The Center on Global Energy Policy's Columbia Energy Straight Talk is a discussion series hosted by David Hill, CGEP Adjunct Senior Research Scholar, and Cheryl LaFleur, CGEP Distinguished Visiting Fellow. This series focuses on frank, practical, bipartisan discussions on how to make change happen in the energy world. The hosts bring decades of energy experience in the public and private sectors, including David's service as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Energy and Cheryl's as Commissioner and Chairman at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Many commentators have rushed to offer "hot takes" on what happened in Texas in February 2021--and what should be done about it. The extremely cold weather, extended electric blackouts, disruptions in gas and water supply, exorbitant bills for some consumers, and human suffering have led many to offer solutions, and place blame. But what really ought to be done--both in Texas and elsewhere--in response to what happened? What do we still need to learn, and how can we ensure we actually act on what we do learn?
In this episode, Cheryl and David hosted Alison Silverstein, an expert on the electricity industry, power system blackouts, energy resilience and electric markets. A Texan for more than 25 years, she is widely known for “straight talk” and sensible ideas. She served as advisor to Chairman Pat Wood III at the Texas PUC and at the FERC and was a lead author of the authoritative report on the 2003 blackout, which helped lead to enactment of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. She advises governments and private parties on power system reliability, energy efficiency, smart grid, renewable energy and technology matters.