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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s