Wednesday, January 16, 2019
News Alert: Pentagon seeks to expand scope and sophistication of U.S. missile defenses on scale not seen since Reagan's 'Star Wars' initiative
Super Bowl LIII planners brace for shutdown problems at Atlanta airport - you can do anything you want, but there will be hell to pay if you mess with my superbowl
Enel touts €1bn green bond and bags 70% of Polish demand response market – pv magazine International
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Protesters Chant 'Lock Him Up!' As Trump Speaks To Farm Bureau In New Orleans - Shoe is on the other foot now
Monday, January 14, 2019
|Newsletter – January 15, 2019|
US utility PG&E prepares to file for bankruptcy / John Simon as interim CEO appointed
US utility PG&E will file for bankruptcy, Berkshire Hathaway's »Topaz Solar Farm« counts on PG&E for all of its revenue
© First Solar Inc.
14.01.2019: PG&E Corporation, owner of the biggest U.S. power utility by number of customers, is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for all of its businesses probably at the end of January. According to news agency »Reuters«, PG&E »faces widespread litigation, government investigations and liabilities that could potentially reach $30 billion,« accounting for damage from fires in 2018 and in 2017. The wildfires have killed more than 80 people and destroyed thousands of homes. According to the »Washington Post«, declaring insolvency is »ultimately the only viable option to restore PG&E's financial stability to fund ongoing operations and provide safe service to customers,« citing company officials.
According to news agency »Bloomberg«, S&P Global Ratings cut the credit rating of Berkshire Hathaway Energy's 550 MW »Topaz Solar Farm« to junk, »noting that the plant counts on embattled utility giant PG&E Corp. for all of its revenue.« The company had more than 6 GW of deals to buy wind and solar power from suppliers including Sempra Energy and Consolidated Edison Inc. as of January 2017, says the agency.
First Solar Inc. started construction on the »Topaz Solar Farm« in November 2011. Berkshire Hathaway's MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. agreed to purchase the project in December 2011.
PG&E Corporation is a Fortune 200 energy-based holding company, headquartered in San Francisco. It is the parent company of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, an energy company that serves 16 million Californians across a 70,000-square-mile service area in Northern and Central California. The company says, it does not expect any impact to electric or natural gas service for its customers as a result if the bankruptcy process. The company also expects that its employees will continue to receive their pay and healthcare benefits as usual.
On Sunday, PG&E Corporation announced that its CEO Geisha Williams has resigned from the Boards of both the holding company and the utility. The Board of Directors appointed John Simon as Interim Chief Executive Officer. He has served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel since 2017 and has been with the company since 2007.
Univergy will install two photovoltaic projects with a capacity of 400 MW in Spain
Univergy's 32 MW plant »Fukuroda« in Japan
© Univergy International
14.01.2019: The Hispanic-Japanese project developer Univergy International targets to build two photovoltaic plants in Spain with a total capacity of 400 MW, to start supplying energy to the grid in 2020. The projects are located in the province of Palencia in Castillia y León, in the communities Grijota and Herrera de Pisuerga. According to the company, it already has the energy concession permits and is now contacting the landowners to propose a 25-year rental agreement. The installation of these two plants will require the work of up to a hundred people during the construction phase and, once the infrastructure has been completed, it will require five maintenance managers who will be responsible for solving any incidents that may arise.
Furthermore, Univergy has planned a series of facilities for the so-called solar pumping, which can save diesel on farms that use this type of fuel for irrigation and soon begin to install in the province. Currently, the group has business activity in Germany, Japan, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Argentina, Spain, Korea, Australia, the United States, the Netherlands, France and Egypt, countries where it develops a project portfolio of more than 2,6 GW in total.
CEE Group sells UK solar portfolio to Greencoat Capital
14.01.2019: German asset manager CEE completed the sale of its British solar park portfolio to Greencoat Solar Assets II. The three plants have a total capacity of 60.4 MW. Total installed capacity of Greencoat Solar now exceeds 600 MW, says the company. The CEE Group acquired the »Bicester« solar park in 2014 and the »Aston Clinton« and »Homestead« plants two years later from German project developer BayWa.
Francesco La Camera appointed as new IRENA Director-General
© IRENA - International Renewable Energy Agency
14.01.2019: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly selected Francesco La Camera to be the next Director-General of IRENA. La Camera will take office on April 4, 2019, succeeding Adnan Z. Amin, who has been IRENA Director-General since 2011.
Francesco La Camera currently serves as the Director General for Sustainable Development, Energy and Climate at the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea. He led the EU and Italian negotiation teams at the climate COP 20 in Lima and was the head of the Italian delegation to the three previous COPs. He has represented Italy in many international forums including at the EU, UNECE, UNCSD, UN Environment, and the OECD. He is elected for a term of four years. After assuming office as Director-General, he will lead the IRENA Secretariat and the implementation of the Agency's work programme and budget.
We have sent the PHOTON Newsletter to the email address of your choice. If you would not like to receive the PHOTON Newsletter any more, you can unsubscribe from it here.
You can order a free trial copy of the current edition of »PHOTON International – The Solar Power Magazine« at this link.
This is an automatically generated email, please do not reply. For questions please contact: email@example.com.
For further questions or enquiries to our editors please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
HRB Aachen 22002
CEO Annegret Kreutzmann
Donald Trump and His Team of Morons
Nobody left besides those with no reputation to lose.
By Paul Krugman
- Jan. 14, 2019
There have been many policy disasters over the course of U.S. history. It's hard, however, to think of a calamity as gratuitous, an error as unforced, as the current federal shutdown.
Nor can I think of another disaster as thoroughly personal, as completely owned by one man. When Donald Trump told Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, "I will be the one to shut it down," he was being completely accurate — although he went on to promise that "I'm not going to blame you for it," which was a lie.
Still, no man is an island, although Trump comes closer than most. You can't fully make sense of his policy pratfalls without acknowledging the extraordinary quality of the people with whom he has surrounded himself. And by "extraordinary," of course, I mean extraordinarily low quality. Lincoln had a team of rivals; Trump has a team of morons.
If this sounds too harsh, consider recent economic pronouncements by two members of his administration. Predictably, these pronouncements involve bad economics; that's pretty much a given. What's striking, instead, is the inability of either man to stay on script; they can't even get their right-wing mendacity right.
First up is Kevin Hassett, chairman of Trump's Council of Economic Advisers, who was asked about the plight of federal workers who aren't being paid. You don't have to be a public relations expert to know that you're supposed to express some sympathy, whether you feel it or not. After all, there are multiple news reports about transportation security workers turning to food banks, the Coast Guard suggesting its employees hold garage sales, and so on.
So the right response involves expressing concern about those workers but placing the blame on Democrats who don't want to stop brown-skinned rapists, or something like that. But no: Hassett declared that it's all good, that the workers are actually "better off," because they're getting time off without having to use any of their vacation days.
Then consider what Sean Hannity had to say about taxing the rich. What's that? You say that Hannity isn't a member of the Trump administration? But surely he is in every sense that matters. In fact, Fox News isn't just state TV, its hosts clearly have better access to the president, more input into his decisions, than any of the so-called experts at places like the State Department or the Department of Defense.
Anyway, Hannity declared that raising taxes on the wealthy would damage the economy, because "rich people won't be buying boats that they like recreationally," and "they're not going to be taking expensive vacations anymore."
Um, that's not the answer a conservative is supposed to give. You're supposed to insist that low taxes on the rich give them an incentive to work really really hard, not make it easier for them to take lavish vacations. You're supposed to declare that low taxes will induce them to save and spend money building businesses, not help them afford to buy new yachts.
Even if your real reason for favoring low taxes is that they let your wealthy friends engage in even more high living, you're not supposed to say that out loud.
Again, the point isn't that people in Trump's circle don't care about ordinary American families, and also talk nonsense — that's only to be expected. What's amazing is that they're so out of it that they don't know either how to pretend to care about the middle class, or what nonsense to spout in order to sustain that pretense.
So what's wrong with Trump's people? Why can't they serve up even some fake populism?
There are, I think, two answers, one generic to modern conservatism, one specific to Trump.
On the generic point: To be a modern conservative is to spend your life inside what amounts to a cult, barely exposed to outside ideas or even ways of speaking. Inside that cult, contempt for ordinary working Americans is widespread — remember Eric Cantor, the then-House majority leader, celebrating Labor Day by praising business owners. So is worship of wealth. And it can be hard for cult members to remember that you don't talk that way to outsiders.
Then there's the Trump effect. Normally working for the president of the United States is a career booster, something that looks good on your résumé. Trump's presidency, however, is so chaotic, corrupt and potentially compromised by his foreign entanglements that anyone associated with him gets tainted — which is why after only two years he has already left a trail of broken men and wrecked reputations in his wake.
So who is willing to serve him at this point? Only those with no reputation to lose, generally because they're pretty bad at what they do. There are, no doubt, conservatives smart and self-controlled enough to lie plausibly, or at least preserve some deniability, and defend Trump's policies without making fools of themselves. But those people have gone into hiding.
A year ago I pointed out that the Trump administration was turning into government by the worst and the dumbest. Since then, however, things have gotten even worse and even dumber. And we haven't hit bottom yet.
Paul Krugman has been an Opinion columnist since 2000 and is also a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He won the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on international trade and economic geography. @PaulKrugman
Get our weekly newsletter and never miss an Op-Doc
Watch Oscar-nominated short documentaries from around the world made for you.Sign Up
More in Opinion
NYTimes: With New Voting Laws, Democrats Flex Newfound Power in New York. - Election Reform, Right at the Top of the list of what I want to see.
- Jan. 14, 2019
ALBANY — After years of lagging behind other states, New York radically overhauled its system of voting and elections on Monday, passing several bills that would allow early voting, preregistration of minors, voting by mail and sharp limits on the influence of money.
The bills, which were passed by the State Legislature on Monday evening, bring New York in line with policies in other liberal bastions like California and Washington, and they would quiet, at least for a day, complaints about the state's antiquated approach to suffrage.
Their swift passage marked a new era in the State Capitol. Democrats, who assumed full control this month after decades in which the Legislature was split, say they will soon push through more of their priorities, from strengthening abortion rights to approving the Child Victims Act, which would make it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their assailants.
"Today we are saying to New York that we are about tearing barriers down," Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the Senate Democrats, said earlier on Monday.
"We should not fear making it easier for those who are eligible to vote, to vote," she said, adding, "We should not fear restricting the flow of money into our electoral system."
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat elected to a third term in November, is expected to sign the package of voting bills, which would also merge state and primary elections into the same day; New York was the only state that held separate state and federal primary elections last year, potentially depressing voter turnout.
Legislators also passed a major change to the way candidates can run and fund their campaigns by closing the so-called L.L.C. loophole, which has long allowed corporations to pour almost unlimited amounts of money into election races through multiple limited liability companies. Often set up by powerful real estate interests, the beneficiaries of such L.L.C.s — whose backers often are difficult to identify — have included Mr. Cuomo himself, who has received millions from such entities but has nonetheless repeatedly called for the loophole to be closed.
"We are finally beginning to see New York's elections begin — just begin — to catch up with the rest of the country," said Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause New York, a good-government group.
For years, the State Capitol has learned to function in a perpetual equilibrium: Democrats led the Assembly, Republicans ruled the Senate, and Mr. Cuomo usually fell somewhere in between, strengthening his reputation as a centrist. Several of the voting measures that were passed on Monday had previously won the Assembly's approval, only to fail in the Senate.
Indeed, virtually nothing emerged from Albany without the benefit of a back-room handshake, with concessions on one deal facilitating an agreement on another, and neither party getting anything close to its full agenda.
But the political tenor shifted last year, when a blue wave of disenchanted Democratic voters pushed for more immediate change. As Mr. Cuomo ran for re-election in November, he became a more forceful advocate for the party; he supported Democratic candidates challenging Republican Senate incumbents, and repeatedly spoke out against the policies of President Trump. And he did so again before the votes in the Legislature on Monday, setting the stage for his annual State of the State address on Tuesday.
"I think you're going to see the most aggressive agenda that I have put forward," Mr. Cuomo said in a radio interview on WAMC on Monday morning. "Why? Because I now have the ability to get it passed with a Democratic Senate where I had a Republican Senate."
Even before the Legislature approved the changes, Mr. Cuomo had promised to expand voting hours at upstate locations, make Election Day a state holiday and ban corporate contributions, a talking point of many progressive candidates in last fall's campaigns.
He is also expected to unveil elements of his plans to embrace a "Green New Deal," a promise to prioritize a collection of environmentally minded policies, including renewable energy and avoiding the use of fossil fuels.In the coming weeks, the State Legislature is poised to pass a barrage of bills that will reaffirm New York's place among the nation's most liberal states.Stephanie Keith for The New York Times
The sudden Democratic enthusiasm has naturally been met with skepticism from their Republican counterparts, who are now in the unfamiliar position of responding from behind.
"Democrats are racing each other to the left to get credit for being the most progressive without stopping to think about the negative ramifications," said Scott Reif, a spokesman for the minority conference. "In the meantime, hardworking New Yorkers are overtaxed and overregulated, and upstate is facing an economic emergency. It's time to find real solutions to the economic challenges facing real people."
Throughout the Capitol on Monday, there were clear signs that the old way of doing the people's business was being redefined by a crush of new members and a Democratic monopoly on power: committee meetings packed with members, hallways jammed with optimistic good-government groups and legislators touting the power of democracy in action.
The morning began with dozens of advocates crowded into a conference room on the first floor of the Capitol, with more spilling into the hallway, for what is typically a desolate meeting of the Senate elections committee. They brought posters, buttons and T-shirts, then filled the hallway outside later for a news conference to declare victory.
A subsequent gathering of the Senate Democrats was no less jubilant, with activists hoisting signs and cheering loudly, and Ms. Stewart-Cousins beginning a news conference by issuing a false plea for Republicans to take up the Democrats' bills — much as she often did when her party was in the minority.
"I'm just kidding," she said, a moment later, breaking into a wide smile.
Ms. Stewart-Cousins also issued a warning of sorts to Mr. Cuomo, noting that he had included $7 million in his executive budget the year before to finance early voting and other reforms, when the Senate Republicans had blocked those changes.
"The reality is that we expect that money to be there again," she said, "because now he has willing partners here in the Senate."
New York is also poised to pass a barrage of other bills in coming weeks that will place the state among the nation's most liberal, including plans on Tuesday to pass a pair of bills aimed at preventing so-called "conversion therapy" from being practiced on gay minors, and passing the Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act (Genda), which prohibits discrimination based on "gender identity or expression."
Next week, the Legislature is expected to take up bills to protect and expand abortion rights, pegged to the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which could be threatened by a more right-leaning Supreme Court.
The action in the Senate was applauded by many in the State Assembly, which had passed such protections before only to see them stall in the Republican-led Senate.
"It's really nice that a lot of the things that we've been working on, sometimes for decades, are finally going to happen," said Richard Gottfried, an assemblyman from Manhattan who is the chamber's longest serving member. "I'm happy to be cheering the Senate on."
[Despite the Democratic harmony, there are still some tricky issues ahead. Read more here.]
Mr. Cuomo's timetable for his agenda — which he also outlined in a speech in mid-December and in his inaugural address on New Year's Day — is the first 100 days of the session.
If anything, however, legislators seemed to be agitating to move even faster than the governor, passing all seven election-related bills on just their second day in session and before his State of the State address.
Part of that urgency came seemingly from past frustration; similar efforts to pass early voting, which is already legal in some form in 38 states, died amid opposition from Republicans, who already face uphill battles in elections in New York, where there are 3.5 million more registered Democrats than Republicans. And the three new bills that were passed on Monday, which would ease voter registration, may only exacerbate that gap.
Carl E. Heastie, the Bronx Democrat who leads the Assembly, made clear again on Monday that his colleagues viewed the change in election laws as an immediate priority.
"I promised to hit the ground running," Mr. Heastie said. "And I am keeping that promise."
His counterpart in the Senate agreed. "There's an amazing amount of things that had not been done," Ms. Stewart-Cousins said. "We're just going to keep it moving so that we can catch up. And move ahead, frankly."
Democrats Finally Control the Power in Albany. What Will They Do With It?Nov. 7, 2018
Cuomo Moves to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in New York Within MonthsDec. 17, 2018
Guess Who's Accusing Cuomo of Dishonesty and Betrayal?Dec. 26, 2018
Sign up for the New York Today Newsletter
Each morning, get the latest on New York businesses, arts, sports, dining, style and more.Sign Up
More in New York
Friday, January 11, 2019
Thursday, January 10, 2019
NJ.com: These 2 retired coal plant sites in N.J. were just sold and will be transformed by a developer
China unveils an ambitious new push on grid parity solar – this will drive further cost declines and ramp unused and new manufacturing capacity
Report: CO2 Emissions from Power Sector Rising - Trump environmental protection rollback effects cited
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Trump nominates acting EPA head, an ex-coal lobbyist, to run agency
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday nominated acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler to run the agency permanently, the White House said, placing a former energy lobbyist at the helm of the nation's top environmental regulator.
This service is not intended to encourage spam. The details provided have been used for the sole purpose of facilitating this email communication and have not been retained by Thomson Reuters.
U.S. top court rejects Exxon in climate change document dispute
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for the attorney general of Massachusetts to obtain records from Exxon Mobil Corp to probe whether the oil company for decades concealed its knowledge of the role fossil fuels play in climate change.
This service is not intended to encourage spam. The details provided have been used for the sole purpose of facilitating this email communication and have not been retained by Thomson Reuters.
Seven House Panels demand Treasury explain Trump rollback of sanctions on Russia oligarch before it is implemented
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Houston Chronicle : Another Texas power plant is mothballed, raising concerns over reserves and prices
Monday, January 7, 2019