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Month: June 2008

“Electricity is Really Just Organized Lightning”

“Electricity is Really Just Organized Lightning”

So spoke the late George Carlin, and he had a point. Yet if he had actually tried to do a monologue on the cut-and-paste U.S. grid, he might have realized that – as with all contrived conspiracy theories -- electricity as it works in this country is not nearly as organized as we might want to believe. Curious upon reading this citation in a Washington Post appreciation of the comedian, I started looking for other prescient celebrity remarks about electricity, but was sorely disappointed. My dictionary Read more [...]
Asleep at the Helm?

Asleep at the Helm?

After offering some tough talk on inflation and the dollar only a couple of weeks prior, Ben Bernanke & Co. (save for FOMC member Fisher) punted again this week on interest rates, on the rationale that growth remains weak and that "inflation is expected to moderate later this year and next year." Consumers stung at the pump, fleeced at the grocery store and struggling to pay utilities with rebate checks must be scratching their heads wondering how the Fed could look at all the available Read more [...]
Competing to Survive

Competing to Survive

I have never been confused with an economist, but one of my jobs here at NEMA is to assist companies who are interested in selling their equipment abroad. So something I read yesterday struck me. In an AP story about U.S. consumer confidence hitting new lows, an economist for one of the major banks (I am not a customer but there is a branch just around the corner from NEMA HQ) was quoted as saying, "[T]here's a real gulf between an economy being held up by exports and what's Read more [...]
Smart Grid – Ready for the Dictionary?

Smart Grid – Ready for the Dictionary?

Lexicographers record when and how often a new word or phrase in used in the print media to identify when new words enter the language. This week millions of readers of The Economist have been introduced to a phrase that is already very familiar to us at NEMA – “Smart Grid”.  In the magazine’s  Special Report on the Future of Energy I counted the term being used seven times. The report explained how smart grids will be crucial in constantly monitoring the load on the electrical Read more [...]
Pete Light — A Cute Mascot for Energy Efficiency

Pete Light — A Cute Mascot for Energy Efficiency

We know we're making progress on the energy efficiency front when our products start appearing as adorable mascots. Take a gander at how the the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron is promoting energy efficiency at Peterson Air Force Base. Is Pete Light cute enough to squeeze or what? (Lawyer's notice: NEMA recommends against squeezing actual CFLs.) Read more [...]
You Won’t Know How Much You Love Me ‘Till I’m Gone

You Won’t Know How Much You Love Me ‘Till I’m Gone

Last Tuesday’s (6/17) Financial Times featured some articles that struck common electrical cords: • A special section on South Africa highlighted an unsettling wave of power outages there in recent months, triggered by the long-standing government policy of not investing in infrastructure so as to avoid unpopular rate hikes. • An article on Iraq described how public confidence there continues to be undermined by the lack of reliable electricity, with many areas still receiving only one Read more [...]
Scoping the Smart Grid

Scoping the Smart Grid

What can you do with 150 smart power systems people gathered in a room? If there aren't any light bulbs that need to be changed, they just might assemble a few innovative metrics to guage progress on the smart grid. I attended the Department of Energy's Smart Grid Implementation Workshop, held yesterday and today at L'Enfant Plaza. Stakeholders from across the electricity system were present - regulators, system operators, utilities, academics, labs, and manufacturers. NEMA members in Read more [...]
Two Peas in a Pod?

Two Peas in a Pod?

Writing in the WSJ yesterday (subscription req'd), Karl Rove takes both major party presidential nominees to task for their frequent aversion to the notion that a free society should allow market mechanisms to appropriately allocate its scarce resources. A particular target of the candidates is the behavior of certain energy firms.  (In a grand rhetorical flourish, Rove even goes as far as to invoke the name of Joseph Shumpeter, coiner of the term "creative destruction," an obscure Read more [...]
In Tim Russert’s Memory

In Tim Russert’s Memory

On Friday June 13 the sad news of Tim Russert’s passing reached me. As everyone else, I liked Tim – an extraordinarily nice man, a great journalist. Sundays will never be the same without Tim on Meet the Press! In a couple of days the talk turned to the question that occurred to me immediately: why? Tim’s cardiologist reviewed his heart disease risk factors including blood pressure, cholesterol. They did not mention whether Tim had advanced heart imaging allowing the assessment of the state of Read more [...]
NEMA Premium Efficiency Transformers Program Gets an International Rollout

NEMA Premium Efficiency Transformers Program Gets an International Rollout

Yesterday morning at their annual meeting in Toronto, EEI Executive Director Diane Munns announced the creation of a joint program between EEI and NEMA to provide and procure efficient distribution transformers ahead of the Department of Energy's 2010 mandate. With CEOs from Consolidated Edison, TECO, Duke, and Pepco present, Munns lauded the efforts of utilities and manufacturers to implement efficiency technologies that are feasible today. Losses from transformers account for approximately Read more [...]