National Capital Area Chapter of the U.S. Association for Energy Economics

NCAC Featured Member

 

Profile List

Featured Member
January 2014

Michael Canes



James McDonnell


Affiliation and years of experience in energy/environment:

I have been in the energy industry my entire career. After studying geological sciences in college, I started out as a well-logger with an oil field service company evaluating oil and gas wells in the Denver-Julesburg Basin. I then returned to school for a finance degree and, upon graduation, took a position with a management consulting firm, focusing on oil and gas exploration and production companies, natural gas pipelines and distribution companies, and electric utilities. Subsequently, I worked for the Columbia Energy Group and served in a variety of finance positions related to cogeneration project development, energy marketing and mergers and acquisitions. While at Columbia, I obtained the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. I then joined Pepco Energy Services (PES), where I served as a senior vice president and chief financial officer for nine years.

Five years ago my partner and I started Avalon Energy Services, which provides a variety of energy consulting services related to energy procurement, combined heat and power and onsite power project economic due diligence, wholesale supply and credit support agreements, and the development and implementation of energy conservation measures.

The energy industry is what I know and love and there is no other place I would rather be.

Any particular achievement/interest in energy/environment you would like to mention? 

While at PES, I was fortunate to be part of a management team that grew the company's annual revenue from $180 million to $2.2 billion and became the Mid-Atlantic's largest competitive retail energy provider. It was quite a ride.

 

At Avalon Energy, we have had a great deal of success assisting commercial customers in managing their electricity and natural gas strategies and costs. There are many products available in the competitive markets and we have been able to help our customers choose those that best fit their needs and, through reverse auctions, obtain significant dollar savings as well as favorable terms and conditions. We serve a variety of businesses including office building owners and property managers, labs, manufacturers and retail establishments, just as a few examples. We recently completed natural gas and electricity procurement assignments for the District of Columbia government and their portfolio of buildings. More and more often, customers are asking for assistance with green energy strategies.

In your opinion, what are important issues facing the energy industry nowadays?

There is an increasing societal sense of pessimism that we need to overcome. Pick up the newspaper on most days and it seems we are destroying the earth, running out of resources, and traveling down a path to our demise. I am not downplaying the challenges we face as a human race because they are many, but if we look at our condition from a broad perspective, our lives have never been better. The quality of our lives has improved in what just a few years ago were unimaginable ways. People live longer and healthier lives, there is more food and greater access to clean water, and a larger percentage of our world population has been elevated out of poverty. Underlying this has been our access to affordable energy. Affordable energy underpins healthy economic growth, which leads to improved standards of living for all. It is affluent societies that can become more interested in and are better able to invest in improving the environment. We are fortunate to have a vast pool of energy resources and human intellect that will allow us to grow our world economy and, over time, transition to cleaner forms of energy.

How long have you been a member of NCAC? Any particular NCAC memory you would like to share with us?

I joined the NCAC in 2008. I would have joined years before if I had known it existed. Two, among many, things I like about the organization are its lunch meetings and field trips. The lunch topics and speakers are always of interest. The field trips are highly educational and provide access to places that few of us could find our way to on our own. The USAEE trip to the Conowingo hydroelectric generating station on the Susquehanna River in northeastern Maryland stands out. I'll never forget standing deep inside the dam, an arm's length away from the spinning shaft of one of its eleven turbine generators.




Everyone I know or meet who has an interest in energy or economics I encourage to come to an NCAC event. Many do and then keep coming.