Wednesday, November 18, 2009

US Smart Grid - dumb idea / Smart Grid Profits / Are cell phones, grid the next cigarettes? / Video Cell Phones and Dr. OZ / Is electro smog causing your headache?

From: Blake Levitt
Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 2:45 PM
Subject: ALL of this depends on Unfettered RF use: The Second Leg of Smart Grid Profits


   Below is an article sent from an environmentalist friend re: the business side of smart grids. Be sure to click on the GreenBeat Conference (in the author's PS below). That's happening right now in San Francisco. (Anyone out there feel like dropping in??) See who is involved... Al Gore, who is among our national environmental heroes, for one. I also heard an interview with Reed Hundt yesterday on PBS. He's the former chief of the FCC under the Clinton Administration who shepherded the Telecom Act and the wireless revolution into being. Today he's with a lobbying nonprofit in DC that is pressuring the U.S. Senate to seriously augment Obama's $3.4 billion toward smart grid "upgrades." It is part of the massive environmental energy bill that, on its face, is a progressive bill I would normally support. Undoubtedly most of the environmental organizations I belong to will push for it. Unfortunately, this bill is a huge Trojan Horse for smart grid technologies riding the green wave, with no environmental impacts being studied whatsoever, against the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
   Very few people realize that the entire concept of smart grids requires the unfettered use of RF throughout our homes, businesses and neighborhoods. All appliances -- washing machines, dryers, air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, etc. will be equipped with transmitting antennas. There will be retrofit antennas for older models but appliance manufacturers are already gearing up for models that will incorporate transmitters into all new models. People who do not wish to be exposed to radiofrequency radiation won't be able to deactivate them without disabling the product and negating the warranty. Talk about big brother.
   One preliminary estimate of ambient radiation that such systems will cause found the average smart grid could use up a full 1% of the total allowance for RF according to the FCC standards for thermal heating. Add cell towers, wi-fi, Wi-Max and other common RF environmental contributors and this could get serious. Smart grid proposals do not consider potential cumulative exposures from the other myriad RF-emitting devices in our midst today. Nor do they factor in the recent research regarding what's called 'dirty electricity' -- the phenomenon of multifrequencies coupling on lines to create complex energy exposures. Dirty electricity has been linked in some studies to numerous cancers, diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. A smart meter, using RF to 'talk' with the central information-gathering hub will couple with the extremely low frequency range used in powerlines.
   Few know that there has also been legislation to preempt local/state regulation similar to the preemptions of the Telecom Act for cell towers. Smart grids will entail the ability of all our appliances to "talk" wirelessly with utility companies' remote control methods. They also entail transceiving antennas (towers too) to be located in neighborhoods to 'gather' the information. Wireless meters will be attached to all houses/businesses. Some meters will transmit to other houses and bounce signals along that way -- from house to house until it reaches the central hub. As oddball as that sounds, that's among the designs for rural areas.
. Why are no environmentalists, regulators, health professionals, or EMF activists raising health/enviro concerns about yet another layer of "electrosmog" -- this one being completely ubiquitous indoors and out with no possibility of individual shielding?
. Why are we trusting the same people who brought us the Telecom Act's preemptions to get this one "right?"
. Why are billions of taxpayer dollars being used to stimulate the economy through the technology sector just like in the 1990's when there is no money appropriated for research into the effects of such technologies?

. Recent research has found a 30% increased incidence of brain tumors in people who have used cell phones for 10 years or longer. Smart grids will be like living with a cell phone turned on 24/7 in every room of your house, in every neighborhood in the country. So why would the designers of smart grids presume that if people fight cell towers in their neighborhoods, they will put up with something like this?
. Has anyone at the federal level asked consumers if they want the utility companies 'talking' with privately owned appliances?
. Has anyone asked consumers if they are willing to possibly endanger their health and the environment for the convenience of turning down their furnace via their cell phones after they have left for work when all they had to do was write themselves a note? How infantalizing.
. Has any work been done about the possibility of malfunction of such systems, say, your furnace being inadvertently turned up to 90 degrees by some other stray signal? The electromagnetic spectrum is a crowded place these days.

. Has any work been done on potentially deadly radiofrequency interference with lifesaving devices like pacemakers, deep brain implants used in Parkinson's patients, wheelchairs, hospital beds or other devices highly sensitive to such interference?
. In an age of increased attention to national security issues, do the proponents of smart grids understand how vulnerable such systems will be to easy sabotage from simple jamming devices as well as more sophisticated electromagnetic pulse devices? The natural 11--year cycle of increased sunspot activity projected within the next few years could alone disrupt such systems.

Do we, as utility customers, trust such systems to accurately report our electricity usage when so many other devices can -- and will -- confuse the data? Just imagine trying to straighten out a jump in your electric bill when its recorded use could be dependent on someone else's passing wi-fi signal or any unspecified local interference. It will simply be your word against their hub's data.

Smart grids are a spectacularly dumb idea. And it's a wonder that so many genuinely smart people don't get that. In our headlong rush toward anything green, we might just be doing far more harm than good. This writer has yet to find a single person who, once given the details of what smart grids entail, thinks this is smart in any way.

Blake Levitt

The Second Leg of Smart Grid Profits

By Nick Hodge | Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

By now, you know that the smart grid is one of the main recipients of stimulus dollars.

Just a few weeks ago, Obama made a big public announcement about the $3.4 billion being used to install smart meters in 18 million homes and offices around the country.

That sum will be divided by 100 different projects in grants ranging from $400,000 to $200 million.

Not only could this mean a new smart meter for your home. . . it could also mean a windfall investment opportunity.

Because that $3.4 billion will soon be paid to companies that specialize in making smart meters, automated substations, advanced transformers, and all the software that goes with them.

These are the same smart grid companies
we've been following for years here in Green Chip Review.

It's shaping up to be the most critical energy summit of the century.

At stake: a global market worth $45 trillion.

This unprecedented meeting kicks off on December 7 in Copenhagan. You can learn exactly how it's all going to go down -- and how our first COP-15 trade could deliver you a tidy 112% -- in our new report.

A Bold Prediction Come True

In the last trading week of 2008, I told you that "2009 is being hailed as the year of the smart grid." In that same article, I showed you a chart of three smart grid companies. Here are those companies and what they were trading for late last year:

Comverge (NASDAQ: COMV), $4.46
Echelon (NASDAQ: ELON), $7.60
EnerNOC (NASDAQ: ENOC), $7.04

And here is their 2009 performance:

Each has at least doubled. And the biggest winner, EnerNOC, has gone from low $7s to mid-$30s — more than a 300% rise.

Year of the smart grid, indeed.

Smart Grid in 2010

Of course, 2009's performance doesn't do you much good if you weren't invested. So let's make sure you're ready for what's store in 2010.

For starters, the smart grid is now a major investment theme. While early investors enjoyed near-universal bullishness, today's smart grid success will require more research and knowledge of unexploited opportunities.

To be clear, I wouldn't expect EnerNOC to climb another 300% in the next 12 months. Instead, we'll have to seek out the next round of smart grid winners.

And I have a few ideas in mind. . .

The masses are currently infatuated with smart meters. And that's understandable, since that's the technology the administration and the media have chosen to focus on.

To stay one step ahead, we'll now have to focus on smart grid sectors that will receive secondary and tertiary benefits.

Wires, Lights, and Energy Networks

The introduction of smart meters is only the first leg of the smart grid profit race.

Remember, executives from both GE and Cisco have alluded that the smart grid will be bigger than the internet. That means there's still a lot of development and profits yet to come.

And, since the smart grid is essentially "the Internet for energy," networks are quickly emerging as a central theme.

In a nutshell, this means all of your devices will eventually communicate with each other and with the utility. Substations, meters, appliances, chargers, and lighting systems will soon all be smart, meaning they'll store information and share it to ensure maximum cost and energy efficiency.

The next round of profits will come from the companies taking these networks from theory to reality.

This will surely benefit companies like ESCO Technologies (NYSE: ESE) and Telvent Git (NASDAQ: TLVT). ESCO offers two-way power line communication systems along with the matching software and support. And Telvent specializes in IT solutions for energy management.

Lighting is also going to play a crucial role.

There's opportunity to be had in the transition away from incandescents and toward fluorescents and light emitting diodes (LEDs). And profits will also come from making entire lighting systems more efficient, say in a parking garage, office building, or grocery store freezer.

Companies like Cree Inc. (NASDAQ: CREE), among many others, are already making this happen.

And finally, there's a host of companies pursuing other niche smart grid opportunities. In this coming energy Internet, there will be plenty of demand for switches, routers, wires, and other specialized devices.

The world may have found out about the smart grid in 2009. But 2010 can still be your year to profit from it.

Call it like you see it,


P.S. I'm heading to GreenBeat next month, self-described as the seminal conference on the Smart Grid, bringing together leading entrepreneurs, investors, utilities, technology executives, and policymakers to accelerate the development of a leaner, more efficient electrical grid. I'll share everything I learn upon my return. If you'd like to read more about the event, click here.
For your information and use.
From today's San Francisco Chronicle, written by Peter Asmus, an energy and environmental expert.

Albert Gore Jr. testified on Capitol Hill earlier Wednesday, November 17 to ask for more money to set up a national U.S. electric grid infrastructure across the U.S.  The Obama Administration already had received about 7 billion from the Federal stimulus bill passed last February, an allotment that was made by bypassing environmental assessments reguired under NEPA rules. Some of these taxpayer funds are being spent by Gore's group for philanthrophic purposes through environmental groups like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Service Employees International Union to gain support for new infrastructure development as it represents sustainable changes such as "green" energy and "green" jobs. There are still unanswered questions regarding potential adverse impacts on man and nature that could result from this new national utility. Electromagnetic fields exposure conditions could increase and create more electropollution in our homes, schools and workplaces. It may be come more difficult to avoid potential hazards.

Elizabeth Kelley, M.A. International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety

Are cell phones, grid the next cigarettes?
Peter Asmus
 Wednesday, November 18, 2009 (SF Chronicle) 
Cell phones have become ubiquitous in society, especially in California,
where 30 percent of the population relies exclusively on cell phones for
communication, double the national average. California teenagers are
notoriously hooked on them, using them to talk, type, take photos, record
videos and listen to music. Like cigarettes, unfortunately, there may be a
dark side to cell phones.  As many as 9 million people in the United States - 3 percent of the population - may have severe reactions to electromagnetic fields (EMF), an invisible force that some scientists claim will greatly shorten life
spans. Consider these startling recent findings: Young people who start
using cell phones before they turn 20 years of age could have a fivefold
increase in brain cancer risk and could exhibit symptoms usually
associated with aging - dementia and Alzheimer's disease - by the age of
30, according to Canadian researcher Magda Havas.
As much as a third of the total population - 100 million people - may
suffer from "electrical hypersensitivity," enduring moderate to severe
health consequences from EMF exposures. And just like second-hand smoke,
you or your kids may be at risk, even if you don't rely on wireless

With the Obama administration sinking billions into "smart grids," the EMF levels will only increase due to its reliance on the same kinds of wireless signals and systems that enable cell phone technology. Smart
grids - which will make our power supply interactive like the Internet -
may help boost reliability and reduce pollution, but they could increase
cancer rates if precautions are not taken.
Before the wireless revolution is programmed into all of our lives with
phones and power systems for decades to come, a sustained independent
research program, overseen by an independent expert advisory panel, should
be established by the Obama administration. Lawmakers in the United
Kingdom, France, Israel, India, Russia, Finland, Sweden and Thailand are
already seeking to limit use of cell phones by children and teens until
all of the science is sorted out.

The good news is that much can be done to reduce a person's exposure if
they are aware of what is generating EMF frequencies. This is where public
education is critical to ensure public health. A major public health
education program on safer cell phone practices - and how to detect and
avoid EMF hazards in general - should be initiated by our public health

The challenge associated with the smart grid is more complex. Still,
Europe isn't doing its smart grid upgrades on the cheap, like the United
States, but is instead deploying filters that minimize the amount of EMF
emanating from inverters and other components necessary for solar and wind
power conversions into electricity. Yet most European nations have also
yet to adopt lower exposure EMF standards as Switzerland, Italy, Russia,
Belgium and Liechtenstein have all done. The sooner we get a better handle on the risks of EMF exposure, the better.

Peter Asmus is author of "Introduction to Energy in California,"
(University of California Press, 2009). ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 2009 SF Chronicle

Date: November 18, 2009 1:24:33 PM EST
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: Cell Phones and Dr. OZ


Is electro smog causing your headache?

By Alasdair Philips
Last updated at 1:58 AM on 19th November 2009

Swindon is to become Britain's first Wi-Fi town, but at what cost to its inhabitants' health?

Swindon, that quintessentially Middle England town, hardly seems like a radical place. Yet it is at the forefront of a technological revolution that looks set to sweep the country.

For the local council has announced plans to give all its 186,000 residents free wireless (Wi-Fi) access to the internet.

About 1,400 access points will be installed on lampposts across the town, creating an electronic mesh which will allow internet connections to be made anywhere within Swindon's boundaries - even in the street, the pub or a park.

 Thanks to the introduction of mobile phones, computers, CCTV cameras, satellite televisions and digital radios, our lives are enveloped in electronic radiation

In effect, Swindon will become Britain's first Wi-Fi town.

Council leader Rod Bluh proudly boasts: 'This is the future of England.' And, sadly, he is probably right.

No doubt many other towns will follow. Indeed, London mayor Boris Johnson has vowed to make the capital a 'Wi-Fi-city' by the time of the 2012 Olympics.

Already, there are an estimated 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the country, while 80 per cent of secondary schools and 50 per cent of primaries are thought to have Wi-Fi installed in the classroom.

But before we all rush to embrace this new wireless technology, a loud note of caution should be sounded.

Amid all the excitable rhetoric about our electronic future, there has been precious little recognition of the downside.

For the reality is that these sprawling new grids of pulsing signals will add immeasurably to the amount of electromagnetic radiation in the air - with potentially disastrous consequences for the nation's health.

 Some studies suggest that as much as five per cent of the population may already be suffering symptoms like irritability because of this electro smog

The evangelists of change are dismissive of any health concerns - just as they are about mobile phones - but evidence is mounting that wireless technology could have harmful side-effects.

Particularly at risk could be children, who are more vulnerable to waves of radiation as their brains and nervous systems are still developing.

Nothing is ever truly free in this life. What initially seems like a brilliant idea usually turns out to have a downside.

As well as concerns about health, there are also some anxieties about security. For example, hackers can exploit wireless technology to gain access to people's internet connections in their homes.

In several appalling recent cases, it has been known for a hacker to sit in a car outside someone's house, using the wireless connection to download child pornography.

Most distressingly, when investigated, all traces of the downloads will lead back to the innocent householder, not to the hacker.

Yet by far the greatest danger comes from the effect of Wi-Fi on our health.

Already, thanks to the introduction of mobile phones, computers, CCTV cameras, satellite televisions and digital radios, our lives are enveloped in electronic radiation.

Lamp post

About 1,400 access points will be installed on lampposts across Swindon, creating an electronic mesh

This phenomenon has been described as 'electro smog', so all-pervasive are the pulsing microwave signals that surround us on a daily basis.

Of course, we cannot see all this electronic activity, but if we could, the sight would be dramatic.

Stepping from somewhere free of modern electronic gadgetry into a Wi-Fi active zone would be the equivalent of walking from a peaceful country lane onto the hard shoulder of Spaghetti Junction.

And it is absurdly complacent to pretend that these electromagnetic fields are not going to have any impact on our health.

Far from doing no harm, some studies suggest that as much as five per cent of the population may already be suffering from headaches, concentration difficulties, chronic fatigue, irritability and behavioural problems because of this electro smog.

The computer industry airily dismisses any concerns, claiming that Wi-Fi uses only a few watts of energy - 'less than a lightbulb'.

But this ignores the fact that light and microwaves are different kinds of electromagnetic radiation, so the analogy with the lightbulb is meaningless.

The truth is that there have not yet been any major, comprehensive studies into the impact of Wi-Fi radiation on our health, so such reassurances are unjustified.

No one can state with any confidence that Wi-Fi is safe.

The industry also likes to point to mobile phones, pretending- - wrongly - that this technology has been given the all-clear by recent scientific assessments.

But the truth is that mobiles have been widely used only since the early 1990s, so it is far too early to say with any confidence what the long-term impact of them is - particularly because some cancers take more than a decade to develop.

Nevertheless, some studies are already indicating that those who have used their mobiles for ten years are twice as likely to get rare but incurable brain cancers on the same side of the head as they hold their phones.

David Carpenter, the director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany in New York, has warned: 'Based on the existing science, many public health experts believe it is possible we will face an epidemic of cancers in the future resulting from the uncontrolled use of mobile phones and increased population exposure to Wi-Fi and other wireless devices.'

It is perhaps no coincidence that since the advance of Wi-Fi in schools in Britain (from 1997), the number of cases of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has increased four-fold.

One study, by a group of German doctors in Bavaria, into the medical complaints of 356 people who have had long-term radiation exposure in their homes, revealed that the pulsed, high-frequency signals led to symptoms such as sleep disturbance, giddiness, nose bleeds, tissue pain, hearing loss, depressive moods, forgetfulness and nausea.

It is no coincidence that Germany, despite its prowess in electrical engineering, has been much more circumspect about allowing the spread of Wi-Fi.

There, the country's health protection agency has recommended the removal of cordless phones, the installation of Wi-Fi away from public areas and the use of cabling rather than wireless for internet access.

Similarly, the authorities in Frankfurt and the Bavarian Parliament have both recommended against the installation of Wi-Fi in schools.

Meanwhile, the French National Library last year imposed a moratorium on installing Wi-Fi in libraries, and the education authorities in the Sorbonne in Paris have done the same after university staff complained of nausea, dizziness and problems with memory.

In the Normandy town of Herouville Saint-Clair, Wi-Fi networks are being removed from schools to 'protect people's health'.

What we need is not more Wi-Fi installation, but a proper study of the real effect of this technology. Until that is done, we should proceed with caution.

Alasdair Philips is the director of Powerwatch, an independent organisation researching electromagnetic fields and health.