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The Current
October 2012


The Interdependence of Energy and Water: Drought May Lead to Future Blackouts

By Francesca Wahl, Associate for Policy and Research,
Alliance to Save Energy

Almost daily, news reports this summer have focused on heat records breaking, wild fires erupting, and severe drought spreading across large portions of the country. Water shortages have become a commonplace phenomenon, and food crops are withering as the United States is experiencing its worst drought since 1956. More than half of U.S. counties have already been declared primary disaster areas and the number continues to rise. And scientists in the Northern Hemisphere have just recorded the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature exceeded the 20th century average. However, while the spike in food prices and general food and water shortages are primary concerns, too little attention is drawn to the effect a sustained and severe drought will have on U.S. electricity supply.

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Tell us more about yourself and you could win FREE Membership and more

Last year, we developed a new Web site that includes features for members to interact with each other, organize events and find out what's happening with WCEE. Each member has a profile page similar to a LinkedIn profile that includes a template to post your bio and join groups within WCEE. It's a great tool for networking, promoting yourself with members and sponsors. Those members who complete their profile by November 15, 2012 can win FREE membership for a year, admission to three WCEE events – Opinion Shapers, the Legislative Roundtable, and one other paid event of your choice. That's right we said "FREE". All you need to do is complete your WCEE profile on the Web site by November 15, 2012, then send an email to and your name will be entered into a drawing to win these fabulous WCEE prizes.

U.S. Struggles with Increasing Gas Flaring
By Saltanat Berdikeeva, non-resident fellow, the Regional Studies Center (Armenia) and an energy consultant based in Washington, D.C

North Dakota’s oil production from its Bakken Shale formation continues to grow, reaching 660 thousand barrels per day (bbl/d) in June 2012. With a back-to-back 5 percent rise in oil output every month, North Dakota does not expect the pace of production to slow down. By all accounts, an immediate challenge for the oil boom is the inability of producers to deliver to refineries due to insufficient pipeline capacity. Rapidly growing oil production and infrastructure problems are also starting to pose serious environmental challenges.

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Field Observations from the NARUC Summer Committee Meetings
By Christine Hertzog, Managing Director, Smart Grid Library

State regulatory commissions have a significant impact on their state economies through their oversight of privately-owned electric, natural gas, water, telecommunications, and various transportation entities. The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) organizes regular committee meetings that help commissioners develop public policy and share best practices. The recent Summer Committee meetings focused on the first four topics mentioned above, plus consumer affairs and critical infrastructure.

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WCEE in San Francisco

By Barbara Bauman Tyran, Director, Washington & State Relations, Electric Power Research Institute

On August 8, former and current WCEE Membership Chairs Julia Souder Prochnik and Barbara Tyran co-organized the first WCEE event in northern California. Together, they reached out to several San Francisco Bay area organizations – local WCEE members, California PUC, Enernoc, SmartGrid Library, Women of Wind Energy, CH2M Hill, and EPRI's Technical Women’s Network and Early Career Network - to bring together 35-40 energy professionals for an evening of networking and information-sharing. San Francisco-area WCEE members were delighted to meet each other and are excited about the prospects for future events.

Members in the News

Congratulations to WCEE Member and veteran energy analyst Christine Tezak, who recently joined research firm ClearView Energy Partners LLC as a managing director. Tezak will oversee research on electricity markets, interstate pipelines, energy infrastructure, and environmental policy.

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Copyright 2012 WCEE. Reproduction of material from The Current without permission is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

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