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On The Fossil Fuel-Economic Complex: Something's Going to Give

We would also be much closer to achieving our goals if there were not the irrational (defacto) prohibition on the use of nuclear energy in much of the country.

May 12, 2012    View Comment    

On Is An Electricity Négociant in our Future?

"Could a similar range of blended electricity production and consumption service choices from electricity négociants be available to consumers in the future Smart Grid?"

I certainly hope so. The Conceptutal Plan for the Smart Grid as published by the NIST clearly provides for this eventuality. I hope that you will be an advocate for making this a reality sooner rather than later.

May 12, 2012    View Comment    

On Should We Spend More Time Educating Utilities Instead of Consumers?

I would suggest expanding your suggestion to include State Utility Regulators. They are at a minimum complicit in preventing consumers from realizing real benefits that they would find worthwhile. At worst, they are an impenetrable wall preventing true customer choice and control. The conceptual road-map for Smart Grid is well conceived. Unfortunately development is being controlled by those in the regulatory arena who want to keep their iron grip on the command and control of what consumers are allowed to do and what they pay. Electricity is the most generic of products. Electrons are electrons. They will flow on the transmission system according to the laws of physics. A vibrant competitive, retail electricity market would do more to advance the development and deployment of Smart Grid with residential and small commercial customers than any of the programs now being discussed. The reason is simply that the current programs are being developed to meet (only) the needs of the regulator and the utility, not the consumer. Only when that changes will consumers enthusiastically adopt Smart Grid technologies.

May 1, 2012    View Comment    

On How the Gleick Crisis Is Killing The Global Warming Cause

"So the moral of this story is that the science is never settled, and agendas should not be allowed to get in the way of science. Scientists, of all people, should know this."

If only this were a matter of science. It now is a matter of environmental dogma, politics (or power, if you wish), and money. Lots and lots of money.

Back in the 1970s the consensus was that the world was headed into another ice age. Then, almost overnight, there was a groundswell of support for the idea that the warming since the last ice age would continue unabated because humans burn fossil fuel, farm, and raise animals for food, putting an intolerable carbon load into the atmosphere. Dissenters aren't allowed.

February 24, 2012    View Comment    

On Grid Operators Should Pay for Energy R&D

You do realize that the same group of people will pay the bill in either event, don't you.  That is either the money comes from tax revenue or it is added on to the electric bill and paid by the consumers/taxpayers.  It could be distributed differently, I suppose, depending on how the tax is collected vs how the surcharge is applied.  But in the end it is just a tube of toothpaste - it really doesn't matter were you squeeze.

January 7, 2011    View Comment    

On Wind Turbine Report Confirms No Health Effects

The report was bought and paid for by the American and Canadian Wind Energy Associations.  It may be right.  It may be a perfectly balanced and fair report.  Or, it may not.  I would prefer to see a report by a disinterested party.  I have my own personal experience to confirm that different people react differently to both high and low frequency noise, so I am a little suspicious of the conclusions.  Remember, people living near WTGs are not in an occupational setting.  They are at home.  Trying to relax. Trying to sleep.
June 4, 2010    View Comment    

On Arguing the link between Climate Change and Security

Actually, the projections are pretty much the worst case.
May 8, 2010    View Comment    

On The right market design for trade between power markets

Rather than create another layer over oversight and complexity, why not consolidate the regional (ISO, RTO) market(s) (long term, day ahead, hourly) and trade/clear them on the existing exchanges - NYMEX, CBOT, CME, CMOEX (in the US). The result would be greater transparency in pricing.  It would also allow/cause the regional operators to focus on their most important responsibility.  This is not a new idea.  NYMEX offered to perform this function at the outset of "competitive electricity markets."  Unfortunately for the country, the utilities and regulators were unwilling to give up control of the process.  The end result is millions of dollars wasted on creating redundant but different market models and software systems to monitor and clear the resulting contracts and trades and a system that is essentially a group of monopsony markets incapable of reach a competitive market equilibrium.  Simply put, it is costing consumers more than it should. 
May 8, 2010    View Comment    

On The Strategic Value of Smart Grid Investments

I appreciate your comments and observations on Smart Grid.  The only point on which I strongly disagree is the assertion that consumers need to know what Smart Grid is. Quite honestly, that is asking a lot considering the scope of products and systems to which this label is applied.  The vast majority of consumers do not even know the components of the existing electric power system and the roles they play in delivering electricity to the business or the home.

"What's in it for me" is the most important issue for consumers.  I would like to see all of the emphasis placed on the information that can be provided to consumers and how it can be used with products and control systems they can install to reduce their bills by reducing energy consumption.  One of the major mistakes of Smart Grid roll outs to date has been the emphasis on the Smart Meter and the implication that the Smart Meter itself was going to reduce their bill.  These were very, very badly designed communication programs.  Another point overlooked in these roll outs was that electromechanical meters tend to slow down as they age - resulting in readings that are lower than actual consumption.  The problem of new meters reading higher than the meters they replace was one that we had to deal with even when we were replacing "like with like."  I am astounded that this is not part of an educational communication to consumers prior to the roll out.
April 28, 2010    View Comment    

On India and not China nor South Korea to Lead the way for low cost nuclear reactors

@ Daniel Christadoss
"What prevents others from doing the same."  I can't speak for the world, but here in the USA a powerful minority constituency of anti-nuclear zealots brought the industry to its knees  in the 1980s by litigating them to death, causing interminable delays and driving the cost of nuclear power plants into the stratosphere.  They now have a strangle hold on the Democrats and many Republicans who fear to act in support of nuclear power lest they be voted out of office.  Ideology and propaganda have trumped rational thought.
January 22, 2010    View Comment    

On Nuclear Energy’s Tiny Environmental Footprint

Please.  Someday, I hope, we will stop being assaulted with this red herring.  High-level radioactive waste is a problem created by bad political decisions in this country.  If the political restrictions were lifted and we employed reprocessing and breeder reactors as originally envisioned for the nuclear fuel cycle high volumes of high-level waste wouldn't exist.  France obtains a much higher percentage of it's electricity from nuclear power than the US and has a minimal amount of high-level waste.  Running it through a breeder reactor reduces the level of transuranic elements and thereby shortens the time it takes for the radiation levels to decay to background levels to hundreds rather than thousands of years.
November 11, 2009    View Comment