Category: Perspectives

January 26, 2012 • Perspectives

We’re not in Kansas anymore

by Allie Heiniger

"I've got to go, Julie. We've got cows." from the movie Twister

Tornadoes have long held the public captive with their ability to destroy all things in their path (I know for

a fact that any energy consultant worth a dime has memorized at least one line from Twister). So I can’t say that I was altogether surprised to hear that tornadoes have the highest energy density of any storm in nature. Despite many claims of harnessing the energy of a tornado (I’m looking at you, Pecos Bill), Mother Nature’s fury has had a mind of its own. That is until Louis Michaud came around.

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January 24, 2012 • Current Events, Perspectives

The world of energy in 2012

by Jackie Cobb

Recently, I came home to find the latest issue of The Economist in my mailbox. As it turns out, this issue was the special “World in 2012” edition, which focuses exclusively on trends to expect in the coming year. As I flipped through the articles profiling different political, economic and cultural trends by country and global region, I stopped on one detailing what’s to come in the energy industry. I found it interesting, and thought you might too. As such, here are the findings from The Economist (and my associated musings…): continue

January 11, 2012 • Current Events, Natural Gas, Perspectives

2011: The year in energy (Part 3: Revolution!)

by Eric Bickel

Last year will be remembered in the history books as the year in which people become fed up with a whole lot of governments (mostly the dictatorship kind, while there was also this). The former was likely the largest single influence on energy markets in 2012 (at least in Europe, a little less so in the U.S.). continue

January 4, 2012 • Current Events, Perspectives

2011: The year in energy (Part 1: Economics)

by Eric Bickel

“Economic malaise” became the phrase of choice in 2011 for forecasters, and not just when describing the U.S. economy. Troubles in the Eurozone have impacted growth prospects for even the strongest economies in the region (see here, here, and here for more), as debt concerns and austerity measures in the peripheral countries of Greece, Italy and Portugal hamper any and all hope for growth for the region. continue

December 27, 2011 • Electricity, Perspectives

Energy and the ease of doing business

by Jackie Cobb

Whether you’re a retailer needing to keep the lights on at hundreds of stores nationwide or an industrial company running intense machinery, energy is a mandatory resource for business. The fact that energy management companies like Summit Energy exist is, in and of itself, a testament to the basic, but important, role of energy. For nearly every business, keeping operations running requires electricity and/or natural gas.

The World Bank itself recently came to the same conclusion in its annual report, “Doing Business.” continue

December 20, 2011 • Emerging Technology, Energy Generation, Energy Innovation, Perspectives

One field of heliostats to rule them all…

by Allie Heiniger

Archimedes was not joking around.

Once upon a time in second century Greece, there lived a man named Archimedes who invented all sorts of crazy smart things. One of those things was a heat-ray weapon that was supposedly used to destroy enemy Roman ships. Although the details are not perfectly clear, historians say that Archimedes had 60 soldiers hold up bronze-coated shields aimed at the same small spot on each ship, igniting it within 10 minutes. Pretty impressive stuff for a guy whose last nerd words were supposedly, “Do not disturb my circles.” continue

December 2, 2011 • Electricity, Energy Generation, Natural Gas, Perspectives

A decade later: Ripples from Enron

by Dominic Barbato

The infamous (and now defunct) Enron logo.

It is difficult to believe 10 years have passed since Enron filed for bankruptcy on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2001. The company was America’s darling. Like the Titanic, Enron was thought to be unsinkable. It seemed to do no wrong; it was a company that could not fail. At the height of its power in 2001, Enron ranked seventh on the Fortune 500 with revenues topping $100 billion, a status earning it the moniker of “America’s Most Innovative Company” six consecutive years by Fortune magazine. The company’s business model was heralded to be a paradigm shift in business, a poster child for the new economy and modern markets, a firm that relied more on the development of intellectual capital and technology than on the creation of brick-and-mortar, physical assets.
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August 12, 2011 • Electricity, Emerging Technology, Energy Efficiency, Energy Innovation, Perspectives, Sustainability

Charge it up! Battery power of the future

by AmyHiggs

When I was but a wee tot, I really, really wanted a pink, battery-powered Barbie car. I coveted. Oh, yes. My parents, however, had sense enough not to shell out $400 for a piece of plastic that zipped along at 0.2 miles an hour and that I likely would have plowed into the family dog as soon as I took the wheel. I had to settle for a “manual” toy car that I powered myself through a hole in the floorboard — a la “The Flintstones.” I probably got going faster in that thing than I would have in the Barbie-mobile. I definitely got more exercise!

I hadn’t thought about those childhood toys in years, until I listened to an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air back in June. The host talked to the senior editor for Popular Science magazine, Seth Fletcher, about his new book, “Bottled Lightning: Superbatteries, Electric Cars and the New Lithium Economy.” Fletcher believes that “advanced lithium batteries could hold the key to an environmentally sustainable, oil-independent future.” Read more here. continue

August 10, 2011 • Electricity, Emerging Technology, Perspectives

On the road with eco plastics

by Sarah McKee

Jeff Bridges as "The Dude"

My car (a ’99 Honda Accord with 175,000+ miles) has been paid off for several months now and with all the new entries in the market, I’m officially shopping for a new car.   (The Dude, Jeff Bridges, is quite convincing about the new Hyndai Sonata.)  Fellow WaterCooler blogger, Eric Bickel is also making me see fuel economy in a whole new way.  Now, the question is, do I go hybrid and put into practice a personal sustainability strategy? continue

June 27, 2011 • Electricity, Energy Efficiency, Energy Innovation, Natural Gas, Perspectives, Sustainability

Look who’s talking: Experts on the speaking circuit

by AmyHiggs

June has been a whirlwind of activity at Summit, and I’ve had trouble keeping up with everything going on. (Not that this is different than any other month, but I digress.) In the midst of all the standard nuttiness were some speaking gigs by Summit folks who are pretty well known as experts in their fields. continue

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