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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.
This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).
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Solar power will soon be as cheap as coal (Phil McKenna, Quartz) The past decade has yielded remarkable innovations in solar and wind technology, bringing improvements in efficiency and cost that in some cases have exceeded the most optimistic expectations. What the coming decade will bring remains unclear, but if history is any guide, the future of renewables looks extremely positive, especially for solar. Follow GEI associate Andrea Rangel who is writing a series of investigative reports on the evolution of solar electric technology and implementations. The first two in the series: Solar Energy May Lead a New Suburban and Rural Revival and Will Rooftop Solar Energy Ruin The Electric Utility Business?
There is more discussion today about solar energy in the members-only section. To become a GEI Member simply click here for free membership subscription. Members-only content is accessed only through the free daily newsletter.
Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world
2014 Year-in-Review Report (GTM Research) The graphics below are from the free summary of a subscription report. Econintersect calculates that the 1300% growth rate in utility solar PV generation 2010-2014 is more than double that for residential (600%) and more than 4x the 310% growth for non-residential distributed systems.
REthinking Energy 2014 (International Renewable Energy Agency) Aside from the inconsistency between the two graphics (one says 58% energy additions were renewables in 2013 and the other says 60%). These graphs document the swing from fossil fuel to renewables for new installed capacity globally and the explosion of solar photovoltaic production over the last 7-8 years.
A Utility Business Model That Embraces Efficiency and Solar Without Sacrificing Revenue? (James Mandel and Nancy Campbell, Rocky Mountain Institute) The utility business model of the future discussed in this article has the utility actively involved in establishing and operating the distributed solar PV electrical panel systems on residential roof tops. Key features:
Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea
Goldman Sachs: "An Update on Student Loans: A Bigger Headwind but Still Not a Deal Breaker" (Calculated Risk) Student debt burden on young households has increased and it has become a bigger headwind to housing demand compared to a few years ago, but the sheer number of millennials who are currently in their 20s and whose housing consumption should increase sharply in the coming years will support aggregate housing demand over the next decade and beyond.
Comcast Deal Collapse Would Kill Other Mergers in Domino Effect (Bloomberg) Staff attorneys at the Justice Department’s antitrust division are reported nearing a recommendation to block Comcast’s plan to buy Time Warner Cable and combine the two largest U.S. cable providers. Econintersect: Blocking this deal will significantly increase competition in the broadband space and give the U.S. a chance of catching up with the rest of the world.
Review: Some of what is wrong with economics (Edward Chancellor, Reuters) A well-known economics historian (author of Devil Take the Hindmost: a History of Financial Speculation, highly recommended by Econintersect) has written a review of Hubris: Why Economists Failed to Predict the Crisis and How to Avoid the Next One by Indian-born British economist Meghnad Desai. Chancellor says that Desai "relishes exposing the flaws of his field" but when he discusses forward-looking options he is "vitiated by his own weaknesses as an economist".
Regarding Desai's discussion of history, part of Chancellor's commentary invokes a criticism of attempts to make economics a science. His summary of Desai's attempt includes:
Chancellor criticizes Desai for lack of understanding of modern money and banking and finance, discussing some examples. But then Chancellor himself provides a disappointingly shallow concluding paragraph:
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