In an incredibly blazing display of the obvious, the Automation Federation, working with ISA, IEEE and ASME have presented a (cue the trumpets!) Proclamation(kill the trumpets!) to Congress and the White House. These kinds of goals have the habit of being the "motherhood, the flag, and apple pie" goals that FDR's chief political strategist Harold Ickes wrote about in the 1930s, rather than achievable ends. And anybody with a body temperature higher than 20 degrees Celsius can figure them out. They haven't changed since President Jimmy Carter enunciated similar goals in the mid-1970s.From the press release, here are these Goals:
--Maximize the use of electric power generated by sustainable, economic, and environmentally-acceptable technology
--Modernize the Nation’s electric transmission grid
--Maximize electrification of the transportation sector
--Establish visible and substantial national energy efficiency and conservation goals
--Employ indigenous raw material to manufacture liquid and gaseous fuels
--Build and deploy generating capacity to supply reliable electric service
--Provide a long-term commitment to energy research, development, and demonstration
And for this, they needed a Proclamation with a capital P?
So why, I ask you, are the Automation Federation and ISA (and the "nineteen other energy- and technology-oriented organizations") wasting a goodly amount of money doing this nonsense?
Suppose instead that ISA (it is an open secret that ISA funds almost all of the Automation Federation budget) spent its money on getting the CAP and CCST designations mandated in the 50 states, the way WEF and AWWA have passed laws that you have to have a water or wastewater treatment operator license in order to run a plant. And then move on to the rest of that "International" part we argued so strongly for last year.
Recently, I discussed the value of the CAP program with a number of automation professionals, and most of them echoed John Nance Garner's description of the Vice Presidency of the United States, "Tain't worth a bucket of warm spit." That's wrong, and that's a shame, and that's what ISA's and the Automation Federation's goal (singular, no fanfare) should be until it is done: to make the CAP and CCST worth more than that bucket of expectorate. If nothing else, we owe it to Vernon Trevathan to do it.
I can't speak for Tom Stout, but I CAN tell you that he and I fought for almost a decade to allow ISA to do "public policy advocacy" (otherwise known as lobbying) and I for one didn't intend us to do this kind of bloviating. All activities like this are doing is making the automation profession look silly. Do you really think Congress will take this (cue the trumpets!)Proclamation(kill the trumpets!) seriously?
And all the while we're messing about in cookie-pusher land, Biff's cousin Bubba can run any refinery or chemical plant in the US and in most of the rest of the world. Maybe that's why we keep blowing them up.
In a spirit of fairness, I ought to print the entire press release, so here it is:
Automation Federation and ISA Join In Presenting National Energy Policy Goals Proclamation to US Congress
Research Triangle Park, NC (3 June 2009) - The Automation Federation and the International Society of Automation (ISA) joined nineteen other energy- and technology-oriented organizations in presenting a National Energy Policy Goals Proclamation to the 111th US Congress.
The proclamation calls on the new US President and Congress to act quickly to establish National Energy Policy Goals to help ensure the nation’s economic and national security and to guide the development of energy technology for the 21st Century.
The proclamation recommends the following goals:
Maximize the use of electric power generated by sustainable, economic, and environmentally-acceptable technology
Modernize the Nation’s electric transmission grid
Maximize electrification of the transportation sector
Establish visible and substantial national energy efficiency and conservation goals
Employ indigenous raw material to manufacture liquid and gaseous fuels
Build and deploy generating capacity to supply reliable electric service
Provide a long-term commitment to energy research, development, and demonstration
The proclamation was developed through collaboration between American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE-USA), and the energy policy alliance—focused on providing information on energy legislation and serving as a resource to the engineering community—these two societies have created. The Automation Federation and ISA are members of this energy policy alliance.
In the beginning of this year, the Automation Federation created an Energy Committee, chaired by Leo Staples of OG&E, to work on the Automation Federation SmartGrid/Cybersecurity initiative currently underway. In conjunction with the 2009 Engineering Public Policy Symposium held in April, Automation Federation volunteers met with Members of Congress in Washington D.C. to discuss the importance of the automation professional and the automation standards and certifications that will play an important role in attaining these proposed National Energy Policy Goals.
A POWID SmartGrid exploratory committee met in Chicago at the POWID Symposium in May to discuss the continuing strategy for moving the SmartGrid/Cybersecurity initiative forward.
Leo Staples, chair of the Automation Federation energy committee stated, “By adding our names to this Proclamation, the Automation Federation and ISA are showing our support for the adoption of these energy policy goals and demonstrating that we are active players in the development of a National Energy Policy. As these National Energy Policy Goals are discussed by Congress, the Automation Federation will serve as a technical and expert resource to the Members.”
Learn more about the National Energy Policy Goals Proclamation at www.automationfederation.org/energy.