I’m Hans. Born, raised & educated in upstate NY, USA. After university (Bachelor’s degree in engineering & sciences), I moved to California and worked with several of the largest electric utilities;(PG&E, SDG&E and SPPC/Nevada Power) in the country. Not as an electrician or engineer, but rather within their USD $100m/yr, or more, vegetation management programs; learning and patrolling 1000s of miles of overhead power lines, experiencing generation schemes and customer needs first hand.
Outside training my fellow foresters, I broke new ground and developed protocols for system-wide implementation based on the simple concept of bringing all interested parties together and forging mutually beneficial agreements for all. They worked, very well. After I left, I was asked back on several occasions to assist during critical program milestones.
After chasing personal interests throughout the American West, living in Colorado, I settled in Oregon, building a residential tree pruning/removal start-up as a financial backstop to pursuing a nursing degree. I loved biology and chemistry, thrive under the demands of making life & death decisions quickly, and wanted to travel the world as a nurse in an ER/ICU capacity.
What I seek to accomplish in the global energy industry to facilitate accessibility for the under-served majority of the world’s population?
My primary objective is to architect, launch and advance a social enterprise within the geographical sphere of sub-Saharan Africa, facilitating the use of regionally abundant resources to promote energy accessibility through mutually beneficial partnerships and self-sustaining economics. The premise being to springboard beyond the physical, governmental, technological and social constraints presently hindering the realization of a true “Africa Rising” for over one billion people, where the exploitation of natural resource abundance has garnered minimal localized benefit, and energy exists as the critical ingredient and catalyst to regional, educational and social empowerment.
What qualifies my position within a niche market that has exponential growth potential?
Utilizing the experience and knowledge acquired over 20 years within a professional capacity as a consultant to several of the largest investor owned electric and gas utilities within the United States, and as an intermediary to multinational energy interests around the world;
We have 3-4 billion in a rush to get energy (China, Africa, India, SE Asia & less so South America), while a billion or so already have it (USA, Canada, a decent part of Europe, South Korea, select Middle Eastern countries, and up until the Tsunami, Japan). The latter fell into the trap of needing to refurbish legacy plants (coal & nuclear) while bringing on national gas (NG) and renewable energy (RE). While the former are building whatever they can, maybe at a 10 to 1 ratio (fossils/nuclear/large hydro to REs).
There is currently much “buzz” about methane releases from Natural Gas Exploration & Production (NG E&P), especially with regards to the buzzword friendly “Fracking” dominating all discussions. The NG industry is clearly “green washing” the public through slick advertisements, as it knocks off its primary competitor Coal, and has already surpassed Nuclear for electrical output in the US.
The fact of the matter is, there are currently NG “Peaker” plants associated with almost all existing Coal and Nuclear plants, often on the same properties, owned and operated by the same generation company. This is really no different than many of our most famous hydroelectric dams being built with coal plants just out of view of the sweeping and magnificent concrete arches. Glen Canyon Dam, on the mighty Colorado River, and the 2,225 MW Navajo Generation Plant were paired in construction under the CRSP (Colorado River Storage Project) to mitigate water storage requirement priority over hydroelectric generation.
My use of the word “competitor”, when we discuss Natural Gas in contrast to Nuclear or Coal, becomes very much a gray area once we dig into the numbers of overall electrical production. But back to the topic of methane releases.
I recently responded to a post on LinkedIn in the “Energy Innovation by Statoil” group about wind turbines being “unappealing” visually within the discussion brought about by a completely wide-open question “How do you feel about wind farms?”
Obviously, that is a subjective question, setting the stage for far ranging arguments lacking substantiated reasoning. This being akin to the common misunderstanding of billowing exhaust plumes at power plants thought to be laden with green house gases, pollution and toxic chemicals. The reality being, most of the visible “offenses” are waste heat removal through water evaporation cooling, not the invisible fossil fuel combustion effluent as commonly believed.
It was also stated, wind farms can be the cause of drought, which initially caught me off guard as I have lived and breathed water issues the past 20 years and it is a major determinant in my self assessed classification as “A Westerner”. Water is in our blood, both figuratively and literally. A transplant, to the western US, can be easily identified based on their lack of understanding and comprehension of where their water comes from and exactly how precious it is to maintaining our lifestyles. “Water Wars” are not just some future post apocalyptic scenario, they have been fought for over a century here in the United States.