:52
It is it’s an it’s an IE a definition of what they consider the minimum consumption for somebody to have modern access to be considered
Robert Bryce 18:59
having energy access. Correct,
Todd Moss 19:02
right. And while that’s a that’s 50 kilowatt hours of electricity is better than zero. And it’s still very, you know, obviously extremely small. It’s enough for a couple of light bulbs, and maybe you can charge your cell phone, but not much else. And so what we thought is okay, that’s fine as kind of the equivalent of an extreme poverty, energy poverty line. Let’s get everybody to 50. But let’s define the next step. And we haven’t we haven’t, we have a parallel income. There’s a global, there’s a global goal to get everyone above $1 90 a day in income. And we absolutely should get everyone above that. But nobody thinks that $1 90 a day is enough income for a human being to live on in the 21st century. We all want people to go from $1 92 a day, to $5 a day and then into the middle class and eventually, ideally, everyone In the world is prosperous and wealthy. And so we we gathered 14 leading thinkers and development and energy to come around to think about, okay, if 50 kilowatt hours is just the first step, what’s the next step that we would want to try to measure? Because the old adage, what gets measured gets done. That’s what we’re hoping to do. So we came up with this idea of a modern energy minimum. And it’s better than it’s an additional metric for for measuring SDG seven, and it’s better than the current measure in two fundamental ways. One, it’s a lot bigger, it’s not 50, it’s actually 1000 1000 kilowatt hours per person. And it’s not just electricity at home, because three quarters of the electricity we consume is actually outside the home. So we’ve set it at a at a 3070 split, which is roughly the global average, where we want to start measuring people that use 300 at home and an average of 700, in the wider economy, in data centers, in hospitals and so on,
Robert Bryce 21:11
in a given country that that average would be 1000 kilowatt hours per capita per year, that that would, that would be the new target. Well, so I read your, your, your paper on this. And I thought, well, that’s interesting. And, but even still, what’s interesting about this idea of that modern energy minimum is that 1000 kilowatt hours is, as you know, if you’ve seen my new book, that is the about an average for an American refrigerator, and I stole that idea directly from you. I credited the refrigerator as a metric. But to be clear, that’s still a very, relative to American standards. And relative to the global average, even in 1000 kilowatt hours per capita per year, we’re still talking about a relatively low rate of consumption.
Todd Moss 21:53
It is it is and we’re again, not saying that this is the this is the end goal, it’s the next step, we’ll go get people from zero to 50. Now it’s getting from 50, to 1000. And what we did also to come up with the 1000, it’s Yes, it’s a nice round number. But it’s not, it’s not random. It’s not totally random. And we took all data that we could find for every country, going back to 1980. Which is about how far back we could get decent global coverage. And we correlated income and electricity consumption. And it’s very tightly correlated for the for the energy nerds or data nerds out there, the correlation, the R squared is point seven, seven, just incredibly tight for for this kind of thing. And 1000 kilowatt hours, is strongly associated with about 20 $500 a year in income. So it’s about almost $7 a day. So again, it’s better than two bucks a day. But it’s it’s just we’re almost getting people into the lower middle class globally. And obviously, we want people to keep going higher, but it’s that next step we want to track.
Robert Bryce 23:07
Sure. So how does that then relate back to Africa? Because you you identified yourself as a as a Africa, devotee, Africa, nerd junkie,
junkie, sorry, that was it. What would that mean, then for Africa is the number that I recall off the top my head is that they’re 1.1 billion Africans now 1.2 billion Africans, they use about as much electricity roughly as 33 million Canadians, right? This is a very, they’re starting from an extraordinarily low. Yeah. So what would that 1000? I don’t know that per capita number in Africa. What is that number in Africa? Now? Do you know that for the continent as a whole?
Todd Moss 23:49
Yeah, so I don’t have the number, right. So there’s a there’s a very important caveat when you think of Africa. So Africa, actually, you want to you want it’s it’s over a billion people incredibly diverse. The thing that they have in common is that they’re on a contiguous geographic space, which is random. And but when you’re thinking about the energy future and the energy needs, you first want to take out South Africa, South Africa’s consumption is over 4000 per kilowatt hour, and it’s almost all coal. And it goes back because they’ve had decades and decades a very heavy mining industry. And in the rest of the continent, nobody’s even close to 4000. And almost nobody uses coal. So a regional aggregate is very, very misleading if you include South Africa. Gotcha. It’s also can be very misleading if you include Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, and the rest of North Africa, because they’re also significantly wealthier than the rest of Africa and they’re also accepted. dreamily heavy on gas. So when you see, you know, and the Department of Energy has done it, there was just a study that came out in nature energy in the last couple of days. They took Africa as a whole and said, Oh, look at all of these fossil fuels. Look at all this coal and gas that’s driving Africa’s future. It’s actually not true. If you disaggregate South Africa and North Africa, the rest of Africa isn’t incredibly intensive in renewable energy. And it’s also people are consuming at a much, much lower rate. So what I like to do is disaggregate the country’s if we think of Africa’s largest country, Nigeria, over 200 million people, it will be bigger than the United States in the next two decades. electricity consumption per capita is 150. And that includes everything.
Robert Bryce 25:52
And this is despite decades. This is despite decades of efforts. And I want to talk about corruption. In a moment, Nigeria seems to be the country that in the history of electrification in Africa has had the least in growing electrification. It’s, it’s the biggest economy, the huge mineral wealth, and yet they’ve gone nowhere. So I guess, yeah, I’ll ask that question. Now. Why is this country that has had an I my own opinions, but why is Nigeria unable to increase their electricity use in any meaningful way?
Todd Moss 26:33
Well, we could have an entire podcast about the about the issues that Nigeria is facing, or Niger, Nigeria is, you know, Nigeria is one of the most incredible places in both the both the positive and in a frustratingly negative way. It has incredible talent, and human capacity. If you just look at the, at the success and capabilities of the Nigerian diaspora just in the United suggestin, Texas, look at the Nigerians in metropolitan Houston and all the incredible things they’re doing in medicine and science and business. And how many of their countrymen back in Nigeria are having that potential wasted? Because the courts don’t work and the electricity doesn’t work? is you know, it’s really tragic. It’s really tragic. So the question is, what small things could be done to unlock some of that potential, and Nigeria has not gotten some of those basic things, right. Yet, the biggest one is that the cost of electricity is, the price of electricity is below the cost of production. And that’s done for political reasons. But what that means is, it there’s no incentive to invest in the sector, because you’re going to lose money on every kilowatt hour that you sell. And until some of those structural issues, get resolved, you know, there’s technical issues about the grid and their generation mix and all kinds of things like that as well. But until these basic issues get resolved, I don’t think we’re gonna see Nigerian power sector really take off. So that at its heart that that it’s a governance failure there in that sector.
Robert Bryce 28:18
Well, is it okay, so let me ask that question, then directly. A governance failure. Are you are you saying corruption, because when I look at some of the much of the history of the Nigerian efforts to increase our hydro power production, the different regimes that have been in place and billions of dollars in loans were made, and nothing happened. So maybe just brought it out? How much of an impediment is corruption to electrification?
Todd Moss 28:48
Well, corruption is is a is a symptom, not a root cause, right. It’s a symptom of a governance structure that’s not functioning, it’s not transparent. It’s not. It’s they’re not getting the competitive market signals that that that you should have. You know, there are a lot of countries that have corruption that have politicians taking bribes for deals and are still getting things done. So I’m not saying that that’s not a problem in Nigeria. It absolutely is. It is a problem in our own country. And but the you know, the, the it’s not it’s that is, it’s not that solving corruption is not a strategy for us to get the power sector going. The strategy for getting the power sector going is getting the regulatory steps in place so that people can get a return on their investment, getting contract transparency, getting market mechanisms like solar auctions, get getting those functioning, and getting the enabling infrastructure in place to allow those positive dynamics to start to start to evolve. We haven’t seen that in Nigeria. And if we start with the idea, well, we’ve got to squeeze out corrupt politicians. We’re kind of we’re chasing, we’re chasing the symptoms rather than the than the root cause. And I think so I want to be a little sort of cautious about about overselling that as the problem. It’s another symptom of the structural issues that the sector is facing.
Robert Bryce 30:25
Okay, well, so then what? Let me let me talk about those those structural challenges, because those are the sanctity of contracts, property rights, yes, things that we take for granted. My abbreviation would be civil society, right, as an owner system that works where people are, as I call it in men question of power, esprit de grid, that there’s some integrity, the system has integrity. But that integrity can’t be imposed from the outside. Right? It has to be it has to come from within the people that in those countries, and how do you how does that get fostered from the outside? Or can it be?
Todd Moss 31:03
Yeah, so look there. So it’s not it’s not an either or, clearly you want you want, you know, the most powerful force in Nigeria are domestic taxpayers, right? If you’re, if you’re a domestic taxpayer, you should demand accountability for public resources. And we’ve actually seen tremendous strides, including in Nigeria, actually, especially in Nigeria, on on budget reforms, and a large part of that came about, through some very simple transparency mechanisms, the government started publishing the budget, and started releasing information about what money was coming in and where it was going. That had a very powerful effect. It wasn’t perfect, of course, it had a very powerful and positive effect. And that came about partially because of domestic pressure, but also that there was an international norm, that people were saying, look, the expectation is you should be open about your fiscal policy, a very similar dynamic exists in the power sector, you need electricity, consumers, investors, local business, demanding that the power system get fixed. But there’s also a role for international investors and groups like the World Bank to insist that, that Nigeria use international norms for competitive bidding for transparency of contracts, for all of those things, because we know when contracts and decisions get made behind closed doors, out of the view of the public, that nonsense happens. And when you do it in it, and there’s an international expectation, especially when there’s international investors involved, that helps to bring some of those, it helps to provide momentum for the domestic pressure for governance reforms.
Robert Bryce 32:44
I see. So having those, well, this is how everybody else is doing it, you need to do it this way. Or you get no money from the multilateral or bilateral lenders, then,
Todd Moss 32:55
well, it’s not just about conditions on the lenders, if you are a large American Corporation, and you’re going to go do a deal in Nigeria, you would want to insist on certain basic corporate governance standards, you want to make sure that the contracts you’re signing, were going to be legally valid in US or UK courts. And you’d want to know also that, that your competitor, you’re not competing against, let’s say, a Russian company that’s already signed a deal on the same land to provide the same service, but they’ve done something else in the deal. That’s, that’s undercutting you. Right. So. So it’s that it’s really the competitive pressures that I think make a much greater impact then, then the World Bank telling people, if you want to loan me You have to do this, that that that kind of conditionality. It seems like it works, but it actually doesn’t work.
Robert Bryce 33:51
Gotcha. Okay, so let’s talk about fuels. What you mentioned coal and gas before, what fuels what, what sources of generation are going to be the biggest, the most important ones in Africa over the next two or three decades?
Todd Moss 34:08
Geez, that’s such a great question. And the answer, you’re probably gonna be disappointed, but it really is going to differ Market to Market, right? So every country has their own fuel has their own endowments fuel depends on their own resources. Exactly. So like Kenya, we’ve talked a little bit about Kenya. So Kenya is more than 50 million people. It’s bigger than the state of California and population. But Californians use more electricity playing video games than Kenyans using their entire economy. That’s the scale of the disparities we’re facing. But in Kenya, their future is going to be mostly geothermal. They happen to be on top of the Rift Valley volcano structure. And they’ve got they’ve got I think, about seven gigawatts of untapped at least seven gigawatts of untapped geothermal. Power, they’re only tapping a fraction of that so far, they’re very lucky. They’re also Africa’s biggest wind market right now. So I think that, that Kenya will be, you know, our countries will have a balance, there’ll be mostly geothermal with a little bit of wind and solar, and probably some gaps to fill in, fill in the gaps. A country like Nigeria, or Ghana, and West Africa, or Senegal, and West Africa, they have a lot of domestic gas, their future is going to be probably majority gas, with some solar solar, mixed in there. And then, and then you’ve got countries like Ethiopia, which are betting big on big hydro. And so you are seeing just like you’d expect in Europe or Asia, you’re seeing countries respond to the choices that they have. And they’ll look at them at the at the market prices and try to figure out what kind of mix will work best for them. I do think the big challenge in Africa is that the solar potential is huge, obviously, right? We think of Africa as a hot sunny place, and most of it, it is. So you want to exploit low cost solar as much as possible, because of the prices, but you need to put that within, you know, within the context of how do you provide 24, seven, low cost reliable power, not just for households to get back to our original thing, not just for lights at home, but for data centers, for industry for big cities. You know, I think a lot of people think of Africa as mostly people living in small villages in the middle of nowhere. And that’s just not the case, the majority of Africans in the next decade will be living in cities, and Africa, like Asia will be home to lots of big cities, you know, greater than 10 million people, those people are going to be living in close quarters, very dense. And they’re going to live energy intensive lives, they’re gonna need power systems to support all of those jobs and all of those modern lifestyles.
Robert Bryce 37:12
Well, let me follow up on that, because that’s one part of the work that you’ve done that I think is most is really, among the most interesting things, which is your point that it’s industrial generation, industrial level, electric generation that drives broader electrification, that, if you think about, oh, we’re gonna wire neighborhoods First, well, maybe that’s not the most efficient use of capital? And is that a fair assessment of what your that if you want to begin electrification and broader scale electrification, you need to have industry that can use that power and then provide jobs and then the residential can follow? It is it is an approximation of what your work has found?
Todd Moss 37:54
So So yes, and no, right? Yes. So there’s kind of a small, so the small answer is that if you want to have a, if you want to build a power plant, to make that that project bankable, you need a credible off taker, somebody who is credit worthy who can sign a 20 year contract to take the electricity. If you don’t have that, it’s very hard to build a plant. In Africa, because a lot of in almost every country, the utilities themselves are broke, because they operate because they charge less than it costs to produce electricity. They’re not in you know, in the in the US, the utility would be the off taker in Africa, it’s not there, you actually need either a sovereign guarantor, or you need an in a large industrial customer, like an aluminum smelter, or a mine. And then you can build the plant on the back of that long term contract with that industrial customer, and then have residential electricity as a kind of side benefit. So that’s the contract piece. And the kind of bigger socio economic piece is that for people to afford electricity at home, and more importantly, to afford the appliances to run electricity at home, they actually need a job. And they need higher income. And that’s going to come about from from electricity for Industry and Commerce, electrifying poor people at home is is a good thing to do. So they have basic lighting and maybe basic refrigeration, but it’s not going to drive people, poor people are not buying laptop computers, and they’re not buying high energy appliances without that higher income. So there’s a little bit of a sequence there. Right. So there’s this is the bi directional nature of electricity in the economy that exactly.
Robert Bryce 39:43
Economic growth drives electric demand, and electric demand drives growth, but it’s the the pattern that we saw on the New Deal era in the United States, right? That’s right. There was a lot of electrification in rural areas, but then the Farm and Home administration then began financing washing machines so that women could use Is that and use more electricity that made them the power plants more economic. Right is that?
Todd Moss 40:05
That’s right. Okay. That’s right. But there’s a 21st century twist here, which is good news. Okay, the good news is that in the past rural homes would have to wait for the entire system you get built and eventually for the grid to arrive. And you know, many Africans live within spitting range of the of the grid, and that is how they will get electricity at home. But many, many do not. And the the 21st century spin here is that we now do have, we do have off grid systems that are not the same as a grid as a grid connection. But it can still offer basic services, so that people who are not getting the grid anytime soon, can get some basic electricity services. Now,
Robert Bryce 40:54
they’re talking about solar and batteries. So we’re
Todd Moss 40:57
talking so well, or, you know, look, diesel generators, right, or any off grid system. So when I was first, when I was a student in southern Africa, you know, the homes that that we used to stay in, in rural parts of Zimbabwe, they all had car batteries in their house, and they would use car batteries to run a radio. And in a weird way, that’s an off grid system, right. So we now have solar, we have solar diesel, hybrid solar battery hybrid, and these are getting better and cheaper all the time, and they can deliver more services. And that I think will start that will keep moving up the you know, it will keep delivering more and more to the consumer at that level, we’re still not going to see those types of systems running, you know, a steel mill anytime soon. So you’re still gonna need the grid for cities and industrial zones and for certain applications. But in the meantime, rural low income people do not have to wait for the grid. And they can still use these these other off grid systems, until either they move to the city or other, you know, the technology evolves so that they have higher, they have higher use. So this is actually to come back to your original question about the SDGs. And modern energy minimum. This is one of the tricks that the UN is getting away with the idea of delivering solar lanterns, or very small systems and saying that we’re succeeding and delivering access because they defined it down so low. And, and some of the solar home systems are fantastic. Some of them can even run small televisions, some of them are very cheap. And but almost none of them can boil water, for instance. Right. So it’s not they’re not really delivering. They’re delivering basic low cost services in a way that nobody else can really compete. And but they’re it’s not delivering the full suite of energy services that that a modern economy needs. So it’s a it’s an important niche, but it’s not the whole thing, right.
Robert Bryce 43:02
But it’s not transformative. And and, you know, Priscilla matanza, who was a former colleague, and she’s in in our film juice Hello, world, and she has that great line. In the film. She’s no people aren’t going to eat solar lamps. Right, that that’s making the point that this is not enough. Yeah. And but let me follow up on that, because there’s something else that I have been totally ripped you off on and credited to but
Todd Moss 43:28
it’s, I love it when people do that’s great.
Robert Bryce 43:31
Well, it’s it’s amateurs borrow professional steal. You made a graphic now, several years ago, when you were at the Center for Global Development, showing the disparity in a fixed amount of money, I believe was $10 billion, you have $10 billion to spend on electrification, how many more people would gain access to electricity with a gas fired generator versus solely spending that money on renewables? Can you walk me through that again? Because I’ve actually redrawn that graphic and occasionally use it in in my presentations.
Todd Moss 44:05
Yeah. So um, so yeah, so that was that was a couple of years ago. And it was part of a debate that there is a US agency that was deciding how to deploy its capital to get the biggest bang for its buck.
Robert Bryce 44:21
And Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
Todd Moss 44:23
Yeah, right, which doesn’t exist anymore. It’s now the development Finance Corporation. It’s been blown up bigger and better. But at the time, the old OPEC was trying to decide, you know, whether they should be they should have a rule to force renewables only or should they carry on with gas. At the time, there were a couple of reasons that gas was was was more economical, on average, and that was because they were able to crowd in a lot more private capital with gas. And of course, gas has a higher capacity factor, right. You can run a gas plant a lot more, you know, a lot, a lot more hours in the day than then a solar plant would provide. And so I don’t know what the what those ratios would look like today, because solar has come down a lot, at least the cost of panels is has come down a lot. But I think us having a theoretical debate about whether wind or solar or nuclear is cheaper, is kind of beside, it’s kind of, it’s often irrelevant, because we’re not comparing apples to apples, we’re actually trying to compare equivalent services. And so this is like a little nerdy beef with the levelized cost of electricity is that you really can’t compare those across technologies that are providing entirely different services. And, you know, the analogy I like to make is to transportation. Okay, so we would not argue, you know, I’ll tell you that my bicycle is really cheap. It’s very clean. It’s the most efficient way for me to get around my neighborhood. And Gosh, it’s fun. I love my bicycle. Okay, but it is good. You’re not,
Robert Bryce 46:12
you’re not gonna ride it to Kansas City,
Todd Moss 46:14
right? And it’s completely useless for long haul trucking or to go visit my son in California, right? completely useless. But for me to argue that my bicycle is cheaper than an 18 Wheeler or my bicycle is cheaper than an airplane, it’s it would be it would, it doesn’t make sense, because we’re not talking about equivalent services. I want a bicycle for certain things, it’s definitely the best solution for certain things. And I want, I need a truck and an airplane for certain things. And so we need to, you know, all all countries and all all societies need energy systems that deliver all of these things that they need, and kind of fighting over which one’s cheaper than it than the other, I think is kind of pointless.
Robert Bryce 46:58
So when it comes to Well, what kind of generation is going to work best in Africa? The answer is, Well, it depends on where you are. It depends.
Todd Moss 47:06
It depends per kilowatt, it depends for what right.
Robert Bryce 47:10
But this is true, of course, around the world. And as you know, Iceland has a lots of geothermal and lots of hydro, so they can have a zero carbon grid. But that’s correct. Not only 300,000 people live in Iceland. So what what’s coming countries in Africa, then are making the most progress. Where do you see the most progress in terms of electrification? Now, when I guess I’m asking the different way to state that question is, where are the governance systems is strong enough that they can support major increments of new generation capacity?
Todd Moss 47:45
Yeah, so I mean, the country that’s that’s moving ahead with leaps and bounds is Ethiopia. So Ethiopia is a country, they’re obviously facing some very serious internal security and governance challenges right now. But for the last 20 years, there’s no country on the on the continent that has that has been as deliberate and successful as transitioning from low productivity agriculture, toward higher productivity, agriculture and industry. And that’s, that’s really been Ethiopia. And they have pushed ahead with electrification based mostly on a large hydro. And I don’t think it’s a total coincidence, but they have mostly spurned Western finance for this because the roadblocks put in their way to build large hydro were so onerous that they they just turned to Chinese finance ears and Chinese construction.
Robert Bryce 48:47
I think that there’s so the Chinese are financing the the the grand Renaissance dam, that’s all Chinese money. Because that’s a
Todd Moss 48:55
huge I’m not sure I’m not sure the details of that of that one of that one, obviously big projects
Robert Bryce 49:01
6000 megawatts, and also very controversial given absolutely the upstream of Egypt, right that this is gonna be in a no, yeah.
Todd Moss 49:09
And Sudan, for sure. That’s a controversial project. I don’t just off the top of my head. I don’t I don’t, I don’t want to say no, for sure if it’s if it’s Chinese finance, but I do know that gay gay three was another big dam that they tried to get through the World Bank couldn’t do it. They tried to get it through the African Development Bank couldn’t do it. They just gave up and went for Chinese finance. And they’ve been kind of unapologetic about it, which is we’re one of the poorest countries of the world. We need to create jobs for our 100 million people. And we need electricity and we’re going to do it the way that you’ve done it, which is without apology. So so so they’ve definitely made made a lot of strides. And still obviously a long way to go.
Robert Bryce 49:54
And if I can, but it’s because it just me have one thing which is that when it comes to energy issues, Particularly in terms of electricity, and it’s one of the points that we make that Tyson Culver, the director of juice, and I make is that countries are going to do and individuals are going to do whatever they need to do to get the electricity that they need, right? They’re not going to whether it’s co2 issues or their politics, where they’re going to do what’s in their interest, because this is the way that everyone does that. Right? They’re going to act in their own self interest. Is that, is that a fair way to assess what’s going on?
Todd Moss 50:28
Yes, absolutely. Especially within the context of, you know, extreme poverty, people will go to extreme measures to, you know, to get what to get what they need. This is why you have people walking miles to get firewood every day, right, that’s an extreme, an extreme response to it to a need. And, and, you know, the responsible governments on the continent are trying to meet the the electricity and other energy needs of their population and trying to do it in a smart, cost effective way. You know, a lot of countries have made progress on on adding generation, they’ve been able to get projects through, but they haven’t quite been able to get the cost down and the rely and the reliability better. So even a country like Ghana, which I I work on a lot, they’ve added a lot of generation capacity by some measures, probably a little bit too much recently. But they’re still dealing with extremely high tariff rates. And so the industrial tariff is over 20 cents a kilowatt hour, which is very hard to compete internationally, if you’re paying 20 cents for power. And you know, most of your competitors are paying less than 10 cents,
Robert Bryce 51:42
right? And in some cases, far less than that for especially industrial use. You know, in Iceland, I think the the rate was four cents, five cents, some cases as little as two cents. Yeah, these are this is something on which international trade is directs itself following low cost energy, but particularly low cost electricity.
Todd Moss 52:00
That’s right. And that’s really why the solar, the potential for solar is actually really interesting at a large scale, because we could start we are in Africa starting to see some solar get to around five, six cents. But again, that five, six cents is just within a very narrow band, because the storage isn’t there for for load following, you know, so So again, yes, we want everybody to exploit six cent solar, if they can get it. But that’ll that is just one slice of the slice of the pie that they need.
Robert Bryce 52:33
Right. So you mentioned gas earlier. And that’s one of the things that I believe I’ve written about it. I’ve written about it many times over the last decade that this fuel is growing and on an absolute basis is growing faster than any other form of primary energy. And but what’s interesting to me about what’s going on in Africa is these massive offshore gas fields that have been found in golf course offshore, Senegal, Mauritania, Tanzania, is that right?
Todd Moss 52:59
Mozambique’s? The big one
Robert Bryce 53:00
Mozambique’s a big one, we’re talking about trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. So but I also know that from the experience in general, a lot of it, if there are these offshore discoveries, the vast majority of that gas goes elsewhere doesn’t stay in those countries. They’re a mechanism that those countries can use them that that helps make that more of that gas. Stay home. And you’ve talked about this, I think in your book that you wrote several years ago on what was it cash for oil,
Todd Moss 53:29
oil to cash, oil to cash?
Robert Bryce 53:31
Is there a similar gas to cash? Or is that what how does the how did those countries make the best use of that gas, both for electrification and development?
Todd Moss 53:45
Yeah, so there’s a couple of components there. One is they obviously need to negotiate hard, so they get as many royalties and profit as much profit sharing as possible out of that resource. And that’s cash that would come into the Treasury. And then in our book, oil cash, we argue that a portion of that should be given to citizens as a dividend, a little bit like the Alaska model, right. But there is also an electrification component as well, which is that when countries are negotiating, they can ask for some parallel developments, so that some of those resources are used for electricity generation at home. And in Mozambique, which is the big gas, the big gas find that everybody’s talking about. And you know, the DFC. There’s this huge new US government agency that we mentioned earlier. They did something i thought was very clever, is they provided some finance for part of the offshore field to help that get developed for Mozambique, but at the exact same time, they also financed a 400 megawatt power plant onshore in Mozambique. So that Mozambique We’ll also see some of that electricity at home. And it’s not just cash that gets filtered through their government, but actually some direct benefits to the, to the population and to the businesses in that area that need that need low cost power. So governments can be creative in asking for things and trying to pair investments with with other investments to grow the economy, because nobody wants to live in a country where the the, the only productive activity is offshore gas, you need to have onshore activity for people to do to earn income. And that’s where turning gas into electricity or gas into industrial process heat can help to generate jobs and generate income for regular people on shore.
Robert Bryce 55:48
So what about the broader we’ve talked a lot about Africa, but I know that there are a number of LNG to power projects, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, numerous other ones, what’s your view on that growth in the LNG to power market?
Unknown Speaker 56:04
Todd Moss 56:07
you know, clearly a lot of countries, you know, countries across Asia are in. Some of them are in a similar if not more extreme position than the African nations, which is they’ve got a very steep increase in electricity demand. As people become richer and move into cities, and they try to get industry going. energy demand is going to go is going through the roof. They want to exploit cheap sources that may be domestically available, such as such as solar, but they’re also going to need to balance that with other sources. And and importing LNG is one of those things that happens to pair quite nicely with intermittent solar. And a lot of countries are taking advantage of that. I think the big markets for the next 20 years are basically all going to be in Asia and Southeast Asia. And so that’s really
Robert Bryce 56:58
where we’re gonna walk LNG to power is specifically.
Todd Moss 57:01
Yeah. And it’s also it’s also the big, the big electricity demand jumps are going to be obviously India and China, but also Indonesia, Bangladesh, those, yeah, these countries are all on steep, they’re growing fast, and their populations are getting richer, at such a pace that we would expect them to move quickly up that energy ladder and the population, you know, the government’s gonna want to meet that meet that demand.
Robert Bryce 57:30
Sure, I have neglected to remind listeners that my guest is Todd moss. He’s the executive director of the energy for growth hub, you can find him at energy for growth.org. And I’m going to ask about spy novels in just a moment. But that I wanted to just get back one check back on Africa to get do you have that number in mind in terms of if you wanted to get all of Africans up to that energy minimum that we talked about earlier? How much more generation capacity Africa would need to add?
Todd Moss 58:06
So again, oh, yeah, no, I don’t have it, because you have to break it by by each market. And we’re talking about 54 countries, right? And so we’d have to project it there. I’ll tell you, one thing that we did do is if you if we tripled electricity, which will not quite get us there, but tripling tripling is good, it’s a good start, if we tripled electricity in Africa, on average, and we did it entirely with natural gas entirely. And nobody’s proposing that maybe it’ll be a third. But let’s say entirely with natural gas, the additional co2 emissions is less than 1% of the global total. So So Africa is, is producing so few emissions and consuming so little electricity, that it literally does not show up in the global totals. So the takeaway that I get from this is that is that Africa, the intersection of Africa and climate change is very important. But it’s mostly about adaptation. It’s not about mitigation, because there are so few mitigation benefits to wring out of Africa’s power sector, because they’re just not they’re just not emitting outside of South Africa. Right.
Robert Bryce 59:28
That’s an interesting point, because it’s one of the things on this podcast that has been emerged as a theme. Bjorn Lomborg was on you know, this is one of his key points that look we can spend a whole lot of money on mitigation when actually we should be spending more on adaptation which because a lot of Roger pilkey Jr’s work and then to Irish researchers I had on recently coiling hotshoe and Ronan Connelly their their point that you know, we’re spending trillions of dollars on a lot A lot of mitigation effort when it’s not seeing, we’re not seeing Major co2 emissions reductions. Well, then, where’s the best place to spend that money? But let me move on because we’re getting closer, right about an hour already. Who is Judd Riker? And why should I care?
Todd Moss 1:00:17
So I mentioned earlier that I was an accidental diplomat in the State Department. So when I left, when I left government, I actually started writing, I wrote an outline for a book about dysfunction and US foreign policy just about how difficult it is to get things done, and all the infighting and all the challenges that our country faces and going, you know, in the next decades, and I decided it would be a really depressing book to write and probably depressing to read. And I thought it would be more fun to illuminate some of these issues in a fun way. So I decided for my own just for catharsis, to just write a novel about an accidental academic who becomes an accidental diplomat. And he gets thrown into a coup in Mali, in West Africa. And he’s got 100 hours to reverse this coup. And I thought this would be a fun exercise. I wrote the book. And then Molly had a real coup. I don’t know if you remember after Libya fell and all jihadist took over area of Mali bigger than Texas, and set up an Islamic State and then the French invaded. And, and, and the government was overthrown. And, and I had sent the book to an agent who watches BBC and he was watching French troops fighting in Timbuktu against jihadists. And he had just had this random book fall in his lap about that same issue. And, and so he wound up getting a four book deal with penguin. And I wrote for deep blue, Deep Blue spy thrillers about this kind of nerdy academic in the State Department. And it was, you know, just a ton of fun to write and I hope people you know, had fun reading them. I’m working on a domestic political thriller now that I won’t reveal at this stage, but hopefully, I’ll be sharing information about that in the not too distant future.
Robert Bryce 1:02:21
So and I have Jed Riker, you went through that explanation, Jed Riker is your hero,
Todd Moss 1:02:26
right? Yeah, he’s, uh, he’s the protagonist,
Robert Bryce 1:02:28
and I’m holding up. If you’re looking on YouTube, you can see it. This is the cover of the ghosts of Havana, which was the fourth book, I downloaded this on my Kindle. I started reading it last night. When my other question is, why do all the leads have to have the initials Jr. JACK Ryan? jack rip record? No, wait a minute. Jed Riker, and oh, who is that? Reacher jack Reacher? Yeah,
Todd Moss 1:02:53
jack Reacher? I don’t know. That’s a good question.
Robert Bryce 1:02:57
That’s it. I just knew you had to have it, Jr. was that JJ isn’t
Todd Moss 1:03:01
very J’s and Ks are very strong. Letters. Yes. And I don’t know, you know, I was playing around with it. I’ve got a I’ve got a really good friend named Judd. And it just seemed like such a awesome, like, retro name that should come back. And, you know, I don’t know where these things come from. But
Robert Bryce 1:03:24
if you had your choice, would you be writing spy novels instead of being a policy guy? Or what’s the what’s the real love here? If
Todd Moss 1:03:31
you had your druthers? You know, I love doing both. I love the idea of I love the idea of using different parts of my brain. And, you know, I segment my day, so I like to wake up really early in the morning, when it’s really quiet, get my coffee, my laptop, that’s when I’m very creative. And I’d like to write fiction, then.
Robert Bryce 1:03:55
what’s what’s real, what’s really early,
Todd Moss 1:03:57
you know, between five and six, Stark, okay, not not ridiculous, but um,
Robert Bryce 1:04:04
and then by the time I get up, we’re up by six. Every morning, my wife’s a teacher, we got to get up and get on it.
Todd Moss 1:04:12
It’s the best time to get things done, right. And then by about eight or nine, I’m tired, because Creative Writing is actually kind of mentally i think i find it tiring. And then I’m ready for the rest of my day. And then I can be a walk for, you know, nine to five, or 96. And so that’s how that’s how it’s worked for me. I love doing both. I’ll continue to, you know, do both. And, and you know, is if you love what you do, if you don’t you don’t mind getting up and you know, plowing ahead. And as long as it stays Fine, I’ll just keep doing it.
Robert Bryce 1:04:51
And you can find out so energy for growth hub.org for the wanke Todd moss, Todd moss books.com for Todd moss, the All right.
Todd Moss 1:05:01
That’s right. That’s right. Check them out and let me know what you think
Robert Bryce 1:05:04
also found them on Amazon. And I thought, yeah, no, it was interesting. I, I read a long time ago Graham Greene’s our man in Havana. So I thought, well, I looked at the different books I thought, Okay, well, you know, Graham Greene A long time ago, never been to Havana. So I thought, I’ll read this. So I dove into it last night. Very, very fun. Attaboy. So just a few more things, then. Who are your heroes?
Todd Moss 1:05:30
Who am I? So I do have I do have? I do have a couple of heroes. I think, you know, my grandfather was my hero. He was a regular guy. I just grew up, you know, poor in Chicago and just, you know, did all the hard things that first generation Americans do to help set up their their lives for all of their, their descendants. So I always think from him From where did he come? Well, he was he was born in Chicago, but all of his family came from Russia. And, and he was just one of these great guys that you know, I always just think fondly of him and I can’t imagine what he what he had gone through. And, and another another hero of mine is at, there’s a human rights lawyer. Her name is Beatrice. taqwa. She’s actually the inspiration for one of the characters in my second book called minute zero. And, and she’s one of these fighters who just combined smarts and courage and she’s in court every day fighting for for human rights and democracy and one of the most difficult places in Zimbabwe, and she’s a definite, definite hero of mine. And then this won’t surprise you. This is also I’ve got a lot of African heroes. And there’s a character, not a character person named Nuhu Ribadu. And he was the first you asked about Nigerian corruption. He was the first chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. And he did his job so well, he got a couple of governors kicked out of office and jail. He turned down a suitcase with $5 million cash. And I got to know him after he had to flee the country and move to Washington. And he’s just one of these people who have grace and wisdom and humility. And I like being around people like that. And so Nuhu Ribadu is definitely one of my heroes to this day. So those are three for you.
Robert Bryce 1:07:48
Sure. So you’re a writer, what are you reading?
Todd Moss 1:07:53
What am I reading? Oh, right now I just started a fantastic book called The plague cycle. It’s, it sounds grim. And in some ways it is but beautifully written. It’s by Charles Kenny, who also happens to be a good friend of mine. And it’s the history of mankind’s fight with infectious disease. And at first I was like, Oh, God, I gotta read my friends book. During a pandemic. This is gonna be grim. But it’s actually he’s a beautiful writer, the history is incredible. We, you realize how what we’re living through is not such an anomaly for human history. And I was thinking about, it’s almost like, I feel like it’s Anthony, you know, Dr. Anthony Fauci giving me a tour of the London dungeon, because he’s got all of these facts. And he kind of loves being kind of mccobb and disgusting about what people are going through with lice and leprosy and the black plague in Europe. And Charles is a half British half American, but he’s got that very kind of British dry sense of humor. And it comes through in his writing even about the plague. And this, really enjoyed it. This
Robert Bryce 1:09:11
is the post Trump Fauci not the not be muzzled Fauci under the Trump administration post as
Todd Moss 1:09:20
we love Anthony Fauci, no matter when.
Robert Bryce 1:09:24
He’s remarkable. Okay, so last thing, Todd, again, my guest Todd moss, the executive director of the energy for growth hub, Washington, DC Think Tank, that you can find his work at energy for growth.org and Todd moss books.com. What gives you hope?
Todd Moss 1:09:44
What gives me hope. You know, I’m not going to say the children are terribly cliched, but when when I look I work every day with with young Africans including Many who, you know, virtually every day, the internet or the power is going out. And they’re still doing such incredible things, even though they live in a place where the infrastructure is holding them back. And I think that the potential for the 10s of millions of 20 somethings and teenagers in Nigeria and Ghana and Kenya and Zimbabwe, who have so many ideas and so much potential, and we see that they just get a, they just get a little bit of a chance. They’re doing amazing things. And I think that that human potential is just so tremendous. That that gives me hope that, that we’re going to solve our energy problems. And by solving our energy problems, we’re going to solve so many of the problems that we as mankind face and we as a country and as a global community face. So I’m actually very optimistic about the future. I have, it’s probably out of fashion to say that these days, but I actually think that, you know, the next several decades are going to be way better than the past several decades.
Robert Bryce 1:11:11
I think that’s a good way to stop. good place to stop rather. Well, great. Well, Todd, thanks. I think you said it. Well, unless there’s something else you want to add to that. We could have talked about carbon issues and Africa. But I think we touched on those sufficiently. And I don’t want to dive too deep into that. here because the co2 emissions are not their first priority their other priorities in front of that.
Todd Moss 1:11:35
So as back to trade offs, right, we all have to make trade offs about what kinds of things we’re gonna, what we’re gonna do, and what are the costs of certain things that we choose? And what are the what are the alternatives that we have? And I just don’t think we should think of people living on the other side of the earth as, as, you know, fundamentally different in making those choices then then we are
Robert Bryce 1:11:57
good. Okay, good. Well, we’ll stop. Thank you, Robert. Mike, my guest Todd moss, from the energy for growth hub energy for growth.org. You can find him there. Come back next time to the next episode of the power hungry podcast. And before you do that, make sure to give us a 612 1484 stars on your favorite podcast outlet and until then, see you next time.