Please note your affiliation and years of experience in the energy and/or environmental field
I have been associated with the energy industry since 2011 and am currently working for Energy Ventures Analysis – an energy consulting firm in Arlington, VA. I am a manager at EVA’s power market advisory practice, where I focus on providing consulting services to a wide variety of clients, such as utilities, IPPs, fuel producers, investment banks, private equity firms, and traders. Additionally, I manage daily and monthly publications related to Term Power and Coal/Gas competition, analyzing fundamental drivers affecting the U.S. energy markets. I have worked on multiple projects analyzing the impact of various environmental regulations on the U.S. energy sector, as well.
Any particular achievement/interest in energy/environment you would like to mention?
At EVA, I have had the chance to work on numerous high-impact projects related to regulatory impact analysis. I was part of the team that performed the analysis for the NERC “Potential Reliability Impacts of EPA’s Clean Power Plan (Phase 1 and 2)” report. Our analysis helped NERC identify potential reliability issues that could result from various Clean Power Plan scenarios. I also presented at EPIS’s 2015 Annual Energy Market Forecasting Conference, showcasing the Aurora dispatch model’s ability to perform the Clean Power Plan analysis.
While there are a number of energy related topics I work on every day, what piques my interest is the prospect of blockchain technology in the energy market. While there are a number of potential-use cases, the decentralization of energy and the increase in a peer-to-peer energy trading market could be the game changer. With the advent of microgrids, peer-to-peer energy trading could become a reality very soon, and this could potentially limit the impact of natural and man-made disasters on the electricity grid.
In your opinion, what are the important issues facing the energy industry nowadays?
In the U.S. markets, the increasing penetration of intermittent renewable resources such as wind and solar, and the phasing out of baseload generators like coal and nuclear are causing market imbalances. California has been struggling with the “duck curve” and with more fossil-fired units exiting the market; the issue is bound to be exacerbated. The ERCOT market is exposed to the volatility of wind generation, which could potentially impact reliability. Storage technologies like batteries need to become economically viable quickly to resolve the issues arising from the growth in intermittent generation.
In terms of global issues, the 100% electrification of India is something to look out for. To provide round-the-clock reliable electricity, India’s energy infrastructure needs to grow significantly. With an ambitious target of increasing its renewable power capacity to 175 GW by 2022 to meet incremental demand, India needs to be aware of the challenges arising from drastic growth in renewable generation. It will be interesting to see India progress toward achieving 100% electrification while also adhering to its green goals. If India manages to accomplish this, it would become a leader in renewable energy and could carve a path for others to follow.
How long have you been a member of NCAC? Any particular NCAC memory you would like to share with us?
I have been an NCAC member for three years and I am currently serving on the Council. I have been to numerous lunches and field trips organized by NCAC. The most memorable of those was the trip to the National Energy Technology Lab (NETL) and the Longview Coal Plant in Morgantown, WV earlier this year. That was my first trip to a fossil-fired plant and to a HELE (High Efficiency Low Emission) unit. It was interesting to see the operation of the unit as well as to learn about the challenges faced by the plant in the era of low natural gas prices.
Despite being one of the newest, cleanest and most efficient coal plants in the country, Longview struggled financially and emerged out of bankruptcy in 2015. This clearly highlights how new and efficient CCGTs in a sub $3/MMBTU gas price era affect coal units in a competitive market.