I recently had the pleasure of attending the NAEMA conference in Duluth, Minnesota. For the trip I opted to rent a car from Minneapolis airport and drive the 160 miles to Duluth. Honestly, it was an uneventful drive until I entered Duluth and had an “OMG” moment as I discovered this hidden jewel in the wilderness! The unexpected beauty of Duluth set a wonderful tone for the conference, which was held at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Centre.

Because I was a speaker, I joined Mike Critchley, Mike McGeeney and several others from the NAEMA board for the Speakers & Board of Directors Dinner at Bellisios Italian restaurant. Those of us that are regulars at the NAEMA conference know full well sleep is at a premium and is scheduled between networking events and outings. Golf, as usual, was a lot of fun and our team of ZE, Traxys and Minnesota Power scored a respectable -8 in the scramble.

ZE has been sponsoring, attending and speaking at NAEMA for many years now, so when I’m called upon for a presentation I do so freely. My presentation “Global Influence on American Energy Markets” was well received and was in keeping with the themes of earlier presentations. I also summed up the NAMEA conference with a few closing remarks

Energy markets have always been beset with elements of uncertainty, but at no period since the Great Depression in the thirties have we seen so much ambiguity and doubts as today. Whereas the US economy stood above and apart from other countries in the past, it is currently difficult to distinguish where the recent US recession ended, and where the ongoing difficulties in Europe began. Those of us developing market forecasts for a living must navigate these treacherous waters.

The upside of this global uncertainty is that market participants are eschewing status quo, and envisioning changes in market structure that would be necessary to keep energy markets stable in the future. NAEMA has an important part to play in defining these structures, which will help sustain the hope of recovery.

Thanks to Mike and Mike and the NAEMA organizers for a stellar event. I look forward to seeing everyone at the Spring Conference next March in Charleston, SC.