Posts Tagged ‘sources’

Solar power incentives slashed again

Úterý, Září 4th, 2012

THE price paid to Victorian households for rooftop solar power they feed into the grid has been cut under a overhaul of incentives for small-scale renewables by the Baillieu government.

The changes will reduce the price paid for each grid-fed kilowatt-hour of solar power to 8 from next year, down from the existing rate of 25, following recommendations by the state’s competition body.

The changes will affect new customers, with households now getting higher prices remaining on those rates. Households that have paid a deposit or have a solar system installed already can still get the 25 price if necessary paperwork is lodged with electricity suppliers by the end of this month.

Under the changes Victoria’s renewable incentives have been broadened to include other smaller-scale renewable energy technologies generating under 100 kilowatts of electricity, such as micro-wind and fuel cells.

Launching the changes yesterday Energy Minister Michael O’Brien said the falling costs of solar panel systems and rising power prices meant households were taking up solar without the need for over-generous subsidies from other power users.

He said a previous incentive of 60 for each kilowatt-hour - scrapped by the Baillieu government last year - was costing Victorian households $41 million a year until 2024 through higher electricity bills to subsidise homes with solar panels.

“People in public housing, tenants who cannot access solar, are paying higher electricity bills in order to subsidise the rooftop solar for other people. That wasn’t sustainable at those rates,” Mr O’Brien said.

Under the new feed-in-tariff, the state government will set the price each year between 2013 and 2016 based on the wholesale electricity price. Then the price will be set by the market.

A Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission report released yesterday recommended a 6 to 8 price and said solar tariffs should become market-based as soon as possible to remain sustainable.

But renewable energy groups said the new price did not reflect savings rooftop solar generated in avoided network and other costs of delivering electricity to homes.

Damien Moyse, from the Alternative Technology Association, said: “The evidence suggests that electricity generated by solar systems is worth more than the average price of electricity in the wholesale market.”

Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said it was appropriate the Victorian government reduced the level of its support scheme but “the proposed feed-in tariff of 8 per kilowatt-hour is too low and does not reflect the fair and reasonable value of the electricity and other benefits that solar power systems provide”.

The state government also largely accepted recommendations to make connecting rooftop solar panels and other systems to the grid less complicated.

Guy Wins Motorcycle USA Custom Honda Fury

Čtvrtek, Květen 24th, 2012

Delivering the mail will soon be a whole lot funner for Guy Fernandez of Berthoud, Colorado. Why you say? Because Guy, a Postal Service worker, will soon be rippin’ around his hometown on a sweet customized 2011 Honda Fury courtesy of Motorcycle USA. Fernandez was lucky enough to beat out thousands of other entries in a random drawing to win the custom Honda cruiser we gave away in conjunction with the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Shows held at the International Motorcycle Shows (IMS). Thanks to our gesture, Fernandez is our new “No. 1 Fan.”

But it wasn’t an easy process. The custom Fury traveled to all 12 stops of the IMS, culminating in the Ultimate Custom Builder finals in Daytona Beach. Thousands of people who saw it entered to win by voting for the “People’s Choice” while others, like Fernandez, entered the giveaway via traditional snail mail. Envelopes arrived in the Motorcycle USA office from all around the country. After spending months on the road traveling around the country, the custom Fury is temporarily back in our hands but soon it will be heading to Berthoud to meet its new owner.

Motorcycle USA’s custom 2011 Honda Fury has crazy cool gold metal flake paint and pinstriping applied by the crew over at Cutting Edge Illusion, insuring that it’s one of a kind. Low and Mean also helped us set the Fury apart from the crowd by sending over more aggressively cut fenders and by helping drop the rear with a lowered rear spring.

Accutronix sent over a set of industrial strength Diamond “Night Series” forward controls and front rigid pegs to add to its ill disposition while Cobra Speedster Swept Pipes and a PowrFlo Air Intake System give it a meaner growl and more go than a stock bike. Small details like an Accutronix sidemount license plate and a Low and Mean LED brake light strip give it more custom street cred. The final touch was applied by Burns Auto Upholstery who stitched a Motorcycle USA sprocket logo in the middle of the leather seat. We’ve sampled it and the Fury is a lean, clean hard-charging machine.

Fernandez couldn’t believe his stroke of good luck, especially since it will be the first real motorcycle the professed scooter rider has owned. Granted, a 1312cc V-Twin is a big step up from a small step-thru scooter, but the father of two is both excited and nervous about the proposition. But we helped assuage his worries by pointing out the easy going nature of the Honda Fury, from its smooth handling to manageable power. Now he’s got a new topic of water cooler conversation when talking to his buddies who ride Harleys. And considering he’s got two daughters in grad school, a new motorcycle is a just reward for a man who apparently has done his role as father well. It also means he’s an empty nester, which means he’s got a little more time to enjoy some of the incredible roads in his neck of the woods in Colorado.

Motorcycle USA officially congratulates Guy Fernandez, winner of our custom 2011 Honda Fury giveaway. We’d also like to thank everybody who entered the contest and caught the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Shows at the IMS.

Sustainable design defines UT Arlington’s College Park Center

Úterý, Leden 31st, 2012

UT Arlington’s College Park Center is more than an entertainment venue. It’s an example of what can happen when design intersects with a commitment to sustainability and innovation.

The $78 million special events center was designed by HKS Inc. to meet U.S. Green Building Council guidelines for LEED Gold certification and incorporates recycled construction materials and many energy-saving features.

What sets the building apart from an increasingly-crowded field of LEED-standard projects is the way the events center invites the natural environment in to what might have been a traditional, inward-facing venue, said David Skaggs, vice president of HKS Inc. Sports & Entertainment and senior architect for the project.

“This project was an opportunity to show what could be accomplished when the desire for a unique, first-class fan experience and sustainable design strategies are combined,” Skaggs said.

The building makes maximum use of natural lighting in its sweeping, grand entrance atrium, throughout its concourses and in one, full-size practice court.

Perhaps most notable is the building’s interaction with The Green at College Park, the new, 2.6-acre park on the south side of College Park Center. Southern concourses open toward The Green, providing programmable space for events that might spill outside as weather permits.

The City of Arlington and the North Central Texas Council of Governments collaborated with UT Arlington to develop the $2.8 million park, which was designed by Arlington-based Schrickel, Rollins and Associates.

Storm water from the events center and other paved areas surrounding the park is directed toward The Green through various ecological retention features full of native wetland vegetation. Specialized soil, plants and design concepts in the park will allow for a more than 25-percent decrease in the amount of storm water runoff that would have been expected from College Park Center.

In addition, more than a third of the storm water runoff from the 468-acre campus will travel through the Green at College Park site during major storm events.

Landscape architects say at least 80 percent of the suspended solids in the water will be filtered out before the remaining water flows toward Johnson Creek, a flood-prone tributary of the Trinity River.

The Green at College Park is one of 150 locations worldwide to serve as a pilot project for the Sustainable Sites Initiative or SITES, a new rating system for green landscape, design, construction and maintenance. Last week, it became one of the first projects to be certified by SITES.

Bruce Springsteen once again dazzles at Light of Day

Pondělí, Leden 16th, 2012

It had been a boisterous Saturday night in Asbury Park. A marathon five and a half hours of guitar rock, broken only by brief occasional acoustic interludes, had set the sold-out house astir.

But shortly after midnight, all motion at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park stopped. Every head was turned to center stage as the curtain went up on a solo Bruce Springsteen, who held the audience spellbound with the story of Spanish Johnny and Janie and their “Incident on 57th Street.”

By the time he reached the chorus — one written years ago and recorded on an album devoted to madly romantic tales of street life — the rambunctious, festive crowd was ready to sing it back with the reverence of schoolkids doing a flag salute. Exhaustion, restlessness, inebriation — it was all forgotten. The Boss was in complete command, and the faithful were ready to follow him wherever he wanted to go.

By now, Bruce Springsteen’s unannounced sets at the Light of Day Festival are anything but a surprise. After he’d spent Friday shooting a video in Asbury Park to promote his upcoming album, few wondered if the Boss would sing at the charity concert, held annually to benefit Parkinson’s disease research. Instead, the speculation in the house was mostly about whether Springsteen would match the marathon two-hour set that closed the 2011 show.

He did. Backed once again by the capable Joe Gruschecky and the Houserockers — Pittsburgh’s steel-smelting answer to the E Street Band — Springsteen did not stop strumming until the clock ticked past 2 a.m, and even then, only reluctantly did he unstrap his guitar. Once again, the show reached its climax with a rollicking version of “Twist and Shout” and a cathartic mass singalong rendition of “Thunder Road.” If you missed it, head down to Asbury Park and press your ear against the boardwalk; it’s surely still reverberating.

But while many of the moves — and some of the songs — were the same, this was no rehash of Springsteen’s 2011 set. At this time last year, the E Street Band had no shows on the calendar, and Springsteen attacked the Light of Day concert with the desperate ferocity of a dog let loose in the park after a long winter cooped up indoors.

This January, he’s preparing to take to the road in support of a new set that he’s calling his angriest yet, and the Boss is clearly ready for a year of nonstop activity. His fabled sense of showmanship was perfectly calibrated and fine-tuned, and while it would be wrong to call the veteran rocker acrobatic, he can still execute a triumphant leap from a high drum riser, guitar in hand, as well as any of his countless imitators.

His storytelling vocals were growly perfection — no matter how big a star he’s become, he still effortlessly channels the moral authority of the working class hero — and his guitar leads, especially his barbed scrawls of notes on courtroom drama “Johnny 99,” were reliably exciting.

Expected as his concert was, Springsteen maintained the capacity to surprise. He leapt into the audience during the final chorus of “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day,” and led the crowd singalong surrounded by Light of Day revelers. E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg took the sticks for a run through “Light of Day,” the optimistic rocker that gave its name to the ever-growing series of charity shows.

Clamping down on energy cash costs

Pátek, Září 9th, 2011

THE ANNOUNCEMENT in July by the UK government that the average domestic fuel bill will rise to 1,000 – or just above 4% of UK average diving light to nearly 400 press articles and a good deal of political debate. A less reported story was the increasing cost to business of the UK’s sustainable energy policy, which the government admits will lead to energy price rises of up to 10% per year.

One of the main issues driving the escalating costs is the increasing dependency of the UK economy on imported energy sources. To address this issue, the forthcoming Energy Reform Act will stimulate more UK energy being produced from local renewable sources, including nuclear energy.

However, it will be a long time before such renewable energy sources come online, which will leave UK businesses facing unpredictable energy costs for the foreseeable future. UK finance professionals will need to factor the unpredictability into their cost projections or, better still, establish processes to mitigate the impact of this unpredictability.

Finance directors need a strategy to help their organisations cope with four major energy issues that are rapidly approaching: a lack of mid-term pricing certainty, rapidly increasing energy costs, higher costs from more stringent compliance reporting, and – on the upside – renewable investment cost-saving opportunities.

The UK’s mix of energy sources leaves UK business increasingly dependent on non-UK providers and therefore very susceptible to the whims of the global energy market. Not only is there a diminishing supply of fossil fuels, there are also increasing demands on what is left, due to the high growth in energy consumption in the BRIC countries.

This is amplified by recent political events, such as the so-called Arab Spring, and economic events, such as fluctuations in the US dollar exchange rate. Purchasing forward energy contracts when prices are volatile is risky. Such unpredictability can make FDs over-cautious and funds that might have been used for investment are set aside to insure against further rises in energy prices.