What do Emily, Franklin, Gert and Harvey have in common? They each appear on the National Hurricane Center’s official 2011 list of names for storms. Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma have all been retired from that list because of their association with ferocious storms in the past. I think about hurricanes every year about this time, not just because I find them fascinating, but because I have lived through the havoc they can wreak on businesses, even as far away from the coastline as Louisville, Kentucky. continue
Category: energy procurement
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
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
Blog entry ideas can be hard to come by. I’m still fairly new at Summit, and even more new to the world of blogging, so this task is somewhat of an adventure for me. So far, I’ve written about a few things that crossed my radar and piqued my interest.
But this month I was stumped. It’s fun to have a theme, and I’ve written about a holiday before, so I glanced up at the calendar for inspiration. Valentine’s Day promised a few sustainability topics, but I wasn’t satisfied. I was venting my writer’s block frustration when someone suggested President’s Day. So I started wondering if there were any presidents that influenced the industry that I’m now a part of. What’s some of the history that allows a company like Summit to exist? (A topic was born!) continue
Here is a simple question for everyone out there: Do you like money? Now, the response to such a question will be wide and probably very interesting, but I would suppose that the inner-capitalist in most of us would answer with a profound, “Of course I do.” Money buys the goods that keep our economy turning; when money is tight, it usually means conversations go from, “Nice weather today” to a glummer “bah humbug” type of response. Due to government policies of the 1980s, we witnessed a jolt to the U.S. economy, prompting a robust recovery and an infusion of capital through tax cuts, spurring the yuppie stereotype. Overall, most of us think of the 80s as the time when greed was the word de jour and the capital flowed, at least until the market crashed. We can go on and on about how cool money, taxes and the 1980s are, but I want to shift gears and transition to the ongoing developments at the Empire State Building. Don’t worry; we will still talk about money. continue
Here at Summit, we spend a great deal of time perfecting our knowledge of the energy markets, both in the U.S. and globally. As a result, we begin to grow sensitive to the economic climate. While there are probably dozens of reasons for this, I will focus on two in particular: continue
“Size matters not…look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?”
For all you Star Wars fans out there (and for those of you who are not, shame on you!), Yoda’s wise words seem to fit this blog entry nicely. Recently, I read an article in the June 2010 issue of FastCompany titled “Supertiny Power Plants”, which highlighted some potential uses for piezoelectric materials.
Pizza, what?! I know, right? I was lost too, but the it’s pretty simple really. “Piezo” is a Greek word meaning to press or squeeze. Simply stated, piezeoelectric materials are able to generate an electric current in response to an applied mechanical strain (such as pressing or squeezing). You may remember from your high school physics class that electromagnetic induction (i.e., the production of a voltage) occurs when conductive material moves within a magnetic field. The generation turbines at a power plant apply this principle on a grand scale by rapidly spinning very large coils of wire inside even larger magnets. The rotation of the wire within the magnetic field creates an electric current which is then transferred over power lines for use at your home. continue