The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Reliability Corp. have more than two dozen recommendations to help Texas avoid another occurrence of last winter's catastrophic power outages, including that power providers should be required to winterize their plants. That echoes a mandate made after the state's 2011 winter blackouts. "I can guarantee you that this time, FERC will not let these recommendations be ignored or watered down," said FERC Chairman Richard Glick.
SmartTake: A recent blog from Michael Webber, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, outlined the "grimly familiar" steps taken in the 2011 and 2021 crises.
- Finger pointing and misdirection
- Investigations and forensic analysis
- Implementation of solutions (or lack thereof)
Webber's overview is a good outline of the problem. However, one interesting paradox comes up. Webber writes "we need to stop designing the infrastructure of tomorrow based on the assumptions of yesterday." He then follows that sentiment by urging the same winterization "steps that were called for 10 years ago." That definitely feels like yesterday. One might wonder if perhaps Texas needs to do even more than what was suggested 10 years ago if it's going to keep up with the wrath of climate change. --Evan
Early work on the final stage of repairs to the cracked West Seattle Bridge is set to begin soon. Most of the work on the final phase, however, won't begin until November after crews next month take delivery of needed materials and install crew platforms.
Boston's acting Mayor Kim Janey is expected to sign an ordinance approved by City Council that will require buildings larger than 20,000 square feet to eliminate all carbon emissions by 2050. The ordinance will apply to about 4% of the city's building stock, which accounts for about 60% of the city's building emissions.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation is collecting feedback on an estimated $19 million effort to widen 22 miles of Interstate 26 near Interstate 95. The project also includes interchange improvements.
Ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., are planning round-the-clock operations to accommodate growing volumes that have been evident at most of the nation's ports. But observers say that more measures will be needed over the long term to meet demand.
A recent Supreme Court decision allowed PennEast to use eminent domain to condemn rights of way to build a $1 billion, 120-mile pipeline between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but PennEast says it must clear other legal and regulatory hurdles before it can begin acquiring property. The company's decision to eschew condemnations in Pennsylvania "is a strong indication that the project will not go ahead, since the pipeline can't be built along the proposed route without these lands," said Tom Gilbert, campaign director for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and ReThink Energy NJ.
Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers plans to begin work next month on a project to add 117,000 square feet to its terminal while remodeling 164,000 square feet. The $331 million project will also consolidate security checkpoints as part of the goal to speed operations and accommodate future growth.
New York state is planning to rehabilitate the 1930 vintage Conklingville Dam, with construction to begin as early as late 2023. The state has allocated $20 million for the work and is seeking engineering and oversight proposals.
The North Carolina Division of Coastal Management is helping 25 coastal communities mitigate future flooding with a new grant program. The grants come in four phases with the final two helping communities find engineers and contractors for dozens of projects.
About 4,000 miles of paving are among the improvements that the South Carolina Department of Transportation has been able to implement thanks to increased funding under the 2017 Roads Bill, according to a report by The Road Information Program. However, the report notes challenges remain for an aging transportation system as the state's population continues to grow.
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