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  • Give and Take: The Rubber Meets the Road

    The rhetoric was flying in Beijing on Saturday morning - over tires and trade. The Commerce Ministry certainly played to the media in citing President Obama's decision to impose hefty new tariffs on car and light truck tires from China as "grave act of trade protectionism", a violation...
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  • Climbing out of the Hole

    The recovery watch continues and based on anecdotal reports out of the Fed's Beige Book , economic activity is stabilizing, and even showing signs of improving, around the nation. Indeed, the key question is quickly becoming how strong and steady the gains will be as we emerge from the deep hole...
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  • Where in the World is Smart Metering?

    Headlines involving smart metering seem to have been multiplying in the last few months, including projects that involve NEMA members (recent press releases here , here , and here ). To see an interesting visual representation of metering initiatives on a global scale, check out this Google map: http...
  • Roadblocks to energy efficiency, mercury, and a tunafish sandwich

    A July 2009 report released by McKinsey & Company entitled Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy neatly summarizes many of the roadblocks to attaining a more energy efficient economy and highlights strategies for getting around those roadblocks. We have known about these obstacles for awhile...
  • Pulling out the Bully Pulpit

    Tonight President Barack Obama will address a joint session of Congress to outline and clarify his plans for health care reform and to exhort Congress to work cooperatively to enact legislation to expand affordable health care to uninsured Americans. After several tumultuous town hall meetings during...
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  • Labor Day Lament

    While we're getting more and more signs that an honest-to-goodness economic recovery might be in the offing, one particularly stubborn segment of the economy continues to cast a lingering shadow: the labor market. Today's employment report did show yet another moderation in the pace of job losses...
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  • Press the EMP Key

    A nuclear explosion outside the earth’s atmosphere produces an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). While there has been recent Hill, media, and fictional attention on the subject, EMPs have been a threat since the nuclear age. The grid does have certain vulnerabilities, and this post outlines what is (or isn't) at risk from EMP damage. While heavy power system assets such as switches and transformers are largely immune to immediate EMP interference, EMP-induced surge currents could overwhelm some protective systems. More importantly, the modern monitoring, communication, and control equipment are vulnerable to damage from an EMP. Such an attack could cripple power system operations. Detailed writeup follows.

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  • Labor Day 2009: Fate of EFCA

    As our nation prepares to bid farewell to summer and celebrate Labor Day , now is the perfect time to take stock of where we are with respect to the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act" ( HR 1409 / S560 ), also known as EFCA or simply "card check." Americans don't want "card...
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  • What Should Make a "Green" Building?

    Stop me if you've heard me say this before: Buildings are the single largest user of electricity in the nation. According to the US Green Buildings Council , buildings account for 72% of electricity use in the United States. So if you're going to try to conserve energy in our society, buildings...
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