Chuck Ross

Freelance Writer

Chuck Ross is a freelance writer located in Brewster, Mass. He can be reached at

Articles by Chuck Ross

November 2008
We've all been feeling the pain of inflation these days, with the cost of energy boosting everything from airfares to groceries. But if you think you’ve got it bad, take a moment to ponder the case of today’s electric utilities. Power plant building costs have more than doubled since 2000, according to recent research, and they show no signs of slowing. READ MORE
September 2008
It's not news that our national electrical system is in a squeeze; existing transmission lines are reaching carrying capacity just as a new generation of electronics is driving electricity demand higher. READ MORE
September 2008
Utility planners who have been warning of a looming crisis in the U.S. electricity-transmission system for the last decade or so now may have a new weapon in their ongoing battle to expand transmission capacity. The federal government has begun asserting new powers granted in the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPAct) that could lead to it issuing transmission-line construction permits. READ MORE
July 2008
Unlike most commodities, electricity typically must be consumed when it is produced, so saving it up for a rainy—or exceptionally hot—day usually isn’t an option. However, several utilities now are studying new options for energy storage that could help ease peak-demand crunches and provide a boost to wind and other renewable-energy technologies. READ MORE
June 2008
Those who have followed the solar photovoltaics (PV) industry for the last 15 years or more can be excused for feeling a tad skeptical about current claims that now the industry is on the verge of taking off. However, with large utility incentives on the horizon and new financing mechanisms cutting owners’ initial outlays, it seems solar PV power may finally be ready for prime time. READ MORE
May 2008
During the debates surrounding the energy bill President Bush eventually signed last fall, Democrats argued long and hard for a national, mandated target for renewable energy production, called a renewable portfolio standard (RPS). That provision’s opponents, notably the electric utility industry, argued that existing RPS rules at the state level already were boosting renewable production. READ MORE
March 2008
Once only found in high-end home theater settings, the residential media server is poised to become the next middle-market must-have. Electrical contractors who aren’t positioning themselves in this low-voltage market could be missing out on a range of future opportunities because these devices are becoming hubs for broader home-automation applications, which also are reaching breakout status. READ MORE
March 2008
When it comes to information technology-facility design and construction, large-scale data centers have received more attention lately. It’s not difficult to see why. Data center construction remains one of the major bright spots in the building industry. READ MORE
March 2008
It's not difficult to find examples of transmission-planning projects gone awry. From Southern California to Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, electric utilities face heavy opposition to their plans to boost transmission capacity. In some areas, the situation is approaching a point that federal officials may be forced to impose siting plans to relieve serious congestion issues. READ MORE