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Month: June 2009

Daytime Lamps Not Required

Daytime Lamps Not Required

In this morning's Federal Register you may not have noticed an item having to do with automobile safety. After eight years, the U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a denial of a petition by General Motors to require all cars in the U.S. under 5 tons to have daytime running lamps. DOT, through its own studies, has not been able to find an appreciable safety benefit from drivers having their headlights on at all times during the day. Apparently, the government feels daytime lamps Read more [...]
Happy 100th!

Happy 100th!

Wednesday marked the release of the 100th edition of NEMA's Electroindustry Business Confidence Index report. The EBCI tracks the evolution of business conditions facing the electroindustry in North America and three other world regions, as seen through the eyes of senior executives of NEMA member companies. Perhaps the most interesting component is the report's measure of expected conditions a half-year down the road. Naturally, this future conditions index has seen highs and lows over Read more [...]
Batteries as a future energy source?

Batteries as a future energy source?

I was recently at a meeting hosted by at the Capital Visitors Center titled "Building a Bigger Battery." The panel presented ideas that get little attention and few people hear about. They discussed the use of batteries being energized through renewable energies to be of prominent use in the future electricity grid across the states. Dr. Ali Nourai of American Electric Power has already started this process by building large battery sites across the central and eastern U.S. They have Read more [...]
Yes, It’s Still Out There…

Yes, It’s Still Out There…

To say that Washington is a busy place this summer is an understatement.  Congress is still negotiating a deal to bring energy and climate change legislation to the floor.  Numerous Senate and House committees are combing their way through hundreds of pages of legislation to overhaul the nation's health care system. The Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations process is in full swing.  The House of Representatives even held 53 votes on Thursday.  Yep, busy. With all of the focus Read more [...]
The Tough Times Continue

The Tough Times Continue

We can now clearly say that this is the manufacturing sector's deepest downturn since the dark days of the Great Depression (see the charts below for evidence). While the blood-letting will probably continue for some time, a few regional Fed surveys (here, for example) and NEMA's very own Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) suggest manufacturers are beginning to strike a more optimistic tone on their expectations for future economic conditions. The forward-looking components Read more [...]
The High Cost of Fixing our High-Cost Health Care

The High Cost of Fixing our High-Cost Health Care

This week the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee begins its consideration of the "Affordable Health Choices Act," draft legislation sponsored by Senate HELP Committee Chair Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT).  This legislation, which requires individuals to have health care coverage and paves the way for the establishment of American Health Benefit Gateways to to help facilitate the purchase of insurance, has been estimated by the nonpartisan, Read more [...]
Happy High Performance Building Week!

Happy High Performance Building Week!

It's High Performance Building Week!  I hope you've chosen to commemorate the event appropriately. Or perhaps you've been too caught up in other important affairs -- high school graduations, summer vacations, walking the dog -- to have gotten wind of this momentous occasion.  For the record, the honor was announced in early June, when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution to that effect.  NEMA, naturally, Read more [...]
House Committee Seeks Ways to Modernize, Expand Grid

House Committee Seeks Ways to Modernize, Expand Grid

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on Friday to discuss the future of the transmission grid. As noted in this blog before, obtaining federal permits can sometimes be as time-consuming as coordinating between states. Rich Halvey from the Western Governors Association noted that the federal permitting process can take 5 to 10 years. Chairman Markey barely covered his incredulity, noting that sometimes it is not the states, but “The federal government [that] serves as an impediment.” Read more [...]
"Wireless Waves Harmless" – 1909 Marconi Statement

"Wireless Waves Harmless" – 1909 Marconi Statement

As noted in the article titled the same as this post, noted scientists, inventors and engineers have come to the same conclusion - that Electromagnetic Fields are safe.  Given the ability of microwave emissions from high power radar to fry something in its path, that is not always absolutely true but the article - "The Conceits of Setting EMF Standards: Australia To Triple Its Limit to 3,000mG" posted on June 11, 2009 by Microwave News - seems to be inflammatory and not useful for Read more [...]
No Help Wanted

No Help Wanted

A new research note by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco explores the likelihood of yet another jobless recovery. The authors note that the relatively low level of temp worker layoffs and high share of involuntary part-time workers (often referred to as underemployment) at this time set the stage for a slow employment recovery on par with those following the early 1990s and 2001 recessions. Indeed, they suggest that the unemployment rate could reach as high as 11 percent next Read more [...]