A Foggy Day, But Clearing Ahead

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA, CAIA, MAI

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This entry was posted on Aug 10, 2012 7:59:40 AM

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Once again, nothing particularly new or noteworthy on economics, politics, or finance in the papers. One article I did find interesting was on a tidal power project here in Maine that’s nearing completion: “The Search for Energy Takes a Turn Underwater” on page A8 of the New York Times (NYT). Apparently, this will be the first commercial tidal power station. If it’s successful, it could lead to further development.

As I have outlined before, energy is the one big area where the U.S. is vulnerable, but the fact that we keep exploring different ways to generate energy should help solve the problem—and probably sooner rather than later. There is an unavoidable gestation period for new technologies, but when they do hit, they can have huge effects in a short period of time. Fracking is the best example I can think of—it has already changed the natural gas world—but there are others as well. Tidal power may or may not be one of them, but this potential energy source has been under development for a while, and it’s getting close to viability.

Throughout the past few decades, we have seen this kind of phase shift in computing, networks, cell phones, and other industries. This may be the decade when energy does the same thing. Imagine the energy supply/demand equation changing to the same degree that, say, the phone industry did. Remember long-distance charges? Your kids won’t.

I spend a lot of time thinking about what can go wrong, as I should. It is just as important, though, to keep an eye on what is going right.

Off to do more lobster roll research.

Have a great day!

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