If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing. Ben Franklin
This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it. Thomas Jefferson
My heart is in the work.Andrew Carnegie
Energy Bite Episodes
- How much energy do data centers consume?
- What are vampire electrical loads?
- Does shopping online save energy?
- What are variable electricity prices?
- What are the costs of different types of electricity generation?
Does information and communication technology (ICT) save energy?
You might reasonably think that working from home saves energy compared to commuting to an office, or that buying online uses less energy than purchasing from a local store. It turns out, you might also reasonably think these ICT-enabled options use more energy. My recent review of dozens of studies on the net energy impact of ICT services found mixed results. The answer you get is highly dependent on the deployment details of the system and the higher-order "ripple" effects, which are very difficult to nail down.
Decarbonization in the Brazilian energy sector
Benefitting from both natural resources and early energy policies, Brazil's energy system is singular in its level of decarbonization. Renewable resources constitute large percentages of both electricity (hydro) and transport (ethanol) sectors. A new paper in Foresight, written with colleagues at RAND and Brazil's Center for Strategic Studies and Management Science, Technology, and Innovation discusses recent stagnation vs. prospects for Brazil's continued decarbonization.
New paper on data center electricity metrics
My new paper, "Power usage effectiveness in data centers: overloaded and underachieving," summarizes the critiques of PUE, the de facto industry standard metric for energy efficiency in data centers. Many in the industry are well aware of the issues raised in the paper, but PUE continues to dominate the discussion in the trade press, corporate reporting, and data center energy-related policymaking. It's time to expand the suite of metrics we use--and make more performance data available to the research community.
1st-place finish at 2015 USAEE Case Competition
My colleague, Erin Mayfield, and I won this year's case competition at the United States Association for Energy Economics North American conference held this year in Pittsburgh! Home court advantage? Nope, just some solid analysis of oil refinery economics.
As usual, a great conference. This year, the current low-price oil and gas environment took center stage.
Presentation at World Sustainable Energy Days
I presented a talk, "Energy Efficiency in Data Centers: Moving Beyond PUE," at the Young Researchers' Conference on Energy Efficiency during World Sustainable Energy Days in Wels, Austria. This was a great conference on energy efficiency, with a healthy mix of technology and policy. The other half of WSED is devoted to biomass, and I went on a really neat series of site visits to a wood pellet production tower, residential and industrial wood-fuel heating plants, and a manufacturing facility for residential boilers.
Op-Ed on Shale Gas Severance Tax Published in the Post-Gazette
Parth Vaishnav and I have written a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette opinion piece with our professor, Lee Branstetter, advocating for a severance tax on shale gas extraction in Pennsylvania. Based on analysis we completed last year, we debunk the idea that such a tax would cause the industry to leave the state. We further argue that the employment numbers often quoted by the industry are exaggerated, and in any case are offset by decreases in public sector employment caused by state budget cuts in education and public safety, which such a tax could alleviate.
New Blog Post at The Energy Collective
I've written a blog post at The Energy Collective describing my research on innovation policy dynamics in the wind energy industry. The history of wind turbine development in the U.S. hints that we need government involvement to develop innovative technologies. The best means of involvement? Technology-forcing regulations and--to some extent--R&D subsidies are likely good policy choices. However, the details of the policy design are critical to success.