At DOE’s 37th Birthday, Was it a Wise Creation?

Washington, D.C. — Congress enacted legislation creating the U.S. Department of Energy in August of 1977. The agency began operating in October of 1977. Was that wise legislation? In the 37 years since its creation, much has changed in the U.S. energy economy. When Jimmy Carter pushed Congress to create the energy department, the U.S. [...]

Read More

Will the Smart Cloud Bypass the Smart Grid?

Washington, D.C., August 17, 2014 – Samsung Electronics last week announced that it has acquired a Washington-based home electronics firm, SmartThings, for an undisclosed sum. The move is further evidence that the electric utility industry’s still forming visions of a smart grid to control customers energy use could be bypassed by wireless technology and the [...]

Read More

Norris Says ‘Arrivederci FERC’ and Heads to Rome

In a series of events that could have been choreographed by the Three Stooges, John Norris yesterday resigned his seat on the Federal Energy Commission. He will become the top official representing the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Italy, thanks to his old friend and former boss, USDA secretary Tom Vilsack. The Norris resignation has [...]

Read More

Is John Norris leaving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission?

Washington, D.C. – Rumors are surfacing in Washington that John Norris, a Democratic member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and FERC’s most liberal commissioner, is poised to resign, some three years before his term expires in June 2017. Norris has already said he won’t seek reappointment, and complained about the tawdry circumstances that have [...]

Read More

Renewables Fail Badly in Brookings Cost Analysis

Washington, D.C. — Electricity generation from natural gas, nuclear, and hydro are far better economic and environmental propositions than wind or solar, according to a paper from the Washington-based Brookings Institution – The Net Benefits of Low and No-Carbon Electricity Technologies. The paper by Brookings fellow Charles R. Frank avoids the usual approach to analyzing [...]

Read More

NAS panel criticizes basics of U.S. nuclear safety approach

Washington, D.C. – Is the conventional approach to nuclear safety in the U.S. – and most of the world – fundamentally flawed? That’s the clear implication of a recent National Academy Sciences report on the U.S. response to the 2011 catastrophe at Fukushima. Although the report has not gotten much attention in the U.S. media, [...]

Read More

Closed Kewaunee nuke has a buyer, but no seller

Washington, D.C. — Robert G. Abboud, a Chicago-area businessman-politician, wants to buy a well-used Wisconsin nuke. But the owner, Virginia’s Dominion Resources, says it doesn’t want to sell the Kewaunee plant that it shut down in 2012. Abboud is the principal in RGA Labs in Barrington, Ill., an energy engineering consulting firm. He’s a nuclear [...]

Read More

Climate Hype Discredits Journalists and Activists

Washington, D.C., July 15, 2014 – Is Miami sinking under the assault of a climate gone wild? That’s the characterization of an article in Britain’s left-oriented Guardian newspaper. But the piece is generating push back from non-ideological and moderate journalists. And the Guardian’s breathless hype is too often reflective of general media coverage of the [...]

Read More

Gina McCarthy’s Thin Skin on the Origins of the Obama Greenhouse Regs

Washington, D.C., July 12, 2014 – In public, Gina McCarthy, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, comes across as a no-nonsense, rough-and-tumble, tough cookie. But a recent flap over the origins of her agency’s proposed rules for controlling carbon dioxide from existing coal-fired power plants shows her to be defensive and thin-skinned. The revelation of [...]

Read More