Tau Technical Communications was founded by Dawn Santoianni, an energy policy expert and accomplished writer who has authored numerous scientific articles, reports and proposals for congressional, academic, corporate, and public audiences. Dawn serves as a Topic Director and coal subject matter expert for Our Energy Policy Foundation, helping facilitate substantive nonpartisan dialogue on U.S. energy policies. Dawn recently provided comments to Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) on lifting the crude oil export ban. As a faculty member of The Oxford Princeton Programme, she develops and leads courses on coal technologies, markets and regulations. Dawn was recently appointed by Secretary of Energy Moniz to the National Coal Council, a federal advisory committee. The National Coal Council provides advice and guidance on policy matters related to coal and energy.
Dawn has over 20 years experience spanning energy, power generation and pollution mitigation. Recent work and significant past work in the public domain are listed below. If you would like to see further credentials including a CV, or want to view an actual piece, please contact Dawn.
Website Content, Technical Analysis and Marketing Support
Dawn was commissioned to write a series of technical comparisons on the differences between gas turbines and reciprocating engines for power generation. The client is an international power generating equipment manufacturer. The technical comparisons are showcased on a new section of the client’s corporate website. The client needed a writer that had in-depth knowledge of the power industry and could interview and communicate with their lead engineers.
The technical comparisons are original written material developed by Dawn. The content Dawn wrote can be viewed under the “Technical Comparisons” section on the client’s Learning Center. In addition to website content and comparison articles, Dawn develops marketing collateral and edits white papers for various clients.
Case Studies and Dashboards
Dawn wrote a case study on the implementation of an intelligent meter data management system by a community-owned utility. The case study involved interviewing the utility’s technical architect and the vendor’s sales manager to craft a compelling story about how the utility leveraged systems integration to maximize ROI on their AMI investment.
Dawn is also helped develop a series of product dashboards to highlight smart grid technologies, including outage management systems, big data analytics and advanced distribution management systems for the DistribuTECH conference in February 2015.
Print and Online Media Articles
Dawn has been invited to write articles for numerous traditional and online media sites and trade magazines. Recently, Dawn profiled the world’s most efficient coal-fired power plants for Cornerstone magazine (article begins on page 39). She reviewed high-efficiency low-emissions (HELE) plants in the context of policy and economic factors.
Dawn has authored articles on sustainability issues related to coal ash and the implications of low natural gas prices on coal power for American Coal Magazine. Making the Case for Sustainability in the Coal Ash Debate was published in Issue 1 2014. Is There a Future for Coal Power was published in the fall 2012 issue. Dawn’s articles comparing gas turbines and reciprocating combustion engines was the cover story for the 2015 Issue 1 of In Detail technical journal.
Scientific American editors invited Dawn to provide commentary on the technological challenges of reducing reliance on coal power and integrating renewable energy sources into the U.S. electric grid. The intent of the piece was to inform readers of the evolution of the nation’s generating fleet and transmission system. The Backbone of the Electric System: A Legacy of Coal and the Challenge of Renewables was one of the most read blog posts when it appeared. Dawn has also covered new energy technologies for Scientific American’s Plugged In blog. Are Microgrids the Key to Energy Security? discusses the economic and regulatory obstacles to microgrid adoption. Dawn also wrote Innovation Cleans Up Waste-to-Energy for Scientific American, reviewing potential waste-to-energy (WTE) technology game-changers.
Dawn was interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio Network for the show Future Tense. Microgrids: hyper-distributed power was broadcast on October 13, 2013. The podcast and transcript can be accessed from the Radio Network website. The interview covered drivers and challenges to microgrid adoption, including electric reliability, economic and regulatory issues.
Presentations and Conference Papers
Dawn has made numerous presentations at conferences and industry meetings, speaking to energy industry professionals about integrating social media with professional and technical communications, stakeholder engagement, and policy analysis.
Dawn was a panelist for a general session at the 2015 Smart Cities conference. Dawn spoke about the regulatory and financial challenges for smart cities. Dawn presented two papers at the 2013 World of Coal Ash: The Social Media Battleground: How Public Perception, Science Communication, Media Coverage, and Politics Are Shaped by Social Media and Job Impacts in the Coal Industry: What Can We Expect from the Natural Gas Boom and Environmental Regulations? Dawn has also assisted with the preparation of conference papers for clients.
Dawn led the development of an executive report that was sent to members of Congress for consideration during the crafting of new legislation. It was important to the client that the report conveyed pertinent analysis methodology but presented key findings in a visually appealing format. The report was used as a reference by Congressional leaders during Committee markup on the proposed legislation.
Dawn testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy on April 14, 2011. The hearing focused on H.R. 1391, a bill to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating fossil fuel combustion waste under subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Dawn’s testimony starts at time 1:48:00.