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Opting to Make Money

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Investments, Utility Stuff No Comments
In many states that are relatively new to energy efficiency, legislators often cave to large energy users and allow them to opt out of programs because hey, they use a ton of energy and therefore, OBVIOUSLY to any moron, they control and manage these costs as well as any dunce could.  Why should they throw money at a program that won’t help them? Come to think of it, programs available to these large users in many places are dysfunctional, poorly conceived, and not thought through from the perspective of the customer, so I can see their point to some extent. ...
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Independence, Finally

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Investments, Uncategorized No Comments
Here is some good news in my view.  Despite nearly 40 years of political claptrap to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, technology from the private sector, not cockamamie pie in the sky, physics-defying dumb ideas will deliver it.  That is, unless of course Washington snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, which it is 100% capable of doing. I went looking for data on our dependence on foreign oil since the first oil shocks of the 1970s.  There is one significant dip in the import percentage Figure 1 and that is due to (1) a deep recession in the early...
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Better than Doritos

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Investments, Tax Stuff No Comments
Last week we looked at the financial benefits of energy efficiency as compared to the stock market.  I’m going to take this a few steps further, as forewarned last week. [vc_single_image image="9218" img_size="full" onclick="link_image"] In both cases we start with the $39,000 investment and the stock market simply grows at its long-term average of 7.5% (Dow Jones Industrials).  Obviously, a smooth appreciation of your investment is not the case and if you don’t have a strong stomach, you should avoid equities.  Why is it called the Dow Jones Industrial Average anyway?  It’s full of service companies, banks, and retailers.  It...
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Facility Management, Taliban Style

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Investments 2 Comments
Possibly the greatest thing about energy efficiency is there is no limit to learning. In what other occupation can engineers work with social scientists, urban planners, economists and 16th century Mongolian art majors?  Last week I attended a presentation by Christopher Russell, energy efficiency and finance swami, or is it guru?  The higher ranking one.  Or maybe I should just call him Colonel Russell. His presentation started with the tale of two college campus facility managers, Doug and Dave as I recall, with names changed to protect the guilty.  I’ll call them Dick and Harry for double protection. It doesn’t...
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Green is Dead

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Investments, Stimulus, Sustainability, Tax Stuff No Comments
This week in Coon Valley, where I’ve lived for 15 years, we were hit with frost that ended the growing season for unprotected plants.  I have said for years that the first killing frost is always around the first of October, depending on the timing of cold fronts, but this year was earlier than normal – earlier than its been for many years I think (I’m getting old so I’m becoming a walking almanac like your grandfather is/was). To the point, I thought, the killing frost may be symbolic of the death of “green,” I don’t think the death of...
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Fly High and Jump!

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Investments, Utility Stuff One Comment
Natural gas utilities tend to howl about making EE goals because it is much more difficult to capture savings for natural gas than it is for electricity.  With one giant exception, lighting, this isn’t really true and I do not agree.  Lighting retrofit/replacement is indeed easy for a number of reasons: Utility DSM product managers and account managers understand it. Customers understand it. Lighting upgrades improve lighting brightness and color rendering. Some level of investigative analytical study is NOT required. With the exception of early T8 electronic ballast technologies, maintenance is reduced, at minimum because the customer has new equipment...
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CFL Mud Wrasslin

By Energy Efficiency, Government, Investments, Tax Stuff No Comments
As you must know, last week congress failed to pass a repeal of the incandescent light bulb with their “Better Use of Light Bulbs” (BULB) act.  There you go right there - God awful marketing.  Who comes up with this junk?  Why does every bill have to be called an “act”?  It’s like every scandal has “gate” attached to it.  Do the Millennials even know where gate comes from?  Climategate.  Memogate.  Blagogate.  Filegate.  Macacagate.  Monicagate.  Nannygate (2 each).  Travelgate.  Troopergate.  Guess who has the most gates.  I don’t know but I’ll bet Bill and Hillary have to be in the...
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EE V IRS

By Energy Efficiency, Government, Investments, Tax Stuff, Utility Stuff 2 Comments
Warning: I am not a CPA or tax attorney, and I do not have 63 years available to determine for myself that all contents of this rant are correct. A couple years ago I wrote an Energy Brief about the need for life cycle cost analysis to make the right decisions for selecting the best option for an energy project.  Since that time, we haven’t exactly been living up to this ideal, in large part because we’ve been doing a lot of work for profit-driven enterprises. Life cycle cost analysis for non-profits is pretty easy.  It includes first cost, borrowing...
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IPO Return, Treasury Risk

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Investments 3 Comments
If there’s one thing that most people painfully realized over the past couple years, it’s that there is risk in putting your money in anything in hopes of earning a return on investment.  Riding a company into bankruptcy is an obvious one.  I’ve done that several times by investing in fast-growing start-ups, initial public offerings (IPO) and stock options.  Invest $3,000 for 100 shares of common stock and a few years later the company emerges from bankruptcy (isn’t that a cute phrase – it sounds like a daffodil blooming in spring but it’s more like rummaging for your charred silverware...
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