Juice: Power, Politics & The Grid - Video Series


After finishing our first documentary in 2019, I told myself I was done making films. The process of making documentaries takes too long, costs too much, and involves too much friction, particularly when it comes to distribution.

But in February 2021, Lorin and I lost power at our home here in Austin for 48 hours. My colleague, Tyson Culver, who directed our first film, Juice: How Electricity Explains The World, also lost power. That blackout and the fact that the ERCOT grid nearly collapsed, convinced us that we had to do another film. And now, three years later, we accomplished what we set out to do. Our five-part docuseries, Juice: Power, Politics & The Grid, is now available for free on YouTube.

Rather than make a feature-length film, we decided to make this content as user-friendly as possible. That’s why we broke it into five episodes, each lasting about 20 minutes.

The series features 34 interviews that we shot in Texas, Japan, Vermont, Oklahoma, Colorado, California, Washington D.C., Illinois, Egypt, and England. Our cast of characters includes many of the world’s top thought leaders on energy, including political scientist Roger Pielke Jr., Grid Brief editor Emmet Penney, civil rights leader Jennifer Hernandez, author Michael Shellenberger, Canadian nuclear activist Chris Keefer, author Meredith Angwin, former IEA director Nobuo Tanaka, World Nuclear Association director Sama Bilbao, Campaign for a Green Nuclear Deal founder Madi Hilly, and many others.

I’m super proud of Episode 3, which features the Osage tribe’s battle with Enel over a wind project the company built by violating the tribe’s sovereignty. I have been reporting on this story for more than four years. I was thrilled last month when a federal court judge in Tulsa ordered Enel to remove all 84 of the turbines it built in Osage County. As I reported here on December 23, it’s a landmark ruling and an enormous embarrassment for Big Wind and Enel, a company that has endlessly touted its “green” credentials.

The Osage story has particular resonance for me. I have deep roots in Oklahoma. My great uncle, Ernie Rapp, was born in Fairfax in 1909 and was a member of the Osage tribe. Although he never discussed it with us, he witnessed the Reign of Terror in the 1920s, during which dozens of Osage tribal members were killed for their oil wealth. Ernie’s daughter (my cousin, Nora) owns an Osage headright.

Our goal with this project is not to make a bunch of money. That’s why we are making the docuseries free. Our goal is to change the conversation. We want to help alert people and policymakers about the dangers facing our electric grid and the importance of what Chris Keefer calls our “civilizational life support system.” Our goal is to help people understand how our grid is being fragilized and why we need fission to fix it.

You can help us by sharing these episodes with your friends, family, and colleagues. Our goal is to get millions of views. You can help by subscribing to our YouTube channel. You can follow us on Twitter and share our content by referring people to our trailer and our website, juicetheseries.com.

Read the rest of this piece and view the videos at Robert Bryce Substack.

Robert Bryce is a Texas-based author, journalist, film producer, and podcaster. His articles have appeared in a myriad of publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Time, Austin Chronicle, and Sydney Morning Herald.

Photo: screenshot from the video series.