The Energy Overseer

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January 1, 2015: A Note to Visitors

As of this date, the Energy Overseer website will go on hiatus, with no new updates until a completely redesigned site takes its place, sometime during the next few months. Although the site should remain fully functional for navigating internally to my past articles and special features as listed below, links to the outside world may cease to work. So, please accept my apologies for that.

Arthur O'Donnell was for over three decades an award-winning reporter specializing in energy, environment and economics. His books include: In  the City of Neighborhoods (iUniverse 2004) The Guilty Environmentalist (Trafford 2003) and Soul of the Grid (iUniverse 2003). For beginning readers, When Chelsea Came to Stay (Trafford 2004), co-written with Tess Kelly, with illustrations by Sophia Varcados.

Use this link to find a list of my books and articles for sale via
From 2008-2010, I was Executive Director of the Center for Resource Solutions, a globally influential environmental non-profit group that created and administers the Green-e independent certification of renewable energy and carbon offsets.

Currently, I work at the California Public Utilities Commission as a Program Supervisor in the Energy Division's Grid Planning & Reliability section. I work with a team of analysts and engineers charged with developing and implementing policies and practices for Grid Modernization, Smart Meters and Home Area Networks, Advanced Energy Storage, and other innovative areas.




This feature ties together current headlines with past reports I've done, to provide context and perhaps show that there is nothing new under the Sun. Click here for more....

December 2014

As the calendar year comes to an end, institutions of all types gear themselves for a wave of retirements and personnel shifts. In the energy world, the prospect of losing long-term institutional memory and experienced staff to retirement has been a key concern for many years. But it seems to come up again now that the economy has stabilized and many who previously postponed retirement are now reconsidering. Over the course of my journalism career, I've addressed the expected "wave" of retirements several times, including doing the cover feature article for the very first issue of EnergyBiz magazine in 2005. Permutations of that article also appeared in the Purple Penguin newsletter for Human Resource professionals, in Energy Pulse, and for California Current.

As my own hair gets greyer, I look around and see many of my contemporaries heading into retirement -- at the CPUC, in the utility and energy business, and among my longtime friends from college, high school, and early scuffling days. I'm nowhere near ready for retirement myself; in fact, I feel my fourth career has just really gotten off the ground. I look forward to using my experience and perspective in my work, and passing along what little wisdom I might possess to the next generation of energy professionals.

Besides -- who can afford to live in San Francisco without a job?








Over the course of a long and varied career as an independent journalist, author, record producer, environmentalist and sometime political activist, I've been blessed to work with many wonderful people on worthy and fun projects. Looking back over the years, here are a few that I recall most fondly and proudly:

Click on the images above and learn more


Appearances 2014 2013  2012 2011
California Current
Greenwire 2004-2007
Restructuring in a Rear View Mirror
Land Letter 2006-07
Return to Power Road
KZAM Reunion
Roadie for the Kinks...

Several of my older articles about energy issues and related topics continue to draw interest and response from readers, so please feel free to browse through this list of popular items:

The Clean Tech/Regulatory Nexus

Intersecting Circles of Innovation

Non-Profit Congress 2006: A Statement of Grace in an Era of Indifference

Bruce-onomics - A Buyers' Market for Springsteen Tickets?

Restructuring in the Rear View Mirror and Story Archive

Courtroom 22, PG&E Bankruptcy 2001

Energy journalism and California's energy industry innovation chapter from Peter Asmus' book:

Introduction to Energy in California

Nuclear Power According to the Simpsons

The Guilty Environmentalist's Home Inefficiency Tour

Sounds of Silence at Hunters Point

Light Bulbs: An Even Better Idea

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