http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time.html2016-08-30T05:50:44.159ZAll Energy, All the TimeAdobe Experience ManagerHere comes the sunnoemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2015/September/Holding%20the%20sun.JPG" style="float: left;">It’s been 4 months since I moved from the petroleum side of PennEnergy.com to the Power side, and it has been an adjustment. Instead of championing the tried-n-true oil &amp; gas industry, I find myself touting the future of renewables. Where once I explained the longevity of mankind’s reliance on petroleum, now I’m digesting as much information as I can pertaining to how we can leave fossil fuels behind. And don’t get me started on how it’s affecting my political leanings.</p> <p>But the biggest surprise since my switching sides has simply been how much less to cover there is. There simply isn’t as much happening on the power side. For every power plant upgrade, there’s a half dozen drilling asset sales. For each coal mine regulation, there’s 15 offshore discoveries. For every solar panel order, there’s…. not much to complain about.</p> <p>Solar is actually hitting it out of the park when it comes to press. Every day, there are numerous solar-related news items for maybe 1 or 2 from every other corner of the power sphere. If you judged an industry based on who was making headlines, the power industry is all about solar.</p> <p>It’s not an accurate representation of the industry. Wind installations are up, power plant upgrades are near constant, and regulators are constantly weighing in on the process of power. The industry constantly hums along like a generator, but some days you’d be hard pressed to notice from the headlines.</p> <p>Again, expect solar. The men and women behind the photovoltaic revolution are doing their part producing news, documenting it, and sharing it with the world. If all companies were solar companies, I could set this site on auto-post and go home. It’s a testament to the interest in solar product purveyors for keeping their work in the eye of the public, and it’s also a lesson for pretty much everybody else.</p> <p>As a journalist, it’s my job to tell stories. Accurate and relevant, but stories nonetheless. And nothing aides in this pursuit like information culled from a source. Sources vary in type and frequency, but none have a more immediate reach than the classic press release. Whether it’s the story itself or merely an introduction to a topic meant to be followed-up on, these bite-size chunks of information are the cornerstone of what we do as business journalists.</p> <p>So, if you’re in coal, nuclear, wind, hydro, or any other corner of the world of power, start documenting what you’re doing. Whether it’s agreements, installations, decommissions, divestments, legal scuffles, or hiring announcements, your news is important to the world and helps the industry function.</p> <p>If all corners of the power sector would treat their growth and development like solar does, I think we’d not only see better and wider coverage from within the industry, but from the mainstream media as well. And that’s the moment this goes from business interests and stockholder relevance to important to the common man. And once the common man gets excited, this starts to get really interesting.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/09/here_comes_the_sun.html2015-09-10T18:58:00.000Z2015-09-10T18:59:09.064ZWeekend Fun, PennEnergy Stylenoemail@noemail.orgJoey Mechelle Stenner<p><img src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2015/September/Giant%20Movie%20Poster.JPG" style="float: right;">For many of you, summer is ending, school is starting, weather is shifting, and change is in the air. For all of you, the weekend is nigh.</p> <p>About a year ago I decided to start watching all the old classic movies I have missed. For some of you, “old classics” could be the movies from the 1980s. For me, old classics consist of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” To the slightly more vintage and seasoned OGPE editor down the hall, old classics might consist of the Marx Brother’s film, “Animal Crackers.” I kid, J.B. Avants, I kid.</p> <p>When I started my career with PennEnergy a few months ago I switched my attention to all films with an oil &amp; gas focus. Yes, the word NERD comes to mind.</p> <p>I was quick to watch several&nbsp; – but actually have to make more of an effort to watch the harder to find films.</p> <p>This oil &amp; gas film fest is perfect as a weekend project. Currently, many are available on Netflix and other online streaming sites.</p> <p>I’ve created a list of my top five favorites to get you started.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">1.<i><b> </b></i><b><i>There Will Be Blood</i></b> is loosely based on Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel “Oil!” Daniel Day-Lewis is a gold miner who turns big oil. His heart is seemingly pure in the beginning of the film, but by the end you see his character is ruthless, mean and heartless. Paul Dano (the silent, brooding teen in Little Miss Sunshine) is phenomenal as his slightly creepy and evangelical character follows Day-Lewis’s character throughout the film, all the way to the bitter end. The entire cast is outstanding, really. This is a must see film for newbies in the oil &amp; gas industry as it illustrates a very interesting history of land leasing, a roughneck’s life, the wealth mongering that can happen and so much more. This is my favorite oil &amp; gas film.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">2. <b><i>Giant</i></b>, my second favorite, was released in 1956 and stars the glamorous Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean. Basically, Rock and Elizabeth are married, after he woos her away from her east coast way of life. They are beautiful and have beautiful babies and a great life as a rich Texas ranching family. Then Dean, a former handyman on the farm, inherits a patch of land on Hudson’s ranch. Oil is found, then the fighting (and drinking and more fighting) starts. This is a fun Sunday afternoon film, and one of James Dean’s only feature length movies.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">3. <b><i>Hellfighters</i></b> stars John Wayne and is the story of a bunch of oil well firefighters. This movie is based on the real-life oil firefighter, Red Adair. The film was released in 1968. Wayne plays Chance Buckman, the head of a Houston-based oil-fire fighting team. Buckman travels the world putting out blazes at well heads caused by industrial accidents, explosions, terrorism and other such drama. There is lots of oil field drama, and drama at home with the wives and women in the lives of the firefighters. This is a good weekend date film.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">4.<i><b> </b></i><b><i>Syriana</i></b> stars Matt Damon, who is an energy analysis and George Clooney who plays a CIA spy. This film focuses on corporate greed, petroleum politics and the global influence of the oil industry. It was released in 2005. You see a lot of the world in this film, from Houston to Tehran to D.C. and places in Switzerland, Spain and Lebanon. Clooney won an Academy for best supporting actor. This was a bit blockbuster hit, bring popcorn.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">5.<i><b> </b></i><b><i>The World is Not Enough</i></b>. Who doesn’t love a little James Bond action on a Saturday night? In this flick from 1999, Bond (played by Pierce Bronsnan) saves the world after an oil tycoon is murdered. The villain plots to destroy a massively long pipeline in Azerbaijan that is hailed as the solution to supply the entire world with oil. A bomb is attached to a pipeline pig in this film, but Bond saves the day, no spoiler there. This film is as fun to watch as the other Bond films, a few others also feature oil &amp; gas themes – <b><i>Diamonds are Forever</i></b> and <b><i>The Living Daylights</i></b>.</p> <p><b><i>Honorable Mentions:</i></b></p> <p><b><i>Boomtown<br> Tulsa<br> Black Gold<br> Mad Max: The Road Warrior<br> The Abyss</i></b></p> <p>So, here is to a wonderful weekend of entertainment. As always, email me if you should have opinions or comments. This is a fun topic, so I look forward to hearing from you.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/09/weekend_fun_pennene.html2015-09-10T18:06:00.000Z2015-09-10T18:12:24.743ZCareer Moves, Introduction, the Future of PennEnergy and Younoemail@noemail.orgJoey Mechelle Stenner<center><p><img src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2015/August/michelangelo.JPG"></p> </center> <p>It is rumored that when Michelangelo was on his deathbed he looked up to his caregivers and proclaimed, “Ancora Imparo.” That translates into “Yet, I still learn.”</p> <p>I am a 40-something woman, writer, single mother, humorist, lover of music and purveyor of wisdom. As a young woman in my 20s I entered into my first career as a writer and editorial assistant for a magazine that focused on exploration and production. I traveled to some great places, learned all things journalism from two mentors in the industry – my editors. Along the way, I also learned a fraction of the oil &amp; gas industry.</p> <p>Fast forward 20 years. I’m back in the energy industry, and loudly proclaiming, “Ancora Imparo.”</p> <p>The Dallas theme song played in my head as I walked into to the PennEnergy office on my first day in June. If you think I am remotely joking, you’d be wrong. To say I was excited would be an extreme understatement.</p> <p>It wasn’t long before I discovered that the team I would be working with were all professionals who care a great deal about making PennEnergy greater than ever before.</p> <p>The first few weeks I spent learning the day-to-day tasks of searching and posting the day’s hottest energy news, learning about the company, studying the processes and the organizational structure. At night I would go home and dream of ways to enhance what was already being done editorially in order to boost readership.</p> <p><b>What’s To Come</b></p> <p>After a month and a half on the job, I have come to the realization that PennEnergy does not compete with Oil &amp; Gas Journal, Offshore or any of PennWell’s other energy brands. PennEnergy is unique – and that’s a good thing. We want to be a one stop shop for readers – providing up-to-date energy news, educational videos, whitepapers, webcasts, job listings, new product information and energy insights via blogs and videos. We want to engage with our readers through social – asking big questions, answering smartly and embracing the fact that we are digital and can publish up-to-date news and information on demand.</p> <p>I know for a fact that like Michelangelo, I am still learning. I am re-learning the energy industry. I am learning the ins and outs of working outside of a nonprofit. I am learning about the extraordinarily robust and smart 105-year-old corporation that is PennWell. I am learning to work with a new team. I am learning about content marketing and media. I am learning new technology. I am learning what YOU want to read.</p> <p>In this process, along with a partner editor, fantastic sales and marketing pros, an incredibly smart research team, wonderfully adept web and product service staff and an open and supportive publisher, we have made a lot of exciting plans and creative strides to make your PennEnergy experience all it can be.</p> <p>Moving forward, PennEnergy will continue to focus on delivering the top energy news of the day. In addition, PennEnergy Exclusives will feature thought leader insights, informative and expanded news stories that go above and beyond the daily headlines, thoughtful and smart blogs, career advice, new product information, exclusive interviews with industry giants, and special content only seen on PennEnergy! This will all be done in a professional, smart, informed (and sometimes humorous) tone that is uniquely different than that of the other industry news you find in print and online.</p> <p>In 2016, PennEnergy will introduce an exciting editorial calendar that will feature oil &amp; gas and power stories, case studies, insights and more that you will only find on PennEnergy.com.</p> <p><b>My First Mission Since Joining PennEnergy</b></p> <p>Because Tulsa used to be the Oil Capital of the World, there’s still a lot going on here and the surrounding area. So why not start writing about what's right in my backyard?!</p> <p>Last Saturday I drove to Cushing, Oklahoma. Cushing is a sleepy town an hour west of Tulsa. It may be small, but it’s very important. Cushing is known as the pipeline crossroads of the world, and is the country’s largest commercial oil storage hub. The city hosts a behemoth maze of pipelines, and ample oil storage capacity of approximately 85 million barrels of crude.</p> <p><img src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2015/August/cushing.JPG"></p> <p>Several private companies operate the pipelines and oil terminals in the area, including Enbridge, Enterprise Products, Explorer Pipeline, Jayhawk, Magellan Midstream, Plains All American, Sunoco and Valero Energy.</p> <p>The tank farm is almost to capacity, storing about 13% (about 60 million barrels) of the country’s oil stockpile. That percentage is up about 5% from this time last year when oil prices were above $100 per barrel.</p> <p>I plan to go back soon to talk to the tank farm managment and several of the company spokespeople based in Cushing.</p> <p>My goal is to find out, and report to you, everything there is to know about the pipelines, storage, companies involved and the operations. I also want to climb up the winding staircase the travels the side of a tank and walk on the floating top. I want to learn about the lightning rods that perch upon the top. I want to know everything.</p> <p>My promise to you, our PennEnergy readers is this: I will continue these types of adventures for as long as I am with PennEnergy, and will learn and report all that I can in the smartest and most interesting way possible.</p> <p>Here is a little surprise, a teaser of what is to come:</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/08/career_moves_introd.html2015-08-07T20:39:00.000Z2015-08-10T06:40:40.782ZNew Voicesnoemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="326" height="215" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2015/June/hello-my-name-is.jpg"></p> <p>We have a new intern at PennEnergy. You won’t hear from her much, at least not right away, because right now she’s learning everything she can about the industry. No big deal, right? It’s just hundreds of years of history and millions of dollars of science and countless hours of manpower and ingenuity and sweat equity and… Okay, yeah, it’s pretty darn daunting.</p> <p>Do you remember when you started in power or petroleum? Maybe you were the new guy at a power plant, or the intern at a financial company that funds exploration, or the fresh fact at the drilling site. Whether you were on the ground or in an office, running numbers or pulling piping, you were becoming a part of something wholly greater than you or I, something that came before us and will likely continue long after we’re gone.</p> <p>Because that’s the key about all this, isn’t it? We work to create a world that will last long after we’re gone. As much as it’s our lives being spent in the fields and behind the keyboards and in front of the control panel, it’s the lives of others we are benefitting, supporting, and eventually passing it all on to. So, as these new people join our teams, we have no way to act but to welcome them, educate them, and prepare them for the truly awesome challenges that lie ahead.</p> <p>But back to your first day. Were you overwhelmed? I remember my first week at PennEnergy, when I was COMPLETELY overwhelmed. I’d been a journalist for years, and a writer for even longer, but the idea of documenting these massive industries in any manner mildly akin to comprehensive seemed utterly impossible. And yeah, spoiler alert, it is impossible, but that didn’t mean we weren’t going to try anyway. And yes, with a certain amount of prioritization, and a whole lot of aggregation, PennEnergy.com does a darn fine job of covering both sides of energy each and every day.</p> <p>And our voice is going to be getting louder. With a new intern, and soon an additional content editor, we’ll be trying new things and letting new voices be heard. Do you want to be one of those voices? I have room for more content on PennEnergy.com, and whether you’re a seasoned industry veteran or a new set of eyes on this amazing world, your voice may be of interest to our readers.</p> <p>Drop me a line at <a href="mailto:HiltonP@pennwell.com">HiltonP@pennwell.com</a> and tell me what you do in the industry? We might have a place for you to share your story. Between our news portal, our jobs database, and our research hub, we’ll certainly help you live it.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/06/new_voices.html2015-06-04T18:20:00.000Z2015-06-04T18:22:11.357ZWhat’s Next?noemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="294" height="219" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2015/May/West%20Wing.JPG" style="float: left;">There used to be a fantastic drama on television called “The West Wing,” about a sitting president and his advisory cabinet. Played by the venerable Martin Sheen, the man occupying the titular White House wing was presented as an idealistic pragmatist, a man who reached for the stars while constantly reasoning what he could best accomplish on terra firma. Perfect for TV, but probably not a perspective that would get too far in real-world politics. Realism aside, what I always loved about this fictional Commander-in-Chief was a verbal tik he utilized time and again while discussing his fictional world’s most pressing issues with his staff. As a topic would reach it’s logical end of discussion, he would utter a curt “What’s Next?” signaling that he was done with that and ready for the next point of order. Seemingly innocuous at first, they are just two rather common words after all, this segue came to define the character by exemplifying his realistic approach to the obstacles of his fictional office. A problem can only be handled for so long before it may be time to move on to something else. It doesn’t signify the end of that particular obstacle, only the end of that specific dealing with it.</p> <p>In energy, “What’s Next?” may be the most important question we can ask. It is the question that propels us to new techniques and technology. It pushes us toward invention and innovation. It encourages new pespectives on old problems, and the guts to consider potential problems we have yet to face. “What’s Next?” is acknowledging the future, and that it may be very different from the present.</p> <p>In Power, we see “What’s Next?” in action all the time. The renewable energy sector is born of “What’s Next?” thinking. Emissions legislation is “What’s Next?” in action at the highest levels of government. And there isn’t a power trade show in existence that doesn’t feature at least one panel discussion focused on some variation of “What’s Next?” pondering.</p> <p>In Petroleum, “What’s Next?” is best seen in new approaches to old problems. The last decade’s unconventional success is the result of a “What’s Next?” from a while back that was brought up again and again as technology improved. Expansions into new offshore arenas are a fine example how “What’s Next?” can mean less about applying something new and more about finding a new place to apply it.</p> <p>Here on PennEnergy.com, we’re always asking “What’s Next?” From new types of content to better targeted advertising, to a wider variety of useful and informative products, we’re working to make sure every moment you spend on the site is good for you, your time, and your business. As PennWell’s comprehensive energy news portal, we’re in a good place to watch all corners of the industry, and work to provide you with the most relevant content at the click of a button. But that’s not enough. So, we’re asking “What’s Next?”</p> <p>You’ll see the results in the weeks ahead. From design changes to new resources, we’ll be working to make this site more relevant and useful than ever. To best accomplish this, I’m turning the question on you. What’s Next? What do you want to see more of on PennEnergy.com. What content &nbsp;is most important to you? Which ads are best addressing your needs? Which products do you want to see more of? Drop me an email at <a href="mailto:Hiltonp@pennwell.com">Hiltonp@pennwell.com</a>, with the subject line “What’s Next?” and tell me how we can best serve you.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/05/what_s_next_.html2015-05-21T17:23:00.000Z2015-05-21T17:25:10.838ZOn Compromisesnoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/05/corssroad.jpg"></p> <p>Energy has value across so many imperatives, but is compromise necessary to support the industries that power our lives? This is a question that has emerged both personally and professionally since my entry into the energy spectrum nearly a decade ago.</p> <p>On a personal level I have come to a rather simplistic place of understanding – energy is essential for human progress and wellbeing. Does this negate responsible use and development? No. It also does not negate the purpose and potential of some of its more controversial aspects.</p> <p>Professionally, I simply weigh and present matters based on the available details and context. Here too, my assessment of responsible use and development are not things to be negated. However, my personal opinions in relation to such are. &nbsp;The best way to frame it is with the words of Dragnet’s good old Joe Friday, “Just the facts Ma’am.”</p> <p>This dualistic, yet surprisingly cohesive outlook has allowed me to build a career within an industry involving some of the best minds in the world and behind some of the most significant advancements of our century. It has been an extraordinary experience, but still, not one without compromises.</p> <p>Before I go any further, if you are getting the sense that this post is some sort of cathartic piece winding down to a rather lengthy farewell, you are correct. Next week I part ways with my exceptional collogues here at <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index.html"><u>PennEnergy</u></a>. &nbsp;It is a bittersweet parting, but a necessary one in the here and now.&nbsp; It comes down to compromise.</p> <p>When first entering the arena of energy I had a lot of internal conflicts, which turned out to almost nearly align with the number of misconceptions I had about the industry itself. In my time as an energy writer, marketer and consultant I have grown in perspective and in passion. I love energy and its many facets. I love it enough to move on from being a less passive contributor.</p> <p>My goals are to have a more direct and grassroots influence in the energy space. I hope to encourage others, especially young women of color like me, to do the same. Energy is an incredible and dynamic industry. My purpose now is to seek out the gaps between human potential and industry potential, and bridge them.</p> <p>You can expect to still hear from me here on occasion and can keep up with me on <a href="https://twitter.com/dm_ballard"><u>Twitter</u></a>, <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/dorothydavisballard"><u>LinkedIn</u></a>, and <a href="https://plus.google.com/+DorothyDavisBallard/posts"><u>Google+</u></a>. I’m certain I will also see many of you at some of the industry events where we have connected in the past. Wherever I land, I hope to see you there, helping to keep this industry thriving.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/05/on-compromises.html2015-05-14T19:00:00.000Z2015-05-19T20:43:10.287ZIT Professionals Can Make It Big in Energynoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/10/STEM_2.jpg"></p> <p>In my <a adhocenable="false" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/04/technology-can-bring.html"><u>last post</u></a>, I spoke to the increasing role of technology in the energy sectors and how these advances could serve the industry by revitalizing interest and paving the way for underserved groups to establish a successful career in energy. In keeping with that theme, my invitation today goes out to those who have already committed themselves to careers in one segment of the technology space, Information Technology (IT).&nbsp;</p> <p>As the role of <a adhocenable="false" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/tech-data.html"><u>tech and data</u></a> evolves within <a adhocenable="false" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/power.html"><u>electric power</u></a> and <a adhocenable="false" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/oil-gas.html"><u>oil and gas</u></a> operations, opportunities abound for IT professionals in the energy sectors.&nbsp; Big data analytics, cloud computing, smart grids, digital oil fields, and virtual power plants represent just a handful of the areas where the skills and talents of IT professionals are needed in the energy space. This technological growth is good news for IT professionals and aspiring students. As technology forges&nbsp;ahead in the industry, the need for IT professionals becomes increasingly essential. Those looking for a great opportunity in an established industry with historically higher wages need look no further than the broad spectrum of energy.</p> <p>Check out some of the newest technologies enhancing the energy industry and offering excellent opportunities for IT professionals:</p> <p><b>Wireless communications</b><br> The oil and gas industry maintains millions of miles of pipeline throughout North America and has the challenge of efficiently and safely running remote operations. Decades ago, these operations were costly and cumbersome often requiring workers to be stationed in remote facilities around the world. But now, wireless broadband networks are enabling operators to use video feeds to keep a close eye on their wells, pipelines and facilities. Wireless technology also allows unmanned monitoring devices to continuously provide real time data to operators back at headquarters.</p> <p><b>Visualization technology</b><br> 3D seismic surveying is a boon for the oil and gas industry. The method sends a seismic wave into the ground where it reflects off underground formations and is then sent back toward the surface. The returning wave is recorded and operators map the subsurface by calculating the time it takes the seismic wave to return to the surface. This new technique allows companies to gather in-depth geological data and find reserves that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.</p> <p><b>Robotics</b><br> The robots are taking over… Not really, but they are becoming incredibly useful in the energy industry, particularly for offshore exploration and development. Robotic technology, like Liquid Robotics' Wave Glider, is able to gather immense amounts of data, take geographic surveys and work longer and harder than any human. Operators also don't have to worry if the robot will be hurt if a storm moves in.</p> <p><b>Big data and the Cloud</b><br> Most of the technological advancements unfolding within the energy industry involve&nbsp;massive amounts of information. In some cases, 3D surveying and real-time monitoring can provide terabytes of data, all of which needs to be sorted, categorized and analyzed. Gathering this information is now relatively simple, but the energy industry needs professionals able to maintain these systems and protect proprietary information.&nbsp;</p> <p>Cloud computing also broadens opportunities for energy enterprises in storing data less expensively and connecting larger, once mostly fragmented networks. In order to successfully utilize the benefits cloud computing offers energy businesses, companies need a solid and competent IT team to implement, maintain, and grow these systems.</p> <p>The developments above are only a few examples of the many changes within the energy industry that are creating a need for IT professionals. This ever-evolving technological landscape means an opportunity for IT focused workers to make it big in energy as companies look to employ teams to implement, maintain, and grow these systems.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>For an extensive list of jobs in the energy and technology sectors, visit</b> <a adhocenable="false" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index/jobs.html"><b><u>PennEnergyJobs.com</u></b></a> <b>today. <br> Personalize your search, then upload your resume and upgrade your career.</b></p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/04/it-professionals-can.html2015-04-30T19:00:00.000Z2015-04-30T20:14:07.380ZSomething old, something newnoemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/12/Crude%20oil%20rail%20shipment.JPG"></p> <p>The push and pull between industry and regulation is constant, and I’m okay with that. I want industry to find the most economical and profitable way to conduct business, and I want regulators to find out how that industry can do its job safer and in better interest of the public good. Furthermore, I like that they’re sometimes opposed ideals. It keeps each side from growing complacent. It also keeps journalists like myself busy, and I like being busy (and continually employed) far more than I like either industry or regulation. Heck, call it regulation of my personal industry.</p> <p>However, despite this appreciation for the back-and-forth, there is one time I easily stand on the side of regulation, and have no problem seeing it achieve every goal it aims for. That’s in the interest of safety. Once human lives are gambled, I cash in my chips and leave. Perhaps I’m idealistic, perhaps I’m short-sighted, but as far as I’m concerned, keeping us alive is paramount. Damage can be repaired, loss can be regained, and reputation can be rehabilitated. Lives don’t get that second chance, so when regulators call for stricter safety standards, I tend to pay attention.</p> <p>This isn’t to say every regulation request is legitimate or applicable. Ideas for implementing new safety standards or utilizing new technologies may be announced before proper consideration has been taken. People sometimes speak before they should, no surprises there. So, I’m not saying every wild idea suggested should be implemented. But when it comes to something making headlines all too frequently, like crude by rail, it’s easy to lean toward the regulators and say “Okay folks, what do you got?”</p> <p>Oil shipments by rail date back to the 1860s. You might remember the 1860s, a time when Abraham Lincoln, the Ottoman Empire, and Napoleon (although, not THAT Napoleon) all existed at the same time. And yes, America debuted a means of transporting crude oil that is still being utilized 150 years later. And no, crude by rail is not the same as it was back then, but to say it’s entirely different may be disingenuous. Moving flammable liquid in a large container across the country at very high speeds poses risk. It’s inherent in the basic nouns of the previous sentence. And although the means of protecting that dangerous material as it travels has advanced considerably in the time since it was first attempted, there’s always more that can be done.</p> <p>Safety isn’t a goal, it’s a process, and it’s almost always ongoing. Even applying the best possible safety precautions this year can be outdone by new developments in the weeks ahead. So, no industry can ever really be finished with the act of increasing safety, they can only be out of time for today.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/04/something_old_somet.html2015-04-09T18:35:00.000Z2015-04-09T18:37:11.705ZTechnology can bring Energy's Sexy Backnoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img width="501" height="332" src="/content/dam/elp/online-articles/2013/10/nuclear%20fusion.png"></p> <p>If I invited you to look into a field that's driving major technological advancements and rapidly evolving, would you think energy? That’s right, energy. As in <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index.html" adhocenable="false"><u>electric power and oil &amp; gas</u></a>. No, the odds are good you would not. Say robotics or big data and then ears tend to perk up. The interesting side of that is those things are already a part of the energy industry. Today. The look ahead is even more incredible.</p> <p>I have long been passionate about energy, and in my mid-career as a writer, marketer and consultant for its broad sectors, I have also become equally passionate about finding a place for the often displaced within this dynamic and essential industry. Energy is in the midst of an important turning point, both in terms of technology and its workforce. As innovations are evolving energy, the industry is in the midst of a great crew shift. Baby Boomers are retiring, widening the skills gap in energy just as the <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/power/t-and-d-smart-grid.html" adhocenable="false"><u>Smart Grid</u></a>, <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/tech-data.html" adhocenable="false"><u>Big Data</u></a>, and <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/power/fossil-fueled-energy.html" adhocenable="false"><u>advanced fossil fuel processes</u></a> are actively reshaping the industry we all thought we knew. The timing seems almost kismet for this intersection of developments and after my time recently at Zpryme’s <a target="_blank" href="http://energythoughtsummit.com/" adhocenable="false"><u>2015 Energy Thought Summit (ETS)</u></a> in tech booming Austin, Texas, more promising than ever.</p> <p>There surrounded by some of the very best minds and contributors in the energy space what revealed itself to me in a whole new way is just how exciting a time it is for this industry and how essential it is to get that message out. Those already immersed in energy get it, mostly. But when discussing the future of energy and its much desired and needed future workforce, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.engineering.txstate.edu/Contact/faculty/mcclellan.html" adhocenable="false"><u>Dr. Stan McClellan</u></a>, Director of the Ingram School of Engineering at Texas State University, provided an insight that had not occurred to me - for many looking ahead to educations and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) related fields, energy is a solved issue. It’s not perceived as “sexy” or innovative. Couple this with established Millenial ideals for work that is both meaningful and challenging and it is easy to understand why many of the best and brightest of Generation Y don’t have energy on their radar.</p> <p>When looking at things on an even broader scale, the energy industry is also looking for its next generation of skilled workers. The people needed in the field, getting their hands dirty, and seeing projects finished and operating smoothly.</p> <p>Energy is transforming, through technology, to produce more resources with fewer negative effects on the environment&nbsp;and at a lesser cost to both businesses and the end consumer. This technological growth could serve as catalyst to renew interests in energy related STEM education and connect underserved groups, such as minorities, women, and veterans with opportunities to become part of a skilled workforce in a very meaningful industry.</p> <p>Now more than ever, industry must form a bridge to its consumers and show them there is still so much to do, so much to achieve. Extend the invitation and broaden the reach to the brilliant, the curious, and the determined. Nothing, after all, is sexier than an industry that could offer the total package - diversity, innovation, and environmental impact.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/04/technology-can-bring.html2015-04-02T18:00:00.000Z2015-04-08T20:36:12.751ZMining Legacy Knowledge in the Energy Industrynoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img width="408" height="191" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2015/January/boomer-headline.png"></p> <p>Baby boomers are retiring from the energy industry in droves, threatening&nbsp;to leave the industry understaffed and inexperienced. But, there may be a way to help slow the bleeding of legacy knowledge.</p> <p>Energy enterprises have been anticipating mass retirements for several years and have taken on several new initiatives to help retain legacy knowledge and groom a new wave of professionals and leaders. Often, that has meant extending the time experienced workers stay on the job longer and longer. However, it's not always feasible to incentivize baby boomers to stick around in a full-time capacity. Sometimes businesses simply may not have the resources to maintain full time positions for seasoned workers, especially in tougher market climates. Boomers are also likely to become less willing to sacrifice more of their retirement years as time goes on. So how can the energy industry strike a balance with these competing needs?</p> <p>One scenario is to simply let this current cycle play itself out. Baby boomers will continue their exodus while the energy industry scrambles to the recover from their loss. A better option, perhaps, is one that has potential to benefit all sides – consulting relationships. &nbsp;Through consulting relationships, boomers and energy companies have the opportunity to retain legacy knowledge with an eye toward the bottom line while also making room for new energy workers as older ones retain more of their retirement time.</p> <p><b>To energy companies: Create the consultants you need</b><br> Instead of trying to retain experienced workers in their current positions, companies should be looking to cultivate a new working relationships&nbsp;with key professionals on the cusp of retirement. Forming a consultant relationship with professionals holding decades of experience offers an amazing opportunity for companies to retain and pass on critical knowledge and skills sets. This arrangement can prove to be especially &nbsp;beneficial to smaller entities or those with a growing number of inexperienced workers. Baby boomers are a gold mine of industry expertise - businesses just need to mine that knowledge so it can be passed on.</p> <p>Through a consultation agreement, companies can negotiate long- and short-term contracts tailored to the needs of both the company and the transitioning professional. An expert consultant could be retained for a specific project or to provide training to a new group of workers. No matter the situation, companies and baby boomers can form agreements with specific timelines and compensation that will likely cost less than hiring a new full-time employee while also maintaining the salary of a boomer ready to move on.</p> <p>This model also gives energy companies more options to work with professionals who may have once been off limits. A retiree no longer bound by any, or as many, restrictions on proprietary knowledge could be a major consultation prize. Companies can also take the reverse tactic and lock in expert knowledge through longer term consulting arrangements that include exclusivity.</p> <p><b>To baby boomers: Don’t wait to be asked, offer your services</b><br> Baby boomers have fully earned the right to enjoy long, relaxing retirements. But the fact is the industry cannot afford the loss of their experience. Hands on know-how in the energy industry is an asset that can give boomers a real edge in designing a retirement that will keep them well positioned financially and professionally active to the level they desire. &nbsp;Understanding that you have a unique combination of &nbsp;knowledge &nbsp;and experience is a potent sort of personal value. Use it to get what you want and help support&nbsp; the industry that has helped make the next stage in your life possible.</p> <p>Whether a boomer specialized in operations, business, IT or sales, there's a need to retain legacy knowledge at all levels of every established business in the energy sector. In many situations, it's this experience and know-how that gets&nbsp;the job done, not necessarily textbook instructions. To become a consultant, baby boomers merely need to recognize their worth and their strengths. Their years of developing expertise in their field makes them the right person to answer questions, tackle complex problems and provide hands-on training to newer workers.</p> <p>Working as a consultant also offers a middle of the road approach to those who aren't ready for full retirement, but are tired of working traditional full time hours, being subject to frequent travel, or extended offsite project assignments. As consultants, baby boomers control which projects they take and which they pass on, and can even negotiate the small details like how many hours they'll work daily, weekly, or even monthly.</p> <p>For boomers worried about outliving their retirement savings, consulting means they earn an advantageous income in their later years. For those particularly worried about finances, they can take on a high number of consulting gigs until they feel more comfortable with their savings. A few more years of working as a consultant means&nbsp;more years of living comfortably.&nbsp;</p> <p>Options abound for boomers, but often the fastest way to get to the professional relationship you desire is to offer it. Don’t assume companies will automatically recognize your potential value or the benefits that can come with establishing a consulting relationship. Just like in the early days of your career, if consulting is a real desire, you need to update your resume, make your networking rounds, and offer instead of waiting to be asked. </p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/03/mining-legacy-knowle.html2015-03-19T17:45:00.000Z2015-03-19T18:01:34.798ZHow to kick it old school: Tips for millennialsnoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img width="350" height="134" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2015/March/oldschool.JPG"></p> <p>Until recent years, energy companies' workforces have mainly been a mix of baby boomers and Gen X-ers. Even though <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/your-new-years-resolution-bring-millennials-energy-fold-ballard/edit"><u>millennials</u></a> entered the job market years ago, their level of involvement within the energy sector was limited. Now, mass change is upon the <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index.html"><u>energy industry</u></a>. Boomers are retiring at a rapid pace, leaving not only room for new workers, but particularly space for millennials.</p> <p>What does this mean for these younger workers? Millennials are stepping into companies with histories of older, experienced employees as well as established traditions and workplace cultures. They will face traditional work environments that may not be what they're used to coming out of school or more flexible business environments.</p> <p>As a millennial, becoming part of a staff within a legacy company can be tricky. However, approaching the situation with the right attitude and a plan can ensure you become a core part of the workforce.</p> <p>Use these tips to be successful in a traditional work culture:</p> <p><b>Go with the flow. </b>Many millennials like to work from home or have adjustable hours, but many traditional workplaces focus on clocking in at 8 a.m. and staying until the job's finished. Until you're an established member of the team, stick to the natural flow of the office. Going against the grain may get in the way of your coworkers seeing your value.</p> <p><b>Expect different views on technology. </b>As a millennial, you grew up with state-of-the-art technology in your hands, but many Gen X-ers and baby boomers began working in the energy industry without mobile phones or the cloud. While the energy industry overall has adapted and even driven technological innovation, you shouldn't expect all of their colleagues to view and treat technology the same way.</p> <p><b>Follow instructions first. </b>You may have ideas on how to improve a process, but learn the current way of doing things forward and backward first. Only after you truly understand the details of a process and how it was developed should you suggest changes.</p> <p><b>Ask for details. </b>Being a younger and newer member of an established business can sometimes mean you aren't aware of workplace norms. For instance, your company may have an understanding of what &quot;soon&quot; means when your boss says he or she wants an assignment back soon. Listen carefully to instructions and if any part feels ambiguous, ask for specifics.</p> <p><b>Seek out advice. </b>You should take advantage of your coworkers' years of experience and knowledge. Many energy businesses are worried about the amount of working knowledge they'll lose as people retire, but you can be part of the solution. Build relationships with your colleagues to learn more than just your daily tasks.</p> <p><b>Focus on mutual respect. </b>In any mixed-generation workforce, there will be different attitudes and opinions. This doesn't mean there will be conflict. For all the general differences between baby boomers and millennials, both groups want to work hard and do their best for the company. By respecting your colleagues and remembering you have the same goals in mind, you can overcome any differences.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>Ready to join the energy workforce? <br> Visit <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index/jobs.html"><u>PennEnergyJobs.com</u></a> today to personalize your search.</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/03/how-to-kick-it-old-s.html2015-03-05T19:00:00.000Z2015-03-05T20:51:32.759ZPopping the Questionnoemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="323" height="214" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/12/Pipelines_.JPG" style="float: right;">Veto is a four-letter word. In the oil and gas industry, it’s the one we’ve known was coming, yet it was still a bit of a surprise when the news crossed the wires. After so many debates and deals and distractions, the Keystone XL oil pipeline has hit the wall of Presidential veto we all knew it was racing toward. There was no TV fanfare, no big speeches, and no public address. The veto was enacted in private, as if the President knew the anchors and pundits and partisan talking heads would keep the awful din of this topic alive, requiring nothing from him but the action we all knew he’d take. If I were a pundit, I’d be asking why, instead of the fighting and rhetoric and finger-pointing, we didn’t find more opportunities to work together and make this project manageable, environmentally-friendly, and safe. I’d ask if there was more we could have done before a final decision came down from on high.</p> <p>But no one’s asking that.</p> <p>Instead, many people are simply asking “What’s next?” This is disconcerting on a number of levels. First, it suggests a deep lack of understanding of what a Presidential veto is supposed to mean. What’s next? Well, traditionally, nothing. It’s over. Pack it up. Go home. Start formulating ideas for something else, because this trip is over.</p> <p>But even more disconcerting is the above question shows how our faith in the process of government has eroded. The President has vetoed the bill, the traditional final step awarded to him to put an end to things his administration does not believe are in the best interest of the country. It has, for all intents and purposes, been killed. And still the question of what comes next is raised! Clearly, many people conflate “veto” with “end of round 1”, and think this is merely a delay at best.</p> <p>And are they wrong? With a Presidential election 21 months away, many seem to think a changing of the guard is all that’s needed to get this project up and running again. Projects to acquire the land still needed for the pipeline haven’t been “abandoned,” they’ve been “delayed.” John Boehner didn’t say his associates are looking at new plans and projects. Instead, he explicitly said this particular fight is “not even close” to being over.</p> <p>So, “what’s next?” Patience, I guess. Obviously, we have a current administration to watch ride out the rest of their elected term. Coming up, the pomp and circumstance of US political elections should keep us busy and arguing with our neighbors. Finally, as a new administration eases into its new role as leaders of the free world, we’ll watch with bated breath as a new set of energy policies are enacted. Will we get our pipeline then? Will a better idea be floated and adopted? Will outside elements affect our plans and change our priorities?</p> <p>So many questions. So many possibilities. So many ways to say “What’s next?”</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/02/popping_the_question.html2015-02-26T19:30:00.000Z2015-02-26T19:31:30.731ZAre we really looking ahead?noemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2015/February/REW%20Road%20Ahead.jpg"></p> <p>If you've been watching the news recently, you probably heard that the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/12/your-new-years-resol.html"><u>millennial generation</u></a> is about to overtake baby boomers. The Pew Research Center found there will be about 75.3 million millennials in the U.S. this year surpassing the&nbsp;74.9 million baby boomers.</p> <p>Baby boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964, and they're getting ready to retire any day now - or they already have. In fact, about 10,000 people retire in the U.S. every day. Of course, some people in this figure have stayed in the workforce longer than expected or are retiring at a younger age, but a majority of these daily retirees are baby boomers.</p> <p>What does this all mean?</p> <p>A major crew change is happening and workers looking to break into or move up in the energy industry are finally getting their chance. Baby boomers are spread throughout every organization, department and level in the energy industry, meaning it isn't just math- and science-related jobs that are becoming available with every new retirement. All types of work will be open, including sales, human resources, facilities operations, design and manufacturing - or at least that should be the encouraging outlook.</p> <p>Energy businesses face losing decades of experience and knowledge, and they don't really have the luxury to keep dwelling on how to address this issue. The energy sector must begin&nbsp;shifting their focus to aggressively recruiting and cultivating workers to shape the leaders needed for the years ahead. Yet beyond the standard disconnects that can occur when a legacy industry is looking to fill its ranks with new market recruits, are the recent financial woes that are threatening to widen energy’s employment gap even more.</p> <p>In January oil prices hit a serious low after several years of very profitable gains. In response, oil &amp; gas companies have been tightening their belts. Projects have been delayed, layoffs announced and segments spun out as oil continues its <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2015/02/energy-market-oil-on-wild-ride-how-will-it-end.html"><u>wild ride</u></a>.&nbsp; Meanwhile, the power generation sector has seen some stalls of its own. At the end of 2014 the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2014/12/power-sector-employment-declines-except-for-renewable-electricity-generators.html"><u>U.S. Energy Information Administration reported declines in electric power generation jobs</u></a>, even with the gains seen in non-hydro renewable electricity generation employment. Couple this with the project and job losses tied to anticipated regulatory shifts in the coal power industry, and outlooks on energy employment look conservative at best and headed for greater decline at worst.</p> <p><a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2015/02/the-seven-ages-of-oil-boom-and-bust-war-and-peace-growth-and-decline.html"><u>While boom and bust cycles</u></a> are nothing new in energy, there has been a much more cautious approach to how things have been unfolding as of late. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index/blogs/governing-energy/2015/01/is_it_different_this.html"><u>Are things different this time around</u></a>? There are some serious factors to consider motivated by strong shifts in business influencers like the environment, global markets and resource availability.<br> </p> <p>Yet knowing all of this, I still cannot get on board with slashing jobs and being lax on recruitment. Part of the reason the energy industry is facing such a serious gap in talent today is because just a few short decades ago during the last bust cycle&nbsp; most companies went&nbsp; scrambling to keep profits on the upswing at the expense of investing in a long-term strategy to keep its ranks well stocked and well developed. Have we learned nothing?</p> <p>It’s getting harder to focus on encouraging energy companies to begin to place an emphasis on recruiting typically underserved demographics in the industry, when keeping existing jobs is becoming increasingly precarious.</p> <p>What angle should I take when telling millennials, particularly women and minorities, they should&nbsp;look to dive into the energy sector workforce, while layoffs loom and projects stall? Workers with a variety of backgrounds, even those not traditionally associated with the energy sector, are not likely to give real consideration to an industry that comes off so financially fickle.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/01/energy-tomorrows-rec.html"><u>Bottom lines matter</u></a>. I get it. What I need the industry to get is that this is a chess game not a checkers match. Without a capable workforce even titans will eventually be left without having a bottom line to worry over.</p> <p>So where do we go from here? Join me at the <b><a target="_blank" href="http://energythoughtsummit.com/"><u>Energy Thought Summit (ETS)</u></a></b> in Austin, Texas, March 25-26, 2015, for a series of <a target="_blank" href="http://ets15.com/agenda/"><u>insightful presentations, top-tier panels</u></a> and to connect with other industry thought leaders. I will be moderating a panel centering on how progressive companies and educational institutions are planning today and looking ahead to the Workforce of the Future. Hope to see you there!</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/02/are-we-really-lookin.html2015-02-12T19:56:00.000Z2015-02-12T20:05:27.631ZHow to green your talent for a career in renewable energynoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img width="403" height="187" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2015/January/green-tie.jpg"></p> <p>Have you ever considered working for a company that is passionate about developing clean, renewable energy? Have you stopped short of fully pursuing a career in renewable energy because you lack direct industry experience or thought you didn't have the right degree?</p> <p>You might be thinking a career in the renewable energy industry is out of the cards for you because you were a liberal arts major or have been working in an unrelated construction or industrial field. You presume people developing solar, wind, biomass and other renewable energy fields have specific degrees and backgrounds that prepared them for their positions. The truth is, the energy industry needs hardworking, innovative thinkers - no matter their initial background. Although many workers on the front lines of energy have degrees tailored to their work, no matter your educational or work background, you can learn to use your existing skills to become the candidate energy companies are looking for.</p> <p>So if you have ever thought about becoming a part of the booming clean energy sector, consider these tips for directing your current talents toward a rewarding career in renewable energy:</p> <p><b>Research career paths</b><br> The renewable energy sector's potential job paths are almost endless, but your skills and education will set the tone for where you'll likely feel most comfortable and fulfilled. Take the time to research the positions renewable energy companies are looking for, but also keep in mind the roles that support the jobs that require more specified training and education. Like all businesses, renewable energy companies need people to fill important support roles as well.</p> <p>Consider some of the following departments when doing your research: business support, marketing and sales, human resources, finance, facilities operations, research and development, design, manufacturing&nbsp;and construction. With this approach you can begin to delve into a search that will help you find the jobs you're most interested in and qualified for.</p> <p><b>Revise your resume</b><br> Once you've narrowed down a short list of potential career paths within the renewable energy sector, research desired skills energy employers are looking for by reviewing current job postings. Concentrate on identifying skills in these postings that you've developed in your previous work experience or how your education can be applied to these positions. Don't rely on what you've put on your resume before. Instead, think of concrete examples of how your existing skills can translate to the positions you are interested in and then tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight those.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Establish your potential</b><br> No matter the specific position; all companies are interested in people who can demonstrate they have the skills to nurture growth and even lead. This is especially important in the renewable energy sector because growth has been so rapid.&nbsp; Being a leader means being able to stay organized, communicate well and successfully manage and motivate a group of people. Show companies you're able to do this by pointing out previous triumphs and examples of strategic thinking and creative problem solving.</p> <p><b>Seek out new information</b><br> Another way to prepare yourself for a career in the renewable energy industry is taking the time to cultivate a working knowledge of the industry, including its history and current developments. Before applying for positions, learn as much as you can about the industry's growth over the past few years, as well as specifics related to the segment you’re most interested in.</p> <p>It's also important you understand the social and economic implications of the industry you'll be joining, which influence products, projects, and their implementations. International, federal and local laws can all affect whether renewable technologies are financed, supported, created and deployed.</p> <p>Do not be intimidated by this process, because the truth is very few transitional positions will require you to come into them an industry expert. A lot of your deeper knowledge will come from time on the job once you land it, but if you are serious about a job in renewables it is still very important to be informed. The simplest way to do this is by tapping into the vast amounts of information freely available through industry sites like <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index.html">PennEnergy.com</a> or industry focused networking and social groups on LinkedIn like <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/company/pennenergy-jobs?trk=prof-following-company-logo">PennEnergyJobs</a> or <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/company/young-professionals-in-energy">Young Professionals in Energy</a>.</p> <p>Although it is not always easy to demonstrate your newly acquired industry knowledge on a resume, be certain to share important highlights in your cover letter and work to build a solid industry network of personal connections.</p> <p>While the primary focus of the guidance given here is in using your existing skills for a career in renewable energy, it is important not to dismiss the potential value of continued education or gaining hands-on experience. Depending on what kind of job you are seeking, you may need to consider supplemental education or experience to land the position you desire.</p> <p>Once again, taking the time to understand the position you want and connecting with the resources and people already in your desired field is the best way to chart your course in this area. So get out there and get started!</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/01/green-your-talent-fo.html2015-01-29T20:10:00.000Z2015-01-29T20:44:25.440ZHouse of Cardsnoemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="311" height="208" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2015/January/House%20of%20Cards.JPG" style="float: right;">The big guns have been brought out. The job cuts have been announced. Headlines shout doom and every falling price announcement is a portent of the coming end times for oil &amp; gas. Grab a solar panel and head for the hills, folks. We’re done here.</p> <p>Yeah, right. I ain’t buying it. For one, I saw last year’s earnings numbers. And I know numbers alone belie the nature of ROI and investors and executive boards, but we’re still talking about hundreds of millions of dollars. Last year’s prince is not this year’s pauper. He may be reduced to Duke or Baron or Earl, but he’s still ruling something.</p> <p>But that doesn’t change the fact that we are enduring a drastic change. It’s okay to be apprehensive, and to take the side of some of our industry’s biggest players, it’s okay to prepare for economic struggles in the days ahead.</p> <p>What’s not okay is acting like this is unheard of. I sat in an office waiting room earlier this week, and the stranger next to me overheard me mention that I work in the industry. He turned to me and said “A lot of folks running scared. Short memories. People don’t remember when this happened in ’76, and ’81.”</p> <p>His years are off, but his sentiment is not. Cyclical behavior is not unknown to the petroleum sector, and sudden drops in prices have been endured, and overcome, before.</p> <p>Here’s the thing. This isn’t going to last forever. We’re already seeing dissent from within OPEC, the group responsible for these currently plummeting prices. Algeria has already publicly called for a production cut, and Iran has made it well known it can’t endure these prices for long. Not every country is Saudi Arabia, and although OPEC is doing its best to show solidarity, cracks have appeared in the veneer.</p> <p>Not only OPEC’s frenemies will be hurt by a prolonged surplus. Playing the long game could hurt their members just as badly. And that, to me, is where things get interesting. This gambling attempt to re-establish Middle East production dominance could disrupt the solidarity of the organization it attempts to bolster. And a splintering within OPEC could drastically change the nature of the industry going forward.</p> <p>We’re hitting “wild prediction” territory here, and that means it’s time to pull back and focus on what we know and not what we think could happen. We know this has happened before. We know OPEC is not as unified in its vision as they’d like the world to believe. We know that just as prices are dropping, they will rise again in the future. We know that although we’re tempted to act, patience may be just as useful. After all, this is a worldwide industry. No one player controls its fate.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/01/house_of_cards.html2015-01-22T18:58:00.000Z2015-01-22T18:59:30.347ZEnergy: Tomorrow’s Recruit IS Your Bottom Linenoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img alt="(Image courtesy of Culver Company, a privately held corporation specializing in public safety, regulatory compliance, energy efficiency, and other outreach initiatives for utility companies)" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2015/January/Culver_Classroom.jpg" title="(Image courtesy of Culver Company, a privately held corporation specializing in public safety, regulatory compliance, energy efficiency, and other outreach initiatives for utility companies)"></p> <p>The future of the energy industry doesn't just lie in the hands of millennials; it resides in the minds of the children and teenagers who may not yet be interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This means the strategies energy companies employ for bringing in a younger workforce before a majority of their experienced workers retire must be much further sighted.</p> <p>First, energy businesses need to focus on enticing millennials into the current energy industry and next, they should support STEM activities for youth.</p> <p>Without employing this sort of long-range initiative, energy companies will merely create yet another workforce gap when the next generation of employees retires. It would seem investing in readying the bench would be an obvious strategy for continued success, but when confronted with their bottom line during a seeming slump, it is easy to understand how today’s enterprises can lose focus.</p> <p><b>Recruitment is the bottom line<br> </b>What companies in energy, truly in any sector, have a bad habit of forgetting outside of their HR departments is that qualified employees are their bottom line. Committing to effective educational, recruitment and retention strategies is an investment that will yield both long and short-term economic benefits. While there are some concentrated efforts to pull in the next generations of energy professionals, overall, potential candidates and their emerging counterparts still have very little knowledge about the industry that powers their world.</p> <p>If you have any reservations about that last statement, I challenge any energy professional to try and engage your average adult outside the industry about some basic topics like nuclear power, hydraulic fracturing or even renewables. Better still; engage an average 4th grader or middle school student. While they would probably tell you readily that renewable energy is awesome, they probably could not tell you anything about the work required to implement renewables or even think to consider a job in the field as an option.</p> <p>Although nothing is ever as simple as it seems, there are some first steps energy companies can take to reach out to millennials and the generation behind them.</p> <p><b>Jobs that matter</b><br> The amazing thing about the energy industry - which is all too often overlooked - is that it supports scientific breakthroughs that improve the quality of lives all around the world. It can't be stressed enough to children of every age and to college students that building a career in the energy sector can be the perfect place to genuinely make a difference.</p> <p>Consider the strides renewable energy has made over the past decade – distributed solar and other green energies are providing light and access to clean water for communities that are not yet equipped to benefit from nuclear resources or are just beginning to develop coal or natural gas facilities.</p> <p>Energy companies that want to maintain an eager and driven workforce must invest in educating children and young adults about the importance of energy technologies around the world. They can do this by financially backing programs in schools or even by supporting&nbsp;fun educational materials online, like those promoted at the Center for Energy Workforce Development.</p> <p><b>Remind millennials&nbsp;about benefits</b><br> While stressing the importance of energy developments to children who can grow up to build new efficient technologies is crucial, it doesn't hurt to remind millennials of the opportunities available in the energy sector right now.</p> <p>A large number of workers in the energy industry are coming up on retirement, which leaves businesses in the position of wondering who they're going to pass decades of experience and knowledge down to. The answer to that question lies with generation Y-ers who are only one step away from understanding the many benefits of a career in this sector.</p> <p>Energy companies can gain millennials’ attention and trust by highlighting their research and development initiatives, especially those that will improve the less-than-ideal energy situations in developing nations.</p> <p><b>Pay it forward<br> </b>Additionally, businesses involved with charitable organizations - energy related or not - can use these connections to their advantage to find millennials who are driven in their careers to make a difference and be part of a company that wants to do the same.</p> <p>By also reaching out to schools and community programs in meaningful ways, energy companies become a part of a community’s dialogue. Children need to be educated on what energy companies do and how they can be a part that. Beyond safety and efficiency, energy enterprises need to get into schools and engage children with how they power everything they love.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2015/01/energy-tomorrows-rec.html2015-01-15T19:02:00.000Z2015-01-15T19:08:02.276ZYour New Year’s Resolution: Bring Millennials into the Energy Foldnoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img width="408" height="272" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/12/Millennials.jpg"></p> <p>As the world prepares to welcome 2015, many energy firms are preparing to see more of their workforce retire. Everyone from the top down is talking about the large numbers of experienced and knowledgeable employees set to retire, but what are we doing about it? Who will fill their shoes? Energy companies, including utilities, oil and gas firms and renewable energy businesses, need to make their New Year’s resolution a simple, but important one: Successfully recruit, develop and retain talent from the youngest generation in the industry - millennials.</p> <p>Millennials, or Generation Y, are the demographic group generally categorized as having been born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. &nbsp;It is estimated there are some 80 million millennials in the U.S. alone. This means millennials represent a larger and more diverse group than Baby Boomers, one of the most populous and impactive generations in the last century. For energy to continue to thrive, the industry must learn how to successfully draw its future leaders from the massive millennial pool.</p> <p><b>Face the&nbsp;challenges head on</b><br> It's become a universal truth that energy companies have to overcome initial recruitment hurdles when shifting their focus to Generation Y. Members of the millennial generation have lived through a severe economic recession in the U.S., and have witnessed world crises through a screen in the palm of their hand.</p> <p>This upbringing means many millennials are more environmentally conscious and wary of big business. They want to work for companies that understand&nbsp;the importance of&nbsp;social responsibility; therefore energy firms should&nbsp;promote sustainability initiatives and their essential role in powering the world more than their yearly revenue.</p> <p>To successfully recruit this generation, businesses need to build a brand millennials will be proud to work for.</p> <p><b>Provide workers with&nbsp;purpose</b><br> Millennials are not interested in being another cog in a machine. It's necessary for energy companies&nbsp;to provide this generation with a more steadfast purpose to their work. This doesn't mean having a general mission statement. Instead, it means being able to answer the question of why that person's position within the company is crucial to the success of the business.</p> <p>By giving millennials a reason for the importance&nbsp;of a position, energy companies are more likely to attract them to the industry, boost engagement and retain great&nbsp;performers.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Refocus the recruiting strategy</b><br> Pulling in top talent from this younger generation requires different strategies than when businesses recruited and hired new workers a decade ago. Millennials are the mobile generation, constantly connecting to professionals and businesses on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.</p> <p>Energy companies interested in working with these young professionals are better off meeting&nbsp;them where millennials are most comfortable:&nbsp;in the digital arena.</p> <p>This can be challenging for energy companies who have a culture of recruitment built on the merits of a traditional “old boy network,” slick head hunters and business-to-business events. All of these still have a place, but building a unique and informative voice for your business on social media platforms will go a lot further in attracting the best recruits among millennials.</p> <p>How the world views work is evolving rapidly. Millennials want to work for companies that understand careers are about more than salaries and vacation time - they're about fulfilling purposes and making a difference. At its root, energy is about the same things. We just need to show them so we can extend an invitation they will answer.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/12/your-new-years-resol.html2014-12-31T15:57:00.000Z2014-12-31T16:03:09.672ZYour Move, Consumer…noemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="366" height="170" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/12/Street%20race.JPG" style="float: right;">I don’t normally pay much attention to gas price fluctuations. A few pennies down here, an extra dime or two there; In the long run, these price drops and jumps feel too small to really care about. That all changed this month, as OPEC supply security and massive worldwide production threw the supply/demand equation far to the left, to the benefit of consumers and concern of… well, just about everyone else.</p> <p>So, as the general public enjoys gas prices unseen in at least 5 years (but more consistently on display more than a decade ago) the industry and all its tangentially-related facets wonder what sacrifices will have to be made before demand brings prices back into the realm of “not terrifying.”</p> <p>Production stoppages are being considered. Rumors of staffing changes abound. Mergers and acquisitions have already started, and fear has taken root in many the mind of oil and gas professionals around the world. After several years of booming business, we’re getting a taste of something the US oil and gas industry once thought it might never see again: Too much of a good thing.</p> <p>But as ideas for how to deal with the price drop are bandied about, I hope one option isn’t abandoned too soon. That idea is patience. With patience, we can give an opportunity to a very important factor in this equation, one we don’t often get to rely on. The consumer is the one most reaping the reward of this financial flux, and as such they have the power to save all the players involved.</p> <p>After all, the consumer, and his related business connections, are whom low gas prices benefit, right? So, let’s see them enjoy that benefit, and in theory the resulting consumerism should push the whole cycle back in the “demand” direction. Man buys stuff, stuff needs to be restocked, restocking requires new product, product production requires energy, and all of it (the man, the stuff, the materials to produce) is transported around in fossil-fuel loving vehicles. Barring the occasional Prius driver, letting consumers be consumers should increase the demand on petroleum and petroleum products.</p> <p>I know, putting our faith in the common consumer is scary. And if this was mid-May, I might be more apt to forgo faith in the system and just start turning off drilling rigs. But it’s not mid-May, or early September, or January 15<sup>th</sup>, or another time of year known for shopping apathy. It’s Christmastime, and whether or not you celebrate the big C, almost everyone ends up buying or giving or receiving a gift of some sort this time of year. It’s practically in our DNA. Whether it’s office games of Dirty Santa, or a thank you for the postman or landlord, this is when the humans go to the store and shop.</p> <p>So, if you’re a human, go shop! We need you to clear store shelves so they can be restocked, and make sure you use your internal combustion engine to get to that store. Don’t walk or bike, there’s jobs on the line! Lower gas prices are only a good thing if we utilize them. They won’t stay low forever. We can either see them increase because oil and gas businesses downsize, or we can see them drop because we did our part and utilized those low prices to get things done. Bonus, more gifts to give the folks you care about.</p> <p>Whatever has you celebrating and giving gifts, everyone at PennEnergy wishes you a wonderful holiday season. We’ll see you in the new year!</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/12/your_move_consumer.html2014-12-18T19:11:00.000Z2014-12-18T19:12:24.868ZHey Energy Industry - Help me help you!noemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p style="text-align: center;"><img width="471" height="257" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/12/HelpMe.JPG" title="Image: Tom Cruise, Jerry Maguire (1996) | TriStar Pictures (presents), Gracie Films" alt="Image: Tom Cruise, Jerry Maguire (1996) | TriStar Pictures (presents), Gracie Films"></p> <p>So it has been a busy quarter. Not that every business quarter in energy and technology is not a busy one, but this one has been a bear. Every day has been a roller-coaster of extreme industry successes and challenges. Will I need to be equipped for the sort of steadfastness that is long term thinking, like the hibernating bear? Should I prepare for ferocious strategic thinking, like the bear catching salmon migrating upstream?</p> <p>Mind you, these are questions I ask as peripheral participant in the industry. For me, there are not multimillion and sometimes billion dollar assets on the line. I am not responsible for powering whole communities or saving thousands of jobs. So what can be done as we approach the boom cycle for one part of the industry and the potentially bust cycle for another? The list is long, but for the sake of simplicity and my even smaller role in it, please energy folks – help me help you.</p> <p>What I mean by that is, allow me to tell the story of the energy industry and its essential role in what everyone loves about their modern and convenient lifestyles. Open up. Share. Give me more than case studies and marketing agency reps pushing your last case study. For goodness sake, give me images! Visual milestones of what you are accomplishing. Tell me your own story from your own people. Stick that stellar lineman or roughneck in front of a camera in all of their industrial glory and let them tell me, and by proxy the world, what they do to keep us going.</p> <p>It seems a bit of dead horse my saying all of this, but I am coming from a week where several pivotal announcements were served up in such a paltry manner I had to spend significant time trying to make them interesting to anyone not directly involved. Not to be too snarky, but the people involved don’t need to be sold on your value and purpose - the people who will benefit or will invest in the next venture do!</p> <p>Here are some simple things your enterprise can do to help me help you tell the story of energy and get your work in front of the right people-</p> <p><b>Visual messaging:</b> Think about how you like to take in information in this busy, information loaded age. Compelling images and video go a long way. If you have just commissioned a new 20 MW solar project or hit a new oil find offshore- take a picture! Even if it is a snapshot from a satellite phone, it will get more attention.</p> <p><b>Make your message accessible</b>: Worried about giving too much away to the competition? That is a legitimate concern, but don’t minimize your reach in the process. Distribute snippets that highlight accomplishments without comprising exclusive technologies or methods. Just share!</p> <p><b>Know the press beyond events and major launches:</b> As someone who deals with literally hundreds of press releases, case studies and editorial solicitations a day I can tell you first hand that the companies who get priority are the ones I have established relationships with. I don’t mean greeting cards and convention kitsch, either. I mean companies who have staff that regularly engages me with their work and is just as engaged with how I serve the industry. Brass tacks- good networking.</p> <p><b>Invest in telling your story well:</b> I am astounded time and again when I encounter great energy businesses that just don’t dedicate resources toward sharing what they do. It’s that whole field of dreams bit – build it and they will come. A recent survey by <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index.html">PennEnergy</a>’s parent company <a href="http://www.pennwell.com/index.html">PennWell</a> revealed that one of the primary ways industry customers research products and services in their buying process are industry vendor and media websites. The strategy here seems simple to me – Build an internet presence for your clients and share what you have across industry focused business-to-business website.</p> <p>These are just a few of the ways you can help me help you. Looking for more? Reach out to us at <a href="mailto:dorothyd@pennwell.com">dorothyd@pennwell.com</a> or <a href="mailto:hiltonp@pennwell.com">hiltonp@pennwell.com</a> to learn more.</p> <p>________</p> <p><i>Image: Tom Cruise, Jerry Maguire (1996) | TriStar Pictures (presents), Gracie Films</i></p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/12/hey-energy-industry.html2014-12-04T18:00:00.000Z2014-12-05T14:46:57.792ZSo close, so far awaynoemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="309" height="204" style="float: right;" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/11/Pipeline.JPG">One vote.</p> <p>We were one vote away from sending the latest round of Keystone XL legislation to the President’s desk. One vote away from forcing the Commander-in-chief to make a decision on one of the most controversial energy infrastructure projects of our lifetime. One vote from telling President Obama, “Sir, the time to act is now!”</p> <p>At which point, he would have vetoed it, and the whole stinking mess would have to start over again. Isn’t politics grand?</p> <p>So many say the fight isn’t over. Here’s the thing. I’m tired of it. The rhetoric, the promises, the threats, and the blame, I’m through with all of it. I’ve been watching Washington long enough to know both sides are responsible. Both sides also have good intentions, and both sides can benefit from political gridlock just as well as from bi-partisan progress. They’re politicians, after all, and a-politicking they will go.</p> <p>So, when I wake in the morning to headlines that say no progress is made, I am not surprised. Progress itself seems antithetical at this point. Only headlines and pay stubs seem to matter. That’s fine, I understand, it’s a process.</p> <p>A Government whose processes are quick and easy is susceptible to short-sighted whim and propaganda. It is through determined, deliberate struggle that we work to ensure the best path is chosen.&nbsp; It is through this constant back-and-forth that we attempt to do the will of the people. But, at what point have we abandoned the slow, methodical steps of the wise man, and begun the bumbling shuffle of the fool?</p> <p>Republicans still say they’ll get the measure passed once they take control of the Senate in January. We’ll be watching. Of course we will. We’re so close, how could we not?</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/11/so_close_so_far_awa.html2014-11-20T19:43:00.000Z2014-11-20T19:45:12.880ZThe Distributed Generation Questionnoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img width="400" height="360" title="PennEnergy Research Distributed Generation" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/10/DistributedGen.jpg" alt="PennEnergy Research Distributed Generation"></p> <p>Distributed generation (DG), often also referred to as decentralized energy, is a complex topic in the utility industry. Best defined as power generation and/or energy storage at the point of consumption, DG is often grid connected but does not have to be.</p> <p>While DG is far from new, the expansiveness of its technologies and rapidly broadening consumer accessibility are.&nbsp; In this way DG today is providing an unprecedented ability for domestic and commercial consumers to produce and manage some or even all of their own electricity. Because of this utilities and other energy supplying enterprises are now challenged to ask themselves if DG is an industry disruptor or an opportunity. From my perspective, it is a bit of both and its time has come.</p> <p>While industry analysts have labeled the rise of DG as everything from a utility death spiral to an insignificant threat, I believe the impact of DG’s growth is not well represented by either extreme. &nbsp;Like renewable energy and emissions regulations, I see DG’s effect on the traditional centralized power model as something that will be significant, yet tempered through a long-term cycle of pressed innovation, policy moderation and business acumen.</p> <p>The long-standing centralized power model must be disrupted for companies to continue to thrive in today’s and tomorrow’s market. Energy demand is exploding and driving new business imperatives are an engagement and technology motivated consumer base.&nbsp;When factoring in increasingly stringent regulatory compliance, smart infrastructure, renewables and DG it is easy to see why some are touting a party line of doom and gloom. Yet, a little historical perspective helps to dispel the idea that DG and other disruptive technologies mean the death of an industry instead of the glorious evolution of one.</p> <p>The energy industry, after all, is no stranger to navigating boom and bust cycles or so-called disruptive technologies. Electric power itself began as a disruptive technology! Energy is an essential industry and utilities as a part of the energy ecosystem are very much needed. When looking at other major industries, like telecomm and computing, it becomes a lot easier to foresee a golden age through disruptive tech rather than an early grave.</p> <p>The adoption of cell phones and tablets happened quickly, but far from overnight. Decades of refinement, infrastructure modernization and the development of business and regulatory policy shape what many of us now take for granted in those industries. This is where utilities need to take their lessons from and stop questioning if DG and other disruptive technologies are friend or foe. Let’s focus instead on how utilities will successfully integrate DG into their business structures.</p> <p>As with most things, the place to start is with understanding your market. To that end, <a target="_blank" href="http://ogjresearch.stores.yahoo.net/index.html" adhocenable="false"><u>PennEnergy Research</u></a> has created a new survey aimed at discovering key insights into consumer's decision making for distributed generation use. If you or your business uses DG, click below to participate in our survey and be entered in drawing for 1 of 4 $100 gift cards. If you are part of a utility or other power enterprise interested in the results, stay tuned for a special report PennEnergy Research will be revealing at <a href="http://www.distributech.com/index.html" target="_blank"><u>DistribuTECH</u></a>, Feb. 3-5, 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA.</p> <p><b>Click here to participate: <a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DistGenCstSurvey"><u>PennEnergy Research Distributed Generation Customer Survey</u></a></b></p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/10/the-distributed-gene.html2014-10-23T19:01:00.000Z2014-10-23T20:50:23.654ZBigger, Better, Faster, Morenoemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="288" height="172" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/10/Newscast%20production%20booth.JPG" style="float: right;">This week, we’re debuting a new expanded weekly newscast on PennEnergy.com. We’ll be including power sector stories alongside oil &amp; gas content, bringing the newscast in line with the pan-energy focus of the website. I’ll be back in the anchor chair, this time alongside our current anchor, Courtney Ferguson.</p> <p>The idea for this expanded newscast wasn’t any great epiphany. A couple weeks ago, I was watching one of our newscasts air in our breakroom, and content from across the Pennwell brands are visible to our myriad employees, likely intended to inspire and invigorate us but more likely resulting in people making fun of the way the light reflects off my head. Yeah, I see it, too.</p> <p>Anyway, while watching myself on the screen and pouring a cup of coffee, it occurred to me. There’s no good reason not to be doing more of this. More stories, more pics, more anchors, more content, more. If a 3-minute newscast with one anchor covering oil and gas is good, a 6-minute newscast with two anchors covering both the oil &amp; gas and power sectors is even better. Technically, that means a 9-minute newscast with 3 anchors would be even better, but let’s focus on one growth spurt at a time, K, thanks.</p> <p>As we shot the newscast this morning, something else occurred to me. In growing our newscasts beyond its current scope, to something likely twice in size, I was reflecting the energy industry more than I ever have in my 3 years here. The increase in North American exploration and production, the massive infrastructure projects undertaken by the world’s biggest energy majors, and the constant research and development aiming to increase the speed, efficiency, and safety of energy production are all examples of how expansion and progress in this industry is always a massive, unflinching endeavor.</p> <p>Of course, growth without proper research can lead to major problems. We’ll be watching the reaction to the newscast closely over the next few weeks to ensure our changes are positive ones. As the resulting opinions come in, we’ll adjust as needed. Just like the industry we cover, if something doesn’t work, we’ll look for something that does.</p> <p>But that’s a lot easier for a weekly newscast than an energy major, isn’t it? The idea of change can seem daunting, especially when there isn’t guaranteed success behind it. Factor in millions of dollars, the lives of thousands of employees, and a product that may affect the lives of hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. Do you want to be the one to risk all that?</p> <p>So, as we continue to cover this constantly growing industry, I’ll be thinking about the risks and benefits of change, and how that affects the decision making of the world’s biggest energy players. I’ll be looking for when growth had to be curbed because the chance of success wasn’t great enough, and for when a project moves full steam ahead and what certainty drove that push. I’ll be looking for how the industry does more, and wondering what break room epiphany led to it.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/10/bigger_better_fast.html2014-10-02T17:33:00.000Z2014-10-02T17:37:18.498ZOpportunities for Women in the Clean Economynoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis-Ballard<p><img src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/09/WhyGreen_DOL.jpg" style="float: right;">According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the the Census Bureau (1), women hold only 27 percent of&nbsp;science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs in the United States in spite of making up over half of the workforce.&nbsp; Understanding this brings the existing gender-gap in the energy industry into sharp focus. The emerging clean energy economy offers an opportunity for women to close this gap by building sustainable careers in a sector that is becoming increasingly high-demand.</p> <p>While there are many reasons women currently make up such a small portion of the energy workforce, one of the most easily addressed is bringing awareness to girls and women about “nontraditional”&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pennenergyjobs.com/index.html">jobs in clean energy</a> and how to pursue them. Understanding what is driving the emerging green economy, how green occupations are defined and the resources available to women in joining the green workforce is essential.</p> <p>To this end the U.S. Department of Labor offers a comprehensive manual designed to assist women with job training and career development for pursuing green jobs -&nbsp;<i><a href="http://www.dol.gov/wb/Green_Jobs_Guide/GreenJobs%20Final_11.2011.pdf">Why Green Is Your Color: A Woman's Guide to a Sustainable Career</a></i>. Included here are key segments of the DOL's green guide that will help women interested in pursuing green careers to get their start.</p> <p><b>What Are Green Jobs</b></p> <p>The U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau broadly defines greens jobs as ones that restore, protect or conserve the natural environment. This primarily includes reducing the use of fossil fuels, decreasing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the efficiency of energy usage, recycling materials, and developing and adopting renewable sources of energy.</p> <p>The three primary categories of green occupations as outlined by the National Center for O*NET Development are green increased-demand occupations, green enhanced-skills occupations and green new-and-emerging occupations.</p> <p><b>Green Increased-Demand Occupations:</b> These occupations already existed prior to the clean and green economy but now are more in demand. There are no significant changes in the work and worker requirements.</p> <p>Example:Construction carpenter<b><br> </b>The demand for construction carpenters is expected to grow by 13% between 2008 and 2018.</p> <p><b>Green Enhanced-Skills Occupations:</b> These occupations already existed prior to the clean and green economy but have undergone significant changes in work and worker requirements, including new tasks, skills, knowledge, and credentials.</p> <p>Example:Landscape architect<b><br> </b>The demand for landscape architects is expected to increase by 20% from 2008 to 2018.</p> <p><b>Green New-and-Emerging Occupations:</b> These are occupations with unique work and worker requirements relating to the clean and green economy. They may be entirely new or born from an existing occupation.</p> <p>Example:Wind turbine service technician<b><br> </b>The overall demand for wind turbine service technicians is expected to grow by 9% between 2008 and 2018.</p> <p><b>How to Get Started</b></p> <p>There are multiple ways for women to gain the initial skills they need to be part of the green workforce. While a college education is not always required to work in the emerging clean energy economy, it can increase job opportunities and earning potential. Many green jobs require very specific technical skills, including a good foundation in math and science. Other green occupations put women in more labor intensive roles. The first place for women to start is by gaining an understanding of what is desired in the green occupation that interests them.</p> <p>The next step is education and training. There are many types of education and training providers available for women interested in a green career. Government sponsored training programs, four-year universities, proprietary schools and registered apprenticeships are just a few. Women can determine which educational or training resource works for them by assessing the requirements of each and comparing it their personal needs. Things to consider are required prerequisites, time commitments and costs.</p> <p>Where costs are concerned, there are numerous grants, scholarships and work programs available to women interested in pursuing education and/or training for green careers. The U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Energy and the Clean Energy Education &amp; Empowerment (C3E) initiative all provide excellent resources.</p> <p><b>The Benefits</b></p> <p>Knowing what green careers are and how to get started are important, but another essential factor is what benefits jobs in the emerging clean energy economy can offer women. Building a sustainable green career provides women with the opportunity to create a life of self-sufficiency through work that is economically, socially and environmentally responsible and rewarding.</p> <p>The U.S. Department of Labor outlines why green jobs are good for women as follows:</p> <p><b>Earning Potential:</b>&nbsp; Some green jobs, such as environmental engineer and construction carpenter, can provide the chance to earn more than some traditionally female-dominated jobs.</p> <p><b>Career Advancement:</b>&nbsp; Women can start with any skill level and move along a career path. Green jobs provide opportunities to advance from low-skill, entry-level positions to high-skill, higher-paying jobs.</p> <p><b>Diverse Skills and Interest:</b>&nbsp; Green jobs can appeal to workers with diverse skills and interests. A green job can mean working as a training and development specialist, urban planner, green business owner, or landscape architect.</p> <p><b>Job Satisfaction:</b>&nbsp; Green jobs can enable workers to take pride in contributing to the health and sustainability of life on our planet.</p> <p><b>Opportunities for Diverse Ages:</b>&nbsp; Green jobs can be for those just starting out and those in need or want of a career change.</p> <p><b>Employment Opportunities:</b>&nbsp; The clean economy, which is defined as the sector of the economy that produces goods and services with an environmental benefit, offers more opportunities and better pay for low- and middle-skilled workers than the national economy as a whole.</p> <p><b>Multiple Ways to Get Started:</b>&nbsp; There are a variety of ways for women to gain the initial skills they need to be part of the clean and green economy.</p> <p>Download the comprehensive green jobs guide and learn more about the Department of Labor's Women's Bureau here: <a href="http://www.dol.gov/wb/Green_Jobs_Guide/"><b>Why Green Is Your Color: A Woman's Guide to a Sustainable Career</b></a><br> </p> <p><b>_____<br> </b></p> <p><b>1) </b><i><a href="http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acs-24.pdf">Disparities in STEM Employment by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin</a></i><br> </p> <p><b>&nbsp;</b></p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/09/opportunities-for-wo.html2014-09-04T16:11:00.000Z2014-09-25T14:25:53.828ZOn Petroleum, Power, and Passionnoemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="279" height="190" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/08/Sunset%20plant.JPG" style="float: right;">Recently, I hosted a video discussion meant to highlight the information available through the OGJ Site License program. On the panel were several of my esteemed colleagues, and I re-use those specific words from the script on purpose. Although I never doubted their knowledge in each person’s respective field, the video shoot reminded me that these wonderful and friendly people I work with every day are also experts on the industry.</p> <p>My Content Director Dorothy Davis and I spend our days knee-deep in the world of energy. She covers the happenings of the power sector and I follow oil &amp; gas. With our combined efforts, we attempt to refresh PennEnergy.com with the latest energy industry news every single weekday. It’s a herculean task for two people, as you can imagine, but it’s our interest in these worlds that keep us willing to come back every day and do it again. Dorothy is passionate about power. I myself have strong opinions about the oil &amp; gas sector. Without those deeply-rooted interests, we couldn’t do what we do every day for you.</p> <p>In the video discussion, I got to see other PennEnergy and Pennwell personnel with the same insight I’ve had on Dorothy and myself. Ryan Kerr’s knowledge of the valuable infrastructure mapping asset MapSearch is unsurpassed. Mak Udezue is deeply rooted in her research of the energy industry. Courtney Ferguson understands the OGJ site license program in and out. These people, like Dorothy and myself, aren’t just working a job. This isn’t the stop-gap to a managerial role for them. This is the endgame.</p> <p>To work in oil &amp; gas, you need to have a passion for that industry. Outside of the higher corporate echelon, the work is typically hard, often dirty, and frequently taxing. In many ways, power isn’t much different. To join those worlds, and to stay in them, requires something more than chasing a paycheck. And as industry concerns for future specialized hiring shows, the elder statesmen took their work seriously, and committed themselves to it fully. This isn’t a generational thing, and it isn’t income thing. It’s a passion thing. And just like the passion prevalent in oilfields and transmission grids across the world, PennEnergy, her people, and her sister companies are chock full of that passion.</p> <p>Stop by the OGJ Site License program page at <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/site-license.html">http://www.pennenergy.com/site-license.html</a> and check out the video. You’ll agree with me that we have a passionate team and a product that’s clearly valuable. And keep your eyes on the <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/oil-gas.html">Petroleum</a> and <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/power.html">Power news</a> on <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index.html">PennEnergy.com</a>. We’ve got a world of energy to cover, and we’re having a blast doing it.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/08/on_petroleum_power.html2014-08-14T17:35:00.000Z2014-08-14T17:36:35.771ZCoal. It's complicatednoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img width="250" height="250" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/07/complicated.png"></p> <p>If coal was a person, our relationship status would be “complicated.” I mean, coal has always been so available. There is a lot I like about coal. I know coal works. I know coal can bring in the cash. It’s comfortable and has literally kept me warm on countless winter nights. But I’ve also come to realize that a lot will have to change if we’re going to keep this thing going, and darn it, I don’t want to break up!</p> <p>So, what now? Well, it’s complicated.</p> <p>The U.S. contains about a quarter of the world’s coal reserves and for a very long time coal was responsible for fueling more than half of our nation’s electricity. That means domestic jobs, increased energy independence, and an exportable supply that is growing in value as more developing countries turn to this seductively cheap resource.</p> <p>However, coal’s entire lifecycle, from mine to ash, is a very environmentally messy business. Coal per unit of electricity also produces more pollution than any other fuel source. Even stepping away from the issue of global warming, the impact of coal production and use for power generation has been proven itself to be strain on air quality, water resources, and people.</p> <p>Ugh. Coal can change though, right?</p> <p>Yes and no. Private entities and global governments alike have thrown themselves into the development of cleaner coal solutions and setting reforms to curb coal’s environmental impact. There are a lot of people at work to keep this resource a viable asset. Coal as is, is abundant, cheap, and scalable. The problem is, by implementing the shifts necessary toward making coal more environmentally sound, it ceases to be those things. Above all, coal as a fossil fuel is ultimately finite. We will run out one day, and so balancing the value of our efforts to keep using coal against that reality adds a another dimension of complexity to an already complex issue.</p> <p>For some it’s not complicated at all. Coal power represents too many risks. The impacts of coal use are not worth it, not now, not ever. On the other side of that coin, coal is too valuable and necessary a resource to abandon.</p> <p>For most, the pros and cons of coal is an overlapping mess.&nbsp; I know it is for me. There is no easy way forward and that is both terrifying and exhilarating. In coal I see a shot at quelling energy poverty, bolstering U.S. energy independence, and a plethora of economic boons. In coal I see irreversible environmental impact, a finite resource, and the socioeconomic conundrum of failed policies.</p> <p>It’s complicated.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/07/coal_it_s_complicate.html2014-07-17T17:00:00.000Z2014-07-17T20:25:59.568ZInformation aftershocks noemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="310" height="172" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/06/Earthquaking.JPG" style="float: right;">Oklahoma never makes the news for the right reasons. We have strong academic credentials at our universities, rich art communities in our largest cities, and a vibrant tourism industry that celebrates both history and the environment. But on the national news, Oklahoma is portrayed as a lawless magnet for natural disasters, where stories of tornado destruction are interrupted by inappropriate behavior at Wal-mart. It doesn’t paint our state or its people in the best light.</p> <p>Lately, a third negative Oklahoma story is permeating the national airwaves, that of our growing earthquake industry. The state is quickly claiming the title of Earthquake Capitol of the US, as it has already doubled California in the ground-shaking events this year.</p> <p>Stories on these quakes usually skirt around the issue of causality. This is partly because a direct cause hasn’t been fully established. However, the two primary theories for at least part of the cause are hydraulic fracturing wastewater injection wells and natural patterns of tectonic movement. Now, the second one of those reasons would put the blame on a natural phenomenon we have no way of controlling. But that other possible cause is tied to a lot of jobs and a lot of money. Perhaps nowhere is that better understood (besides Washington) than Oklahoma.</p> <p>The oil and gas industry is the largest employer in Oklahoma, so my Sooner State can especially understand the risk in tying that industry to a scary and dangerous occurrence without sufficient research. Simply put, we can’t get this wrong. If injection wells are responsible, a massive rethinking of procedure would be needed, requiring a major investment in research and implementation. Companies unable to make the changes would face going out of business, and everyone’s bank statements would look a little smaller at the end of the year. So, even though it’s the only non-natural explanation with any noticed correlation, it’s easy to understand why everyone in the industry is pushing for as much study as possible and examination of any feasible counter-theory.</p> <p>There’s a lot to love about Oklahoma. We’re home to wonderful camping and hiking opportunities. Our local theater and performance troupes are top notch. We have a great professional basketball team. Best of all, that’s all undisputed. I’d like to see the national media cover some of that while we figure out this earthquake thing. Once we know what’s going on, we’ll let you know.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/06/information_aftersho.html2014-06-26T19:48:00.000Z2014-06-26T19:50:51.706ZHey Ladiesnoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img width="400" height="265" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/05/RosieTech.jpg"></p> <p>As baby boomers are gradually exiting the energy workforce and corporate technical demands continue to skyrocket, it makes sense that companies are continuing to ramp up their efforts to recruit women for roles that have traditionally been held by men. More encouragingly, a growing number of women are pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) educations and careers.</p> <p>Further, many of the jobs in the energy and technology space demanding a background or degree in a STEM field open women to opportunities for high-paying positions. Women with STEM jobs are paid 33 percent more than women in non-STEM jobs, according to the to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economics &amp; Statistics Administration (ESA).</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>AWESOME!</b></p> <p>So it would appear to be a no-brainer for mutual success this women-STEM-workforce-gap mash up. Yet, for all the seemingly positive outcomes to be had and a whole lot of recent lady-loving hype, things are still moving painfully slow for women in energy and technology.&nbsp;</p> <p>While women account for half of the U.S. workforce overall, less than 25 percent of women are in STEM jobs, according to the ESA. Great strides have been made over the past two decades to increase opportunities for women in STEM careers, but the realities of working in traditionally male dominated sectors can still be quite challenging.</p> <p>In addition to the very prevalent issue of gender stereotyping, many women cite not having enough role models as a barrier in entering and becoming successful in STEM fields. In line with a lack of peer support, recent analysis put forth by the the Anita Borg Institute (ANI) revealed that despite incentives, women leave technology companies at twice the rate of men. Of the women participating in the study highlighted by ANI, the primary reasons for leaving engineering jobs, most often for other careers, were:</p> <p>· WORKING CONDITIONS (30%) – No advancement, too many hours, low salary<br> <br> </p> <p>· WORK-LIFE INTEGRATION (27%) – Wanted more time with family, conflict with family or too much travel<br> <br> </p> <p>· DIDN’T LIKE WORK (22%) Loss of interest or did not like daily tasks<br> <br> </p> <p>· ORGANIZATIONAL CLIMATE (17%) Did not like culture, boss or coworkers<br> </p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>BOO! HISS!! BOO, I SAY!!!!</b></p> <p>Why all the jeering? Because as a woman serving the male dominated fields of energy and technology I can tell you first hand that the responses above are often just the surface of waters that run very cold and very deep with gender bias, discrimination, and dissatisfaction.</p> <p>For me, the results of this study particularly struck a chord with family and compensation. As outdated as it may seem, women still often face the burden of having to work harder for a lot less. And while the myth of the super-woman persists, we are also often faced with the very misguided expectation that we should simply be able to do it all. Ambitious women are continually fed the idea that career, family, and total health and well-being are ours to juggle successfully, and with little to no resources.</p> <p>When it comes to lack of interest, I know such a sentiment can frequently be a reflection of being repeatedly relegated to menial work. I once held a job for a design studio where I was pushed into order-taking and general office administration. Meanwhile, several of my male colleagues, who were less qualified than I was, were selected to train on new softwares for developing new products. It did not take long for me to take my budding talent elsewhere.</p> <p>As for bosses and corporate culture, sometimes people and places simply don’t click, yet many times people are simply biased creeps. There is nothing less productive and more frustrating than being stonewalled, belittled, or underestimated because of nonsensical biases. I’ve been there. It sucks and can grind you down to a passive or angry nub. Nubs don’t do well in any field.</p> <p>The cultivation and support of women in the energy and technology sectors is going to require more than scholarships and mentors. It will require a cultural shift in these industries where organizations shed the idea of any job being “non-traditional” and unsuited for women and we are embraced as true peers instead of special circumstances or commodities.<br> <br> As industry and governments become increasingly engaged in seeing women representing<i> </i>a larger portion of the STEM workforce, these efforts must also be supported by an ever evolving culture of meaningful diversity.&nbsp;&nbsp; A lasting shift toward a robust and thriving economy set competitively for the global market means cultivating a people focused approach in energy and technology, not a marginalizing one hyper-focused on gender.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/05/hey-ladies.html2014-05-29T20:18:00.000Z2014-05-30T01:10:33.169ZOh, OTC… noemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="336" height="181" style="float: right;" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/05/OTC.JPG">I spent a few days on the floor of the Offshore Technology Conference this year. As always, it was a blast, and I’ve made dozens of new contacts that will make for some great content here on PennEnergy.com in the months ahead. This year’s show has the distinction of record-setting attendance, somewhere around 108,000 people! So, of course, the number 1 question I hear from everyone I talked to is “Was there enough time to see everything?” The answer is no, but let’s be honest, there hasn’t been enough time to see everything in years. Like most other giant trade shows, OTC has grown so large as to be pretty darn unwieldy for anyone attempting to see it all, like us oil and gas journalists. Instead, prioritization is the key, combined with a week of pre-planning and scheduling to fit as much as possible in the limited time allotted. Anyone else spend the last week in April preparing for the first full week in May? Yeah, I thought so.</p> <p>So, as I reflect on this year’s amazing conference, with its record-setting attendance and awe-inspiring vendor booths (I’m looking at you, FMC,) I can’t help but make a list of things we need to address for next year, with a big ol’ number 1 on:</p> <p><b>1. Make the show longer!</b> I need at least 5 full days on the show floor to see everything I want, and I know plenty of sales people that would salivate at one more day to turn potential customers into the real thing. Not to mention, those beers they roll out at the end of the day will taste so much sweeter on Friday afternoon. I might even get time to grab one.</p> <p><b>2. More practical swag!</b> Kudos to the companies handing out bags. Bags are both a big ol’ place to put your logo, and a helpful item for all of us carrying two dozen brochures and information sheets. It’s as win-win as you can get. Pens are always a solid bet, and flash drives are nice, but the companies putting thought into the show floor experience are the ones charming me during show week. Whoever starts giving away insoles is going to be the king of OTC 2015, mark my words.</p> <p><b>3. Ditch the booth babes!</b> I saw less this year than in years past, but too many booths still had models handing out swag and directing potential customers. Aesthetics are an easy choice when planning your booth, even when it comes to staffing. But I’m looking to talk about the industry, not be flirted with. Not to mention, for an industry still often considered a “boy’s club,” we need to be supporting the women in leadership roles, and leave the models to go… do other modeling stuff, I guess.</p> <p><b>4. More soundproof options!</b> So many booths offered meeting spaces for journalists or business discussions, but almost none employ any sound-proofing. Low-cost materials for dampening excess noise are available, and would be easily added to most construction meeting rooms. Sure, the eggshell-esque shape of these materials isn’t quite as attractive as the advertising materials often hung on the walls of these meeting rooms, but are those really necessary. If we’re in your meeting room, we’re ready to talk business (or in my case, talk about business.)</p> <p><b>5. Outlets!</b> Charging stations have become more common over the years I’ve attended OTC, as have the people sitting on the floor in outside hallways just to be close to an outlet. This need for accessible power will only continue to grow. Vendors and show management would be wise to start investing in outlet improvements, extension cords, and anything else that can give failing phones a power boost. All that searching for a signal takes power, and since I don’t expect that little problem to go away, the least we can hope for is more power to search!</p> <p><b>6. Give up the camera restriction.</b> 108,000 people walked the show floor this year. Even if only 50% had smartphones, that’s 54,000 digital cameras tucked into the pockets of attendees. Reminding the crowd that photographs are not permitted is not only futile, it’s more likely the announcement reminded people of their available cameras than deterred any photo-taking. Most of the time, the announcement was met with folks immediately snapping a pic of whatever was nearby in tiny acts of rebellion. The photo war has been decided. The cameras won.</p> <p>If I’d had more time on the show floor, I could probably come up with more points. Anyone spending the four days manning a booth outside might add “7. Consider holding the show in autumn” to the list, but I’ll save that discussion for next year. Hopefully, I’ll get an extra day to talk about it.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/05/oh_otc_.html2014-05-15T19:50:00.000Z2014-05-15T19:56:39.777ZEnergy’s Mustache-Twirling Villainsnoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img width="299" height="224" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/05/snidely_whiplash.jpg"></p> <p>Everybody loves a villain. Why? Because everybody wants to be the hero, and having a bad guy means we’re just that much closer to being the ultimate good guy. This theme plays out in everything from cartoons to global energy. Everyone is the hero in their own story.</p> <p>While the truth of things is generally somewhere in the middle, the archetypes of good and evil are deeply ingrained ones - perhaps the most beloved of all being the caped crusader and the moustache-twirling villain.</p> <p>A friend recently mused about peoples need for a villain to add a little drama and meaning to what are usually our mundane every day. His thoughts were specifically in relation to the very complex and often bizarre dynamics of online social interactions. He pointed to the fact that it was far simpler to cast someone in the role of a bad guy than to acknowledge points of views that were challenging and/or diverse. I found myself nodding along to his words and not long after got to thinking about the resources and companies that have been casted as the villains in energy. Yeah, I really do think about this stuff ALL THE TIME…</p> <p>What I have come to notice when it comes to the subject of energy among my friends and associates outside of the industry is a fairly popular casting:</p> <p>Renewables = Caped Crusader<br> <br> Fossil Fuels = Mustache Twirling Villain</p> <p>And I mean it just as presented, in those extremes and with all of the high level emotions attached to such. Even I ride the hype now and again, and for all intents and purposes, I should know better.</p> <p>See, it’s easy to love renewables. They have all the hero glam or at least make it easy to believe they do. One popular little slogan getting tossed about is&nbsp; “When there is a huge solar energy spill, it’s just called a nice day,” followed by “Green jobs, not more oil spills.”</p> <p>Well, gee, who could argue with that? A lot of folks actually, on a lot of levels, but the information is not reaching the masses and so the vaudeville continues.</p> <p>In the minds of most, Mean Mr. Oil and Snidely Mr. Coal are twirling and spilling, cash grabbing and exploiting. Every now and then their lesser cousin Badly McGas gets in on the act, but most perceive him as reformed guy these days. If nothing else, he’s a necessary anti-hero.</p> <p>Meanwhile on the high horizon is our hero, renewables. Here we see SuperSolar and WonderWind unfurling their capes to harness the natural abundance of green energy. You know, except when they can’t, and at a huge cost, and not very effectively with our existing infrastructure.</p> <p>So who is the bad guy here? We are. At the end of the day these are just things - resources that we cultivate, manage, and utilize. Demand is exploding and we are driving demand. The responsibility falls to us to stay informed and inform others. It is in our own hands to push for realistic approaches to energy production and distribution. It is also in our hands to put safety ahead of profits and sensationalism behind informed intelligence.</p> <p>See, there is room for actual heroes. It can be us, but we better drop the cape and pick up some common sense. And we better get started now.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/05/energys-mustache-twi.html2014-05-01T21:25:00.000Z2014-12-31T17:20:02.359ZYou Take the Good, You Take the Bad….noemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="243" height="310" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/04/Young%20George%20Clooney.JPG" style="float: right;">Before you ask, yes, I’m going to make a connection between a global oil story and some random pop culture nonsense from the past 30 years. This week, it’s the classic American sitcom “The Facts of Life” and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. I’d say there is some deep resonant connection between the two, but that’s a lie. To be honest, I’m doing it just to see if I can.</p> <p>Did you know actor George Clooney spent two years on “The Facts of Life”? If you’re not familiar with the show, it ran for 9 seasons from 1979 to 1988 and focused on a housemother and several students living in a dormitory at a private all-girls school. It starred Charlotte Rae as the housemother and four young actresses as the students in her care. It was pretty good, and the theme song is catchy as all get-out. And yes, from 1985 to 1987 it starred a young actor who would later become one of the biggest names in Hollywood, George Clooney.</p> <p>Let’s just get this out of the way: There is no connection here. The whole idea is sort of preposterous. The situation in Ukraine is a tense, international, geo-political standoff that affects not only the direct players, but the EU, the US, Iran, the oil and gas industry, and even the nuclear power industry. It’s a massive web that covers historical borders, cultural divides, international security, and of course the day-to-day lives of millions of people in Ukraine and its contested Crimean Peninsula. It’s all connected. To make a comparison to an actor’s role on a sitcom would be insane and ridiculously short-sighted.</p> <p>Or would it? What’s fascinating about &quot;Facts of Life&quot; is how it too was connected to so many other things happening at the time, and maintained success despite myriad changes.</p> <p>The show started with seven girls under the care of “Mrs. Garrett,” but that number was whittled down to four by the second season. The setting of the show changed over time, as the young actresses aged out of the private school premise. To keep the cast together, writers had Mrs. Garett give up her housemother role and open a gourmet food shop. Of course, her former students became her employees.</p> <p>Then of course, there’s Clooney. The young actor bounced between TV and movies in the 80s, until his success on “ER” would kick open the doors in Hollywood. He joined “Facts of Life” during a time of transition for the show, as Charlotte Rae herself was leaving the lead role. She was replaced by Cloris Leachman, who alongside Clooney and actor Mackenzie Astin, signaled a major change in overall casting. This change saw surprisingly little resistance from viewers, and ratings remained strong.</p> <p>Returning to global politics, the fate of Crimea, and beyond it Ukraine, is clearly in flux. Crimea may once again be changing hands, and Ukraine faces bankruptcy. Gas supply for Ukraine from Russia may be at an end, or it may come with some rather bold conditions. The US and EU may find themselves offering aid to Ukraine they had not intended, and it will surely affect other operations. If Russia pursues an oil-for-goods contract with Iran, as has been reported, it will affect that country’s ongoing nuclear talks with the international community. And for the people in Ukraine and Crimea, there will likely be violence, hunger, and fear.</p> <p>If there’s any connection between the popcorn nonsense of television sitcoms and the serious issues of international politics, it’s that we can rarely see the end from the beginning. When “Garrett’s Girls” (the show’s original title) premiered in 1979 with Charlotte Rae and her 7 young students (and no Clooney,) no one could predict it would end 9 years later with Cloris Leachman and a gourmet food shop. Likewise, the changes happening in Ukraine and across the international community are likely to move in ways we can’t predict yet.</p> <p>And honestly, that’s where the connection ends. No metaphors, no relevance for George Clooney, and no more waxing philosophical about 80s ephemera. Actually, maybe there’s one last connection. In the end, all most of us can do regarding the Crimea crisis is pretty much what we did with 80s sitcoms; we can watch and hope it doesn’t end too badly.</p> <p>To everyone in Ukraine, Crimea, and around the world: We’re watching, and we are hoping for the best.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/04/you_take_the_goody.html2014-04-10T18:48:00.000Z2014-04-10T18:54:38.313ZPower for the WIN!!noemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img width="300" height="201" alt="Hans and Franz were characters in a recurring sketch called &quot;Pumping Up with Hans &amp; Franz&quot; on the television sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. Hans and Franz themselves were played by Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon, respectively." title="Hans and Franz were characters in a recurring sketch called &quot;Pumping Up with Hans &amp; Franz&quot; on the television sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. Hans and Franz themselves were played by Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon, respectively." src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/03/hans-and-franz.png"></p> <p>Today is my first day back in the office since attending the inaugural <a target="_blank" href="http://zpryme.com/" adhocenable="false">Energy Thought Summit (ETS)</a> in Austin, Texas, and I’m feeling pumped. Like old school SNL pumping with Hanz and Franz kind of geared. I’m ready to lift things and inspire the masses.&nbsp; Power for the WIN!!</p> <p>Okay, I realize it sounds like I drank some weird Kool-Aid, but trust when I say ETS was both intellectually delicious and refreshing. Innovative, inspiring, and infectious is how I would describe the event presented by research firm <a target="_blank" href="http://zpryme.com/about/" adhocenable="false">Zpryme</a>. It was one of those things where you knew something awesome was unfolding and you were left feeling a bit heady for having been in the middle of it.&nbsp;</p> <p>Chaired by&nbsp;founder and CEO of Compass Management Group, <a target="_blank" href="http://energythoughtsummit.com/andres-carvallo/" adhocenable="false">Andres Carvallo</a>, the pace of the event was sincere and informative. Over the course of two days at the historic Paramount Theater ETS presented two keynote sessions, feature speakers, and over 10 focused panels. Discussions ranged from <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/power/smart-grid.html" adhocenable="false">smart grid</a>, electric vehicles, and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/power/renewable-energy.html" adhocenable="false">renewables</a> to disruptive technologies, big data, smart cities, and truly engaging the consumer.</p> <p><img width="301" height="199" alt="“It’s great to see so many thought leaders rallying around energy issues that matter. I’m proud to be a part of not only Zpryme’s ETS, but also share in the procession of Austin events that promote new ideas and innovation.” – Steve Wozniak, Co-founder of Apple Computer &amp; Chief Scientist at Fusion-io" title="“It’s great to see so many thought leaders rallying around energy issues that matter. I’m proud to be a part of not only Zpryme’s ETS, but also share in the procession of Austin events that promote new ideas and innovation.” – Steve Wozniak, Co-founder of Apple Computer &amp; Chief Scientist at Fusion-io" style="float: right;" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/03/Woz_ETS.jpg">With a line-up of over 90 world class presenters and panelist, ETS set the stage for something incredible and delivered. This was an event centered around dialogue on the existing and future energy space and that’s exactly what it was – engaging dialogue. ETS created a space for an honest conversation with some of the world’s most incredible thought-leaders in energy and technology, but more importantly, it was a conversation everyone in attendance was encouraged to participate in.</p> <p>“ETS 2014 (March 24-25) was the event’s inaugural year – a learning experience for all of us, and one we hope to take to the next level in 2015,” is how&nbsp; Zpryme humbly summed up the event. And while genuine, it underplays just how impactive this event was, and from what I can see, will continue to be, for the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/power.html" adhocenable="false">power industry</a>.</p> <p>I have been to a lot of industry events. A lot. Each time I come away both newly informed and with my curiosity piqued. Yet, ETS gave me that while also leaving me motivated and anxious for what’s next. Many of the presenters were ones I have become quite familiar with, but not like this. I had the opportunity to hear unabashed opinions and witness truly thoughtful debate. The audience weighed in pressing the panels at times and the results were incredible. This was the energy industry at its finest and swathed in a laid back vibe that let everyone really take it all in.</p> <p>Armed with my smart phone, I snapped photos like I was at a concert when <a target="_blank" href="http://energythoughtsummit.com/steve-wozniak/" adhocenable="false">Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak</a> made his grand entrance on a Segway to the jaunting Mario Borthers theme. The next day I chuckled with adolescent glee as <a target="_blank" href="http://energythoughtsummit.com/jon-wellinghoff/" adhocenable="false">former FERC chairman Jon Wellinghoff</a> took the stage and revealed the awesomely stealthy means he uses to tote about his tablet. (If you happen to read this Mr. Wellinghof, I was the nerd in the elevator that could only manage to mumble, &quot;awesome day..&quot;) It was fun!</p> <p>I suppose that’s where a good portion of my excitement comes from. This was work, and I love this industry, but this was real fun. It was the same sort of excitement I felt when first entering College. I had a real eagerness to learn and participate, and ETS let me do both, in spades.</p> <p>The best part, I get to ride this ride again next year.&nbsp; Zpryme co-founders Jason Rodriguez and Mark Ishac announced during the closing session we can look forward to ETS 2015. I encourage you to join us.<br> </p> <p>Click here to view videos and photos from this year’s event: <a href="http://energythoughtsummit.com/ets-2014/" target="_blank"><b>Energy Thought Summit 2014</b></a><br> </p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/03/power_for_the_win.html2014-03-27T15:30:00.000Z2014-03-27T22:40:30.710ZWhat Do Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and the Energy Industry in America Have in Common?noemail@noemail.orgJessica Thompson<p><img width="375" height="247" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/03/ETS_Tesla_StarWars.jpg" title="Energy Thought Summit (ETS) Austin, Texas" alt="Energy Thought Summit (ETS) Austin, Texas"></p> <p>They’re all going to be at the&nbsp;<a adhocenable="false" target="_blank" href="http://energythoughtsummit.com/">Energy Thought Summit (ETS)</a>. &nbsp;What’s that? &nbsp;Well, my friend, keep reading and you’ll find out.<br> </p> <p>ETS is happening this month in Austin, Texas. &nbsp;On March 24th – 25th the energy industry is taking over the Paramount Theater for a two-day event that promises to be an excellent forum to discuss and debate the state and the future of energy. This is an event I’m excited about.</p> <p>So, what was it about <a adhocenable="false" target="_blank" href="http://energythoughtsummit.com/agenda/">ETS</a>&nbsp;that really sucked me in? &nbsp;It wasn’t Darth Vader, Chewbacca, the Teslas car, or the game on the ETS&nbsp;site that is kind of addictive. &nbsp;(Although neither of these hurt, at all. &nbsp;Something tells me these guys like to have a good time.) &nbsp;The speaker list did it. &nbsp;Yes, I’m a bit of a geek and the opening keynote is Steve Wozniak…seriously, it is Steve Wozniak. &nbsp;You know, the co-founder of <a adhocenable="false" target="_blank" href="http://www.apple.com/">Apple</a> and chief scientist at <a adhocenable="false" target="_blank" href="http://www.fusionio.com/">Fusion-io</a>? He helped develop the first computer I ever used!<br> <br> It doesn’t stop there, though. &nbsp;Envisioned and created by <a adhocenable="false" target="_blank" href="http://zpryme.com/focus/">Zpryme</a>, the company that brings us&nbsp;<a adhocenable="false" target="_blank" href="http://smartgridinsights.com/">Smart Grid Insights</a>,&nbsp;ETS&nbsp;has pulled together a speaker list with individuals on the cutting edge of the energy industry. This event is geared toward the up and comers who will be leading us into the future of energy. Panels surround topics such as:<br> <br> ·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <img width="227" height="196" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/03/paramount-theatre-austin-texas.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Paramount Theatre Austin, Texas" alt="Paramount Theatre Austin, Texas">Utility Executive<br> ·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Smart Grid Realization<br> ·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; EV<br> ·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Game Changers<br> ·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; M2M<br> ·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Cybersecruity<br> ·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Big Data/Analytics<br> ·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Utility of the Future<br> ·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Smart Cities/Communities<br> ·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Disruptive Technology<br> ·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Smart Consumer/Home<br> ·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Grid Edge Opportunities<br> ·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Standards, Policies, and Emerging Business Models</p> <p>With a goal of generating conversation around these topics, ETS has created an atmosphere of debate and discussion both offline and online. &nbsp;Tickets have been released in three batches. &nbsp;The initial two ticket releases have already sold out. &nbsp;According to their website on March 17, 2014, only 103 tickets remained for the entire event. &nbsp;So, you can still grab a ticket to this event to take part in the dialogue. &nbsp;Unfortunately, I’m going to have to rely on my colleagues’ notes of the panels they attend. (So, you guys better take some excellent notes for me! &nbsp;I’m just saying.)</p> <p>‘Til next time.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>Be sure to visit the <a adhocenable="false" target="_blank" href="http://energygirl101writes.wordpress.com/" title="EnergyGirl101">EnergyGirl101</a> blog for more from Jessica on the gloabl energy industry</b></p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/03/what-do-darth-vader-.html2014-03-20T18:36:00.000Z2014-03-20T19:12:48.590ZCha-cha-cha-changesnoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img width="405" height="332" title="The fact that residential rooftop solar can look kind of Star Wars-esque is always something I can get behind. (Pictured:TIE fighters are fictional starfighters in the Star Wars universe)" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/03/tiefighter.jpg" alt="The fact that residential rooftop solar can look kind of Star Wars-esque is always something I can get behind. (Pictured:TIE fighters are fictional starfighters in the Star Wars universe)"></p> <p>I have always been a city girl. My earliest memories are of New York City subways and delighting in street vendor food. So it was a big leap when I moved to Middle America in 2001. Scratch that. It was the half- cocked move of a woman wrapping up her 20’s with a nothing to lose attitude. The gamble has ultimately paid off and boy have I changed. I would like to think for the better.</p> <p>One of the biggest shifts to occur over the years was my sudden realization that stuff comes from places and these once elusive places need access to resources to make and deliver said stuff. Seems elementary, but one of the pitfalls of city convenience can often be ignorance. I never spent a day more than a couple blocks from almost anything I wanted. To be honest, I actually had a good percentage of stuff just delivered to me directly.</p> <p>Everything from how the pastrami in my sandwich ended up between two delightfully toasted slices of marbled rye, to how the halls and the lobby of my apartment building were always well lit was a sweet mystery. It was all very abstract and in my mind endless. I lived in a cozy dream of deli meats and endless power.</p> <p>Fast forward to 2014 and I have just closed on a home in rural Oklahoma. My family and I have spent our first real month in our new place preparing to plant and harvest our own vegetable garden, and working out the logistics of rain barrels for watering said garden. There has also been serious talk of chickens and, most recently, options for a distributed renewable energy system.</p> <p>Distributed energy systems are power generating resources typically in the range of 1 kW to 10,000 kW. These can serve to provide an alternative to or an enhancement of the traditional electric power grid. Our family is considering distributed energy as an enhancement to our grid serviced home, with an eye toward rooftop solar. It is no small decision, but it is becoming an increasingly simpler one to both understand and access.&nbsp;</p> <p>The catalyst for all of these decisions has come from an evolving understanding that stuff requires other stuff and is by no means unlimited. Knowing this however has also brought home the fact that we like modern conveniences. While I’m willing to tend to a few chickens and pluck my own cucumbers, I also have a powerful need for streaming video, smart appliances, and a reliable way to charge all of our phones and tablets. We think a distributed renewable energy system will help us better strike the balance between these drives.&nbsp;</p> <p>We’ve been hashing over the usual questions of cost and installation. We’re researching rebates and dabbling with the idea of leasing. Then, there is the fact that residential rooftop solar can look kind of Star Wars-esque, and that is always something I can get behind.</p> <p>It’s been mostly fun and educational in its own way. The one area where it hasn’t been is in trying to communicate with our utility and our city officials. It’s been frustrating and confusing, and even knowing all that I do about the industry and it’s complexities it has ground down my patience to the point of thinking beyond enhancement to full-on grid independence. Not at all where I expected or wanted to go.&nbsp;</p> <p>So long story longer – I hope to see better from my utility and soon. Really, from all utilities. Distributed energy is happening and our industry can either figure out how to strike its own balance or slowly become irrelevant. Change is hard, but we can do it. We have to.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/03/changes.html2014-03-13T19:00:00.000Z2014-03-13T21:20:58.625ZThe Future is Nownoemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="299" height="229" style="float: right;" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/03/Kirk%20on%20a%20communicator.JPG" alt="Captain Kirk lands with his away team on a strange and foreign world. ">Captain Kirk lands with his away team on a strange and foreign world. Maybe it’s a diplomatic mission, maybe they’re searching for a new type of flora, maybe some baddies kidnapped McCoy. Whatever the reason, our heroes are now far from the safety and security of their starship and their crew, with only their wits and their phasers to protect them.</p> <p>Not so! There’s one more weapon in the Starfleet officer’s arsenal, his communicator. With a flip and a chirp, Kirk can be connected with men and women stationed in front of massively powerful supercomputers. Whether it’s the history of the indigenous people of the planet, analysis of some strange new creature, or the simple request of “3 to beam up,” Kirk’s communicator gives him instant access to almost anything he needs.</p> <p>Right now, sitting gingerly in a faux-leather holder a few inches in front of my computer screen, is my cell phone. A glorious piece of technology, it gives me information at the push of a button. Actually, buttons are going out of style; my phone gives me information at the slide of a fingertip. News headlines, sports scores, concert dates, email and text, all while listening to the latest tunes or lectures from educators and experts from around the world. The number of things it can’t do is dwarfed by the number of things it can. And every year, a new model offers even more.</p> <p>Of course, our computers have been doing most of what my phone can do for years, and the Internet itself and wireless communication makes all of this possible. We’re honestly long past Kirk’s communicator. Data is most often accessible without needing a human middleman on the Enterprise Bridge. Even flipping to open is quickly becoming passé.</p> <p>But the best episodes of Star Trek are the ones where all the machines and technology can’t help, and Kirk and his men on the planet’s surface must use their wits to overcome the challenge. Likewise, we are sometimes confronted by a challenge that hasn’t had a Wikipedia page created yet. There may be people out there who’ve dealt with the same issues and overcome them, but without direct interaction with them, their wisdom may be lost to us.</p> <p>For this reason, I’m glad that hand-in-hand with this amazing technology, we’ve been developing new ways to interact with one another. From the instant communication of text to the group discourse of forums and message boards, we can still rely on one another when needed. And thanks to the amazing worldwide, wireless technology accessible to us, our reach has never been greater. It’s why crowd-sourcing seems to be getting more popular than ever, as experts use these wonderful devices to interact with one another, often across great distances, to increase our shared knowledge.</p> <p>Social media played a big factor of course, but I’ve fallen for enough fake headlines and taken enough “Which Enterprise crew member are you?!” quizzes to know Facebook is probably not going to answer our greatest problems. Instead, specialized websites and forums are a better bet. With these highly-focused pockets of discussion, we can share knowledge, develop wisdom, and ensure when questions need answering the right people answer them.</p> <p>The phone on my desk is a marvel, plain and simple. But if I’m using it as a paperweight, I’m not harnessing the full extent of the power it gives me. The same is true with communication. Texting a pal and liking a photo is great, but we can speak with experts around the world on the greatest challenges facing mankind. Let’s do more of that.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/03/the_future_is_now.html2014-03-06T16:53:00.000Z2014-03-06T16:55:06.668ZI Heart Engineersnoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img width="225" height="261" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/02/keep-calm-and-love-engineers.png"></p> <p>I love engineers. Truly. I was not always able to quantify this love, but it has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. My dad was a tinkering genius. In his life he dipped his toe into everything from computer engineering to mechanical design engineering (mostly to help others with golf). My husband, a systems engineer by trade, is also driven to “improve” everything. Let’s just say there is little he encounters that he is not driven to dismantle and modify. It has made for some interesting evenings and some very unique gifts.</p> <p>But before it gets too Freudian up in here, allow me to explain that this passion of mine is larger than my long-standing crush on the charmingly introverted and inventive fixers of the world. It’s that last part you see. I love engineers, all engineers, because at their root they are fixers.</p> <p>I love a mind committed to distilling complexities into elegantly implementable solutions. I’m thrilled by the idea of making an idea work. To see functional design come to life is an inspiring thing. I am moved by it all. And while I am aware that I may be in the minority when it comes to swooning over New York’s bridges and chatting excitedly about energy infrastructure, I wish that were less true.</p> <p>Engineers have a part in everything from water bottles, to grid infrastructure, and the internet. Their work is some of the most important in the world, and yet, so incredibly underrated. Outside of industry specific recognitions, when was the last time you heard about an engineer, in any capacity? If you have, I’m almost willing to bet one of three things: 1) You are an engineer 2) Something; somewhere failed terribly 3) You were listening to or cracking a joke. Not cool.</p> <p>If you are removed from an industry that regularly celebrates engineers, then do yourself the favor of learning more about the people behind everything you enjoy. That is not an overstatement. And because it’s not, it is all the more important that you expose yourself to their process and open your eyes to the impact of their work.</p> <p>So today I’m waving my flag. I’m sending out the love and I’m hoping you’ll do the same. Thank an engineer. If you are an engineer, find another one and pat them on the back. If you think you don’t know an engineer, look up something you find amazing and then thank the engineers behind it. As an aside, do all of this not so aggressively and definitely not when one may be huddled over something charty or digital like. That’s also important. Millennials, #engineerlove will do.</p> <p>Engineers, you’ll always have a spot in my heart. For today and every day, I just want to say thanks.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/02/i-heart-engineers.html2014-02-14T20:19:00.000Z2014-02-14T22:08:32.372ZHow Keystone XL invaded my vacationnoemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img height="211" width="374" style="float: right;" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/02/pipeline.JPG">“You think they will ever approve that darn pipeline?”</p> <p>I’d taken four days off work to enjoy a brief visit from my mother, who lives far away and gets to visit far too infrequently. We had a blast. She got to spend time with her grand-daughter, we got to enjoy her amazing home cooking, and the dog got more belly scratches than he even knew were possible. It was a great visit.</p> <p>On the fourth day of this gloriously work-free existence, my mother happened to be watching television news, when a story about Keystone XL’s recent environmental impact report came on. My mother, who knows very well my day-to-day employment puts me right in the thick of these headlines, turned to me and asked the question above.</p> <p>It took a while to get to the answer. Mom’s only exposure to the Keystone XL is from TV news, which often seems more intent to further ad revenue than to report news. It’s a business, I understand, but it’s still frustrating.</p> <p>I talked about transportation, and how rail travel is seeing a big increase, and with it an increase in safety concerns. She’s seen stories on some of the rail accidents over the last year, and although she hates to see injury or destruction, she couldn’t deny that this precious cargo has to get to market somehow.</p> <p>I talked about politics, and how the Federal government is being pulled in different directions by two large and powerful sides to this issue. My mom is well-versed in this; as an environmentally-conscious person who has many extended family members in the oil and gas industry, she understands being torn in two directions on energy issues.</p> <p>I talked about our massive, seemingly impenetrable reliance on oil and gas, and how the interest in shifting to more renewable energy sources doesn’t always line up with the ability to do so. My mom drove an ’81 Corvette for most of my life. It was a gorgeous car and a piece of American auto history, but it sure went through gasoline quickly and unapologetically.</p> <p>I talked about the executives who say we no longer need the pipeline, and how the industry is already finding ways around it. I talked about the land the pipeline would cross, and the markets it would serve. We talked about the US, Canada, and even the Middle East. We also talked about pork chops, but that was when the conversation veered into dinner plans for a moment. Not really relevant here.</p> <p>In the end, we’d spent an hour talking about oil and gas, far more than I’d intended during my “staycation.” When it was all over, she reiterated her question:</p> <p>“So? Do you think they’ll build it or not?”</p> <p>We’re so close. The final review is positive, the producers are ready to ship, and the refiners are ready to… refine, all that’s needed is the approval. Will it come soon? Will it come at all? Despite being in the thick of it, despite seeing these headlines cross my desktop by the dozen, despite the fact that I type the letters K-e-y-s-t-o-n-e-X-L at least once every other day, I had only one short, unsatisfying answer:</p> <p>“I have no idea.”</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/02/how_keystone_xl_inva.html2014-02-06T21:05:00.000Z2014-02-06T21:06:03.423ZFifteen minutes ago...noemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img height="190" width="300" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2014/01/Will%20and%20Tommy%20wiping%20memories.JPG" style="float: left;"><i>“Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow.”</i></p> <p>That quote is from the film Men in Black, a fun action-comedy film from 1997 that furthered the burgeoning career of Actor Will Smith and spawned a pair of crummy sequels, the most recent only a year or two ago. I mention the quote specifically for the last part. No, we haven’t made “first contact,” but it’s a nice reminder that you only know everything until you don’t. In the film, the new info was aliens. In our real world, the new info is that Bakken crude oil may be more flammable or explosive than other crude oils. Not the best premise for a Will Smith sci-fi vehicle, but as action stories go, it has chops.</p> <p>There have been two crude oil rail transport accidents in two weeks as I type this, but there could be more by the time you read it. That’s a growing problem lately; it’s as if I can’t finish covering one rail accident before I’m facing another one. That’s a stretch, there have actually been 5 throughout all of the last year, but the last two happening so close to one another was definitely disconcerting. Luckily, these accidents in Casselton, North Dakota and Plaster Rock, New Brunswick have had no injuries or fatalities. It doesn’t change how serious this is, but I’m so grateful no one was hurt.</p> <p>Also, I’m thrilled to see the industry is responding well. I’m already hearing about new safety initiatives at rail companies and efforts to retrain employees on existing best practices. Meanwhile, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is looking into a theory that could explain the increase in rail trouble over the last year and may have us re-examining exactly what we knew fifteen minutes ago; Bakken crude may simply be more volatile.</p> <p>Although the Bakken formation was first described as far back as 1953, it’s only in the last 14 years that production there has been booming. That’s no small amount of time, but it’s not necessarily enough time to really understand something. If this column was written by 14-year-old Hilton, for example, it would be about Super Nintendo and any girl willing to talk to me. Interesting in its own right, sure, but that kind of information wouldn’t be useful to us. It often takes time to develop into something of value, and our possible new revelations on Bakken crude prove that point like no other.</p> <p>If Bakken crude proves to be more flammable or explosive, it could have major implications for the future of crude transport. Obviously, new types of rail cars and tankers would be needed, and changes to the way crude is loaded and unloaded would have to be adopted. Changes in transport procedures could be reflected in market prices. Changes in the market could mean new goals for lobbyists and legislators. Shifts in legislative policy could change the needs of companies and individuals. Suddenly, this revelation about Bakken crude is sounding a lot like the fabled first contact of sci-fi movies; it could change everything.</p> <p>One of the more interesting concepts in that movie, Men in Black, was this thin metal rod the protagonists used to erase the memories of common people, so as to help keep the existence of aliens unknown to all but a select few. The “Neuralyzer” made for some fun comedic moments, where unwitting victims of its ability would suddenly lose their train of thought mid-sentence, or suddenly have no idea what was going on. Luckily, this is one part of the film left thoroughly on the silver screen. Instead of seeing the industry and related organizations working to ignore the issue, they seem to be approaching it head on. It could mean big changes in the months or years ahead, but if it means less derailments, fires, explosions, and evacuations, I’m all for it.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2014/01/fifteen_minutes_ago.html2014-01-09T19:20:00.000Z2014-01-09T19:21:34.082ZStarting Overnoemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="232" height="355" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/December/Playing%20card.jpg" style="float: right;">Last month, I talked about how oil and gas majors should consider <a adhocenable="false" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/11/diversifying_assets.html" target="_blank">further embracing renewable energy sources</a>. It’s just good sense; diversifying assets is always a good idea and oil and gas reserves will eventually run out. Being ready for change can ensure the companies that provide us energy now continue to do so, even if the source of that energy changes. It’s good for business, it’s good for consumers, and it’s good for the planet.</p> <p>After writing that piece, I offered it to my direct supervisor for review. She made one change that I’ve had trouble letting go. I wanted to suggest that Royal Dutch Shell could hypothetically, instead of providing the oil and gas we use so readily now, one day sell rooftop solar panels directly to consumers. Instead, my boss suggested I have Shell operate a utility-scale solar plant that provides energy to consumers. She pointed out that it was a much more likely scenario, and would be in keeping with the company’s business strategy. She was right. That’s why she’s the boss.</p> <p>But I just can’t kick the hypothetical idea of Shell selling consumer solar panels, and when presented with the argument that “it’s not in keeping with their business strategy,” I can’t help but respond, “So, change your business strategy.”</p> <p>As you can imagine, I own exactly 0 multi-national energy corporations. I do, however, know that sometimes a company can make a major change and survive. Did anyone in 1976 see Apple storming the telephone market 30 years later? I doubt the good people living in Japan in 1890 thought their favorite playing card company, Nintendo, would one day have a whole generation playing games in a box of moving light images that hadn’t even been theorized yet. When Henri Nestle was selling milk-based baby food in 1866, he had no idea his surname would grace a company making hundreds of different food products sold all over the world.</p> <p>Shifts in business aren’t relegated to tech companies or companies founded so long ago the whole world has changed alongside them. Saudi Aramco has embraced solar energy. Dong is celebrating a 10-year milestone for one of its wind farms. BP is exploring biofuels. These companies see the need for change and are embracing it.</p> <p>As for Shell, my solar idea above is completely born of my own imagination, but the company has been making renewable advances for many years. The company has invested in research and development of renewable resources, and departing CEO Pater Voser has been quoted as saying, “It would be stupid from the oil and gas industry to say that renewables will not play a major role in the energy system of the next few decades.”</p> <p>Of course, that’s all in keeping with the company’s business model. But I don’t believe it has to do that. Any of the companies I’ve mentioned could make a bold switch in how they do business. Exploration and production could be abandoned for manufacturing and processing. Emphasis on petroleum products could be reduced and refocused on renewable resources. Whole plants could be gutted and re-tooled to handle a completely different kind of work. Teams can be retrained and product lines can be re-vamped. All that’s required is commitment to the change, and probably some assurances to concerned Board Members that this wild plan won’t bankrupt everyone involved.</p> <p>When I got my notes back from last month’s column and saw the change my editor suggested, I acquiesced to her wisdom and I think the column is better for it. But the bold, ridiculous, against-the-business-model suggestion remained in my head. Why shouldn’t Shell sell solar panels to individuals? There’s a profit to be made from each sale, there’s plenty of people worldwide to sell to, and I can’t imagine the company would hate having its logo on every rooftop in the world. Sure, it sounds like a ridiculous shift in business strategy, but sometimes ridiculous gives way to a whole new way to move forward.</p> <p>Just ask Nintendo how those playing cards are doing.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/12/starting_over.html2013-12-12T20:33:00.000Z2014-01-09T19:22:32.221ZInspiring Tomorrow's Engineers noemail@noemail.orgJessica Thompson Research Sales Representative, PennEnergy<p>One of the things I love about the readers of <a href="http://energygirl101writes.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">Energy Girl 101</a> (yes, that would be you) is that you send me links to things I might be interested in reading about. &nbsp;So far, you’ve been right! &nbsp;Keep it up! &nbsp;Recently, I got an email suggesting I check out a new toy company,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.goldieblox.com/pages/about" target="_blank">GoldieBlox</a>. &nbsp;Now whether I was sent this because of my irrepressible love of LEGOs and building things or because I think the world needs more women in STEM fields, I don’t know. However, both are true.</p> <p>So what is GoldieBlox? &nbsp;Let me start off by saying that&nbsp;I’m not associated with GoldieBlox in any way. &nbsp;After reading their story and checking out their site, I am a fan of the idea.</p> <p>This is a company designing construction toys for girls. &nbsp;Now you may be thinking that there are plenty of building toys out there. &nbsp;You’ve got LEGOs, Gears, Lincoln Logs, Magformers, K’NEX… What makes these special? &nbsp;Other construction toys take the same&nbsp;toys designed with boys in mind&nbsp;and turn them pink. &nbsp;As the creator of GoldieBlox, Debbie Sterling says, “Girls do like pink. &nbsp;I think there’s a lot more to us than that.” &nbsp;She’s right, you know. &nbsp;You are allowed to like pink and want to build stuff. &nbsp;</p> <p>During her research into the things that would make a construction toy appeal to girls, she discovered that “Boys like to build. &nbsp;Girls like to read.” &nbsp;What Debbie has done is create a line of construction toys and paired it with a book series. &nbsp;As the story moves along, kids get to build what’s in the book, right along with Goldie. &nbsp;In&nbsp;Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine,&nbsp;Goldie builds a machine to help her dog chase his tail. She builds a belt drive. &nbsp;After reading that on their website, I had a moment of “oh right, that’s what a belt drive is”. &nbsp;Showing little girls this and telling them what it’s called is kind of awesome in and of itself.</p> <p>GoldieBlox’s wildly popular YouTube video shows girls taking their tea sets, pink feathered boas, and other toys from “the pink aisle” and turning them into a giant Rube Goldberg machine. &nbsp;What I love best about this video is that it takes the Beastie Boys&nbsp;<i>Girls</i> which is…well, you know the song. &nbsp;It isn’t exactly about empowering girls. &nbsp;GoldieBlox flips it on its head and these lyrics are all about “girl power.”</p> <p><b>UPDATE: </b>There has since arisen a dispute over use of the revamped Beastie Boys song and the music featured in the video has been replaced. (<b><a target="_blank" href="http://youtu.be/IIGyVa5Xftw" adhocenable="false">Click here to view the video</a></b>)</p> <p><img width="227" height="302" style="float: right;" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/December/Pink_girls_section_of_toy_store.jpeg">Why do we need something like this? &nbsp;Let’s face the facts. &nbsp;Women are underrepresented in the fields of engineering, technology, science, and math. &nbsp;This isn’t new information.</p> <p>At the Offshore Technology Conference in May 2013, the CEO of Petrobras, Maria das Gracas Silva Foster, commented on the number of women in the energy industry during her WISE Women’s talk. &nbsp;Even finding statistics on the number of women in the energy sector is a challenge. There are some numbers I dug up from 2007 released by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.world-petroleum.org/docs/docs/wpc_women.pdf" target="_blank">World Petroleum&nbsp;Council</a>. &nbsp;&nbsp;At that time only 12% of Exxon executives were female. &nbsp;That number was up from 9% in 2000. &nbsp;According to <a href="http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/2012/snapshots/387.html" target="_blank">CNN Money</a>, Exxon Mobil has more than 99,000 employees. The number of technical recruits in the industry that are women was 20%. &nbsp;The number is growing, but many of the number are in positions such as human resources, communications, law, and finance. &nbsp;The industry falls in line with numbers from the&nbsp;Association for Women in Science.</p> <p>According to the&nbsp;<a href="http://awis.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&amp;subarticlenbr=519#NAS" target="_blank">Association for Women in Science</a>, women only represent 24% of the STEM workforce. &nbsp;The reasons for women dropping out of the STEM workforce is telling.</p> <ul> <li>Stereotypes against women as scientists,</li> <li>“Old Boys Club” culture in science and engineering departments in colleges and research universities</li> <li>Unequal promotion, salaries, grants, and benefits packages for women</li> <li>Under-recognition of women for research and scholarship in scientific disciplinary societies</li> </ul> <p>Founder and CEO of GoldieBlox, Debbie Sterling’s story is a perfect example of why this issue needs to be addressed. This Stanford educated engineer had no idea what engineering was until high school. &nbsp;Her math teacher suggested it as a college major for her. &nbsp;When she gave it a shot, she was bothered by how few women were in her program. &nbsp;Now obsessed with the notion of “disrupting the pink aisle”, she designed a toy to introduce girls to engineering at a young age.</p> <p><b>Building games for girls to inspire future engineers</b></p> <p>At GoldieBlox, our goal is to get girls building. &nbsp;We’re here to help level the playing field in every sense of the phrase. &nbsp;By tapping into girls’ strong verbal skills, our story + construction set bolsters confidence in spacial skills while giving young inventors the tools they need to build and create amazing things.</p> <p>In a world where men largely outnumber women in science, technology, engineering, and math…and girls lose interest in these subjects as early as age 8, GoldieBlox is determined to change the equation. &nbsp;Construction toys develop an early interest in these subjects, but for over a hundred years, they’ve been considered “boys’ toys”. &nbsp;By designing a construction toy from the female perspective, we aim to disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generations of female engineers.&nbsp;We believe there are a million girls out there who are engineers. &nbsp;They just might not know it yet. We think GoldieBlox can show them the way. -&nbsp;<a href="http://www.goldieblox.com/pages/about" target="_blank">GoldieBlox website</a></p> <p>Is it a good toy? &nbsp;I don’t know. &nbsp;I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet. &nbsp;Is it a good concept? &nbsp;Abso-freaking-lutely.</p> <p>This is what I know. &nbsp;When&nbsp;my niece was younger, finding toys that didn’t pander to the philosophy that the only things girls want to make are fashion accessories was a huge challenge. &nbsp;Heading down “the pink aisle” in the stores drove me nuts. &nbsp;Yes, I’ve got it, all little girls are princesses…I turned to the toy section with chemistry sets and science oriented toys. I came up with kits to make slime and catch bugs. Let me tell you, friends, my niece is not a slime kind of girl. LEGOs? Well, at the time, all of them were definitely designed with boys in mind. &nbsp;Firemen, policemen, cars, cities, spaceships…is it okay for girls to like this stuff? &nbsp;Sure! &nbsp;However, my niece was definitely into pink and anything that was considered “for girls”, and the responses ranged from “eeeww” to “that’s for boys”. &nbsp;She wanted toys made for girls, and I wanted to show her that she was so much more than just a pretty pink princess. Because it isn’t enough to tell little girls they can change the world. We need to&nbsp;<b>show</b> them too.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/12/inspiring-tomorrows-.html2013-12-05T21:40:00.000Z2013-12-09T23:26:18.960ZDiversifying assetsnoemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="260" height="239" alt="Almost every major oil and gas company has made some strides into alternate energy sources, whether it’s just preliminary research or specific capital projects. " src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/November/Diversify.JPG" style="float: right;">Being in my mid-thirties has been fun. It seems to be a time in life when we mellow out from our hyper-active 20s selves, and begin to evolve into the mature men and women we will be for the rest of our lives. This often involves some less-than-exciting things, like “saving for retirement,” “getting enough sleep,” and “staying regular.” Yeah, it’s not all fun, but it has been educational.</p> <p>For example, did you know it’s best to diversify your portfolio when planning your retirement savings? Mixing different kinds of investments can ensure you get the most return on your money, and ensure a secure financial future for yourself and your family. So, if you own stock, you should consider some savings bonds. If you have those, perhaps you should consider a Roth IRA? If that’s all up to snuff, and you can afford it, maybe investing in a startup or small business is worth looking into. It’s a big world, with a lot of financial options. Choose one.</p> <p>What if the oil and gas majors approached energy the same way? There are differing opinions on how long the world’s oil and gas reserves will last. However, almost everyone agrees at some time we will need to replace that source of energy. So, what if in 50 years, instead of BP being one of the biggest names in oil and gas, it was one of the biggest names in solar and biofuel?</p> <p>This isn’t a revolutionary idea. Almost every major oil and gas company has made some strides into alternate energy sources, whether it’s just preliminary research or specific capital projects. Many companies, like Saudi Aramco, are already made up of several divisions that tackle the variety of energy avenues. I’m not saying anything new, I’m just saying I want more.</p> <p>Big oil’s image problem isn’t going away. The accidents and spills are bad enough, but it’s the very nature of oil that common consumers struggle with. The way it’s obtained, the way it’s used, and even the way it looks are all full of chances for public admonishment, outcry, and disdain. But this same public is using the heck out of oil and gas. They’re filling the tank, fueling the grill, and switching on the lights. But what if that light switch was only partially powered by gas-fueled generation, with some reliance on renewable energy (delivered from a utility scale solar plant owned by Royal Dutch Shell, of course.) That kind of dual-power concept is working for automobiles. People respond to hybrid cars, why wouldn’t they respond to hybrid domestic power?</p> <p>I’m not talking about an immediate implementation, but this kind of diversification can’t be ignored. For the companies that power our world, this is a chance to stay on top, even as popular forms of energy shift. For the consumer, it’s a chance to continue to work with a known (and often trusted) company. The public may not grasp the value of oil and gas, but it sure has an appetite for the growth of alternative energy. The big guys better get on board, or they’ll be missing a chance to gain public approval and plenty of consumer dollars.</p> <p>As we get older, the needs and priorities of our lives change. It’s inevitable. The trick is to be ready for this change, embrace it, and use it to guide us to a wonderful future. That’s as true for energy majors as it is for a random 34-year old. Diversity isn’t just an option, it’s a path to the future.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/11/diversifying_assets.html2013-11-14T19:44:00.000Z2013-11-14T19:46:29.782ZAmericans Don’t Grasp Energy Issuesnoemail@noemail.orgJessica Thompson Research Sales Representative, Pennenergy<p>With a wealth of information at our fingertips, I should be astonished about the lack of information most Americans have about relevant energy issues. Unfortunately, a recent article on <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/polls-show-energy-doesnt-spark-americans-interest-98904.html" title="Polls show energy doesn't spark Americans' interest">Politico.com</a>&nbsp;wasn’t nearly as surprising as I’d like it to be. &nbsp;The average American doesn’t know what’s going on in the energy sector. &nbsp;Miley Cyrus garners more attention on the major news networks than…the news.</p> <p><a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/polls-show-energy-doesnt-spark-americans-interest-98904.html" target="_blank">Politico’s</a> article discusses the recent polls that show that while debates surrounding energy get heated in the capital, many people don’t even know the large trends in the energy industry, much less the details of the cost or even the source of the energy in the U.S.</p> <p></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"><i>“It’s a no-brainer – the more people understand where energy comes from, where it goes and how energy markets work, the better they can develop informed views on energy-related policies and controversies like Keystone XL, hydraulic fracturing or climate change,” said Margot Anderson, executive director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Energy Project”</i>. – Polls show energy doesn’t spark Americans’ interest,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/polls-show-energy-doesnt-spark-americans-interest-98904.html" title="Polls show energy doesn't spark Americans' interest" target="_blank">Politico.com</a>, Oct. 28 2013<b></b></p> <p></p> <p>As a matter of fact, recent polls show that a large majority believe that Saudi Arabia is the United States largest oil supplier. (Hint: That’s not right. &nbsp;It is Canada.) &nbsp;That isn’t the only place that their knowledge is a bit…lacking. &nbsp;They, mostly, don’t realize that U.S. energy production is on the rise either. &nbsp;When it comes to the big energy questions there are some…inconsistencies. &nbsp;Polls show that they&nbsp;want more natural gas production. &nbsp;They see it as a cleaner source of energy, but they hate fracking. &nbsp;The dots aren’t connecting the U.S. gas boom with the method used for extracting the natural gas.</p> <p>The University of Texas at Austin did a poll recently and it found that a year ago 21 percent of Americans said that they read, saw , or heard about energy issues daily. &nbsp;That’s down to only 14 percent this year. Pew Research Center did a poll in September, and found that only 48 percent knew that the United States has seen a rise in energy production in recent years. &nbsp;Only 34 percent knew that could be attributed to oil and gas production.</p> <p>Those of us in the industry already know that the lack of knowledge makes any discussion challenging.</p> <p></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"><i>“That’s troubling because people on any side of the debate can say anything, and if folks don’t know the reality, they accept it,” John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute said, ” And that’s one of the reasons why we spend so much time in advertising and educational outreach.”</i>&nbsp;- Polls show energy doesn’t spark Americans’ interest,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/polls-show-energy-doesnt-spark-americans-interest-98904.html" title="Polls show energy doesn't spark Americans' interest" target="_blank">Politico.com</a>, Oct. 28 2013</p> <p></p> <p>People still have strong opinions on energy, regardless of their tenuous grasp of the facts.</p> <p>The oil and gas industry ranked dead last in a Gallup popularity contest in August 2012. &nbsp;Oil companies have been the target for high gasoline prices since the 1970′s, right along with the president. &nbsp;In March 2012, a Washinton Post/ABC News poll found that 65 percent disapproved of the handling of gasoline prices by President Obama. &nbsp;This was when the news media were calling out predictions that drivers would be paying $4 to $6 a gallon by that summer, incorrectly. &nbsp;Those ratings weren’t as bad as former President George W. Bush in the polls in 2005 and 2006, however.</p> <p></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"><i>“The president doesn’t have the magic button that can raise or lower gas prices,”</i> said Avery Ash, manager of regulatory affairs at AAA.</p> <p></p> <p>Gas prices are controlled by a global market. &nbsp;That market is affected by supply and demand, economic volatility, unrest in the Middle East…sound familiar? &nbsp;These and other factors are out of the control of any one person, even the president.</p> <p>Americans know that they don’t like fracking, but do they know what it is? &nbsp;Polls indicate, no. &nbsp;However, they do want to see more natural gas produced. &nbsp;The University of Texas at Austin’s survey found that 40 percent of people were familiar with hydraulic fracturing, but only 38 percent of those support its use. &nbsp;In the September Pew Research survey, they found that that opposition had grown from 38 percent in March to 49 percent in September.</p> <p>The University of Texas study did find that 57 percent believe natural gas helps lower carbon dioxide emissions. &nbsp;However, the debate over emissions from fracking of methane, a greenhouse gas, may cause a shift in those numbers. &nbsp;For now, 82 percent want the federal government to focus on developing natural gas. &nbsp;That isn’t the top emphasis for new development, however. &nbsp;89 percent want the development to focus on renewable technologies.</p> <p>Polls indicate that people want to see greener alternatives to fossil fuels, a hopeful indicator for renewable energy supporters. The Pew Survey discovered that 58 percent said it is important to develop energy sources like wind, solar, and hydrogen technology, and 34 percent indicated the same for coal, oil, and natural gas.</p> <p>Clean energy development is becoming increasingly popular, but are they willing to pay the cost to get the new energy technology up and running? &nbsp;Well, no.</p> <p></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"><i>“I call this ‘hope is not an energy source,’”</i> said Kevin Book, an analyst at ClearView Energy Partners.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"><i>“A lot of people who look at energy and say, ‘Why don’t we just do’ and you can fill in the rest of the sentence, and are hoping that things are cheaper than they already are,” he said. “Incumbent infrastructure is almost always cheaper, [and] I think people underestimate the hurdles for new technology.”&nbsp;-</i> Polls show energy doesn’t spark Americans’ interest,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/polls-show-energy-doesnt-spark-americans-interest-98904.html" title="Polls show energy doesn't spark Americans' interest" target="_blank">Politico.com</a>, Oct. 28 2013</p> <p></p> <p>Do you think it would change the conversation about the Keystone XL pipeline if the UT poll didn’t show that 58 percent of people said that the&nbsp;United State’s biggest foreign oil supplier was Saudi Arabia? &nbsp; The heated debate over the Alberta-Texas pipeline project was supported by two-thirds of the people polled in the recent surveys. &nbsp;However, only 13 percent of the UT poll knew that Canada was the largest oil exporter to the U.S.</p> <p></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"><i>“A large fraction of the energy debate is driven by ideology and partisanship and to the extent that that is the case the facts don’t matter much,” said Michael Levi, director of the energy security and climate change program at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Would we have a different Keystone debate? &nbsp;I don’t think so.”</i></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Levi said what people really need is a better understanding of what affects things like their electricity bill — and what doesn’t. He said the debate over the failed cap-and-trade bill in 2010 was notable for a “muddled” rhetorical fight over how much people would pay under a market-based greenhouse gas reduction program.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"><i>“The public could be smarter about how about energy affects them — how their bills are calculated and affected — and not worry about getting in the weeds,”</i> Levi said. &nbsp;- Polls show energy doesn’t spark Americans’ interest,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/polls-show-energy-doesnt-spark-americans-interest-98904.html" title="Polls show energy doesn't spark Americans' interest" target="_blank">Politico.com</a>, Oct. 28 2013</p> <p></p> <p>Places like the <a href="http://ogjresearch.stores.yahoo.net/critical-energy-issues-forum.html" title="Critical Issues Facing the Energy Industry Online Forum" target="_blank">Critical Issues Facing the Energy Industry Online Forum</a>&nbsp;are great places for people in the industry to participate in an intelligent&nbsp;discussion revolving around relevant issues in the energy sector.</p> <p></p> <p>The energy industry is at a crossroads, safety is paramount and the Big Crew Change is well underway. The response is not one major decision by sector luminaries. Rather is it an ongoing stream of decisions made daily and mostly by midlevel management. In order to make timely and good decisions in our 24/7 global world, decision makers and their advisors must have timely access the best available data, information and informed trusted advice. PennEnergy and The Rapid Response institute have partnered to educate the energy industry. This partnership has resulted in the creation of Critical Issues Facing the Energy Industry Online Forum. &nbsp;-&nbsp;<a href="http://ogjresearch.stores.yahoo.net/critical-energy-issues-forum.html" title="Critical Issues Facing the Energy Industry Online Forum" target="_blank">www.PennEnergyResearch.com</a></p> <p></p> <p>The information, discussions, and webinars pertaining initially to the oil &amp; gas sector, and focusing on the upcoming SEMS requirements. (November 15, 2013 is the deadline for accredited third-party audits to be completed). &nbsp;However, with a subscription required, this is not the answer for the average Joe off the street. &nbsp;How do we get the everyday person interested in something that is so important all the time and not just when they flip the light switch and nothing happens?</p> <p>Maybe forums like this can offer an answer. &nbsp;The energy industry involves some brilliant people, and enthusiasm is contagious, right?</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>Be sure to visit the <a href="http://energygirl101writes.wordpress.com/" title="EnergyGirl101">EnergyGirl101</a> blog for more from Jessica on the gloabl energy industry</b></p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/11/americans-don_t-gras.html2013-11-07T18:20:00.000Z2013-11-07T18:29:00.699ZPay no attention to that man behind the curtain… noemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p style="text-align: center;"><img width="363" height="271" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/October/WizardOfOzCurtain.jpg"></p> <p>Just in time for Halloween, one of National Geographic’s cable networks is set to premier a new original movie which imagines the story of a national power failure initiated by a cyber-attack.</p> <p>Titled American Blackout, the film’s trailer waxes a bit sensationalist and, I must admit, initially solicited a few eye rolls. But after letting it sit with me a while and visiting <a target="_blank" href="http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/american-blackout/">the movie’s website</a>, I found myself saddled with a new feeling – frustration.</p> <p>Make no mistake, I’m well aware of the vulnerabilities and the challenges our national power grid faces.&nbsp; Grid failures, cyber-attacks, even transient disturbance (more commonly known as EMP) are all deserving of consideration. The difference is I’m also aware of the broad and vast industry that keeps our grid functioning. Most are not, and that holds a lot more weight than those few words can convey.</p> <p>The greater majority of U.S. consumers are as disconnected from their power as they are from their food. Even some of the more passionate ones are no more informed than the latest tagline offered up by an environmental group or energy lobbyist. More importantly, most have little motivation to be informed. That is, until the power goes out.</p> <p>Over the last few weeks, this consumer disconnect has come up across a few of the conversations I’ve had within some of the energy focused groups I belong to on <a target="_blank" href="http://www.linkedin.com/groups/PennEnergy-2738294">LinkedIn</a>. I’m not alone in my frustrations, or in noting how the gap between the end user and the industry has almost perversely broadened in many areas, while also narrowing enough in others to challenge how utilities will need to do business going into the future.</p> <p>This conundrum is what ultimately rubbed me wrong about the upcoming American Blackout film. On the one hand, the movie will indeed spark conversation and maybe inspire some to learn more, but ultimately most will just be left with more fear than information. Our industry will remain the proverbial “man behind that curtain” and a lot of that is our own fault.</p> <p>When I consider how vital and capital intensive energy is, I am forced to wonder why our industry has been so slow and/or reluctant to engage consumers beyond their bills. We are long past the time when energy majors can afford to be unknown and all powerful. An evolving smart grid, renewables, tougher regulations, the rise of distributed generation and a consumer base that thrives on being connected demands more.</p> <p>So where do we go from here? Excellent question! The answers of course are not all simple, but there are a lot of easy places to start.</p> <p>What would it look like if a progressive energy company made the same media investment National Geographic is with their latest film? What if companies took the time to be more than a faceless sponsor at local events? What if a community really had the chance to know their linemen before the lights went out? What if social media became more than the latest marketing buzzword?</p> <p>Some of these things are already happening, but it is clear these efforts are not yet a true priority. If we don’t step up, then we can only expect worst when things shut down.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/10/pay-no-attention-to-.html2013-10-24T20:01:00.000Z2013-10-24T20:03:52.551ZMy shale revolution has no time for your shutdownnoemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="318" height="215" style="float: right;" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/October/North%20Dakota%20shale%20wells.JPG" alt="As we move into week 2 of this shutdown, I’m noticing something. The shale revolution hasn’t been stopped!">I am not going to talk about healthcare. Honestly, the topic induces in me a mild form of narcolepsy, and that’s coming from a guy who writes about hydrocarbons for a living. If I can’t find the fun in a topic, you know it’s dry, and the hubbub around the U.S. Affordable Care Act is as dry as a good white wine or a bad baked chicken. Unfortunately, that debate has led to a government shutdown affecting myriad departments and industries across the country, my precious hydrocarbons included.</p> <p>I’m closely watching the “shale revolution.” It’s fascinating watching the U.S. oil &amp; gas industry find a second wind it didn’t know was coming. As the country moves closer to energy independence and export possibility, every day is a new opportunity for legislation, finances, and public opinion to shape the future of this wild new chapter in energy production.</p> <p>Well, every day WAS a new opportunity for those things. Now, we mostly just sit around and wonder when the permitting will resume. Okay, maybe that’s not quite accurate. It’s a big planet, and there’s lots of oil and gas exploration, including many ongoing projects here in the U.S. unaffected by the shutdown. But what about the new projects? The new players in existing plays? The new basins yet to be explored? All the newness of our domestic energy exploration starts with the bureaucracy of government, the applying and filing and permitting that is at a complete standstill while this shutdown nonsense pervades. It doesn’t take a Poli-Sci degree to understand that a shutdown government isn’t getting anything done.</p> <p>But, wait! As we move into week 2 of this shutdown, I’m noticing something. The shale revolution hasn’t been stopped! Heck, it’s barely been slowed by the shutdown, and it seems permitting is the only thing that isn’t moving forward at the usual speed. Even worse, the fact that the industry seems unfazed by the shutdown says more about the pathetic speed of permitting pre-shutdown than it does about the effects of the current standstill.</p> <p>Instead, the future of unconventional oil and gas in the U.S. has more to fear from <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/10/protestors-block-federal-building-in-fight-against-keystone-xl-oil-pipeline.html" adhocenable="false">protests</a> than it does from government disagreement. Looking at PennEnergy’s own <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/oil-gas/unconventional.html" adhocenable="false">Unconventional topic center</a>, I see a revolution underway and moving forward. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/10/pennsylvania-commissions-study-on-south-newark-basin-shale-formation.html" adhocenable="false">Studies are being commissioned</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/10/credit-suisse-u-s-shale-development-just-beginning.html" adhocenable="false">predictions about the future are being made</a>, and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/10/sanchez-energy-completes-eagle-ford-shale-acreage-acquisition.html" adhocenable="false">property is being acquired</a>. This is progress, folks, representation in Washington or not!</p> <p>In fact, the only place the “revolution” seems hampered or hindered in any way is in permitting, legislation, and thorough, effective discourse in Washington. I’m not talking about during the shutdown; I’m talking during normal business hours. So, my title is wrong. The shutdown isn’t the problem.</p> <p>My shale revolution has no time for your <i>functioning</i> government.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/10/my_shale_revolution.html2013-10-07T21:05:00.000Z2013-10-07T21:09:05.542ZYesterday, today, tomorrownoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img width="303" height="446" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/September/911_Tribute.jpg" style="float: right;">This week marked the 12th anniversary of the U.S. terrorist attacks by al-Queda, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people on<b> </b>September 11, 2001. As the U.S. and much of the world came together again to remember and mourn what was lost that day, I wrestled with my thoughts and was happy to find a place of persistence and hope at the center of a lessened grief.</p> <p>On Wednesday morning I sat on my couch watching the news, much the way I did on that fateful day over a decade ago from my apartment in New York. I thought about how much has changed, and how much has unfortunately stayed the same.</p> <p>These thoughts were made ever more poignant as the U.S. sits on the brink of renewed conflict with the Middle East, this time with Syria because of ongoing political unrest and the use of chemical weapons.</p> <p><i>What next</i>, I asked myself quietly as video of the collapsing World Trade Center towers was looped on my television screen. I felt the edges of hard grief settling in, when suddenly my mind had a challenging answer for itself - <i>Whatever we can imagine…</i></p> <p>I felt the resounding weight of belief when those words resonated in my mind. I had turned a corner in my thinking and what I summoned next surprised me. I sat for a good amount of time listing the energy innovations, projects, and research I have come to take for granted. I surveyed again the marvels that have come to pass my desk too casually. I realized our nation had not just survived, but that I am a daily witness to how we continue to thrive.</p> <p>Since 9/11 the U.S. has seen renewable energies leap from measured concepts to utility scale installations. Our nation is in the midst of a natural gas boom and is cultivating cutting-edge nuclear power through small modular reactors. All of this as we are molding an intelligent grid that will change the dynamic of power production and consumption forever and hopefully for the better.</p> <p>I took hold of some of our industry’s better milestones and let them recondition my perspective. I remembered that most people don’t know much about the sectors that make every aspect of our society possible. The resources, the people, and the technology that fuels this free nation, our world, are still mostly unsung.</p> <p>I want to remind those engaged in energy worldwide to be awed again and to encourage them to persevere. I invite those who are not engaged in energy, at least knowingly, to take in some of these incredible projects, and learn about the people powering your world. Above all, I want to impart hope.</p> <p>So today, as I remember the significance of yesterday, I hail what we are building for tomorrow.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a adhocenable="false" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/03/osu-pioneers-combustion-free-coal-power.html" target="_blank">Truly clean coal: University pioneers burn-free coal power process</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/03/osu-pioneers-combustion-free-coal-power.html" adhocenable="false"><img width="150" height="83" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/March/Clean%20Coal.jpg"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a adhocenable="false" target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2012/11/abb-develops-worlds-first-circuit-breaker-for-hvdc.html">ABB develops world’s first circuit breaker for HVDC</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2012/11/abb-develops-worlds-first-circuit-breaker-for-hvdc.html" adhocenable="false"><img width="151" height="99" src="/content/dam/pei/online-articles/2013/04/ABB_HVDC_test_facility%20-%20thumbnail.jpg"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a adhocenable="false" target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2012/09/wind-power-turbine.html">Wind power turbine creates clean drinking water from humid air</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a adhocenable="false" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2012/09/wind-power-turbine.html" target="_blank"><img width="149" height="83" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/September/eolewater.jpg"><br> </a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a adhocenable="false" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/07/worlds-largest-offshore-wind-power-farm-inaugurated.html" target="_blank">World’s largest offshore wind power farm inaugurated</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/07/worlds-largest-offshore-wind-power-farm-inaugurated.html" adhocenable="false"><img width="148" height="98" src="/content/dam/pei/site-images/london-array-offshore-site-photographs-01_03_12-019.jpg"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a adhocenable="false" target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index/articles/display/3307154749/articles/pennenergy/power/renewable/2012/august/world_s-first_commercial.html">World's first commercial demonstration algae-to-energy facility operational</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index/articles/display/3307154749/articles/pennenergy/power/renewable/2012/august/world_s-first_commercial.html" adhocenable="false"><img width="80" height="105" src="/content/dam/etc/medialib/platform-7/pennenergy/articles/online-exclusive_articles/2012b/Sapphire%20Energy%27s%20Green%20Crude%20Farm"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a adhocenable="false" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2012/01/doe-takes-first-step.html" target="_blank">DOE takes first step to spur U.S. manufacturing of small modular nuclear reactors</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a adhocenable="false" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2012/01/doe-takes-first-step.html" target="_blank"><img width="55" height="155" src="/content/dam/pe/online-articles/2013/07/westinghouse_smr.jpg"></a></p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/09/yesterday-today-tomo.html2013-09-12T17:00:00.000Z2013-09-13T13:46:51.118Z102 million tiny violins…noemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="346" height="237" style="float: right;" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/August/Beanie%20Babies.JPG">Another lease sale has been held in the Gulf of Mexico, with what are being called lackluster results. A whopping $102 million dollars were raised, but in this game that’s not nearly enough. Much like Hollywood, Washington, and NASA, the oil &amp; gas industry works with bigger budgets than the rest of us. Turns out, $102 million is the lowest amount raised in 14 years of lease sales.</p> <p>Last I checked, oil &amp; gas exploration rights weren’t collectibles. Sure, if your latest batch of Beanie Babies isn’t generating quite the bidding war your last batch did, you may wonder if the zeitgeist has passed. Do you have doubts about the longevity of the oil &amp; gas phenomenon? I don’t, and neither does my car.</p> <p>Yes, I know Beanie Babies are a dated reference. How dated? About 14 years. And just like it’s weird to compare stuffed animals to exploration rights, it’s weird to compare this week’s lease sale with sales that happened more than a decade ago. Several factors are different, &amp; not just the amount of money generated.</p> <p>BP sat out this bidding round. The company is currently suspended from obtaining new federal contracts due to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. Having one of the industry’s major players absent means a large amount of potential bid money was not in play.</p> <p>Also, 14 years ago, how was the shale revolution coming along? Wasn’t quite the draw it is today, huh? Today, there are some compelling alternatives to offshore exploration that may not have been as accessible 14 years ago. If a deepwater block doesn’t look like a guaranteed money-maker, there are plenty of onshore options to pursue instead.</p> <p>And no matter if it’s 14 years ago or today, the cost of deepwater exploration can be immense. These capital-intensive projects have to show some signs of potential success, bold success, if they are to be worth the investment. Clearly, for some companies, these plots, at this time, at this cost, simply weren’t viable. Last year, maybe. Next year, perhaps. But not this week.</p> <p>And, of course, there’s the very real caveat that this sale made $102 million. That is no small feat. If I made $102 million on ANYTHING, you’d never hear from me again. So, if anyone is tired of this column, get those checkbooks ready…</p> <p>Still here? Oh well. Anyway, the point was the sale brought in a huge amount of cash for the federal government, and showed very real interest in the area. Have other lease sales generated more interest or raised more money? Sure, but so what? Exploration in the Gulf will expand, money will be made, and the industry will roll on. Can’t say the same thing for Beanie Babies…</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/08/102_million_tinyvio.html2013-08-29T19:02:00.000Z2013-08-29T19:05:23.701ZOffshore Wind Makes a Powerful Global Showingnoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><img src="/content/dam/pei/online-articles/2013/05/European%20Offshore%20Wind%20Deployment%20Centre.jpg"><br> <br> As countries around the globe are realizing the potential of wind power, more and more turbines are being installed offshore. The world now has at least 5,415 MW of offshore wind energy generating around the globe.</p> <p>Offshore wind presently represents about 2 percent of global installed energy capacity; but that number could, and is expected to, increase rapidly. Able to generate far more power than onshore wind turbines, offshore wind power could meet Europe's energy demand seven times over highlights the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). While in the United States, offshore wind has the potential to provide four times the energy capacity needed.</p> <p>The rapid growth and potential of offshore wind is best represented in Europe. Currently, more than 90 percent of the globe's offshore wind power is installed off the coast of northern Europe. As of this entry, Europe has a total of 4,336 MW generating from 1,503 offshore wind turbines at wind farms located across 10 countries. Looking ahead, the European Union has set a goal to generate 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, and offshore wind is slated to play a major role in making that a reality.<br> <br> Punctuating Europe's aggressive integration of offshore wind power was the milestone inauguration of the world's largest offshore wind power facility in early July from Dong Energy. The London Array, which includes 175 Siemens wind turbines, has a total capacity of 630 MW&nbsp;-&nbsp;enough to power approximately 500,000 households.</p> <p>Soon after introducing the expansive London Array to the world, the UK's Department of Energy &amp; Climate Change then announced project clearance for the massive 1.2 GW Triton Knollwind farm to be developed by RWE and located off the Lincolnshire and Norfolk coast. Along with supplying clean, alternative energy, the project is expected to generate more than $5.5 billion of investment in the region and create about 1,130 jobs.</p> <p>Meanwhile, North America is aiming to add some 6.5 GW of wind power this year, with the United States looking to be a major contributor. While there are no offshore wind farms in the U.S. currently, the federal government has recently completed its first-ever round of auctions for offshore wind leases. Deepwater Wind, a company based in Rhode Island, came in with the highest bid of $3.8 million for two areas totaling&nbsp;more than 164,000 acres off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The auction was viewed as a historic moment for the U.S.'s future commitment to clean offshore energy.</p> <p>According to the GWEC, Asia is set to continue boost its wind energy output annually, reaching 25.5 GW by 2017.&nbsp; China currently boasts an offshore wind capacity of 258.4 MW, with a goal of 5 GW of offshore wind by 2015 and 30 GW by 2030.&nbsp; Japan saw its offshore wind power capacity reach 25.3 MW in 2012, while South Korea has committed to invest some USD$9 billion into a 2.5 GW offshore wind project, led by the state-owned Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO).</p> <p>As technologies and costs continue to improve, offshore wind is positioned to be a competitive player in meeting global clean energy demand through the next decade.</p> <p></p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/08/offshore-wind-makes-.html2013-08-22T19:47:00.000Z2013-08-22T20:15:29.431ZMaking good quickly…noemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="279" height="198" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/July/oil%20spill%20cleanup%20Kalamazoo.JPG" style="float: right;">Enbridge returned to Michigan’s Kalamazoo River this week, to begin dredging work to clean up oil spilled in 2010. The company is expected to dredge 350,000 cubic yards of oil-contaminated sediment, shutting down a 12-mile section of the river in the process. From the photos I’ve seen, it looks like hard, unpleasant work, and I have a ton of respect for the people on the ground in Michigan doing the job.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Halliburton made news this week when it reached an agreement with the Department of Justice regarding the April 2010 Macondo well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Halliburton plead guilty to charges it deleted records concerning the incident. The company will pay a $200,000 fine and accept three years of probation. I applaud Halliburton for coming to this agreement and accepting the fine and probation terms. It’s a messy situation, but hopefully the company can now move forward.</p> <p>Both stories are example of companies making good on mistakes made in the past. I think these are the best kind of stories. Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s how we handle those mistakes that speak the loudest about us. That’s true of companies, too. A company that mishandles a mistake may forever be stuck with the stigma that creates, while a company that works to resolve a mistake and move on will usually see any resulting stigma do the same.</p> <p>But there’s one thing that I can’t get over. Why the delays? I know the bureaucracies inherent in law and government don’t make for speedy processes, but why did it take so long to address these issues?</p> <p>If we are to truly earn the social license to operate, we must be quick and thorough in resolving any threat to that social license. The faith of the public is hard won and easily lost. Any delay in resolving issues of concern is gambling with that faith.</p> <p>If we’re talking about a spill, cleanup needs to be fast and complete. There is simply no other option. In earning the right to operate, we are essentially engaging in an unspoken contract with the public and the land. By delaying cleanup in the event of a spill, we risk losing that unspoken contract. Lose that, and it won’t be long before we risk losing the real contracts, too.</p> <p>The deleted records situation sounds more complicated, but I don’t think that changes things. Even if continued internal investigations were needed, it seems unlikely that Halliburton couldn’t have resolved the matter with the DOJ sooner.</p> <p>I admit, these are big issues that I don’t personally deal with. I snuck a donut this morning, a cheat on my diet. Last week, I spilled a glass of water in my living room. That’s the type of trouble I get into.</p> <p>Massive energy companies have bigger concerns, but there are still best practices that can guide even the most complicated situations. By sticking to those, and doing so in a timely fashion, we’ll see concerns about our practices fade, while our social license to operate grows.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/08/making_good_quickly.html2013-08-01T19:17:00.000Z2013-08-01T19:18:49.169ZSolar Careers - Matching Private Capital with Human Capitalnoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis<p><img width="165" height="227" src="/content/dam/etc/medialib/platform-7/pennenergy/articles/online-exclusive_articles/2012/Solar%20Jobs" style="float: left;">Since 2010, The Solar Foundation (TSF), a nonprofit solar education and research organization, has been conducting an annual census of the U.S. solar industry workforce. Over the last three years, the National Solar Jobs Census has documented a 27 percent employment increase in the industry– a growth rate TSF reports as eight times faster than the overall economy during the same period.</p> <p>Of note, is also TSF’s finding that in spite of continuing economic woes, hiring within the U.S. solar industry is anticipated to continue this accelerated trend through 2013 and beyond. While the probability of this continued growth is encouraging, it also punctuates the need for expanded training resources and the capital to fund them.</p> <p>Exploring these issues, TSF in partnership with SolarTech and the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), have composed a new report examining the solar industry’s growing workforce development needs.</p> <p>The analysis, titled <i><a adhocenable="false" href="http://thesolarfoundation.org/sites/thesolarfoundation.org/files/SWIC%20Final.pdf" target="_blank">Financing the Next Generation of Solar Workers</a>, </i>brings to the fore the<i> </i>challenges existing in establishing and sustaining the workforce necessary for solar market’s projected growth. &nbsp;Quickly established is that neither workforce development efforts nor the funding needed for such have kept pace with market progressions.</p> <p>The report highlights that although upwards of $70 million in federal, state, and local workforce development funding has been allocated between 2009 and 2012, the majority of this funding has already been, or will shortly be, exhausted.</p> <p>The report’s authors acknowledge that further complicating the issues are the fundamental questions facing the industry of who will train the workforce needed, how to bridge existing funding gaps, and how to enable the distribution of these limited resources towards the training programs and markets with the greatest demand.</p> <p>While the report does propose possible funding structures for addressing these challenges, it &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;also remains firmly focused on the critical need of industry and other stakeholders to be active participants in the discourse and establishment of workforce development solutions.</p> <p>So as renewables are enjoying a considerable upswing in development, the fundamental question appears to be what investment is industry truly willing to make, today, in ensuring these developments are sustainable by matching private capital with human capital?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/07/solar-power-matching.html2013-07-18T18:00:00.000Z2013-07-19T04:55:09.494ZI was told there’d be cheap gas…noemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p>In the movie Office Space, a silly comedy about the drudgery of office life, there’s an employee of the software company at the heart of the film who is so irrelevant, so utterly ignored, that he isn’t even given the respect of being fired. His pay is cut and his desk is moved to the basement, with hopes he’ll get the hint.</p> <p><img width="300" height="232" style="float: right;" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/July/Milton%20gas.jpg" alt="Office Space - Copyright 1999, 20th Century Fox.">The character’s nebbish, non-confrontational ways have made him the subject a humorous meme online, used when a person feels they aren’t being given what they were promised. For Milton, the character, it was the right to listen to his radio at his desk. “I was told I could listen to the radio at a reasonable volume…” he said, his voice quivering. For those using the meme, the topic changes, and runs the gamut of expected content on a website to large and important political issues. It’s “I was told there’d be thought-provoking discourse…” or “I was told there would be like-minded people…” or even “I was told there’d be pictures of cats…” Whatever you thought you were going to get, the Milton meme is there for you.</p> <p>The Independence Day holiday is upon us, and amid this pending celebration of American freedom, innovation, and endurance, a political issue has occurred to me. It’s one that’s very American, and is of major concern to most Americans. It’s about our energy future, and our economic present.</p> <p>Across America, there is a massive exploration and production movement that has been heralded as the keystone to our energy independence. Shale oil and gas is quickly establishing the U.S. as a major oil producer again, something that hasn’t been widely said in a long time.</p> <p>But the unconventional revolution has been going for a few years now, and with each passing month I feel a little more like Milton. I feel a little more maligned, a little more ignored. I feel, as I bet many Americans do, that although the shale boom is here, the benefits of that exploration explosion have yet to be felt.</p> <p>In the tone of that meme, I say to you, “I was told there’d be cheap gas…”</p> <p>I know it’s not that simple. I know there are ongoing relations with suppliers around the world. I know today’s gas wasn’t purchased yesterday, and tomorrow’s gas has already been bought. I know there are issues of bottlenecked transportation and adequate refining capability. I know all this, and I still can’t help feeling a little like Milton. As I watch gas “dip” to around the 3 buck mark, and I see anchors on TV reporting it as though we’ve hit a stroke of luck, I feel like I’m working a job that stopped paying me, and I’m too busy haggling over the radio to notice. And I don’t think I’m alone.</p> <p>For the average American, the shale revolution has meant pipeline projects, local spills, and shouting matches on Capitol Hill. It has not meant cheap gas. And that’s how it’s been sold to us, as cheap gas. Of course, bullet points work well with the electorate. Keep it simple, and stay on message. In this case, saying “cheap gas” is simpler and more on message than “Cheap gas with some risks and expenses and probably a little bit of hassle for a few landowners and maybe one or two small communities, but really that’s it and seriously in about 15 years gas is gonna be super cheap.” Not quite the stuff of bumper stickers, is it?</p> <p>Of course, the shale revolution is only partly underway. Maybe there’s a turning point coming up, and we’ll see some change at the pump ($2.50, woohoo!) and we’ll see the progress we were promised. There are major issues of infrastructure, safety, and security that are still being worked out. There is an entire populace readjusting to oil production. Things are happening; the results can’t be too far behind, can they?</p> <p>Whether we see change tomorrow or next week, maybe we’re better off looking at all this like a company, if only so we don’t ignore the Miltons in the basement. Also, don’t cut their pay. Gas is expensive.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/07/i_was_told_theredb.html2013-07-03T19:01:00.000Z2013-07-03T19:03:08.117ZThe Nuclear Power Rollercoasternoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis Ballard<p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/power/nuclear-generation.html" adhocenable="false"><img width="299" height="199" title="Nuclear power is again in the spotlight as uncertainty grips the industry and a new documentary challenges naysayers of atomic power while stirring controversy among some experts." src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/February/USNuclear.jpg"></a></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/power/nuclear-generation.html" adhocenable="false">Nuclear power</a> is again in the spotlight as uncertainty grips the industry and a new documentary challenges naysayers of atomic power while stirring controversy among some experts. Although neither controversy nor uncertainty is new to nuclear power, the volume of each most recently has given the industry a rather precarious feeling.</p> <p>In the United States, the last two weeks has brought a lot into question. MidAmerican Energy announced it has <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/06/midamerican-energy-drops-plans-for-nuclear-plant-in-iowa.html" adhocenable="false">dropped plans for development of a small modular reactor (SMR) in Iowa</a>, followed by an announcement from Edison that it will <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/06/sce-to-permanently-retire-san-onofre-nuclear-power-plant.html" adhocenable="false">permanently retire its San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS)</a>, and Exelon <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pe/2013/06/exelon-ends-plans-to-uprate-two-nuclear-power-plants.html" adhocenable="false">cancelling plans for upgrades at two plants</a> within its nuclear fleet.</p> <p>In all three cases, economic uncertainties were cited as the primary reasons behind the decisions. For MidAmerican and Edison, regulatory doubts also played a key role in the firms opting to take on significant charges over moving forward with their projects.</p> <p>For critics of nuclear energy, the news has been heralded as victories marking the beginning of the end for nuclear development in the U.S. On the other hand, those in favor of nuclear progress are looking to see what impact of these shifts will have and how projects currently in progress, such as the new reactors at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pe/2013/06/report-the-future-of-nuclear-power-rests-on-plant-vogtle.html" adhocenable="false">Plant Vogtle</a>, will weather these challenges.</p> <p>Like all complex matters, persuasive arguments and predictions can be made by both proponents and detractors of nuclear energy.&nbsp; Moreover, the questions surrounding nuclear power are globally significant ones.</p> <p>Questions like, is nuclear power safe? Does it have a place in our future energy mix? Is it economically competitive?&nbsp; Is it environmentally responsible? Could it end energy poverty? Could it be developed without supporting weapons proliferation?</p> <p>No matter what side of the issue you find yourself on, these are questions that are necessary to answer. As I have said before, in the 21<sup>st</sup> century the impact of energy on our daily lives, and its implications for our future, are as important as those related to worldwide agriculture</p> <p>As an adult I have formed an opinion of <a adhocenable="false" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2011/10/the-necessary-good-that-is-nuclear-power.html" target="_blank">nuclear power as a necessary good</a>. Being immersed in the industries of power and infrastructure have served to strengthen these views.&nbsp; However, that was not an easy place to come to. As a child of the 80’s growing up in New York City, I was surrounded by a staunchly anti-nuclear sentiment and the imminent threat of global nuclear war.</p> <p>I long held the opinion that everything about nuclear power was threatening.&nbsp; My turning point came through an accidental exposure to the technology. Research of advanced medical treatments on behalf of a non-profit introduced me to nuclear medicine. Nuclear medicine in turn opened the doors to understanding the purpose of research reactors. Research reactors inevitably led to my pursuing knowledge of civil nuclear reactors for power generation, which challenged almost all of my preconceived notions.</p> <p>Hard work and bit of serendipity led to a position serving the energy industry just a few years later. Suddenly I had access to experts and research from around the globe. More importantly, I learned how to access publicly available information that would allow me to stay informed independently. But my experience is far from the norm.</p> <p>Where I am not alone is in experiencing this shift in understanding and becoming a passionate informer and advocate of energy innovation. In the two years following the disaster at the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pe/2013/05/iaea-nuclear-industry-moving-on-from-fukushima.html" adhocenable="false">Fukushima Daiichi</a> complex in Japan, the questions surrounding nuclear power have again been thrust into the broader public venue. &nbsp;In my opinion, that is exactly where they belong.</p> <p>Nuclear advocates and opponents alike are stepping up their initiatives to inform their fellows and push for change. Most recently, a new documentary film titled <i><a target="_blank" href="http://pandoraspromise.com/" adhocenable="false">Panodra’s Promise</a></i> directed by Robert Stone is driving the conversations and rousing controversy.</p> <p>The new movie, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, has been generating significant buzz even before its debut in theaters this month. The film features more than half a dozen prominent nuclear opponents turned supporters speaking on the potential of nuclear energy in addressing complex issues such as climate change and skyrocketing energy demand.</p> <p>At the heart of the film is a championing of advanced nuclear technologies, primarily the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR). Pandora’s Promise challenges that the development of IFR’s would not only help put to rest the polarizing issues related to the use of nuclear power, but catapult global energy into a new age of efficiency and environmental conservation.</p> <p>While compelling, the perspectives delivered in Pandora’s Promise have still met with opposition. Most notably, has been the editorial response from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ executive director and publisher Kennette Benedict, aptly titled <i><a target="_blank" href="http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/kennette-benedict/pandoras-false-promise" adhocenable="false">Pandora's false promise</a></i>. Benedict argues the film’s director and its subjects “seem as intent on promoting nuclear power as the one clear solution as they once were in denying that it had any place in responsible energy planning.”</p> <p>Others have noted the film appears to gloss over or avoid important issues such as the risk of weapons proliferation, reactor accidents, and adequate resources for the safe storage of nuclear waste.</p> <p>What is clear is that the future of global nuclear power is still very much in flux.&nbsp; So let’s keep the conversations and the information flowing. &nbsp;While my understanding and opinions on nuclear power are constantly evolving, the one philosophy I can get behind wholeheartedly is that of Francis Bacon who said, “Knowledge is power.”</p> <p></p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/06/the-nuclear-power-ro.html2013-06-13T19:00:00.000Z2013-06-14T14:14:47.698ZOTC 2013: We’re back!noemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="344" height="214" style="float: left;" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/May/OTC%202013.JPG">Most of us have dug out from the aftermath of OTC 2013, most likely from under a massive stack of (physical) business cards and (electronic) correspondence. Emails, phone calls, enough hand-shaking to disseminate a superbug, and here we are. The Offshore Technology Conference has come and gone, most of us have made new friends and colleagues, and a few of us can’t shake a head cold.</p> <p>In other words, the industry is doing great.</p> <p>In that previous sentence, I went ahead and said something many of us were hopeful for, but uncertain about, during the Conference. Day 2, specifically, saw a weird phenomenon, as most of us said the same thing at one time or another. “Man, there sure are a lot of people here…”</p> <p>And there were. 104,800 to be exact, the second highest in show history, a nearly 20% jump from 2012. The show was booming, and just as successful as we timidly wondered it might be on that hot (but not too hot) Tuesday.</p> <p>But don’t misunderstand, that timidity is a good quality. So many of us wondered hesitantly if things may be picking up for our industry, and in that hesitancy was our best hopes and intentions for ourselves and our colleagues. We wanted this to be the start of good things, but not in a way that hindsight is ignored and we run blindly into a bull market like, well, a bull.</p> <p>We are being smart. We are being wary. We are seeing success, but asking whether we are prepared for a possible sudden end to that success. We are still in the mindset that weathered the recession, and that is exactly how we should view this growing momentum of success.</p> <p>So, as I dig out from under this stack of business cards (you may be receiving a post-show email from me as we speak) I am excited for the future, and grateful for the wisdom of those who’ll venture into it with me. The industry is showing good, strong signs, but we won’t ignore the past as we follow those signs.</p> <p>And in case you’re curious, conversation on the third day of the conference was far less insightful than it had been the previous day. On Day 3, the thing I heard most was a question. And no, I am not Howie Mandel.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/05/otc_2013_we_re_back.html2013-05-23T20:51:00.000Z2013-05-23T20:52:06.467ZConsumer focus:The marketing shift in energynoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis<p><img width="401" height="233" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/April/ConsumerWordCloud.JPG"><br> Driven by industry standards of cost effective efficiency, reliability, and safety the business of energy has long utilized a successful marketing model of conservative supplier to a passive consumer. While this approach has traditionally offered a coveted level of profit and stability, a rapidly evolving market is shifting this concept of business as usual.</p> <p>Today’s energy industry faces an array of unprecedented challenges and opportunities. Driving new business imperatives are internal and external complexities such as regulatory compliance, <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/power/renewable-energy.html">renewables</a>, advanced technologies and an engagement motivated consumer base.&nbsp;</p> <p>Ahead of the curve will be companies that are positioning themselves as consumer first responders. Through an enriched marketing culture of engagement the energy industry has the opportunity to build an asset once primarily reserved for consumer majors such as The Coca Cola Company, brand loyalty.</p> <p>Reflective of this shift and its opportunities are the changes being implemented by industry marketing bests such as the <a href="http://www.themcdonnellgroup.com/">McDonnell Group</a>.&nbsp; An integrated marketing firm for the energy industry, McDonnell Group recently completed a refresh and expansion of its services. The result of an extensive customer survey, the changes implemented allow the firm to offer an ecosystem of dynamic solutions centered on engagement</p> <p>&quot;The way the energy industry markets itself is changing,&quot; said McDonnell Group CEO Don McDonnell. &quot;Now more than ever, utilities and technology providers are looking to align strategy for a marketplace characterized by new sources of energy, response to storms and climate change, aging infrastructure, and the realization that the era of consumer engagement is upon us. When our clients asked us to expand our services to help them more, it was a very easy decision to make.&quot;</p> <p>Through its <a href="http://www.themcdonnellgroup.com/advisory-board/advisory-board.html">advisory board</a>, a team made up of local and national energy leaders, McDonnell Group is modeling a responsive business strategy aimed at providing its clients with a competitive advantage. In line with this, the firm has also recently announced the addition of Penny McIntyre to their advisory board.</p> <p>McIntyre’s appointment stands out because of what she brings to the table, an extensive and expert knowledge of the consumer goods industry. &nbsp;Her perspectives into the global energy market are through the lens of more than 25 years of executive level marketing experience at Fortune 500 companies such as Newell Rubbermaid and SC Johnson Wax.</p> <p>Following the announcement of her appointment <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/index.html">PennEnergy</a> had the opportunity to speak with McIntyre about what brought her to the McDonnell Group and how she envisioned the role of consumer engagement in the growth of the energy industry. Her feedback mirrored the trending initiatives of thought leaders such as the McDonnell Group, consumers are no longer satisfied with a passive role and the industry needs to adapt.</p> <p>“McDonnell Group is actively bridging the gap between utilities and their customers, turning a keen focus towards engaging consumers in two-way dialogue,” said McIntyre of her appointment to the firm’s advisory board.</p> <p>When asking if she thought the energy industry could successfully market its services in the same way as recognized consumer goods majors, McIntyre expressed not only did she believe they could, but that they must.</p> <p>“The consumer expectation is one of interaction to fulfill a need,” McIntyre told PennEnergy. “Consumers need to understand the purpose and vision behind a commodity.”</p> <p>She went on to explain that a robust understanding of the consumer is what will allow the energy industry to make the necessary shift from base provider to a necessary benefit in the consumer mind-space and in building a strong brand.</p> <p>To get started McIntyre spoke to energy companies first establishing clear messaging to connect with their customers. But what’s the message?&nbsp; To find out she said the industry need only leverage the volumes of data these sectors were already exposed to under their existing business structures. She stressed it was not a matter of discarding existing methods and data, but enhancing these through consumer driven strategies.</p> <p>“What is needed is a robust understanding of the consumer. Getting in touch with the needs of different customer segments will allow the right messaging to be matched with the right group, for the right purpose” McIntyre shared.<br> <br> “This shift does not represent a revolution in what companies are providing, but a revolution in how those services will be viewed and used. This can be a triple win - for consumers, utilities and the environment,” McIntyre concluded.</p> <p>The message for the energy industry appears to be one of extending its value chain by extending customer engagement. By utilizing customer data, energy companies can meet traditional business imperatives while effectively targeting customers to meet evolving ones. It’s all a matter of applied perspective and there are many lessons to be taken from traditional consumer marketing for the <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/oil-gas.html">oil &amp; gas</a>, <a href="http://www.pennenergy.com/power.html">electric power</a> and technology industries.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/04/consumer-focus-the-m.html2013-04-25T16:47:00.000Z2013-04-25T16:49:43.914ZBlack gold in an information economynoemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p><img width="339" height="313" style="float: right;" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/April/ExxonMobil%20pipeline%20spill.JPG" alt="The Pegasus pipeline has spilled several thousand gallons of crude into a suburban neighborhood. ">Oil spills in the U.S. are making headlines again. Pipeline spills in Utah and Arkansas, and a rail spill in Minnesota, have bloggers shouting the perils of petroleum louder than they have in a while. Of course, much of it is being tied back to the Keystone XL pipeline, whose fate has yet to be determined. To hear detractors tell it, the Keystone will rupture just as these other pipelines have, and more spills are definitely in our future. Notice the certainty.</p> <p>The biggest headline-grabber of the recent spills is the one in Mayflower, Arkansas, where the Pegasus pipeline has spilled several thousand gallons of crude into a suburban neighborhood. 22 homes have been evacuated. It is, indeed, a big, disgusting mess. However, crews are working to gather spilled crude and clean the area. The accepted and expected response has begun. It is exactly what we would want in the event of an accident – responsibility.</p> <p>Complicating the spill is the perception by the general public. Attempts to keep media out of the area are being viewed as corporate manipulation of free speech at best, and a grand conspiracy at worst. In its attempt to minimize negative press, the blackout is instead fostering it in the form of rumor and speculation. The concoctions of the imagination are almost always more elaborate than the truth.</p> <p>Here’s the thing. All streams of the petroleum industry are a gritty, expensive, risky, and sometimes downright dangerous business. Most people exposed to large amounts of crude oil, or the process to get it, would encourage we use less of it, or maybe none at all. I believe the companies that make up this industry know this very well, and that’s why most people are never really exposed to the product that is such an integral part of their daily lives. Oil as an idea is acceptable. Oil as a black, sticky, messy reality… not so much.</p> <p>So, I understand why a major energy company would not want us to see what’s happening in Mayflower. The scenes of crude flowing through front yards may be too much for many people, and could lead to a huge public backlash against the industry. Traditionally, attempts to keep the media out, especially the television media, can help reduce that type of indignation.</p> <p>However, tradition no longer applies here. TV news crews are no longer the gatekeepers of information for the American people. Just as TV journalists replaced the print and radio newsmen who came before them, now they are slowly being eclipsed by social media. It’s in its adolescence, for sure, but this method of the people informing and enlightening one another has proven to be very effective. And right now, social media is not happy.</p> <p>From Facebook to Reddit and back again, the chatter about oil, the spills of the last month, and the companies connected to them are moving at a fevered pace. Pictures are getting out from Mayflower, and the stories associated with them are consistently bad for the industry. There are also stories about the media restrictions, and the no-fly zone above the spill site, making the rounds online. I see only one way to combat this information, and it’s with a lot more information.</p> <p>Media need to be allowed into the spill site in Mayflower. At the same time, we need a widespread informational campaign extensively detailing what it takes to harvest, transport and refine petroleum into the thousands of goods and services we take for granted daily. It needs to be honest and thorough.</p> <p>Afterward, public outcry may continue. As I said above, it’s a gritty, expensive industry, and many people aren’t going to like what they see. However, by providing full disclosure, we’ve given learned people the resources to have an intelligent discourse about our energy future. We’re providing people the tools to understand what we do. It may still lead to pushes away from fossil fuels, but at least that push will be made with an understanding over how dependent we are on those fuels. It may still lead to the end of the Keystone pipeline, but at least those calling for that end will understand the financial risk to markets. And honestly, I don’t believe that’s going to happen.</p> <p>When I talk to uninformed people about the oil &amp; gas industry, they almost always leave the conversation better appreciating the industry’s role in their life. They understand how important it has become, how integral it is to the function of our world. They know it’s gritty, they know it’s expensive, but they also know it’s necessary.</p> <p>Mayflower will endure, Keystone XL will probably be built, and the oil &amp; gas industry will evolve. Perhaps the first part of that evolution is to open the floodgates of information, and let the public know exactly what this industry does. They owe the industry thanks, not scorn, and this may be the way to get it.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/04/black_gold_in_aninf.html2013-04-10T19:09:00.000Z2013-04-10T19:10:54.478ZEverything is gonna be alright…noemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p>There’s an <img width="341" height="214" src="/content/dam/Pennenergy/online-articles/2013/February/Sunset%20oil%20field.JPG" style="float: right;">uncertainty in the industry. We call it “the Big Crew Change,” but that’s because we’re good at complex titles. Really, we should just call it “preparation.” We’re worried the people with it are retiring, and the new recruits don’t have enough of it. We’re worried we’re not providing it right, or checking it thoroughly enough. We’re worried it may not be enough to compensate for what we’re losing: experience.</p> <p>BP offers a program designed to prepare new grads beyond their completed education. Called the Challenge Program, it’s a supplement to an industry degree, and is often carried out while these young recruits are also working in the field.</p> <p>It’s not the only supplemental education available in the industry, but it’s one I had a chance to learn more about recently, and more specifically about the people in its ranks. I had the chance to ask questions of program participants, to gauge where they were in their industry training, and how well they felt it prepared them for the days ahead. I didn’t often bring up “the Big Crew Change” specifically, but make no mistake; it was an issue permeating the entire Q&amp;A.</p> <p>The details of these young recruits (3, specifically) will be featured in an upcoming edition of <i>Energy Workforce</i>, but the larger lesson I learned while working with them is simple. The crew change isn’t something to fear down the road. It’s here, it’s underway, and in many places, it’s going splendidly.</p> <p>The recruits I’ve gotten to know are dedicated, trained, and eager. They seem to have a reverence for the knowledge and experience that precedes them, while maintaining the gung-ho excitement we’d want from a younger generation.</p> <p>The program over at BP seems to be successful, and I look forward to learning more about other supplemental educational opportunities around the industry. If the participants there have the same commitment and vigor as those I met through BP, the only thing to fear about the industry’s generational shift is the true unknowns. But even those unknowns seem to have good people in place to face them.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/02/everything_is_gonna.html2013-02-28T19:40:00.000Z2013-02-28T19:44:43.337ZMaking the connection: Utilities and Social Medianoemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis<p><img width="221" height="159" style="float: none;" src="/content/dam/diq/online-articles/2012/December/Social-Media.jpg"></p> <p>Global marketing information services company, J.D. Powers and Associates, has just released its 2013 Social Media Benchmark Study.&nbsp; One of the key findings of the report is that poor social media practices can negatively impact a businesses' bottom line and image.</p> <p>The study is based on responses from more than 23,000 U.S. online consumers and their interactions with more than 100 U.S. brands across six industries, including utilities. Results were then compiled to provide an in depth look at overall customer experience in engaging companies through their social platforms for both marketing and servicing needs.</p> <p>According to J.D. Powers, marketing engagements include connecting with consumers to build brand awareness and affinity, in addition to promoting coupons and deals. Servicing engagements include actions such as answering specific consumer questions or resolving problems.</p> <p>So how did utilities perform?&nbsp; Utilities showed growth in social media engagement, performing very well in the social marketing arena. This is a step in the right direction; however, utilities must also strive to extend their social media reach. Why? Because age matters!</p> <p>According to the report, social engagements do vary greatly by age group. While nearly one-third (39%) of consumers 30-49 years old and 38 percent of those 50 years and older interact with a company in a social marketing engagement context, only 23 percent of consumers who are 18-29 years old do.</p> <p>In contrast, 43 percent of consumers who are 18-29 years old use social media for servicing interactions, while 39 percent of consumers who are 30-49 years old use social for servicing needs.</p> <p>Further, the report found that amongst highly-satisfied consumers (satisfaction scores of 951 and higher on a 1,000-point scale), 87 percent indicate that the online social interaction with a company &quot;positively impacted&quot; their likelihood to purchase from them.</p> <p>“While there are vast differences among age groups in the frequency of servicing and marketing engagements, there is a consistency in the impact on brand perception and purchase intent through both types of engagement,&quot; said Jacqueline Anderson, director of social media and text analytics at J.D. Power and Associates.</p> <p>&quot;Companies that are focused only on promoting their brand and deals, or only servicing existing customers, are excluding major groups of their online community, negatively impacting their satisfaction and influencing their future purchasing decision. A one-pronged approach to social is no longer an option,&quot; Anderson added.<br><br> <br> <br> As an industry that already struggles with public awareness and perception, these results drive home the importance of utilities being able to connect effectively with customers across all ages and platforms. <br> </p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/02/making-the-connectio.html2013-02-21T23:34:00.000Z2013-02-22T17:30:02.098ZA week ago today...noemail@noemail.orgHilton Price<p>A week ago today, hundreds of <a adhocenable="false" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/january/some-gas-facility-workers-freed-by-kidnappers-in-algeria.html?cmpid=EnlDailyPetroJanuary212013">workers held by militants at a gas plant</a> in Algeria weren’t sure if they were going to live or die. Today, <a adhocenable="false" href="http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/january/algerian-gas-plant-siege-over--81-dead.html?cmpid=EnlDailyPetroJanuary222013">some of them are dead</a>.</p> <p>I spent some time last week and this one covering the attack and hostage crisis, and I did it with the same detached observation I try to bring to all news. It’s a skill picked up during my education in journalism and refined at jobs prior to my time at PennEnergy, when I saw more death and destruction on a daily basis. I’m lucky the business news of the petroleum industry is often free of those stories. We all are. But like all luck, it runs out.</p> <p>Right now, the best estimates say 48 workers and guests were killed during the crisis. 48 friends and family members, 48 colleagues and teammates, 48 people who were here two weeks ago are gone. Also, that’s not counting the militants that initiated the attack. Dozens of attackers were killed in the two rescue raids by the Algerian military. They may have been the antagonists in this terrible fray, but they were human beings, too.</p> <p>Amid the mourning and emptiness that comes with these deaths is the startling fact that there are still people unaccounted for. There are giant question marks where people used to be. That means for some, despair and pain is still bated by uncertainty and maddening questions. I imagine that not-knowing must be a type of torture in its own way, a horrid extension of this madness for people who never set foot near the In Amenas plant.</p> <p>Overshadowing these terrible scenes of the worst of the human condition is a very real business concern. The plant remains at a standstill, with no word on when operations will resume. This is not an industry that benefits from shutdowns or disruptions at any level. The market can be volatile when everything is in working order. For parts of the machine to cease working, to be violently shut down, is an unwelcome circumstance at an inconvenient time.</p> <p>There’s a lot to think about moving forward. There’s safety and business and justice and unanswered questions. Almost every piece is as important as the one next to it. We cannot ignore the terrible crime or the people who are still missing. But just as well, we cannot ignore the business, both of the plant itself and of exploration and processing in the region. This attack hasn’t changed the importance of this commodity to this world, and the importance of the commodity hasn’t changed the horror of the attack. Both must be acknowledged. And I think both are.</p> <p>But I still wanted to stop and think about what those people must have felt like at this time last week.</p> <p>And the week before that.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/01/a_week_ago_today.html2013-01-24T19:26:00.000Z2013-01-24T19:32:48.332ZNo Country for Old Coal? (Part 2)noemail@noemail.orgDorothy Davis<p>In Part 1 of <i>No Country for Old Coal</i> we offered a brief overview of the standards proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limiting carbon emissions from new fossil-fueled power plants. While the EPA has dubbed the initiative a “common-sense step”, many in the industry have called it an extreme move that will mark the end of coal-fired power generation in the U.S.</p> <p>In Part 2 we take a look at some of the issues surrounding the EPA’s new rule, released under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Performance Standards, and the implications these hold for both supporters and opponents of the change.</p> <p>So will the rule have a major impact on the development of new coal-fired generation? Yes, but contrary to much of the hype not much of one in the short term.</p> <p>While the expanded emissions standards are effectively a moratorium on the development of <u>new</u> coal-fired generation, it is important to again note that existing plants are exempt. This also includes any coal power projects that have already been permitted or are beginning construction within a year after the rule is finalized.</p> <p>According to the U.S. Department of Energy there are over 20 such utility scale coal-fired projects currently under development. When adding these to our nation’s existing fleet of coal-fueled generation, we can expect coal as we know it to remain a part of the U.S. energy mix for the next several decades.</p> <p>This also means that while the new rule will eventually play an important role in the ongoing effort to regulate greenhouse gases from power generation, once again it will not have much of an impact in the short term. Instead the new standards are more about setting a precedent for U.S. policy being aligned toward an investment in low carbon power.</p> <p>Now none of this negates the fact that conventional coal-fired power is still essentially being phased out; however, it does drive home the point that the EPA’s new rule is simply furthering what was already a developing industry trend. &nbsp;Behind this shift is a complex set of market conditions that have made the continued development of new conventional coal-fired projects a poor economic and environmental choice.</p> <p>Low natural gas prices, existing environmental regulations, and increasingly cost-competitive renewable energy are just some of what are driving this shift away from standard coal-fired power in the U.S. When factoring in the social and political initiatives toward a diverse and low carbon economy it becomes clear the U.S. is firmly aimed at being no country for old coal.</p> <p>For some this shift will have very real short term impacts, but the energy industry is no stranger to the effects of such boom and bust cycles. The U.S. has more recoverable coal than any other nation; an estimated 272 billion tons of coal reserves according to the National Energy Technology Laboratory, a figure roughly comparable to all the world's known oil reserves. I am inclined to think that with such potentially vast resources at our disposal the market will steer us towards innovation, much the way it has been steering us away from a generation method that has outlived its long term value. Old coal may not have a future here, but I am hesitant to delegate this natural asset to the endangered list. &nbsp;</p> http://localhost:4503/content/ppg/en/blogs/all-energy-all-the-time/2013/01/no-country-for-old-c.html2013-01-17T16:00:00.000Z2013-01-18T17:16:18.900ZWhere do we go from here?noemail@noemail.orgHilton Price< 500

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