smart grid Archives - Shopfloor

‘Jobs for America’: Policies for Manufacturing, Economic Growth

By | Economy, Infrastructure, Innovation, Taxation, Trade | No Comments

The National Association of Manufacturers today released a major economic analysis documenting the impact on the economy and jobs creation of several policy changes. The report was conducted by the Milken Institute, a nonpartisan and independent think tank in Santa Monica, that used respected and rigorous economic models to assess the impact of proposals.

The report is “Jobs for America,” and the Milken Institute has put up a website with the full study, explanatory slides, and other material: http://www.milkeninstitute.org/jobsforamerica/

“Jobs for America” concludes that proposed corporate tax cuts, export control reforms and key infrastructure investments could create more than 11 million jobs in the U.S. by 2019.


• Reducing the U.S. corporate income tax to match the average of other industrial countries (OECD nations) would boost total employment by 2.1 million jobs.
• A permanent R&D tax credit, increased by 25 percent, could generate 510,000 jobs within a decade.
• Modernizing U.S. export controls would expand exports in high-value areas, increasing total employment by 340,000.
• Investing $425.6 billion across 10 infrastructure categories (including highway and transit, energy efficiency, wastewater treatment, Smart Grid, nuclear, etc.) would generate 10.7 million jobs over three years.

“Jobs for America” provides the substantive economic analysis that should guide policymakers with a clear course of action if, as many assert, jobs is the No. 1 facing the country.

See also NAM release, “New Study Gives Roadmap for U.S. Job Creation and Long-Term Growth

Transmission, No Transmission

By | Energy | No Comments

Energy Secretary Steven Chu delivered the keynote address Wednesday to the DOE-NARUC National Electricity Delivery Forum here in Washington, “The preeminent public policy forum on the Nation’s electric power delivery system infrastructure.”

The stimulus bill contained, by most accounts, $11 billion for transmission grid improvements, and Chu is promising to move quickly on funding approval and distribution. From the AP:

On the need to expand and modernize the transmission grid, Chu demonstrated his “hands-on” involvement in such issues as “smart grid” development, and the importance of the grid to making wind-produced electricity a larger share of the nation’s power supply.

The good news is that the United States has vast areas where wind is plentiful, he said, but “the bad news is renewable energy sources are in places that don’t have many people” requiring construction of new transmission lines.

Good. Too bad judges, acting on lawsuits by environmentalists, are disinclined to let that happen. From the Northern Virginia Daily, “Ruling gives power line authority back to states“:

A U.S. appellate court ruling puts power over electric transmission line projects, such as the pending Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, back in states’ hands.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion Wednesday in a case brought by the Warrenton-based Piedmont Environmental Council regarding rules set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the implementation of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

“The decision directly upholds a state’s right to reject a transmission line project without fear of the federal government stepping in to overrule that State’s determination,” Christopher G. Miller, president of PEC, states in a press release. “In plain language, the utilities do not get a second chance if the state rejects a line based upon the merits.”

In practical political language, that means that it is much easier for environmental and NIMBY groups to block the construction of transmission lines anywhere in the United States. So much for the plentiful wind energy.

The Fourth Circuit’s opinion in the lawsuit brought by the Piedmont Environmental Council and the Public Service Commission of New York and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission against FERC is available here.

And we’ll link to Secretary Chu’s speech if and when it becomes available.

Smart Grid, a Definition

By | Energy, Technology | No Comments

A story in today’s D.C. Examiner, “‘Smart grid’ technology may soon hit the suburbs“:

An electricity use monitoring pilot program dubbed “smart grid” may be coming soon to the Maryland suburbs.

Local electric utility Pepco filed a proposal with state regulators last week to put between 2,500 and 3,500 “smart meters” in homes in Bethesda and Fort Washington. The meters record how much and when electricity is used each month and can communicate with Pepco to indicate power outages.

The pilot program would also include sensors on circuits at two substations that have a history of power outages. Pepco said the sensors would allow the utility to identify, isolate and fix the problems more quickly.

Good, but is that all “smart grid” is? Smarter home meters and sensors at substations?

Obviously there’s more. The Department of Energy has a publication, “The Smart Grid: An Introduction.” From page 10:

The electric industry is poised to make the transformation from a centralized, producer-controlled network to one that is less centralized and more consumer-interactive. The move to a smarter grid promises to change the industry’s entire business model and its relationship with all stakeholders, involving and affecting utilities, regulators, energy service providers, technology and automation vendors and all consumers of electric power.

A smarter grid makes this transformation possible by bringing the philosophies, concepts and technologies that enabled the internet to the utility and the electric grid. More importantly, it enables the industry’s best ideas for grid modernization to achieve their full potential.

It takes until page 10 to get to that? And Dr. Smith and the robot from Lost in Space is the illustration?

Clearly, we need some refining of defining. But for now, here’s the Department of Energy’s smart grid section at the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. Eneregy Secretary Chu delivered the keynote address this morning at the DOE-NARUC National Electricity Forum on the smart grid and stimulus bill. (We’ll link later.)

General Electric is prominent in smart grid technology and deployment, and has an animation-heavy website with lots of info, “Ecomagination.” GE’s Smart Grid Technology ad, which ran during the Super Bowl, is great.

In a Blackout, It Doesn’t Matter if Your TV is Digital or Analog

By | Communications, Economy, Energy | No Comments

From the Washington Post story, “Alternative Energy Still Facing Headwinds,” citing President Obama’s recent remarks at the Department of Energy:

“After decades of dragging our feet,” Obama said, the “plan will finally spark the creation of a clean energy industry that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next few years, manufacturing wind turbines and solar cells, for example.”

Obama said U.S. renewable fuel capacity will double in “the next few years.” Noting that the electrical grid has changed little since the era of black-and-white TV, he promised a “better, smarter” network that will “ship wind and solar power from one end of this country to the other.”

Yet the $2 billion in the stimulus package devoted to transmission lines is a tiny part of what’s needed.

From AP, cited in today’s Washington Post, “Some TV stations get ready to cut analog signals“:

The stimulus bill that President Barack Obama is expected to sign on Tuesday contains $650 million in additional funding. Once that’s available to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, it can clear the 4 million coupon backlog in a few weeks.

Transmission lines: $2 billion

Consumer subsidies and “education” for transition to DTV: $650 million.

UPDATE (3:30 p.m.): How much money for the smart grid? Grist, the environmental advocacy site, summarizes energy provisions in the stimulus bill, including $11 billion for smart grid and $7.5 billion for renewable energy and transmission-line construction. But at the American Spectator, alternative-energy critic and pessimist William Tucker reports “$4.5 billion for ‘smart grid’ upgrades and $6.5 billion to help the Bonneville and Western Area Power Administrations upgrade their grid to ferry renewable energy from remote regions.” Here’s Bloomberg: “The measure contains $4.5 billion for the energy-efficient smart grid and $6.5 billion for transmission lines serving federally operated utilities such as the Bonneville Power Administration, for a total of $11 billion in upgraded power production.” Indeed, the $11 billion figure is the most frequent one we see.


The Stimulus Bill and Greenergy

By | Energy | No Comments

The White House at a blog post, ” Time to sign it,” anticipates President Obama’s signing of the stimulus bill in Denver by citing local news coverage of “clean energy” companies that expect benefits from the federal government spending and incentives.

Along those lines, the Washington Post runs a business section story, “Alternative Energy Still Facing Headwinds.” The piece examines pros, cons, challenges and environmentalist opposition to actually using the greenergy once it’s generated.

Operating in California, where investor-owned utilities must draw 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010, San Diego Gas & Electric got tripped up when it first proposed a transmission route for the Sunrise Powerlink that knifed through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

A different route, which winds farther south, close to the Mexican border, was approved by a 4 to 1 vote of the California Public Utilities Commission. It is that route that is opposed by Tisdale, local planners and a group of environmental organizations. The Center for Biological Diversity sued in January to block the line.

“It goes through public land, and pretty precious public land,” CBD attorney Steve Siegel said. “It goes through some fire-prone areas. It goes through endangered-species habitat.”

So we can never build transmission lines in California that go through public lines and fire-prone areas. Leaving what, exactly?

Hugh Hewitt, talk show host, blogger and law professor also practices law in the area of Endangered Species Act protections and private property rights. He’s repeatedly noted that infrastructure projects can be stopped by environmentalist litigation unless waivers are built into the law, specifically the National Environmental Protection Act. Does the stimulus bill, H.R.1, have such waivers? Not that we see.

Related Hewitt:

And especially this one about nuclear power and the ESA, Habitat, Housing, Nukes and Ships: Rescuing the “Stimulus”