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Month: March 2009

Zoi is No "Hoi Polloi"

Zoi is No "Hoi Polloi"

News is out that POTUS has tapped the person he wants to run the all-important (at least, to us) DOE Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy office: It's Cathy Zoi, CEO of Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection and former chief of staff of the White House Office of Environmental Policy under Bill Clinton. Now, some in industry may cringe at the selection, but we're quite pleased. This is someone with the experience and skill-set to understand what NEMA is trying to accomplish Read more [...]
What Hasn’t Changed in 82 Years

What Hasn’t Changed in 82 Years

Cleaning out the files last Friday yielded an illuminating find--a 1927 copy of The National Electrical Manufacturers Association: A Brief Outline of its Function and Purpose (in the picture below, note the autographed instruction to return this to file). So what's changed since 1927, the year of Show Boat, the expulsion of Leon Trotsky, and the Spirit of St. Louis? (And three years before my grandfather was born.) The electrical and medical imaging industry has certainly made incredible leaps Read more [...]
A Thriftier U.S. Consumer?

A Thriftier U.S. Consumer?

In less than a year's time, U.S. households have gone from spending practically everything they earn, and then some, to socking away larger amounts of their incomes. It had been suggested that if the savings rate climbed even to levels seen during the 2001 recession, the current downturn would end up being a pretty nasty one, since this would represent a large withdrawal of consumer purchasing power from the economy. Well, fast forward to today's personal income and spending report. It showed Read more [...]
Earth Hour vs. Human Achievement Hour

Earth Hour vs. Human Achievement Hour

Maybe you've heard of Earth Hour -- the World Wildlife Fund-sponsored "event" when businesses, households, and even some municipalities around the world will turn their lights off for an hour to raise awareness of global climate change. It's scheduled to occur March 28 from 8:30 - 9:30 pm. The message, according to sponsors, is to show that humans have the ability to fight global warming. Well, now we have a competing event, sponsored by the Competitive Enterprise Read more [...]
Thank you, Senator Specter…Great News for "Card Check" Opponents

Thank you, Senator Specter…Great News for "Card Check" Opponents

Today, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) announced his intention to OPPOSE cloture and final passage of the misnamed "Employee Free Choice Act" (HR 1409/S 560), dealing a significant blow to the AFL-CIO and other proponents who had been counting on his vote to support the anti-democratic and anti-competitive legislation. "The problems of the recession make this a particularly bad time to enact Employees Free Choice legislation. Employers understandably complain that adding a burden would Read more [...]
NIST on the Right Track

NIST on the Right Track

The National Institute of Standards and Technology announced last week that it has created a new Smart Grid Interoperability Office to coordinate and accelerate the standardization framework initiative assigned to it under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  Good move.  An even better move is that NIST has selected Dr. George Arnold, formerly of Lucent Technologies and more recently Deputy Director of NIST Technology Services, as its  new Smart Grid Coordinator.  NEMA Read more [...]
The Color of Money

The Color of Money

Well, we now know that Ben Bernanke is a man of his word. When the Fed suggested back in January that it would buy long-dated Treasurys, a lot of people just assumed it was a ploy to spook investors into re-directing capital out of the Treasury bond market and into riskier forays such as corporate bonds. Then Wednesday's statement from the FOMC came, revealing that the Federal Reserve fully intends to ramp up quantitative easing (AKA: firing up the printing presses) just as it Read more [...]
Still Blowing in the Wind

Still Blowing in the Wind

The U.S. Supreme Court may eventually hear arguments involving a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last month that FERC cannot overrule a state's decision to reject a transmission project. The case involved two power companies that planned to build a high-voltage power line through multiple states, including Maryland and Virginia, providing power for New York City. A similar case, which involves multi-state corridors for transmission line siting, is pending before the Ninth Circuit Court Read more [...]
Capitol Hill is "Card Check" Buzzing…

Capitol Hill is "Card Check" Buzzing…

As I “pounded the pavement” the past couple of days promoting NEMA and its activities on Capitol Hill, I couldn’t help but marvel at the sheer amount of buzz about the misnamed “Employee Free Choice Act,” (EFCA; HR 1409/S 560) that specter which threatens to kill the use of secret ballot in union elections and allow federal arbitrators to impose employment conditions on America’s businesses. I heard about “card check” in congressional offices, in the hallways, and yes, even while enjoying Read more [...]
More on Secretary Chu

More on Secretary Chu

Steven Chu testified before the House Science and Technology Committee on St. Paddy's Day, and CQ Today Online News [subscription only] reported that the nation's energy secretary expressed frustation with the pace of Smart Grid development. Of course, NEMA CEO Evan Gaddis expressed similar frustration two weeks ago before the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. Both men see differences in technology standards as being the key hurdle -- and both men joked about Read more [...]