Tag Archives: bloomberg

Wind is cheaper than coal? — Fact checking this statement

The other day I heard in passing, “wind is now cheaper than coal.” If true, this symbolizes the holy grail of renewable energy. It would mean that a turning point for not only cleaner energy, but global warming, climate change, pollution, foreign oil dependence, and more.

To fact check this, I pulled up the top 20 results from Google and narrowed them down to the below articles (most were duplicates pointing at these 5 stories).

Not at all definitive but it does give you an idea of the state of the industry. Just keep in mind that the prices may or may not include subsidies or tax breaks, which can drastically change the costs quoted below.

 

Jul 2012 - In India, wind is cheaper than coal in Indi (w/out subsidies) (Bloomberg Business)

The cost of wind power has dropped below the price of coal-fired energy in parts of India for the first time as improved turbine technology (from GE) and rising fossil-fuel prices boost its competitiveness, Greenko Group Plc (GKO) said.

 

Mar 2012 – In Michigan wind is cheaper than coal (American Wind Energy Assoc.)

The Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) recently issued a report that finds that electricity generated from renewable energy sources, at an average cost of $91 per megawatt-hour (9.1 cents/kilowatt-hour), is almost one-third cheaper than the cost of electricity from a new coal-fired power plant ($133 per MWh, or 13.3 cents/kWh).

Further, the report notes, “The actual cost of renewable energy contracts submitted to the Commission to date shows a downward pricing trend.

 

Feb 2012 – In California, prices doubled in the first decade of 21st century, since 2011 are dropping to parity with natural gas (SF Gate)

The price of renewable power contracts signed by California utilities more than doubled from 2003 through 2011 but has now started to plunge…

The cost of buying electricity from a new natural gas power plant…(in 2011) ranged from 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour to 12 cents per kilowatt hour, depending on the length of the contract…The cost of renewable power from wind and solar facilities averaged between 8 and 9 cents per kilowatt hour.

 

Nov 2011 – Investigation of Bill Clinton’s claim that wind/solar are cheaper than nuclear (Politifact)

  • Conventional Coal – 94.8 (dollars/MWh)
  • Wind – Onshore – 97
  • Nuclear – 113.9
  • Solar – Photovoltaic – 210.7
  • Wind – Offshore – 243.2
  • Solar – Thermal – 311.8

Source: DOE’s Energy Information Administration

 

Nov 2011 – Google retires its initiative RE

It’s not clear here if Google feels this is already won and moving on, or if they have had enough and are quitting. One thing is certain, Google invested nearly a billion dollars ($850 million) in renewable energy last year.

This initiative was developed as an effort to drive down the cost of renewable energy, with an RE<C engineering team focused on researching improvements to solar power technology. At this point, other institutions are better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level. So we’ve published our results to help others in the field continue to advance the state of power tower technology, and we’ve closed our efforts.

 

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Communist party in China facing public anger as corruption gets exposed

Even more interesting considering that both this Economist article and the Bloomberg exposé are currently blocked in China.

 

In recent years China’s leaders have become increasingly concerned that the public’s awareness of the growing wealth gap could lead to social instability. In Beijing, displays of gratuitous overcompensation are a daily reminder that some people, in keeping with a famous dictum of Deng Xiaoping’s, have indeed got rich first. Officials last year even went so far as to try suppressing ads that promote “luxury lifestyles”—lest the have-nots be inspired to rise up and storm the local Lamborghini dealership.

Perhaps even more troubling for the Party is the surge in scepticism over how such wealth seems to find its way into the hands of officials and their families, not to mention into those of their beloved Swiss bankers, English boarding schools and Australian estate agents. Particularly galling are the reports about the great number of officials who have taken to working “naked”. That is to say, many officials are working in China while their wives, children and, presumably, a chunk of the motherland’s money take residence overseas. A report released last year estimated that as much as $120 billion may have been transferred abroad by corrupt officials.

The Chinese media have been given greater freedom to report on corruption and the financial shenanigans of large companies of late. Which makes it all the more striking that reporting on the business activities of the Central Committee’s wives and offspring is still strictly forbidden.

So one can only imagine the consternation caused by yesterday’s sensational exposé by Bloomberg, which details the financial assets belonging to the family of China’s president-in-waiting, Xi Jinping…

More on this storyWealth and power: It’s a family affair

 

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NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s multiple crusades to improve public health

Mike Bloomberg is a mayor with a mission. More specifically, a public health mission: Over the course of a decade he has made New York City a laboratory to test policies that manipulate the healthiness of public environments. His much-protested idea for a large-soda ban comes from a long lineage of much-protested smoking bans and trans-fat bans that have tested what, exactly, government can and cannot do to encourage healthier behaviors.

Some of Bloomberg’s ideas have proved remarkably effective in making New Yorkers healthier and become models for national policy. Some have flopped, showing little public health impact or running into trouble even getting off the ground. From smoking to soda bans, here’s a quick tour through Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s public health crusade.

  • NYC first major city to ban smoking in bars and restaurants.
  • Bans the use of trans-fat in all foods.
  • Requires restaurants to post calorie counts.
  • Proposes a voluntary effort on behalf of Americans’ food producers to reduce salt consumption by 20 percent.
  • Congestion pricing for cars entering New York City.
  • Limit access to sugary sodas.

 

keep reading to learn the impact on public health of each policyMayor Bloomberg Public Health: A Brief History

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U.S. demand for OPEC decreasing "extraordinarily fast"

From Bloomberg Surveillance (podcast):

OPEC Matters Less for U.S.

Jan Stuart, head of energy research at Credit Suisse Securities in London, says the U.S. is decreasing its dependence on foreign oil at a rate that is “extraordinarily fast.”

Running Time: 12:30

But, global demand (China, India) for OPEC is increasing and with Saudi Arabia remaining the world’s largest producer we are still powerfully dependent on the Middle East.

Major reasons for the change, in priority order: (1) decreasing U.S. oil demand, (2) increase in Canadian imports, & (3) increase in U.S. domestic oil production.

U.S. demand for OPEC decreasing “extraordinarily fast”

From Bloomberg Surveillance (podcast):

OPEC Matters Less for U.S.

Jan Stuart, head of energy research at Credit Suisse Securities in London, says the U.S. is decreasing its dependence on foreign oil at a rate that is “extraordinarily fast.”

Running Time: 12:30

But, global demand (China, India) for OPEC is increasing and with Saudi Arabia remaining the world’s largest producer we are still powerfully dependent on the Middle East.

Major reasons for the change, in priority order: (1) decreasing U.S. oil demand, (2) increase in Canadian imports, & (3) increase in U.S. domestic oil production.

New iPhone app: Bloomberg Radio+

There is an awesome new iPhone app out called Bloomberg Radio+.

If you’re a finance geek like me, then you’ll love these features:

- Bloomberg Radio live 24-hours a day
- Bloomberg shows and interviews available on demand
- Offline listening. Save/download shows and interviews
- Latest market data on companies
- Charts as they are referenced during a show or interview
- Bios of guests
- Customizable scrolling ticker

Plus, it has some surprisingly cool graphics and design.

Podcasts Are Saving My Life

I’m such a huge fan of podcasts that it’s insane. See I have this eye problem that prevents me from reading too much. My day job is in technology and my hobby is writing so I have no ‘good eyes’ left for everything else.

That’s where podcasts come in. I can listen to them while walking, cleaning, and building (my three other hobbies). It’s such a perfect blend that I want to share with you my favorites:

  • This Week in Tech
  • Slate Political Gabfest
  • Bloomberg Presents Lewis Lapham
  • History of Rome
  • Melvyn Bragg – In Our Time
  • The Economist (all of the shows)
  • APM: Marketplace Morning Report

The interesting thing about these shows are that none of them are from traditional TV/Radio. Half of them are writers of print media talking about their work. An interesting trend I expect to scare the beejeesus out of Hollywood.

Here are my second tier shows that I still listen to vehemently:

  • Slate Cultural Gabfest
  • Slate Hang Up And Listen
  • Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
  • Tech News Today
  • Buzz Out Loud
  • TED Talks
  • NBC Meet The Press
  • APM: Marketplace
  • APM: The Splendid Table

Sorry for the lack of links but you can Google (or iTunes search) these titles and I guarantee you will find them.

Do you listen to any of these?