Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Your Wichita…I Mean Indiana…Lineman Is Still On The Line..

As a classic country fan I couldn’t resist using this cheesy Glen Campbell reference as title for this blog edition. In all seriousness though in this post I want to honor and thank those in the energy world that insure our lights stay on in the midst of wild weather, falling trees, car accidents, and any other happening that can turn off the power.

So, to the utility worker the linemen and equipment operators who are called at a moment’s notice to take care of our power outages no matter if it is Christmas Eve or the Fourth of July a big THANK YOU and appreciation for what you do. Today we throw the word hero around like it’s a wooden nickel and sometimes we don’t talk enough about those who 1. Just do their jobs, but 2. Do them well and make our lives better in doing them. The utility worker is just that type of job.

I remember as a youth that one of the first permanently disabled people I ever knew had been injured while working on the utility lines and there are always the unfortunate stories of death in the field. Certainly as time and technology have increased worker safety has improved, but we also must realize that these workers are working on lines and systems that have been in use for many decades and need constant maintenance.

So with this blog I ask the reader to go to your local utility, or find that family member or friend who works on the lines, or if you see a crew at lunch or on break, don’t be afraid to say “thank you” for working in less than ideal conditions at all hours on any day to keep our lights on, and our lives easier.

Here’s to you.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

My early posts have centered primarily around the electric side of energy and the importance of certain fuels sources to insure we have the electricity we need to continue our way of life and economic livelihood. For this edition I want to discuss transportation and the fuels necessary to get our kids to school, people to work, and food to our stores.

As with electric power, we in the US have had the luxury of knowing that when we pull up at the pump we should be able to find more than enough supply of gasoline for our vehicles; and for the most part the average American can afford the price of that fuel. However, when fuel costs rise, the cost of things transported rises and the consumer keeps less of their paycheck because fuel and goods are at a higher cost.

Thinking about this can seem daunting if prices rose with little relief. In Indiana we have tried to develop and promote alternative transportation fuels that have the potential to temporarily relieve people and businesses of higher petroleum costs and at the very least offer an alternative in price and performance to our traditional petroleum fuels.

Our major fuel strategy first focused around our biofuel potentials in Indiana. Being an agricultural state corn production for ethanol made sense and brought new markets to farmers in proximity of the ethanol plants. Recognizing production must have and end user we also developed a strategy of bringing E85 pumps to the private consumer and Indiana boasts over 165 E85 pumps for number 3 in the whole nation.

To learn more about Indiana’s biofuels push please see the website below.

If you need to know the location of an E85-equipped retailer, there is a county-by-county map on the Office of Energy Development Web site,

Indiana is also making a push in becoming a leader in the development and manufacturing of electric vehicles. The Energy Systems Network is doing work to develop a strategy to bring electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles into mainstream markets, not only in the way of personal vehicles but also in promoting businesses and fleets to embrace these technologies where it is feasible. ESN has gathered an impressive group of businesses and individuals with decades of experience in the electric and hybrid vehicle world. The link below will tell you more:

Finally, Indiana was awarded a grant last year that is helping various government and private entities convert some of their fleets to either propane or natural gas powered fuels. These two fuels are more recognized as home heating or cooking fuels have shown great success in certain vehicle applications. Beyond that they have proven to carry some price stability to offset increases in regular petroleum fuels.

Below is a press release in regards to this project partnership between OED and the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition. Also, I have included links to Indiana’s two Clean Cities Coalitions.

As with any alternative power sources none of these I highlighted can totally replace our petroleum based fuel economy, but used in the right application they can help offset resources locally and be a piece of a larger puzzle. Also, using these fuels in everyday applications can help researchers and businesses look for ways to improve performance and bring more alternative fuels into the mainstream.

Always take time to remember when you go to the store or heading down the road what kind of energy it takes to keep this nation moving and how changes in prices of fuels trickles into the prices of our everyday goods and services. Always be aware of what is going to produce alternatives and be bold to go and learn more about them.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Greetings for 2011

Hello Hoosiers and Happy New Year.  I hope that everyone had a safe and sound holidays with friends and family. 

Well, the new year brings many new things in the world of energy.  The Indiana General Assembly is beginning session again, and this is the long session, or budget session.  There are various bills pertaining to energy that are being proposed.  To follow those the website has some very user friendly tools to view proposed bills.  The link below can lead you to the proposed bills by both the Indiana Senate and House of Representatives.

Another issue to be mindful of as we head into the depths of winter is heating costs and heating use.  December gave us some bitter cold we haven't always been used to.  People are already running through their first season fill-ups of propane and fuel oil supplies.  It never hurts to check on your equipment and make sure it is working efficiently, also, many utilities offer programs to provide an energy audit that can let you know what improvements you can make around your home to be more energy efficient.  Below is a link to the OED website with helpful information on energy efficiency in both residential and commercial settings:

As I sign off for today I wish you and yours a very happy and healthy 2011.