Puerto Rico regulators back renewable energy transition, reject utility’s gas-heavy proposal

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority will be required to acquire thousands of megawatts of renewables and storage in the coming years, according to a Monday order from the island’s energy regulators that also rejected many natural-gas additions included in the utility’s integrated resource plan.In its IRP filed last year, state-owned PREPA presented a preferred scenario that included 1,800 megawatts of solar PV and 920 megawatts of energy storage additions in the coming five years, plus eight minigrids that could be isolated to power certain sections of the island if the electricity system is disrupted.The Puerto Rico Energy Bureau this week presented a modified plan that included a mix with an even higher proportion of renewables: at least 3,500 megawatts of solar and more than 1,300 megawatts of storage by 2025.Regulators rejected PREPA’s $5.9 billion plan for its minigrid transmission system, with plans to establish a new proceeding to optimize distribution and transmission spending and analyze potential cheaper resiliency options. The bureau also wants PREPA to hold off on many new gas additions, calling for “limited replacement” of older units through a competitive procurement process that considers a wide range of resources.Taken together, the order significantly revamps the utility’s plan, prepared by Siemens, which many environmental and clean energy groups had criticized as too reliant on natural gas. Regulators framed their decision on the utility’s IRP as a “no-regrets” approach to Puerto Rico’s electricity transition.In addition to relying on more renewables, the proposal from regulators will cost less, around an estimate of $13.8 billion compared to about $14.4 billion for PREPA’s preferred plan.[Emma Foehringer Merchant]More: In blow to natural gas, Puerto Rico regulators affirm solar-centric grid overhaul Puerto Rico regulators back renewable energy transition, reject utility’s gas-heavy proposallast_img read more

Loan forgiveness programs keep public interest lawyers on the job

first_img Loan forgiveness programs keep public interest lawyers on the job Assistant EditorIt has been said that an obstacle is something you see when you take your eyes off the goal. But, for law school students today, student loan debt can be difficult to overlook, especially for those entering the legal aid and public interest arenas.The goal for lawyers in this area of law is obvious — to provide legal assistance and services to some of those who need it most — the poor and children. What is not so obvious, though, is that this passion to help the needy can cost young lawyers in excess of $80,000 in loans, while the average annual salary earned by lawyers in public interest work in 2002 was just $36,000, according to the ABA.Cognizant of this growing problem, The Florida Bar Foundation and St. Thomas University School of Law have followed suit in what has become a catalyst campaign against the burdens of law school debt. In their efforts to help bear this burden, both have found early success with their respective Loan Repayment Assistance Programs.In a recent report put out by the ABA, the culmination of a special two-year project, the ABA Commission on Loan Repayment and Forgiveness recognizes the problem and addresses prospective ways to alleviate it.The report, “Lifting the Burden: Law Student Debt as a Barrier to Public Service,” focuses largely on loan repayment assistance programs. A loan repayment assistance program (LRAP) provides financial aid to law school graduates, typically those working in the public interest or government sector. In most cases, this aid is given to graduates in the form of a new and forgivable loan to help them repay their annual educational debt.According to the ABA’s report, assuming a standard repayment schedule of 10 years, an $80,000 debt means payments of more than $1,000 per month. With median law school tuition steadily on the rise (up to $24, 920 in 2002, for private law schools, as opposed to just over $7,000 in 1985) 86.4 percent of law students borrowed an average of $77,300 in 1999-2000.Ft. Lauderdale lawyer Bruce Lyons, liaison to the ABA’s Criminal Justice Section, worked on the ABA’s special commission. He said the panel “had to really stop and think to figure out what was going on” and how to address the problem. One thing the group found that seemed to work was the LRAP program.The St. Thomas University School of Law began their LRAP program this past December/January and are in the second round of applications. John and June Mary Makdisi, former dean and professor, respectively, along with alumni Mark Brown, started the program.“They have such a personal commitment to helping students,” said Cheryl Chapman, St. Thomas’s assistant dean for external relations. Chapman said the school had to research other schools from around the country to find out what format would best fit their law school. Taking into account the nature of the work, debt-to-income ratio, total debt, annual gross household income, and any additional income, the process for choosing recipients is extensive.“The first time we did it [the program], we were able to make awards to all four applicants,” said Chapman, who also said the one-year stipends paid anywhere from $50 per month up to $130 per month.“Programs like these are so important,” Chapman said. “Our graduates. . . they are so committed to [public service] and they have all this loan debt. Part of our mission is to help them in the trenches.”“We just wanted to help students who didn’t have the funds because of tremendous debt,” said John Makdisi. “It has been impressed upon me that this is one of the best things we can do for law students.”Following that same philosophy, The Florida Bar Foundation has found great success with its LRAP program.“It is a wonderful program that is tremendously needed for public interest,” said Anthony Karrat, executive director at Legal Aid Services of Broward County, who has seen a lot of talented advocates pass through his office because they were unable to live on the pay.Paul Doyle, the Foundation’s director of Legal Aid for the Poor and Law Student Assistance Grants, said the Foundation’s program “meets a critical need.” He said the young recipients of the forgiveness stipends perform highly in legal service, and genuinely want to do the work.Some said the issue faced is larger than just debt, with a steady annual rise not only in tuition, but also in the cost of living. Stephen Everhart, immediate past chair of The Florida Bar’s Criminal Law Section and professor at Stetson, said the problem is within the law schools themselves.In his new book Screwing Students & Society, The Truth About Some Law Schools, Everhart suggests shortening law school to two years with one year of apprenticeship, and switching regulation of legal education to The Florida Bar and away from the American Association of Law Schools and the ABA.Moving forward on faith, both St. Thomas and the Bar Foundation are convinced that LRAPs are a step in the right direction.Jack Wallace, a 2000 graduate of the University of Miami, said he came out of college with between $80,000 and $90,000 in loans.“If you have $1,000 per month in loan payments alone, it can be tough to work at a place that pays $35,000 to $40,000 per year,” said Wallace, who said he found the Bar Foundation’s LRAP program to be very well managed.Wallace explained that many students have a genuine feeling of responsibility when it comes to this type of work.“I think when somebody decides to go to college or specialized school, it is an investment,” Wallace said. “They [the government] can take your car or your house, but not your education.. . not your ability to help others.”Wallace said it would have been very difficult for him to stay in public interest work if not for the funding provided by the LRAP. But Wallace said even though he still owes about $60,000 in loans, he feels like he is better off than some young lawyers.“I don’t have any kids, and I’m not married, so it makes it a little easier,” Wallace said.Ann Siegel, a 39-year-old mother and lawyer, had two kids and a mortgage when she graduated from Nova Southeastern University in 1998, and she found herself with a combined undergraduate and law school debt of approximately $180,000. Siegel said she couldn’t do the work that she loves without the assistance.“I could not make the payments prior to getting the assistance,” said Siegel, who admitted the stress made it difficult at times to sleep at night. “I would think ‘How am I going to make ends meet?’”In a country where society-serving lawyers owe such a large debt in student loans, a paradox arises: What about the large debt that society owes them?“You still have to make your payments,” said Siegel. Loan forgiveness programs keep public interest lawyers on the job September 15, 2003 Daniel Staesser Assistant Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

Government breach confirms weak security

first_img 14SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Roy UrricoIn reaction to a data breach of four million current and former federal employees, a security expert said the incident is proof that traditional methods are not providing secured, privileged administrator access.A DHA statement blamed Chinese hackers for the cyber break-in of U.S. government personnel office computer networks, in which identifying information belonging to the Office of Personnel Management and the Interior Department was stolen.A statement from the OPM read, “Since the intrusion, OPM has instituted additional network security precautions, including: Restricting remote access for network administrators and restricting network administration functions remotely.” continue reading »last_img read more

2017 MBL Symposium focuses on member business lending education

first_img 15SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Joey Duckworth Mr. Duckworth has over 17 years of experience in the financial services industry, and over 15 years of experience in the credit union industry, including more than 10 years of … Web: www.mblllc.com Details April 17-19 marked the 1st Annual Member Business Lending Symposium in Salt Lake City, Utah. MBL welcomed over 100 credit union member business lending and services professionals from credit unions of all asset sizes from across the country. Attendees were treated to a number of speakers on hot-topic industry events that focused on highlighting and educating towards current business lending trends.“We thought it was important that our speakers and presenters focus primarily on educating attendees on important topics related to member business lending and services,” said Joey Duckworth, VP/Information Systems Manager. “Credit union professionals hear sales pitches all the time. We wanted their time at the MBL Symposium to focus on education and best practices trending in our industry.”Nationally-recognized speakers included Stacie Vandenberghe, Mark Arnold and Neil Nickolaisen. Vandenberghe presented on “Thinking Outside the Box — Becoming Member-Centric” which focused on helping credit unions delivering member service in ways that members now prefer rather than “the way we’ve always done things.” Arnold shared “More Than Service: Advanced Sales Strategies to Reach Businesses.” Arnold challenged all attendees to recognize the fact that everyone at your credit unit is involved in sales and that “sales” is not a dirty word. Nickolaisen spoke on “Agile Leadership: Want to Change Your Results? Change How You Lead.” The session highlighted the importance of credit unions staying abreast with the leadership skills as relates to the speed of technology and technological change in financial services. Attendees were also able to participate in a number of breakout sessions led by other member business lending industry thought leaders.“Buzz from attendees about the Symposium was overwhelmingly positive,” added Duckworth. “The group of industry experts we were able to assemble did to terrific job sharing and educating attendees about the rising importance of member business lending and services to credit union portfolios.”MBL is already planning next year’s symposium (scheduled for Las Vegas, Nevada). Check their  later in the year for more information and registration details.For more information about Member Business Lending (MBL) and its relationship with credit unions, call (801) 545-7935.last_img read more

NFL considers changing rules next year as more teams go for it on fourth down

first_imgThrough Week 8, NFL clubs have attempted fourth-and-one 55.9% of the time this season, compared to an average of 42% from 2010 through 2019. And clubs have converted 69% of the fourth downs, which the memo notes is up 7% over the same period in seasons from 2010 through 2019.Also, through Week 8, there were 200 fewer punts when compared to the 2019 season. Goodell said the NFL discussed the metrics with clubs in October and aims to have the fourth-and-15 option in place next season.“We think this is a rule that we should bring back to the committee in the offseason and consider in the spring [meetings] for the 2021 season,” Goodell said on the call. “It is something that we have thought, and many clubs have thought, would be an exciting addition to the game, and it’s something that I think merits further decision.”The Denver Broncos proposed the fourth-and-15 option in 2019, and Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie presented the idea earlier this year.The memo also notes return rates on kickoffs (34.6%) and punts (40.5%) are down. Hence, the NFL plans to further explore moving the kickoff line to the 30-yard-line from its current spot at the 35. The proposal was previously tabled for future consideration. Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass during the first half against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on November 08, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.Mike Ehrmann | Getty Images The sun rises over Raymond James Stadium as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take the field for an NFL football training camp practice Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Tampa, Fla.Chris O’Meara | AP Goodell also reiterated the league’s competition committee would meet in the offseason to discuss adding the fourth and 15 option.The added rule would allow teams to attempt a first down from their own 25-yard line. Should the team fail, the opponent would gain possession with the same field position. The option would be an alternative to teams attempting an onside kick.According to a Nov. 4 league memo obtained by CNBC, the NFL noted to its competition committee that more teams are going for it on fourth downs and converting more often.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img Not planning for a vaccineThe NFL released its latest Covid-19 testing results, which revealed 15 new confirmed positive tests among players and 41 new confirmed positives among other team personnel. Since testing commenced on Aug. 1, the NFL reported 78 players and 140 other personnel were confirmed positive cases.Despite the Covid-19 cases on the rise throughout the U.S., Goodell repeated the league plans to have fans at its Feb. 7 Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Fla. He didn’t specify how many spectators would be allowed at Raymond James Stadium but noted the plan calls for as many fans “that can be done safely.”Asked if news surrounding a possible vaccine would impact the NFL’s Super Bowl plans regarding spectators, Goodell said no. “We are starting on the basis that we are planning for fans in Tampa,” he said. “We are not doing it on the basis that there will be a vaccine.”Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech announced their coronavirus vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 among those without evidence of prior infection. It still needs FDA approval.Scientists are hoping for a coronavirus vaccine that is at least 75% effective, while White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has said one that is 50% or 60% effective would be acceptable. With fourth downs at a high, the National Football League has more of an incentive to alter its gameplay rules next year.The NFL held a conference call after a two-hour league meeting on Tuesday to provide an update on its Covid-19 season. The NFL discussed contingencies plans surrounding games “should it be needed,” but commissioner Roger Goodell added the league remains “committed to completing the season as scheduled.”The NFL also established criteria for its playoff eligibility should teams not compete the season playing the same amount of games but tabled reseeding teams in the postseason under its new contingency resolution.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

Fruits of the boom

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

South Korean doctors find risk factors for severe COVID-19 cases

first_imgSouth Korean doctors have found certain underlying conditions that may make some COVID-19 patients more severely affected by the disease, a professor at Yeungnam University Medical Center said on Wednesday.The findings could help doctors identify and prioritize high-risk patients at an early stage of the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, Ahn June-hong, professor of internal medicine, told Reuters.Medical experts and epidemiologists are investigating risk factors for patients who develop severe cases of the disease, which has killed more than 400,000 globally since it first emerged late last year in China. The coronavirus patients with at least three of the four prognostic factors developed severe conditions, Professor Ahn said.”I believe using prognostic factors of severe COVID-19 patients will provide an opportunity for physicians to offer those risk-high patients with the best medical care from the early stage of the disease,” he said.As of midnight on Wednesday, South Korea reported 45 new cases, bringing the country’s total to 11,947, with 276 deaths. In a paper published by the Journal of Korean Medical Science on June 2, Ahn and other South Korean doctors wrote that diabetes, high body temperature, low oxygen saturation and pre-existing cardiac injury were shown to be the prognostic factors for severe COVID-19.The team of doctors observed 110 coronavirus patients at a hospital in Daegu, the epicenter of South Korea’s outbreak, from February 19 to April 15.Of the 110 patients in the Yeungnam University Medical Center, 23 developed a severe case of COVID-19.Because such patients were significantly older than others, they were more likely to have diabetes and lower peripheral oxygen saturation, the paper said.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Gold Coast eco-mansion sells for mega price

first_imgRelax in the pool at 7 Sunnymeade Place, Mudgeeraba.A cinema, gym, pool, sauna steam room and separate children’s wing are among the houses’s features while a Cbus automation system controls the lighting and sound.Vendor David Harris is the mastermind behind the solar system. The father-of-six bought the house with wife Pam Weir in 2013.“You can power the house both day and night, heat the swimming pool, have the air conditioning on and drive your car all year round,” Dr Harris told the Bulletin when the property his the market earlier this year.“We also put back about 50 per cent more than what we use into the grid so we’re carbon neutral.” Vendor David Harris at the property. Picture: John GassWhile Dr Harris said he wasn’t a “greenie” he does have an interest in good health.“The environment affects everyone and we want a good environment for our future and our children,” he said.The sale is the second highest price paid for a property in the suburb.The top sale in Mudgeeraba is $4.19 million for 65 Bonogin Rd in 2015. Luxury at every turn.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North5 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day ago“We auctioned it and then sold it post-auction,” she said.“The buyers liked the size, space, views and quality of the construction. “The eco efficiency of the home was an added bonus. They also have family who go to nearby schools.” 7 Sunnymeade Place, Mudgeeraba sold for a multimillion dollar price.A GOLD Coast eco-mansion has changed hands for a multimillion dollar price— the highest for a property in Queensland this week, according to CoreLogic.The unusual property in gated Jabiru Park estate at Mudgeeraba has a 33kw solar system with a back-up battery system. Vendor David Harris at the Mudgeeraba eco-mansion. Picture: John GassThe hi-tech house at 7 Sunnymeade Place has 130 solar panels — about six times an ordinary house — and generates enough electricity to power the property 24/7.Katrina Walsh of Harcourts Coastal handled the sale and said a local couple bought five-bedroom residence. Cook up a storm in the kitchen. 7 Sunnymeade Place, Mudgeeraba.last_img read more

New York style apartment with loft for sale

first_img1/193 Flinders St, Townsville CityAN INNER-CITY apartment that wouldn’t look out of place in downtown New York has hit the market.The property at 1/193 Flinders St (pictured) will go under the hammer on-site on December 2 at noon.The two-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-car apartment is high on Melton Terrace and has a ladder leading to a loft area that would make a unique study or could be used as a storage area.More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 20201/193 Flinders St, Townsville CityThe apartment has an edgy, industrial feel with exposed brick, stainless steel accents in the kitchen and cathedral ceilings with exposed beams.LJ Hooker Townsville selling agent Danielle Ronan said the apartment was unique to Townsville. “I think it would suit a young professional couple,” she said. “The owner is a doctor and he just lives there by himself and it has fantastic access into Flinders St East.“I think it would be a fantastic opportunity to purchase something so unique and heritage.” 1/193 Flinders St, Townsville CityThe apartment will be open for inspection on Saturday from 1pm to 1.30pm. For more information on this property, call Danielle Ronan on 0478 189 778.last_img read more

Lancashire County Pension Fund buys first direct wind farm stake

first_imgThe feed-in tariff is for 15 years from the commissioning date, followed by a floor and cap-price mechanism for 5-7 additional years.“EDF EN is at the forefront of developing new renewable energy projects and markets,” Jensen said.“It will be a strategic long-term partner providing technical expertise and opportunities for the fund. EDF EN Portugal has a very enthusiastic and professional management team, which the fund is proud to be partnered with.”LCPF already owns stakes in infrastructure funds with some wind farm exposure.These include an investment in a 101 MW portfolio of landfill gas and coal mine methane electricity generation sites, and in two biomass power stations with a combined capacity of 68 MW. The fund has also provided £12m (€16.3m) to finance the Westmill Solar Cooperative, the first community-owned solar farm in the UK.LCPF does not identify renewables separately within its portfolio, although 12.5% of assets have been allocated to infrastructure, which includes a large element of renewables.These are seen as offering attractive long-term income returns.Jensen said the new investment was expected to provide long-term cash yields that exceeded its benchmark for infrastructure, which it said had been one of its best-performing investment allocations.For the year to 31 March, LCPF returned 14.9%, with an average portfolio value over the final quarter of £5.6bn.The fund has the capacity to add a small number of similarly sized direct or partnership investments to the infrastructure portfolio.Jensen said that, following the pooling of assets with the London Pensions Fund Authority, the pooled vehicle was likely to seek further such investments.Santander Corporate & Investment Banking (France & Portugal) and Uría Menéndez-Proença De Carvalho advised LCPF. Lancashire County Pension Fund (LCPF) has committed to its first direct wind farm investment, a significant minority equity stake in EDF Energies Nouvelles’ (EDF EN) Portuguese wind assets.The assets consist of interests in eight onshore wind farms in Northern Portugal with a gross capacity of around 500MW, ranking among the top five wind platforms in Portugal.Mike Jensen, CIO at LCPF, told IPE: “An investment in wind farms provides the fund with a long-term income stream likely to grow with inflation.“Portugal is an attractive location for wind farm installations, having a windy terrain, a stable feed-in-tariff regime and the support of local communities.”last_img read more