Dawn Santoianni is an energy policy expert and accomplished writer who has authored numerous scientific articles, reports and advocacy materials for congressional, academic, corporate, and public audiences.  Dawn was appointed by Secretary of Energy Moniz to the National Coal Council, a federal advisory committee and serves as the Council’s Vice Chair of Communications. 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.

Power Generation

ICE cutawayDawn was commissioned to write a series of technical comparisons on gas turbines and reciprocating engines for power generation. The articles cover startup time, efficiency, ramp rate, ambient derating, water use and fuel flexibility. Dawn’s technical comparisons were the cover story in a recent issue of the technical journal In Detail and appear on the client’s corporate website.

Grid Technologies and Protection

Electric Power Substation SilhouetteDawn recently wrote a report on a physical grid security survey of utility executives, and the steps the industry is taking to protect critical electric system infrastructure from natural disasters, sabotage and accidents. The report is forthcoming, and a link will be posted when it is publicly available.

Dawn wrote a case study on the implementation of an intelligent meter data management system by a community-owned utility. The case study discusses how the utility leveraged systems integration to maximize ROI on their AMI investment.

Coal Technology and Policy

Coal train_widget sizeDawn has been invited to write articles for numerous traditional and online media sites and trade magazines. 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.

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.


microgrid-city-viewDawn was interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio Network for the show Future TenseMicrogrids: 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.

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.

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.


Capitol widget sizeDawn 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.