Last week, President Obama used his State of the Union speech to address the importance of a robust infrastructure for America. It’s simple: Our country is fighting 21st century global competition with roads, bridges and ports from the early to mid-20th century and pipes and rail lines from the 19th century. It’s one reason the American Society of Civil Engineers graded the US a “D” on its infrastructure and why our country now ranks 25 out of 139 countries in its quality of infrastructure – a drop in years past and a dubious distinction that inspires little confidence.

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Amid eye-popping estimates of the cost of needed US electric infrastructure upgrades, the evidence so far this year suggests that progress on transmission at least is slow.

New data from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) show only 98.6 miles of transmission projects were completed between January and April, which at an annual rate is far short of the 1,985 miles completed for the whole of 2011. Keep reading →

Infrastructure investing has been a hot business sector for several years against a background of swift economic development in the emerging world and efforts by developed-world governments to limit the impacts of a grinding recession, energy infrastructure investment has continued to lag needs.

While investing in water or transportation infrastructure has links to energy both in the way deals are structured and in how the actual assets impact each other, energy infrastructure has some key differences, highlighted by the American Society of Civil Engineers in its recent report on Investment Trends in Electricity Infrastructure. Keep reading →

Anyone who thought economics was the dismal science should try civil engineering.

Despite more than a quarter of a trillion dollars in investment from 2001 to 2010 the US is still facing an enormous shortfall in electricity infrastructure. That decade was marked by higher spending on reliability in the years that followed the high-profile California blackouts and were interrupted by an equally notable New York City blackout. Keep reading →