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Top Voices in the Energy Central Community for 2021 – Energy & Sustainability Network

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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
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  • Dec 15, 2021
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Energy Central strives to be the go-to platform for utility industry professionals to share what they are working on, to learn from their peers in the power sector, and to collaborate 24/7, 365 with the leading voices in the world of energy. We put a lot of effort behind different avenues in which engagement and learning actively takes place: from our Special Issue Series to our regular Q&A sections featuring answers from community experts to our Energy Central Power Perspectives Podcast and so much more.

But the obvious truth is this: none of that would matter without the intelligent, active, and excited community that's built this platform into what it is! This wouldn't happen without you, whether you're a daily contributor or an occasional reader. 

To celebrate the importance of our community members in making Energy Central the powerhouse that it is, the Energy Central Community Team wanted to once again recognize the members on Energy Central who went above and beyond—frequently sharing news and content, reliably starting conversations across the site, and providing genuinely high-value contributions.

Each day this week, we’ll be publishing an article highlighting the Top Voice of 2021 for each of our 6 Networks. As part of this recognition, some of those recognized were kind enough to answer some quick questions to highlight what they found valuable in the sector in 2021, their predictions for the year ahead, and even just peeling back the curtain to get to know them more personally. I hope you enjoy!

So, with that, thank you and congratulations to the following Top Voices in the Energy & Sustainability Network in 2021!

See other entries in this series: 

 

 

Alan Rozich - Chief Science Officer, Borun

Link to Alan's profile

Recommended submission from Alan: Costa Rica - The United Nations'​ Green Paradise Lost

What area in energy and utilities do you hope gets more focus in 2022?

Accelerating renewables deployment by recognizing deployment pinch points including technical and economic obstacles. Additionally, ranking scenarios in energy and utilities where fossil sources are “economically soft” or sub-optimal and where renewable platforms are fiscally resource superior WITHOUT subsidies.

In your free time not spent thinking and leading in energy, what are you go to ways to pass the time?

For intellectual stimulation, I really enjoy history and science shows and for entertainment, science fiction and artsy, quirky films. I also am a classical music buff with Beethoven being my favorite composer and attend concerts and opera performances when I can.

Also enjoy working out even though it’s also a health-maintenance necessity these days.

Is there a post, piece of content, or discussion on Energy Central that you're most proud of?

I have to say that the articles on sustainable land management (SLM) were a real revelation for me on so many levels:

This really forced me to re-read the Marcus Aurelius quote several times. SLM is not just about economics for utilities but also directly affects climate mitigation because of egregious land consumption that disrupts existing ecosystems that are key for processing atmospheric CO2. Finally, the “other elephant in the room” is that most nationwide plans for renewables appear to assume that the solution is solar and wind technologies only. Other renewable platforms must be in that mix particularly for economic and SLM considerations.

 

Andrew Blakers - Professor of Engineering, Australian National University

Link to Andrew's profile

Recommended submission from Andrew: Who is installing renewable energy the fastest? 

What do you get personally and professionally out of your time spent sharing on Energy Central?

Connecting with US colleague is important. I live in Australia. EC allows me to keep in touch with the views of energy professional in the USA.

What's the most eye-opening thing you've learned on Energy Central in 2021?

Long-distance high-power transmission is important in a solar/wind dominated grid to smooth-out local weather & demand, and to bring solar & wind electricity into poorly-endowed cities and regions. However, construction of new transmission is difficult because of opposition from communities in the path. Innovative solutions such as burial and submersion in waterways are important: https://energycentral.com/c/tr/ny-governor-announces-final-contracts-clean-path-ny-champlain-hudson-power

Can you share something interesting about yourself that your fellow community members might not know?

I was going to be an astronomer and took physics and maths at University. Then I discovered the natural world and decided to devote my career to mitigating climate change by getting involved in solar PV (and recently, 100% renewable energy futures).

 

Jay Stein - Senior Fellow Emeritus, E Source

Link to Jay's profile

Recommended submission from Jay: How To Fight Both Indoor Air Pollution and Climate Change at the Same Time

What has been the most compelling utility-focused story in your opinion this year?

I was impressed with the paper written by Mike Specian and Rachel Gold titled The Need for Climate-Forward Efficiency, which calls for utility efficiency programs to be directed towards mitigating climate emissions. When I started out working on these programs several decades ago, the advocacy community was focused on reducing electricity consumption, no matter when, where, or what other fuel replaced it. With the rise of renewables, the electrification framework, and the increasing intensity of climate change, it’s time to reorient utility programs.

What area in energy and utilities do you hope gets more focus in 2022?

One huge disconnect between perception and reality is how unprepared our society is to protect building occupants from airborne pathogens and other indoor air contaminants. We have a in place a rigorous regulatory system to protect outdoor air and water quality. Yet, the folks who design, install, and service our heating and air conditioning systems, have little understanding regarding how to protect indoor air quality without contributing to climate change. The sooner this issue gets the attention it deserves, the better off we’ll all be.

What do you get personally and professionally out of your time spent sharing on Energy Central?

I find it invaluable to continually have a chance to learn from, and interact with, the world’s leading thinkers on energy supply and consumption.

 

Tariq Siddiqui - COO, Upstream EP Advisors LLC

Link to Tariq's profile

Recommended submission from Tariq: Big Oil’s offshore wind journey is only just beginning

 

Charley Rattan - World Hydrogen Leader, Charley Rattan Associates

Link to Charley's profile

Recommended submission from Charley: Going green with hydrogen

Can you share something interesting about yourself that your fellow community members might not know?

I’m a soccer radio commentator-  and also a qualified referee and trainer. I’m part way through an FA player scouting accreditation programme

In your free time spent not thinking and leading in energy, what are your go to ways to pass time?

Love live music and, in normal times, the chance to see up and coming bands 

 


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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