MANAGING POWER Direct [June 26, 2009]

America’s Many Energy Policies

It’s not that the U.S. doesn’t have any energy policy, says this veteran of energy politics and head of a major Washington energy and environmental think tank. It’s that we have too many, and they aren’t coordinated and coherent.

Cap-and-Trade or a Carbon Tax for Greenhouse Reductions?

What makes more sense to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants—a cap-and-trade regime or a carbon tax? It’s a contentious issue among those who generate power and among academic economists and policy makers.

Electrical Manufacturers Warn Against “Aggressive” Smart Grid Strategy

Clashes between industry and the Department of Commerce on backward compatibility of standards could stifle and delay the development of a “smart” electric transmission and distribution grid.

Is Unconventional Gas the New Energy Super Supply?

Gas found in shale deposits and recently discovered natural gas hydrates may be game-changers when it comes to supplying natural gas to the United States.

Learning from Past, Failed Energy Laws

It’s not easy writing energy legislation, as the experience of the past demonstrates. Nor are the results always in the public interest.

New Administration’s Energy Priorities: Hydrogen Is Out, Coal Is In

The Obama administration has pulled the plug on the Department of Energy’s attempts to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cell cars. (The Bush administration had been touting H-powered cars for many years, with nothing to show for the effort other than large expenditures and a General Motors concept car that cost in the millions to build.) At about the same time, the Obama administration announced it would resurrect the billion-dollar FutureGen coal-fired generating project, aimed for Mattoon, Ill.

Obama Names Jaczko to Head NRC

As expected, President Obama has named Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Gregory Jaczko, an ally of Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), as chairman of the NRC, almost certainly dooming the Yucca Mountain, Nev., site for disposal of spent nuclear fuel.

Regulatory Effectiveness: Is It Measurable?

A [state utility regulatory] commissioner asked recently, “By what metrics can I assess my commission’s performance?” That’s a tough question.

TREND -- Power Companies Push Hiring Military Vets

Many U.S. power companies are focusing their hiring efforts on military veterans. According to human resources HR experts, it makes a lot sense—beyond pure patriotism. Vets are motivated, experienced, often well-trained, and instilled with team-work. Plus, there is a great need to replace the retiring “baby boomers” generation who have populated many key industry jobs. In some cases, there’s even a financial incentive for hiring vets.

White House Announces Cyber Security Plan

The Obama administration has unveiled its long-awaited policy on cyber security of government and private-sector communication and distribution systems. Is it less than meets the eye, as some critics argue?

Why I Am a Climate Realist

I was one of the scientists counted as supporting the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 1996 report. It turns out that effort was bogus and intellectually dishonest.