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Celebrating Energy Central's Top Voices in the Community for 2022 – Energy & Sustainability Network

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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
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  • Dec 22, 2022
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 As our Energy Central Community thrives and grows with each passing year, it's clear to us that we have something special here. This community of power industry professionals who so eagerly and openly share their insights, their lessons learned, and their questions to allow for constant collaboration is unparalleled anywhere else in our sector. 

The most critical part of this successful undertaking, though, is of course the people behind it all. The voices in our Community who are driving those conversations and keeping readers and peers coming back again and again. To once again celebrate the importance of our community members in making Energy Central the powerhouse that it is, we're ending the year by honoring the members on Energy Central who went above and beyond—frequently sharing news and content, reliably starting conversations across the site, and providing some of the most genuinely high-value contributions throughout 2022.

All week, we’ll be publishing articles highlighting the Top Voice of 2022 for each of our 6 Networks. As part of this tradition, some of those community members recognized were kind enough to answer a few questions to highlight what they found valuable in the sector in 2022, their predictions for 2023, and some personal insights to get to know the men and women behind it all. 

So, with that, thank you and congratulations to the following Top Voices in the Energy & Sustainability Network in 2022!

See the Top Voices in Our Other Communities:

 

Jigar Shah - Director, Loan Programs Office, U.S. Department of Energy

Link to Jigar’s Profile

Recommended submission from Jigar: The ATVM is back, baby!

What stories have stood out to you as the most interesting, surprising, or important in 2022?

The Inflation Reduction Act made the single largest investment in climate and energy in American history, enabling America to tackle the climate crisis, advancing environmental justice. The IRA gave the Loan Programs Office an additional $100B for our existing programs and a new Energy Infrastructure Reinvestment program. We’re excited to share how we will continue to deploy those funds in the new year.

What topics do you have on your radar that you expect to come into focus in 2023? 

One topic we’re thinking about here at the Loan Programs Office is reshoring and onshoring supply chains, especially when it comes to our ATVM program.

This year, we provided a $102 million loan to the Syrah Vidalia project in Vidalia, Louisiana, which will process graphite-based active anode material (AAM), a critical material used in lithium-ion batteries. We also provided a $2.5 billion loan to Ultium Cells LLC to help finance the construction of new lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Tennessee, and Michigan.

The U.S. is experiencing strong growing consumer demand for electric vehicles, which will necessitate the production of more EV battery cells. These projects will help establish a domestic supply chain to meet that demand and move toward energy independence.

What value do you get by being an engaged member of the Energy Central Community?

Energy is not just about research and innovation, but it's also about practitioners deploying at trillion dollar scale. The Energy Central Community brings together global power industry professionals to find practical ways to solve big problems. I enjoy sharing Loan Programs Office programs and announcements and learning about the important work others are doing in the power industry.

 

Mark Silverstone - Principal, JMP Services AS

Link to Mark’s Profile

Recommended submission from Mark: The Science of Climate Change Explained: Facts, Evidence and Proof -- Definitive answers to the big questions 

What topics do you have on your radar that you expect to come into focus in 2023?

SMRs, floating offshore wind; I am trying to work with a group of Maine lobster people.  They are scared to death of offshore wind.  But most Maine politicians are pushing hard for it.  I try to tell them that they have to work with the system to register their fears via the impact assessment process for managing risk. I am afraid the turbines are going to get placed inappropriately and result in a set -back for the whole industry.

How do you hope to see your participation on the Energy Central platform evolve or grow in the coming year? 

I hope I have the time (and health) to continue to be active. There are many quite constructive dialogues going on. I hope I can contribute.  I hope I can bring more relevant content and contribute constructively to discussions.  I also hope I can participate in a broader way in other areas beyond my core area of expertise.

Do you have any surprising or unexpected hobbies, talents, or interests that might make you stand out?

I still hope to continue to do a lot of traveling, especially SCUBA diving to exotic places to shoot underwater videos. 

 

Len Rosen - Principal Author and Editor, 21st Century Tech Blog

Link to Len’s Profile

Recommended submission from Len: What The 21st Century Grid Needs – 5 Actions the Power Industry Should Consider

What stories have stood out to you as the most interesting, surprising, or important of 2022?

A story that broke this week follows an exciting progression of similar milestones achieved in the development of fusion energy. The Lawrence Livermore laboratory’s work with lasers and hydrogen has produced more energy in a controlled fusion reaction than the amount of energy needed to generate the reaction. That is a milestone those in the nuclear industry must be happy to see. This follows announcements about the building of the first demonstration pulse fusion reactor being built just outside of Oxford, England, using a different technology developed by Canada’s General Fusion. So progress on fusion which seemed decades away may be much closer to being realized.

What value do you get by being an engaged member of the Energy Central Community? 

As an environmentalist, I believe remaining engaged with every sector of the energy industry is highly desirable. As an advocate for action on climate change, there is no point in preaching to the converted if we are to succeed globally in turning the carbon emissions curve downward. I don’t believe that we should stop producing oil, I just believe we should stop burning it and instead create new materials from it. For example, carbon composites, and new plastics. It may mean the industry gets smaller, but the planet and humanity will be the beneficiaries.

Do you have any surprising or unexpected hobbies, talents, or interests that might make you stand out?

I have been composing music for 50 years. I started when I was in university. My major was history, but I spent as much time writing music for theatre productions on campus. After graduating, I worked for a publisher selling textbooks to universities. That’s when I started writing and staging musical productions. I continue to compose to this day.

 

Kevin Hernandez - Partner, ScottMadden, Inc.

Link to Kevin’s Profile

Recommended submission from Kevin: Four Steps to Building a Successful Electric Vehicle Make-Ready Program

What topics do you have on your radar that you expect to come into focus in 2023?

There are a number of things that I’ll be looking at as we begin the New Year.  First, on the EV front, I’m very curious to see, in the light of the current inflationary environment, war in Ukraine, and battery supply constraints, whether auto manufacturers are able to bring down the price of entry level EVs as promised.  We consistently hear that affordability is the primary barrier of EV adoption and manufacturers may be facing some headwinds here.  The number of manufacturer-led gigafactories should tell us something about where this is headed.  Second, I am anxiously watching how states are beginning the distribution of NEVI funds for public fast-charging.  I suspect the state-led approach and massive amount of funding is going to lead to some uneven, if not interesting, results.  Lastly, I think rate design for EV charging will continue to evolve.  It’s apparent that demand charges hinder public fast charging business models and fleet EV charging lacks something that is comparable to existing fuel purchase agreements.  How this evolves is anyone’s guess, but several states are leading efforts in this area.

What value do you get by being an engaged member of the Energy Central Community? 

Obviously I had the pleasure of being quite engaged on the Energy Central Platform this year.  When I reflect back on the interactions I had with other Energy Central members, what really stood out was the engagement on topics relevant to the industry from those on the front lines of implementing many of the transitions and changes that the industry is going through.  I frequently learn as much or more from exchanges with Energy Central Community members, each of whom bring a unique perspective, different than what I would otherwise get.

What goals do you have for next year, personal or professional, that you’d like to put out into the universe?

Personally, my goals for the coming year are to spend time thinking more about the relationship between resilience and EV charging and how we’re viewing resilience investments in the context of increasing electrification.  Will behind-the-meter investments in storage or onsite generation be needed to ensure access to transportation?  Will EVs themselves become resilience assets?  One area that I think will continue to come into focus will be the intersection of microgrids and EV charging – in particular for fleets which may face high interconnection costs and long lead times.

 

John Benson - Senior Consultant, Microgrid Labs

Link to John’s Profile

Recommended submission from John: EVs, Late Fall, 2022

What stories have stood out to you as the most interesting, surprising, or important of 2022?

Let’s focus on “important”. Also note that I cover climate, since it will be driving a major transition in the Energy Industry for the next few decades:

Also, I have around ten ongoing series. Each is mostly about a category of transition we are  making in clean energy (for instance, EVs), one of these is “Hot Rocks…” about geothermal power. One of the issues in this series (below) is really Important.

Finally, another series is “Nukes”, and I just posted a paper with two important subjects.

What topics do you have on your radar that you expect to come into focus in 2023? 

I’m really bad at predicting the future. Thus I cast a wide net. I belong to several organizations and subscribe to many information sources. To see the subjects I cover go to my paper list (most recent update is linked below), and look at the sections in the index. https://energycentral.com/c/ec/papers-directory-third-quarter-2022-update

What goals do you have for next year, personal or professional, that you’d like to put out into the universe?

I’m planning to install PV and storage on our primary residence (Livermore, CA). I also will post the latest issue of my “Rooftop Tug of War…” series about this experience.

 

 

 

Congratulations once again to our Top Voices in the Energy & Sustainability Network, and thanks to all Energy Central Community Members for enabling the community and platform to thrive this year! And keep an eye out for the next Top Voices Articles to come as this week unfolds

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