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  • Smart Grid Follows Me Home from NEMA

    NEMA is all about Smart Grid, so my weekdays tend to be peppered with Smart Grid news and developments. To my surprise, the concept popped up at home while I was playing The Sims 2. Not familiar with The Sims 2? It's a computer game that has sold 100 million copies since its 2000 release. As banal...
  • Why a Memorial Day?

    Memorial Day did not start out as a celebration day, a party day, a shopping day or even a time to thank those who have served or who are serving the Nation. It was meant as a time of remembrance and honor for those who had given the ultimate sacrifice in protecting us while in the service of this country...
  • A Little Ol' Transmission Fable

    At a meeting of western states on the subject of renewable transmission, one state official lamented that the major obstacle to new lines, in some specific cases, was the federal government itself, with disparate agencies creating multiple hurdles. I found the comment non-intuitive. Isn’t transmission siting primarily restricted by disagreements between states on cost recovery and a NIMBY mentality? Since the comment was made in an off-the-record setting, I filed it and moved on until substantial supporting evidence emerged. Now, after reviewing an EPA letter to the Tehachapi project, I understand the state official’s comment. For certain classes of lines – those that have all necessary state-level approvals – the Federal government can act as an unintended barrier.

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  • Green Shoots of Recovery or Just More Weeds?

    Whether it's the arrival of spring or people growing tired of all the bad economic news, everyone seems to be getting out their microscopes and scrutinizing every single data release all in the hopes of spotting the end of the recession - hence all the talk of green shoots . A point I've made...
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  • ABCs of Smart Grid on NPR

    Anyone driving to and from work last week and listening to NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" got a fascinating education on Smart Grid. The 10-part series, called " Power Hungry: Reinventing the U.S. Electrical Grid " (and available for reading or downloading...
  • The Lesson of Unintended Consequences

    Those of you interested in economic policy who are not familiar with Henry Hazlitt's fable of the broken window , now is the time to learn it. I was reminded of it, and the late, great Hazlitt's wonderful book "Economics in One Lesson," after reading a recent Economist editorial, "Piling...
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  • The Bottomless Pit

    Every month we think we're getting closer to the bottom of the housing market and when the data come out we inevitably hear the same thing: "We're almost there". Well guess what? Another month's worth of data on existing and new home sales and still no evidence the carnage has ended...
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  • Ouch, My Aching Greenback

    A warning by Standard & Poor's about the possibility of a credit rating downgrade for the U.K. sent a shockwave across global bond and equity markets. With the U.K. government spending and printing large sums of money to resurrect the economy, analysts are expressing fears about the rapid accumulation...
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  • Smart Grid Spectrum: License to Collide?

    Reuters is running an article today on spectrum for smart grid devices. The debate pits economics against reliability – use of unlicensed spectrum is cheaper because no FCC license is required, but dedicated spectrum reduces the occurrence of interference with other transmissions. Devices have coexisted...
  • Home Energy Use - Energy Star Retreating Now?

    Now that we have entered May, the thermometers are starting to trend upward. In some regions of the country the cooling season has already started while in more northerly climes the heating season is drawing to a close. At the same time, on Capitol Hill the debate is raging on what measures to take to...
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