Skip to main content

Energy Rant

This is a satirical and at times humorous but critical commentary on energy efficiency issues of the day.

“Keep up the good work! I like the variety of topics; never boring. It's like a Box of Energy Chocolates.... you never know what you're gonna get!”

Mike MernickSenior Vice President, ICF
Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Climate Resilience – Tornadoes, Canes, and Curve Balls

By Energy Rant No Comments
This week we continue responding to the reader question, “What kind of home can withstand fire, hurricanes, floods, heat domes & polar vortex?” Before we get into design considerations, let’s look at modes of failure. From my research, hurricanes and tornadoes function similarly with similar wind speeds. Their difference is size and duration, of course. Let’s look at the scales used for hurricanes[1] (Saffir-Simpson) and tornadoes (Enhanced Fujita). Tornado and Hurricane Engines Low-pressure systems, tornadoes, and hurricanes all spin counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere, and they all represent rising air. Rising air results in cloud formation (condensation), and if the...
Read More
Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Climate Resilience – Flood, Fire, Ice

By Energy Rant No Comments
A reader last week asked, “What kind of home can withstand fire, hurricanes, floods, heat domes, and polar vortex?” This is a great question. I love the challenge, so here we go[1]. Flooding and Landslides Think ahead and ask yourself, “what if” before or even after buying a property. For example, my first home was built to suit my engineering brain. It is wonderful for heating with a wood stove and is very practical; it is not huge and can be expanded with nice amenities for a family. It is built on the side of a bluff in the great...
Read More
Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Lucky Seven for 2022

By Energy Rant No Comments
While compiling the last post in which I reviewed the accuracy of my predictions for 2021, I realized that most of those were in the 20-30 year timeframe. For 2022, I forced myself to choose most things that will or will not happen in 2022 – the good and the bad. Coal Record Annual worldwide coal consumption will pass the all-time high set in 2014. China is not playing the West’s games. They didn’t show up to the Glasgow party, send a video or a love letter. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is focused on world domination, economics, geopolitics, and...
Read More
Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Looking Back at the 2021 Forecast

By Energy Rant No Comments
Predicting the future with infinite degrees of freedom is hard, especially when projected years into the future. A few years ago, Public Utilities Fortnightly posted an article about the accuracy of The Jetsons forecasting the future. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera got about half of it right, which isn’t bad for a 60-year projection. I researched this because I found an error in the PUF article that said there were no area codes in Jetson time (1962-1963). A quick online search indicates area codes started in the 1940s. Technologies from the Jetsons that we have today include moving walkways, treadmills,...
Read More
Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Homely But Smart Free Energy

By Energy Rant No Comments
I introduced exergy to readers 4.5 years ago, had a refresher on it for industrial decarbonization earlier this year, and it is part of our decarbonization training course that is frontrunning AESP's annual conference in Nashville on February 7th. Decarb Course Contest Speaking of the pre-conference event, we're giving away a FREE pass to our decarbonization course to one lucky energy nerd. All you have to do for a chance to win is write a sassy 250-word explanation on WHY you want to attend. Get the details and enter to win here. We're announcing a winner on January 5th. Preserving...
Read More
Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Rabbit Holes and Electric Rates

By Energy Rant No Comments
Last week as I began writing the second DRIPE post, I started down an electric-utility-pricing rabbit hole. I pulled back and saved it for this week – rabbit hole, botfly larvae, and all[1]. Now is a good time to play a card dealt to me a few weeks ago. An article in the Ohio Capital Journal described the latest efficiency bill that unanimously passed a House committee and included a precious quote from the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel: “The free market can create the efficiency effects of the legislation, without handing over millions to utility companies along the way.” Wrong, for...
Read More
Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Reverse Efficiency Beatings with DRIPE

By Energy Rant No Comments
Does more industrial [or commercial or residential] energy efficiency lower energy prices for all? That is a partial title of a paper published at the 2015 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry[1]and the source of last week’s sassy DRIPE post ( DRIPE = demand reduction induced price effects). DRIPE is a measure of the value of efficiency delivered via downward pressure on energy prices, in this case, electricity prices. The ACEEE conference paper notes that industrial customers could help drive prices for everyone lower through greater demand response through real-time monitoring, smart technologies, and load visualization. This sounds like...
Read More
Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

An Appetizer Into DRIPE, the Main Course

By Energy Rant No Comments
What do you envision from the word dripe? I think of boiling cowhides as feedstock for collagen peptides in the manufacture of gelatins used for deserts or your favorite mascara or lipstick. I was close on both counts. The word is tripe (not dripe), which is cow stomach, rather than cowhide. The holidays are on the doorstep, and you need appetizers, right? You’re welcome. Visit your local butcher, get some tripe, and get cookin’! DRIPE, the acronym, is demand reduction induced price effects. Do ya think somebody was trying to create a catchy acronym? Result: cow stomach. This post introduces...
Read More
Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Pretty Pleas to the Purchasing Department

By Energy Rant No Comments
I have a lot of gray hair. It’s a little frightening to see the age setting in when I see myself on video, but the years of wisdom from living life are nice because I’ve had the midlife crisis (20-some years ago), and I have learned to roll with things easily. Don’t confuse that with being intense as hell and unyielding on a few straightforward business and personal standards. One of the things I’ve learned is that if a person’s mission is to earn as much salary as possible, they should switch jobs every three to four years (red flag)...
Read More
Energy Rant, Michaels Energy

Save the Ships for the Energy Transition

By Energy Rant No Comments
I’m not a casino gambler because I know who wins. I learned long ago that a stock is worth what the next guy will pay for it – nothing more and nothing less. Bad news is good news, and good news is bad. It’s entirely unpredictable. For example: Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Two hundred thousand jobs were added last month, well short of the 500,000 expected increase.” CNBC: “That was a horrible jobs report today!” Stock Market: “Hurray! The Fed won’t raise interest rates,” and the market climbs two percentage points. Commodities have more intrinsic value than securities, and therefore,...
Read More