[Episode #226] – Load Growth Shenanigans

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In recent months, reports have circulated that data centers, cryptocurrency miners, and AI technologies are suddenly increasing electricity demand, allegedly straining power grids. These declarations have prompted calls for the hasty approval of new gas-fired power plants to bolster generation capacity. But should we believe these claims?

We remain skeptical.

As the energy transition progresses towards "electrifying everything," there is little doubt that significant loads will transfer to the power grid. However, we have yet to see evidence that this shift is outpacing grid capacity. In fact, we have good reason to believe that much of the projected demand has been overestimated - in part because utilities have a long history of projecting demand that never materialized.

In today’s episode, we try to separate power demand fact from fiction with Mike O’Boyle, Senior Director of Electricity at Energy Innovation, a San Francisco-based energy transition think tank. Over the past several months, Mike and his colleagues have been urging regulators to resist the panicked rush towards new gas infrastructure and consider cleaner alternatives. We’ll explore the origins of the alleged cloud electricity demand surge narratives, assess the real picture of modern computing demand, and discuss viable solutions. As we will uncover, much of the prevailing discourse is not about a genuine power shortage but rather the efforts of certain political figures to boost tax revenues, often at the expense of public welfare — and is ultimately a lapse in regulatory oversight meant to protect the public interest.

Guest:

Mike O’Boyle is Senior Director, Electricity at Energy Innovation. He directs the firm’s Electricity program which focuses on designing and quantifying the impacts of policies needed to affordably and reliably decarbonize the U.S. electricity grid. He has worked with Congressional staff and U.S. state policymakers—including those in California, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York,  and Oregon — to help improve the link between public policy goals and the motivations of electric utilities. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, and has written for Canary Media, The Hill, New York Times, and Utility Dive, and has authored reports covering a wide range of power sector topics. Mike graduated cum laude from Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, where he focused on energy and international law. He also has a B.A. from Vanderbilt University in philosophy and Asian Studies, with a minor in economics.

On Twitter: @oboylemm

On the Web:  Mike’s page at Energy Innovation

Recording date: May 9, 2024

Air date: June 12, 2024

Geek rating: 6

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$7

[Episode #226] – Load Growth Shenanigans

0 ratings
I want this!