Troy Resources considering exploring other projects

first_imgNatural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman said Government will give its support to Australian mining company, Troy Resources, if it chooses to pursue other areas of production. The company has been exploring gold in Guyana through its “Karouni Project” since 2014.Natural Resources Minister Raphael TrotmanChief Executive Officer (CEO) of Troy Resources, Ken Nilsson, said on Monday that the gold mining company could go into other areas of production by the end of the year. He made the disclosure during a visit by Minister Trotman and his team, to his Karouni, Region Seven mines, the Department of Public Information stated.“We are continually looking to see if there are any other projects in Guyana that we could actually get involved in,” he told the Minister and his team. However, he stressed that this can only happen at the end of the year when the company is in a better position to “free up more money.”At the moment, Nilsson said the company has been investing heavily on the training on locals, which he stressed will be good for them if the company has to move on.Troy Resources CEO Ken Nilsson“They are not working for Troy Resources, they are working for themselves. Because job satisfaction and security all depends on your input,” Nilsson said about the local employees of the company. The Guyanese workforce at the company amounts to about 90 per cent.Minister Trotman said the company has been doing an exemplary job over the period it has been in Guyana. He said there was no reason why the Government would not support the efforts.“… there is an intention to remain in Guyana to provide jobs, we know that 90 per cent of the workforce here is Guyanese, so we are happy about that. It is about giving back, about adding value, about ensuring Guyanese have work,” the Minister told DPI continuing that the Government is “prepared to sit and work with them to look for new areas for mining.”Minister Trotman said Government is “quite pleased with the company’s work ethic, noting that there are frequent engagements between the two.last_img read more

Around Whittier

first_imgWHITTIER – The Boys and Girls Clubs of California are asking for donations of unwanted automobiles. Proceeds will help Boys and Girls Clubs programs. Any vehicle donations will be accepted. For more information, call (800) 246-0493. Public input urged on Uptown plan WHITTIER – The Whittier City Council and the city Planning Commission will hold a joint study session to discuss the Uptown Whittier Specific Plan Public Draft from 8 a.m. to noon Feb. 24 in the council chambers, 13230 Penn St. All residents are encouraged to attend, as public comments will be considered by the council. The session will also be televised on Charter Communications Cable Channel 6 and will be repeated throughout the week. The public is also welcomed to submit comments about the plan in writing and can view the plan at the Community Development Department counter, where they can also buy a copy for $5. It can also be viewed at the Whittier Public Library or online at www.insidewhittier.com. For more information, call (562) 464-3380. Diners tapped to aid school band WHITTIER – Residents can help raise funds for the California High School band and color guard by eating breakfast, lunch or dinner at La Casita Olvera Mexican restaurant, 16435 Whittier Blvd., during Valentine’s week through Feb. 18. Diners can ask that 20 percent of their bill be donated to the band and color guard. Alcoholic beverage purchases are excluded. Simply notify the waiter or waitress that you wish to donate. Patrons of Rockie’s Frozen Yogurt, 14748 Whittier Blvd., also can request that 10 percent of their bills be donated to the band and color guard, anytime during this month. For more information, call (562) 945-6492. La Mirada honors golden years LA MIRADA – The city honors residents celebrating 50th, 60th or 70th wedding anniversaries this year with special presentations made at City Council meetings. The council similarly honors residents turning 80, 90 and 100 this year. To be honored, you must live in La Mirada. For more information, call (562) 902-3160. – From staff reports160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!,PICO RIVERA – The Pico Rivera Centre for the Arts is offering artists an opportunity to participate in the annual “call for entries” exhibit June 9 to July 21. Participants must be at least 18 years old. An entry fee of $10 per piece of artwork is required, or $15 for two pieces. Interested artists must submit and register their entries by 5:30 p.m. March 5. Accepted entrants will be notified by March 12. More information on what types of art works are eligible are available at the Centre for the Arts, 9200 Mines Ave. For more information, call (562) 801-4300. La Habra task force to meet LA HABRA – The public is invited to a meeting of the La Habra Community Task Force at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at the La Habra Community Center, 101 W. La Habra Blvd. For more information, call (562) 697-8953. Local group seeks vehicle donations For more information, call (562) 801-4300. La Habra task force to meet LA HABRA – The public is invited to a meeting of the La Habra Community Task Force at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at the La Habra Community Center, 101 W. La Habra Blvd. For more information, call (562) 697-8953. Local group seeks vehicle donations PICO RIVERA – The Pico Rivera Centre for the Arts is offering artists an opportunity to participate in the annual “call for entries” exhibit June 9 to July 21. Participants must be at least 18 years old. An entry fee of $10 per piece of artwork is required, or $15 for two pieces. Interested artists must submit and register their entries by 5:30 p.m. March 5. Accepted entrants will be notified by March 12. More information on what types of art works are eligible are available at the Centre for the Arts, 9200 Mines Ave. WHITTIER – The Boys and Girls Clubs of California are asking for donations of unwanted automobiles. Proceeds will help Boys and Girls Clubs programs. Any vehicle donations will be accepted. For more information, call (800) 246-0493. Public input urged on Uptown plan WHITTIER – The Whittier City Council and the city Planning Commission will hold a joint study session to discuss the Uptown Whittier Specific Plan Public Draft from 8 a.m. to noon Feb. 24 in the council chambers, 13230 Penn St. All residents are encouraged to attend, as public comments will be considered by the council. The session will also be televised on Charter Communications Cable Channel 6 and will be repeated throughout the week. The public is also welcomed to submit comments about the plan in writing and can view the plan at the Community Development Department counter, where they can also buy a copy for $5. It can also be viewed at the Whittier Public Library or online at www.insidewhittier.com. For more information, call (562) 464-3380. Diners tapped to aid school band WHITTIER – Residents can help raise funds for the California High School band and color guard by eating breakfast, lunch or dinner at La Casita Olvera Mexican restaurant, 16435 Whittier Blvd., during Valentine’s week through Feb. 18. Diners can ask that 20 percent of their bill be donated to the band and color guard. Alcoholic beverage purchases are excluded. Simply notify the waiter or waitress that you wish to donate. Patrons of Rockie’s Frozen Yogurt, 14748 Whittier Blvd., also can request that 10 percent of their bills be donated to the band and color guard, anytime during this month. For more information, call (562) 945-6492. La Mirada honors golden years LA MIRADA – The city honors residents celebrating 50th, 60th or 70th wedding anniversaries this year with special presentations made at City Council meetings. The council similarly honors residents turning 80, 90 and 100 this year. To be honored, you must live in La Mirada. For more information, call (562) 902-3160. – From staff reports160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Airport hotels ‘living-wage’ law advances

first_imgDespite continued opposition from the business community, the Los Angeles City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a “living-wage” ordinance for a dozen hotels near LAX. The 9-3 vote came in the council’s second attempt to require the Century Boulevard hotels to boost what they pay some 3,500 workers. A final vote on the measure is set for next week. But the business community – which had organized what had been expected to be a bitter and costly referendum on an earlier version of the ordinance – also opposed the revised measure and said it could challenge it in court. “We will have to get together now to determine what we should do next,” said Gary Toebben, president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. Under the new measure, hotels would pay workers $9.39 an hour with health benefits or $10.64 an hour without them. It would be phased in by July 1. In return, city government would make $1 million in streetscape improvements, spend $50,000 as part of a marketing campaign and undertake studies on the impact of a living wage. The improvements would come in an airport hospitality enhancement zone that would incorporate the boundaries of a current business improvement district. City government also would agree to study whether to build a miniconference center in the area. But Toebben and others have said they remain concerned that the ordinance could be extended to other city businesses. “The entire business community stands united against this type of … intervention in negotiations between labor and business,” Toebben said. “This discourages business growth and job creation.” Several business leaders argued that the new measure is substantially like the one they had targeted for a referendum, and they questioned the legality of adopting it rather than putting the matter on the ballot. In a written opinion, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo said he believes that the measure is defensible but could present some risk for the city. Hahn and council President Eric Garcetti disputed claims that the new measure is substantially the same as the previous one. Hahn said the new measure has more than 14 changes from the earlier effort. “The original living-wage proposal was strictly that,” Garcetti said. “A lot of us would have liked to have held the election. I believe the people of Los Angeles would support a living wage, but we made a decision to accommodate the business community.” The city has had a living-wage law in effect for more than a decade, but it applies only to firms that do business under contract with the city. The council has argued that it can be extended to the Century Corridor hotels because they benefit from city investment at Los Angeles International Airport. rick.orlov@dailynews.com (213) 978-0390 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! A spokesman for the hotels said a lawsuit is likely. “It only takes one hotel or one person to challenge this,” spokesman Arnie Berghoff said. Some on the council decried the lawsuit warnings. “To have the business community threaten us is an abomination,” Councilwoman Janice Hahn said. “We rescinded our earlier ordinance at their request and made substantial changes in this to accommodate them. We should not wait any longer.” But Councilman Greig Smith – who along with Councilmen Bernard Parks and Dennis Zine opposed the measure – said he does not believe that the new ordinance is significantly different from the earlier one. That one was withdrawn by the council after an outraged business community collected enough voters’ signatures to force the council to back down or put the issue on the ballot in May. “I said before – and my feelings have been confirmed – that this is just a bait and switch,” Smith said. “There is nothing new in here but promises.” last_img read more

HAVE YOU GOT CLOTHES TO DONATE TO A VERY GOOD CAUSE?

first_imgMembers of the LYIT in Letterkenny are looking for your clothes!We are having a collection of old clothes, curtains, materials, shoes and bags next Wednesday 18th May from 10am-1pm in the main foyer.Everything collected will be weighed and the value given to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Unfortunately we cannot take any donations of duvets, pillows or bric-a-brac. This is a very worthy charity and will help you spring clean the wardrobes!HAVE YOU GOT CLOTHES TO DONATE TO A VERY GOOD CAUSE? was last modified: May 13th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

THE HOOPS REPORT: 5-STAR COMMONS HOPES TO GET RANGERS IN THE CUP

first_imgFROM NEIL DOHERTY IN GLASGOW: CELTIC put on a five-star show to beat St Johnstone in front of less than 15,000 fans at Parkhead in the League Cup quarter final – but hat-trick hero Kris Commons reckon there will be more fans if the Hoops get Rangers in the next round.Rangers face Inverness on tonight and Commons is keen on a derby fixture.He hit two first half goals and a second half penalty – with Hooper and Mulgrew chipping in with a goal each for Celtic last night as they erased the league defeat to Killie at the weekend. Asked about a possible tie with Rangers, Kris said: “They are great for Glasgow, great for Scotland. I love playing against them, for me it would be magic.”He admitted the players are missing the derby matches since Rangers’ expulsion to Division 3.“There’s nothing like playing in a Glasgow derby, they bring that added spice, we’re obviously dealing without them, but as far as derbies and big games go, they don’t get much bigger,” he said.Commons said the weekend defeat was playing on the players’ minds. “There’s a certain requirement when we play, not just for ourselves, but for the fans and the club,” he explained.“We can’t play like we did in the Camp Nou and then put on a performance like we did at the weekend, that was to try and rectify what happened at the weekend, we knew we let a lot of people down.“We’re going to drop points, there’s going to be days we don’t quite hit the back of the net, there’s a way and manner you need to go out an lose the game, you need to show you want to win, you put in a shift, we went out there on Saturday and gave Kilmarnock too much respect. Probably one of the easiest games they’ll ever play.“There’s a way you lose, you come off the park with dignity and we came off the park feeling we had let a lot of people down.” THE HOOPS REPORT: 5-STAR COMMONS HOPES TO GET RANGERS IN THE CUP was last modified: October 31st, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:THE HOOPS REPORT: 5-STAR COMMONS HOPES TO GET RANGERS IN THE CUPlast_img read more

Nigerian firm in SA cement deal

first_img23 April 2008Local empowerment company Sephaku Holdings has sold a 45% stake in its cement operations to the Dangote Group, one of Nigeria’s leading industrial conglomerates, with the proceeds of the sale being used to establish a new R3-billion cement manufacturing facility.Sephaku Cement is a subsidiary of Sephaku Holdings, a black economic empowerment company active in exploration, development and investment in platinum group metals, chrome, limestone, gold, nickel and fluorspar.The strategic partnership would provide Sephaku Cement with the necessary funding and technical expertise to carry out the construction of their new cement plant without affecting their status as a black owned and controlled company, Sephaku Cement chairman Lelau Mohuba said in a company statement last week.The foreign investment will help Sephaku achieve its objective of being the first new entrant in the South African cement industry to erect a greenfields manufacturing facility in the country since 1934, the company said, adding that a number of existing local cement plants were inefficient and of uneconomical capacity, with some being in excess of 40 years old.Sephaku Cement CEO Pieter Fourie said that plans were on track to be in production by mid-2010, with the R3-billion cement plant having a production capacity of some 2.2-million tons per year.He added that it would be the “most modern cement plant in South Africa, and would set the benchmark for emissions as well as power and energy efficiencies.”For their part, Dangote Group president Aliko Dangote said that the partnership with Sephaku provided an early entry for the group into the “exciting” South African cement market, with a group of likeminded entrepreneurs.Working together would provide a win-win solution to delivering cost-effective products at world-class levels of energy efficiency and emissions, he added.The Dangote Group is a major Nigerian conglomerate, leading the country’s cement market. It recently commissioned two cement plants with a combined capacity of 8 million tons per year.Dangote Cement also has two import terminals located in Lagos and Port Harcourt, which have production lines to supply cement in 50kg and 1 500 kg bags as well as bulk tankers carrying 35 metric ton loads.Other Dangote industrial product lines include salt, sugar, flour and pasta.SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Nelson Mandela: son of Qunu returns to the soil

first_imgThe Mandela family graveyard in Qunu, the small rural village in the Eastern Cape where Nelson Mandela grew up, and where he will return on Sunday. Cattle graze the rolling hills outside Qunu, watched by a young man dressed in the traditional clothing of initiation. As a boy, Mandela also herded cattle here. (Images: Rodger Bosch, Media Club South Africa. For more images, visit our photo library.) READ MORE • Mandela on Media Club South Africa • Nelson Mandela: the world mourns • Nelson Mandela – a timeline  • Barack Obama’s tribute to Mandela  • Watch: World reacts to Mandela’s death • Infographic: Mandela family tree • Nelson Mandela’s words of wisdom • The women in Madiba’s life • Tutu leads memorial at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory • Photo gallery: South Africans celebrate Nelson MandelaNelson Mandela was once asked what God he prayed to. His answer was at once witty and profound: “That is between me and my God.”On Sunday 15 December 2013 Madiba will be buried in Qunu, the small rural village in the Eastern Cape where he grew up. The funeral itself will be conducted by a Methodist minister, the faith he embraced while imprisoned on Robben Island. But Mandela was also formed by the traditions of his Xhosa upbringing, so his interment in Qunu will follow Xhosa rites.Mandela, once a herdboy on the rolling hills outside Qunu, will be buried in the soil that formed the man he became. At his birth his parents, like all parents of his era and tradition, would have buried his umbilical cord in the soil of the family kraal.Burial in Qunu is not a sentimental gesture. The Xhosa believe the deceased must be brought home to be reunited with their ancestors and to sleep in the ground they were taken from. The philosophy is that life is circular, that you return to the beginning at the end.Mandla Mandela, as head of the family, will remove all mirrors and pictures of his grandfather from the home. Mark Mandita, education officer at the Amathole Museum in King Williams Town, explains that the removal of the mirrors and pictures are a mark of respect for the deceased. “It’s meant to help usher the dead into the world of the living dead. These rituals are important to the family. The Xhosa believe not performing them will lead to ill fortune and bad omens.”The tradition of bezila nathi (they mourn with us) requires the family to feed whomever comes to say their final farewell. The meal, prepared by family elders, consists of a slaughtered cow boiled without seasoning, and has to be eaten before any other meal is served. “The meal is for the benefit of the dead, to welcome their soul back home,” says Mandita.Umkapho, the speeches and prayer that accompany the meal, is a time for the living to pass on messages to the ancestors. It is a period of reflection, when the ancestors are implored to remember the living and to help guide the deceased to heaven. To a large extent, it is a ritual reserved for men. Xhosa custom, the explanation goes, is that there is no need for women as they already know the way to heaven.Beer, meat and flowers are put out to welcome ancestral spirits, while a burning candle keeps malevolent spirits in the shadows. More traditional families keep children away from the funeral, as it’s believed they are more aware of the afterworld. Madiba will be interred with a blanket or robe and, traditionally, a walking stick or his pipe. The belief is that he is still with us and his afterlife should be comfortable.The burial is followed, usually the next day, by a ritual dousing with water and herbs to cleanse the mourners of any evil spirits that may still linger. The family will also decide on how long the mourning period, or ukuzila, will last.“Mama Graça will lead the family in this time,” Mandita explains. As Mandela’s widow she will wear black and be expected to stay at home. When the mourning period ends the women of the family will burn her mourning garments and dress her in new, bright clothes.This ceremony is called khulula izila (take off from mourning) and, in modern tradition, has become associated with the unveiling of the tombstone. Mandita explains that the two are not the same. “Custom dictates a stone is placed at the head of the grave to identify the place of rest, but this has nothing to do with the end of the mourning.”The final step in the mourning period is the umbuyiso ceremony, usually held a year after the funeral. This is a celebration of the deceased becoming an ancestor, a spirit with the power to help and protect the grieving family.“It is when the abathembu bring home the soul,” Mandita says. “A cow is killed and the meat cooked as the deceased enjoyed it. The meal is enjoyed in the home. It’s a celebration welcoming them back to us.”These rites are important to any Xhosa, Mandita says, even to the educated man who embraces another religion. “For the Xhosa education is measured by the quality of your wisdom. And all wisdom is founded on your identity as abathembu.”last_img read more

Flickr Sprouts App Garden: Five Cool Apps We Discovered

first_imgFlickr, the ever-more-popular photo-sharing service, has a five-year history of apps built on its API. From the interesting to the useful to the pretty to the downright silly, these applications make up a colorful and varied ecosystem around the service itself.Flickr has organized these third-party apps into a “garden,” complete with user favorites, tags, descriptions and screenshots. The App Garden represents a significant evolution from the former “services” section on the user side, and the revamp includes new features for developers, who can now use the Garden as a tool to help users discover their products. Read on for details and a few spotlighted Flickr apps we thought were fun.As Flickr software engineer Mikhail Pachenko wrote on the Flickr developer blog, “We’ve tried to make things as simple and straight-forward as possible” for developers. On a new Apps By Me page, devs will find their apps are kept private until the creator decides to go public with the product.“When you click on one of your apps,” Pachenko continued, “you will be taken to the owner view of your app page. This page is where you tell the world about your app – provide a description, link to a website, set screenshots, and add tags. When you’re ready, change the privacy setting to public. That will make your app visible to other users and allow it to show up in searches.”Now, for end users, here are a few apps we picked from the Garden that we think you might like.Bubblr Makes Comics This delightful time-saver shows a compact grid of photos uploaded from a user’s contacts during given time periods between 30 minutes and 8 hours prior to the current time. Below each user’s avatar is the number of photos uploaded, and the avatars can be clicked to display (or hide) an array of thumbnails to quick digestion of the day’s pics.Suggestify Geotags Photos A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting This app lets users geotag other users’ Flickr photos by suggesting a location to the photo’s owner. That geotag information is stored with Suggestify until the photo owner approves or rejects the suggestion. If approved, the photo is geotagged and the user who suggested the geotag is credited with a special tag on the photo.Flogr Turns Flickr Pics Into Photo Blogs Related Posts Tags:#Photo Sharing Services#web This app is focused on delivering a seamless, quick viewing experience with minimal visual distraction. Users can choose to check out interesting photos filtered by user or by group. They can search for photos or simply browse to discover the most interesting photos on a given day. Flickriver also includes a keyboard-operated slideshow mode. Better still, Flickriver offers a dynamic badge for bloggers to showcase their images. jolie odell Flogr is a PHP/MySQL-powered photoblog interface that displays a main photo page with EXIF data and Flickr comments, a customizable thumbnails page of a user’s recent pictures, a slideshow component, a tag cloud and an about page showing the Flickr user’s profile. Users can also determine which photos are displayed by telling Flogr to only include images with certain tags.Flickriver Surfaces Interesting Photos Make comic strips from your or others’ Flickr photos with this fun, simple application from Barcelona-based shop Pimpampum. The app allows users to search for photos by user or by tag, string the pics into strips, and add captions, thought bubbles and speech bubbles. Creations can be shared via a user’s blog, Delicious or email.Flickr For Busy People Speeds Up Skimming Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Happy Birthday – the Wiki Celebrates its Sweet 16

first_imgThe wiki turns16 today. How far it has come since that day 16 years ago when Ward Cunningham created a Web page that anyone could edit.Today, we see the evidence of that pioneering work in all facets of the Web and the emerging app ecosystem.In the 1990s, there was a vision of the read/write Web. But most sites were static with little or no interactivity.The wiki helped transform the Web into an experience that is as much about writing to a page as it is about reading it.As I write this, billions of messages are being written on Web sites and apps of all varieties. That’s the read/write Web and what we see as the norm for mobile apps. In may ways, those developments represent the significance of this birthday.So, how can we celebrate?Edit the WikiBirthday page! Add your name and a birthday note. Do so and you’ll get a nice little thank you from Ward Cunningham.Edit the WikiBirthday Facebook page.Tweet a happy birthday note.Write a blog post.Tell your wiki story.Here’s mine:I learned about RSS in 2003 and decided to do a Webcast called RSS Winterfest. I soon discovered Socialtext and learned about the power of the wiki and the potential combination with RSS. Ross Mayfield and the Socialtext team became a big part of that event. We created a wiki that we used as a way to live edit the discussions taking place in the webcast. Roland Tanglao helped edit in real-time as we discussed the potential of RSS in the two-day event with Dave Winer, Robert Scoble, Jeff Jarvis and a host of others. That was a defining time for me and has since led me on a host of adventures. Thank you, Ward. It’s a great day to celebrate! Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img alex williams Tags:#cloud#news 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Senate Tackles New Energy Legislation

first_imgSenator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has introduced 17 bills that cover a range of energy issues as part of a push to pass the first bipartisan energy package in Congress since 2007. UtilityDive reports the bills would deal with issues such as distributed generation, net metering, the distribution of electricity over the grid, and the development of microgrids.Murkowski, the Republican chairwoman of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in January she would push for legislation in four areas: efficiency, infrastructure, supply, and government accountability, according to UtilityDive. The committee has already held hearings on the efficiency bills and planned hearings in other areas later in the month.She also called on other members of the committee to file any energy bills they have so they could be considered for inclusion in her legislation. A number of senators have, including Senator Angus King of Maine, whose proposal is summarized below. The House Energy and Commerce Committee also is considering energy legislation.Fact sheets for each of the bills can be found at the committee’s website. Other bills in the packageAmong the other proposals Murkowski has submitted were these: S. 1217 would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission new resources to reduce siting delays for electric power line projects that require environmental reviews and approval from more than one federal agency. A new ombudsman would help settle differences in permit applications for new utility lines. S. 1223 changes the rules for federal loans designed to encourage innovative energy programs. Among other things, the bill would prohibit the subordination of taxpayer interests to the interests of private investors, as was the case when the Department of Energy restructured a loan guarantee to Solyndra. The failed solar panel maker in California had hundreds of millions of dollars in federal loan guarantees. S. 1227 is designed to promote the development of “hybrid micro-grid” systems for isolated communities that aren’t connected to larger electric grids, a problem faced by a number of remote communities in Alaska and the U.S. territories. Another bill would require ‘reasonable’ interconnection feesA second bill on distributed generation, submitted by King, a Maine independent, would establish the right of a homeowner to connect a PV or wind system to the grid “in a reasonable time frame” and for “just and reasonable” fees.The bill, called the Free Market Energy Act of 2015, “creates the outlines of a free market, but allows states to set the specific rules in order to reflect each state’s unique needs,” according to a summary of the bill given to UtilityDive by the senators’s office.The bill would require states to look at rates for distributed generation “in an unbundled manner” (“unbundled” means electric rates are itemized rather than lumped together in a single charge). States would have to consider such things as time-of-use pricing, societal benefits of distributed generation, and “locational value” of the resources, UtilityDive reported.In states that didn’t comply with the requirements, residential solar and wind systems would be considered “Qualifying Facilities” under the 1978 Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA), meaning that utilities would be required by law to purchase power they generated at the utility’s full retail electricity rate, a UtilityDive report on King’s plan said.“We’re trying to provide some sort of policy parameters, if you will, to help the states as they work through this,” King told UtilityDive. “That’s really the purpose. The idea of the bill is to try to guide us in that direction [of unbundled pricing and accurate DER valuation], so that we don’t have low-level warfare around the country in trying to establish this.”center_img A look at distributed generationOne key area for legislation is distributed generation, the production of electricity close to its point of use, such as residential and small-scale solar and wind projects. As the price of solar electricity has fallen, the installation of residential photovoltaic (PV) systems has become more widespread, touching off regulatory battles between state regulators, utilities, and solar advocates all over the country.One of Murkowski’s bills, S. 1219, would direct utility commissioners to review the effects of net metering on customers who don’t have PV systems of their own and decide whether net metering rates are reasonable, according to a summary bill published by SNL Financial.This point has been pivotal, with many utilities around the country arguing that customers without solar electricity end up subsidizing those who do. Regulators in some states have approved surcharges on solar customers to help utilities recoup lower sales, a move the solar industry says discourages sales of new systems.“At the retail level, the rise of distributed generation, such as solar rooftop panels, has resulted in a new, bi-directional flow of electricity, where customers both receive power and transmit power back onto the system,” the bill’s summary says. “As a result, the grid is now being operated in ways for which it was not designed. These transformative changes require closer consideration of ancillary services, such as generation imbalance and frequency response, that are necessary to maintain grid reliability.”Murkowski said at a briefing May 7 she expected opposition to the bill from both states and electric utilities.“Are we going to get pushback from all corners? Yes, because things are changing,” she said, according to the SNL account. “How we anticipate that [issue] is going to be part of our challenge as we try to draft a bill that acknowledges that we haven’t even looked at these systems because we haven’t needed to.“Distributed generation is going to be one of those areas where you’re going to see some robust debate and perhaps not as great a certainty in terms of a resolution right away as many would like,” she continued. “But it goes back to the need as to why it’s so important that we advance an energy bill now, not having done anything since 2007. We are so far behind in updating.”last_img read more