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On the Hill/Around the Nation
International News
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
feature story
Microgrids Offer Solutions for Military Installations and Local Communities
by National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)

Bigger is not always better, and sometimes small can be HUGE…

The lessons learned from the Northeast blackout of 2003 were re-learned in the Southwest recently when a massive operator-error-induced blackout shut down the electric grid from  western Arizona to southern California and northern Baja California, Mexico.  The economic damage caused has been estimated to be $80–$100 billion, affecting schools, universities, court systems, and the U.S. military. 

In the San Diego area alone, the triumvirate of military installations, Naval Base San Diego, Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, and Camp Pendleton were forced to resort to fossil-fuel generator power. But what if, when an event like the San Diego outage occurs, these essential assets could be immediately disengaged from the larger grid and begin to function as a self-sufficient entity drawing from a menu of energy sources and load management technologies, not suddenly reliant on diesel?

Microgrids, which can be defined as an interconnected set of electricity sources and electrical loads that operate under a common control authority, are a particular application of Smart Grid technologies.  Because grid operators usually do not have authoritative control over the loads they serve, the “common control” aspect of this definition is what differentiates the grid from a microgrid.


Also, check out "Light in the Darkness" by Jim Creevy.

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Hot Topics

NEMA Breaks Ground with New Rulemaking Process: This fall, the NEMA Transformer Section is participating in a new process to determine new DOE efficiency standards for distribution transformers. Instead of the usual process involving proposed rules and comment periods, DOE, with NEMA’s support, is experimenting with a series of face-to-face negotiations among key stakeholders, including manufacturers, utilities, and environmental advocates that will take place over several months. The goal is a consensus decision on new energy conservation standards that can be easily adopted by DOE. Based on our experience, negotiations may prove to be a process that other sections with covered products can consider. NEMA supports consensus federal efficiency standards when they are technologically feasible, economically justified, and result in significant energy savings.
—National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)

MITA Works to Reduce Dose
Since the advent of computed tomography (CT) scans in the early 1970s, this technology has become increasingly critical to the standards of care.  Over the same time, manufacturers have continuously delivered innovative advances to CT technology, including reductions in medical radiation, while maintaining crisp, clear images. 
—Imaging Technology News (ITN)

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On the Hill/Around the Nation

NEMA Stays Active in Legislative Actions
While the focus in Washington for most of the summer was debt and deficits, NEMA remained active in the background as Congress and regulatory agencies discussed appropriations, energy and lamp efficiency, proposed Medicare cuts, and occupational safety.

Below is a summary of recent activity.

  • 2012 Energy Funding Not Immune in Budget Battle
    Washington was preoccupied most of the summer with discussions of debt and deficits. Yet in the background, congressional appropriators held hearings on and debated annual appropriations bills that fund roughly 40 percent of the federal government’s activities.

  • Congress Acts on Targeted Energy Legislation
    In stark contrast to efforts in recent years to craft large, comprehensive energy policy legislation, the 112th Congress has confronted energy issues with much more focused bills.

  • Ups and Downs for Lamp Efficiency Standards
    The House failed (233-193) to give the needed two-thirds support to pass HR 2417, a measure that would have repealed NEMA-backed energy efficiency standards for light bulbs passed into law in 2007. The vote would have voided standards that require incandescent light bulbs to be 28 to 30 percent more efficient.

  • MITA Efforts Thwart Inclusion of Imaging Cuts in Proposed Trade Bill
    Congress recently threatened to propose yet another round of arbitrary Medicare cuts to medical imaging, despite recent reports showing that imaging growth is flat.

  • OSHA Outlines Ambitious Regulatory Agenda
    In July, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its Semiannual Regulatory Agenda for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Several of OSHA’s key rulemaking efforts have been delayed, but the development of an Injury and Illness Prevention Programs rule (I2P2) remains on track.

  • OSHA Announces National Emphasis Program for Primary Metals Industries
    In June, the OSHA announced a new directive establishing a National Emphasis Program (NEP) for the Primary Metals Industries.

NEMA Testifies in Congress on Smart Grid Standards
On September 8, NEMA Assistant Vice President for Operations John Caskey testified before a House Science, Space, and Technology subcommittee on NEMA’s involvement with the development of Smart Grid as a standards development organization. Caskey raised the issues of how consensus should be defined, what “interoperability” and “plug-and-play” mean relative to complex smart grid standards, and the perils of federal agencies making NIST Catalog of Standards entries mandatory. NEMA is actively engaged with NIST and the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel to ensure that Smart Grid standards work for Smart Grid technology providers.
—National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)

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International News

U.S.-South Africa Smart Grid Workshop
Date: October 25–26, 2011
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency is sponsoring a workshop with South African electric power stakeholders to highlight U.S. smart grid technologies. The event will review lessons learned and current best practices in the United States related to smart grid technologies, legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks, and financing mechanisms that will support South Africa’s initiative to implement current and planned smart grid projects. A follow-up reverse trade mission to the United States for South African delegates will take place in early 2012.
—Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Exporter's Update

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NEMAcast podcast (Icon)NEMA podcast for the electroindustry.

NEMAcast focuses on news, information, and opportunities in the electroindustry. Listen online at podcast.nema.org. NEMAcast has several channels, each with a special focus on different parts of the electroindustry. Check out "What is LVDC, and what are its uses and benefits?"



  • NEMA Supports Transfer of DOE Transmission Corridor Authority to FERC
    Citing its commitment to improving the regulatory environment for the planning, development, siting, and construction of transmission infrastructure, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) weighed in at the Department of Energy (DOE) in support of the transfer from DOE to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) of certain directives regarding transmission corridors authorized under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct05). 09/12/11

State Electrical Code Updates
NEMA's field representatives serve the membership and the public by promoting the use and adoption of the National Electrical Code® (NEC) and by monitoring regional developments of importance to the electroindustry.

  • NYC Updates Electrical Code by Adoption of 2008 NEC®
    On June 28, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed Introductory Number 64-A into law, but not before making several technical and administrative amendments to the current NYC Electrical Code (2005 NEC with amendments).

  • Rhode Island Amends Electrical Code
    The Rhode Island Building Code Legislative Oversight Committee approved the recommendation of the State Building Code Standards Committee to amend the Rhode Island Electrical Code (SBC-5) by updating the referenced document from the 2008 NEC to the 2011 NEC.

  • New Hampshire Adopts 2011 National Electrical Code
    The New Hampshire State Building Code Review Board (BCRB) recently voted to adopt the 2011 NEC with one amendment, effective July 1.

  • Southern Nevada Code Updates
    Several jurisdictions in southern Nevada have begun enforcement of the next edition of construction codes, including the Southern Nevada Electrical Code, which is based on the 2008 NEC.

  • Idaho Moves 2011 NEC Forward
    In July, the Idaho Electrical Board opened a quarterly meeting for public input on adoption of the 2011 NEC.

Standardizations Trends

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