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By: Alex Carrick on June 12th, 2020

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The Economy Under COVID-19: Notes From My New Hiding Place - Within the Herd (June 12, 2020)

Economic News | COVID-19

Since we’re all cautiously emerging from sanctuary, the former title of my articles, written while I was housebound – Notes from the Trenches, – no longer applies. Therefore, I’ve chosen a new heading, as you will observe above. It still captures a certain wariness on my part.

Huawei, Drones, & Wind Farms

  • Over the last several months, Canada’s Big Three telecommunications firms have decided who they will partner with to build the nation’s 5G network, and it’s not the Chinese firm Huawei. Rather, Bell, Rogers, and Telus have been entering into agreements with one or the other of the Scandinavian giants, Ericsson or Nokia—although some interaction with Huawei will be necessary, since that firm previously contributed to 4G systems. This lets Ottawa off the hook. U.S. administration officials have urged Canada’s government to take a public stand against utilization of Huawei’s expertise, arguing that it might facilitate Chinese government espionage and make too many key systems vulnerable to Beijing’s influence.
  • I heard a phrase the other day that has stuck with me. The FAA is gradually awarding licenses to companies wishing to employ drones for package deliveries. For example, in some locations, Walgreens has been flying medications to individuals isolated in quarantine. Drones are aerial robots. A concern, expressed by some, is that a proliferation of drones will cause ‘robot smog.’ (I don’t think this is something we have to worry about right away.)  
  • Wind as a source of renewable power generation has been around for a while, but an extra ‘green’ twist is being added. Both Germany and Sweden now have functioning windmills made from high-strength but relatively lightweight laminated wood.
  • A Top 10 listing of countries by their wind farm capacities has been published by power-technology.com. In first place, with one-third of the world’s total capacity, is China (over 200 gigawatts/GWs in 2019). In second place is the U.S. (less than 100 GWs). Texas accounts for one-quarter of the U.S. total. Germany is third, with India and Spain rounding out the top five. The United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Canada, and Italy are the next-level tier of five. The U.K. is notable for offshore wind projects, with six of the ten biggest in the world. In Canada, wind generation comprises only five percent of total electricity output. Hydroelectric sites situated along immense river systems yield two-thirds of Canada’s total electric power.
  • About a year ago, my family discovered the flavor delights of egg bread or, as it’s more correctly known, challah (pronounced ‘hala’) bread brought home fresh out of the oven. Then the pandemic struck and trips to our local bakery (or anywhere) were put on hold. Now, we’re a little more back into the swing of things and I’ve been eating challah bread like a good thing. I especially like it toasted. My wife has warned me, though, that while it may help with ‘social distancing,’ I could develop ‘challahtoastis.’ (She’s quite proud of that one.)

Read the previous article here: The Economy Under COVID-19: Notes From y New Hiding Place – Within the Herd (June 10, 2020).


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About Alex Carrick

Alex Carrick is Chief Economist for ConstructConnect. He has delivered presentations throughout North America on the U.S., Canadian and world construction outlooks. Mr. Carrick has been with the company since 1985.

     
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