Building Operating Management


By Ed Sullivan   BOM

Looking for one word to sum up the energy picture these days? How about “uncertainty.”

This summer isn’t likely to be a problem for most of the country. In California and New York City, additional generating capacity and conservation seem to have provided a comfortable cushion between supply and demand — that is, if nothing unexpected happens. In both places, transmission constraints could cause problems even if supply is adequate.

But look past this year, and there are plenty of potential problems lurking. The Bush Administration sees nuclear power as an essential element of the nation’s energy strategy. But its decision to designate Yucca Mountain in Nevada as the resting place for nuclear waste didn’t go over well in that state. A recent earthquake — “centered just 15 miles from the place where the Department of Energy wants to put tons of the deadliest material ever known to humanity,” as one of Nevada’s senators puts it — has only raised concerns.

Meanwhile, fear of terrorism has led to an effort to shutter the nuclear plant located not far from New York City.

And it’s not just nukes. Local opposition has made it difficult to site new transmission lines the industry says are needed.

It’s important for facility executives to keep this national perspective in mind when evaluating facility energy choices. Call it enlightened self-interest. A facility that uses less energy — or that produces some of its own — is in better shape to weather whatever surprises come along. And it’s doing its part to reduce the chances of a surprise coming along.

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  posted on 7/1/2002   Article Use Policy