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What We Read Today 26 September 2017

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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Topics today include:

  • Subsidy free solar comes to the UK

  • The Solar PV Subsidy Deception

  • New British wind power deals cheaper than nuclear supplies

  • Forget the Spin:  Offshore Wind Costs are Not Falling

  • 'Spectacular' drop in renewable energy costs leads to record global boost

  • Amazing Decline in Battery Costs

  • Trump warned: send help or risk making Puerto Rico crisis 'your Katrina'

  • Trump Health Sec explains to cancer patient how kicking him off Medicaid will “strengthen” it

  • Senate won't vote on ObamaCare repeal bill

  • Corker retiring in 2018

  • 'Height of hypocrisy': Clinton calls out Trump team over private email reports

  • Economic Polarization: Map Shows Distressed Communities Predominantly in Southern US

  • Macron lays out vision for 'profound' changes in post-Brexit EU

  • ECB Balance Sheet

  • Spain to deploy police to prevent Catalan independence vote

  • Currency Safe Haven

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


Republicans have been having tremendous difficulty selling their plan to repeal Obamacare, particularly when they are confronted by cancer patients who are only alive because of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

At a CNN town hall, Donald Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price may have delivered the coldest reply to date to people facing a possible death sentence if Obamacare is repealed, then proceeded to lie right to the man’s face.

Price’s first question came from Brian Kline, a cancer survivor who says that the Medicaid expansion saved his life, and saved him from medical bankruptcy. Kline asked Price why he wants to take away the Medicaid expansion upon which his life depends.

Price began by congratulating the man for surviving cancer, told him that once he is kicked off Medicaid, he could “move to a system that might be much more responsive” (to a cancer patient who makes $11.66 an hour), but finished up with a revealing and icy acknowledgement of the trade-off involved (full transcript here):

  • Senate won't vote on ObamaCare repeal bill (The Hill)  Senate Republicans have decided to not vote on their latest ObamaCare repeal legislation, signaling a collapse in their last-ditch effort to kill off President Obama's signature law.

  • Corker retiring in 2018 (The Hill)   Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday announced he will not run for reelection next year.  Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is the first senator of the current Congress to announce he will retire.  Corker said in a statement:

"After much thought, consideration and family discussion over the past year, Elizabeth and I have decided that I will leave the United States Senate when my term expires at the end of 2018."

  • 'Height of hypocrisy': Clinton calls out Trump team over private email reports (The Guardian)   At least six senior Trump administration figures are reported to have used private email accounts for official White House business, prompting Hillary Clinton to describe criticism of her own private server use as “the height of hypocrisy”.  Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, admitted through his lawyer on Sunday that he had used private emails in the administration’s early days.  According to a New York Times report on Monday Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, aides Gary Cohn and Stephen Miller, and former staff members Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus also used private accounts for official business.  None of those named are believed to have broken the law, which allows public officials to use private addresses where official emails are forwarded to government accounts to be archived for reasons of transparency.

  • Economic Polarization: Map Shows Distressed Communities Predominantly in Southern US (Mish Talk)  The Economic Innovation Group has an interesting report on Distressed Communities.  The study notes “America’s elite zip codes are home to a spectacular degree of growth and prosperity. However, millions of Americans are stuck in places where what little economic stability exists is quickly eroding beneath their feet.”  Distress is based on an evaluation of seven metrics.


Click for large image.


Click for larger image.


Although the Catalonia regional government has insisted the unilateral poll will go ahead on Sunday, the Spanish government has vowed to stop the vote, which it says is a clear violation of the constitution. Spain’s constitutional court has suspended the legislation underpinning the referendum while it rules on its legality.  

A spokesman for the Spanish government’s Catalan delegation said on Tuesday that the region’s prosecutor had ordered the Mossos d’Esquadra, Catalonia’s police force, to take control of polling booths and identify those in charge.


Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics, and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea

  • Subsidy free solar comes to the UK (Gov.UK)  (See also next article.)  The UK’s first subsidy-free solar farm will be officially opened today (Tuesday 26 September) by Climate Change Minister Claire Perry:

The 45 acre Clayhill solar farm and energy storage facility near Flitwick in Bedfordshire, built by energy provider Anesco, is made up of over 30,000 solar panels - enough to power 2,500 homes.

The solar farm will be the first in the UK to be built and operated without Government subsidy, following a fall in the cost of solar panels by two thirds since 2010. To date the industry has successfully installed 12GW of solar capacity across the country.

Battery technology also has an important role to play in making renewable energy a viable part of the UK’s energy network by ensuring energy can be captured and stored for use when needed. The Clayhill development features five battery storage units. These help maximise the usable output from renewable power sources such as solar, which generates different amounts of energy depending on the weather.

  • The Solar PV Subsidy Deception (Principia Scietific International)  The author quotes a number of reports from solar industry participants that belie the claims of the preceding article.  Two of the quotes from this article:

Mr Shine, chairman of Anesco, which owns Clayhill, has very honestly admitted to  The Times  that solar farms “were still not economically viable” (“Clayhill, Britain’s first subsidy-free solar farm, revives fading industry”), and in the FT  he is unequivocal:

“‘It [the Clayhill project] wouldn’t pay with solar by itself at the moment . . . it needs the storage as well,’ said Mr Shine.”

Economically, Clayhill is not a “subsidy free” solar system, but a battery storage project providing rapid response power and using onsite solar as one of its charging options.

  • New British wind power deals cheaper than nuclear supplies (Reuters)  The price Britain will pay for new offshore wind power has plunged below new nuclear generation for the first time, according to figures from a power auction on Monday.  The rapidly falling cost of wind power may stoke criticism of the government for promising much higher prices to investors in the long-delayed Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, the first to be built in Britain for more than 20 years.  Britain needs to invest in new capacity to replace ageing coal and nuclear plants that are due to close in the 2020s.  See also next article.

  • Forget the Spin:  Offshore Wind Costs are Not Falling (The Global Warming Policy Foundation)  Spin put on the government’s recently announced strike prices to three large offshore wind farms has misled many into thinking that the costs of offshore wind are falling, according to a new research paper.  (See the full paper: Offshore Wind Strike Prices: Behind The Headlines (pdf).)  However, no actual capital cost figures have been provided for the three windfarms (Hornsea, Moray East, or Triton Knoll), and the strike prices are a poor guide to underlying costs, the paper says.   Professor Gordon Hughes, the paper’s lead author, said:

“Contrary to gullible media exaggerations, capital costs for offshore wind have not fallen, and the sites are not economic at the recently announced prices. The developers are just gambling on the small chance of very high fossil fuel prices in the near future, or more likely on a high carbon price.”

  • 'Spectacular' drop in renewable energy costs leads to record global boost (The Guardian)  (Econintersect note:  This article was published before the 2017 off-shore wind project was announced and does not include the low energy prices criticized in the articles above.  This article discusses data for 2015 and 2016.)  Falling solar and wind prices have led to new power deals across the world despite investment in renewables falling.


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