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Month: January 2010

Economic Growth Surges in Q4, but Beware…

Economic Growth Surges in Q4, but Beware…

The Commerce Department reported that real GDP expanded at a 5.7% annualized rate in the final three months of last year, its second straight quarterly expansion. A strong increase in exports and a further moderation in inventory liquidation were the largest contributors to the increase. This is good news to be sure, but as the Washington Post cautions in this piece, it “may veil weakness in the economy.” (I’d put it a bit more strongly than “may.”)   In any case, Read more [...]
NEMA’s Leadership Role in Smart Grid

NEMA’s Leadership Role in Smart Grid

NEMA, whose companies make the products that go into a 21st-century "smart" electrical grid, took on a leadership role in promoting Smart Grid several years ago -- long before President Obama announced in his inaugural address that one of his administration's goals would be to focus on modernizing the electrical grid. NIST's recent announcement of the officers its Smart Grid Interoperability Panel Board of Governors -- and lo and behold, John McDonald, GM of marketing Read more [...]
State of the Union: What’s at Stake

State of the Union: What’s at Stake

Tonight President Obama will command the attention of Congress, the nation and the world as he delivers his first State of the Union Address.  And there is a lot at stake. According to recent polls, President Obama’s approval rating hovers around 50%, which is a far cry from the 65% rating he enjoyed a few months ago. However, when you consider how the American people currently rate Congress’ performance—only 26% approve of the job lawmakers are doing—the president’s Read more [...]
Down to the Wire

Down to the Wire

This week’s special election for the Massachusetts senate seat is not the only vote this January carrying major implications for U.S. economic policy. Ben Bernanke’s term as Federal Reserve Chairman expires at the end of the month—just over a week from now. Despite being re-nominated by President Obama and receiving approval from the Senate Banking Committee by a margin of 16-7, Bernanke still must be approved by the full Senate, where he has seen a growing level of opposition coming Read more [...]
Energy Saving Motor Control

Energy Saving Motor Control

As we all try to save energy, one of the most effective routes is through more efficient use of motors.  This is so important because motors are everywhere - household appliances from cleaning to kitchen, domestic/commercial/industrial fans and pumps, and especially in electric vehicles, among many applications.  They are so ubiquitous that a business "Public Service of New Hampshire - The Northeast Utilities System" posting indicated that "electric motors consume 64 Read more [...]
A Little Perspective

A Little Perspective

The Random House College Dictionary I keep at my desk defines perspective as “the ability to see all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship.”  And nowhere is it more difficult to keep proper perspective than in our nation’s capital.  Washington—like the entire nation—is a-Twitter (pun intended) today over the implications Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts special election has on health care reform, the Obama Read more [...]
Mexican utility headquarters that used to hold more than 1,000 workers now looks like a haunted building……….

Mexican utility headquarters that used to hold more than 1,000 workers now looks like a haunted building……….

Mexico’s electricity generation began with private companies, but in 1938 the Mexican government began nationalization of the electric utility industry.  As a result of this process two electrical companies were created: CFE – Federal Electrical Commission and LyFC – Central Light and Power. LyFC generated and distributed electricity in the central part of the country around Mexico City at 50 Hz and CFE supplied the rest of the country at 60 Hz.; in 1972 Mexico unified the Read more [...]
A Difference of Opinion

A Difference of Opinion

It appears Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke won’t be appearing on VH1’s “Best Week Ever” anytime soon. In a speech last week to the American Economics Association, Chairman Bernanke asserted that he did not believe the Fed’s interest rate policy during the early 2000s was responsible for creating the housing bubble. Of course, the majority of economists believe otherwise and the question of whether the Fed kept rates too low for too long at the beginning Read more [...]
Future of Card Check?

Future of Card Check?

Today's issue of Roll Call (January 13, 2010) includes an interesting article ("Democrats Trying to Mollify Unions") on the legislative priorities of union activists and their increasing frustration with Congress over everything from proposals to tax "Cadillac" health care plans to failure to take action on the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act" (HR 1409/S 560). The article suggests what is widely acknowledged around the nation's capital, namely, that mustering Read more [...]
Nanotechnology for energy to be a major innovation in the coming decade, if…

Nanotechnology for energy to be a major innovation in the coming decade, if…

I read an interesting article by Robert Nelsen, co-founder and a Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners, with his view on the Top 5 innovations to watch in the coming decade. I didn't have to get very far into the piece to get his take on nanotechnology when Mr. Nelsen declared nanotechnology as No. 1 on the list.  He foresees major innovations in solar energy "that can produce electricity at 6 cents per kilowatt hour and which will compete with conventional power Read more [...]