Skip to main content


Gas Turbine Generator

Good, Perfect, and Real Carbon Targets

By Energy Rant No Comments
I recently delivered an electrification presentation for Wisconsin Public Utility Institute’s Energy Utility Basics course. While introducing myself, I said, "I’m an engineer, and I can’t help it." I also said the answer to the question, “Can we ___?” is always, “Yes, it’s just a matter of money.” That led me to briefly discuss politicians, with no background in the subject, declare that “we” (state, city, etc.) will be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2050. The universe is between here and there. When I hear that renewable electricity is cost-competitive with conventional sources like combined-cycle natural gas or even…
Read More
impact evaluation - yoga

Impact Evaluation, Bull Riding, Cookies

By Energy Rant No Comments
I've been doing a lot of program impact evaluation for the last few months. That comes with pluses and minuses. One of the minuses is that I needed to suspend writing this blog for a while. Pluses include problem-solving, working with staff throughout our company, and forensics engineering. Impact Evaluation But first, what is impact evaluation? I have a broad audience, and I get great feedback, some of which is, "I don't know what you're talking about sometimes." Entities delivering efficiency programs (implementers) are responsible for delivering savings or impacts. For custom efficiency portfolios, which entail a wide variety of…
Read More

Energy Storage v Storing Energy’s Benefits

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Renewable Energy, Sustainability, Utility Stuff 4 Comments
As we march along with the nation’s rather massive build-out of renewable energy resources, questions emerge for how to fill the gaps when the sun sets and the wind stops blowing – i.e., when it’s nice to be outdoors, especially in the summer.  So there you have it – turn off the lights, grab a drink and go out on the deck to hang out with your friends and family.  Now there is a behavior program to get behind!  Patent underway.  Unfortunately, the discussion is focused on energy storage rather than “quality time”, a term that predates “work-life balance”. Once…
Read More

No Pain? No pain.

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
This will blow your mind.  How many large power plants (500 MW) does it take to cook the thanksgiving turkey across the nation – just the ones cooked with electricity?  Answer is provided below.  Guess.  Don’t be a loser.  Guess. I’ve seen perhaps 100 ads for dust collecting contraptions that everyone including the buyers know will end up under the bed, in the closet, or basement, and finally onto the garage sale to somebody else who will decycle it.  These include the things like the Ab Buster 5000 (just made it up), junk you sit on, junk you rock on,…
Read More

Water-Boarding Over Picasso, Any Day

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Renewable Energy No Comments
I had a really bad week last week – nothing significant occurred to me in the world of EE, and nothing really enraged me or even made me snicker, although I could always rant about federal spending on EE and renewable energy.  Actually, if you are so inclined, Kim Strassel from The Wall Street Journal takes it to Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, if you are interested.  Who would name their kid “Mitt”?  What kind of a name is that?  Is that short for Mitchell?  Mitt for short, with two ts?  Or is it short for Mitten?  Why are there…
Read More

EE, Policy, and Irony

By Energy Efficiency, Government, LEED, Stimulus No Comments
As my crop of silver hair continues to expand, I have become more of a historian, particularly when it comes to cause and effect, and peoples’ behavior.  I step back and observe what is happening and what has happened as a result of this or that policy.  Theories are nice, and they may be well thought out and make sense but if they fail miserably, should we double down and try it again?  Policy isn’t like launching rockets or breaking the speed of sound. For those things, you can test, observe failure/problems and make adjustments.  For example, Chuck Yeager was…
Read More

LEED and the NOT Happenin’ Savings

By Energy Rant, LEED No Comments
Studies have shown that LEED buildings are no more efficient and have no less of a “carbon footprint” than the average building of its peers.  I remember reading an old guy’s rant in one of the 20 building engineering and architecture magazines I get.  He was grousing that the reason is because there tends to be a lot more glazing and over-ventilation of LEED facilities, along with some other stuff I don’t remember.  Apparently, the guy was a proponent of living and working in igloo coolers with no connection the outdoors, which is a big deal for me and everyone…
Read More