My new year resolution: finish posting profiles for Energy Influencers #1-10

Wow, 2012 went by so fast that I never posted profiles for Energy Influencers #1-10…

My sincere apologies to the following influencers:
#10 Marc Lipschultz (Head of Energy and Infrastructure at KKR)
# 9 Amy Harder (Energy and Environment Reporter for National Journal)
# 8 John Pinkerton (Chairman & CEO at Range Resources)
# 7 Jorge Piñon (Visiting Research Fellow at Florida International University)
# 6 Arun Majumdar (Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy)
# 5 Charles Davidson (Chairman & CEO at Noble Energy)
# 4 Stephen Harper (Prime Minister of Canada)
# 3 Steven Chu (United States Secretary of Energy)
# 2 Frederick L. Potter (Executive Vice President & Board Member of Hart Energy)
# 1 Henry Blodget (Founder, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of Business Insider)……[updated 3/6/13 to include profile below]

My new year resolution: finish posting these #Energy100 profiles…better late than never 🙂

Many thanks to Andrew Biar for the reminder.

#1 Henry Blodget

Founder, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of Business Insider

Energy1New York, New York

#Energy100 is not ranked in any particular order, with one exception…#1.

Henry Blodget is the honorary #1 for this inaugural release of the 100 Most Influential People in Energy, which may be a bit odd considering that this former top-ranked Wall Street Internet analyst has almost nothing to do with energy…almost.

I started #Energy100 just for fun, inspired by Blodget and his team’s Silicon Alley Insider’s Annual SA 100 List.  That was tech but I thought “movers & shakers” in the energy industry should get some kind of recognition as well.  And so, #Energy100 was born, thanks to Henry Blodget.

I also thought that the release of #Energy100 might be a good excuse to have a party, Blodget and his Silicon Alley Insider team had one…which is another reason why Henry Blodget is #1.

Energy Influencers #11 – #15

Energy Influencers #11 – #15

Here’s the next group that you’ll get to meet:

  #6 Arun Majumdar (Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy) 
  #7 Jorge Piñon (Visiting Research Fellow at Florida International University)
  #8 John Pinkerton (Chairman & CEO at Range Resources)
  #9 Amy Harder (Energy and Environment Reporter for National Journal)
  #10 Marc Lipschultz (Head of Energy and Infrastructure at KKR)


 #11 Dan Wilks & Farris Wilks

Co-Founders of Frac Tech Services

Cisco, Texas

Many of our #Energy100 Influencers have great stories, starting out from humble beginnings to become leaders in the industry…George Mitchell, T. Boone Pickens, Harold Hamm…and the Wilks Brothers.  In 2011 Dan & Farris Wilks would go from being successful U.S. entrepreneurs to becoming internationally-recognized billionaires.

Their story starts off when teenage brothers Dan and Farris Wilks apprenticed for their father’s bricklaying business.  From there they successfully built multiple companies in construction, including two they co-founded, Wilks Masonry and Cisco High Lift (CHL).  But spotting an opportunity to shift gears, the brothers “had an interest in a well or two” and jumped into the oil and gas exploration business in the Barnett Shale.

When they went looking for someone to fracture their first well, however, the pair discovered they were among many operators seeking such services, with few suppliers to provide it.  Seeing a need and a market, the brothers started their own hydraulic fracturing business in 2002 with the technical know-how of CHL to build it and the cash flow of Wilks Masonry to fund it.

The Wilks brothers played Double Jeopardy! with their companies and they won.  Since then, Frac Tech Services, based in Cisco, Texas, had become the fourth-largest provider of well stimulation services in the United States.

The Wilks brothers got a taste of billionaire life back in January 2011 when they bought the iconic N Bar Ranch in Montana from Siebel System’s founder Tom Siebel.  A few months later Dan and Farris would join Siebel as billionaires on Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans.

In May 2011 the brothers sold their nearly 70% combined interest in Frac Tech for $3.5 billion to a consortium of investors, including Singapore-based Temasek Holdings and Chesapeake Energy.  Frac Tech Services would be renamed as FTS International Inc. and Aubrey McClendon would become a board member.

Shortly after the sale the Wilks brothers were recognized as Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 finalists.  Who came away as the winner of the Energy, Cleantech and Natural Resources Category?  Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon.  I’m just saying.

While the Wilks brothers are now internationally recognized, their hearts remain in the “Big Country” of the Texas Midwest and the “Big Sky Country” of Montana.  Despite all their billions, the big country is still home. 

 #12 Tom Fowler

Energy Writer at The Wall Street Journal

Houston, Texas

Few people can explain what is happening in energy better than Tom Fowler.

As a business reporter and blogger for the Houston Chronicle, Fowler covered various aspects of the energy business, including pipelines, electric power, energy trading and so much more. He previously covered technology for the Chronicle and for the Austin Business Journal.

In September of 2010 the Houston Chronicle’s energy blog (NewsWatch:Energy) relocated to their new online home  FuelFix quickly became a one-stop shop for all things energy, from the nuts and bolts of how energy is made, to the complexity of energy policy.  FuelFix was a great outlet for Fowler since he’s more than just a reporter of the facts, he gets behind the headlines and tells both sides of the story.

Not only does Fowler cover energy in print, but in 2011 he also made a few guest appearances on TheEnergyMaker Show, a weekly video podcast/broadcast hosted by #Energy100 Influencer Paul Dickerson.  There he discussed a wide range of topics such the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Texas’s use of sustainable energy, smart grids, hydraulic fracturing regulation and industry best practices.  But Fowler’s November appearance was also his last as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle and

Fowler has worked his way up from small papers to a major metro daily and now to the largest newspaper in the United States…The Wall Street Journal.  After almost 12 years with the Houston Chronicle, in December Fowler became Energy Writer for the WSJ where he could provide his invaluable insight to the energy industry on a national-level.

Although he has switched newspapers, Fowler still has the best point of view in energy…..right here in the “Energy Capital of the World.”

#13 Stuart Page

CEO at Glori Energy

Houston, Texas

The best way to describe Glori Energy is to let them describe themselves: “Nature Meets Oil Production” & ”Tomorrow’s Oil from Yesterday’s Wells.”  Good thing Glori has the technology to back-up those catchy tag lines.

Glori Energy is a venture capital backed private company that is focused on developing biotechnology solutions for the oil industry.  Their mission is to cleanly and safely recover billions of barrels of oil that are trapped in existing well reservoirs without having to drill a single new well. 

Glori’s technology is aimed at older wells where the natural pressure has decreased to a point where the oil no longer flows to the surface by itself.  Glori uses its innovative AERO (Activated Environment for Recovery of Oil) System to stimulate the growth of bacteria in an oil well.  As the bacteria grow on the droplets of oil, it evolves, becoming slicker and allows it to flow more easily.

Their technology works with wells that use water to maintain the pressure and force the oil to the surface.  The science behind the technology is far more interesting than I can relay here in a few short paragraphs, so do yourself a favor and read more about AERO and “consortia functionality” here, here, here and here.  Stuart Page estimates the technology can make old oil wells about 30% more productive.

An engineer and native of the U.K., Page joined Glori from IHS Energy where he led M&A activity and has over 25 years experience in the upstream energy industry, including over a decade in Norway at Baker Atlas which provides well logging and data analysis for drilling, production and reservoir management.  Page was brought in 5 years ago as CEO to help grow Glori Energy.

Houston-based Glori is a marriage of firms from four continents.  With technology developed by the Indian National Oil Company in the early 1990s, a New York-based private equity firm founded Glori in 2005 and quickly advanced the technology through the purchase of an Argentinean biotech outfit and oilfield expertise gained through a partnership with Norway’s Statoil.  Glori Energy is truly the product of the globalization era, much like Page himself.

With his engineering experience and international expertise, it is now up to Page to grow the business, bring investors into the mix, and partner with oil producers to deploy AERO System technology in oil fields around the globe.  Oil production is adopting a lot of new technologies and a lot of funding will be going to innovators, such as Glori Energy, that can help oil and gas companies work smarter.

With many of the big oil companies and big oil service firms developing similar technologies in-house, Glori needs to get the world’s leading energy companies to adopt the technology, then the others will see that it really works.  Page said the company, which is still privately owned and still in the testing phase, is working on doing just that.

#14 Mark Zoback

Professor of Geophysics at Stanford University

Stanford, California

Dr. Mark Zoback was a featured speaker recently in a tribute to #Energy100 Influencer George Mitchell: “The Shale Gas Miracle.”  Mitchell is the father of “fracking” and started the shale gas revolution.  Zoback believes natural gas represents the perfect bridge fuel toward achieving a less carbon-dependent economy.  Together they later published an opinion piece together titled “The Duty to Fracture Responsibly.”

Zoback is a geophysics professor at Stanford and conducts research on in situ stress, fault mechanics, and reservoir geomechanics.  He has authored and coauthored 300 technical papers and a textbook, Reservoir Geomechanics, which integrates the fields of structural geology, rock mechanics and petroleum engineering with application to problems in the oil and gas industry.

Zoback was one of the principal investigators of the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD) project, in which a scientific research well was successfully drilled through the San Andreas Fault at seismogenic depth.  He also served on a National Academy of Engineering committee investigating the Deepwater Horizon accident. 

In 2011 Zoback served on the Secretary of Energy Committee on Shale Gas Development which concluded that it is possible to produce natural gas safely and with minimal environmental traces.  The group suggested 20 recommendations including full disclosure of chemicals used in fracturing liquids, monitoring of fracking activities and rigorous standards for emissions of airborne contaminants.

Although expertise and experience served to be invaluable on this carefully composed panel of top academics, industry experts and investigators, it also served up some controversy.  Some scientists and environmental groups were quick to point out that all but one member of this advisory panel have financial ties to the natural gas industry, including Zoback.

Zoback is a senior advisor to Baker Hughes, a Houston-based oilfield services company engaged in hydraulic fracturing.   He was the chairman and co-founder of GeoMechanics International, a consulting firm that advises on various oil and gas drilling problems.  It was acquired by Baker Hughes in 2008.

Although most problems associated with shale gas wells have arisen from poor well construction, not hydraulic fracturing, Zoback believes enhanced utilization of shale gas resources provides an opportunity to transition to an energy future that is far less dependent on fossil fuels.

While production of shale gas depended on the experience of Mitchell to start the revolution, production of this transition fuel will need the expertise of Zoback to keep it going safely long enough for renewable technology to take the energy industry to the next level. 

#15 Harold Hamm

Chairman & CEO at Continental Resources

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Harold Hamm has the heart and soul of a true wildcatter.  His rise from humble beginnings to national leadership in the energy industry is truly legendary.

Hamm, who was born the youngest of 13 children to share-crop farmers in 1945, got his start in the oil business working for an oilfield service contractor before starting his own one-truck oilfield service business.  In 1967, Hamm incorporated Shelly Dean Oil Co., which later would become Continental Resources.

Continental’s growth strategy has focused on crude oil since the 1980s.  It is the nation’s 14th-largest oil company and is the largest leaseholder in the nation’s premier oil play, the Bakken Play of North Dakota and Montana.

Hamm has developed a reputation as a successful wildcatter by discovering oil in places that others had overlooked.  A billionaire oilman who is widely credited for jump-starting the Bakken oil boom nearly a decade ago, Hamm believes the United States could become energy independent within a few years with the “right energy policies”.  Unfortunately Hamm and President Obama have very different views with regard to what those “right energy policies” entail.

Along with his strong opinions, Hamm is also known for his wild-eyed optimism and his aggressive techniques.  He believes Bakken is almost twice as big as the oil reserve in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and could potentially contain recoverable reserves of up to 24 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Unlike his many skeptics, Hamm believes this number is achievable with advanced drilling technologies like Continental’s ECO-Pad drilling concept which exploits two layers of oil-bearing rock over 2 square miles by drilling 8 horizontal wells from one spot.  Once the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline is built, it would include an on-ramp to transport Bakken crude along with Canadian crude to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

Although Hamm has recently decided to move Continental’s headquarters from sleepy Enid to almost bustling Oklahoma City, he is still loved throughout Oklahoma and was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2011.  The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame loves him too.

Hamm said his path to success has required both hard work and the good fortune of “being at the right place at the right time.”  Hamm has been CEO of Continental Resources for 45 years…I think this wild-eyed wildcatter has been always been at the right place at the right time.

Energy Influencers #16 – #20

Energy Influencers #16 – #20

Here’s the next group that you’ll get to meet:

  #11 Dan Wilks & Farris Wilks (Co-Founders of Frac Tech Services) 
  #12 Tom Fowler (Energy Writer at The Wall Street Journal)
  #13 Stuart Page (CEO at Glori Energy)
  #14 Mark Zoback (Professor of Earth Sciences at Stanford University)
  #15 Harold Hamm (Chairman & CEO at Continental Resources)


 #16 Denise Whitaker

Director of Information Technology at Axia Land Services

Arlington, Texas

Behind the scenes.  Supporting every oil & gas company are great land professionals, and supporting land professionals is great technology.  And if you’re as fortunate as Axia Land Services, Denise Whitaker is behind all those scenes.

Aided by industry-leading technology, Axia has title analysts and leasing agents behind the scenes specializing in land services including lease acquisition, title curative, GIS mapping and due diligence.  For some clients they produce detailed analyses of mineral rights, surface ownership and comprehensive curative research.  For other clients they’re the in-house land service for those who do not have their own land departments.

Whitaker is even further behind the scenes heading up various teams including social media, web design, marketing and database design projects.  Her teams also support multiple proprietary software applications available for use with clients’ specific needs.  Whitaker provides the industry-leading technology needed to deliver the next generation of land services.

While Axia started off providing land services in Texas and Oklahoma, they are expanding nationwide and recently engaged in new business ventures in the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays.

So whether you’re independent exploration and production company like Celero Energy with a simple project or a client like Western Production Company requiring an outsourced Land Department, Axia has the services and Whitaker has the technology solutions to support them all…even the Chesapeakes of the oil and gas industry. 

 #17 James Mulva

Chairman & CEO of ConocoPhillips

Houston, Texas

Breaking up is hard to do, but in 2011 it seemed to be the “in thing” to do….Marathon Oil, El Paso, ConocoPhillips…Mulva and ConocoPhillips.

In 2011 Big Oil got a little smaller as several integrated oil companies announced the separation of their refining and exploration-production companies.  While some of the majors like Exxon Mobil, Shell and Chevron continue to see value in their integrated business models, others decided to start a new trend in the other direction.

In July 2011, just two weeks after Marathon Oil split itself up to increase returns for investors, ConocoPhillips chairman and chief executive officer, James “Jim” Mulva, announced that the nation’s third-largest oil company would do likewise.

While most ConocoPhillips 4,000 employees will keep their jobs, Mulva himself will be retiring.  In October the board announced that Ryan Lance will become the Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, the upstream company, and Greg Garland will become the Chairman and CEO of Phillips66, the downstream company.

Mulva will retire upon completion of the separation which is expected in the second quarter of 2012.  In the meantime, Mulva remained active in 2011 launching a natural gas campaign touting the benefits of natural gas while dispelling some of the public fears about the drilling techniques being used to extract it.

Mulva says “We have work to do.  We’re going to have to tell our story.  That’s never been easy for us.”

Breaking up is hard to do too, but maybe new CEO Ryan Lance will now be able to focus on convincing policymakers and consumers that expanded natural gas production can safely provide low-cost energy and high-paying jobs.

Although the all-in-one business model oil majors have preferred for years may be falling out of favor, the new ConocoPhillips cannot afford the demand for natural gas to do the same.

#18 Fadel Gheit

Managing Director & Senior Analyst at Oppenheimer & Co.

New York, New York

Fadel Gheit is one of the most influential analysts covering the oil and gas sector.  There are many energy analysts on Wall Street, but none deliver their analysis to the public quite like this seasoned veteran.

Gheit has extensive industry experience including six years in engineering with Mobil Oil and five years in energy consulting with Stone & Webster.   He has been an Energy Analyst for the past 25 years, 18 of them with Oppenheimer.

With his extensive experience in equity research, it comes as no surprise that Gheit has been named to The Wall Street Journal All-Star Annual Analyst Survey four times and was the top-ranked energy analyst on the Bloomberg Annual Analyst survey for four years.

Gheit is also one of the most quoted analysts on energy issues and is a frequent guest on TV and radio business programs, such as Bloomberg, Nightly Business Report and NPR.  Gheit has earned the respect of the public and the media alike for telling it like it is.  Not only is his market commentary frank and insightful, but it certainly impacts the investment decisions of many.

And while he admits that “there are better stock pickers” than himself, as a native of Egypt he will also point out that he knows “what goes on in the hearts and minds of people” in the oil-producing Middle East….a perspective which is critical these days when global fears, demand/supply uncertainty and investor sentiment are able to quickly move markets.

#19 Teryn Norris

Founder & President at Americans for Energy Leadership

Washington, D.C.

Teryn Norris may have just graduated from Stanford University in 2011 but over the past five years he has served as one of the country’s leading young voices for federal policies to strengthen U.S. energy innovation and economic competitiveness.

Norris is a nationally recognized social entrepreneur and policy analyst.  He has co-authored several acclaimed economic reports and energy policy proposals (including one for the National Energy Education Act), and has been interviewed on national television, radio and in several leading publications.  He has also founded and advised several other nonprofit projects related to energy and climate change.

In 2011 Norris was a recipient of the Truman Scholarship, the highest award in the United States for young public service leaders.  He was recognized for his already significant contributions to U.S. energy policy.

Norris founded Americans for Energy Leadership (AEL), a nonprofit organization that advanced federal investments in clean energy research and trained young energy policy leaders.  He served as the organization’s President from its founding in 2009 until early 2012 when it merged with the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Clean Energy Program to launch a new national policy initiative, Americans for Energy Innovation.

Look for Norris to become even more influential in 2012.  In March, Norris received a White House appointment (Schedule C) to the position of Special Assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Energy where he coordinates public engagement.

After all these years of influencing energy policy from the outside, he now has one foot in the door…one step closer to the President himself.  Norris has influenced Presidential policy before, he will do it again. 

#20 Claude Gravelle

Vice Chair of Canadian Parliament’s Natural Resources Committee

Ontario, Canada

Not everyone in Canada supports the proposed Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines.  Claude Gravelle is concerned that exporting Canadian oil could translate into oil spills, environmental costs and lost Canadian jobs.

As a member of the official left-leaning opposition party in Canada, Gravelle is the New Democratic Party (NDP) critic for Natural Resources and is also vice-chair for Parliament’s Natural Resources Committee.

Gravelle has been a leader among those in Canada critical of the Conservative government’s efforts to encourage the construction of TransCanada’s $7 billion Keystone crude oil pipeline to Texas and Enbridge’s proposed 650-mile Northern Gateway pipeline to the British Columbia coast.

While the Harper government and TransCanada are trying to salvage a plan to build the pipeline to carry oil sands crude from Alberta to the lucrative Gulf Coast market, Gravelle traveled to Washington in November to let American politicians know there are lawmakers in Canada who have mixed feelings about the pipeline.  This stirred up some controversy in Canada.

Because Alberta has limited refineries and is landlocked, 99% of exports end up in the American Midwest.  Gravelle believes there would be more financial security for Canada if there were more oil refineries in Canada, as opposed to piping raw bitumen, and thousands of Canadian jobs, to the United States.

As for the Northern Gateway pipeline, Gravelle believes exporting Alberta crude oil to China is not in Canada’s national interest.  He is worried about environmental disasters which may result from pipeline leaks across the lands of First Nations tribes and tanker leaks along the British Columbia coastline.

While neither pipeline is likely to be stopped, Gravelle is pushing for a collaborative strategy…wrapping together a domestic oil supply strategy, an oil export strategy, a renewable energy strategy and a climate change strategy into one national energy strategy for Canada.

Energy Influencers #21 – #25

Energy Influencers #21 – #25

Here’s the next group that you’ll get to meet:

  #16 Denise Whitaker (Director of Information Technology at Axia Land Services) 
  #17 James Mulva (Chairman & CEO of ConocoPhillips)
  #18 Fadel Gheit (Managing Director & Senior Analyst at Oppenheimer & Co)
  #19 Teryn Norris (Founder & President at Americans for Energy Leadership)
  #20 Claude Gravelle (Vice Chair of Canadian Parliament’s Natural Resources Committee)


 #21 Bill McKibben

Environmentalist and Writer

Evansville, Indiana

Bill McKibbon has always been an influential environmentalist, author and columnist.  In 2011 he also became an influential anti-pipeline activist as well.

McKibben is the author of a dozen books about the environment and a frequent contributor to various publications including National Geographic, Mother Jones and The New York Times and is also a board member and contributor to Grist Magazine.  In 2011 he was elected as fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in recognition of his myriad contributions to the environmental movement.

In 2011 McKibben also appeared on Time’s list of “People Who Mattered” for assembling popular resistance to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude from Canadian oil sands to the United States.  McKibben is founder of the grassroots climate campaign which organized weeks of protests in front of the White House, helping to change President Obama’s mind to delay a decision on Keystone XL until 2013.

McKibben, who also appears on the TV talk-show circuit, would soon be calling Keystone the “zombie pipeline that keeps lurching back to life.” And he’s right.  The campaign that ended in a celebratory environmentalist victory may not last for very long.

Oil sands have a bigger carbon footprint than conventional crude, and McKibben and his allies have argued that beginning importation into the U.S. would mean game over for the climate.  But the political game for pipeline routes into the U.S. and across Canada continues.

TransCanada is working with the Department of State on new Keystone XL route options through Nebraska.  And Keystone alternative, Enbridge’s proposed 650-mile Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to the British Columbia coast, is being pushed by the Canadian government as well.

McKibben and will nonetheless continue their relentless U.S. climate campaign throughout 2012….they may even pick-up support from some Canadian First Nation tribes along the way. 

 #22 Dave Guilford

Enterprise Editor at Automotive News

Detroit, Michigan

Dave Guilford appears on #Energy100 for creating Electrifying 100, a list of 100 people making a difference in driving vehicle electrification including battery makers, utilities, charging companies, government organizations, investors, fleet purchasers and automakers.

Guilford is a Detroit-based automotive writer and editor.  He has been covering automotive news for decades and also covers the “green car”/electric vehicle (EV) segment.

To develop Electrifying 100, Guilford and his team talked to loads of people in the United States, Europe and Asia. They solicited nominations in print and online.  Then a committee sifted, debated, researched and sifted some more.

Overall it was much like my process for creating #Energy100…except without the team…or the solicitations in print…or the knowledgeable outside expertise.  Well, we both solicited nominations online and sifted, debated, researched and sifted some more, although mine was with a committee of three…me, myself & I.

Like #Energy100, Electrifying 100 2011 includes some major industry leaders and some outside influencers.  Both of our lists even contain common influencers like Amory Lovins, Barack Obama, Orjiakor Isiogu, Robbie Diamond and Shai Agassi.

But, Guilford’s list contains 95 other electrifying influencers that #Energy100 does not have, and you should get to know them as well.  He even provided memorable quotes from each of them.

Electrifying 100 should be coming out again in June, so stay tuned for another great list from Guilford on EV movers and shakers… something’s happening out there and Guilford will let you know who is making a difference.

#23 Muammar Gaddafi

Former Ruler


The events leading up to the demise of Muammar Gaddafi had a big influence on oil prices in 2011, pushing oil prices above $100/barrel for the first time since 2008.

For over 30 years Gaddafi ruled Libya which has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world and the 17th-highest petroleum production. 

In February 2011, following revolutions in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia, protests against Gaddafi’s rule began.  Along with political turmoil in Yemen and Bahrain, this drove oil prices on NYMEX to $95/barrel in late February 2011.  A few days prior, oil prices on the NYMEX closed at $86.

On February 22 Gaddafi said he would fight to his “last drop of blood” to remain at the helm.  That day OPEC daily basket oil price went up by 3.4%, two days later the price of oil escalated another 4.8% to $111.01/barrel.  For the remainder of the year oil prices would largely remain over $100.

The protests then escalated into an uprising that spread across Libya with the rebel forces establishing a government and sending the country into a civil war.  Gaddafi went into hiding after his forces lost the Battle of Tripoli in August, and on October 20 he was captured and killed by rebels.

Despite the fact Libya produced only about 2 percent of the world’s oil and Saudi Arabia was replacing 70% of Libya’s missing oil production, the conflict caused oil prices to spike because the high quality of its reserves magnified its importance in world markets.

Despite Saudi promises, the sour type oil the country exported could not replace the more desirable sweet Libyan oil in the production of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.  Many European and Asian refineries were not equipped to refine “sour” crude, which is higher in sulfur content.  Saudi Arabia had more than four million barrels of spare capacity but that capacity was mostly for sour grades of oil.

Since most Libyan oil went to Europe, the Libya conflict was seen as one of the strongest forces in keeping upward pressure on Brent crude oil, and one of the reasons for it maintaining a large premium in 2011 to its US counterpart, West Texas Intermediate (WTI).

The demise of Gaddafi in Libya pushed oil up over $100 in 2011.  But while Libyan oil is beginning to flow again, whether prices drop below $100 in 2012 may be influenced by yet another country threatening supply disruptions….Iran.

#24 Paul Dickerson

Partner at Haynes and Boone, LLP

Houston, Texas

Not only is Paul Dickerson regularly interviewed himself, but he also interviews influential people representing all corners of the energy industry. 

Dickerson is a recognized leader and public speaker on issues of clean tech and energy efficiency, regularly writing and speaking about real-world energy solutions, from increasing efficiency, bio-fuels, solar and wind investments, to connecting venture capitalists with the cutting-edge scientific researchers in the field of sustainable energy.

Dickerson launched Haynes and Boone’s Clean Tech practice group in 2008 and previously served as Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

Along with being a partner at Haynes and Boone, in July 2011 Dickerson also became host of The EnergyMakers Show, a weekly video podcast/broadcast featuring interviews with energy innovators, thought leaders and public policy makers discussing the challenges of the world’s rapidly increasing thirst for energy and the new approaches aimed at solving the problems.

In 2011 he interviewed over three dozen movers & shakers and the guest list reads like a Who’s Who of the energy industry.  Here are just a few of them: David Crane (NRG Energy), John Hofmeister (Shell Oil), Wayne Krouse (Hydro Green Energy), Jim Sledzik (Energy Ventures), Dheeraj Verma (Quantum Energy Partners), Bob Petcavich (Ionic Oil), Alexandra Pruner (Tudor Pickering Holt), along with #Energy100 Influencers Brandy Obvintsev (Energy People Connect) and Kirk Coburn (SURGE Accelerators).

Be sure to watch Dickerson and Russ Capper, owner & CEO of The EnergyMakers, wrap-up 2011 with highlights from the first 20 episodes.  They’re both #Energy100 Influencers and they’ll introduce you to others who may join them as the most influential energy people in 2012. 

#25 Tom Currier

Founder & CTO of Black Swan Solar

San Francisco, California

Today we profile one of tomorrow’s innovators…Tom Currier.

Currier’s dream is to become a successful inventor and early stage entrepreneur…he’s launched nine start-ups since the age of 9, as well as the Minnesota Student Energy Project, a non-profit he founded in high school, which has raised more than $140,000 and has installed solar panels on his hometown high school.  Dream come true.

His appearance on #Energy100 is no surprise since he has already been recognized as being a “Sandboxer” (extraordinary young achiever below 30) and was one of the $100,000 winners of the “20 Under 20 Fellowship,” a controversial philanthropic grant by Facebook investor and board member Peter Thiel which encourages young people to explore alternatives to a college education.

He is now 20 and the dream continues.  Currier has a passion for entrepreneurship, cost reduction, and renewable energy and will take the next few years off from Stanford University to focus on the solar industry with his stealth start-up Black Swan Solar.

Although the technology is still under wraps, Currier explains that his “heliostat” functions like a death ray and that it’s not all that different than a field of mirrors that bounce sunlight to one central point.  But the best part, Currier will be using existing coal infrastructure and believes his technology is scalable, cleaner, and ultimately greener than gas. 

Currier has partnered with three Fortune 50 customers to begin deployment of his “death ray” in Q3 2012.  Currier has been exploring improving the efficiency of solar-power harnessing for nearly ten years.  He was a innovative kid with a dream, and now with investors he can make harnessing the sun, more efficiently, a reality.  Look for Currier to be influential for years to come.

Energy Influencers #26 – #30

Energy Influencers #26 – #30

Here’s the next group that you’ll get to meet:

  #21 Bill McKibben (Environment activist and writer) 
  #22 Dave Guilford (Enterprise Editor at Automotive News)
  #23 Muammar Gaddafi (Former Ruler of Libya)
  #24 Paul Dickerson (Partner at Haynes and Boone, LLP)
  #25 Tom Currier (Founder & CTO of Black Swan Solar)


 #26 Donnie Wilson

Co-founder & CEO of Elastec/American Marine

Evansville, Indiana

In celebration of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) this week in Houston, we have Donnie Wilson who had one million reasons to celebrate in 2011.

Wilson is co-founder and CEO of Elastec/American Marine, a global leader and manufacturer of pollution recovery systems with a core competency in oil spill recovery.

After developing several successful enterprises in the oil field service industry, Wilson learned two things that can clean-up oil really well: fire and plastic

First there was plastic…and a good story…Wilson and Elastic co-founder Jeff Cantrell got the idea of an oil recovery system after responding to a local oil spill.  Wilson asked Cantrell to throw him a five-gallon plastic bucket to help in the recovery effort, but he missed and it fell into the spill on the water. As the wind turned the bucket, oil stuck to the side of it, leading them to their first invention of oil recovery equipment.  That bucket spawned the barrel skimmer that led to the creation of Elastic Inc. in 1990.

Then there were fires…when the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in 1989, Elastec’s sister company American Marine deployed fire booms as a containment system for the controlled burning of oil spills.  20 years later when the Deepwater Horizon explosion occurred in 2010 and spewed millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Elastec/American Marine did it again with the aid of local shrimp boats.

Then there was plastic again… funded by #Energy100 Influencer Wendy Schmidt, the 2011 Oil Cleanup X Challenge dangled a million-dollar purse to any company that could drastically increase the speed that oil is skimmed from water.  The industry standard is for oil skimmers to remove 1,100 gallons of oil per minute. The X Challenge set the bar at 2,500 gallons per minute.  Team Elastic crushed it with their truck-sized skimmer at nearly 5,000 gallons and their nearest competitor managed 2,700 gallon.

So how tough was the competition to get this prize?  The judges decided not to award a third-place prize concluding that none of the eight other finalists met the stringent criteria after the teams put their entries through real-world testing.

So when you leave OTC tomorrow and fly out of Houston, stop over and congratulate Wilson and Team Elastic in Fairfield, Illinois….they’re having an Open House from 1-3 pm.  The winning prize got pictured by National Geographic as one of the “Most Hopeful Energy Developments of 2011,” but maybe you can see it for yourself in person. 

 #27 Alykhan Velshi

Founder of

Toronto, Canada

Not all diamonds are Blood Diamonds, and not all oil is Conflict Oil.  Alykhan Velshi believes in Ethical Oil and the case for Canada’s oil sands.

Velshi is a lawyer, writer, and policy analyst.  In 2011, Velshi briefly left the Harper Government to lead, only to return to Parliament Hill in late fall 2011 as the director of planning for the Prime Minister’s Office, a post that involves both long-term policy and political planning. began as a blog created by Alykhan Velshi to promote the ideas in Ezra Levant’s bestselling book ‘Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands’. defines Conflict Oil as being from some of the world’s most politically oppressive and environmentally reckless regimes while Ethical Oil is the “Fair Trade” choice in oil from liberal democracies like Canada, and its oil sands.

Velshi and gained the most notoriety on both sides of the border and around the world in 2011 for running controversial TV and print ads showing a Saudi woman about to be stoned to death, asking whether Canadian Ethical Oil wasn’t a lot more responsible than Middle Eastern Conflict Oil.  It was strong stuff for Canadians and became the first time many Americans heard of the Velshi who was not the CNN business anchor…talk about first impressions.

Velshi wasn’t brought into Harper’s government to be Mr. Nice Guy.  He was re-appointed to give Ottawa officials some spine in dealing with Canada’s oil and pipeline issues.

Using as a platform, Velshi was a staunch supporter the Keystone XL pipeline project until Obama put that on the back burner.  Now, back in the Canadian government, he has an even better stage to influence the just-launched hearings over the Keystone alternative, Enbridge’s proposed 650-mile Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to the British Columbia coast.

Velshi may return to #Energy100 in 2012….if he can open the Gateway for Ethical Oil to Asian markets.

#28 Mark Udall

United States Senator from Colorado

Boulder, Colorado

As a vigorous outdoorsman and an accomplished mountaineer, Senator @MarkUdall is a strong supporter of both the military and the environment…and some of his legislation, like reducing the military’s reliance on fossil fuel, covers both.

Udall serves on several senatorial energy and natural resource committees which give him a strong platform to stand on energy and the environment….such as a much needed national renewable energy standard.

Udall comes from a long family lineage of politicians and in April 2011 he teamed up with one of those family members, senatorial cousin Tom Udall from New Mexico, to introduce Renewable Energy Standard (RES) legislation that would require utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources by 2025.

Although he won’t hold his breath on passage of this policy anytime soon, Udall vows to continue the fight for a national renewable energy standard — a nationwide version of Colorado’s renewable mandate that requires most power companies to produce 30 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

In December, when Schwarzenegger received the highest honor from the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), Udall was right there with him to receive his own award in recognition of exemplary Congressional leadership to advance renewable energy.  Quite an honor from a non-profit organization whose members include representatives of the wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower and other renewable energy industries.

Udall has received numerous accolades in the media for his track record of bipartisan efforts, but he has taken some heat from environmentalists for his support for nuclear power.

Still, while Udall believes increased nuclear power is a necessary means of reducing the amount of carbon-spewing fossil fuels, it is only part of the solution…he has a whole list of other energy and environment issues he is also working on so that he can continue to enjoy skiing, golfing, hiking, camping, climbing….and so shall we all.

#29 Shi Dinghuan

President of China Renewable Energy Society


Shi Dinghuan was nominated for #Energy100 by his U.S. clean energy counterpart (not my Chinese-speaking ‘evil twin’) for his tireless promotion of a clean economy and a cleaner environment.

Shi is Counselor of the China State Council and Chairman of China Renewable Energy Association.  Along with positions at many other science and technology organizations, Shi is also the Chairman of China Renewable Energy Association, Chairman of the China Technology Advisory Association, and serves on the advisory board of the US-China Green Energy Council.

Shi is involved in various policy making activities for the development of Chinese energy industry and international cooperation projects.  Since China as one of the most active countries regarding financial investments in clean energy technology, Shi has been a familiar face at clean energy conferences, expos, events, ceremonies and company milestones throughout the past year.

With China facing energy safety and pollution challenges resulting from its heavy dependence on fossil fuels, Shi understands the significance of low carbon growth as a major focus of the country’s economic development.

Coal and oil currently account for 69 percent and 20 percent of the country’s primary energy  consumption respectively, with clean energy sources, including nuclear, wind and solar power, accounting for only 7.6 percent.  With renewable portfolio standards (RPS) calling for China to get 15 percent of its total energy from renewable sources by 2020, China has big plans for future wind and solar power development.

Shi is very confident that China will move toward low-carbon development and is quick to point out that there are always new technology advances during times of global crises….that should make 2012 another busy year for Shi, his U.S. clean energy counterpart, and my ‘evil twin.’ 

#30 Arnold Schwarzenegger

38th Governor of California

Los Angeles, California

A person on twitter nominated “Arnold @Schwarzenegger for driving the 33% RPS in California.”  Well done Schwarzenegger, 33% RPS is now law in California.

The California Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) bill was created in 2002 and stipulated that California electricity corporations must produce a specified fraction of their electricity from renewable energy sources.  Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed executive order S-14-08 in 2008 which mandated a RPS of 33% by 2020.  33% RPS became law in California on 4/12/11.

Fresh off a seven-year term as the governor of California, the ever-quotable Schwarzenegger remained in the renewable energy spotlight in 2011 calling for clean energy innovation while traveling the speaker circuit…from an Energy Forum in Vienna to the APRA-E Technology and Innovation Summit in Washington D.C., and everywhere in between.

In December, Schwarzenegger was named “Renewable Energy Leader of the Decade” by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), a non-profit organization whose members include representatives of the wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower and other renewable energy industries.  There he urged presidential candidates to do more to encourage investments in renewable energy and pledged to be a “cheerleader” on the issue.

Schwarzenegger has called for the termination of fossil fuels and anything else that stands in the way of U.S. leadership in clean energy developments.  Would you stand in the way of Mr. Universe, Conan the Barbarian, the Terminator, Mr. Freeze or the former Governator?  Neither will the “old energy order”….not for very long anyways.

Energy Influencers #31 – #35

Energy Influencers #31 – #35

Here’s the next group that you’ll get to meet:

  #26 Donnie Wilson (Co-founder & CEO of Elastec/American Marine) 
  #27 Alykhan Velshi (Founder of
  #28 Mark Udall (United States Senator from Colorado)
  #29 Dinghuan Shi (President of China Renewable Energy Society)
  #30 Arnold Schwarzenegger (Governor of California)


 #31 Wendy Schmidt

President of The Schmidt Family Foundation

Palo Alto, California

Move over Eric, your wife Wendy has got this one.

Wendy Schmidt is President of The Schmidt Family Foundation that works to advance the development of clean energy and support the wiser use of natural resources.

Schmidt is also founder of the Foundation’s 11th Hour Project and of Climate Central.  She serves on several environmental-friendly boards including that of Grist (environmental news and commentary) and The Natural Resources Defense Council.

While Schmidt was influential with many organizations in 2011, it’s the prize bearing her name which brought about the most attention: the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE

This X CHALLENGE was a $1.4 Million competition designed to inspire a new generation of innovative solutions to speed the pace of cleaning up seawater surface oil resulting from spillage from ocean platforms, tankers, and other sources.

Obviously the motivation for this prize was the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  And while I won’t tell you who the winners are, one of them just may be an Energy Influencer as well.

While the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE was only a one-year competition (and a very challenging one at that), I wouldn’t be surprised if Schmidt herself is back again next year. 

 #32 David Sandalow

Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs at Department of Energy

Washington, D.C.

As Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, David Sandalow helps coordinate policy and manage international activities at the Energy Department.

Like many other influencers, Sandalow was a big proponent of clean fuels and clean energy in 2011.  He has authored several books in the past and has written many op-ed columns this past year on energy and environmental policy.

Sandalow was also keen to bring to our attention in 2011 that four clean energy technologies (wind turbines, electric vehicles, photovoltaic cells and fluorescent lighting) use rare earth elements which are at risk of supply disruptions in the next five years.  The Energy Department is working with partner countries to share and develop technology for mining and extraction of critical materials, as well as substitutes and avenues to recycle and reuse our current supply.

But Sandalow’s biggest influence this year was to remind us that Washington has a very important role to play in energy innovation.  The government plays a central role in encouraging, supporting and promoting innovation in many fields, including energy.

Studies show that innovation is more important to GDP growth than capital accumulation or increases in the labor market.  Sandalow lays out some very important reasons why government is important to innovation and reminds us that investment in research has led to tangible, oftentimes invaluable outcomes.

It’s a “High Risk, Higher Reward” game and Sandalow is there to remind us exactly why the government must invest in innovation…otherwise it would be game over before it even started.

#33 Art Rosenfeld

Commissioner of California Energy Commission

Sacramento, California

In 2011 the “Father of Energy Efficiency” was once again recognized for a lifetime of influence.

Dr. Arthur Rosenfeld is a former Commissioner of the California Energy Commission, serving from 2000 until his retirement in 2010.

Well, semi-retired, Rosenfeld is still actively promoting energy efficiency.  He is currently Guest Senior Scientist in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.  He is also Professor Emeritus of Physics at University of California, Berkeley, and serves on the Board of the non-profit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

In July Rosenfeld received the 2011 Demand Response and Smart Grid Leadership Award for his groundbreaking work in demand response and California’s Smart Grid initiatives.

Rosenfeld was also awarded the distinguished Global Energy Prize by Russia in 2011.  This award was in recognition of his forward thinking and innovations in the area of energy efficiency.

His influence in the area of energy efficiency is so great that in 2011 Rosenfeld’s work was honored with the naming of the Rosenfeld Unit (symbol: Rs), a new numeric representation of the energy savings required to replace the output of certain coal-fired power plants.

The “Rosenfeld Unit” goes along nicely with the “Rosenfeld Effect” and “Rosenfeld’s Law.”  Having something named after you, that’s influence.

How significant are Rosenfeld’s energy efficiency savings?  Enough to have a documentary made about you titled “Art Rosenfeld: The Man Who Saved Us Trillions.”  That’s influence felt by millions….and someday billions.

#34 Michael Peevey

President of California Public Utilities Commission

San Francisco, California

In December 2008 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reappointed Michael Peevey for another six-year term as President of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).  If Peevey has another year like 2011 he may not make it to 2014.

Long before being appointed to the CPUC, Peevey was formerly President of Southern California Edison Company, the state’s second-largest utility.  He is married to Carol Liu who serves as California Senator representing the greater Los Angeles area.  While none of this should matter when you’re trying to promote renewable energy and smart grid technology, it all becomes kindling when things are not going well.

What Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) did in 2010 made Peevey a surefire target in 2011.

Early on in 2011 Peevey has become a focal point for public anger over a fatal 2010 pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California.  Critics claimed his commission had grown too cozy with the companies he was regulating, pointing out that CPUC hadn’t done anything when PG&E ignored an impaired section of the ruptured pipeline even after it was granted $5 million to fix it.

Also in 2010, PG&E rolled out new electronic meters that replaced traditional analog electric meters.  Customers with the new smart meters claimed that their energy bills spiked-up and raised concerns with the wireless radio frequency emissions from these devices.

Throw in a 2011 controversial all-expense paid trip for CPUC officials, Peevey’s senator wife, and the senior vice president of energy procurement for PG&E, and that kindling turns into a full-fledge fire.

All that said, Peevey still strived in 2011 to protect the public interest by promoting consumer needs, while challenging utilities to embrace new technologies and provide safe, high-quality services.  PG&E was faulted for the blast, faulty smart meters were replaced (in some cases with analog meters) and many claims were unfounded, and progress was made to deregulate the energy market with the hope that prices will come down and advancements in alternative energy will go up.

While Peevey spent most of 2011 dodging criticism, he will have to stay away from PG&E to exhibit more positive influence in 2012….if he wants to make it to 2014. 

#35 Sam Moody

CEO of Rockhopper Exploration PLC

Salisbury, England

Sam Moody is co-founder and CEO of Rockhopper Exploration, a company based in the United Kingdom that explores for oil & gas around the Falkland Islands.

Headquartered in a converted farmhouse in the genteel Wiltshire countryside, Rockhopper operates a mere 8,000 miles away in the volatile Atlantic swells near the southern tip of Argentina, which claims sovereignty in the area and is not happy.

Founded in 2004, Rockhopper sought The Falklands fabled reserves of several billion barrels of oil after studying data on the Falklands government website.  It found its chief geologist much the same way…using a Google search.

Moody became CEO in September 2010 and four offshore oil fields have since been discovered, all containing hydrocarbons and no water – Sea Lion, Casper, Beverley and Casper South.

Doubts about the region’s viability though were raised after competitor, and now partner, Desire Petroleum had a prolonged dry run.  In October Rockhopper took advantage of Desire’s distressed situation and raised its stake in a nearby license held by Desire from 7.5% to 60%.

Rockhopper success since then has raised estimates and hope in the area.  Moody says the weather and depth conditions in the North Falklands are comparable to the UK North Sea and believes they have an economically viable project there.

But politics in the North Falklands are not comparable to the UK North Sea and will continue to make conditions complicated for Moody in 2012….especially if Rockhopper’s reserves continue to go up and Argentina’s own oil reserves continue their slide down.

Energy Influencers #36 – #40

Energy Influencers #36 – #40

Here’s the next group that you’ll get to meet:

  #31 Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman of Google) 
  #32 David Sandalow (Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs at Department of Energy)
  #33 Art Rosenfeld (Commissioner of California Energy Commission)
  #34 Mike Peevey (President of California Public Utilities Commission)
  #35 Sam Moody (CEO of Rockhopper Exploration PLC)


 #36 Alex Merle

Director International Sales & Trading at Cressman Tubular Products Corporation

Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas

Alex “Danger” Merle is Director International Sales & Trading at Cressman Tubular Products Corporation (CTPC), a stocking distributor of new, steel tubing, casing and line pipe for the oil and gas drilling industry.

Merle was proudly recommended by his peers…quite possibly for being an international man of mystery.  Schooled in London, this Great Brit majored in both French & German.  His expertise crosses several continents and language is no barrier.

Merle started off his oil and energy career trading oils…vegetable oils.  Soon thereafter he became a pipe trader and within a decade has become well-versed with both international and domestic US steel pipe sales.

One colleague said Merle “has great working knowledge of OCTG [Oil Country Tubular Goods] products and unparallelled knowledge of the European, North Africa, USA, Canada markets.”

No doubt, @AlexMerle is an international deal-maker and his sales mojo is so good that even @ArtCressman should tweet “Yeah, baby, yeah!” 

 #37 Angela Merkel

Chancellor of Germany

Berlin, Germany

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, has embarked on the world’s most ambitious plan to power an industrial economy on renewable sources of energy.  It wasn’t her choice until push came to shove.

Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011 convinced Merkel, a trained physicist, to do a u-turn on nuclear energy.  Merkel had been pro-nuclear in the past but the disaster “forever changed the way we define risk in Germany.”  She quickly announced an accelerated phasing out of all 17 German nuclear reactors.

Merkel would like to see all nuclear plants in Germany shut down within 10 years and has a broad six-point plan to put into practice Germany’s vision of a future powered entirely by renewable energy.  This “energy revolution” is to replace the nuclear portion of Germanys energy demand (about 25 percent) with solar, wind, biomass and natural gas.

All eyes are on German renewable energy efforts to see if transformation of the nation into one powered by renewable energy sources can really work.  Germany will become the world’s most important laboratory of “green growth.’

What does #Energy100 Influencer Jeremy Rifkin think?  “If Germany can’t pull this off…we don’t have a plan B.”  Merkel is up to the challenge, hopefully Germany is too.

#38 Vito Longo

Technology Editor at T&D World Magazine

Redwood City, California

“Hundreds of utilities are now using social media in their communication, marketing, web, and, in some cases, customer service strategies.”  That quote comes from a June 2011 article in Transmission & Distribution World (T&D World) magazine article titled “Survey Ranks Utilities Using Social Media.”

If that T&D article were titled “Survey Ranks Editors Using Social Media,” Uncle Vito would be among the top…along with utilities Avista & SRP.

Vito Longo was previously a Project Manager in Power Delivery at the Electric Power Research Institute and Overhead Transmission Line Engineer at PG&E.   Longo has been Technology Editor at T&D World since 2006 and has been an early adopter of social media providing utility news, upcoming T&D World feature articles, industry events and “pithy [and witty] observations about life and culture.”

While Longo’s job at T&D is to get “utility personnel to author feature articles…for publication,” once in awhile the reader gets to enjoy his writings as well which are full of history and life experience….enjoyable even though I know nothing about 12-phase transmission lines.

Others in the industry have also followed Longo’s lead of becoming better versed and integrated into social media….editors and linemen alike.

#39 Orjiakor Isiogu

Chairman of Michigan Public Service Commission

Lansing, Michigan

Over the past century Michigan’s economy had risen and fallen with the gas-powered automotive industry.  Now Orjiakor Isiogu is helping to revive Michigan’s economy with plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs).

With over two decades of experience in public service and the regulation of public utilities and telecommunications services, Isiogu was appointed in 2007 to the Michigan Public Service Commission.

In this position Isiogu has assembled the Michigan Plug-in Electric Vehicle Preparedness Taskforce in an effort to bring together the knowledge and expertise of a very diverse team of stakeholders (utilities, nonprofit organizations, government groups, electrical contractors/inspectors, automotive manufacturers, local clean energy organizations) to provide a seamless customer experience and acceptance of Plug-In Electric Vehicles (PEV) in the state of Michigan.

Isiogu made sure the task force addresses such issues as education and communication, incentives, rates, infrastructure issues and building code changes needed for installation of charging equipment.

Isiogu was selected in June 2011 for Automotive News Electrifying 100 for helping to revive Michigan’s economy with innovative, and collaborative, energy programs such as the PEV taskforce.  He was selected for #Energy100 for the same reason. 

#40 Charles Hendry

U.K. Minister of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change

London, England

Charles Hendry was appointed UK Minister of State for Energy in May 2010.  He supports Secretary of State Edward Davey and the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Hendry understands that decisions being made now on how much and what type of energy is needed will affect the UK for the next few decades.  That’s why he believes it is so important to strike the right balance between creating clean energy from renewable sources and nuclear and using current energy sources in a green fashion.

To meet UK carbon emission reduction targets Hendry was active in 2011 exploring different technologies and initiating policies in a wide range of energy sectors including shale gas exploration (with its ever-controversial fracking technology), offshore drilling, nuclear and wind energy.

Like countries all over the world, the UK has many energy choices, but it’s hard to balance conventional energy and renewable energy without tipping the scales.

Energy Influencers #41 – #45

Energy Influencers #41 – #45

Here’s the next group that you’ll get to meet:

  #36 Alex Merle (Director International Sales & Trading at Cressman Tubular Products Corporation) 
  #37 Angela Merkel (Chancellor of Germany)
  #38 Vito Longo (Technology Editor at T&D World Magazine)
  #39 Orjiakor Isiogu (Chairman of Michigan Public Service Commission)
  #40 Charles Hendry (UK Minister of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change)


 #41 Ashok Gadgil

Scientist at U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

San Francisco, California

Some people like Dr. Ashok Gadgil have influence all over the world, yet are making a difference one person at a time.

Gadgil is a scientist and Director of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  He is also Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley.

Gadgil has substantial experience in technical, economic, and policy research on energy efficiency and its implementation, particularly in developing countries.

Gadgil has a long record of creating innovative energy solutions for indoor environments in the developing world, and he teaches others to do likewise…from pioneering utility-sponsored compact fluorescent lamp leasing programs, to disinfecting drinking water using UV lights, to creating and distributing fuel-efficient stoves to refugee women in Darfur.

Gadgil has received many awards for his work as a researcher, inventor and humanitarian including the 2011 Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award and 2011 European Inventor Award.

Gadgil appeared at TEDxGoldenGateED in June.  Do yourself a favor and watch it.  He delivers a very powerful message about hope, compassion, and how to make a difference in the lives of people all over the world, one person at a time. 

 #42 Josh Fox

Writer & Director of “Gasland

Milanville, Pennsylvania

#Energy100 Influencer Michael J. Economides may not have been a big fan of “Gasland”, but the 2010 film by Josh Fox did win many awards that year and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming in 2011 along with several other high profile nominations.

Though the facts are up for constant debate, Fox can be credited for bringing heightened public awareness around hydraulic fracturing and has brought concerns about drinking water contamination, air pollution and other purported “fracking” risks to the front and center throughout 2011.

Rumor has it that Gasland II is due out in 2012….looks like Fox wants to be nominated for #Energy100 again next year.  What say you Economides, will there be blood?

#43 Gregory Clark

Construction Services Program Manager at CESC

San Francisco, California

We have many #Energy100 Influencers who affected thousands, or even millions, of people in 2011.  Others exerted influence on a more personal level, like Gregory Clark at CESC.

Community Energy Services Corporation (CESC) is a non-profit charitable organization and a licensed general contractor dedicated to building sustainable communities in the greater Bay Area by delivering innovative energy resources and building improvement programs.  Services include energy efficiency auditing and installations, solar consulting, and home repair.

CESC is a member of East Bay Energy Watch and Marin Energy Watch, coalitions of local governments, community-based organizations (CBOs) and PG&E.  The coalitions provide strategic energy and environmental services to reduce carbon emissions and promote resource conservation.

CESC employees like Clark are committed to the environment, eager to promote the growth and development of environmentally sustainable and energy efficient solutions for the buildings where we all live and work.

Clark is also committed to his community, volunteering with organizations such as The San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Special Olympics of Northern California, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the Bay Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.

But, to tell you the truth, I don’t know if Greg Clark of CESC is the actual Greg Clark who got nominated….or if it was this Greg Clark who blogs about Sustainable Development / Green Building….or likely it was this Greg Clark, former Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

But I do know this: people like Greg Clark are making a difference when it comes to saving energy and their influence may affect thousands, or even millions, of people.

Or sometimes they influence us on a more personal level…whether it’s in the San Francisco Bay area, in the Greater Seattle area, in the Tunbridge Wells constituency, or in your own hometown.

#44 Fu Chengyu

Chairman at Sinopec

Beijing, China

Fu Chengyu was nominated for #Energy100 by my “evil twin” who speaks Chinese and has the largest pink cow collection in Central Ohio.

The media agrees.  Fortune magazine ranked Fu 35th on their 2011 Businessperson of the Year list and the Wall Street Journal named him as one of the Twelve Global Executives to Watch in 2012.

In April 2011 Fu was appointed chairman of China Petrochemical (Sinopec), the state-owned petroleum and petrochemical giant ranked by PFC Energy as one of the top ten most valuable energy companies in the world. 

Fu previously served as chairman of China National Offshore Oil Corp (Cnooc) where he led the company to $17.6 billion of global acquisitions and a fivefold profit increase since 2003.  Sinopec believes Fu can do the same there and take the company to the next level.

Sinopec is one of the few companies licensed to develop China’s domestic oil and gas reserves, but the bulk of revenues come from refining and selling oil products inside China.  Fu has much greater ambitions.

Fu has led a series of acquisition attempts around the globe this year and wants to significantly broaden the company beyond China.  His ‘deal making machine’ generated 11 acquisition deals worth $10.4 billion since June in such places as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cameroon and Indonesia.

Fu capped-off 2011 with a $2.2 billion joint venture with Devon Energy focused on unconventional shale gas plays in several U.S. states, including the land of pink cows…Ohio. 

#45 Dick Cheney

46th Vice President of the United States

Washington, D.C.

Dick Cheney was chairman and CEO of Halliburton Company from 1995 to 2000.  Cheney also served as the 46th Vice President of the United States (2001–2009) under George W. Bush.

Put the two experiences together and you have the only reason why Cheney was influential in 2011: the Halliburton Loophole…or as some like to call it, “Dick Cheney’s big fracking mess

In January of 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Dick Cheney to head the Energy Task Force that created the National Energy Policy.

After the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a study in 2004 that concluded fracking posed “little or no threat” to drinking water, Cheney’s Energy Task Force asked Congress for a specific exemption from the Underground Injection Control provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act for fracturing.

That exemption became part of the 2005 Energy Policy Act and soon thereafter became known as the “Halliburton loophole.”  Halliburton had lobbied for the exemption while Cheney ran the company the decade before and the company is credited with inventing hydraulic fracturing in 1947.

Supporters of the “Halliburton loophole” would argue that regulation should be left to the states.  In fact, Texas State Representative Jim Keffer appears on #Energy100 for exactly that reason, passing the nation’s first Hydraulic Fracturing Public Disclosure Bill (HB 3328).

But after five years and a nationwide surge in drilling, it’s time to take another look at the exemption.  Back in 2009, Congress provided the EPA with almost $2 million to conduct further research on the fracking process and its effects on the environment.  The results are due in 2012.

So, does Cheney regret the Halliburton loophole?  Maybe someone who read Cheney’s 2011 memoir “In My Time” can let us know….but I’ll guess no.

Energy Influencers #46 – #50

Energy Influencers #46 – #50

Here’s the next group that you’ll get to meet:

  #41 Ashok Gadgil (Scientist at U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) 
  #42 Josh Fox (Writer & Director of “Gasland”)
  #43 Greg Clark (Construction Services Program Manager at CESC)
  #44 Fu Chengyu (Chairman at Sinopec)
  #45 Dick Cheney (46th Vice President of the United States)


 #46 Ralph Cavanagh

Co-Director at Natural Resources Defense Council

San Francisco, California

Ralph Cavanagh is a senior attorney and Energy Program Co-Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).  NRDC is an environmental action group, combining the grassroots power of 1.3 million members together with law and science to protect the environment.

Cavanagh is focused on the role of electric and natural gas utilities, and the opportunity to transform them into the economy’s most important clean energy investors.  In the Pacific Northwest and California he helped build coalitions of utilities, consumer groups, industries, regulators, and others to unleash the power of energy efficiency and renewable energy resources.

As an early recipient of the Heinz Award in Public Policy for his work in persuading legislators and regulators to permit utilities to earn money by saving energy, Cavanagh was commended for being “an optimist by nature who believes that win-win situations are possible with enough hard work.”

Cavanagh was also praised because he “epitomizes the power of the thinker, the convener, and the listener.”  That was true 15 years ago and still holds true today in his articles, videos & debates on sustainable energy, the shale revolution, wind and solar energy, nuclear power, and energy efficiency.

Cavanagh serves as a member on many clean/green boards, has received just as many awards, and contributes to the NRDC Switchboard blog in his spare time…thankfully without the legalese. 

 #47 Maria Cantwell

United States Senator for Washington State

Washington, D.C.

Maria Cantwell is a United States Senator for the Evergreen State of Washington.  In 2011 she was named Chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy.

Cantwell is probably best known for co-authoring the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal (CLEAR) Act a few years ago which tried to incorporate a “cap-and-dividend” framework to reduce carbon emissions.  It died in 2010 but Cantwell will do what she can to bring it back to life.

But Cantwell has had better success with energy legislation and policy in 2011, albeit on a much smaller scale: supporting development of advanced biofuels, fighting to protect the Pacific Coast from offshore drilling, proposing offshore oil drilling rig safety legislation, boosting U.S. hydropower production, saving clean energy jobs, cracking down on oil speculation, voting to end subsidies to big oil, helping to spur domestic biodiesel production and encouraging technologies that make electric cars more efficient.

A chair of the Senate Democrats 20/20 Energy Independence campaign and co-chair of the Apollo Alliance, Cantwell is known for supporting alternative energy research and continues the fight to increase our nation’s energy independence and promote greater use of domestically produced biofuels.

Let’s hope 2012 finds her with more success in these clean energy endeavors.

#48 Scott Brown

Founder, CEO & Managing Partner at New Energy Capital

Boston, Massachusetts

While he believes going nuclear is an essential option to “put the planet on a much-needed low-carbon diet”, Scott Brown yearns for cost-effective renewable technologies that could generate round-the-clock energy at reasonable cost…so he is investing in their future.

Founded by Brown in 2004, New Energy Capital (NEC) is a private equity fund focused on investments in renewable energy, distributed generation and energy productivity projects.

Having legacy investments in ethanol, cogeneration, biomass (wood) and biodiesel projects, NEC has recently invested in biogas, fuel cell & solar through its Cleantech Infrastructure Fund.

By participating in the largest integrated fuel cell project in the nation, NEC has invested $23.5 million of this fund in turning waste into energy.  This beneficial use of digester gas (BUDG) project will run on renewable biogas generated from wasted methane gas at the City of San Diego wastewater treatment plant and will serve as a model for future biogas projects.

Having previous experience in the photovoltaic industry, Brown also led NECs recent $12 million investment in FLS Energy, the nation’s largest installer of commercial solar hot water systems and one of the largest regional integrators of photovoltaic solar systems.

Although Brown believes that “solar, wind, geothermal and biomass power can provide, at best, 20 to 30 percent of the power Americans require”, he continues to invest in a clean and renewable future.

Otherwise we’ll all have to go nuclear….literally and figuratively.

#49 Eric Besson

French Minister of Industry, Energy and the Digital Economy


Nuclear power is the primary source of electric power in France.  In September France’s energy minister Éric Besson created a commission to study all possible scenarios, including for the first time the possibility of doing away with nuclear energy.

Though public opinion and Green Party presidential candidate Eva Joly may favor pulling out of nuclear altogether, Besson said the EU needs to keep nuclear to “decarbonize” and that a pullout “is not my conviction…but at the same time we can’t exclude anything.”

That said, Besson has been busy to include anything on renewable energy development…whether he was opening a new photovoltaic facility in southeastern France, financing a solar energy plan in Morocco, or facilitating offshore wind farms along the coasts of Britanny and Normandy, Besson had quite an “energy mix” going in 2011. 

#50 Alan Armstrong

President & CEO of The Williams Companies

Tulsa, Oklahoma

In January 2011 Alan Armstrong became president and chief executive officer of Williams, one of the leading energy infrastructure companies in North America.  He succeeded Steve Malcolm who retired after guiding Williams from the brink of bankruptcy.

Additionally, Armstrong serves as chairman of the board and chief executive officer for Williams Partners L.P., the master limited partnership that owns most of Williams’ gas pipeline and domestic midstream assets.

Armstrong serves on a mile-long list of boards for industry associations and community organizations as well….ready?….Gas Processors Association, Natural Gas Supply Association, American Petroleum Institute, American Exploration and Production Council, America’s Natural Gas Alliance, Business Roundtable, Junior Achievement of Oklahoma, Tulsa Metro Chamber, Tulsa’s Future II Oversight Committee, The Williams Foundation…and I’m sure I missed a few others.  He also speaks at numerous energy conferences, seminars and philanthropic events in his spare time.

Having been with Williams in escalating capacities since he stepped out of college, 2011 was no rookie year for Armstrong and he went right to work separating the company’s businesses into two stand-alone, publicly traded corporations….Williams (energy infrastructure) and WPX Energy (exploration & production).

While Armstrong claims this spin-off was to enhance value, growth potential and focus (the usual reasons of course), I think Armstrong just wanted to clean his plate a little…so he can add more servings in 2012.

Energy Influencers #51 – #55

Energy Influencers #51 – #55

Here’s the next group that you’ll get to meet:

  #46 Ralph Cavanagh (Co-Director at Natural Resources Defense Council) 
  #47 Maria Cantwell (United States Senator from the State of Washington)
  #48 Scott Brown (CEO and Managing Partner at New Energy Capital)
  #49 Eric Besson (French Minister of Industry, Energy and the Digital Economy)
  #50 Alan Armstrong (Chairman & CEO of Williams Partners GP LLC)


 #51 Daniel Yergin

Co-Founder & Chairman at IHS CERA

Washington, D.C.

20 years after “The [Pulitzer] Prize”, Daniel Yergin has released “The Quest.”

As chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), Dr. Daniel Yergin is one of the most influential consultants in the oil industry, award-winning author, historian and leading authority on energy, international politics and economics.

IHS is often commissioned by various industries to conduct studies. One of its energy divisions, IHS CERA, was founded by Yergin and is considered to have some of the best data and analysis available.

In September 2011, Yergin published his 804-page “The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World”, which continued his history begun in “The Prize” of the global oil industry but also addressed energy security, natural gas, electric power, climate change and the search for renewable sources of energy.

Nearing the summit of this 804-page mountain of a book “you may find the dead bodies of those who did not make it all the way”, but the view at the top may well be worth the sacrifices.

While this sequel to “The Prize” is a literary event, “The Quest” will not be without controversy. Yergin and his firm (CERA) have spent the last two decades earning millions of dollars a year in fees from the oil companies and executives about whom he is writing.

Yergin speaks often about energy and his book.  And while he has even appeared on Time’s list of “People Who Mattered in 2011,” he also has his critics.

But while Yergin has not always been perfect in his predictions, he does offer up a point that we all can agree on: “there isn’t one single solution that provides the answer.” 

 #52 Floyd Wilson

Chairman & CEO of Petrohawk Energy

Houston, Texas

Like many of our #Energy100 Influencers involved in oil and gas exploration & production (E&P), Floyd Wilson has the ambitions, the knowledge and the exit strategies of a venture capitalist (VC).  Wilson and VCs alike know how to take risks, create value and make nice returns.

Petrohawk Energy was founded by Wilson in 2004 and became a dominant player in the Haynesville and Eagle Ford shale plays in Texas and Louisiana, and a premier position holder in the Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas.

Wilson ran several other companies prior to Petrohawk Energy which were successfully sold at high premiums. Wilson’s goal for Petrohawk back in 2004 was to position this company to be sold as well.

Built early on by acquisitions, the company spent aggressively to work its way to a new position where it had decent long-term growth potential.  But Petrohawk needed new sources of capital to explore its shale gas holdings and sold eight major assets since March 2010.

Then Wilson finally did what everyone was expecting him to do….he sold Petrohawk outright.

BHP Billiton acquired the company in July 2011 in an all cash offer for $38.75 per share ($15.1 billion).  No one quite expected the 65% premium, especially since Petrohawk had a “For Sale” sign on its front lawn for years, but in 2011 foreign suitors seemed to be very generous ones. 

In December Wilson was at it again and landed as CEO and part owner of RAM Energy Resources, teaming with other investors to buy a majority stake in the company.  RAM will accelerate drilling in the Mississippian oil play in Oklahoma using the Halcon Resources name and $550 million investment.

Wilson has an outstanding track record of successfully growing small-cap exploration and production companies into value-rich large-cap enterprises.  He also knows the secret to E&P success: independents find and prove the big play and ultimately get taken out by the deep pocketed major players.   Once again, well played Mr. Wilson.

#53 Jon Wellinghoff

Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee

Washington, D.C.

As FERC chairman Jon Wellinghof has been at the forefront of new energy technologies such as renewable integration, plug-in electric vehicles, and the modernization of the nation’s electric grid.

Wellinghof has also described himself as “…a soldier fighting in an epic battle for demand response.”  Demand response allows customers reduce their electricity usage at critical times or in response to market prices.  In return utilities offer rates that reflect the variation in electricity costs over a daily or hourly basis, or incentives to reduce the electric load at peak times

FERC regulates electricity markets in every state but Texas and has taken an active role in encouraging greater demand-response efforts from utilities.  In 2010 FERC came out with a report titled a “National Action Plan on Demand Response.”  Then in March 2011 the FERC issued the highly controversial Order 745 which prescribes how providers of demand response are to be compensated in the organized wholesale markets.

Opponents argue that the FERC’s order prescribes an inefficient pricing rule that overcompensates demand response, thereby reducing market efficiency and unfairly burdening small electricity consumers.

Proponents of demand response programs say that its benefits include improved system reliability, cost avoidance, greater market efficiency, improved risk management, reduced negative environmental impacts, improved customer service, and market power mitigation.

Wellinghoff has influenced opinions on both sides of the demand response debate…except in Texas, which has its own electric grid.

#54 John W. Somerhalder II

Chairman, President & CEO of AGL Resources

Atlanta, Georgia

John W. Somerhalder II got ‘GAS’ in 2011.  Seriously.

Somerhalder spent almost 30 years with El Paso Corporation before being named as president and chief executive officer of the AGL Resources in 2006.  AGL is the parent of its namesake Atlanta Gas Light and distributed natural gas to 2.2 million customers in six states.

Somerhalder pulled-off the “most transformational event in [AGL’s] history” by acquiring Illinois-based Nicor Inc. in December 2011.  The deal doubled the size of AGL and created the nation’s largest natural gas-only distribution company, with 4.5 million utility customers in seven states.

Although a warmer winter and ample natural gas supplies at low prices all factored into a drop in AGL’s bottom line, Somerhalder remains top of the line when it comes to serving his industry and his community.

Somerhalder served as chairman of the American Gas Association in 2011 and also served on the boards of the Gas Technology Institute, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.  As leader of AGL’s V-Force (Volunteer Force), he was also involved with Habitat for Humanity, United Way and the Beltline Partnership which supports development of the Atlanta BeltLine along 22 miles of historic railroad around the city.

On Dec. 16, AGL Resources assumed Nicor’s ticker symbol ‘GAS’ in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.  It remains to be seen though if Natural Gas prices will rise in the coming year…Somerhalder and ‘GAS’ are depending on it in order to remain influential in 2012. 

#55 Jeremy Rifkin

Owner of The Foundation on Economic Trends

Washington, D.C.

Along with #Energy100 Influencer Amory Lovins, Jeremy Rifkin was nominated on twitter for “ influence in the areas of #cleanenergy #cleaneconomy.”

Rifkin is president of The Foundation on Economic Trends, bestselling author and frequent speaker on the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment.

Rifkin’s latest book “The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World” explains how internet technology and renewable energy are merging to change the way we live and work.  He envisions an ’Energy Internet’ with thousands of small producers.

As a European Union advisor for the past decade, Rifkin also believes the US and EU can achieve energy independence now.  His plan based on five pillars: 1) Renewable energy targets 2) Green buildings 3) Energy storage 4) “Energy Internet” and 5) Plug-in electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Rifkin believes that the ‘Democratization Of Energy‘ will change everything.  Rifkin’s influential Third Industrial Revolution may be where we need to go from here.