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Author: Stephen Gold

Winter Weather and Smart Grid

Winter Weather and Smart Grid

President Obama has called it "Snowmageddon."  The nation's capital is caught in the grip of the worst stretch of winter weather in recorded history: 45 inches to date, which currently ranks third behind the winter of 1995-6 (46 inches) and the winter of 1898-99 (54 inches) -- see the chart at the Washington Post's "Capital Weather Gang."  The 10-20 inches about to hit the Washington area overnight should push this winter to the No. 1 spot. The 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 [...]
Christmas Season Made All the Brighter in the Modern Era

Christmas Season Made All the Brighter in the Modern Era

And now, as the Christmas holiday is upon us, some pontification ... With all the nostalgia for past Christmases, when the holidays were less commercial, I'd like to suggest at least one advancement today:  Christmas time is a much more colorful season in the era of electricity. The Christmas season of lore, idealized in so many Currier & Ives sketches, was not only a more brutish time (e.g., no central heating, limited hot water, no supermarket to dash off to when you Read more [...]
Jobs vs. Regs: A Conundrum

Jobs vs. Regs: A Conundrum

The Obama administration finds itself in a dilemma. On the one hand, it desperately wants to create jobs.  At his "Jobs Summit" last week, the president stated he is committed to ""ideas aimed at accelerating job growth and hiring as we emerge from this economic storm."  And who can blame him -- less than a year from the off-year elections, the jobless rate is still above 10 percent. If little or no progress has been made by November 2, his political leadership Read more [...]
Time for a New Economy Built Around Innovation

Time for a New Economy Built Around Innovation

This is typically the time of year -- when Americans have that shop-till-you-drop mentality -- that we hear about whether U.S. retailers will see red or black in their Christmas stockings. Such news, we're told, is important for a country whose economy, over the past two decades, has been driven by consumer spending.  But an interesting column in the WaPo opinion section this past Sunday (two days after Black Friday, one day before Cyber Monday) made the case for ending this Read more [...]
Touting "No Layoff" Companies

Touting "No Layoff" Companies

Economic times are tough for all U.S. manufacturers, and many have had to lay off employees.  But some advanced manufacturing facilities have opted not to fire anyone, event if it means switching their roles until production picks back up. You can count NEMA members among the companies that are keeping their workforces intact.  In a radio segment today, NPR highlighted two of them, Hypertherm of New Hampshire and Lincoln Electric of Cleveland, whose CEOs (*** Couch and John Stropki, Read more [...]
Hope for Faster Permitting in Siting Transmission Corridors

Hope for Faster Permitting in Siting Transmission Corridors

The federal government took steps recently to speed up the approval process for electricity transmission lines.  Or at least, to speed up the permitting on federal lands.  An agreement between the White House and eight federal agencies puts one agency in charge of the cumbersome process of approving transmission corridor permits -- a change from the traditional multi-agency hurdle that transmission developers have had to maneuver.  This is good for our manufacturers -- streamlining Read more [...]
Spreading Smart Grid Across North America

Spreading Smart Grid Across North America

As evidence of NEMA's continued influence in international markets, the Commerce Department announced this week that our organization received one of five new Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) awards for 2010-2013.  This is NEMA's second MDCP award from Commerce -- the first, which runs from 2007-2010, was given for NEMA to promote U.S. electrical standards and products in Central America.  While MDCP's are designed to promote American competitiveness overseas, Read more [...]
Will Manufacturing Czar Actually Help Manufacturers?

Will Manufacturing Czar Actually Help Manufacturers?

"Bloom vows to boost manufacturing," shouted the headline in the Detroit News last week.  This should be significant, considering that Ron Bloom was tapped to be the senior counselor for manufacturing policy (aka, the manufacturing czar) by the president in early September.  The article even observed that "Obama hopes to boost U.S. manufacturing through innovation and exports." That is a worthy goal.  And no doubt, U.S. manufacturers could use some assistance.  Read more [...]
Will China Be the Home of the Next Great Innovation Revolution?

Will China Be the Home of the Next Great Innovation Revolution?

Tom “The World is Flat” Friedman, noted NYTimes columnist, has launched a shot across America's bow.  His recent column, “The New Sputnik,” outlines a future in which China goes green – and cleans our clock on innovation.  If that happens, and the next innovation revolution occurs in China, the wealth that flows from it won’t be lapping at our shores the way it did following the internet revolution. Why China, a country that lags far behind America Read more [...]