In this episode, host Kristin Hayes talks with RFF Senior Fellow and Director of the Future of Power Initiative Karen Palmer about a recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report that details how the US electric grid could evolve over the coming years. Coauthored by Palmer, RFF Board of Directors Chair Susan Tierney, and other leading scholars, the NASEM report takes a thorough look at a variety of possible developments, such as the spread of new technologies, changes in energy generation mixes, and shifts in how the industry is regulated. Looking ahead, Palmer suggests that continued efforts to decarbonize the grid will depend on significant investments in research and development, along with more federal guidance over transmission planning to keep the grid reliable.
Listen to the Podcast
- Informed predictions for the future of the grid: “In the report, we lay out different ways [the grid] could evolve, with a focus on three things. The first thing is extending electrification with carbon-free electricity as a means of system decarbonization. The second thing is … how centralized or decentralized and potentially autonomous the system becomes in the future. The third thing is the use of direct-current transmission and power electronics in the grid. Our intention is to envision institutions, research, and policies that are going to be largely robust to where this future goes, and that will help promote the goals that we identify for the electricity system … [such as] affordability; equitability; and keeping the grid sustainable, clean, reliable, and resilient.” (13:50)
- Electricity has become cleaner in recent years, but deeper reforms are needed: “The shallow decarbonization of the electricity sector … has led to a switch from coal to natural gas and renewables for power generation, and [has led to] some successes with energy efficiency that have helped hold down growth in electricity demand. These factors help reduce emissions of conventional pollutants, such as SO₂ and NOx, in addition to carbon emissions. Those were probably the easy part. Looking ahead to meeting our climate goals, which constitute avoiding to the greatest extent possible the worst effects of climate change, we need deep decarbonization. Exactly how or when that will occur … that’s all pretty uncertain.” (16:24)
- Equity concerns should be a priority for policymakers and grid operators: “The report also recognizes the potential for energy poverty and high costs … to become even more of an issue in the future. As the technologies at the grid edge—such as rooftop solar, behind-the-meter storage, and electric vehicles with smart chargers—are accessible primarily to high-income customers, the extent that they use these options to take some of their demand off the grid is going to lead to more legacy costs for those who can’t access these services.” (24:58)
Top of the Stack
- “The Future of Electric Power in the United States” interactive site
- The Future of Electric Power in the United States from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, by Granger Morgan, Anuradha Annaswamy, Anjan Bose, Terry Boston, Jeffery Dagle, Deepakraj Divan, Michael Howard, Cynthia Hsu, Reiko A. Kerr, Karen Palmer, H. Vincent Poor, William H. Sanders, Susan Tierney, David Victor, Elizabeth Wilson
- Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation’s Electricity System from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, by M. Granger Morgan, Dionysios Aliprantis, Anjan Bose, W. Terry Boston, Allison Clements, Jeffery Dagle, Paul De Martini, Jeanne Fox, Elsa Garmire, Ronald E. Keys, Mark McGranaghan, Craig Miller, Thomas J. Overbye, William H. Sanders, Richard E. Schuler, Susan Tierney, and David G. Victor
- Transmission episodes of the Voltscast podcast, with host David Roberts
- “Lessons from the Texas mess” episode of the Voltscast podcast, with host David Roberts
- A Shock to the System: Restructuring America’s Electricity Industry by Timothy J. Brennan, Karen L. Palmer, Raymond J. Kopp, Alan J. Krupnick, Vito Stagliano, and Dallas Burtraw
- Alternating Currents by Timothy J. Brennan, Karen L. Palmer, and Salvador A. Martinez
The Full Transcript
Kristin Hayes: Hello, and welcome to Resources Radio, a weekly podcast from Resources for the Future. I'm your host Kristin Hayes. My guest today is Karen Palmer, a senior fellow here at RFF and director of RFF's Future of Power Initiative. This marks our second episode in a row featuring an RFF expert. We're always looking for a diversity of guests here on the program, but it's also a real pleasure to have some of the leading experts on various topics right in house. Karen has deep expertise in the US power sector and has authored numerous publications on electricity policy drivers and options in power market design and electrification of various sectors of the economy.
I'm also psyched to be joined by such a capable and kind lady in celebration of International Women's Day on March 8. Today, Karen and I will be discussing a new report released by the National Academies entitled “The Future of Electric Power in the United States.” Karen and her coauthors on this study, including RFF board chair Sue Tierney, were tasked with framing a broad set of issues facing the US power sector over the next several decades and with providing recommendations to a range of decisionmakers on how to address those drivers. It's a meaty, thoughtful, timely study, and I'm looking forward to learning more about its conclusions. Stay with us.
Karen, thank you so much for joining me on Resources Radio. I know it's been a while since listeners heard your voice on the program, and it's really great to welcome you back.
Karen Palmer: Thanks, Kristin. It's great to be here.
Kristin Hayes: As a refresher, can you tell our listeners a bit about your own background and how you came to focus your research on the power sector in particular?
Karen Palmer: Sure. So when I was in grad school, which was a few decades ago now, my studies focused on industrial organization and regulation. In my dissertation, I took a look at issues of rate setting and cross subsidies in the telecommunications sector. Mind you, this was in the pre-cellphone era. So I was familiar with state regulation of a natural monopoly. and a lot of the same institutions and ideas also applied to the electricity sector.
Another thing that was going on in the world at the time is my joining RFF was coincident with a growing interest by state electricity regulators in taking further account of environmental costs in their planning that they do for how electricity would be supplied in the future. This was a time when the electricity sector was predominantly subject to regulation. So it was a good time to think about issues at the intersection of electricity markets and regulation and environmental issues.
Shortly after I joined RFF, following the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 1992—a piece of legislation where a young Phil Sharp as a member of congress played an important role, and of course. we all know Phil is RFF’s former president—precipitated a move to rely more on markets to price electricity at wholesale and also to make changes to rules and institutions that allowed for more competition in providing electricity.
At the same time, several states were exploring this idea of customer choice and also allowing competition in retail electricity supply. To help inform those transitions and policymakers as they confronted these challenges and made important policy choices, Tim Brennan and I led a group of folks at RFF who worked on an electricity restructuring policy primer that we called A Shock to the System. Doing that book gave me an opportunity to really dive deep into the sector and the various ways that electricity is produced, prized, and delivered to customers across the country.
There are a variety of different ways, as we highlight in this new National Academies study. A few years later, Tim and I wrote an update to that book that we called Alternating Currents. It reflected the changes that happened in the five years after A Shock to the System came out, which I believe was 1996. Since then, combating climate change has increasingly become a focus of environmental policy and also particularly in the electricity sector.
I'd say there's always an audience for insights on climate policy design. Sometimes that audience is more heavily weighted toward the states and sometimes it's stronger in Washington, DC. We do work that tries to speak to all these folks. So that's sort of the evolution of my work on electricity and environmental issues during my career.
Kristin Hayes: That's great. I want to give a shout-out to these book titles, as well, because they're very good.
Karen Palmer: Thanks.
Kristin Hayes: One other introductory question before we talk about the specific study here, but our conversation today is, as I noted, about a recently released National Academies study, which we reference pretty regularly here on Resources Radio. They all seem to have this extra amount of gravitas to them. Before we talk about the particulars, can I talk about the mechanics of National Academies studies in the abstract and what it looks like to be a part of one of these studies? Can you just say a little bit more about how the research comes together?
Karen Palmer: Sure, when the National Academies does one of these studies, they reach out to a broad range of experts who cover the landscape of issues that the study is seeking to address. I don't know if there's a typical approach. Of course, it depends on the topic, but the study teams tend to draw from academia and research institutes. In our particular case, we had RFF, we had a national lab, we had a representative from the Electric Power Research Institute. But also from members of the sector itself, nongovernmental organizations like industry organizations or trade groups, and folks who've held important positions in relevant parts of the government. Someone like Sue Tierney would fit that bill for sure on our committee.
The chair of the committee plays a really big role in helping to identify good committee members and help strike a balance. We support and recognize everyone on this committee is a volunteer, but there are also National Academy staff, people who play important roles in moving the process along as well as being a resource to committee members.
Our committee, which is under the leadership of Granger Morgan of Carnegie Mellon University, was top-notch and it was a lot of fun to work with. Now, the research part of the work involves a whole bunch of activities. There are several meetings and those include working sessions, but also hearing from speakers. So there are public meetings that are open to the broader public who can hear these presentations as well, that the committee hears on various aspects of the research.
For our study, we had two workshops that were really focused deep dives. One was a day and a half and one was a day long. The first one was focused on cybersecurity, and the second one was focused on electricity models to inform planning. Both of those also had a report associated with them on what was said at the workshops.
Our committee met several times, sometimes in person. Of course, that was pre-COVID. So we met sometimes online, particularly post-COVID. And sometimes we met as a group as a whole, and other times, we met in smaller groups to focus on particular chapters or aspects of the work. I participated in all these various types of activities, and I have to say I learned something at every meeting, because it's a really diverse group. Another factor that gives the NAS studies that gravitas is that these studies have a rigorous review process. That includes gathering input from several experts and also an independent review coordinator that's a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine staff that makes sure that all the comments are addressed.
They're organized by the staff members, and then the members of the committee go through and address all those comments. I think this process really helps to ensure that the committee's work is up to snuff, as you might say, with experts in the field. Additionally, it helps to identify gaps and things like that, actually helping to make the report stronger. In general, it's another example of the important role that peer review plays in helping to ensure that research is high quality.
Kristin Hayes: I really appreciate that background because I do feel like these National Academies studies are critical parts of the research dialogue and folks—myself included—don't always have a sense of what goes into them. Let's turn to the study at hand, which is "The Future of Electric Power in the United States." What was your mandate as an authorship team in putting this study together?
Karen Palmer: This study was requested by Congress, and they directed the Department of Energy to ask the National Academies to evaluate the medium to long-term evolution of the electricity sector. They asked in particular that we focus on four aspects. So the first is technologies: technologies that are used for generation, storage, power, electronics, sensing and measuring, controls, cybersecurity, and also loads or demand on the system.
The second was related to planning and operations, which basically means looking at how current practices could evolve in response to changing generation mixes, other technology developments, or changes in the way electricity is being used by customers.
The third aspect they asked us to look at was business models in the sector, and that includes potential changes to the oversight of the industry and to the way markets operate.
The fourth aspect that they asked us to look at is grid architectures, and that includes both technical and jurisdictional challenges to implementing various ways that the grid might be organized in the future. So those are the four things that we were asked to look at.
Kristin Hayes: Pretty hefty mandate there. To tack onto one thing that you mentioned too, you and your coauthors are pretty clear in this report that this report is not meant to be a sort of prognostication of what the US power system will definitively look like several decades in the future. Why was that a fundamental tenet of this work, and if it's not a crystal ball approach, how did you approach this study? Not trying to predict the future, but with something else in mind.
Karen Palmer: You're quite right that our committee was very careful not to focus on what will happen to the grid, but instead lay out ways that it could evolve. We took that approach for a couple of reasons. The first—something that we lay out in the study—is that prior efforts to predict what the electricity system will look like in the future are generally wrong. In part, because predicting fuel prices and technology costs; trajectories, particularly for new technologies; and even future trajectories of electricity demand is really challenging.
Karen Palmer: We give some examples of where that has gone awry, and we just didn't want to get caught in the trap of making a single forecast, as doing so would involve making a lot of assumptions about things that are really uncertain. Given all that uncertainty, we decided it was more prudent to focus on ways that the system might evolve.
One of the first things we do in the report is describe the system, by introducing its three layer architecture that consists of an organizational layer, an information and communications technology layer, and a physical layer. Starting with the last one, I'm going to describe a little bit more about what those means.
The technology layer is how people usually think about the grid. It consists of the generation, transmission, and distribution, sort of the physical parts of the grid. There's also a layer that's about collecting information that is sensing what's going on the grid, managing all the data that comes along with that, and controlling operations of the grid. That's what I mean by the information communications technology layer.
The organizational layer includes a number of things such as engineering, planning, and design, but also the policies and regulations that govern the sector. It's important to recognize that these currently differ a lot across the United States and vary from region to region. The last piece of this organizational layer is the markets where electricity is transacted.
These three layers are integrated with each other, and they also interface in important ways with other infrastructures that are part of our society. And those include the natural gas infrastructure, water infrastructure, transportation. And those interactions work two ways. That is natural gas supplies, inputs to the grid, and it also uses electricity in the natural gas system. So there's definite two-way interdependencies here.
In the report we lay out different ways this architecture could evolve with a focus on three things. The first thing is extending electrification with carbon-free electricity as a means of system decarbonization. The second thing is the locus and nature of power system control, or how centralized or decentralized and potentially autonomous the system becomes in the future. The third thing is the use of direct-current transmission and power electronics in the grid.
Our intention is to envision institutions, research, and policies that are going to be largely robust to where this future goes and that will help promote one or more of the goals that we identify for the electricity system, which are primarily keeping the system safe, but also balancing three important attributes, and those are affordability and equitability, keeping the grid sustainable and clean, and also reliable and resilient. That's kind of the framework that we operate under in this study.
Kristin Hayes: You're doing a great job of illustrating the many ways in which drivers of change in the US power sector are interconnected, and the number of layers across which you really need to look in order to think about the evolution of the power sector. You mentioned a number of those drivers: efforts to decarbonize the US economy, possibly accompanying large growth in future demand for electricity; whether the grid becomes more distributed, including distributed energy; more storage; and concerns over equity.
There are all of these drivers that are identified in the report. Do any of those forces or drivers that you've identified play an outsized role in your mind as really the driver or one of the big drivers moving forward, or are they really important to kind of look at holistically?
Karen Palmer: That's a tough one. All of these drivers are important and I don't want to diminish the role of any of them. Also there are important overlaps between some of these drivers that shouldn't be ignored. In order to focus today, I want to talk about a couple of things that could be particularly important. The first is efforts to decarbonize the sector.
In the chapter where we talk about the drivers, we document the success in what we call the shallow decarbonization of the electricity sector that has occurred in recent decades as a combination of economics and policy that have led to a switch from coal to natural gas and renewables for power generation, and some successes with energy efficiency that have helped to hold down growth in electricity demand.
These factors help to reduce emissions of conventional pollutants, such as SO₂ and NOx, in addition to carbon emissions. Those were probably the easy part. Looking ahead to meeting our climate goals, which constitute avoiding to the greatest extent possible the worst effects of climate change, we need to do deep decarbonization. Exactly how or when that will occur both in terms of what mix of technologies will be used to produce electricity—there's going to be a role for renewables and maybe some role for other non-emitting technologies as well—or the role of electricity in decarbonizing transportation, industry, and buildings, that's all pretty uncertain.
We do know that renewables are going to play a big role because their costs have fallen. Wind and solar are very popular with the public, but they also raise challenges to grid operators, and are going to require investments in transmission and storage, both of which have their own challenges. What is certain is dramatic change that's going to be needed on that front.
The second driver that I wanted to focus on, because it's more new, is what's happening at the grid edge, both in terms of distributed generation and smart devices. You can think of the edge of the grid as really where the customers live, but it's also increasingly where distributed resources live.
For example, rooftop solar generation is at the grid edge, and also where the EVs of today in the future will be charged, and perhaps other new smart sources of demand that could be controllable by others and be a resource on the distribution grid and keeping that balanced. Maybe they could be a resource even to the grid at large as folks seek to integrate more variable generation like wind and solar.
Having more generation and electricity or other forms of storage at the grid edge could also make electricity supply to customers more resilient to outages that happen in the bulk power system. Efficient use of all these devices are going to require more exposure of either customers or some sort of aggregators or agents to time varying electricity prices. That of course has its own challenges.
Automation could help with accessibility and negotiating those varying prices. One important issue that comes up about controllable devices at the grid edge is that they communicate a lot with the grid and they could raise both privacy concerns and cybersecurity issues that can't really be ignored.
If folks are interested in the broader issue of cybersecurity and the electric system, I really want to recommend Chapter 6 of our report, which takes a very comprehensive look at those issues, and it would be a good resource.
Kristin Hayes: That's great. And Karen, you mentioned that there are poles in both directions, on the relationship between decarbonization of the power sector and its resilience and reliability. Wind and solar are intermittent resources. The wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine, and that's led to some concerns about more reliance on those resources moving forward.
As you mentioned, some of these grid edge technologies may actually help with resilience over the long term, particularly storage. How do you see the relationship between the decarbonization driver and the resilience and reliability need within the power sector?
Karen Palmer: Particularly in light of the recent grid outages in Texas that were precipitated by extreme weather events and caused a lot of hardship in the state, resilience of the system is really top of mind for folks. Lingering briefly on that topic, I want to also recommend another National Academies study produced by another committee that was also chaired by Granger Morgan. There was a lot of overlap between that committee and our committee.
Karen Palmer: The title of that 2017 study is Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation's Electricity System. One of the findings of the new study is that several of the recommendations of that study have yet to be implemented. We're continuing the chain here, but for listeners who are really interested in getting deep on grid resilience, writ large, I recommend that earlier study. With respect to links to decarbonization, let me say first that whatever path we take, reliance on intermittent wind and solar is likely to grow.
That will necessarily require a mix of integration strategies for those intermittent resources. That includes transmission to access distant wind and to integrate markets with different resource and demand profiles in time, so they can fill in for each other. Adding storage to the grid, both central storage and maybe decentralized storage, and activating through rate design and other strategies, such as flexible demand.
Another thing to recognize about renewable resources is they also have seasonal variations in their ability to deliver power that has to be managed. That's even more challenging because you're going to need long-term storage to deal with that, or some other types of resources. Getting our arms around this is going to require doing a better job of predicting those supply variations across time and space that are going to help address the issues of reliability.
There will likely need to be some source of firm energy to meet demand during periods of sustained loss of sun and wind. What form that will take is a bit uncertain right now, and will depend on technology developments and policy design among other issues.
Another thing to keep in mind is as the grid becomes substantially decarbonized and electrification becomes the path to decarbonizing much or some, or possibly much of the rest of the economy, that will likely place a higher value on having reliable and resilient grid, as even more end uses like space heating and transportation will be reliant on the grid.
People in Texas talked about going out to their car to charge their devices and things like that. If your car is also electric, there may be some limitations to the diversity that is currently provided. Most newly electrified end uses also have an element of flexibility to them, as there is some flexibility when electric cars are charged, and their storage capability in the battery that could become a resource to help integrate renewables, for example, or provide so-called ancillary services on the grid by varying the way that those devices are charged.
It's a complex stance, and regulations, incentives, controls, and also consumer willingness to surrender control of some of these newly electrified loads—electric key pumps for example—are going to be part of the story about how effectively that all comes together.
Kristin Hayes: Another complicated story, for sure. To turn to another topic, one that really jumped out at me in my look at the report: the number of times in which you and your coauthors referenced equity, which is a topic that we hear a lot about these days in various contexts, but not necessarily in the context of the power sector or at least not as regularly.
What are some of the ways in which you and the other study authors kind of factored equity into your thinking about the evolution of electricity in the United States?
Karen Palmer: The report has an important discussion of issues of energy poverty and energy security that exists today. This is reflected both in the inability to pay for services that could lead to disconnection from the grid and also constraints on the ability to invest in more energy-efficient appliances, or home upgrades, or things that could lower demand for energy. The report also recognizes the potential for energy poverty and high costs for people who have challenges there to become even more of an issue in the future.
As the technologies at the grid edge, such as rooftop solar, behind-the-meter storage, and electric vehicles with smart chargers to name just a few, are accessible primarily to high-income customers, the extent that they use these options to take some of their demand off the grid is going to lead to more legacy costs for those who can't access these services.
Today, there are bill payment assistant programs in some areas but given the cost associated with grid modernization that we anticipate in this study, those may not be adequate. There's going to need to be careful attention paid. Regulators need to give care to recognizing that electricity is indeed an essential service and it needs to be universally available and affordable to everyone.
We also point out in the report that, to the extent that electricity continues to be produced, at least partially with fossil fuels, it does have adverse environmental impacts less than it used to as we've migrated away from coal. Nonetheless, it's important to take care that these impacts don't disproportionately burden those who are at least able to deal with them.
We do include some specific recommendations to local regulatory bodies that are organized by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners to work in partnership with the Department of Energy to accelerate and deepen their evaluations of new rate structures and other policies with an eye toward how transforming the grid will affect issues of equity, and too do this on a regular basis using good social science techniques in order to identify ways to evolve best practices that address these possible inequitable or adverse outcomes.
Kristin Hayes: That's a perfect lead into my last question for you, Karen, which is that the report calls out a number of specific recommendations. It's very, no pun intended, empowering. I didn't even really do that on purpose. but there are a number of sort of specific recommendations embedded in the report and they are directed at various entities. Some, for example, the Department of Energy, others at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and still others at Congress and state legislatures, again, showing the diversity of players involved in working with this sector.
To close the substantive part of our conversation, could you pick out the top two recommendations that really resonated with you, either because they strike you as these are particularly important, or because they seem like really important places to get started? If you can give a shout out to your favorite recommendations, knowing that there are many more that we won't get to, that would be great.
Karen Palmer: It's really hard to pick the two most important recommendations because there's so many. It's two podcasts worth, but let me pick a couple that I think do warrant attention now. Probably both to a certain extent, because we're thinking about ways to stimulate the economy as we emerge from the ravages of the COVID pandemic and seek to put the economy on a better growth path. Some of these recommendations will have that potentially added benefit. It wasn't something we particularly focused on in the study. The first one is more of a collection of recommendations related to public support for research development and demonstration in the electricity sector. In the report, we document how the United States is significantly behind other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, as well as China in terms of investment in RD&D.
US investment in energy sector RD&D or electricity sector RD&D has been roughly flat since the mid-1980s. The one exception to that was the boost that happened under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that helped to get us out of the recession that happened then. When we review what others have been saying about how there should be an increase, and based on that and our own sort of deep thinking, we recommend at least a doubling of expenditures over the next 10 years and perhaps a tripling of expenditures on programs that help to bring new technologies to market, because that's a particularly challenging area.
The timeframe we think about is in part because of limits to absorbing new spending we wanted to happen smartly. We emphasize the importance of spending these resources wisely, discussing what that means in terms of best practices. Some of these are already in place in terms of programs that have been developed at the Department of Energy and other places over the years.
We also touch on the importance of sustained funding, as in multi-year funding for research and development of technologies that are going to be necessary for decarbonization because we need to enable some new areas of discovery, and that takes time. A second aspect of this is we put emphasis on research spending on grid modernization and developing tools that can help with simulating the future grid and therefore preparing for it.
A lot of these recommendations have the technical engineering and modeling research sense, but we also call for social science research to understand how policy markets and institutions can and should evolve to produce efficient inequitable outcomes for the sector and for consumers as it evolves. That's one group of recommendations. The second one I want to talk about is more focused, specific recommendations related to transmission planning. As I mentioned before, transmission is going to be even more important in the future as reliance on renewables grows and access to good wind and solar resources will require more transmission investment and building lines that span state and utility service territories, which is always a challenge.
We make recommendations to both the Congress and the states to support the evolution of planning for and siting of regional transmission facilities in the United States that asks for changes in the federal law to do the following. First is establish a national transmission policy. The second is asking Congress to direct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to expand on the policy basis for regional transmission planning.
Transmission planning is focused a lot on keeping the grid reliable, but planning is also going to be important for realizing clean energy and de-carbonization policies. So that needs to be integrated into that planning better. We also call on Congress to give FERC the responsibility to designate new national interest electric transmission corridors, and to approve interstate transmission lines within them. This would be a new authority for FERC. Lastly, we recognize that this process is going to involve local communities and they need to have input. We direct the Department of Ener to provide funds to states, communities, and tribes to enable meaningful participation in these planning and citing exercises, ensuring a seat at the table for them as well.
Those are two that I want to highlight. I want to point out there are as many important recommendations related to numerous issues, including such things as cybersecurity and workforce development. The report is long, but there is a summary and I would invite all the electricity nerds out there, as well as those of you with policy inclinations or responsibilities in the energy space, to give it a read.
Kristin Hayes: Karen, this has been great. Thank you so much for talking us through this. Very meaty, very substantive, and obviously the product of a tremendous amount of work by a number of people, you included. Thanks for talking us through the report. And we have reached the time for our closing feature, Top of the Stack. Karen, what's on the top of your stack? What would you recommend in terms of good content, either on this topic or just general interest even to our listening public?
Karen Palmer: Thanks, Kristin. I have electricity-related recommendations and in this time of COVID, I spent a lot of time listening to podcasts because it's a great thing you can do running, walking, doing the dishes. Anyway, a new one that I recently discovered is Voltscast. This is hosted by David Roberts. He also publishes a newsletter by the same name. The podcast is low key, but it's full of lots of content. It's a good way to learn about assorted climate and clean energy policy issues, as well as technical stuff about the grid.
It's a recently launched podcast that doesn't have a regular schedule, but there's a track record now of several of them. It always tackles interesting and important issues. He recently featured a series on transmission that I found to be particularly illuminating. The most recent episode touches on lessons from the power outages in Texas. I definitely recommend that podcast to your listeners.
Kristin Hayes: Okay, great. Well, we know that our listeners like podcasts, so that's perfect. Karen, thank you again, it's been a pleasure. I'll talk to you again soon.
Karen Palmer: Great, thanks. It's great to talk to you, Kristin.
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RFF is an independent, nonprofit research institution in Washington, DC. Our mission is to improve environmental energy and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. The views expressed on this podcast are solely those of the podcast guests and may differ from those of RFF experts, its officers or it's directors. RFF does not take positions on specific legislative proposals. Resources Radio is produced by Elizabeth Wason with music by Daniel Raimi. Join us next week for another episode.