Impacts of the elections on the Energy Modeling/Analysis industry?

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Hi everyone,

Hope you guys are doing great. I want to start a conversation here
(basically to fill myself in with some info) to understand what impacts
will be there on the energy analysis/modeling industry after January 20.
Will there be less jobs in the market or things will come back to the
normal situation again? I remember seeing Job position on this eQuest group
every other day almost 6 months back (and before that) but now I don't see
any job postings here. In fact, there are very less jobs in the market
currently which makes me wonder if the energy efficiency industry already
reached it's peak (in terms of opportunities & jobs) & things will go down
from here?

I also want to apologize if this "out of the topic" question offends you &
brings another spam in your emails but I am just curious here. Thanks,

- Deepak V.

Laughter is timeless. Imagination has no age. And dreams are forever. *?
Walt Disney*

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Cross-posting to [bldg-sim], for inclusiveness.

This isn?t really a political forum (and neither are these communities isolated to the USA), however since historically these are professional / civil groups & there?s enough ?politically neutral? ground to cover where this could impact our broader ?industry,? I think there?s some space for a constructive discussion if others are interested.

It?s good navigating into such a discussion / prompt to keep in mind that ?we? as a co-supporting community are a very diverse group. Some of us enjoy relatively direct ties to different sides of the construction industry (and buildings are always getting built, regardless of the broader political/economic situation), while other valued contributors? grants, careers, and employers depend on federal and state funding sources, so I have no doubts some folks? livelihoods could be much more directly impacted than others.

Personally I feel most reported developments in this election cycle concerning our industry have been sensationalized to a point that it?s difficult to tell what (if any) impacts we can realistically expect for our day-to-day. It?s too easy for any speculation to turn deconstructive, in my humble opinion, so I?m abstaining from making any predictions.

I am however keen to learn more about some specific recent developments ? I?ll provide a couple links where others can learn more and develop independent, educated assessments:

1. Short/Long-term impact of policies which will support / redirect the renewables industry & other facets of our power infrastructure.

a. The momentum of change is afoot for many of our utilities across the nation, independent of anything our government does to intervene in the markets. The costs of renewables and alternatives to traditional fossil fuels are a moving target, and the need for transmission/infrastructure to support our power grid isn?t going anywhere. Utilities will continue to bear the burden of accommodating these strains ? who knows where we?ll be in 10 years?

b. That said, policies enacted in the next few years at the federal level could have large repercussions on regional energy costs & volatility for better/worse.

c. I?m expecting to see some changes come about in response to water infrastructure (Flint, MI) and air quality / pollution concerns across state lines. Granted, these don?t typically work into your average building energy simulation, but these are national/regional issues we?ll need to stay abreast of for appropriately engineering / architect-ing (?) the built environment.

2. The politicization of climate change & the implicit consequences that may have on our community of weather scientists & maintained weather resources

a. The landscape of hosting/repositories for TMY, Historical (AMY), Live, and Future (Forecast model) weather data may be changing ? stuff easy to acquire now may be hard to acquire later

b. Data that has been ?free? (to the end user) in years past might require a budget in years to come.

c. The number of federal dollars awarded to support careers/projects concerned with weather science may diminish.

3. Recent EPA & DOE appointees:

a. The DOE and EPA are tied in many ways to the first 2 points, and to the administration/furtherance Energy Star, LEED, and similar programs.

b. The EPA is to be led by Scott Pruitt, attorney general of Oklahoma:

i. Scott Pruitt on Wikipedia

ii. Reuters article on this appointment (which seems relatively neutral ? not as bombastic as most outlets & provides some opposing viewpoints)

iii. A Senate confirmation hearing occurred Wednesday of this week.

iv. Watching the whole thing will require nearly 6 hours, but I intend to piece through this myself before jumping to any pundits? highlight reels. What I?ve seen so far in the first couple hours has left me more comfortable with Mr. Pruitt?s appointment than where I started.

1. Scott Pruitt Round #1: https://youtu.be/e7cFeauiqTE

2. Scott Pruitt Round #2: https://youtu.be/iX0Rw-3Ndw8

c. The DOE is to be headed by Rick Perry, governor for the state of Texas:

i. Rick Perry on Energy & Oil (ontheissues.org)

ii. Rick Perry on Environment (ontheissues.org)

iii. At a republican primary debate (notably, 6 years ago), he simultaneously cited the DOE as one of 3 government agencies he wanted to eliminate entirely, and also forgot its name (department of energy). This may signal large changes are afoot for the agency responsible for energy efficiency standards, R&D grants for renewables, and the development of programs the energyplus engine.

iv. Governor Perry has been consistently vocal skeptic on the science of climate change, which must be at least unnerving for some of our county?s climate scientists.

v. His senate confirmation hearing is was Thursday of this week. I haven?t personally had time to watch any of it yet, but I?m looking forward to piecing through the whole thing myself & am avoiding other pundits? opinions/articles/highlight-reels: https://www.c-span.org/video/?421782-1/energy-secretary-nominee-rick-perry-testifies-confirmation-hearing

vi. The DOE?s ongoing funding for development of the energyplus engine/platform was not brought up to my knowledge in any recent political exchanges or on the campaign trails, but with new leadership there is some potential this substantial amount of funding might shift upward/downward or spread in new directions: $2.5M in FY2016 and $72.5M to-date

vii. There was a news item in wide circulation concerning a ?witch hunt? request from the Trump transition team of the DOE to provide a list of staffers involved with international climate change agreements & climate change science, though that request has since been rescinded. I?ve sourced the original query text (see item #13 in the document) and it seems to me this was just a political gaffe blown out of proportion ? to my eye it?s exactly the sort of request one would make to help get someone fully caught up on the state of such issues.

d. It will be these appointees? job to execute/implement the president?s agenda, which may conflict with their personal agendas in some areas. If anything, I feel that makes things less predictable for our industry.

4. New leadership within other federal agencies (GSA, DoD) could make new moves with respect to requirements for more or less of the likes of meeting specific energy standards and/or LEED certification for their construction contracts.

5. Speaking specifically to citizenship & nationalities: the diversity of our energy simulation community around the world and within the USA is something I think we all celebrate and mutually benefit from in a multitude of direct & indirect ways. A lot has been said on the campaign trail to merit concern for families and individuals who do not hold full citizenship status. I?m personally vested and hopeful to observe this rhetoric toned down in the months to come.

Despite these areas of concern, skillsets in building energy simulation will absolutely remain of concrete value in years to come. I don?t think we?re in any pending danger of unlimited/free energy sources or political heads otherwise rendering such expertise obsolete! I also wouldn?t read much into the ebbs/flows of job postings on the onebuilding.org lists. These really are not job boards, and when I?m hiring to fill a specific seat it?s not my first preference to hit up such a huge audience with such a wide range of qualifications/experience. I much prefer a more targeted candidate search based on my own networking. I?m sure that?s true of most folks in similar positions.

Any expressed political opinions are my own thoughts, and not necessarily those of my employers. I would assume that to be true of any other responses to this thread unless explicitly stated otherwise.

~Nick
[cid:image001.png at 01D272F8.E65917A0]
Nick Caton, P.E., BEMP
Senior Energy Engineer
Energy and Sustainability Services
Schneider Electric

D 913.564.6361
M 785.410.3317
E nicholas.caton at schneider-electric.com
F 913.564.6380

15200 Santa Fe Trail Drive
Suite 204
Lenexa, KS 66219
United States

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