As the next steps in my exciting new relationship with KPFT in Houston (90.1 FM), Thinkwing Radio with Mike Honig is currently scheduled to do 2 shows. The topic for May 29th (Tuesday at 9:30-9:55 am CT) is still TBD.
However, the April 11th show (Wednesday at 9:30-9:55 am CT) is taking shape, and will be both timely and intriguing.
The topic I’ll begin to explore is “Energy Independence: We Talk About It, But What Does It Mean?” The sorts of questions I’d like to discuss:
- Does Energy Independence mean lower fuel and energy prices? If not, why not?
- The XL pipeline makes a regional shale oil supply into a global supply. Is that good or bad for US consumers? Why or why not?
- Oil is a global market commodity. Is there any way we can insulate ourselves from global price forces for energy, and even if it were possible, would that be a good or bad thing?
- The US has become a net energy exporter for the first time in decades. What does that mean? Are we now, or should we be, energy independent?
- How do commodity markets and speculators affect world energy prices? Is speculation, and not consumer demand, really the biggest price driver?
- In the context of greater global access to carbon-based fuels, what are the environmental considerations?
Energy pricing and availability is a big topic, and one I really want to cover and return to.
It’s that important.
I know that the issues above represent a lot of stuff to discuss, and we’ll likely not get to all of it, but I would love to use this half hour to at least start putting all this into some sort of context for my listeners.
My scheduled in-studio guest is Professor Ed Hirs (Pron.: HERZ). He currently lectures on the topic of energy and economics at University of Houston, through their Department of Economics. I expect this to be a particularly interesting discussion because (while this will not be the only focus of our conversation) Professor Hirs favors the XL Pipeline, but not for the usual reasons.
In the weeks leading up to this show, I’ve asked Professor Hirs to send me some advance information on topics which we can only skim over on a 25 minute show. My hope and intention for this unusual step is to allow interested listeners to brief themselves on the relevant topics in advance, so their understanding of the discussion may be more in-depth.
I also plan to have a more detailed bio of Professor Hirs posted in the near future. In the meantime, you can visit Yale Alumni in Energy (YAE). YAE is a group of alumni from Yale College and the various graduate and professional schools at Yale who share an interest—professional or personal—in energy. Professor Hirs will be a speaker at that event.
I intend to allow call-ins during the latter part of the show. I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you!
I would be highly interested in knowing the professor’s political affiliations, and those of his close colleagues, and whether their personal investment portfolios include any direct energy holdings and/or speculative. Aside from the prior, I would like to know he stands with regards to the reported (and disputed) effects of fracking…
Those are mostly fair questions. I’m not, however, going to do background checks on the political or philosophical predispositions of Professor Hirs’s close colleagues.
Also, keep in mind that I’ll interviewing him. This show will not be a PSA for oil and gas.
Professor Hirs has past and present associations with the oil and gas industry. My understanding of his views from our first chat are as follows: His views on fracking are mixed. He favors the XL Pipeline, but his reasons are not the usual political or petro-industry boilerplate, and are therefore interesting. He favors alternative energy sources and increased energy efficiency as well as continuing use of carbon-based fuels, at least until we can change over to something else. He favors CO2 sequestration technologies.
Professor Hirs has Bachelors and Masters degrees from Yale. My sense is that he’s a smart, personable, well-informed, complex man with the complex views one might expect of such a man. The subject itself is Byzantinely complex. That’s why I want to begin exploring it from unusual directions.
I would be interested in, and Prof. Hirs would be amenable to, another expert with differing views on the same show. I’m seeing if I can manage that.
In the meantime, below is some bio info on Professor Hirs. You can find more by searching “Ed Hirs”. I also hope to get some more information on these related topics from him, and post them prior to airing the show.
Ed Hirs ’79, ’79 MA, ’81 MBA (http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/tab3.aspx?EventID=781359)
Ed Hirs is the chief financial officer of DJ Resources, Inc., an independent oil and gas producer in Houston. His experience in energy includes co-founding an independent power producer, and corporate finance projects with companies in energy services, manufacturing, and emissions reduction technology.
Ed has thirty years’ consulting experience for public and private companies, including Fortune 500, Forbes 500 Private and INC 500 listed corporations, encompasses transactions; management; valuations and securities analysis; and corporate governance. Industries include energy, medical devices, software, defense, financial services, consumer goods, and agriculture.
While a student at Yale, Ed worked with Mobil and the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Conservation and Solar Energy. He teaches the undergraduate course Economics of Energy at the University of Houston where he has lectured with the Department of Economics since 1988. He has the CFA designation and is a Chartered Surveyor.
Ed is an Associate Fellow of Timothy Dwight College. He has been a member of the Alumni Schools Committee since 1982; the Class of 1979’s Reunion Chair for the 20th, 25th and 30th Reunions; AYA Assembly representative and member of the AYA Board of Governors for 2002 through 2005. Ed chaired the Alumni Fellow Nominating Committee in 2005.