Thursday, December 11, 2014

Favorite business writing linked to - on power generation and management

As the follow-on to my prior post "Favorite business writing linked to - on manufacturing and/or resource utilization," which had preceding posts on favorite business writing linked to about other topics, below are the stories that struck me over the past few years (and are available for reading without subscription) on power generation and management:

"Meet the Radical Berkeley Artist Whose Company is Turning Trash into Electricity" by Josh Dean for Fast Company in Mar 2014 – on Jim Mason whose company All Power Labs makes the Power Pallet that works through a process called gasification.

"Why the U.S. Power Grid's Days Are Numbered" by Chris Martin, Mark Chediak, and Ken Wells for Businessweek in Aug 2013 – on the increased usage by individuals and companies of power generated outside the grid. This usage of power is known as distributed generation and most commonly includes solar and wind power. Also cited in the piece is how one of the technological advances moving forward distributed generation is an advance in microgrids, the systems that enable switching between different power sources, both generated within and outside the utility company run grid.

"The Plutonium Gang: CH2M Hill Dismantles the Hanford Nuclear Site" by Steve Featherstone for Businessweek in Aug 2013. One really interesting detail from Featherstone about this dangerous task was the $33,000 per day cost of protective gear for cleanup workers at the Plutonium Finishing Plant and the story made it feel fortunate there hasn't been a larger nuclear disaster (accidental or intentional) than we've seen.

"Beyond the Grid" by Anya Kamenetz for Fast Company in Jul 2009 – looks in great detail at the concept of small-scale household or business power generation and its potential. Not surprisingly, this idea of a "micro-grid" is being fought by large power utilities looking to prevent competition by either installing and controlling it themselves or by simply making it go away.