The Energy Overseer

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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.

What's New in 2014

I'll be making some industry conference appearances to talk about my assigned areas of energy policy at the CPUC , including these recent and upcoming appearances:

SF Public Utilities Commission, Brown Bagger on Energy Storage, Jan. 29, 2014, SF

Band of Angels, luncheon talk, February 4, 2014, Mountain View, CA

InfoCast's Storage Week, February 12, 2014, San Jose Convention Center

Mitsubishi Japan energy storage seminar (via webcast), February 18, 2014

UC Hastings College of Law, CleanTech and Law Seminar, March 20, 2014

Clean Energy States Alliance Annual Members Meeting, April 8, 2014, Sacramento

From the Wayback Machine

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....

April 2014

Hunters Point Shipyard Inches Toward CleanTech Hub

Nearly 8 years after Pacific Gas & Electric decommissioned its 1927 vintage power station in the Hunters Point district, the City of San Francisco appears to be moving ahead with a long-promised plan to turn the nearby naval shipyard property into a "CleanTech Zone." Several non-profit groups, including CalCEF Ventures and the Clean Coalition are each attempting to develop various aspects of a community energy plan that could include a microgrid, zero-net-energy buildings, and potentially, cleantech manufacturing. Still, the site of the now-dismantled power plant remains open for some future use -- and a still operating PG&E substation could provide needed flexible and reliable back-up power for the constrained San Francisco peninsula -- if only the community, the city, and the utility could agree on a plan.

Back in 2006, I did several articles for E&E's Land Letter about the promise of Hunters Point, including:May 24, 2006, article about the decommissioning ceremony when then-Mayor Gavin Newsome promised a cleaner tech future;

November 9, 2006, piece on the shipyard cleanup; and

May 2006 on-site report for California Circuit about the last days of operations at the 80-year-old power station.

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 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

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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For information about speaking availabilities, call 415-648-9405