WSJ: Utility Industry Ratchets Up Its War on Solar

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Many U.S. states are considering dialing back solar-power incentives amid growing pressure from local electric utilities, potentially dealing a blow to the companies that install home solar systems around the country.More than 900,000 homes across the U.S. are equipped with solar panels, with most of those homeowners able to sell any excess electricity their houses generate back to the utility, helping reduce the cost of home solar panels by up to 30%. But the price solar customers get paid for that extra renewable power through so-called net metering is starting to fall, as several states, including Nevada and Hawaii, have slashed their solar subsidies.Utilities in Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Utah and many other states are currently proposing measures that include changing their net metering programs or raising the monthly fees charged to home solar users for hooking their equipment to the power grid. The utilities argue that the ever-smaller base of traditional power customers shouldn’t get stuck paying all the costs of maintaining the grid.“What is in danger of being overlooked is the harm inflicted on the 96% of our customers who do not have solar,” said Donald Brandt, chairman and chief executive of Arizona Public Service Co., which wants the state regulator to change its solar payment scheme. “This is about a sustainable model for both rooftop solar and the electricity grid, but it’s also about basic fairness for customers.”Overall, two dozen states are weighing changes to their incentives for rooftop solar power and other renewable-energy policies, according to the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, which tracks such policies. Incentive payments have been the backbone of home solar firms’ business model.In Nevada, which ranks eighth in home solar adoption in the U.S., SolarCity Corp. and Sunrun Inc. pulled up stakes in December, laying off hundreds of employees after the state abruptly ended generous incentives for homeowners with solar arrays on their rooftops.The state’s largest utility, NV Energy Inc.—a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.—had been richly rewarding homeowners for the excess electricity their rooftop panels generated. Nevada regulators voted to replace that program with one that pays a mere fraction of what homeowners had come to rely on.“Issues in Nevada and other states were simmering before, but now they’re boiling,” said Shawn Kravetz, a fund manager at Esplanade Capital in Boston who invests in solar companies.A bright spot for the industry is New York, where regulators adopted a new set of policies last fall that include paying homeowners high retail power rates for excess electricity coming from their rooftop solar panels.Full article ($): Solar-power incentives for homeowners shrink as local utilities pressure state regulators WSJ: Utility Industry Ratchets Up Its War on Solarlast_img read more

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Chart of the Week: Equity returns drive LGPS investment gains in 2018-19

first_imgThe £8.4bn (€9.2bn) pension fund for the county of Lancashire was the stand-out performer across the UK’s Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) in the 12 months to 31 March 2019, according to data from PIRC.An analysis of 64 LGPS funds from across England, Wales and Scotland showed Lancashire gained 11.7% in the 2018-19 financial year, ahead of the £1.2bn scheme for the London borough of Kensington & Chelsea, which gained 10.9%.Both schemes were aided by strong equity performance, with Lancashire posting the top equity return across PIRC’s sample, with 16%. Kensington & Chelsea’s equity allocation gained 12.9%.At the other end of the performance spectrum, the £733m Havering Pension Scheme – also linked to a London borough – reported a 3.4% return. Its performance was negatively affected by a 1.4% loss incurred on its allocation to diversified growth strategies. Four other London funds posted returns of between 4.3% and 4.9%. Best and worst performers in the LGPSChart MakerThe biggest fund in the LGPS, the £23.8bn Greater Manchester Pension Fund, performed below the median return for PIRC’s sample with a 5.6% gain, compared to the 6.2% average.Within asset classes, PIRC’s data showed that alternatives allocations performed particularly strongly across the LGPS. Islington’s £1.4bn scheme reported a 35.6% return from its alternatives portfolio, which was predominantly allocated to infrastructure, according to council documents.The £2bn pension fund for Gwynedd in north Wales reported a 24.8% return from its alternatives holdings, which included private equity and infrastructure allocations.The West Yorkshire Pension Fund posted the best returns from property, adding 13.3% for the year. The pension funds for Southwark, Surrey and Newham all also reported double-digit property returns.Long-term performancePIRC’s data also revealed LGPS funds’ longer-term performance, with figures covering five, 10, 20 and 30 years to 31 March 2019. Over 10 years, the London borough of Bromley’s £1bn scheme added 13.7% a year on average, the best of any of the LGPS funds analysed by PIRC.Bromley was closely followed by Scotland’s Orkney Islands Council Pension Fund, which has returned 13.4% a year over the same period. At £391m it is the smallest fund within the LGPS system.The two funds also led the way over 20- and 30-year periods.Best LGPS performers over 10 yearsChart MakerAsset allocationPIRC’s numbers showed little year-on-year change in asset allocation across the 64-fund sample, with the exception of a slight increase in fixed income holdings and decrease in diversified growth strategies.LGPS funds held an average of 55% in equities and 19% in bonds as of 31 March, the data showed. They allocated 11% to alternatives and 9% to property, on average.At the end of March 2019, there were 100 funds across the UK’s LGPS system with £347.1bn in assets under management, an increase of 6.3% compared to 31 March 2018, according to data compiled by IPE.Average LGPS asset allocation (%)Chart Makerlast_img read more

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The Point After: Hockey’s playoffs are the best postseason

first_imgThe Pelicans are 13 games under .500 and 12.5 games out of a playoff spot. Moore and Hill are both extremely inefficient, ranked 255th and 344th respectively in player efficiency ratings among 354 qualified players around the league. There is nothing more fun to watch than the Stanley Cup Playoffs and, with the strength of the small market that the NHL boasts, more new fans are getting in on that fun. In the Eastern Conference, the Tampa Bay Lightning, my hometown team, has won at a record-setting pace, drawing comparisons to the greatest hockey teams of all time while sporting a cast of soon-to-be MVPs and future Hall of Famers. This is all without mentioning the fact that the team has sold out every home game for the past few years, despite being in a city that plays host to one of America’s notoriously poorly attended teams, the Tampa Bay Rays of the MLB. Look no further than the contracts paid to the game’s best players. Future hall of famers like Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby carry average annual salaries equivalent to mediocre New Orleans Pelicans players like Solomon Hill ($12 million) and E’Twaun Moore ($8.5 million). In spite of playing host to the greatest eight weeks of American sports, the NHL has constantly carried the title of America’s fourth sport. Sitting firmly behind the NFL, NBA and MLB, professional hockey does not carry the same dollar value as its competitors. By 2020, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas will have played host to outdoor hockey games. To some, the NHL playoffs only appeal to Canadians and are overshadowed by the massive headlines and audiences garnered by the NBA postseason. In reality, the NHL playoffs are the greatest demonstration of passion and pride in all of professional or collegiate sports. A clear favorite is much more difficult to single out in the Western Conference, but among the leading cup contenders in Nashville, Winnipeg, San Jose, Calgary and Vegas, it is more likely than not that a small market team emerges from the pack and plays (possibly for the second time in the last few seasons) in the Stanley Cup Finals. It is bizarre to think that a sport that struggles financially, at least by comparison to its peers, and often fails to remain firmly in the national conversation is also most successful at empowering small market and non-traditional franchises. This season, it would seem that the National Hockey League is again going to showcase at least one — if not two — non-traditional franchises on the game’s championship stage. By comparison, McDavid is a 22-year-old wunderkind who has led the league in points twice and won league MVP in just three full seasons before signing his “lucrative” extension. Meanwhile, Sidney Crosby, a three-time Stanley Cup Champion and two-time MVP, is considered not only the greatest player of his generation but also possibly one of the 10 greatest players in the history of the game. While there is a downward trend in sports viewership on television, last year’s tilt between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights resulted in the most-watched Stanley Cup Finals that didn’t feature one of the league’s “Original Six” teams. While the numbers may not compare to the NBA or MLB, the 17 percent ratings boost over the two-year span looks favorable compared to the equivalent ratings drop experienced by professional baseball and basketball alike. In just a few short weeks, the greatest spring tradition in sports will begin again. Every series is a war, every game is a battle and every goal is a massive strike that can tilt the scales of fate. Quite simply, you will not see professional athletes in one of America’s “Big Four” sports try as hard to win a championship as in the NHL. There’s dreaming of a World Series or a Lombardi, and then there is dreaming of hoisting the Stanley Cup — nothing can compare. March Madness, the NFL Draft, NBA postseason and MLB opening day are all fun, but nothing in this sweet world can match the drama, highs and lows and pure, unadulterated adrenaline of the National Hockey League playoffs. Jimmy Goodman is a junior writing about current events in sports. His column, “The Point After,” runs every other Tuesday. Additionally, the league has aggressively sought out options to bring the traditional pond hockey concept to markets where it was not only common but also seemingly impossible. The Winter Classic and other outdoor games are annual mainstays for traditional northern franchises such as the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks, but they have only just recently become common among warm weather teams. last_img read more

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Pjanic and Dzeko are the highest-paid Players in Italian Serie A!

first_imgBosnia and Herzegovina national team captain Edin Dzeko and his teammate from BiH’s national football team Miralem Pjanic are at the top of the highest-paid players in the Italian Serie A.In Juventus, Pjanic has an annual salary of 6.5 million euros and is ranked eighth, while Dzeko in Roma was paid 5 million euros plus one million bonuses, which is enough for the 15th position.The list is expected to be dominated by Juventus players, and of the 11 highest-paid players in the league, as many as 10 are playing for Juventus.Cristiano Ronaldo has the highest salary since he earns 31 million euros a year, with de Ligt is second with 8 million net earnings and 4 million in bonuses.Third in the list and also the only player not playing for Juventus among the highest paid eleven is Romelu Lukaku of Inter Milan with a fixed salary of 7.5 million euros and 1.5 million through bonuses.Juventus thus spend a total of EUR 294 million on player salaries, while Inter is the second with EUR 139 million. The third is Roma with 125 million euros, Klix.ba news portal reports.last_img read more

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Birds Are Memory Champs

first_imgWe humans lose our keys and often can’t remember the location of half a dozen identical items.  “Maybe it takes a bird brain to find the car keys,” teases Susan Milius in the cover story of the Feb. 14 issue of Science News.1  Ornithologists have been intrigued with how birds remember where they stash their food.  One champ is Clark’s nutcracker, a noisy denizen of western national parks observed and named by the Lewis and Clark expedition.  In a year, each bird buries 22,000 to 33,000 seeds and manages to find two thirds of them 13 months later.  Chickadees and scrub jays are pretty good at this game, too.  Experiments have demonstrated that bird memories are flexible and can even do time travel into the future.    How could such good memories evolve?  The only going theory seems to be that tough times select for better memories.  As evidence, researchers found that Alaskan chickadees outperformed Coloradoans in a seed storage and retrieval contest.  Not all ornithologists are convinced of this theory, however, since the two species differ in many other respects.  “To resolve the question of whether tough times have contributed to the evolution of catching wizardry is ‘currently difficult,’ says [Nicola] Clayton [Cambridge].”  More experiments will be required, but Milius concludes, “What started out as a fidgety search for the operating rules of feathered robots has turned into studies of how thinking works.”1Susan Milius, “Where’d I Put That?” Science News, Vol. 165, No. 7, Feb. 14, 2004, p. 103.The claim that tough times create design is like the Phoenix myth, that a living bird arises from the flames of catastrophe.  No. Fire burns, and stress kills.  Making stress a creative genius is no explanation at all, yet it remains a favorite plot in Darwin stories.  Didn’t an asteroid blast give rise to the zoo of complex and diverse mammals, according to the going myth?  We can enjoy the marvels of birds without the insipid, useless, wasteful, distracting, unsupportable, pseudoscientific bad habit of trying to find evolutionary origins for everything.  Remember that.    Next time in Yellowstone, Yosemite or other western national parks, don’t be annoyed by the squawking of the nutcrackers and jays.  Pay them a little respect.  They’ve got a better memory than you in that little brain of theirs.  Milius began her article by reprimanding, “Should humanity get a little too full of itself and its intellectual prowess, there’s always Clark’s nutcracker to think about.”(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Six arrested in Jharkhand lynching case

first_imgThe Jharkhand police have arrested six persons in connection with the lynching of 24-year-old Tabrez Ansari in Saraikela Kharsawan district, police said on Monday.The lynching, which has triggered a nationwide outrage, is being probed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT). SIT investigation has been made mandatory by the Supreme Court in every mob lynching case.Tabrez was targeted by the culprits on the suspicion of a theft at Dhatkidih village on June 18 night. Despite him pleading that he is innocent and be spared, they beat him up badly and forced him to chant, ‘Jai Sriram and Jai Hanuman’.He was rescued by the police in the early hours of the next day (June 19) and taken to hospital for treatment. Following a theft complaint filed by the villagers against him, he was arrested and produced in court, which sent him to jail. On June 22, his condition suddenly worsened and he was admitted in the district headquarters hospital, where he died.“We have taken the issue very seriously. We are looking for each and every person who are directly or indirectly involved in the crime. I had discussed whole issue with family members of the victim. Nobody will be spared,” said Karthik S, Saraikela-Kharsawan Superintendent of Police.Papu Mandal, who was named in the complaint filed by family members of the victim, was immediately arrested. Now, five others have been arrested, said Mr. Karthik. “We don’t know who were exactly involved, as the video footage is not clear. During investigation, if complicity of any person comes to our notice, he will be taken to task,” he said.Several videos of the lynching have gone viral on the social media. In a video, Tabrez was heard chanting ‘Jai Sriram and Jai Hanuman’ as directed by the mob.Police said he was working in Pune as a daily wager and had come to his village for some work. When asked if the victim was forced to chant, “Jai Sriram and Jai Hanuman”, Kuldip Dwivedi, Deputy Inspector General of police of Kolhan Range, said, “the investigation is going on. At this moment, it is premature to give any comment. But we are looking into all aspects of the incident.”last_img read more

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More on Joey Vottos Swinging Habits

Responding to my piece earlier on Friday about the Cincinnati Reds’ Joey Votto and his approach to at-bats with runners in scoring position, reader Keith Anderson asked:How does his [swing] percentage compare to when there isn’t anyone in [scoring] position? Is there a noticeable/meaningful difference? I just wonder if people are picking at how his play changes or just how he plays.Funny you ask, Keith! Before deciding to focus specifically on whether Votto swings at pitches in the strike zone with runners in scoring position, I collected a bunch of other data covering different scenarios.Let’s look at this year first. Here are Votto’s 2014 numbers in RISP situations versus bases empty.Votto with RISP, 2014121 pitches47.1 percent strike rate (strikes + balls in play/pitches)29.8 percent swing rate24.7 percent called strike rate8.7 percent chase rate (swings at pitches out of the strike zone)57.9 percent fastballs57.7 percent swings on pitches in strike zoneVotto with bases empty, 2014437 pitches58.8 percent strike rate40.5 percent swing rate30.8 percent called strike rate17.4 percent chase rate59.3 percent fastballs64.8 percent swings on pitches in strike zoneSo Votto is swinging a lot more often this year in bases-empty situations than he is with runners in scoring position. Not coincidentally, he’s getting a lot more strikes to swing at with nobody on. Interestingly, he’s also doing something very un-Votto like: chasing pitches out of the zone, in this case twice as often with the bases empty as with runners in scoring position. Of course it’s only May 9, so we’re dealing with relatively small sample sizes.Now let’s take a look at how often Votto has swung at strikes with the bases empty over time.Votto swing percentage on pitches in strike zone with bases empty, 2009-20142009 73.32010 69.42011 66.82012 59.72013 64.32014 64.8Votto swing percentage on pitches in strike zone with RISP, 2009-20142009 78.22010 76.22011 69.82012 62.42013 69.22014 57.7The same trend governing Votto’s swing rate with runners in scoring position can be seen with the bases empty. He’s far less aggressive today than he was in 2009, and somewhat less aggressive than he was during his 2010 MVP season. After that, things level out, assuming we discount (or simply ignore) 2012, when a knee injury messed with his entire stat line. Also note that the small-sample-size issues that make Votto’s swing percentage on pitches in the strike zone with runners in scoring position has not carried over to the same stat with the bases empty; 2011, 2013 and 2014 look nearly identical with the bases empty.One other thing. If we assume that the 57.7 percent figure for runners in scoring position this year is a small-sample-size fluke that will even out shortly, then we’re left with a clear and healthy trend: The better the RBI opportunity, the more Joey Votto swings at pitches in the strike zone. read more

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Slaven Bilic takes charge of AlIttihad

first_imgSaudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad have appointed Slaven Bilic as their new managerThe 50-year-old has been out of work for the last 10 months after West Ham United fired him for their poor start to the 2017/18 season.But now Bilic’s return to football management was confirmed on Thursday by Al-Ittihad, who have signed the Croatian on a three-year deal.The two-time AFC Champions League winners hope that Bilic will be able to turn around their poor start to the Saudi Pro League season, which has seen them lose three of their first four games.“The Al-Ittihad board has signed a contract with international Croatian coach Slaven Bilic, thanks to the support of Turki Al-Asheikh, chairman of the board, general sports authority, who was present during the signing ceremony,” read a statement.“Bilic will train Al-Ittihad for three seasons. The contract was signed in New York. The board wishes Bilic all success in his new mission to help Al-Ittihad regain its outstanding performance.”What we learned from day 2 of the Premier League? Taimoor Khan – August 20, 2019 The new Premier League season is only two weeks old but it has already taught us a few things that could define the campaign….Argentine coach Ramon Diaz had been in charge of the club for their opening two games of this season before being fired.Bilic has also managed the Croatian national team, Lokomotiv Moscow and Besiktas.مرحباً بك في معقل النمور .. pic.twitter.com/fLxhhDYyWS— نادي الاتحاد السعودي (@ittihad) September 27, 2018last_img read more

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