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Infra Views

Distributed Wind Energy Market Report

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
Figure 1: 2013 Distributed Wind Market Applications (a) by Project and (b) by Capacity

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
The purpose of this report is to quantify and summarize the 2013 U.S. distributed wind market to help plan and guide future investments and decisions by industry, utilities, state and federal agencies, and other interested parties. Distributed wind is defined in terms of technology application based on a wind project’s location relative to end-use and power-distribution infrastructure, rather than on turbine or project size. While the distributed wind market includes wind turbines and projects of many sizes, this report breaks the market into two segments when appropriate: wind turbines up through 100 kW (in nominal capacity) referred to in this report as “small wind,” and wind turbines greater than 100 kW used in distributed applications.

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CLEAN ENERGY WORKS FOR US: 2nd Quarter 2014 Report

Monday, September 1st, 2014
50-STATE BREAKDOWN: WHERE WERE THE ANNOUNCEMENTS?

ENVIRONMENTAL ENTREPRENEURS
More than 12,500 clean energy and clean transportation jobs and clean transportation were announced in 29 states in the second quarter of 2014. This is more than twice the number of jobs announced in the first quarter of the year. Solar generation once again led all sectors — with more than 5,300 jobs announced — as declining module prices and growing private-sector investment expanded job opportunities in the industry. Meanwhile, the wind industry announced about 2,700 jobs, mostly because projects that qualified for the recently expired Production Tax Credit began construction. Wind manufacturers, including Vestas in Colorado and Gearbox Express in Wisconsin, reported hiring additional manufacturing employees to match turbine demand. The biggest hiring boost to the U.S. clean energy manufacturing sector came from the automotive industry, with General Motors and Tesla announcing 1,900 manufacturing jobs to produce electric vehicles.

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Scaling Up Energy Efficiency Across the Data Center Industry

Friday, August 29th, 2014
Data Center Efficiency

NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL
Data centers are the backbone of the modern economy, from the server rooms that power small- to medium-sized organizations, to the enterprise data centers that support American corporations, to the server farms that run cloud computing services hosted by Amazon, Facebook, Google, and others. However, the explosion of digital content, big data, e-commerce, and Internet traffic is also making data centers one of the fastest-growing users of electricity in developed countries, and one of the key drivers in the construction of new power plants in the United States.

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Fueling Road Spending with Federal Stimulus

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Figure 1: Federal Highway Grants and Spending

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF SAN FRANCISCO
ECONOMIC RESEARCH DEPARTMENT
During the Great Recession, a surge in federal government spending was one option frequently called for as a means to sustain and stimulate the economy. Given the substantial perceived need for infrastructure improvements, many commentators argued that highways should be near the front of the line for any stimulus dollars. It is no surprise then that the 2009 fiscal stimulus package known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) contained $48 billion in transportation funding, $27 billion specifically for roads. These funds generally took the form of grants to state governments and were in addition to the usual federal transportation grants sent to state governments every year from the national Highway Trust Fund. Thanks to ARRA, federal highway grants to states jumped nearly 75% in 2009. Still, road spending by state and local governments nationwide—which is the source of virtually all road spending in the United States—was roughly flat between 2008 and 2011.

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The External Costs of Fossil Fuels; Environmental and Health Value of Solar

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
U.S. Net Electricity Generation

ENERGY & POLICY INSTITUTE
Ratepayers and customers have been led to believe that a power plant burning coal or natural gas is the cheapest form of electricity and therefore, should be prioritized over renewable energy generation. However, ratepayers are paying for more than the cost of the fossil fuel that is used to generate electricity. Utility customers pay for the cleanup of toxic spills and health costs associated with burning dirty energy sources. Furthermore, ratepayer’s money spent importing fossil fuels from other states causes unforeseen negative economic impacts when local renewable energy systems could provide economic benefits. Utilities have little economic incentive to reduce fuel costs since the cost of coal and natural gas are passed directly through to customers. Finally, customers ultimately pay for the impacts of climate change, including water scarcity, both of which are fueled and exacerbated by the burning of fossil fuels.

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Los Angeles County: Profile of Clean Energy Investment Potential

Monday, August 25th, 2014
Mid-century Warming in the Los Angeles Region

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND
UCLA LUSKIN CENTER FOR INNOVATION
The Environmental Defense Fund commissioned the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation to profile the potential for clean energy investments in Los Angeles County. The Los Angeles Solar and Efficiency Report (LASER): An Atlas of Investment Potential is multi-faceted. The LASER Atlas begins with this particular profile of clean energy investment potential at the county level. Other profiles that comprise the LASER Atlas are at the sub-regional level…This county level overview is designed to help community stakeholders identify areas of high potential for solar energy and the benefits of green economic investment. These benefits include capitalizing on incoming state and local funding while creating jobs and building community resilience to current environmental health and energy threats that climate change will exacerbate.

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OIder Pedestrians at Risk in the Tri-State Region: NY/ NJ/ CT

Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Figure 1. Tri-State Average Pedestrian Fatality Rate by Age Group (2003-2012)

TRI-STATE TRANSPORTATION CAMPAIGN
TSTC’s analysis clearly shows that across the tri-state and in the U.S., pedestrians 60 and older are at higher risk of dying from a car collision than their younger neighbors.

Why is this? A larger proportion of older adults may choose not to drive or may be unable to drive than younger adults, leaving a great number of older adults reliant on walking and taking transit. Also, as AARP explains, “With advanced age, bone density declines, making serious injury or death more likely if one is hit by a car.[. . .] Falls among people 65 and older are an equally significant public health concern and cost more than $19 billion annually in total direct medical costs. Inadequate sidewalk maintenance increases older adults’ risk.”

Simple roadway improvements, such as clearly marked crosswalks, longer crossing signals and wider pedestrian islands can help older pedestrians cross the street. Well-maintained sidewalks also help older adults get around safely without a vehicle.

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Back in the Fast Lane: How to Speed Public Transit Planning & Construction in California

Thursday, August 21st, 2014
Figure 1. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Economic Sector

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES
EMMETT INSTITUTE ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
This brief seeks to explain some of the causes of the planning and construction delays and escalating costs for major public transit projects, such as rail and bus rapid transit. Among the factors are counter-productive regulatory processes, lack of coordination among overlapping agencies and entities, poor agency oversight of construction, and political compromises meant to appease powerful neighborhood groups and automobile drivers at the expense of the regional good.

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2014 Strategic Directions: U.S. Electric Industry

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
FIGURE 1  TOP 10 INDUSTRY ISSUES

BLACK & VEATCHExecutive SummaryThe Black & Veatch 2014 Strategic Directions: U.S. Electric Industry report tracks how electric utilities are managing the accelerated pace of change and transformation of many traditional elements of their business. Black & Veatch predicts that this disruption, propelled by a confluence of market dynamics and shifting technologies, will result in a […]

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Estimating Bicycling and Walking for Planning and Project Development

Monday, August 18th, 2014
Figures 1-1 and 1-2: Location of employment activity in Arlington County &  Bicycle and pedestrian networks in Arlington County

NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM

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