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What We Read Today 16 December 2014

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

IMF, World Bank Halt Lending to Ukraine – Franklin Templeton $4 Billion Ukraine Bet Goes Bad (Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism)  Yves Smith has contributed to GEI.  This is a great breakdown of just what the fiscal and economic siutuation is in Ukraine.  If you don't like seeing the entrails of a country spread out on the ground you may not want to read this.  If that concerns you we recommend you suck it up and read this all the way through.  The situation is worse than you could have imagined.

Sydney siege: Two hostages and gunman dead after heavily armed police storm Lindt cafe in Martin Place (Sydney Morning Herald)  The hostage situation at Sydney's Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place has ended in the early hours Tuesday morning (16 December 2014) with the 50-year-old gunman dead and two hostages killed, a man aged 34 and a woman aged 38.  The hostage taker was identified as Iranian cleric Man Haron Monis.  He had taken 17 people hostage around 10 am Monday, but at least five of them were released or escaped during the seige which lasted approximately 16 hours.


Profile: Man Haron Monis (BBC News)   Man Haron Monis was a self-styled Muslim cleric was born in Iran and sought political asylum in Australia in 1996.  He was facing more than 40 sexual and indecent assault charges and was currently on bail for being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.  According to the Sydney Morning Herald he "allegedly spent [time] as a self-proclaimed "spiritual healer" who dealt with so-called black magic at a premises in western Sydney."  The following video shows Monis reading a sympathy letter in 2010.
man-haron-monis-video

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Today we have a collection of articles about solar energy.  It seems that have moved a long way forward while we were not paying that much attention.


The Strange Thing About Google’s Decision To Stop Renewable Energy Research (Joe Romm, Climate Progress, 09 December 2014)  Hat tip to Charles McKenna who sent us this article and prompted us to look deeper.  McKenna is an engineer who wonders just why Google backed off on the effort to develop energy technologies that would reverse climate change.  The reason Google's engineers gave was that their efforts would never be able to reverse climate change by themselves.  This seems more like an excuse to stop the effort than a reason.  Isn't it unreasonable to think that any one group by itself could ever reverse climate change?


While we could have looked into any number of non-fossil fuel energy technologies we decided to just look at solar.


IEA: Solar costs heading to 4c/kWh, rooftop solar “unbeatable” (Giles Parkinson, Energy Post, 01 October 2014) Solar is no longer the "rich kid" on the energy block.  The generation costs for photovoltaic (pv) solar came down more than an order magnitude between 2006 and 2012.

solar-cost-curve-to2012


Solar PV In India Is Cheaper Than Importing Coal From Australia (Sophie Vorrath, Renew Economy, 28 October 2014)  With current costs at $0.08 (U.S.) per kwh (kilowatt hour) imported coal becomes prohibitively expensive in India.  While domestic coal is still competitive at that price point it is not sufficiently available to meet the country's electrical power needs.


IEA Technology Roadmaps for Solar Electricity 2014 Editions (International Energy Agency, 29 September 2014)  As steeply as costs for PV solar have declined they still are on a steep curve.  Over the next ten years the IEA (International Energy Agency) projects that the cost of PV solar electricity will be more than cut from 2014 cost, getting down below $0.04 (U.S.).  By 2050 the projected cost is around $0.02.  The IEA expects about 8X as much PV solar electricity production by 2025 and then a rapid build-up over the following 20 years to about 30x today's production.  The largest component of PV solar in the future will come from central generation facilities run by utilities.  Residential distributed generation will also be significant but commercial distributed generation is projected to be larger than residential.

solar-pv-growth-sectors-iea-2014-sep-29-600px


Solar Concentrator Borrows Water Cooling from IBM Supercomputer (Martin Lamonica, IEEE Spectrum, 21 September 2014)  If solar PV devices are set up in a dense configuration, overheating can be a problem and require cooling.  This is actually a opportunity because solar thermal generation is also a competitive technology.  This article describes a device which is expected to be commercially available in 2017 that produces both PV and thermal power.  The solar dish device produces 12 kw PV electricity and 20 kw thermal energy.  To be released in 2017.  Such devices can use stored thermal energy to produce electricity when there is no PV output, leveling the production/demand trade-off from day to night.


Solar electricity may get even cheaper (dw.de.com, 10 June 2012)  Solar was already cheaper in Germany than the existing utility supply in 2012, which explains why solar has made a significant market penetration there.

solar-germany-2012-june


There are some interesting things going on with distributed solar in the third world where many people live off the grid. Following are five interesting articles about that.


A New Program Is Bringing Distributed Solar To 25,000 Ethiopians Currently Without Electricity (Jeff Spross, Climate Progress, 13 September 2013)

Watch How Solar Power Is Transforming Rural India (Andrew Satter, Climate Progress, 19 July 2014)

FACT SHEET: Power Africa (White House Fact Sheet, 30 June 2013)

FACT SHEET: Powering Africa: Increasing Access to Power in Sub-Saharan Africa (White House Fact Sheet, 05 August 2014)

World Energy Outlook 2013 (Released on 12 November 2013) (International Energy Agency) In 2030 at least 1 billion people will still be living off the grid.

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

ECB May Have to Buy Sovereign Bonds, Nowotny Says (The Wall Street Journal)

The Economics and Politics of Long-term Budget Projections (Brookings)

Less Debate in Economics Journals? (National review Online)

Are you ready for the resource revolution? (McKinsey & Company)

Will more women economists lead to a stronger economy? (Fortune)

EDITORIAL: It comes down to economics: Reforms to immigration legislation should start with more guest workers  (The  Monitor)

When the heat is on, Americans' wallets grow thinner, new economics and climate study finds (Associated Press, Fox Business)

Fedspeak Cheatsheet: What Are Fed Policy Makers Saying? (The Wall Street Journal)

Sen. Ted Cruz Raises Constitutional Point of Order Against Amnesty in CRonmnibus (YouTube) Video.

Remarks by Senator Warren on Citigroup and its bailout provision (YouTube) Video.

The biggest Pinocchios of 2014 (The Washington Post)

Mapping the "Big Bang" of Bird Evolution (Sciemtific Computing)


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