Director, Global Utilities and Infrastructure, Sr. PE
Please tell us your job responsibilities and day-to-day activities.
My current job scope is the Director of Global Utilities and Infrastructure and includes a very broad coverage of utility supply and policy areas. It is basically the management of utility supplies/suppliers to Intel facilities worldwide, which includes offices, data centers, factories and everything in between. At the core is ensuring and contracting the capacity, availability, quality, reliability and costs for utility supply. This includes developing and managing our Alternative Energy Supply program which covers all renewable projects both on and off our campuses (wind/solar PV/Solar Hot water/ fuel cells/ etc.). Because we are responsible for the broader utility business impacts, we also provide guidance on policies, rules and regulations that affect the utility suppliers, such as the environmental requirements affecting supply, rates, reliability, capacity and infrastructure. Our group is additionally matrixed to our site selection efforts for the utility supply components of identifying, qualifying, negotiating and contracting utilities while considering various new potential locations of operation.
What is your biggest energy challenge in 2017, and how are you addressing it?
As a result of the broad scope of the responsibilities, we have differing challenges for each area. I will focus on rates/reliability and greening our supplies, but unique and frequent challenges are not uncommon. Regarding rates/supply options: Intel is supplied by mostly utilities that are regulated and either government and/or monopoly. Dealing in the world of limited supply choice is extremely challenging to meet our required goals. We have found that by having a very deep understanding of the utility industry and creating a strong relationship, including both parties’ needs, enables us both to be typically be very successful. We are able to identify unique solutions and concepts that help both supplier and customer meet requirements and goals. In the area of greener supplies and carbon footprint reduction, the same single supplier environment often restricts our options. We are currently working with our utility suppliers to find creative solutions in rates, contracting and supply. To enable fast, incremental progress we have created a portfolio supply approach that includes innovative on-site green projects and direct connections to supply energy to our buildings. We have over 70 on-site projects in operation using more than 14 different technology applications in over a dozen countries/ states. We also contract various options for off-site grid connected supplies.
Is there a specific recent project or implementation you worked on at your company that you can share? Any tips you can share that would help colleagues at other companies who are contemplating similar projects?
We have lots of unique on-site projects that are the largest or first of their kind in a country or location, including the two largest private solar carport installations covering nearly 6500 parking spaces. However, one project jumps out as a great learning and success for us. In a particular country in the Asia region, we are supplied electricity that goes off five to seven days a week. The generation source is very dirty coal and the back-up generation is diesel. The reliability is poor and the environmental impact is severe, while the electricity grid rates are fairly high. We had no access to natural gas. We identified a solution using on-site fuel cells that would make incredible improvement in all deficient areas. Although there was no presence of fuel cells in the country and no access to natural gas to fuel the operations, we worked closely with the supplier, government and utilities, all playing key partnering roles to enable an installation. This effort included bringing in NG lines to the area, creating pricing mechanisms and having the fuel cell company establish a first presence and installation team in a new country. Our Asia regional manager, along with his local tax and permitting team identified and mitigated several obstacles of this first of kind installation. Through great collaboration with the supplier, Intel, government and utilities we now have developed processes and new gas supplies that enable expanding the project and enable other interested companies to implement this technology. In the end, we have highly reliable fuel cells supplying over half our site with cleaner, high quality electric supply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The emission associated with the electricity is reduced by nearly 75%, providing a cleaner, lower carbon and environmental improved solution for electricity supply. The cost meets our hurdles, and we avoid most diesel generation. Our facility operations are happier with better power supply and the environment is much, much better off. A true win for the country, the environment, Intel, the supplier and all parties involved.
Please tell us what you see in the market in the next few years. What will be the biggest challenges the industry will face?
The direction for smarter, greener energy supplies will continue at an accelerated rate. More operational data will be required, costs will continue to come down and technologies will advance. As cleaner carbon generation solutions continue to increase, the challenges of grid operations of supply will be grow. Storage technologies will need to advance, make breakthroughs and reduce cost to be economic. Technology of controls, information management and data accessibility will make the grid and distribution, as well as energy use much smarter. Analytics are improving exponentially. A smarter, higher tech, electric industry will likely see exponential changes and improvements. Integrating all this and doing it economically will be a challenge.
Tell us about a favorite hobby, passion, or book you’ve read recently that has had an impact on you.
For me, my hobbies and outside passions allow some separation from work and the balance needed to ensure I do not lose my focus/commitment. I am very competitive by nature, so sports help provide some outlet, as do various home projects (which often take much longer than originally estimated in the project proposal to my wife). But really, my passion is my family and they, without a doubt, have the greatest impact on me. They continue to embody the changing world and newer thinking that forces me to evolve and change with them. They ensure I never give up on things and that I do not stagnate in my thinking. My now adult children are already far more accomplished than me and that keeps me humble and grounded. If I could replicate and combine the skills and characteristics of my wife, son and daughter, I would be unstoppable. My time learning and spent with them, ultimately, makes me better and more successful, both at home and at work.
As everything continues to change, including the utility environment, I would always encourage everyone involved to evolve with it. The future electric industry will face many challenges but with incredibly brilliant, dedicated stakeholders working together and the implementation of newer, smarter technologies being developed, we will continue to improve and excel in providing electricity to all.