Category: Current Events

May 24, 2011 • Current Events, Electricity, Natural Gas, Perspectives

Cozying up to the fox?

by Brandon Dickerson

Eight months after the San Bruno, Calif., natural gas pipeline explosion killed eight people, injured dozens and left 55 homes uninhabitable, I still run across articles nearly every day regarding the ongoing investigation of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and what could have been done to avoid this tragedy. While most of these articles place an understandable and significant amount of blame on the utility, there have been a few that turn some of that blame to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). continue

May 13, 2011 • Current Events, Sustainability

Royal Footprints

by Katie Schultz

The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton brought out the romantic in me, and I waited in eager anticipation to see the big moments unfold on my TV screen. It was exciting to see the wedding dress, to hear the vows, and to watch as a country closed down to honor the nuptials of its new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

I was just as surprised as anyone to see Prince William and his bride come driving out of the gates of Buckingham Palace in his father’s 1969 Aston Martin DB6. What brought me out of my teary-eyed stupor was the mention of how “green” that vintage blue car actually was. continue

May 12, 2011 • Current Events, Perspectives

What does the Kentucky Derby have to do with the price of gas?

by Roger Durham

The Kentucky Derby

My wife is one (of many) who seems to subscribe to the theory of “The Holiday Gas Price Conspiracy.” Despite evidence to the contrary, there are people who insist that prices always go up as holidays approach. The most recent evidence to refute the theory came last weekend in Louisville – home of the Kentucky Derby. continue

May 2, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Innovation, Perspectives

Thoughts on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Incident

by Wyatt Taylor

It looks like it is left to me to break the silence on The Watercooler about the Japanese Fukushima nuclear incident. First, it might be months or years before we have a full picture of the damage at the plant and its impact on the environment and population. Our prayers go out to those impacted by the radiation. This incident is a sobering reminder that processes behind nuclear power production are complicated and allow a slim margin for error.

With that said, continue

April 26, 2011 • Current Events, Electricity, Energy Innovation, Natural Gas

One step closer to a European single energy market

by Sara Hoefkens

Did you know that Europe is the world’s second-smallest continent by surface area, covering “only” about 10,180,000 square kilometres (3,930,000 square miles) or a merely 2% of the Earth’s surface and about 6.8% of its land area?

In spite of being so “tiny” though, one of the coolest aspects about living on the European continent is, without any doubt, the enormous diversity of the people, cultures and long history of its 50 member states. It makes Europe one of the most fascinating continents to live on, travel and explore!

Now, in the midst of all this variety and cultural differences, Europe at the same time continuously strives toward unification and cross-country standardization. To capture joint economic and political possibilities, the European Union and its 27 member states have developed a single market through a standardised system of laws that applies in all member states, including the abolition of passport controls within the Schengen area and the implementation of the eurozone in 1999 in seventeen member states.

Recently, the EU made another move toward unification, on the energy front (!), with the inauguration in Slovenia of ACER, the EU’s new Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, as new legislation for liberalising the EU’s internal energy market came into force. continue

April 6, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Generation, Energy's Lighter Side, Perspectives

UK – A White Knuckle Ride for Energy and a boost for ‘UK Soccer’

by Noreen Guy

This time last month, we were fearful of the direction and strength of price movements, considering ‘treacherous’ and ‘unpredictable’ times. At that time, we had gas for Q3 around 58p per therm and Winter 11 at 67p per therm.  Considerably worse followed, with the devastating events in Japan followed by the German response on nuclear plants, and prices peaked at 66 and 74 respectively. The last two weeks have been a bumpy ride with prices back to these peak levels.

Summit Energy Risk Management professionals view prices as higher than the fundamentals support, but the question remains on when the market will react to what is actually happening than what could happen next. continue

April 4, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Generation, Sustainability

33% By 2020

by Brandon Dickerson

Several years ago, I was having what I considered to be a friendly conversation with a stranger about cap and trade legislation. Apparently, my self-monitor was slightly off that morning, because when I made a light-hearted joke, I was quickly put into my place and told how serious the issue was. I kindly apologized and exited the conversation as quickly as possible. However, I began thinking about the public perception and fear that comes with renewable legislation at the state and federal level. continue

April 1, 2011 • Current Events, Electricity, Emerging Technology, Energy Efficiency, Perspectives

Cautionary Tale or Rude Awakening?

by Ann Barczak

I call home a unique little place in northern Alabama.  My home town of Huntsville has a small feel with an unexpected aspect of cosmopolitan.  The school system is impeccable, the cultural arts will rival any larger city, and at last count, there were more Auburn fans living there than Alabama fans.

Huntsville, Alabama, has a special link to the U.S. Space Program, of which we are exceedingly proud. Huntsville is home to Marshall Space Flight Center, where the Saturn V or “America’s Moon Rocket,” was developed by a team of engineers and scientists led by Wernher von Braun.  The Saturn V Rocket sent astronauts into orbit around the moon for the first time in history. continue

March 17, 2011 • Current Events, Emerging Technology, Perspectives

The Changing Energy Landscape

by Kevin Cowart

As we look to the future of our energy landscape, signals increasingly seem to point to a dynamic reworking of the face of energy. Here are just a few indicators warning of markets primed to shake up conventional wisdom.

Political Discourse
Politicians and lobbyists are increasingly focusing on energy management and energy sustainability policies. Perhaps the prominence energy played in President Barack Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address is the best indicator of the impact energy is set to have on our political, social, and economic futures.

President Obama’s energy thesis: “Instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.”

Nuclear Power
Signs had been pointing toward much of this investment going toward nuclear power. That is until the recent tsunami caused a potential nuclear plant meltdown threat in Japan. Now, voices are being raised on both sides of the debate: continue

March 4, 2011 • Current Events, Electricity, Energy Efficiency, Energy Generation

Ever changing priorities for energy buyers

by Noreen Guy

At a recent conference in London hosted by EdF, the audience members (over 300 UK-based energy professionals) were asked to ‘vote’ on which of the four following aspects were of greatest concern now, and results (from my rough notes) were very interesting:

Supply Contracts                                     11%

Compliance to regulations                      15%

Funding for Energy Efficiency                18%

Energy Price – volatility and risk           56%

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