MANAGING POWER Direct [March 1, 2011]

Can a Stew of Power Generation Regulations Clear the Air?

Don't get fixated on the Environmental Protection Agency's moves against carbon dioxide. The real action is in the area of conventional air pollutants.

Chill Out

Chill out, relax, enjoy the ride, and take the real road to success. It's the journey that counts and you can't get to the end of the road without traveling along it.

Do Smart Grid Standards Adequately Address Security Problems?

While the cybersecurity threat escalates asymmetrically, federal agencies may be shortchanging cybersecurity while developing smart grid standards designed to protect the emerging smart grid from attack.

Energy, GDP, and Thomas Malthus

A new article in Bioscience looks again at the connection between economic growth and energy demand, shedding little light on the subject and further demonstrating the limits of neo-Malthusianism. Of course there is a relationship between energy and economic growth, but what is it? No answers here; only a doomsday prediction.

Got Remedies? NLRB Acting General Counsel Does, and Employers Should Beware

National Labor Relations Board Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon is continuing his focus on remedies in unfair labor practice cases involving union organizing campaigns. On September 30, 2010, he issued a memorandum on Section 10(j) injunctions for discriminatory discharges during such campaigns. Now he has released another memorandum, this one targeting remedies regional offices should seek when they issue complaints in ULP cases involving campaign activity.

Is Peak Coal the Latest Supply Threat?

We've heard—endlessly, it seems at times—about "peak oil," the idea that the world is rapidly running out of oil and will face catastrophic consequences. Now talk is emerging about "peak coal."

Renewables Face Chills and Thrills in Project Financing

The winter of 2010-2011 has been a cold one for financing renewable energy projects. That's the weather report from a recent project financing meeting in New Orleans, a survey of developers and builders done by a large Minnesota construction company, and accounts from those in the financial trenches.

TREND: Uranium Business Heats Up

The long-struggling uranium business, hoping that demand for nuclear fuel will increase, is slowly stretching its muscles and strengthening exploration and production efforts in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

Those aren't my words—it's the title of a 2005 article, brought to my attention by Cal Beisner, which uses probability theory to "prove" that "...most claimed research findings are false." While the article comes from the medical research field, it is sufficiently general that some of what it discusses can be applied to global warming research as well.

Will Critical Materials Become a Green Roadblock?

Critical minerals—such as rare earth metals—are important to many new energy technologies. However, the U.S. Department of Energy is concerned that foreign control of supply, particularly by China, could limit the ability of these technologies to develop fully, so the DOE is developing a strategy to keep the supply chain open. Meanwhile, some analysts say China is playing a losing game with its hold on the minerals.