NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, Oct. 8: HIGHER ELECTRIC BILLS = MORE POVERTY; KANSAS WIND BOOM BUILDING; DOOR-TO-DOOR SOLAR

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  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Will California's 100% renewables goal get through the political process?
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: What makes a successful utility-led community solar program?

    Wednesday, October 08, 2014

    QUICK NEWS, Oct. 8: HIGHER ELECTRIC BILLS = MORE POVERTY; KANSAS WIND BOOM BUILDING; DOOR-TO-DOOR SOLAR

    HIGHER ELECTRIC BILLS = MORE POVERTY The high cost of rate hikes

    October 7, 2014 (The Post and Courier)

    “…[A] 2.92 percent price hike this month [for South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. customers obligated to pay for the ongoing construction of two nuclear plants to the tune of $9.8 billion] is the seventh [power price] jump since 2009…[P]ower rates have climbed 23.9 percent over the last five years, and…[according to Plenty at Stake: Indicators of American Energy Insecurity by Sens. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, found a] 10 percent increase in household energy costs leads to approximately 840,000 people across the U.S. being pushed into poverty…

    “…[M]illions more people have to spend more than 10 percent of their income on home energy…[and] an increasing number of people have to decide whether to pay their energy bill instead food or medical care…[The Senators] hope that their data about the impact of energy costs on people will promote a discussion about what should be done at the federal level…Affordable energy is a better option than financial assistance, they argue]…Most, but not all, of SCE&G's recent rate hikes have been to cover [nuclear plant construction] costs…But sustainable alternative sources can, and should, be the focus of more efforts…” click here for more

    KANSAS WIND BOOM BUILDING Kansas wind energy industry set to take off

    Dan Voorhis, October 6, 2014 (Wichita Eagle)

    “Three-quarters of the way through 2014, Kansas’ wind energy industry is shifting from ice cold to red hot…The state has nearly 3,000 megawatts of wind energy capacity in 25 wind farms, placing it among the top states in the nation…This year started slowly, with months going by with little activity. But at this point, there are four wind farms under construction, with about 475 megawatts of capacity…In the development stage are…[six] wind farm projects [totaling 1,800 megawatts] that may be built in 2015 or 2016…

    “What makes wind power so compelling is that, at the moment, it is close to the lowest-price electricity, and that price can be locked in for 20 years by contract…[which makes it] a way to hedge gas price volatility and the environmental regulation of coal…This year marks a resurgence in wind farm construction. Developers built facilities generating 1,441 megawatts’ worth of energy in Kansas in 2012 but just 250 in 2013 because they raced so hard to get their projects up and going the year before, in case federal incentives were allowed to die…This year, however, developers could take their time because of the way the federal production tax credit law was written…The wind farms generally must be built by 2016 to qualify for the tax credits…” click here for more

    DOOR-TO-DOOR SOLAR Knocked Out; How do you sell customers on solar energy? Hawk it door to door.

    Daniel Gross, October 7, 2014 (Slate)

    “…In 2011, Vivint, an alarm company based in Utah, decided to get into the solar business. It deployed a mobile [door to door] sales force [working on commission], attracted a big investment from the private equity giant Blackstone Group in 2012, and quickly built its subsidiary, Vivint Solar, into the second-largest panel installer in the country, behind Elon Musk’s SolarCity...[An initial public offering] raised $330 million and valued Vivint Solar at $1.3 billion…Vivint’s rapid success—it has convinced nearly 22,000 homeowners to go solar—highlights a recurring theme… >p> “…[W]hat’s really helping America catch up to the rest of the world in renewable energy and reducing emissions is innovation in business models, marketing, finance, and selling. The greatest advances happen when good, old-fashioned, earnest American hucksterism meets the massive consuming force of the American people…For years, the high upfront cost of solar systems acted as a barrier to adoption. In response, SolarCity pioneered the solar lease…Vivint Solar relies on a simpler model: a power purchase agreement…Each summer, Vivint dispatches a few thousand college students, mostly from universities in Utah, to sell alarm systems door to door, on commission, in every state; the Vivint Solar subsidiary taps into the same labor force. Many of the [college student salespeople on summer vacation] already have experience as Mormon missionaries…” click here for more

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