Spice It Up in August: Kick Off Hot Conversations on Energy Central, Be Entered for a Spicy Prize!

Posted to Energy Central in the Utility Management Group
image credit: Photo 7275059 © Braendan Yong |
Matt Chester's picture
Energy Analyst, Chester Energy and Policy

Official Energy Central Community Manager of Generation and Energy Management Networks. Matt is an energy analyst in Orlando FL (by way of Washington DC) working as an independent energy...

  • Member since 2018
  • 11,173 items added with 1,605,021 views
  • Aug 18, 2021

It's August, the hottest month of the year-- but at Energy Central we know that also means it's the month when people may be stepping away from the office for family trips and time off. But we want to motivate you all to keep those hot conversations going, so we're instituting: SPICE IT UP, AUGUST CHALLENGE

Week 1 Winner: Katie McCaskey

Week 2 Winner: Alan Rozich

Week 3 Winner: Michael Keller

Week 4 Winner: TBD, it could still be you!


Here's how it will work

  • We're offering up a Spicy Gift set - World Traveler Spice Collection - to one Energy Central Community Contributor for each of the following weeks: Aug 9th, Aug 16th, Aug 23rd, Sept 3rd

There are two ways to be entered into the drawing:

  1. Share an article to the community on one of the topics listed below that came from our Community Member poll. We will watch the site for your contributions, but to be sure you are included in the drawing, send us a quick email with a link to your submission to with the Subject Line 'Spice it Up.'

Digital Topics

  • Data analytics
  • Use of digital twins in inspection, operations, and maintenance
  • Cybersecurity policies and practices
  • Non-generation technology practices
  • Grid model data management

Generation Topics

  • Nuclear micro-reactors
  • Nuclear hybrid systems
  • Utility-grade battery storage as a DER
  • Generating green hydrogen
  • Adopt new electric AC motor technology

Grid Topics

  • Lessons learned from recent extreme weather events and blackouts
  • Smart grid proliferation and smart meter opportunities
  • Impact of electric vehicles and V2G
  • Load shifting and TOU practices
  • Case studies on resilience and reliability
  • Grid edge technologies
  • The duck curve


  • Shifting away from gas consumption
  • Clean energy financing
  • Milestones on the path to a net-zero grid
  • Resilience of systems in the face of climate change
  • Eliminating digital currency that is consuming vast amount of electricity
  • Sourcing of carbon credits in particular valuing offshore carbon credits

Utility Business Focus

  • The aging workforce
  • Aerial inspection processes
  • Focus on buying American
  • Skills needed in the workforce to meet next decade's challenges
  • Shift to consumer ownership of power production
  • Integrating equity into the community
  • Fire safety practices for equipment and assets
  • Redesigning utility bills
  • How to implement hybrid work solutions  - the cyber security implications and why it's essential to attract the best next generation workforce
  • Rising Customer Expectations for Digital Utility Services
  • Revenue and Cost Adjustments
  • The possibility of finance problems for the utilities

    2. Share your favorite spicy recipes with the group by posting them at the end of this post in the comments section (hopefully, we'll have enough entries to put together an Energy Central Original Spicy Cookbook)

How it will work: 

  • Each new contribution/recipe will be considered a new 'entry' into the contest (maximum of two 'entries' per week per community member)
  • At the end of each upcoming week in August (i.e., on August 13, 20, 27, and September 3) we'll randomly draw one entry from the total month's entries to win the prize, and we'll get in touch with that winner to coordinate delivery of your World Traveler Spice Collection


Fine print: Four unique winners will be chosen (i.e., no single member can win more than once), and some restrictions may apply based on where we're able to send the prize. 


So what do you say, Energy Central Community? Let's spice up this August!

Katie McCaskey's picture
Katie McCaskey on Aug 9, 2021

Spicy Mint Cucumbers - 2-4 cucumbers, peeled, de-seeded, and diced. Add 2T salt. Add 3/4 cup vinegar. Add sweetener to taste (try 2T sugar). Add chili pepper flakes to taste. Add some chopped up mint. Mix. Chill for 4 hours (you on the sofa, this mix in the fridge). Enjoy!  

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Aug 9, 2021

Ooh that sounds great, and I'm in the middle of growing my own mint so this is perfect!

Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Aug 12, 2021

Katie - that sounds good! 

Katie McCaskey's picture
Katie McCaskey on Aug 13, 2021

oh, yeah! a spicy take on a classic. enjoy!

Katie McCaskey's picture
Katie McCaskey on Aug 18, 2021

Thank you! I look forward to using the spices. 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Aug 27, 2021

A 2018 article in the New York Times, The Long Journey of the Aleppo Pepper, inspired a surge of interest in a spice born in Syria, most unique for its processing and curing of traditional chile peppers. I had never heard of it before, but the article piqued my curiosity.

As described in the article, the spice's sudden popularity produced a host of fake 'Aleppo pepper', however. To make things worse, instability in Syria had made authentic AP hard to come by. But I bought 1/4 lb from the Spice Station in Los Angeles, the owner of which is a purist whom I trusted to give me the real thing.

Depending on where you get it, it can be very hot or very mild. Mine is the latter, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. You just have to use more of it, which helps to bring out the spice's unique character.

This recipe is a favorite. But warning: recipe claims "this fantastic dish can be whipped up in about 20 minutes...". Depending on your culinary aptitude (mine is minimal), plan on whipping for about an hour.

Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Sep 2, 2021

Bob - thanks for sharing - I have never heard of a Aleppo Pepper.  Will have to try this out.  FYI I am pretty sure I will be whipping for an hour.  :) Thanks for sharing. 

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