Lead Economist, Power, Energy and Water
Teri Viswanath is lead economist for power, energy and water in CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange research division. She focuses on the energy industry, including the electric distribution, generation and transmission sectors, as well as the rural water industry. She develops market intelligence, strategic guidance and policy assessments on these key industries to inform CoBank and customer leadership decisions.
Before joining CoBank, Ms. Viswanath was director of corporate strategy for First Solar, where she led the market and competitive intelligence research for the organization including initiating long-term scenario planning to identify evolving market risks in order to manage future uncertainties. She previously held energy economist positions with S&P Global, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank and began her work in energy with Dynegy, as a power plant asset manager. In all, Ms. Viswanath has more than 20 years of expertise in energy economics, in addition to her early career experience in finance and law.
Ms. Viswanath earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Central Michigan University and a juris doctorate from Fordham University, and also studied at the University of Texas School of Law.
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Despite predictions for a slowdown, the U.S. economy remains the envy of the world. Jobs are plentiful, asset values are near all-time highs, and consumers are spending
AAA projects a whopping 37.1 million road-tripping Americans will journey 50 miles or more from their homes this Memorial Day weekend, the third most since 2000, when AAA started tracking holiday travel. However, despite upbeat signs like this, the nation’s peak gasoline demand is squarely in the rear-view mirror.
Commodity traders often say that the cure for high prices is high prices. In other words, during periods of supply shortages or tight balances, sellers will increase their supply and buyers will cut back or adopt substitutes.
Effects from higher interest rates are permeating rural industries
Considered one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century, the U.S. electric grid is now experiencing something of a mid-life crisis in the early innings of the 21st century.
The war in Ukraine and inflation will remain the two biggest factors for commodity
markets in the first half of 2023.
The Russia-Ukraine war, surging inflation, and an energy crisis joined the COVID-19 pandemic this year as major events defining the operating environment for U.S. companies. We can expect to feel the aftershocks in 2023.
Despite ongoing impacts from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and lingering supply chain
effects from the pandemic, the U.S. economy remains incredibly resilient.
The electricity sector no longer lives on a one-way street: U.S. consumers are fundamentally reshaping the electric power industry by demanding clean energy and widely adopting grid-edge technologies.
Fears of higher rates and weakening economic conditions
linger over the year’s second half.
Increased customer needs and operating risks are pushing aging electric transmission and distribution systems past their limits, often with painful results for communities. In fact, the average American home endured more than eight hours without power in 2021, more than double the outage time five years ago.
The shift toward electric transportation will take more than just a dealership sale. Our research and discussions with electric cooperatives last year revealed a need for cooperation amongst co-ops and, more broadly, collaboration along the entire supply chain.
With the recent passage of the U.S. landmark $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure spending package to shore up the country’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and transmission grid, now is an opportune time to reflect on the state of our rural electric infrastructure.
Against all hope for a better start to 2022, omicron has crashed the New Year’s party. Renewed supply chain disruptions are being felt throughout the economy, causing empty shelves again and threatening to fan the flames of inflation.
As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus is still in control of the economy.
Businesses of all sizes and across most industries are wrestling with perhaps the worst supply chain bottlenecks to date
The long-awaited period of pent-up, exuberant demand is here. And for all the benefits to businesses and consumers, bumps are unavoidable – labor shortages, price inflation, supply chain disruptions, and uncertainty about what a new steady-state economy will look like. They loom large, even as we celebrate a return to normalcy.
Given promising signs of a return to normal for the country and the prospect of even more motorists hitting the road this year, it felt like the right time to celebrate a new CoBank initiative dedicated to electric vehicles.
Given new commitments by car manufacturers, expanded policy incentives, and ambitious build-out of charging infrastructure, electric vehicles could make up 10% of all new car sales by 2025 – a five-fold increase from current levels.
A different market design probably would not have averted the crisis in Texas. But there is a clear need to protect consumers from these price spikes.
President Biden's new greenhouse gas emissions target for the U.S. could be viewed as the current generation’s moonshot opportunity for addressing climate change.
Anticipation of a return to normal is in the air. But for the economy and rural industries, there will be no going back to pre-COVID conditions.
The February 2021 winter storm and widespread power outages have raised new concerns about the future of grid resilience.
One of the more thought provoking sessions I attended at this year’s NRECA PowerXchange conference focused on how the events of 2020 will likely accelerate transformation for the U.S. electricity industry.
2021 has quickly altered the political and market landscape. And optimism, particularly about the second half of the year, is rising. But to get there, all of us must muddle through for a few months more.
The speed of the economic recovery will largely hinge on the availability, dissemination and reach of COVID-19 vaccines, pushing the expected burst of pent-up consumer demand into the latter half of 2021, according to a comprehensive year-ahead outlook report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange division.
With fuel competition unlikely to abate, there is little opportunity for a revival in the U.S. coal patch.
Many consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for the U.S. power industry have been extreme – from demand destruction to more intense supply-side competition.
The coronavirus pandemic has now impacted all four quarters of 2020, and seemingly every aspect of life and business.
The accumulated effects of deferred maintenance may pose a future reliability risk should staffing shortages persist.
Summer-time air conditioning demand masked underlying electricity demand weakness associated with COVID-19. As temperatures begin to moderate, loads will once again soften.
While the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the power sector remain unclear, belt tightening is a must and the industry has an opportunity now to adapt.
Over the past four months, every rural industry has grappled with how to adjust its business to remain relevant and sustainable in the pandemic. Agricultural supply chains have been massively disrupted and lost revenue. Water and power suppliers have adapted as commercial and industrial customers went dark and demand shifted to residential customers. And the communications industry is seizing a moment when home broadband access has become vividly essential, to help expand access to everyone, everywhere.