Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Energy Watch

The biggest energy news this week you may not have read.  Via the Cleveland Plain Dealer is some pretty big news in the midwest electricity market that could impact us at least indirectly if not more. Read about some big changes in the regional electricity transmission networks: FirstEnergy's power move may cost  customers.

Why does it matter?. I need to go check to see if this is still true, but for some time Pennsylvania was the single biggest net exporter of electicity in the US with WV not much further behind.  PA + West Virginia together were by far the biggest block of excess electricity generation in the US. Also, remember the massive grid failure of 2003 started outside of Cleveland and cascaded from there. 

But reading the Plain Dealer's online site http://www.cleveland.com/ is something odd I've been noticing.   The biggest ad buy they seem to have is for Saab.  No joke - see screen shot below.  For those not following it, Saab is on the verge of just being abandoned by GM which is a little fact not  mentioned in the ads.  I presume the warranties are all still going to be supported, but still it's odd. Then I wondered.. Maybe I've been oblivious, but I don't seem to have noticed many online Saab ads at all on either the PG or Trib sites.  Yet they really are somewhat ubiquitous up the turnpike.  Are Cleveland consumers that different from us?  There are Saab dealers here right? I bet our local papers could use some of those ad revenues if my casual observation is correct. 

and just to tie that all together.  I really can't recall who it was I was talking to recently, but someone was telling me what I thought was just a historical footnote for gearheads that Saab had the last 2 cycle engine for sale in the US....   I didn't think much of it, but then there is this story in the NYT yesterday all about how the 2 cycle engine may be the disruptive energy technology that may save the auto industry. 

Yeah, boring. But given its no-nabob season I just don't have it in me to talk about pensions, the city budget, assessments, or other such conflagrations even if they are all in the news in one form or another. Although just fyi... the NYT must have felt obligated to follow up since they reported on the impending 'tuition tax' last week.  Their brief follow up is here:  Pittsburgh Mayor Strikes a Deal to Abandon Tuition Tax.  They also have a note on their higher education blog.  The original article last week topped out with around 300 comments on the NYT site, some quite long.  and if you didn't catch it... Jim R's comments on the whole episode made it into Forbes


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