Katherine Hamilton

Posts by Katherine Hamilton

After Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Atlantic shoreline, my 88-year-old mother-in-law sat in her New Jersey home, unwilling to leave her things, for over a week with no electricity. Another friend of mine spent that same week waiting in gas lines to refill a generator and keep his brother’s small business going. These two examples don’t even include the truly unfortunate folks who completely lost their homes and businesses; they just lost their electric power.

There has been quite a bit of buzz about whether the “smart grid” and associated technologies and applications actually helped in the Sandy recovery efforts. They may have but I think we can do better. Keep reading →

To borrow a phrase from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, we are not dead yet. The media has picked up on the A123 Systems Chapter 11 filing and has extrapolated it to mean that somehow energy storage is another failed Department of Energy (DOE) technology. In fact, the industry feels fine.

First, A123 is not dead; they are restructuring and continue operations. They also have 90 megawatts of energy storage up and running worldwide with a number of other projects in process. Roland Berger just released a report on the projected market for lithium ion batteries and the top five players included the likes of LG, Panasonic, Sanyo-and A123 Systems. Recognizing this opportunity, a number of suitors have lined up in a bidding war for A123, which the bankruptcy judge called “the popular girl at the dance.” Not exactly demise. Keep reading →

This blog-and my career, frankly – has carefully steered clear of politically sensitive issues and focused instead on advocating for smart public policy. But having lived through summer after summer in Washington, D.C., with temperatures continuously climbing above 100 degrees and increasingly violent storms (with scientists echoing that things seem to be progressing more quickly then once thought), I finally am compelled to comment on the topic of climate change.
Given these circumstances, it seems that at long last, a real conversation about climate change is bound to happen. I actually think climate change policy does not have to be mired in politics, especially when the skepticism is concentrated in a small part of the political spectrum in Washington, D.C.

In 2010, I participated as part of a trade delegation to COP-15 in Copenhagen. I was then heading up the GridWise Alliance, and attended the climate negotiations to meet with other business leaders and observe the proceedings. I came away with two distinct impressions. Keep reading →

With the exception of a few teams (Red Sox, Phillies and Cubs come to mind) most baseball fans are fairly mild mannered. In my house, we spend many summer nights falling asleep to the drone of the announcers’ voices as the seventh, eighth, ninth innings come and go. Football fans, on the other hand, seem to be more physically passionate. Maybe it’s the roughness of the sport. Or perhaps it’s the speed and action. Or the inherent excitement in each play. All I know is, if the lights were to go out for a few seconds in a baseball game, most fans would simply wave up the row for the beer guy. The millions of 49ers and Steelers fans in San Francisco and around their TV sets when two outages occurred during Monday night football reacted a little differently.

PG&E doesn’t have any more eyes left to blacken by consumers given their track record on smart grid implementation; the fact that they were unable to give a definitive reason for the outage did not help their cause. Whoever is to blame, one thing is certain. If the PG&E system and large facilities like sports complexes had energy storage technologies in place, the back-up power would come on in the blink of an eye and football fans would be none the wiser. Keep reading →