From the President, USAEE

Michael Canes
Distinguished Fellow
Logistics Management Institute
McLean, VA

Soon we will be heading to New York City for this year’s IAEE International Conference, which is being hosted by USAEE.  All signs are that this will be a tremendous experience, with 10 excellent plenary sessions, 57 concurrent sessions, and some really interesting technical tours. On the last day there also will be a technical workshop, which this year is being sponsored by Rice University.  All this plus many networking opportunities to meet colleagues from around the world who are in business, government and academia, and to refresh previous contacts while making new ones.

The conference is taking place in downtown New York City, which provides many opportunities for interesting sightseeing.  But I hope you will take full advantage of the expertise being offered within the conference program.  The Administrator of the Energy Information Administration, Adam Sieminski, will lead off our conference with observations on where U.S. energy markets are headed. This session will continue with discussions by David Hobbs, Research Director of KAPSARC, a new Saudi Arabian energy research institution; and Eirik Waermess. Chief Economist of Satoil.  At other plenaries we’ll hear about energy and the economy, renewables and grid integration, climate change, energy financing, and much, much more.  The challenge will be which to choose when both of two concurrent plenaries offer terrific speakers and subjects.

The program's high quality concurrent sessions will feature over 330 presentations, selected from almost 800 that were submitted by members from around the world.  We expect these sessions to be among the best ever offered at an IAEE conference.

Because of hotel space limitations coupled with the overwhelming interest shown in this year’s conference, USAEE was forced to cap registrations at 550.  This may mean that some who want to come may not be able to.  But as of this writing, there still is room for all.  I sincerely hope that you will make it a priority to attend this year’s conference, participate in the many activities being offered, and come away with a first class experience.  See you in New York!  



From the Editor

Robert Eric Borgström
Advisor on Energy Regulatory Policy & Management
Washington, DC

Dear Colleagues,

With this issue of USAEE Dialogue, we're offering a mix of reading suggestions as well as opportunities for member interaction.

Firstly, we’re pleased to feature two member-submitted articles:

  • “Can the Use of Small Hydro Plants be the Solution to Rural Electrification in Nigeria?“, by Osasohan Agbonlahor, a PhD student at the University of Nevada, Reno; and
  • “Distributed Generation: Transmission Panacea or Utility Pain Point?“, by Michael Goldman, a senior research analyst at Northeast Utilities.

USAEE Members from all sectors of our energy economics community are most cordially invited to propose articles for future issues of USAEE Dialogue that share the results of their research and/or case studies of business experience.  (See below for further information.)





Can the Use of Small Hydro Plants (SHPs) be the Solution to

Rural Electrification in Nigeria?


Osasohan Agbonlahor
PhD Student/Graduate Research Assistant
University of Nevada, Reno


This study aims to analyse the use of SHPs and Energy Kiosks which have been successfully executed in rural villages in Tanzania and Mali and examine whether these systems can be implemented in rural villages in Nigeria to improve rural electrification in the country. The methodology employed is the use of descriptive analysis of data relating to Nigeria’s electricity sector from relevant agencies. Also, a review of the strategies and execution of SHPs and Energy Kiosks in rural communities as recommended by UNIDO shall be examined to determine its suitability and feasibility in rural communities in Nigeria.



Distributed Generation: Transmission Panacea or

Utility Pain Point?

Michael Goldman
Senior Research Analyst
Northeast Utilities 
Westwood, MA


On June 7th, 2013, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum instructing several Cabinet-level departments to work together in order to expedite the siting, permitting, and review process for electric transmission infrastructure. The memo states that a reliable transmission grid is necessary for economic growth and national security. Additionally, the memo explicitly lists reduced congestion as a goal of a modernized grid. This renewed emphasis on transmission infrastructure raises the question of whether distributed generation (DG) opportunities can be targeted on specific geographic areas (“geo-targeted”) in order to help alleviate transmission congestion in those areas and help improve the overall reliability of the bulk electricity system. Looking at recent developments and trends from across the country, many of the economic and operational costs and benefits associated with geo-targeting DG can be highlighted.





Forthcoming Conferences

An important benefit of your USAEE membership is the opportunity to participate in a variety of IAEE events around the world.  The following articles highlight the International Conference to be held in New York City (June 15-18) and regional conferences scheduled for 2014 in Beijing and Rome:




37th IAEE International Conference

New York City - June 15-18, 2014

"Energy and the Economy"


The 37th IAEE International Conference will take place in New York City between June 15 and 18, 2014, and will focus on the relationship between economic growth and energy. This relationship grows ever more important as economies around the world struggle to reinvigorate themselves and to develop energy resources in sensible, sustainable ways. Can economic growth be stimulated even with pressure to reduce if not forego certain forms of energy for environmental or safety reasons? Alternatively, can energy development be a major force that stimulates economic growth? What policy framework would maximize the contribution of energy to growth while encouraging efficient use as well as efficient substitution of sustainable for less sustainable sources?

The Administrator of the US Energy Information Administration has committed to address the opening session of the Conference on the renaissance in U.S. energy and what it means for the country and the world. Ten plenary sessions will feature high level policy makers along with leaders in business and academia.  This year's program will include a record number of concurrent sessions with 330 participants representing all sectors of our energy economics' community.

Early registrations indicate that we may soon reach our planned capacity of 550 participants.  If you have not made your plans to attend, don't delay.  It's going to be a conference that you won't want to miss!

Registration forms and complete information about the conference can be found at: www.usaee.org/usaee2014/.




3rd Annual USAEE Case Competition

(To be held at the forthcoming IAEE International Conference in New York City.)

Eric Hittinger
Chair, USAEE Case Competition Committee
Asst. Prof., Public Policy, Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, NY

Dr. Hittinger with the winning team of the 2nd Annual USAEE Case Competition - Michael Craig, Michael Davidson and Ashwini Bharatkumar (not pictured: Daniel Cross-Call) from MIT - at last year's USAEE North American Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. 

Developing the capabilities of student members is an important part of the USAEE mission.  And it is clear from the many student programs and the high student attendance rates at conferences that USAEE is serious about this effort.  The USAEE Case Competition builds on the existing student programs, providing another venue for students to both contribute solutions to challenging energy economics problems and participate in the annual conference.  In contrast with the more academically-oriented Best Paper Award, the Case Competition was created to allow students interested in industry or consulting careers to exercise and showcase their analytic capabilities. 




4th IAEE Asian Conference:

Beijing, China - September 19-21, 2014

 "Energy Economics: New Challenges and Solutions"

Main Conference Venue

We are very pleased to introduce to you the 4th IAEE Asian Conference, one of the four major conferences of the International Association for Energy Economics(IAEE) and the first to be held in mainland China, will be hosted by the Institute of Policy and Management of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and China University of Geosciences (Beijing) (CUGB), in Beijing on 19-21 September 2014, with accommodations at the International Conference Center of CUGB.  




14th IAEE European Conference:

Rome, Italy - October 28-31, 2014

"Sustainable Energy Policies and Strategies for Europe"

The AIEE – Italian Association of Energy Economists – and the IAEE – International Association for Energy Economics – are organising the 14th European IAEE Conference to be held in Rome, Italy from October 28 to 31, in collaboration with, and on the premises of, the LUISS University. It may be noted that this will be the third European Conference of IAEE to be held in Italy in recent years (after Florence in 2007 and Venice in 2012). There are at least three reasons for this concentration: first, AIEE is one of the largest affiliates of IAEE (arguably the largest in Europe); secondly, the Italian art cities can be counted upon as powerful attractors for visitors sensible to art and history and not only to energy economics; thirdly, the hospitality in terms of tourist facilities and conference organisation is ample and well tested.





From the Chapters

The Presidents of Local Chapters of USAEE are cordially invited to submit articles and photographs about their chapter activities.  Please contact the editor at robertborgstrom2@gmail.com for Guidelines and further information.




Houston Chapter

Houston, Texas

Todd Onderdonk, Senior Advisor at ExxonMobil, Speaker at the Houston Chapter's February Luncheon.

At the Houston Chapter’s monthly event on February 13, 2014, over 40 members and guests heard Todd Onderdonk, a Senior Advisor at ExxonMobil and principal author of “The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040”, ExxonMobil’s long-term global view of energy demand and supply.  The findings from this annual report help guide ExxonMobil’s long-term investments and business decisions.  ExxonMobil’s view of ‘energy’ transcends beyond the oil and gas industry and their macro-level study equates energy growth to improving the quality of life, fueling economic growth, reducing poverty levels, improving public health, and raising the standard of living in multiple ways.  An increase in the standard of living strongly correlates to an increase in demand for energy, and ExxonMobil identifies the real challenge will be to have the ability to fuel the growth of the non-OECD emerging economies and the rest of the world while at a global level reducing the impact of use on the environment.  Technological advancements have a large opportunity to impact this area.

The Houston Chapter of USAEE is a very active member of the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE).  With monthly events from September through May the Houston Chapter offers a range of topics addressed by regional subject matter experts located here in the heart of the US Energy Corridor.  Recent speakers have included the aforementioned Todd Onderdonk, Ken Medlock (Rice University), and Surya Rajan (Baker Hughes), all of which have been nominated to be part of the national USAEE Signature Speaker Series.  Event meetings are held at the Federal Reserve Bank (Houston Branch), which provides a secure sit-down plated meal with a semi-formal atmosphere; an appropriate place to discuss economic matters, itis considered among many as a tourist destination in itself.  The Houston Chapter also hosts quarterly “Energy Drinks” in the evening at popular trendy restaurants for casual networking occasions, and is currently working to develop a closer relationship with the Rice University USAEE chapter to encourage and foster collaboration in event planning.

Houston Chapter President: Matt A. King - Matt.A.King@conocophillips.com


National Capital Area Chapter

Washington, DC

Adam Sieminski, Administrator of EIA, Speaker at NCAC's Annual Dinner

Over 100 members and guests were in attendance at this year’s Annual Dinner of the NCAC in Washington, DC, on Jan. 23rd, to hear an “Update on Global Energy Markets” by Adam E. Sieminski, Administrator of the Energy Information Administration (EIA).  Mr. Sieminski, who was nominated to the leadership of EIA by President Obama in 2012, was previously Chief Energy Economist for Deutsche Bank, AG, and President of USAEE in 2003.

NCAC's Annual Dinner, monthly luncheon meetings and field trips are among a full calendar of activities that have helped to make NCAC the largest chapter and one of the most active in USAEE. All USAEE/IAEE members are cordially invited to attend NCAC activities on your next visit to Washington, DC.  Check the NCAC web site (http://ncac-usaee.org/) to see past events, and to register for future events for when you are in D.C.

NCAC Chapter President: Mark Lively (Consulting Engineer, Utility Economic Engineers; Gaithersburg, MD) MBLreNCAC@aol.com



Three Rivers Chapter

Pittsburgh, PA

Ingmar Sterzing - Chapter President
Director, Westinghouse Electric
Pittsburgh, PA


The Three Rivers Chapter of the USAEE is now 1 year old.  We had a great first year and we are continuing our efforts this year to build our chapter and focus on the USAEE North American Conference to be held in Pittsburgh, October 25-29, 2015.  After receiving our official charter at the beginning of 2013 we held six successful meetings.  We routinely reach out to approximately 70 students and professionals in the region interested in energy.




The Last Words!

USAEE Members are encouraged to comment on articles that have recently appeared in USAEE Dialogue as well as issues in energy economics of general interest to the membership.  Please contact the Editor at robertborgstrom2@gmail.com for Guidelines and further information.





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