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
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.
With Memorial Day 2011 only a few days behind us, I’m positive that there were about 307 million other Americans who took that inaugural trip to the neighborhood swimming pool and enjoyed a glorious three-day weekend. I’m also positive that I was the only one in America who, when reflecting upon US soldiers who have died in combat, started thinking about the intersection between US military history and the history of energy. (Working day in and day out with energy consultants rubs off on you.) So here it goes – a little something for you to consider in your post-Memorial Day musings. continue
With summer upon us, Americans are once again engaged in a grand old tradition: griping about high gas prices. Our pain at the pump has been acute for the last few months, and it doesn’t seem likely to get better any time soon. Over the holiday weekend, as gas prices spiked, I ran a little demand response program of my own – spending the long weekend in the comfort of my home instead of burning gas on a road trip. In times like these, our political leaders are quick to sell the public on convenient villains, from evil OPEC to those dastardly oil companies. Still, we all know that those who are the first to assign blame usually deserve a bit of it themselves. continue
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
Every morning on my way to work, I pass a large shopping center with a Barnes and Noble store. This morning it got me thinking about how much the book business has changed in just the last few years. Back then, if you’d asked someone where they got their copy of Unbroken by Laura Hillebrand or the latest Stephen King novel, the answer would have undoubtedly been somewhere around town – a small, locally owned shop or one of the big players such as Borders, Barnes and Noble, etc.
A few weeks ago, a lot of people were surprised to hear that Borders had filed for bankruptcy and will be closing quite a few stores across the country. How could a company that used to hold such a market share be in trouble? Quite simply, it’s because the market changed and they didn’t change with it. continue
With the recent event on Jeopardy in which Watson the computer decimated its human competitors, I thought it would be fun to start today’s post with a Jeopardy question:
Answer: This rhyming term refers to a utility employee who looks at electric, gas, or water consumption and records the volume used. continue
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
I love a good puzzle. When I see something in pieces and I know it should fit together into a whole, I can’t resist picking it up, turning it around in my hands, fitting the pieces up against each other and figuring out how to make it all come together. This week I rediscovered a favorite game in smartphone form called WoodEnigma and have been captivated for days.
In this game, you’re given several small, oddly shaped pieces and a large shape outline, and you have to manipulate all the small pieces to fit exactly within the large one. For a few of the puzzles, I looked at the outline and the pieces and could immediately see how they fit together. Others took days of slowly working through all the options I could see, walking away, and coming back to try again before I finally figured it out and got the validation of seeing the word “Solved!” flash across the screen.
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