« on: April 28, 2017, 10:59:35 pm »
TRUMP, WHAT are you and Sessions DOING to DECENT, HARD WORKING, TAX PAYING PEOPLE!??
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« on: April 28, 2017, 10:59:35 pm »
TRUMP, WHAT are you and Sessions DOING to DECENT, HARD WORKING, TAX PAYING PEOPLE!??
WATCH: Trevor Noah Breaks Down Trump's First 100 Days
General Discussion / Re: Member Interesting, Hair Raising, Humorous or Otherwise Unusual Experiences« on: April 28, 2017, 02:52:27 pm »
I've got one for you. Let me lay a little groundwork first.
Notes from the Solar Underground: US Solar’s Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act
April 28, 2017
By Paula Mints Founder/Chief Market Research Analyst
There is nothing new about protectionism just as there is nothing new about aggressive pricing for market share, dumping of overproduction at low prices and the cascade of unintended consequences of government intervention on markets.
A free market is precisely what the word free implies that is, market prices and the choice of goods are set by the interactions of market participants. Under this definition, there are few, if any, free markets in the world.
Governments intervene to subsidize or incentivize production of goods and the acquisition of goods. In the U.S., farmers sometimes received subsidies not to produce under the assumption that over production would lead to a price collapse. Electricity rates in U.S. states must be approved by state PUCs. Subsidies provide affordable housing for poorer populations. Pick a market and you can find a government incentive, subsidy or a control of some sort.
So, seriously, there are few, if any, free markets .
The global solar industry relies on mandates, subsidies and incentives for its demand. Though it has enjoyed extraordinarily strong growth overtime this growth has come about because of, again, subsidies. Current low prices for PV modules are possible because of China’s support for its PV manufacturers.
The 2012 U.S. tariff ruling on imports of cells and modules from China resulted in higher prices for small buyers and, frankly, no price change for larger buyers . In sum, for larger buyers the sellers absorbed the tariff. The primary goal of sellers was sales, margin was secondary. Higher margins were gained from smaller sellers who also absorbed the tariff. Exporters were then not truly punished because the goals of the exporter (seller) were not properly understood.
The lesson is that market regulations, incentives, subsidies, mandates and tariffs come with unintended consequences. When tariffs are enacted the primary entity punished via higher prices is the buyer. The price pain felt by buyers is almost always the unintended consequence of the imposition of tariffs.
Just as markets are not entirely free, markets are also not entirely rational or controllable. Tastes change. Competing products rise. Drought and heavy rains affect agriculture. People go on strike. Recessions affect buying ability. Finally, sometimes people make irrational buying choices. Consider the cell phone which went from the size of a person’s arm to the size of a watch face to practically the size of a laptop computer screen and is now migrating back to not just watch face size, but to being an actual watch.
The point is that controlling buying patterns is close to impossible and punishing sellers for low prices typically punishes the buyers and worse … almost never brings back manufacturing jobs.
A good example of the unintended consequence of government intervention is the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930. In the 1920s an excess of agricultural production in Europe led to low price imports of produce into the U.S. Farmers suffered and Herbert Hoover promised that if he were elected president he would help U.S. farmers. (As an aside … if this seems familiar it should. )
Enter Willis Hawley, Congressman, Oregon, and Reed Smoot, Senator, Utah. Smoot-Hawley began as a protection for farmers but after much debate fed by many special interests it was eventually attached to a wide variety of imports (~900). Other countries retaliated with their own tariffs. The U.S. trade deficit ballooned. Smoot-Hawley did not push the world into the Great Depression but it certainly was a card in the Depression playing deck.
In 1934, as part of the New Deal, President Franklin Roosevelt pushed the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act through and the short reign of protectionism in the U.S. ended … just in time for the beginning of World War II in 1939.
The Solar Point
Immediately following Suniva’s bankruptcy on April 17, rumors of a new trade dispute began and late in April Suniva, a U.S.-based monocrystalline manufacturer over 60 percent owned by a Chinese company, filed its trade dispute asking for a 40-cent/Wp tariff on all solar cells made outside the U.S. From Suniva’s point of view, the request makes sense as it is one of two crystalline solar cell manufacturers in the U.S. — the other being SolarWorld.
Proponents say that it would protect U.S. solar manufacturing but as there is very little U.S. manufacturing and the reasons for its demise are complex, there is little to protect.
Tariff opponents argue that cheaper prices for cells would help module assemblers and cheaper prices for modules would increase solar deployment.
The fact is that larger entities continued to enjoy low prices and will always enjoy lower prices than smaller demand side participants.
The fact is that bringing back U.S. solar manufacturing is close to impossible at this juncture using tariffs. It would require a lot of time (a lot of time), favorable taxes for producers as well as other manufacturing subsidies and most importantly, a healthy incentive for buyers to purchase modules made in America with crystalline and thin film cells made in America and … even then … the aluminum, the glass, the backsheet — something in the module will come from some other country.
The fact is that the products bought in the U.S., including the foods we eat, are often produced using components from other countries.
Finally … well-meaning or crowd-pleasing government intervention in the not-so-free-not-so-rational-extremely-complex global market always brings a host of complications with it and always brings a host of unintended consequences. Just ask Mr. Smoot and Mr. Hawley.
Don't miss Paula Mints' latest report, available at a discounted price through Renewable Energy World: Photovoltaic Manufacturer Capacity, Shipments, Price & Revenues 2016/2017
Agelbert NOTE: The biggest, and totally unjustified subsidy that we need to GET RID OF to level the energy market playing field is the oil and gas subsidy THEFT:
« on: April 27, 2017, 08:54:18 pm »
100 Days Into the "For-Profit Presidency"
Published on Apr 27, 2017
On tonight’s Big Picture, Thom discusses Trump’s first 100 days in office and whether he’s turned government into a business with Susan Harley of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch. Then, Thom talks to Rob Mariani of the Daily Caller and Vien Truong of Green for All about Trump’s plan to renegotiate NAFTA and California lawmakers moving forward with a single-payer health plan.
‘Look, Ma, No Fuel!’ … Fire-free Cooking with Solar
April 27, 2017
By Mahesh Bhave
Mahesh P. Bhave, visiting professor, strategy, IIM Kozhikode, India, is an engineer from IIT Delhi with a Ph.D. from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
… And no smoke, and no pollution either; no match boxes, no fire-wood collecting, no charcoal burning, and no ash. No waiting for the deliveryman to take away the old LPG cylinder and bring in the new. A cooking revolution looms.
The cooking supply chain is being disrupted. Bounty from the sky, delivered free to the roof, drives the new cooking economy, and not the laboriously drilled, mined, transported, stored, and distributed fuel from the ground, say, kerosene or natural gas, let alone charcoal, firewood or biomass of any kind.
This is a reason to celebrate — for it creates choices for homemakers, frees up women’s time to undertake creative and productive work, and reduces health problems that today affect women and children disproportionately when they cook with smoky systems at home.
Precursors to the impending cooking revolution have been with us for a while — microwave ovens, induction cookers, resistive hotplates, electric water kettles. But they are not strictly fire-free, fuel free, or emissions free in that behind the elegant and useful appliances, in the hinterlands far from cities they are based on electricity produced from burning coal, overwhelmingly, and natural gas lately in the US. Hydro-power or nuclear plants contribute a small portion of today’s electricity, and not without hazards and environmentally high costs.
The revolution I am talking about is local electricity — rooftop solar based, complemented by batteries and related electronics — fed into the house; no electricity grid with giant generation plants and massive transmission and distribution networks necessary.
Wireless “LPG” or “Pipeless” Natural Gas or “Cylinder free Gas”
When I was a student, I remember how on wintry mornings in New Delhi, just outside the campus gate of our engineering institute, sitting in a huddle around a fire, we ordered and sipped tea straight off the boiling pan, holding a small glass with two fingers in a pincer grip. Accompanying the chatter of those around us was the background noise of a hissing kerosene stove. That sound was integral to the scene. Water was always boiling over the flame, tea made in batches, filtered through a cloth sieve, and poured into the glasses, nominally rinsed, I now shudder to think. I am sure paper cups now replace the glasses.
Walking along the streets of Pune, on certain corners one sees vendors of dosas, often outside the gates of colleges. Half the joy is in watching the master street chef prepare them in front of your eyes. Here too, alongside the bustle of the street, and the circle of observers waiting their turn with the food, is the hissing stove under the large flat iron pan, always kerosene-fired. The sound of the stove is again a part of the overall experience.
Consider backyard cooking in U.S. homes. The setup is elaborate, with coal or propane fires and grilles. The ritual of assembling the food to be grilled, and the lighting of the cooking range builds a festive, holiday atmosphere. But can it be simpler, without loss of atmosphere, with solar panels and batteries? I think so.
Indeed, on March 29, in Solana Beach, Calif., Dr. Barry Butler, Cindy Davenport, Roger Davenport, and I cooked toor lentils and stir-fried green and red peppers, onions, ginger and spices on a hotplate fired by solar panels, and ate it over rice in Dr. Butler's backyard.
Cooking Without Burn-ers
Fast-forward a year or two out, and the tea and the dosas will be the same, but cooked without fire, without kerosene, without the hissing noise. How? Solar-powered, battery enabled, over resistive hotplate or induction cookers. A portable solar canopy, a large umbrella over the fire-less stove collecting solar radiation and feeding it to the cookstove, mediated by a Li-ion battery. Personal, portable, ad hoc cooking in the open for the common man — no “burn”er necessary.
In the U.S., Sears, Home Depot, IKEA, Target, Walmart, and perhaps Best Buy, may include solar cooking systems in their stores and catalogs.
Solar Systems Design with Cooking at the Center
Solar Home Systems (SHS) have historically focused on lighting, phone charging, sometimes fans and TVs. And the focus on lighting for un-electrified villages in Africa, India, Bangladesh, Haiti, and elsewhere is as it should be — light after sundown must be among the most critical uses of electricity.
To me, lighting is now a done deal, a solved problem. With solar panels and batteries plus extraordinarily efficient LED bulbs, light is, if I may so describe it, easy. Solar systems may now be designed for the most energy intensive, yet critical, application for a home — cooking. If we do so, applications like lighting and charging for phones, laptops, TVs and home electronics will come with cooking at incremental cost, as a byproduct.
At What Cost?
The prices of this next generation cooking system will represent amortized capital costs, and not the costs for fuel and the logistics infrastructure as today. The capital first costs are high for rural villagers in emerging economies, but if those costs are translated into monthly payments, paid using phones, as the villagers do today, they are reasonable and affordable, and over time cheaper than for LPG.
For instance, the monthly costs of a solar cooking solution costing, say, $1,200, with an up to 20-year life for solar panels, less for batteries, and with ~ 9 percent cost of money, would be close to Rs. 740/month, the same as that for a LPG cylinder without subsidy in India. This is about $11/month, or $0.37/day, or Rs. 25/day for a family of four. The poorest rural households worldwide pay more than this for kerosene burning today. The only “solution” cheaper would be the “free” cooking by collecting firewood and burning it in a cookstove, however crude or well-designed.
This solar-based cooking solution is not merely for rural households without electricity, or street vendors, or backyard cooking in the U.S. Even in apartment homes in urban areas, the solution can be deployed to deliver an even lower cost solution with suitable optimization.
A broader question arises: What is the hub of a microgrid design of the future? Substation? Supermarket? Municipality? Neighborhood? Home Owners Association? At least one hub might be a solution with cooking as the core application in a cluster of apartment buildings.
Images courtesy of Mahesh Bhave (at article link).
Researchers Outline Pathway to 10 Terawatts of Solar PV by 2030
April 27, 2017
By Renewable Energy World Editors
Current projections for solar PV deployment in the coming years have significantly underestimated the solar market’s potential, researchers say.
In a new Science paper, the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), along with their counterparts from similar institutes in Japan and Germany, and researchers at universities and industry, discuss a realistic trajectory to install 5-10 terawatts of PV capacity by 2030.
The International Solar Alliance has set a target of having at least 3 terawatts of additional solar power capacity by 2030, up from the current installed capacity of 71 GW.
Reaching 5-10 terawatts should be achievable through continued technology improvements and cost decreases, as well as the continuation of incentive programs to defray upfront costs of PV systems, according to the paper, which was co-authored by Nancy Haegel, director of NREL's Materials Science Center, and David Feldman, Robert Margolis, William Tumas, Gregory Wilson, Michael Woodhouse, and Sarah Kurtz of NREL.
The researchers predicted that 5-10 terawatts of PV capacity could be in place by 2030 if these challenges can be overcome:
•A continued reduction in the cost of PV while also improving the performance of solar modules
•A drop in the cost of and time required to expand manufacturing and installation capacity
•A move to more flexible grids that can handle high levels of PV through increased load shifting, energy storage, or transmission
•An increase in demand for electricity by using more for transportation and heating or cooling
•Continued progress in storage for energy generated by solar power.
Agelbert NOTE: Overcoming THIS challenge would boost our path to 10 Terawatts and beyond BEFORE 2030 (see below):
Another Milestone For Renault: 100,000th Leased Electric Vehicle Battery
March 28th, 2017 by Cynthia Shahan
General Discussion / Re: Member Interesting, Hair Raising, Humorous or Otherwise Unusual Experiences« on: April 27, 2017, 06:54:06 pm »
I've been thinking about what story to tell here. I've told a lot of stories on the Diner over the years, and I don't want to repeat one I've told before. I've probably told most of the best ones. I don't think I've ever told the story of the pollywog/shellback nonsense from the Navy days. Basically when you cross the equator on a Navy ship you have to be initiated into the kingdom of Neptune :dontknow: It's pretty old tradition and here's the wiki link on this fiasco:
LD, that was a rather timely tropical storm. I know you aren't into that sort of belief system, but I think God has a great sense of humor.
I got my share and then some of hazing back at West Point. It was so bad in the summer of 1964 that a cadet was paralized. It was inadvertent. They has him doing the roach. That's where you lay on your back with a rifle at port arms and move your legs double time. The kid made some kind of move with his neck and, though he did not break his neck, somehow lost nerve sensation below the neck. :emthdown:
That slowed the hazing down for a while. One of those fun things they would make us do is sweat through our bath robes (shower formation ) while bracing and reciting at the top of our lung capacity (if we didn't yell it out, the upperclassmen would say, "POP OFF!") all kinds of memory crap from our bugle notes plebe 'bible' (army poems, proverbs, snippets of speeches from generals, songs, rank insignias for all services from the lowest to the commander in chief, etc.).
I actually thought some of that idiocy was funny at the time. But hey, I was 17 and thoroughly brainwashed to worship all things military.
They know how to turn people into mindless killing robots in the military.
Denmark to End All Renewable Energy Subsidies
April 27, 2017
By Peter Levring, Bloomberg renewable energy
After more than four decades of relying on subsidies, Denmark’s renewable energy industry is ready to survive on its own much sooner than anyone expected.
The Danish energy minister, Lars Christian Lilleholt, says that “in just a few years,” renewable energy providers won’t need state support anymore. He says it’s a development he couldn’t have imagined as recently as last year.
“We’re now very close to arriving,” he said in an interview in Copenhagen on Monday, after receiving a set of recommendations from a government-appointed panel on Denmark’s energy future.
The development marks a milestone. But it also comes at a time when the direction of global energy policies is in doubt, with U.S. President Donald Trump questioning the science behind global warming. He’s promised to revive America’s coal industry, and made clear he’s an enemy of wind power.
Lilleholt says the experience in Denmark — home to Vestas Wind Systems A/S (the world’s biggest wind-turbine maker) and Dong Energy A/S (the world’s biggest offshore wind park operator) — demonstrates that coal is no longer cheaper to produce than renewable energy.
What’s more, the development is set to become more pronounced, Lilleholt says. “Everything suggests that technology will help make renewable energy more and more competitive,” he said. And as green energy becomes more efficient, the minister warns that “already today, it’s impossible to build a new coal power plant without support.”
Denmark is on target to have all its energy needs covered by renewables by 2050, with half that goal set to be achieved in 2030, the panel said. Much of the new capacity will be built without subsidies, according to the panel. It recommended all energy consumption, including heating and transportation, be shifted to electricity generated by renewable energy.
Industry members are also surprised at the pace of the shift. Niels B. Christiansen, the outgoing chief executive officer of Danfoss A/S (an engineering firm that provides heaters and coolers) says he expects the cost of producing renewable energy to drop below market electricity prices at some point between 2020 and 2030.
“A year ago, it was debatable whether renewable energy costs could drop so low,” he said in an interview. “But everyone’s now thinking that it will probably happen sooner.”
©2017 Bloomberg News
Agelbert NOTE: The Renewable Energy Tiger is UNSTOPPABLE!
For Immediate Release, April 21, 2017
Contact: Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121, email@example.com
Public Records Sought on Dow’s Efforts to Pressure Trump Administration Over Pesticides, Endangered Species
WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity submitted Freedom of Information Act requests this week seeking public records from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Commerce to illuminate reports about how Dow Chemical is pressuring the Trump administration to abandon efforts to protect endangered species from pesticides.
Last week Dow asked the Trump administration to scrap a nearly completed four-year effort to protect endangered species from Dow’s insecticide chlorpyrifos. In January the EPA announced that its scientists had determined the highly toxic pesticide is likely to harm 97 percent of the approximately 1,800 listed threatened and endangered animals and plants found in the United States.
“American taxpayers have a right to know exactly how Dow Chemical is profiting from the ever-deepening corporate swamp in our nation’s capital,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center. “It’s detestable that Dow and the Trump administration have so little respect for the health of our children and environment.”
Over the past six years, Dow has donated $11 million to congressional campaigns and political action committees, and has spent an additional $75 million lobbying Congress. In January 2017 Dow was one of three companies that donated $1 million to the Trump inauguration. President Trump named Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris as the head of the American Manufacturing Council in his administration. Liveris praised Trump by stating that Trump is making the United States “not a red-tape country, but a red-carpet country for America’s businesses.”
Trump , who referred to Liveris as “my friend Andrew,” gave Liveris his pen after signing the executive order mandating that agencies create so-called “regulatory reform task forces.” Several weeks ago, the EPA shocked public health advocates by abruptly scrapping a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, which is known to cause brain damage in children.
“Dow spent millions on congressional campaigns, the president’s coronation and lobbying Congress and now it’s looking for its payback,” said Hartl. “The disgusting backroom efforts to sidestep the Endangered Species Act are the latest proof of just how hostile Trump’s closest industry buddies are toward common-sense protections for our environment.”
In December 2016 Liveris criticized the EPA’s ground-level ozone pollution and renewable standards for utilities, while agreeing with a climate-change-denier that carbon dioxide is “an inert compound” and should not be regulated by the EPA.
During his tenure as the CEO of Dow, his company was assessed $6.5 million in fines by the EPA since 2010, including serious violations of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Over the same time period, Dow AgroSciences — the division that manufactures pesticides — has been assessed four separate penalties for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.2 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Save this. The Pruitt Pro-Polluter EPA will try to make it disappear.
And file this away for future reference too.