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

Jamaica/Trinidad and Tobago: Half a Century of Independence

first_img In August 2012, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago held fêtes 50 years in the making, marking their golden jubilees with music, dance and national flags. On August 6, 1962, Jamaica was the first of 10 Caribbean nations to declare independence. The celebration in the country of 2.8 million was about culture and accomplishment in a developing nation. “Jamaica may not have achieved all that was expected,” P.J. Patterson, prime minister from 1992 to 2006, told The Miami Herald. “We certainly have advanced in terms of breaking down the barriers of social divisions and of creating basic standards of life, which are distinctively higher than they were before.” Trinidad and Tobago, which became independent on August 31, 1962, is now the richest Caribbean nation, thanks to oil and gas reserves and a stable Government. “We have changed governments three to four times over that 50-year period without any bloodshed, without any riots, in a country that historically has a politics infused with race and religion in a very complex potpourri,” said Attorney General Anand Ramlogan. Source: The Miami Herald By Dialogo October 01, 2012last_img read more

5 things I wish I’d known about money in my 20s

first_img 14SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Matthew Frankel, Selena Maranjian, Dan Caplinger, Eric Volkman, and Jason HallWhen it comes to saving and investing, nobody’s perfect — especially 20-somethings. It’s only natural to have some misconceptions and make some mistakes along the way, and to be honest, sometimes mistakes are the best way to learnMany of our writers experienced some financial speed bumps early in their adult lives, and we want you to learn from their mistakes so you don’t make them yourself. With that in mind, we asked five of our writers what they wish they would have known about money in their 20s. Here is what they had to say.Selena Maranjian: I got my financial wake-up call in my 30s, and was very happy I did. I had been stockpiling my extra dollars in a bank checking account, not thinking of any better place to put them, when I woke up to the great importance of saving and investing for my future.What got me was the math, the tables, and the charts. For example, check out the chart below to see how powerful time is when you’re investing. See how a single $5,000 investment will grow over different time periods. (Let’s assume it grows at the stock market’s historical average annual rate of close to 10%.) continue reading »last_img read more