Elisa Wood is a co-founder of RealEnergyWriters.Com. She leads a team of versatile energy writers that produce copy for some of the top energy companies, trade associations and organizations.
Elisa has been writing about energy for more than two decades and has contributed widely to McGraw-Hill/Platts, Pennwell and other energy industry publishers. Her blogs have been picked up by CNN, the New York Times blogrunner, the Wall Street Journal Online, USA Today, Reuters, Mother Earth News, Real Clear Energy, the Washington Post and others.
Elisa also is the author of many reports, guides, white papers and web content that look deeply at energy issues in an engaging, accessible writing style. These include the frequently downloaded Think Microgrid series, published by Microgrid Knowledge, where Elisa serves as editor-in-chief.
Before beginning her freelance career, Elisa served as publications director for Emerson College in Boston and worked as a staff writer for daily newspapers in Colorado and Massachusetts. She has won awards from the New England Press Association, the Iowa Press Association, the National Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and others.
- Listen to NPR’s Sandy Hausman interviewing Elisa about offshore wind farms here.
- View Elisa Wood’s presentation at the National Town Meeting on Demand Response and Smart Grid, “Five Good Reasons to Lose Sleep Over Microgrids: How Policymakers can Make Or Break the Microgrid Industry.”
How to Hire Elisa Wood & Her Team at RealEnergyWriters.com
Elisa and her team accept a wide range of energy writing assignments. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Call her at 434/531-7849. Follow her on Twitter or connect with Elisa on LinkedIn.
Read some of Elisa Wood’s work
Elisa Wood, October 12, 2016, Public Power Daily
If you assume homeowners don’t want fossil fuel back-up generators in this age of energy storage, think again.
Bill Gates’ early realization that his company would win through software, not hardware, remains among the legendary stories in tech history.The computer was just a box; what mattered was the intelligence. Today, a similar story is emerging for microgrids.
Elisa Wood, October 7, 2016, Microgrid Knowledge
Elisa Wood, May 20, 2016, Public Power Weekly (APPA)
In an effort to save on costs, two Florida public power utilities plan to join forces and begin operating under a power pool-like dispatch agreement this month.
Elisa Wood, December 17, 2015, Microgrid Knowledge
Hitachi, one of the world’s largest companies, has entered the North America microgrid market, a move born out of a tsunami and a very, very long-term view of the business cycle.
Elisa Wood, August 2015, EnergyEfficiencyMarkets.com
President Barack Obama made clear this week how much he will champion the next phase in the American energy revolution — the drive toward local energy, a decentralized grid and consumer control.
Elisa Wood, August 2015, Renewable Energy World
After a year of being pummeled by opponents, Obama’s final carbon reduction plan emerged this week with an even stronger push for renewable energy.
Elisa Wood, July 2015, Public Power Magazine (APPA),
People like solar energy, but not everyone has a sunny rooftop or the money for solar panels. Until recently, that prevented a large swath of Americans from going solar. But no more. Community solar — also known as solar gardens — provides a way to bring solar to just about anyone. So not surprisingly, it’s making its way into utility markets at a road-runner pace.
Elisa Wood, March 2015, Public Power Magazine (APPA)
Thank you, cell phone. The little palm-of-our-hand device that transformed the way we communicate is inadvertently revolutionizing the power industry.
Elisa Wood, October 2014, MicrogridKnowledge.com
Massachusetts utility franchise rules may not be the big roadblock to microgrids that many believed, according to a Harvard legal analysis. And that’s good news for Boston that wants to make microgrids part of its greenhouse gas reduction strategy.
The term has been used for years, yet those who attend microgrid conferences joke that much of the event is spent in debate over the definition. As is often the case with a popular technology, many would like to package their products as microgrids. Hence, we see the term’s meaning broadening in the marketplace.
Elisa Wood, March 2014, Renewable Energy World
From David and Goliath to Luke Skywalker and the Death Star, the human race has been reminded again and again that big things have their vulnerable points. The U.S. power grid, sometimes called the world’s largest machine, is no exception.
Elisa Wood, March 2014, Renewable Energy World
World sentiment seemed to steer away from nuclear energy and toward more renewables following the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant on March 11, 2011. Three years later, have we forgotten?
Can You See the Power Plant in this Photo? No? Welcome to the Age of the Virtual Power Plant
Elisa Wood, November 2013, EnergyEfficiencyMarkets.com
No one likes to admit it, but we’ve all got a little NIMBY in us. Energy is a good thing, yes, but Not in My Backyard. Power plants just aren’t pretty. That’s why it’s intriguing to see Charlottesville, Virginia – my backyard – on the cutting-edge of a new approach: the virtual power plant, one that you cannot see, smell, hear or touch. That’s right, it’s invisible.
Shocked into Pursuing Renewables: What Will Jolt Us Next?
Elisa Wood, November 2013, Renewable Energy World
Historical events have a way of jolting us – again and again and again – into the reminder that energy plays a big role in our well-being. Of course, it is often hard to see a pivotal event until it’s behind us. Are there circumstances percolating now that will spill over and alter our energy future? What will give us the next jolt?
Going All In with Renewable Energy
Elisa Wood, September 2013, Renewable Energy World
Is the goal of using 100 percent renewable energy crazy, idealistic or achievable?
Doing Good by Doing Solar
Elisa Wood, July 2013, Renewable Energy World
In developed nations, we see solar power as an alternative to conventional energy and a way to fight climate change. But in poor countries solar reveals itself as even more — as a way out of some of the world’s darkest humanitarian problems.
Why Homeowners Don’t Trust Energy Efficiency. And What Might Change Their Thinking.
Elisa Wood, July 2013, EnergyEfficiencyMarkets.com
Distrust is one of the single biggest reasons homeowners don’t invest in energy efficiency upgrades. Will the promised savings really materialize? Homeowners are dubious. Andy Frank, president and founder of Sealed, has an idea about how to generate confidence.
If the Energy Efficiency Markets Is So Big, Why Aren’t I Even Busier?
Elisa Wood, July 2013, EnergyEfficiencyMarkets.com
Most buildings leak energy. Fixing the problem can save building owners money, as well as increase building value and rent premiums. So why aren’t building owners chasing down energy efficiency companies like a kid after an ice cream truck? Inertia is one problem. Confusion is another. A third is fear.
A Technology for the Times
Elisa Wood, July 2013, Power Engineering International
Trigeneration may not have a lot of charisma, like solar and wind energy, and few people know what it is. But the technology finds itself in a somewhat enviable position these days. Many places in the world have developed energy problems that trigen uniquely fixes.
Japan: Solar’s Real Deal?
Elisa Wood, June 2013, Renewable Energy World
Japan’s solar market is soaring. Spurred by a generous incentive, developers are announcing mega-scale projects, investors are closing deals and manufacturers are placing orders. The nation is fast becoming the industry champion of 2013. But we have seen this kind of rush before, only for it to crash when the incentive disappears. Will Japan be another boom and bust? Or is Japan, as some predict, the real deal?
Greening City Grids for EVs
Elisa Wood, March 21, 2013, Renewable Energy World magazine
Short of putting a windmill on top of a car – a parody vehicle that became a source of political jesting during the 2012 U.S. presidential election – electric vehicle (EV) owners have little control over the ultimate emissions profile of their cars. An EV is only as clean and green as the last charging station it visited. And in most cases, that charging station is only as green as the electric grid that feeds it.
Two Minutes to Midnight for US Wind
Elisa Wood, January 14, 2013, Renewable Energy World magazine
What a difference a vote can make. The U.S. wind industry appeared ready to tumble off a cliff in late 2012 as the production tax credit, its chief federal subsidy, readied for expiration. But in a last minute vote, Congress extended the credit for another year on January 1, 2013 and thus activity is set to potentially pick up again for the U.S. What will this possible resurgence mean to the international market? How long will it last? And what’s being planned to sustain wind industry investment if Congress fails to extend the tax credit next year?
Hurricane Sandy Uncovers Strength and Simplicity of Renewable Energy Systems
Elisa Wood, November 1, 2012, Renewable Energy World
The Northeast’s wind and solar farms evoked little public anxiety when Hurricane Sandy hit – unlike the nuclear and fossil fuel infrastructure.
Gardens that Grow Gigawatts
Elisa Wood, October, 2012, Renewable Energy World magazine
Is it possible to develop large solar projects with households as backers, and do it again and again? That’s the idea behind solar gardens or community shared solar, a trend catching fast in the US.
China Focuses on Overseas Wind Partnerships
Elisa Wood, October 2012, Renewable Energy World magazine
In their bid for market share, Chinese wind energy companies are pressing rapidly into the Americas, Europe, Africa and Australia with a strategy that incorporates two seemingly disparate credos: ‘Buy from China’ and ‘Buy local.’
What Voters Don’t Know About Energy
Elisa Wood, August 8, 2012, CNN, Real Clear Energy, AOL Energy, others
Funny thing about Americans. We’ve got strong opinions about what’s wrong with energy, especially when gasoline prices rise, but our passion tends to exceed our understanding.
Solar in New York: Strategy to Make Solar Shine
Elisa Wood, June 2012, Renewable Energy World magazine
New York is home to Wall Street, Broadway, and arguably the best pizza in America. It can do so much so well. Why not large-scale solar?
Race for Renewables’ Game-changers Heats Up
Elisa Wood, April 2012, Renewable Energy World Magazine
‘Innovation economics’ is propelling a global hunt for inventions that can extend the frontiers of renewable generation.
Solar Markets: A Study in Extremes
Elisa Wood, November 2011, Renewable Energy World magazine
The world is using more and more solar energy; of that there is no doubt. But solar comes in many sizes and shapes. Which will prevail in the coming five or 10 years?
Energy Entrepreneurs Flock to Renewables Bonanza
Elisa Wood, October 2011, Renewable Energy World magazine
Never in history have renewables entrepreneurs seen such good times. But who are they? Where do they come from? And why are they arriving in a flood at renewable energy’s front gate?
Post Stimulus Financing: Will Renewable Energy Growth Continue?
Elisa Wood, August 2011, Renewable Energy World magazine
Money is flowing worldwide for many forms of renewable energy, and the industry presses forward with dramatic growth. But as stimulus funding winds down, can the growth continue?
The dangers of energy generation
Elisa Wood, May 2011, Renewable Energy World magazine
In the aftermath of the Fukushima-Daiichi incident it should be recognized that all forms of generation involve risk — although wind and solar are among the safest.
Is Cap and Trade Kaput?
Elisa Wood, March 2011, Renewable Energy World International magazine
What’s in a name? Everything when it comes to a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade programme in the US. Energy industry prognosticators saw US adoption as almost inevitable just two years ago following the election of President Obama. Then opponents dubbed the initiative ‘cap-and-tax’, a moniker that became a death knell in a political climate wary of raising taxes. Cap-and-trade legislation died with neither a bang nor a whimper; but with a slammed door. Meaningful political debate stopped on the federal level, and the words ‘greenhouse gases’ apparently ceased to be used in Washington, DC.
“US Plans for Green Exports”
Elisa Wood, February 24, 2011, Renewable Energy World magazine
For the first time the US is attempting to build an export market for renewable energy. Will it succeed?
“China & the US: Opportunity or threat in the green revolution?”
Elisa Wood, December 29, 2010, Renewable Energy World magazine
The number of green relationships being established between the US and China is on the increase but does that mean these two giants can see past their differences?
“Oil and renewables: Slicing up the subsidy pie”
Elisa Wood, December 22, 2010, Renewable Energy World magazine
Oil companies and renewable energy firms are heading for a showdown over their relative share of public subsidies.
“A happy ending for US offshore wind?”
Elisa Wood, November 1, 2010, Power-Gen Worldwide
A decade of delay occasioned by hostile landowners and legal hurdles could now be nearing its end as the US’s first pioneering wind projects close in on approval for installation..
“Mix’n’match hybrids boost renewable load factors”
Elisa Wood, September/October 2010, Renewable Energy World magazine
Policymakers often portray energy sources as nearly at war with one another in an epic struggle of green versus brown, with the winner ultimately powering the world. But in today’s real world of grid operation, renewable and fossil fuel resources are treated more as allies, as pieces of a puzzle, which when fit together properly, keep on the lights with minimum impact on prices and the environment.
“Wind Farms: Are the best spots taken?”
Elisa Wood, May/June 2010, Renewable Energy World magazine
The wind sector is suffering from its own success. In the last decade the industry has expanded from a handful of wind farm developers to a plethora. These companies have left hardly a stone unturned – or rather a breeze unmeasured – in their quest for prime, onshore wind power sites. As a result, it is no longer easy to find large pieces of land in advanced markets with all the right ingredients for a wind project: strong and steady winds, a welcoming community and easy access to transmission. Developers find themselves jostling for position, with four of five companies sometimes vying for the same sweet spot.
“Nodal pricing – from concept to reality”
Elisa Wood, January 2010, Platts’ Energy Economist
It’s hard to imagine something as arcane as ‘nodal pricing’ being an emotionally charged issue. But in the United States the concept has incited years of debate among energy players as the organized electricity markets, one by one, have adopted the wholesale pricing model.
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“US Solar Spins a 360”
Elisa Wood, December 2009, Renewable Energy World magazine
The solar industry is finally feeling optimistic again, having apparently achieved a full 360 degree turn over the past 12 months, but what will 2010 hold?
“Winning Dixie: Drawing in the US Southeast”
Elisa Wood, June 2009, Renewable Energy Word magazine
With jobs precious and international competition fierce, Southern political leaders are carefully guarding their region’s low electricity prices to avoid losing manufacturers to foreign nations where energy costs even less. The Southern states do not oppose renewable energy; nor do they lack concern about greenhouse gas emissions; they worry about costs.
“Green Superhighway: Overhauling the Grid to Accommodate Renewables”
Elisa Wood, March/April 2009, Renewable Energy World magazine
US green energy advocates wasted no time. Just one day after President Barack Obama signed a bill giving the industry significant tax incentives, grants and loan support, they went to work on the next logical step: an overhaul of the transmission grid to accommodate a dramatic build-up of renewable energy.
“Tough Times Ahead: Will the US Industry Need a New Story?”
Elisa Wood, January/February 2009, Renewable Energy World magazine
The financial credit crunch has replaced global warming as the current cataclysmic worry among consumers. Certainly, at first blush, these latest findings from the Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates (PSB) 2008 Green Brand Survey appear to support the adage that US consumers are environmentalists only when the economy is strong. But this time, the shift in thinking comes with a new and more complicated twist, one that has particular significance for renewable energy.
“US power: a cloudy crystal ball”
Elisa Wood, January 2009, Platts’ Energy Economist
Predicting future supply and demand for electricity is no mean feat. The US Energy Information Administration in its preliminary Annual Energy Outlook 2009 provides a benchmark projection for the business-as-usual case. But if one thing is certain, business is not its usual self. Demand will be hit by recession, while major policy changes appear certain, accelerating the adoption of new behaviors that could radically change the demand outlook for the US power industry.
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“Tax credits boost US solar”
Elisa Wood, December 2008, Platts’ Energy Economist
For most people in the US, October 3, 2008 will go down in history as the infamous day that Congress approved an unprecedented $700 billion bailout for the financial industry. But for concentrated solar power advocates, it will also be remembered as the day the door swung wide to opportunity. Attached to the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was an unrelated energy bill that included incentives for renewable energy, including an eight-year extension of the solar tax credit.
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“Reshaping US solar: Growth expected despite economy”
Elisa Wood, November/December 2008, Renewable Energy World
Outside the doors of the San Diego Convention Hall the world economy was falling apart, inside Aaron Hall, chief executive of California-based Borrego Solar Systems, was describing the rapid growth of his solar electric contracting firm. Revenue was US$7 million in 2005, $12 million in 2006, $30 million in 2007. For 2008, Hall projected revenue of $60 million, but said it may hit $80 million.’With the government passing the extension of the solar investment tax credits, we anticipate that 2009 will be another phenomenal year for Borrego and the entire solar industry,’ he said. Hall’s words – coming in October just after the stock market’s record crash and the tumbling of major merchant banks – underscored the rarified business climate renewable energy currently enjoys in the United States. Attendance alone at Solar Power International 2008 spoke volumes about the perceived health of the industry. More than 22,000 people showed up at the California conference, at least twice as many as last year.
“Customer’s Guide to Solar Power Purchase Agreements”
Liz Merry & Elisa Wood, September 2008, Rahus Institute
The 40-page free guide explains the rapidly growing business model known as the solar power purchase agreement. Using a reader-friendly style and colorful graphics, the straightforward, easy-to-understand digital guide helps organizations throughout the United States understand whether a solar power purchase agreement is right for them.
“Is wind a disruptive technology?”
Elisa Wood, October 2006, Platts’ Energy Economist
Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen coined the term “disruptive technology” to describe products that overturn the conventional way of solving problems and doing business. Disruptive technologies often reduce costs and increase efficiencies — but not without causing some pain to the status quo. The Internet was disruptive, as was the airplane, plastic, and probably the wheel. Lately the term has been associated with wind energy, as its robust growth forces a rethinking of grids, resource planning, and regulations.
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