There goes another rubber tree plant

Maybe you remember that phrase from the song High Hopes.  It was made famous by several actors way back around 1960.   Well, the low wholesale electricity prices seem to have created a new worry for the nuclear fleet.

Read more here.

This is going to be very telling.  Is wholesale price the right metric for all power sources?  How can that price capture any value for carbon when carbon is not traded?  Or, does this fear of closing nuclear plants now make it clear that we must price carbon into the market?

Who knew that power once thought too cheap to even meter would now be declared uneconomic?

According to Wikipedia, the phrase “too cheap to meter”  is attributed to Walter Marshall, a pioneer of nuclear power in the United Kingdom.  The phrase was coined by Lewis Strauss, then Chairman of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, who in a 1954 speech to the National Association of Science Writers said:

“Our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter… It is not too much to expect that our children will know of great periodic regional famines in the world only as matters of history, will travel effortlessly over the seas and under them and through the air with a minimum of danger and at great speeds, and will experience a lifespan far longer than ours, as disease yields and man comes to understand what causes him to age.”



A Blinding Flash of the Obvious

Just when the pundits declared coal companies dead in the water, along comes another idea.  Why not use the vast underground network as a pumped storage system?

Read about it here.

Stay tuned to see what the real issues prove to be.  The questions that will emerge are the realities that coal mines are not located near load centers.  The actual power flows on the distribution system as this storage is used must be considered to be sure the source/sink nature to this does not create an overload.  Also, I am sure someone will find a critter in these mines that will now lose their habitat and tie this up in the courts for years.

Things like this never seem to bother the Germans.  I love German engineers.  They get things done when they know they are good ideas.


Illustration: Heather Seidel / The Wall Street Journal

Well, it appears the revenge of the nerds is upon us … at least on Wall Street.  I remember talking to so many people who would state that attempting to pick winners and losers might make the traders rich, but it simply did not benefit the average stock holder.  Even a chimpanzee beat these traders during those years.

Well, as far as the Wall Street Journal is concerned, that time has come. Read more about it here.

The new name for nerds is quants, but nerds they remain.

I just wonder how long this type of person would last talking to today’s energy company leadership or their committees charged with deciding how business analytics can change the business.

I remember like it was yesterday when Enron turned energy trading on its head.  Yes, they also did many illegal things, but they were essentially the first to use algorithms and derivatives to manage something that at the same time was being managed by phone calls and jawboning.

Yes, we also need protections from all these machines that can act before you and I can even see a trend.  Yes, we need rules for commerce that are not in place quite yet, but we have apparently broken the egg … you can’t put it back in the shell and pretend it isn’t cracked.

What are you going to do about it?  And, if you are going there, you can leap ahead by using our robust platform of cutting-edge business analytics defining what is happening in the homes and small businesses you serve … call us.  We built and refine them to serve you.


The End is Near!

I remember seeing disheveled men holding hand painted placards and yelling this warning to all who passed by.  “The end is near!”

Of course, their primary message was to “get right with God” before it was too late in most cases.

Now we have something similar playing out due to the apparent surge in electric vehicles.

Look for yourself at

Setting aside the relentless march of technology that promises self-driving cars that you simply call with your phone to take you where you need to go, it is interesting to watch the reaction of incumbents to structural changes like this.

It is helpful to take a close look at the parallels to our own immortality.  My favorite is the work of Kubler Ross on death and dying. (image above)

Robocalls on Steroids

It is ironic that artificial intelligence is now all the rage in the technology news.  Sure, we still do not have robots like the TV Series Humans or the Sci-Fi movie Ex Machina … but we are getting close on a few fronts.

The one that seems to be moving the fastest is voice.  And, according to an article I saw today posted on LinkedIn we are indeed very close.  Take a look for yourself. 

So, are we about to witness a new round of technology in the call centers?  According to Warren Buffet at his gala annual meeting, the answer is a resounding yes.  By the way, he is not a good guy to bet against.

Gee… we have seen a huge transformation in voice, haven’t we?  I used to have to wait until late in the evening to call my parents.  Then, I used to get a huge bill showing me every call.  Now they don’t care how much I call at all or when I do?

Or, are we following more of an airline model where capacity management and convenience interact to give passengers price options?  How much longer will it be for airlines to stop charging passengers for this and that?

No matter where you look, in the energy industry, you are now seeing the influence of big data and the internet of things on business practices.  Well, with one major exception.