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Items filtered by date: January 2017

Wind and solar power are disrupting electricity systems

February 24, 2017

(The Economist) ALMOST 150 years after photovoltaic cells and wind turbines were invented, they still generate only 7% of the world's electricity. Yet something remarkable is happening. From being peripheral to the energy system just over a decade ago, they are now growing faster than any other energy source and their falling costs are making them competitive with fossil fuels. BP, an oil firm, expects renewables to account for half of the growth in global energy supply over the next 20 years. It is no longer far-fetched to think that the world is entering an era of clean, unlimited and cheap power. About time, too.

There is a $20trn hitch, though. To get from here to there requires huge amounts of investment over the next few decades, to replace old smog-belching power plants and to upgrade the pylons and wires that bring electricity to consumers. Normally investors like putting their money into electricity because it offers reliable returns. Yet green energy has a dirty secret. The more it is deployed, the more it lowers the price of power from any source. That makes it hard to manage the transition to a carbon-free future, during which many generating technologies, clean and dirty, need to remain profitable if the lights are to stay on. Unless the market is fixed, subsidies to the industry will only grow...

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Read More At The Economist: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21717371-thats-no-reason-governments-stop-supporting-them-wind-and-solar-power-are-disrupting?frsc=dg%7Cd

 

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AES and Parker Hannifin Team up on Energy Storage

February 24, 2017

Julia St. Germain

(Breaking Energy) Parker Hannifin (NYSE: PH), an American energy company, recently announced the completion of the Cochrane energy storage facility, a project undertaken with AES Gener. The partnership with the Chilean energy producer and supplier has resulted in a large plant located Mejillones, Antofagasta, Chile. The facility will provide spinning reserve and grid reliability services to Northern Chile, part of the Norte Grande Interconnected System. This system in particular primarily provides energy to the country's mining operations, which take place in the north. The facility can provide 20 megawatts of energy storage.

AES is also partnered with Parker Hannifin in the building of an energy storage facility in San Diego, California. The contract with San Diego Gas & Electric includes the installation and commission of two storage arrays, which will help energy reliability and renewable energy grid integration. 75 megawatts of flexible storage capability will be added to the grid when completed. One of the arrays included in this project is in Escondido, supplying 30 MW of the power. When completed, this array will be the largest battery-based storage project in the United States...

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Read More At Breaking Energy:  http://breakingenergy.com/2017/02/22/aes-and-parker-hannifin-team-up-on-energy-storage/

 

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Biggest wealth fund urged to embrace infrastructure risks

February 24, 2017

Mikael Holter

(Bloomberg) Norway needs to overcome its risk aversion and allow the country's $900 billion sovereign wealth fund to invest in unlisted infrastructure, including renewable energy projects, according to a new report. The fund should be freed to invest 5 percent of its capital in such assets, which the investor itself has lobbied for, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis said in a report. Based on the experience from the best-managed investors in the industry, returns could be 12 percent to 15 percent annually, according to the report.

The report was presented Wednesday in a closed session to Norwegian lawmakers as part of a long-running debate over whether to open the fund up for infrastructure investments to boost returns that have been lagging targets amid record-low global interest rates. The Conservative-led government last year rejected pleas from the central bank, which manages the fund, to allow it to add that asset class, arguing regulatory and other risks were too high. But opposition lawmakers forced it to pursue the review of infrastructure and present findings in a white paper due in the next months...

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Read More At Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-21/biggest-wealth-fund-urged-to-look-past-infrastructure-risks

 

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in sweeping move, trump puts regulation monitors in U.S. agencies

February 24, 2017

David Shepardson and Steve Holland

(Reuters) President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday to place "regulatory reform" task forces and officers within federal agencies in what may be the most far reaching effort to pare back U.S. red tape in recent decades. Trump signed the directive in the Oval Office with chief executives of major U.S. corporations standing behind him including Dow Chemical Co (DOW.N), Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) and U.S. Steel Corp (X.N).

The sweeping order directs every federal agency to establish a task force to ensure each has a team to research all regulations and take aim at those deemed burdensome to the U.S. economy and designate regulatory reform officers within 60 days and must report on the progress within 90 days. "Excessive regulation is killing jobs, driving companies out of our country like never before," Trump said before signing the order. "Every regulation should have to pass a simple test; does it make life better or safer for American workers or consumers?"The effort is part of a Republican push to undo many of the actions of former President Barack Obama, who left office last month after two four-year terms...

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Read More At Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-regulations-idUSKBN1631NV

 

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On Infrastructure, There Ain't No Such thing as a free lunch

February 24, 2017

 D. Bruce Gabriel

(Investor Business Daily) I first encountered this acronym in the early 1970s when a high school social studies teacher wrote it across a blackboard. He promoted an analytical, market-oriented approach to socioeconomic issues at a time when the curriculum and teaching were dominated by searing, emotional debates prompted by the Vietnam War. TANSTAAFL: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

I was reminded of his lesson by a recent front-page article in the New York Times concerning bad public sector experiences with privatization of public infrastructure — "In American Towns, Pumping Private Profit From Public Works." In its timing and effect, the article seemed calculated to raise concerns about our new president's "trillion dollar" proposal to address the nation's public infrastructure deficit by providing incentives for much greater private investment. Private industry participation in the provision of public infrastructure should not be a partisan issue, nor should its value be questioned simply because there are instances in which private capital and industry have negotiated advantageous terms with public entities...

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Read More At Investor's Business Daily:  http://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/on-infrastructure-there-aint-no-such-thing-as-a-free-lunch/

 

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Leilao de ferrovia pode ter mudanca de regras

18 de fevereiro, 2017

Para evitar que bilhões de reais arrecadados com as outorgas das concessões de infraestrutura sejam integralmente absorvidos pelo Tesouro Nacional, o Ministério dos Transportes quer mudar as regras dos próximos leilões de ferrovias.

A ideia é que o valor da outorga seja convertido em obras a serem executados pelos grupos vencedores dos leilões...

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Lea Mas: http://www.valor.com.br/brasil/4872756/leilao-de-ferrovia-pode-ter-mudanca-de-regras

 

 

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Juegos Panamericanos: En octubre empezarian las obras de infraestructura deportiva

17 de fevereiro, 2017

El Ministerio de Transporte y Comunicaciones (MTC) – a cargo de velar por los compromisos asumidos para el desarrollo de los Juegos Panamericanos 2019 – estima que entre setiembre y octubre de este año se empezarían las obras de infraestructura deportiva necesarias para este evento internacional de la que el Perú será sede.

Entre estas se encuentran el polideportivo de Villa María del Triunfo y de San Isidro, el centro de alto rendimiento de tabla Punta Rocas, la Villa Panamericana, la Videna y el Parque Panamericano Callao.

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Lea Mas:http://gestion.pe/economia/panamericanos-entre-setiembre-y-octubre-empezaran-obras-infraestructura-deportiva-2182441

 

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U.S. infrastructure legislation back on congress' radar

February 17, 2017

Richard Cowan

(Reuters) President Donald Trump's pledge to bring massive investments in U.S. infrastructure projects showed new signs of life on Friday after lying dormant for weeks, as leading Republican lawmakers said proposals from the administration could be in the offing. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, told reporters he expects to receive "some kind of recommendation on an infrastructure bill, a subject that we frequently handle on a bipartisan basis," but gave no details or timing.

He has previously voiced concern over adding to budget deficits with a new shot of federal funds for road, bridge and other construction projects like the ones President Barack Obama secured from Congress in 2009, especially after a major highway funding law was enacted about a year ago.Some Republicans and Democrats in Congress are increasingly criticizing Trump's administration for being slow to get behind his legislative initiatives during the first month of his presidency...

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Read More At Reuters:  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-congress-infrastructure-idUSKBN15W1WF?il=0

 

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Will the crisis at Oroville dam become a catalyst for change?

February 17, 2017

Chris Megerian

(The Los Angeles Times) Jeffrey Mount, a leading expert on California water policy, remembers the last time a crisis at the Oroville Dam seemed likely to prompt reform. It was 1997 and the lake risked overflowing, while levees further downstream failed and several people died."If this doesn't galvanize action, I don't know what will," Mount said he thought at the time. But spring came, the waters receded and no changes came to pass.

Now another threat looms in Oroville, where deteriorating spillways forced widespread evacuations, and more heavy rain is around the corner. State officials have remained focused on quick fixes at the dam needed to prevent catastrophic flooding, but some are already thinking about how the crisis could spur long-term shifts in policy...

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Read More At The Los Angeles Times:  http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-oroville-dam-crisis-change-catalyst-20170217-story.html

 

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What happens when two bankers and an engineer get a billion dollars?

February 24, 2017

Jason Kelly

(Bloomberg) It was 2006, and the former head of General Electric's infrastructure business and Jack Welch protégé had made up his mind to turn down Adebayo Ogunlesi and Matt Harris, the pair of former Credit Suisse bankers who'd invited him for Chinese food. Instead of joining their nascent fund, the sought-after Woodburn was taking a job with Steve Schwarzman's Blackstone.

To change his mind, Ogunlesi and Harris opted for a soft sell—a departure from what Woodburn knew from GE, where high-pressure persuasion was the norm. They met at Harris's favorite Midtown Manhattan restaurant, the now closed Tse Yang. Fish glided through tanks in the background as the three talked about raising kids and collecting classic cars. Ogunlesi and Harris barely mentioned the business of buying ports and pipes or raising money...

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Read More At Bloomberg:  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-02-16/global-infrastructure-partners-gets-big-returns-in-sleepy-sector

 

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