Duke Energy’s Jim Rogers has spent 20-plus years as a CEO in the energy industry (starting with PSI Energy in Plainfield in 1988). And despite his wife’s reaction of "what the heck were you thinking?," he acknowledged today at the Indiana Chamber’s Indiana Conference on Energy Management that he’s signed up for five more years.
"I love this industry," he told the conference attendees. And while he has seen many changes in his career, he adds, "The next five years are going to be more transformative for our industry than the last 20 have been."
Rogers shared 10 facts about the current and future energy outlook before answering numerous questions. Among his revelations:
By 2050, Duke will have to retire or replace virtually every power plant it is operating today
The company is the third largest generator of both coal and nuclear energy. It is currently building new coal and natural gas facilities, has two nuclear proposals being reviewed and is also active in various areas of renewables
While there will always be skeptics, he says the majority of scientists have spoken in favor of climate change and that he is a believer
Rogers thinks that the cap and trade legislation that passed the House earlier in the summer "will be improved by the Senate to minimize the cost impact to consumers. The transition, however, is not going to be free, not going to be easy and not going to be quick. It will take decades to make the transition, but we have to get to work on it now. Our mission has changed. We have to modernize and decarbonize our fleet to help our communities become the most energy efficient in the world."
Rogers’ take on three other issues:
China: "They’re moving fast. The reality is that China gets it. They’re the number one producer of solar panels; number one producer of wind turbines. They have 14 nuclear plants under construction. That’s why we’re partnering with them. We want to move at China time."
Industry employment: "Real jobs are going to be created if we rebuild the nuclear industry in the United States. There are no such things as green jobs; every job is a green job. It’s all about improving productivity and becoming more efficient. Let’s quit trying to draw lines."
Smart grid and energy efficiency: "I believe this will turn out to be the greatest enabler, and I can’t even envision today what it will enable." He explains that while Duke and other companies are currently focused on generation of power to the meter, the future includes writing software for specific energy uses. "Our energy efficiency will be driven by technology. The same way you throw the switch today and the lights come on, you will throw the switch and it will optimize your use of energy. The boundaries of our business are being fundamentally redrawn."
So what has Jim Rogers, chief executive of Duke Energy, been up to in recent months?
Appearing on "60 Minutes" to support cap and trade, while also discussing on the showthe necessity of carbon capture and sequestration of coal
Talking to the top players in China’s power industry about partnering on clean energy technologies
Being named the 2009 Citizen of the Carolinas by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce (some of the past winners: Rev. Billy Graham, Dean Smith, Michael Jordan and Ben Bernanke)
Rogers "comes home" to Indiana on September 2 as the keynote speaker for the Indiana Conference on Energy Management. Rogers came to Plainfield-based PSI Energy in 1988 as chairman, president and CEO. Mergers led to similar roles at Cinergy in Cincinnati and then Duke, one of the nation’s largest energy companies.
“When Jim Rogers arrived at PSI Energy in the late 1980s, he brought a level of enthusiasm and vision that challenged the historically conservative power industry,” declares Vince Griffin, who worked for Rogers at that time and is now the Indiana Chamber vice president of environmental and energy policy. “This is unquestionably a challenging time for the electric power industry. Jim Rogers will undoubtedly bring his passion and perspective to this energy conference."
Duke Energy is also looking at its Edwardsport, Indiana facility as a pilot project for the future with its investment in a 630-megawatt IGCC (integrated gasification combined cycle) facility.
Critics of cap and trade remain unconvinced that tightening the reins on CO2 emissions in America would have much impact on global pollution — and thus would hinder American businesses with little benefit. That’s a sentiment echoed by the Heartland Institute:
Already responsible for one-third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, China, India, and other Asian nations are on pace to generate more than 40 percent of the world’s emissions by 2030, according to data released at a climate change conference in Manila, Philippines…
Following a recent visit to Beijing by U.S. climate change envoy Todd Stern, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang indicated his country has no plans to curb emissions in the near future, regardless of whether the United States does so.
“China is still a developing country, and the present task confronting China is to develop its economy and alleviate poverty, as well as raise the living standard of its people,” Gang told reporters. “Given that, it is natural for China to have some increase in its emissions, so it is not possible for China in that context to accept a binding or compulsory target.”
Max Schulz, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, observes China and India have both publicly stated they have no plans to slow their growth.
“The steep growth in emissions by developing Asian countries, combined with clear statements that these nations have no plans to curtail their emissions, further highlights the futility of the United States’ plans to make drastic cuts in emissions,” said Schulz.
What do you think? Would cap and trade be futile due to the impact of Asian polluters et al.?
Education funding is always a contentious issue at the Statehouse, but the battle is rising to a new level this time around (as we have heard over and over and over). Past disagreements largely centered on the level of spending increases. With fewer dollars available, it’s a case of where are they going to go — to students or districts.
The budget is filled with education measures beyond the funding fight. One issue thankfully not on the table, at least for now, is minimizing the 180-day school year. Chamber education expert Derek Redelman reported it this way following the end of the regular session.
In recent months, we have heard from a new president, from a new secretary of education, from a film comparing Carmel students to those in India and China (see here) and from multiple other sources that American students spent far too little time in school. So it was a bit shocking to see at least six different bills filed this year that would have allowed Indiana’s school year to be shortened.
The Chamber fought these bills vigourously and most never even got a hearing. The one bill that did get a hearing was talked about by House Education Chairman Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis), who acknowledged that a reduced school year would be most harmful to the low-income students he represents.
Things all changed when Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett announced mid-session that the Indiana Department of Education would enforce current law and would no longer allow schools to count parent-teacher conferences and professional development days as student instructional time. He also announced much less flexibility in the waiver of inclement weather days. It was a decision backed by 20 years of Indiana law and one the Indiana Chamber applauded loudly, but it was also widely criticized by House Democrats, who vowed to block it through legislation. Though Rep. Porter offered the legislation intended to accomplish that goal, it ultimately failed.
Did you know there was a Congressional Anti-Piracy Caucus? (I’ll take a chance and guess not). Neither did I.
The caucus has been in place for six years. The primary goal is laudable — protecting intellectual property, particularly for the entertainment and software industries. I just didn’t know it took a caucus of members of Congress to focus on this issue.
Anyway, the group released its watch list of countries to keep a close eye on. The caucus will offer briefings for congressional delegations traveling to these countries.
The five countries range from the expected (China and Russia) to several surprises (Canada, Spain and Mexico). Do you agree or disagree that these countries are threats? Any anecdotes you can share?
If tax rates can in fact be said to influence where companies locate and invest, the U.S. has a problem. As our economy becomes increasingly global our combined (federal and provincial/state) income tax rate is higher than every other country in the world, except Japan. Both presidential candidates have recognized the need to do something. Sen. John McCain proposes a significant reduction of the current 35% federal rate to 25%. Although coupled with other proposals and not nearly as definite or assertive, Sen. Barack Obama also indicated he is open to lowering the rates.
The U.S. can’t afford to ignore what most other industrialized countries have already figured out: the corporate income tax rates affect investment. This year China dropped its rate from 33% to 25%; and Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea, which already had much lower rates than the U.S., dropped theirs even more. And it is not just in Asia. The adjustments swept Europe with Germany, Italy, the U.K. and Spain all making rate reductions. It is truly a global thing. Other countries that are part of the wave of cuts: Turkey, Bulgaria, Israel, South Africa and Colombia.
So with so much talk of change in other contexts, it is important to point out that it is also time for a change to our corporate tax rate. A full listing of the corporate rates in nations belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, along with other revealing information on this subject is available from the Tax Foundation.
Catching bits and pieces of Olympic television coverage (and who couldn’t watch at least a little on any of the many "family" of NBC networks) over the weekend prompts the following:
I consider myself a fairly intelligent 45-year-old who pays attention to what goes on around him. But who knew there really were 205 countries eligible to participate in these Olympic Games. Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, both different from Papua New Guinea? Mauritania and Mauritius? Where are Comoros and Turkmanistan? Maybe our children going back to school in this and coming weeks could gain a world history lesson.
The U.S. is certainly guilty in other areas, but a $300 million price tag for the opening ceremonies? Think of the other ways some of that money could have been spent.
There is a rule in place that gymnastics (maybe all) competitors have to be at least 16 years old. Most of the Chinese female gymnasts, however, appear to have been babies during the 1996 Atlanta Games rather than the 1992 event in Barcelona.
That said, the Games are capitivating. It’s not just national pride, but watching the underdogs, from wherever, competing against the big countries is what it’s all about.
Michael Phelps might erase former IU Hoosier Mark Spitz from the record book, but 41-year-old Dara Torres swimming — and successfully — against women half her age is truly amazing.
This is supposed to be about business. So, we’ll end with no matter what you think about China and its politics, rest assured that the country will continue to grow in prominence and in its place in the international business world.
West Virginia has some really nice state parks and a Greenbrier resort (and former famous congressional bunker hideaway) that is second to none. But the state certainly isn’t top of mind when it comes to economic development and innovation.
A headline that screams "W. Va. Takes Lead in Future of Fuel" will certainly draw attention. The plan: take advantage of the state’s greatest natural resource — coal — and turn it into gasoline and methanol in the first project of its kind in the United States. Incidentally, one of the partners (a Houston-based company) has already helped build a coal-to-liquids plant in China.
The $800 million project will provide security for West Virginia’s expansive coal industry, create additional jobs and potentially be part of the long-term solution to our country’s energy challenges. The president of Consol Energy, based in Pittsburgh, goes a little overboard when he terms West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin "one of the few governors in the 50 states who can spell coal."
Indiana has coal, maybe not as much as West Virginia, but ample supplies. It is crafting an entrepreneurial path of its own with Duke Energy’s coal gasification plant in Edwardsport. Can our state be a player in the coal-to-liquids game? We’re not sure.
The West Virginia project is intriguing. Read about it here.