Solar Energy Progress in Nevada May Be a Harbinger for Other States

first_imgSolar Energy Progress in Nevada May Be a Harbinger for Other States FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享High Country News: Near the end of 2005, Louise Helton had one of those life-changing moments that usually only happen in Hollywood movies. Friends had invited her to join Nevada movers and shakers in an ostentatiously decorated Las Vegas casino ballroom to hear former President Bill Clinton speak. He challenged the audience to diversify the state’s economy, and to do so in a very specific way. Adopting a Southern drawl, Helton recalls the words that inspired her: “And he said, ‘If I were y’all, y’all would be the Saudi Arabia of solar.’ ” Clinton’s pitch made sense to the 51-year-old Helton. With its abundant sunshine, Nevada was well positioned to become a clean energy leader. Besides, the state lacks its own coal or natural gas reserves, so it has to import those conventional fuels, thus benefiting other states’ economies instead of its own. “There is no better or cheaper resource than the sun that is shining down on the sunniest place in the West,” Helton says.Clinton’s words percolated away inside Helton for a few years. Then, in 2008, she took the leap. Using savings from the two decades she spent working with at-risk kids, she opened her own company, 1 Sun Solar Electric. She kept costs down by melding it with her life partner’s successful tile and stone company, and in 2009, they started attaching solar panels to roofs in Las Vegas. Her timing was unfortunate; the recession hit Las Vegas especially hard and the impacts lingered, but Helton was able to keep her small crew working and her business in the black. By the time Nevada’s economy bounced back in 2014, the cost of solar panels had plummeted. Helton’s company was ready to ride the wave. “We were making a very good living and supporting a crew of folks who were able to support their families,” she recalls.Her business relied on a state law that required the monopoly electricity provider, NV Energy, to pay customers for power generated by their solar panels. For each unit of energy provided to the grid, NV Energy would give them a free unit. This one-to-one swap, called net metering, kept solar customers’ bills low and reduced the time it took to recoup their upfront investments.Big companies that lease solar panels, such as SolarCity and Sunrun, swooped into Nevada, hiring hundreds of people. In 2015, a record 24,564 people applied to be solar customers with NV Energy, according to the company. But near the end of that year, the Public Utility Commission of Nevada, the state’s utility regulators, crushed the nascent solar boom by increasing fees for solar customers and slashing reimbursements for the power they feed into the grid. That fundamentally altered the economics of rooftop solar. “It was stunning,” Helton recalls. “That’s how we found ourselves upside-down and backwards and almost out of business.”The Nevada regulators’ order was the most extreme example of a nationwide effort by corporate utilities — panicked about losing market share and profits — to roll back net-metering policies. It’s backed by the deep pockets of fossil fuel industrialists like the Koch brothers, conservative lobbying groups like ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the electricity industry’s own trade group, the Edison Electric Institute. But the Nevada regulators unexpectedly sparked a fierce resistance movement, comprised not only of environmentalists and clean-energy advocates, but also libertarians, small-business owners like Helton, and ordinary citizens who have installed rooftop panels or thought about doing so. It’s not just a battle between dirty and clean energy; it involves corporate profits, individual freedom and the appropriate role of government in incentivizing market shifts. And if the ultimate outcome in Nevada is any indication, the utilities have a tough fight ahead of them.Full article: Big Utilities Meet Their Match in Solar Scufflelast_img read more

Portrait of an Artist

first_imgPortrait of an Artist Portrait of an Artist Cuban painter rafts to freedom Chosen to create portrait of first Cuban American justice The unveiling of a portrait of Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero III was a celebration of the freedom of artist Luis Soler, who escaped from Cuba by raft in 1994, barely surviving the ordeal to become the last Cuban to enter the United States before the “wet foot-dry foot” policy took effect.On March 14, Chief Justice Barbara Pariente’s conference room was packed with white guayabera-clad board members of the Cuban-American Bar Association and President Cori Lopez-Castro. Among the well-wishers were Cantero’s wife Ana Maria, 11th Circuit Chief Judge Joseph Farina, Florida Bar President-elect designate Frank Angones, Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, and Jeb Bush’s general counsel Raquel Rodriquez, who announced: “The governor brings greetings.”But, clearly, the man of the hour was Soler, who had tears in his eyes when he struggled to say: “Thank you to Raoul and his family to trust me.”Cantero, whose parents fled Cuba’s communist regime, wrapped his arms around Soler in a hearty bear hug and delivered these details about the artist who captured his likeness on canvas:“The reason I wanted to do something is not because of me. It was because of this man right here. I thought all of you, all of us Cubans, we are very proud of people like Luis, and the public in general should know about these success stories of Cuban immigrants, exiles who have come to the United States.“Luis was disillusioned with the government in Cuba and its failure to adopt the Glasnost and Perestroika policies that the Soviet Union had adopted in the early 1990s. In 1994, he decided that he had no future and his daughter had no future in Cuba. He decided to leave.“Of course, you can’t just decide to leave Cuba. You can’t just get on a plane. You can’t even just get a visa. Many people don’t get visas. Most people don’t get visas.“So, like many other Cubans, to remember back 13 years ago, 14 years ago, they built a raft. Of course, they couldn’t just build it in their backyard, because they would get caught and get arrested. So they built it inside somebody’s home. the time it was done, they had to knock a wall out just to get the raft out.“Then they left on August 15 of 1994, under cover of darkness. For the next three days they were ravaged by stormy seas and winds. Basically, the raft was torn to shreds. It was only the tires left on the raft that they were hanging from.“Luis was essentially dying with a 104 fever with an infection in his leg; the fish were biting from the flesh in his legs. Three days later, he was picked up by the Coast Guard. And he was air-lifted by a helicopter to a Coast Guard cutter. From there, he was taken to a hospital in Key West. He was almost repatriated at that time to Cuba, sent back to Cuba, except for the intervention of some friendly Cuban-Americans who went to Key West and got him out of the hospital.“And he happened to be the last Cuban to be admitted into the United States before the Clinton administration instituted the policy, which still exists, that in order not to be sent back you have to step foot on U.S. soil. He was the last Cuban admitted before the implementation of that policy.“Since then, Luis has been successful here in the United States. He was later able to bring his mother and his daughter. He went back to Cuba, brought them over here. Since 1999, he has owned his own business, specializing in graphic design and publicity. And, oh yeah, by the way, he paints portraits.“In fact, I think he specializes in making people look better than they do in real life. At least that’s what my JA (Judicial Assistant Lillian Dominguez) says.“I want to thank Luis. And, of course, we thank the entire country of the United States for allowing people like Luis to come in, for allowing him to experience freedom. It’s people that have no freedom, who have freedom for the first time, who never take it for granted and always cherish that freedom.“And I think that’s what Cuban Americans have brought to the United States. They are some of the most patriotic people that you will meet, because they know what it is to lose freedom, to live without freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, and the other freedoms that we enjoy. Luis, thank you very much.” April 1, 2006 Regular Newslast_img read more

Celtics advance past Bulls, will play Wizards in second round

first_imgELLSWORTH — The Boston Celtics defeated the Chicago Bulls 105-83 on Friday to secure a 4-2 series win and advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs.Avery Bradley led the team with 23 points in the win, and each of the Celtics’ starters scored in double figures. It marked the second time in NBA history that a No. 1 seed has come back from an 0-2 hole in the NBA playoffs.The Celtics’ opponent in the Eastern Conference semifinals will be the Washington Wizards, who advanced by defeating the Atlanta Hawks in six games. The teams were 2-2 against one another in the regular season.Below are dates, locations and TV listings for all games. If necessary, times for Game 5, Game 6 and Game 7 will be announced at a later date. All times are Eastern.Game 1: 1 p.m. Sunday, April 30, ABC (Boston)Game 2: 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 2, TNT (Boston)Game 3: 7 p.m. Thursday, May 4, ESPN (Washington)Game 4: 6:30 p.m. May 7, TNT (Washington)Game 5 (IF NECESSARY): May 10, TNT (Boston)Game 6 (IF NECESSARY): May 12, ESPN (Washington)Game 7 (IF NECESSARY): May 15, TNT (Boston)This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textlast_img read more

Lancashire 13-year-old heads for Grand Medal Final

first_img25 May 2012 Lancashire 13-year-old heads for Grand Medal Final Lancashire 13-year-old, Louisa Brunt, shot net 67 at York to lead the North region qualifiers for England Golf’s 2012 Grand Medal Final.Louisa, from Ashton-under-Lyne, trains with England Golf’s Birdies North squad. She won the event by a single shot from Michelle Fielding of Clitheroe, while two other Lancashire players tied third.The event was contested by the best women club medal players from six counties and the top ten qualified for the Grand Medal Final to be held at Worcestershire Golf Club on Saturday, June 23.The ten, who will join qualifiers from five other regions to compete for the title of England’s champion medal player, are: Louisa Brunt (Ashton Under Lyne), Michelle Fielding (Clitheroe), Sandra King (Davyhulme Park), Alex Forrest (Longridge),  Emma Vallantine (Werneth Low), Helen Cray (Crewe),  Lauren Oleksik (Astbury), Veronica Whitehill (Crow Nest Park), Annabel Lightfoot (Hainsworth Park), Tiffany Fielden (Hale).All the regional finalists returned the best four scores at their club in the English Women’s Medals during 2011.“It was a good day,” said Louisa, who had never seen the course before. “I managed to get away with some really good pars. I went through a stage when I had three bogeys but I got it back.”This is the latest in a string of successes for Louisa, who is playing only her third season of golf with a handicap. Last year she became the county U13 champion and won the girls’ prize for the biggest handicap reduction: from 25 to 12.She had already cut her handicap to 10 before teeing off in the regional medal final and is now down to nine – well on the way to achieving her ambition of a reduction to seven. Louisa plays for the Lancashire girls’ and B teams.Another Lancashire player, Alison Wake of Aston & Lea, failed to qualify for the Grand Final, but had the compensation of scoring a hole-in-one on the 102-yard 11th hole. The 17 handicapper used a six-iron for her first ace.Qualifying net scoresPar 73, CSS 7467 Louisa Brunt (Ashton Under Lyne, hcp 10)68 Michelle Fielding (Clitheroe, 17)70 Sandra King (Davyhulme Park, 28), Alex Forrest (Longridge, 12),71 Emma Vallantine (Werneth Low, 22), Helen Cray (Crewe, 21), Lauren Oleksik (Astbury, 5)72 Veronica Whitehill (Crow Nest Park, 19), Annabel Lightfoot (Hainsworth Park, 18), Tiffany Fielden (Hale, 9)last_img read more

Riverhounds sign midfielder Joseph Ngwenya

first_imgJOSEPH NGWENYAThe Pittsburgh Riverhounds are pleased to announce the signing of midfielder Joseph Ngwenya, pending USSF approval.Ngwenya spent the 2013 season with the Richmond Kickers, where he tallied 23 points (9G, 5A) in 20 appearances en route to being named to the USL PRO All-League First Team and one of three finalists for league MVP.“I really liked the atmosphere when we played in Pittsburgh. It was sold out and the fans were amazing, “said Ngwenya, “I think the club has the best facilities in the league and the club’s ambition to win a championship is what ultimately drew me to Pittsburgh.”Originally chosen third overall in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft by the Los Angeles Galaxy, Ngwenya has made a total of 118 MLS appearances during stints with LA, the Houston Dynamo, Columbus Crew, and D.C. United.“Joe will bring a wealth of experience to the squad this year,” said head coach Justin Evans.  “He is a player who we think will come in and add even more power to our offense in 2014.”In January of 2008, Ngwenya was signed by Austrian Bundesliga club SK Austria Kärnten. In July, he appeared in the unofficial T-Home German Supercup for Bayern Munich against Borussia Dortmund.Ngwenya made his senior international debut for Zimbabwe on June 1, 2008 in a World Cup qualifier against Guinea with additional appearances against Kenya and Namibia.last_img read more