Energy Influencers #56 – #60

Energy Influencers #56 – #60

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

  #51 Daniel Yergin (Co-Founder & Chairman at IHS CERA) 
  #52 Floyd Wilson (Chairman & CEO of Petrohawk Energy)
  #53 Jon Wellinghoff (Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee)
  #54 John W. Somerhalder II (Chairman, President & CEO of AGL Resources)
  #55 Jeremy Rifkin (Owner of The Foundation on Economic Trends)


 #56 Trevor Rees-Jones

Founder, President & CEO at Chief Oil & Gas

Dallas, Texas

The article “Trevor Rees-Jones: The Wildcatter” from D Magazine describing Trevor Rees-Jones is a must-read.  I wish I was Glenn Hunter for a day.

Trevor Rees-Jones started his career in oil and gas reorganization law.  After five years he felt “more interested in putting deals together…getting wells drilled, finding a gas field, establishing production. I was just intrigued by that more than researching the law and writing briefs.”

Rees-Jones founded Chief Oil & Gas in 1994.  Using fracking and horizontal drilling technologies, Chief became the second-largest producer in the Barnett Shale by 2006, when he started the first of the big, extraordinarily lucrative natural-gas deals that would make him rich.

Over the next 5-years Reese-Jones sold Barnett Shale assets to Devon Energy and Crosstex Energy for $2.63 billion, sold more Barnett Shale properties to Quicksilver Resources for $1.3 billion, sold Marcellus Shale interests with Tug Hill to Canada’s Enerplus Resources Fund for $406 million, and sold another Marcellus Shale chunk with Tug Hill to Exco Resources for $459.4 million.

Then in May 2011 Chief & Tug Hill completed the 228,000-acre sale to Chevron Corp for an undisclosed amount, possibly another $1 billion.  By the way, Tug Hill founder Michael Radler doubles as Chief’s COO.

After all these successful deals it’s amazing that Reese-Jones has any acreage left to drill and deal, but he does in several fields including Marcellus Shale in the Appalachian region, Barnett Shale in North Texas, the Mississippian Lime play in Kansas and the Central Utah thrust belt.

Over the years drilling wells and putting deals together catapulted Rees-Jones from $4,000 in the bank to being ranked #88 on Forbes’ latest list of the 400 richest Americans with an estimated net worth of $3.3 billion.

Look for this wildcatting “throwback” and one of the region’s foremost philanthropists to remain influential in 2012.  I’m sure Glenn Hunter would appreciate more legendary material for his next article. 

 #57 Barack Obama

President of the United States

Washington, D.C.

In my #Energy100 foreword I wrote “while some of these choices may be controversial, all of these influencers are making a difference in the energy industry…whether it’s positive or negative influence may be a matter of great debate, but they’re influential nonetheless.”

Prime example: President Barack Obama

Obama was involved in so many energy issues in 2011 that I’ll just list a few and have you, the readers, fill-in-the blanks and debate whether they were good/bad/ugly in the comments section.  I just ask that you all play nice.  Debate is good, trash is bad.

Jan: State of the Union Address: “Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas…to meet this goal, we will need them all.”

Feb: Obama administration budget calls for $29.5 billion in Energy Department spending, up from $26.4 billion in 2010.

Mar: Obama released “Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future” touting growth in clean energy and promising to reduce U.S. dependence on oil while increasing regulation to protect the environment.

Apr: Obama promotes a new clean-energy vehicle initiative for encouraging businesses to build commercial fleets that burn less gasoline and diesel fuel.

May: Obama hits the road with clean energy agenda stating America needs to accelerate its transition away from fossil fuels in order to remain economically competitive in the years ahead

Jun: Obama administration announces it will release 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to alleviate Libyan supply disruptions.

Jul: Obama administration announces tougher rules for power plants in 27 states to sharply cut emissions of chemicals.

Aug: White House-backed solar energy company Solyndra collapses.

Sep: Obama administration announces 5-year $43 million program to speed technical innovations, lower costs, and shorten the timeline for deploying offshore wind energy systems.

Oct: Obama pledged to accelerate permitting and construction for seven major electricity transmission projects in 12 states to boost grid capacity across the country.

Nov: Bowing to public pressure, the Obama administration said it will delay a decision on the controversial Keystone oil sands pipeline expansion until at least 2013.

Dec: Obama announces commitment of $4 billion to finance energy efficiency building projects across the United States, hoping to achieve 20 percent energy saving by 2020 and saving American business’ nearly $40 billion every year in energy costs.

Green/clean advocates and the oil industry have been locked in a fierce debate over Obama’s energy record.  What do you think?

#58 Kenny Mercado

Sr. Vice President of Regulated Operations Technology at CenterPoint Energy

Houston, Texas

Headquartered in Houston, CenterPoint Energy is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution.  Kenny Mercado is responsible for CenterPoint’s Energy Insight system of smart technologies which includes smart meter deployment and an intelligent grid initiative.

Like #Energy100 Influencer Bill Limbrick, Mercado was also nominated on twitter “for most successful smart grid deployments.”  It’s deja vu all over again.

And like their IESO friends in Canada, CenterPoint Energy is the “point of the spear” in leading smart grid deployments in America.

In February 2011 Mercado celebrated the installation of CenterPoint’s one-millionth smart meter customer (congratulations Craig Funni) and is on track to install 2.2 million smart meters by late 2012.

CenterPoint also began an In-Home Display pilot program.  71 percent of customers reported that they have changed their electricity consumption behavior as a result of the energy use data they accessed on their in-home displays.  With her in-home display, customer Ruth Diorio saved about $30 a month, which is over $350 a year.

In 2011 Mercado proved that companies can maximize operational efficiencies while helping to educate customers, like Craig & Ruth, about their energy usage and influence the way we all use energy.

#59 Bill Limbrick

CIO & Vice President of Organizational Development at IESO

Toronto, Canada

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is a Canadian Crown corporation which balances the supply and demand for electricity in Ontario and then directs its flow across the province’s transmission lines.

As VP of Organizational Development, Bill Limbrick is responsible for information technology, security and infrastructure, business process engineering and human resources at IESO.

Limbrick was nominated on twitter “for most successful smart grid deployments.”  What may have been the source of inspiration?

In August of 2010 government agency Measurement Canada became concerned that the system for reading homeowners’ smart meters, which measure time-of-use electricity consumption, was inaccurately charging at least 150,000 Ontarians for hydro power.

Limbrick was given responsibility for provisioning power and upgrading the province’s power grid.  IESO had to repair the meters and meter-reading computer system before Jan. 1, 2012.  Was Limbrick inspired?

Indeed he was.  IESO became the world’s largest residential smart meter and time-of-use billing implementation.  By the end of 2011 more than 4.7 million smart meters had been installed in homes and small businesses across the province, with more than 3.6 million consumers paying time-of-use (TOU) rates.

IESO also implemented a market management system to bring operational improvements, cost efficiencies and enhanced reliability to the power transmission system.  These improvements are expected to reduce costs to consumers by up to $17 million per year.

#Energy100 Influencer Gary Bloom said that IESO “raised the bar for successful Smart Grid deployments around the world.”  Inspiration comes in many forms.  Here’s hoping that others become just as inspired as Limbrick so they may become just as influential as well. 

#60 Chris King

Chief Regulatory & Strategy Officer at eMeter

San Francisco, California

Chris King has a lot on his To Do List for 2011 and beyond.

King is Chief Regulatory Officer of eMeter and President of eMeter Strategic Consulting (ESC).  eMeter is a leading provider of Smart Grid Management Software while ESC provides strategic consulting services to a variety of metering and demand response industry participants.

As if that didn’t keep him busy enough, King is also a writer/blogger, speaker, founder (Demand Response and Smart Grid Alliance), inventor (Peak Time Rebate) and board member (Department of Energy’s Demand Response Coordinating Committee).  He’ll even do the occasional video press tour.

All in all, King is a nationally recognized authority on energy regulation and competitive energy markets, and is dedicated to achieving the consumer & environmental benefits of smart meters.

King has also been doing a lot of deep thinking lately about how the smart grid is developing and offered his own 10 Smart Grid Predictions for 2012.

I’ll offer my own prediction…this Smart Grid King will once again reign supreme as one of the most influential people in energy in 2012.

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