Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
The principle objection to Internet voting at the time was that it would open the electoral process up to massive fraud. But shortly after I terminated my efforts in this regard, George W. Bush became President of the U.S. through a blatantly fraudulent election, and then led the US into a morass of political, economic, and moral ruin. Just today, Hamid Karzai “won” an election in Afghanistan during which his side saw to it that one-third of the votes he “received” were fraudulent. Apparently, one doesn’t need Internet voting to allow fraud into the voting booth.
Another object was that letting those who could, and wanted to, vote over the Internet would disenfranchise those who didn’t want to or couldn’t. So many more people are online now, and those who aren’t can still vote by mail. Has anyone noticed how much of life has already migrated to smart phones? How universal and ubiquitous mobile computing has become? Why should people who already do almost every task of modern life online or on their smart phones not be able to exercise the franchise the same way?
Oregon has abolished on-site voting, collecting all its ballots by mail. A growing proportion of Californians and others vote by mail as well. Vote-by-mail is as subject to coercion or bribery as Internet voting but no one objects to it on those grounds.
Most telling of all is the unassailable fact that almost every activity is moving into cyberspace at an accelerating pace. Newspapers fail as Google News rises. Book stores fall into ruin as Kindles and Nooks take over that space. Music companies and now movie studios daily lament the vanishing of their business models and cash flow to legal and illegal online media sites. National postal services flounder in debt as business and personal paper mail becomes obsolete.
The world’s intellectual property, business affairs, and interpersonal communication increasingly reside as bits of data on cloud servers that streamline, universalize, and de-materialize the transfer of information between and among individuals and institutions. Why aren’t we allowed to govern ourselves the same way that we entertain and inform ourselves, and conduct almost every other aspect of our individual and collective lives and business? Why not Internet voting and Smart Initiatives now?
To read all or part of the 1,081-page online version of "Etopian Elections: Internet Voting, Smart Initiatives, and the Future of (Electronic) Democracy," go to:
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
1. How much have net metering costs raised consumer prices under the 2.5% cap?
And 2. What does PG&E project would be the cost increase under a 10% cap?
That is the information that the CPUC was required to determine before the cap was raised. The cost benefit analysis has not been conducted, and we would still like to see just how much it will cost our customers. We believe it’s very important to look at the data before decisions on cap increases are made. The CPUC report on the costs and benefits of solar is due early next year.
We have not had that much solar in our territory until recently and PG&E is currently at only 1.3% of its system peak demand so the question is what will the costs be when we reach 2.5% and should we reach 10%.
We do know that NEM customers are credited at the full retail rate, which includes the power, transmission and distribution, and public purpose programs, which they do not currently pay. In addition they receive a rebate to help pay for the system and relief from the interconnection costs. The difference between what they pay and what they are credited is shifted to our non-solar customers.
3. What specifically does PG&E want for "performance standards"?
We want to make sure that if we’re going to head down the path of a solar program that we get what we think we’re going to get. We need have some reasonable assurances that the program is going to work. We would like to have firm deadlines for the projects to come online; performance assurance to protect against system operation and reliability costs associated with procurement planning should a program fail to materialize and commission authorization to establish other terms and conditions that are reasonable to ensure that the FIT program results in reliable renewable energy delivery.
4. Doesn't the logic of avoiding increases to customer prices under net metering also apply under feed-in tariffs?
Yes it does if you're overpaying for power as we are with the full retail credit we currently pay NEM customers. It is important to make sure the price is fair and that we get the renewable energy attributes, meaning that this power counts towards our renewable portfolio standards requirements.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
PG&E, one of California's three big investor-owned utilities (IOUs), is rapidly approaching the 2.5% level of net-metering, a system under which utility customers are able to reduce their energy bills by feeding green electricity generated on their premises back into the electrical grid from which they otherwise receive it. PG&E opposes AB 560.
Net-metering differs from "feed-in tariffs" (FITs) in that FITs require utilities to pay for all the electricity they receive from user-producers, while net-metering involves driving the electric meter backwards, up to the point where the customer has a zero bill, after which time any additional electricity provided by the customer to the utility is being given for free to the power company.
Statewide net-metering exists on account of provisions of the California Solar Initiative, SB1. As generally understood, that law stipulates that when a utility derives 2.5% of its sold power from net-metering, the net-metering provision will expire and the utility will no longer be required to offer the program to its customers. Accordingly, unless the net-metering limit is raised from its current level, the success of this program will mean its imminent demise, which some observers believe would deal a crushing blow to California's solar industry.
Accordingly, Assemblymember Skinner has authored AB560, which would raise the net-metering program cap to 10%, in order to maintain the existence of the program and the health of the state's solar industry.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Cutting-edge projects and pioneering engineering achievements have always been typical Siemens merits – from intercontinental telegraph links to the Shannon project for the electrification of Ireland. “Desert power for Europe“ is again one such visionary project.
There is an enormous dormant energy potential in the desert regions on our Earth’s solar belt: There the sun is available for power generation for over 4800 hours a year, which is equivalent to more than three times the total annual insolation in Germany. Within 6 hours the Earth’s desert regions receive more energy from the sun than mankind consumes within a year. An area measuring 300 by 300 square kilometers fitted with parabolic mirrors would be sufficient to meet the world’s entire power demand.
Why shouldn’t we develop CO2-free power generation across continents in the 21st century, just like we developed intercontinental telecommunications in the 19th century. This unites sustainability, technological competence and visionary entrepreneurship. And precisely these aspects have been our focal areas for over 160 years.
The Desertec concept describes sustainable power supply for Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa based on renewable energy sources. The power is to be generated by solar thermal power plants primarily located in northern Africa and by wind farms off the coast of northern Africa and northern Europe.
Together with a number of renowned industrial companies Siemens has a commitment in the Desertec Industrial Initiative (Desertec II). The objective of this initiative is to develop over the mid-term a technical and economic concept for solar power from Africa. Work will also focus on the clarification of legal and political issues.
The technology for implementation of the Desertec concept is available. Solar thermal power plants have a track record spanning 20 years and will experience a boom that is currently still difficult to assess. Low-loss, long-distance transmission of large quantities of power is also technically feasible, and is already being successfully implemented in China and India.
Siemens is a world leader in offshore wind farms and steam turbines for solar-thermal power plants. Through its equity stake in the Italian company Archimede Solar Energy, Siemens can also offer solar receivers and thus a further key component for the construction of solar power plants. By combining these two technologies we will enhance the efficiency of these plants and further reduce solar power production costs.
Siemens is also a leading company in the field of high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission, which is essential for low-loss power transport over long distances to Europe’s load centers
A fundamental prerequisite for the successful implementation of such large-scale projects like Desertec is, however, common political will at international level.
Siemens is backing the concept with its solutions. Desertec could in the future make a contribution toward a clean power generation mix.