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Month: January 2009

Banking on a Solution

Banking on a Solution

With a new administration often comes new ideas, but it appears the Obama administration is working on yet another version of a financial industry rescue - let's call it TARP 3.0. The main piece of this package would be an "aggregator" bank that would serve as a dumping ground for banks' toxic assets that have spawned the logjam in credit markets in the first place. Some analysts are referring to the plan as a good bank/bad bank setup, because it would allow banks to unload the Read more [...]
HOW MUCH IS A TRILLION DOLLARS?

HOW MUCH IS A TRILLION DOLLARS?

Whats's a trillion dollars? As we all become bombarded by the daily media blitz regarding the continuing saga in the varying amounts contained in projected stimuli (AKA Bailout) bills and financial shortfalls identified in millions, billions and even trillion dollar amounts, we run the risk of becoming either unmoved or apathetic due to the possible loss of our perspective on just how much for instance, a trillion dollars actually is. For comparison purposes, lets consider the following: Read more [...]
Smart Grid Gets Another Boost from the President

Smart Grid Gets Another Boost from the President

Let me speculate that a year ago most politicians or members of the media had no idea what Smart Grid was, much less the details about why we need to modernize our electric grid. That's all changed, and while NEMA can take credit for some of the increased exposure, it helps when the guy with the biggest bully pulpit in town -- President Obama -- makes it one of his priorities. That's just what he did last weekend when he spotlighted building a new electric grid in his first Read more [...]
Investigators call Soldier’s electrocution “negligent homicide”

Investigators call Soldier’s electrocution “negligent homicide”

The death of a soldier electrocuted while showering at a military facility in Iraq a year ago may be changed from accidental death to negligent homicide.  Army criminal investigators say that KBR, the largest US contractor in Iraq, may have failed to have qualified electricians and plumbers undertaking installation work at military camps.    Up to 18 other deaths of military personnel and contracts have been blamed on faulty wiring or grounding. The installation codes and Read more [...]
Quicksilver and Your New Light Bulbs

Quicksilver and Your New Light Bulbs

A non-NEMA colleague recently told me that she had installed "some of those funny new light bulbs." According to NEMA Business Information Services, the U.S. market penetration of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) reached 25 percent recently. However, that number indicates that a majority of consumers are still using less efficient incandescent light bulbs. With the immense amount of energy that can be saved by shifting consumers to more efficient light sources, we believe manufacturers, Read more [...]
Free Falling

Free Falling

Another month and another abysmal report on the housing market. How bad was it? Total December housing starts dropped to a record low for the fourth consecutive month. For the year as a whole, housing starts plummeted below the previous low water mark set back in the dark days of the early 1980s recession (1982 to be exact). Given the precipitous drop in construction activity during the past two years, one would think the supply of new homes would need to increase more rapidly in order to satisfy Read more [...]
Phantoms and Vampires

Phantoms and Vampires

Several months ago I wrote about a new utility program my family has joined that gives us more information about our electricity usage. So on Tuesday we received our bill for the mid-December to mid-January period. On the back of the statement was a helpful reminder about the "energy "vampires" most of have in our homes: appliances that, even when turned "off", are consuming electricity in a stand-by mode. This was something I was aware of but I had not really Read more [...]
Energy Storage Technology Is Vital For "Smart" Grid Efforts

Energy Storage Technology Is Vital For "Smart" Grid Efforts

NEMA is taking the lead in making Smart Grid and Energy Storage technologies a reality.  The NEMA Energy Storage Council (ESC) has held successful meetings where attendees have drafted a list of application categories that help define where Energy Storage (ES) and Distributed Generation (DG) technologies should play a role.  The NEMA ESC consisting of manufacturer, utility and government representative stakeholders further established and tasked a NEMA ESC Technical Committee (Stationary Read more [...]
Kudos to the European Commission on Revising the Metric Labeling Directive

Kudos to the European Commission on Revising the Metric Labeling Directive

We've just gotten word from our friends in Europe that the EU metric labeling directive has finally been modified FROM requiring all products (and product packaging, training materials, other collateral materials, etc.) entering the EC after December 31, 2009 to use only metric measures and nomenclature TO an indefinite extension of the current practice of permitting the use of "supplementary indications."  One caveat is that the decision calls for a review of this decision Read more [...]
A New President, A New Era — for the Electric Grid

A New President, A New Era — for the Electric Grid

President Barack Obama took office at 12 noon today (even though he wasn't sworn in until 12:03). I was delighted that in his inaugural speech, he expressed the need to rebuild America -- and specifically, the electric grid. Here's what he said: The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our Read more [...]