Maura Clark, president of Direct Energy Business, graciously accepted a Pittsburgh Business Times’ Energy Leadership Award on May 8 at the awards ceremony. The awards celebrate the Pittsburgh region’s burgeoning energy market recognizing key organizations and individuals.
Maura thanked many including the PAPUC and the hardworking state legislators whose tireless work and advocacy allow Direct Energy Business to make a real impact on the customers; the company’s customers, because without them, Direct Energy Business would not exist; the city of Pittsburgh for its talent pool, the communities and energy of the city, which continues to help Direct Energy Business stand as a major player in the Western Pennsylvania energy hub; and the Pittsburgh Business Times for selecting her as an Energy Leadership Award winner.
Read the coverage via The Pittsburgh Business Times:
PBT honors region’s energy leaders (video)
What’s next for O Ring, Direct Energy Business (video)
I had the privilege of joining students and others from the North Penn School District for Earth Day on April 22. Students deemed the day photocopy-free and participated in many other energy-saving activities, including, but not limited to:
Turning off lights in classrooms, gyms, corridors (while ensuring peoples’ safety); Unplugging appliances; Monitoring and sharing real-time electricity usage data via demand response systems and; Using outdoor classrooms.
The school district’s commitment to energy and environmental initiatives go beyond Earth Day as they play a part in the PowerSave program, which in Pennsylvania, is sponsored by Direct Energy. Nine participating schools have a ‘green’ team comprised of teachers, custodians and students, who identify energy problems and make recommendations for energy savings.
Continue reading for YouTube videos, photos and news coverage.
Businesses can make an immediate impact by better managing their energy costs. Demand, in terms of electricity, is the instantaneous consumption of electricity. Your usage is the sum of demands over a period of time. Demand management is the act of controlling, through various means, how and when you use your electricity.
Reduction in demand decreases need for investments in networks and/or power plants. The electricity infrastructure has to be built to serve the hypothetical peak demands of all customers plus a cushion. It’s like buying a car that holds four passengers because every year at Christmas you take your mom and dad to dinner. The remainder of the year it is just you and the dog. For 364 days a year a two-seater meets your needs. But because you need the extra seats that one day, you pay for a larger car, more insurance, and more gas. Now if the car were always full these costs on a per passenger basis might even be equal to the two-seat car on a per passenger basis. However since most of the time it is just one passenger, the cost per passenger is higher with the four-seat model.
You are not alone if you are not familiar with what a Heat Rate is. This is a tough one to explain. But, here goes nothing.
What is a Heat Rate?
A heat rate is a measurement used in the energy industry to calculate how efficiently a generator uses heat energy. In the marketplace, heat rate is expressed in mmbtu/mwh or how many million BTUs* of heat is required to produce a megawatt (mw) of electricity. That figure tells us the Heat Rate or the efficiency of the generating facility. Types of fuel include coal, natural gas and oil to produce the majority of electricity.
(*Don’t know what a BTU is? Click here to check out our past blog that explains it.)
How does a Heat Rate fit into the wholesale electricity equation? It’s quite simple actually! Read more below.
In the electricity business, we talk A LOT about natural gas market. Where is the market going? What affects the market? If our business is mostly about electricity, why do we talk so much about natural gas? Simply put, the greatest driver of electricity prices is the price of natural gas. Let’s take a look at why this important correlation exists.
First, a significant amount of electricity that is generated in the U.S. comes from the burning of natural gas – historically it’s been about 20%. The rest comes from coal (about 50%), nuclear (about 20%), hydro-electric (about 8%) and renewable (about 1%). If 50% of all electricity generated in the U.S. comes from coal, why is the correlation between natural gas more important? To answer that question, you’ll need to understand the order in which electricity generators are dispatched and how prices for electricity are set.
Click here to view a Gas Power chart. Continue reading to learn what it means.