Category Archives: Editorial Work

2017 Northwest Power and Conservation Council

What the Pacific Northwest Can Learn From Japan’s Tragedy and Recovery

At the kind invitation of Massoud Jourabchi, manager of the Economic Analysis group at The Northwest Power and Conservation Council, I gave a 20-minute (ok, 22-minute) presentation on what the Pacific Northwest Can Learn From Japan’s Tragedy and Recovery to make our electrical infrastructure more resilient. The key point was that by having the things that consumer electricity (the demand) be aware of the real-time

The key point was that by having the things that consumer electricity (the demand) be aware of the real-time availability of electricity (the supply), not only can an electrical grid become more resilient to mega-disasters, but also become much more accommodating of solar and wind power. Today, a significant amount of both solar and wind power is being discarded because the

Today, a significant amount of both solar and wind power is being discarded because of the inflexibility of our 20th-century grid. Japan’s story is critically relevant.

Drive Oregon Presentation Cover Page

2016 Drive Oregon September Presentation

The good folks at Drive Oregon, a dynamic non-profit located in Portland, dedicated increasing the number of electric vehicles in Oregon, asked me to talk about about how Japan is using grid-connected electric vehicles (V2G = vehicle to grid, or V2H = vehicle to home) to improve disaster resilience.

Here’s the SlideShare version of the talk I gave on September 29, 2016 at one of the coolest Irish pubs in Portland.

2015 Solar Oregon Keynote Address

On September 3rd, I had the honor to give the keynote address at Solar Oregon’s annual Solar Now! University. My talk was Taming the Solar Tsunami: Accommodating Solar at Scale. The theme was how we’ll all need to work together to address the new challenges of affordably accommodating previously unimagined amounts of solar energy. Yes, we’ll need batteries, but more importantly (and more affordably) we’ll need to adjust the exact timing of our electricity consumption to better match its availability.

It was a super-well organized conference – lots of fun and I certainly learned a lot.

Go Solar!

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2014 Kingston, Jamaica “Smart Energy Islands” Lecture Series

Early 2013, the then Deputy Commissioner and Counsellor of the Japanese Embassy in Jamaica, Hiromoto Oyama, asked me if I’d be interested in giving a short series of lectures in Kingston, Jamaica to help share what Japan was learning about disaster-resilient smart energy systems as it rebuilt after the 2011 tsunami and earthquake.

We developed a Smart Energy Island lecture – Oyama-san presenting the official side of the story, while I provided the human and technical side of the story.

February 2014, I visited Kingston. The trip was really productive – and a lot of fun. Thanks so much to Oyama-san and the Japan Foundation of New York for funding this project.

Here’s is some of the press we got in the local newspaper.

2013 Tohoku University Symposium Lecture

In late 2012, Professor Kauzyuki Tohji visited Colorado to talk about how Smart Energy solutions were helping the tsunami and earthquake devastated Tohoku region of Japan recover – and to become more disaster resilient. The tour had been arranged by my friend Deputy Consul General Hiromoto Oyama.

I was his local Fort Collins host for the day he was here. I gave him the 2-hour tour of Fort Collins, including the famous Engine and Energy Conversion Lab at CSU. He and I had a great time exchanging ideas and stories. At the end of our meeting he asked if I might be interested in coming Japan and speaking at his 2013 symposium on smart grid and smart energy. Yes, I’d be quite honored.

A few weeks later I received a formal invitation. I traveled to Japan in March, 2013 – the second anniversary of the Tohoku disaster – and spent 2 weeks in northern Japan visiting energy related sites, old friends, and hot springs lecturing and listening. It truly was an honor.

2011 Fukushima and the Smart House

Summer, 2011, six months after the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, I visited Fukushima and Tokyo – about 1 week after the hottest day this year, and the peak summer electrical load. It was an inspiring trip. In Fukushima, I met a mother of two who told be about the topsoil of her children’s playground being replaced. I also met a Kyocera factory manager there who showed me their new 250KW solar array and smart-grid controller that help them avoid rolling blackouts — even when a cloud comes over head. Many more stories.

Here is the Solar Today article published early 2012.

2011 Solar Today, March Cover

Colorado State University has a very special utility/energy engineer on their facilities staff. Carol Dollard. I’ve known Carol for a decade and have always been impressed with her engineering competence, her vision for a sustainable future, and her unique and effective style of working through bureaucratic webs that would trap and immobilize a lesser soul.

Late 2010, Carol kidded me into taking this picture and pitching her story. “Geeze Dan, why did Solar Today put a small 200KW PV system from some other university on their cover, when CSU has a new 5MW system?” Good point! I wound up 50 feet in the air shooting Carol (the red dot in the lower right of this cover).

Solar Today, March 2011 Cover

Solar Today, March, 2009 cover

You can read about the little adventure I had making this picture on the Solar Today website. It was great fun (as usual), and the staff at Solar Today made this look great (as usual). This home is on the market for something like $3.9M. If I hadn’t put all of my assets into Madoff Securities, I’d buy a few of these for my friends. What was I thinking?

Solar Today, March, 2009 cover

Solar Today, Get Started, October 2008 cover

Sometimes the sun goddesses smile on my photography. I had one day and two homes. The weather, which had been uncooperative the day before, cooperated. The flowers were in perfect bloom (and out of in nearly perfect focus).

This is one of Bella Energy‘s solar installations. I think the most beautiful one in Colorado. It looks like the whole roof is made of solar panels — and one day they all will be.

This was a special edition funded by a US Department of Energy grant. About 160,000 copies were printed  – probably the most ink I’ve gotten, or most biomass I’ve made… depending on how you want to look at it.

Solar Today, Get Started, October 2008 cover

2008 Solar Today, March-April Cover Story

The March-April 2008 Solar Today issue is very special to me. It was my first cover story for this national magazine. The article, “Local Lessons for Global Policy” described the City of Fort Collins’ policy journey towards a more sustainable future. Most of the ideas that wind up changing the world start in communities, then move the state level, and final emerge at the national and global issue. It is never an overnight process – and almost never starts from the top down.

I short the cover photograph on a tour of our local, fairly-nearby, wind farm in Medicine Bow, WY. When I was laying on the dirt taking this, everyone assumed I must be crazy a real photographer.

Thanks to their amazingly create art director, Allison Gray, Solar Today won the 2008 APEX Awards for Publication Excellence for this cover.

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2005 Solar Today November-December “Wood Heating for All?”

By the end of 2005, I had been heavily involved in world of wood biomass energy – especially in Colorado. I had run in to a true pioneer-hero, Ed Hoffman from Nebraska State University. Using wood to heat a home is pretty straight forward, but heating an entire college campus? That takes commitment, leadership, and contagious passion. Ed had all this.

Here’s the story.

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2005 Solar Today Article “Japan Takes the Lead”

In 2004, I attended the 15th World Hydrogen Energy Conference in Yokohama, Japan, with several U.S. Department of Energy folks. I came back rather unimpressed with our DOE, but very impressed with what Japan had been doing since I left in 1995.

Good friend and mentor, Ron Larson (Chair of the American Solar Energy Society at the time, and Godfather of Renewable Energy in Colorado always), suggested I write an article for Solar Today (one of the leading renewable energy national publications at the time).

I was a bit intimidated at first, but with the kind guidance of editor/publisher Gina Johnson wrote this article – and begun my occasional freelance journalist “career.”


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