Category: Energy Generation

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

June 28, 2011 • Current Events, Electricity, Energy's Lighter Side

The early ’70s: OPEC, AAA, SPR and Corinthian leather

by Chad Holder

Recently, Summit Energy commodity analyst Matt Smith appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box to field questions on how the release of 30 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) affects the crude oil market. Matt’s appearance led me to do a little digging on the history of the SPR, which uncovered five fascinating historical footnotes, some awesome ’70s-era YouTube video clips and 62 underground salt caverns that hold more than 700 million barrels of crude oil. continue

February 26, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Generation, Perspectives

Making Sense of Subsidies

by Wyatt Taylor

In his State of the Union speech last month, President Obama called for the elimination of government subsidies to oil companies, concluding, “instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.” The administration estimates that cutting such subsidies will save about $4 billion a year. Considering a recent government report showed the feds wasted more than $125 billion in “improper payments” in 2010, that $4 billion isn’t exactly going to send budget-hawk hearts aflutter. Still, the President’s plan presents some interesting questions: how much do we spend in energy subsidies? What energy sources are the most subsidized? Are the subsidies worth the cost? continue

January 28, 2011 • Energy Generation, Energy Innovation, Perspectives

On the “Elegance” of Nuclear Energy

by Wyatt Taylor

It appears I started something with my last post on nuclear power, as my colleagues Dominic Barbato and Kevin Cowart have added posts on nuclear power in the last couple of weeks. I’d like to return the favor by elaborating on something Dominic wrote.

Dominic commented on the “scientific elegance of harnessing the power of the atom.” Indeed, the scientific concept of nuclear energy is remarkably simple and efficient, which makes it all the more amazing that this source of energy has gone undeveloped in this country for more than 30 years. continue

January 22, 2011 • Current Events, Emerging Technology, Energy Innovation

Nuclear Energy: Made in China?

by Kevin Cowart

Worried about the Chinese New Year? A growing number of American businesses are. This year, the annual tradition of workers returning home for the holiday may yield disruptive effects on supply chains that provide “Made in China” products to American stores. continue

January 3, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Generation, Energy Innovation

Whither the Nuclear Power Revolution?

by Wyatt Taylor

nuclear power plant

I’ve been reading articles about the coming nuclear power “renaissance” or “revolution” for years now, but America’s energy future never seems to arrive.

For a while there, it appeared the economic and political climates had aligned in favor of nuclear expansion for the first time in decades. The industry had worked hard to rebrand nuclear energy as a clean energy, focusing on the fact that it produces no greenhouse gas emissions and is more efficient and dependable than wind and solar. Such efforts caught the attention of politicians anxious to transform America’s carbon-heavy energy diet into a more climate-friendly, “green” energy future.

In 2008, presidential nominees from both major parties spoke favorably of including nuclear power as a part of the country’s sustainability strategy. The Obama administration proposed an additional $37 billion in federal loan guarantees for the construction of new reactors. About 30 new reactors were making their way through the application process, with four already under construction.

Then along came the Great Recession. continue

November 18, 2010 • Energy Efficiency, Energy's Lighter Side, Sustainability

Do the energy sustainability dance.

by Sara Hoefkens

For those of you that like to host a party or hit the dancefloor from time to time, there is now a great energy efficient way to do this by capturing the energy of you and your friend’s dancing feet.

Teamed up with a team of engineers, a Dutch organization driving energy sustainability projects, has developed the“sustainable dance floor”, which in addition to flashing and changing its colour has the distinctive feature of converting the steps of the dancers in energy that can be directly used by the party host for lighting and other systems. Integrated energy metering monitors the energy and encourages you and your friends to dance even more – doing your bit for the environment doesn’t have to be boring! continue

November 8, 2010 • Energy Generation, Energy's Lighter Side, Perspectives

Two scoops of energy, please.

by Sarah McKee

To help it celebrate their 65th Birthday, Baskin Robbins is sending five flavors to the “deep freeze” to make room for some new flavors. While I can’t imagine a world without Baskin Robbins’ French Vanilla ice cream (I’m not the only one), I can’t wait to see what creative gems the BR chefs come up with that will top such amazing flavors as “whYte 2K Chocolate Overload”, “Campfire S’mores” and “Jack Lemon Ice”.

No matter which new Baskin Robbins flavor you will soon find in my waffle cone, I know it will definitely taste better than the ice cream I made as a kid in science class. While Baskin Robbins is known for its 31 flavors, our teacher didn’t give us more than one flavor choice: “icky”.

I distinctly remember the process of making our unique brand of “icky” ice cream. After carefully measuring and placing ice, salt, sugar, milk and vanilla in a plastic bag, our teacher told us the final ingredient: heat energy. She demonstrated the proper technique to create heat energy, which involved shaking the plastic bags until we noticed the solids and liquids converging into one. My friends and I, suddenly transforming into tiny heat energy professionals, shook those plastic bags as if it was going to save our lives. continue

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