Intern Season

I love this time of year. With another school year coming to an end, the new crop of interns has again arrived at the Pace Global. It is instructive to watch as they adapt their living habits and work behavior from the academic world to that of a bustling business office. For me, they provide a reaffirming harbinger of things to come for this country and for our energy sector.

Intern Season is a time of optimism. We hear it in the familiar messages of the commencement addresses that also come out this time of year as the famous and not so famous provide their words of wisdom and insights for the next generation. “Everything is possible”. “There are no limitations”. “Opportunity is there for the taking”.

Perhaps surprisingly, this is exactly how I feel about energy. I have never been so optimistic about the future of the energy industry as I am right now. More than anytime during my career, there are a multitude of viable options available that can provide a clean, safe, secure and economic energy future for the U.S. and global markets.

It seems like new energy technologies are emerging almost every day. Like the newest generation of solar PV systems that are driving higher levels of efficiency while bending the cost curve down. Then there are the new drilling and recovery techniques that have opened up vast new supplies of natural gas and petroleum…much of it right here within the borders of the U.S. The “Smart Grid” is helping utilities and energy users be more energy efficient. Who knows what tomorrow will bring…the next big idea may be right around the corner.

Still the challenges facing our industry are great. The global demand for energy is again growing and the trend will certainly continue as emerging countries like China and India mature into more consumer oriented markets. There is no one perfect form of energy that will be able to satisfy this growing global demand. It is imperative that we pursue all viable paths so that we sculpt a portfolio of energy sources and not find ourselves overly dependent on any one source. We will continue to depend heavily on fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal and natural gas for years to come and we need to be realistic about this reality. But we should also be planning on how we transition from these forms into more renewable forms that are becoming more viable every day and we should allow the market to pick the “winners” and “losers”.

Like our interns, I feel a sense of privilege to participate in whatever small way in the development the formation of our future energy profile. And also like our interns, I am keenly aware that future is uncertain and best realized by defining a thoughtful view of the future that can only be realized through good and careful short term decisions along the way.

My admonition to our Interns is less lofty than what they may have heard at commencement. But I do share with them what Vince Lombardi once said and I believe it applies both to sculpting our energy future and our Interns — “ The only place “success” comes before “work” is in the dictionary”.

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